ROCK GODDESS

Interviews:

Kerrang! Issue 5 – November 1981 – Robbi Millar

ROCK GODDESS: It’s about time we had some ladies on these pages! And who better to add a little glamour and guts to an area generally monopolisad by wart-encrusted warlocks and nit-ridden Neanderthals — sony Grim Reaper, Holocaust et all — than Wandsworth’s finest, the indomitable Rock Goddess?

Said by Sounds as early as February to be “excellent providers of magnificent metallic mayhem”, Rock Goddess are fuel forthe theory that women can play heavy metal equally as well as men if not, on occasions, better.

Clocking at the tender ages of 18, 18 and 14 (respectively), guitarist/vocalist Jody Turner, bassist Tracey Lamb and drummer Julie Turner are already firm favourites amongst South London’s headbanging hordes — despite the fact that they’ve only played a minimum of live gigs due to Julie’s lack of years — and word is out around Kerrang ‘s kapital that they have a fine future. They certainly have the potential.

The Rock Goddess story began five years ago when the band’s affable manager (Julie and Jody’s dad!) let them loose in his rehearsal studios.

Since then they’ve built ups collection of songs even greater in size than Spider’s capacity for touring but no way do they regret missing teenage years of make-up and parties for the sake of rock and roll; as Jody says, “I’m only 18 but I’ve gained so much experience for someone so young. “And their determination is as strong as ever.

For most of this summer, Rock Goddess have been unable to play live — an annoying waiting period for Julie to turn 14 and become legal! — but, rather than sitting back and complaining, they’ve recorded both a competent and interesting demo tape (recording companies, take notice!) and a contribution to an up-and-coming all women elpee compilation called ‘Making Waves’, due out on Girlfriend (through Rough Trade) in early November.

To tie in with the album, Rock Goddess will be playing dates with the oddly-named Androids Of Mu around the north of Britain in December (dates later) although Londoners can catch them beforehand at St James’ Church, Pentonville Road (Nov21) or Dingwalls (Nov 23).

But what’s that I hear you say? Another Girlschool? Certainly not! Obviously, Rock Goddess consider Girlschool as an influence — Girlschool are pretty taken with Rock Goddess too — but, when asked, Jody Turner cites a rather heavier choice of preferences.

“Iron Maiden. “she says. “I love Iron Maiden and DefLeppard and Kiss. Sabbath and Led Zeppelin too. Basically, I really like the old bands but some of the new ones are very good.”

And unlike some of the wimpier, Neal Kayesque, “we prefer the term hard rock” combos on the circuit, Rock Goddess aren’t afraid of their chromium roots.

“Of course we’re into heavy metal, “insists Jody. “I’m proud to be doing heavy metal, we all are. It’s great!” So there!

Rock Goddess’ music takes the point even further. Though far more melodic than the Motorhead majority, It bristles with a similar raw power, at times reminiscent of Judas Priest.

Both Judy’s guitar and Tracey Lamb’s bass react and interact excellently with muscle and skill while Julie Turner’s hammerhead drumming reveals a confidence and strength beyond her years.

Jody possesses the sort of gritty, no-holds-barred voice that you wouldn’t want to meet down a dark alleyway and this wraps the whole Rock Goddess package together into a formidable unit.


Live Reviews

Marquee, London (23/1/82) DANTE BONUTTO

ROCK GODDESS are a band with more confidence than experience. For a young, all-girl trio with a drummer of 14 this is hardly surprising but, when it comes to establishing a rapport with an audience, their age doesn’t stop them appearing heavy-handed and naïve.

Singer, guitarist Jody Turner introduces each number with a restraint similar to that displayed by Paul Stanley on ‘Kiss Alive! ‘ and when she screams ‘Is everybody hotter than hell7’ it might just be the starchild himself.

Verbal overkill aside however, Jody, a world-weary 18, is still the bands foremost asset. Possessed of a (literally) stunning voice she makes every lyric sound like a threat, which is fine on songs like ‘Breakout’ and ‘Wild Side Of Life’ but less fitting for a tale of lost romance like ‘The Love Lingers Still’. I can t imagine anyone walking out on her – not with their kneecaps still attached, anyway.

Apart from singing the odd vocal harmony and flashing the odd winning smile bassist Tracey Lamb, also 18, keeps a lower profile. Her blonde head swaying gently back and forth she really looks too nice for all this but belies the fact by thumping away at her bass strings like she’s holding a brick in her palm.

‘We bring you HM Thunder’ was Jody s opening comment on this occasion and an accurate one it proved. With the exception of the
sprawling ‘Live Wire’ the songs are short, well-armed bursts of raucous energy. There are no frills here. No lengthy guitar workout, and no anti-climactic drum solos from Jody s sister Julie. Like Motorhead, Rock Goddess think they’re strongest as a team.

As yet the band have no record deal, and while they re probably keen to get something down on vinyl, it would be nice to see them develop the songs and the stageshow first. Not flinging platitudes at the audience might be a good place to start, though. in fairness, their supporters seem to like them just as they are.

READING FESTIVAL 1982

Rock Goddess from South London were doomed to follow these pyrotechnics, but nevertheless attracted a sturdy, vociferous following on their side of the twin stages. Guitarist/vocalist

Jody Turner, bassist Tracey Lamb and drummer Julie Turner raised encouraging bellows from the lads. Jody screamed ‘take it away!’ and dedicated ‘My Angel’ to their favourite groups, Tygers and Maiden. “You’ve been a great crowd!”, she yelled with a sense of relief that they had been given the thumbs up, helped along the road to victory by their sincerity and ability.

Marquee, November 1982 – review by Nick Kemp
THE CONCEPT of ‘women in rock’ is not something new, an attempt by women to become accepted for their musicianship rather than their bodies IS a rather recent innovation that some, Judie Tzuke and Kate Bush for instance have managed to great effect; but women as serious musicians in Heavy Metal? Ah, come on, pull the other one, Will this last bastion of male chauvinism accept a woman as anything other than a sex object? The very idea is laughable…Sexism is alive and well and living in modern music, and there are doubtless those, misguided fools who are proud of the fact.

I am not aware of guitarist Jody Turner’s politics, and I hardly think they are relevant to what Rock Goddess play but, consciously or otherwise, she is making bold steps towards being recognised as the frontman (I refuse to write ‘frontperson’) of an HM band and not merely an ‘all-girl’ group. It would be easy for Rock Goddess to sell themselves as such, particularly when they have an ace in the pack as decorative as bassist Tracey Lamb, who must surely count as one of the prettiest girls treading the boards at present, but, to their credit, they’ve fought shy of that and gone for broke as a serious band instead.

However, despite this commitment and determination, they may falter for lack of strong material. Ms Turner may be a prolific and competent composer (listen to the new single ‘Heavy Metal Rock’n’Roll, ‘Start Running’ or ‘One Hot Night’) but her songs lack a sense of real cohesion or memorability and her voice, too, rarely stretches beyond a screech. Time and experience may minimalise the problems though.

In the meantime Rock Goddess can take heart from this start to their tour with three encores being demanded and truly delivered. They are going to find the task ahead of them tough, to say the least; and, while they can count on my unguarded admiration for their stand, I remain less than convinced as to their musical prowess. We shall see…

Y&T/ROCK GODDESS Odeon, Birmingham 1983 HOWARD JOHNSON
When is 40 minutes really 50? When Rock Goddess run through their set! Naive enthusiasm and a love of Metallic bombast is all well and good but it has to be tempered with a certain amount of pacing and control, something which the three girls have to learn about. The new album is 40 minutes of tremendously thoughtful Heavy Metal but it simply wasn’t seen onstage because there was no sense of control, no understanding of how best to portray the qualities of the songs. Hardly had my pen touched the notepad to begin writing ‘Gonna Let Your Hair Down ‘In The Night’,’The Visitors Are Here’ and ‘Hold Me Down’ than they’d vanished in one speedy blur, never to be seen again. Ever felt like you’re trying to catch a greased pig?

Jody Turner’s voice still induces the ol ‘pant dance’ and in Dee O’Malley Goddess have definitely made an exceptional vocal find but they are desperately in need of an outgoing personality to carry a visual performance, someone who can hold the stage and grab the pubescent audience by the balls.

Rock Goddess on vinyl are stunning; Rock Goddess live are in need of a little more. Could it be experience? bank on it!

Live @ The Marquee, London 1983 NEIL JEFFRIES
THE MARQUEE came alive tonight – packed to the bars with a sizeable majority who for a change were there to join in as well as watch. Fair brought a tear to the aye it did. Made you wonder why rock ever moved out of the clubs. But it did, and Rock Goddess will too judging by this performance. The girls had a special glow about them (Ready Brek?). A spark of quality that elevated them above most of their competition.

I refuse to believe that spark has anything to do with their sex. Tonight they demonstrated that they are above all three very talented youngsters who’s excellent debut album didn’t do them total justice.

For instance the drum sound was spot-on. Julie coming through loud ‘n’ clear across the electric atmosphere pinning punters to the walls with her rib-rating attack. Battling alongside her, fighting third-degree chicken-pox (for this gig and the rest of the Fastway tour!) was Tracey smiling bravely. I doubt if any would have known though if Jodie hadn’t spilled the beans!

When it’s not diving away such secrets (!) Jodie s belting voice is arguably their best weapon. And for ‘Take Your Love Away’ and ‘The Love Lingers Still’ she showed that there’s soul in there with the power. Some arsenal!

But on to the most important event of the evening … the arrival onstage of the fourth Goddess. Their new rhythm guitarist Kat Burbela. She’d only been in the ranks one week and had just played her debut in her hometown of Hull the night before. Not surprisingly then she barely hid her nervousness and joined the three old-timers only for the closing pairing of ‘Make My Night’ and ‘My Angel’. The rest of the set she’ll learn as soon as poss, either in rehearsals or watching from the floor as she did tonight. Early days yet of course but Kat (christened Katrina by her Russian father) could be just what the doctor ordered. Adding that extra wallop needed in the bottom and when Jodie has to drop the riff to solo.

Two encores put the seal on a triumphant night for the band and boded well for the new era on which they embark. I’ve got a feeling Heavy Metal Rock’n’Roll is here to stay! Certainly hope so.

Marquee, December 1984 – Review by Malcolm Dome
THE YEAR of 1985 is, as far as Rock Goddess are concerned, time for the big jump. The steady build-up of the last few seasonal cycles has given them a very solid foundation, but changes in the hierarchy at their label, A&M, means that the pressure is now on for an immediate delivery.

Fortunately, Rock Goddess know all about the expectation beams being focused on them. And they’re good and ready for the big examination. Their two sell-out dates at the Marquee pre-Christmas were a chance to (A) show off new material and (B) impress the locals with the favourable way they’ve re-vamped old stage faves. On both counts the ploy worked

Whilst the sound was pokey and the girls had obviously suffered a little (albeit temporary) erosion of sparkle during their months-long lay-off from live duties, nonetheless the team is still a pedigree one. New songs such as ‘Rock ‘Till Dawn’ show Jody Turners writing is improving with every composition, and cover renditions of Cher’s ‘Bang, Bang’ and ‘Nights In White Satin’ were quite spectacular; drummer Julie Turner’s lead vocals on the former version put it into the ‘hit single’ category.

Meanwhile, back at the wine store, vintage brews like ‘Satisfied Then Crucified’, ‘Back To You’, ‘Heavy Metal Rock’n’Roll’ and ‘God Be With You’ sound sleeker, more harmonic and much smoother than the primitive grape pressings of yore, definitely the sort of sustenance that can be comfortably pored down the American gullet.

Rock Goddess are on the way. They’re hardly recognisable as the stuttering, yet enthusiastic, outfit I once saw at Clapham’s IOI Club, performing and looking like a bunch of juvenile bikers’ molls. These days they’re riding high and proud as a band apart, a band of class.

Dingwalls, London, May 1985 – Review by Mick Wall
DINGWALLS MY DINGWALLS, what would we all do without you? Junk food spruced up by fine chilli, foreign bottled beer cold from the box, people, people everywhere I turn (hi Mr. Murray, nice to meet you Mr. Lyttle), and one of the punchiest club bands at the vanguard of London’s rock fraternity – the heavenly Rock Goddess!

A Rock Goddess gig is always a fun place to be. The band never bore me like so many of their chicken-legged sisters – and I mean from both sides of the Atlantic; Yankee pussy has never been my cup of meat, no sir – and you never see the same set twice! While so many of their contemporaries spend their time attending to the colour of their crotch-hugging leather thongs (cheap smut for filthy lucre, we know what you are baby, we’re just haggling about the price, huh!) Jody Turner and her gang are still perfecting the perfect E, G and D cacophony. Sh*t, these girls rock….and then some.

Opening the show with ‘Satisfied Then Crucified’, a vigorous reworking of the original heart-stopper, it’s clear that while the band seem to be taking forever to finish their next all-important album, away from the deviant rigours of producers and recording studios they haven’t wasted any time in tightening up their stage-act; their asses are in gear and ‘Turn Me Loose’ hammers the point home.

The strained volume level at the front of the stage daunted me not a jot, the party people all past their bedtimes throw back their shoulders and devour the delicious electric jive of Rock Goddess pumping it out.

New numbers this night include ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ – which definitely impressed all the boys I spoke to afterwards – ‘Love Is A Bitch’ and ‘So Much Love’…all coiled tight and warped of rhythm, sending tingles tiptoeing down my spine. But that’s nothing compared to the whiplash effect of the band’s late 20th Century blues version of the Stones’ ‘Let’s spend the night together’. Rolling? Were we rolling? Do stallions have ginormously long, uh, legs?!

‘Hello’ and ‘God Be With You’ close the set and before the smoke has stopped trickling from my nostrils, they’re back for their ’30 Years’ encore medley: ‘Jailhouse Rock’, with Jody hollering out the chain-gang lyrics, ‘ Johnny B. Goode’ featuring the diminutive Dee on lead vocals, ‘ Whole Lotta Shakin”, with little drummer Julie getting in some choice warbling, then back to big sister Jody for ‘Lucille’.

All in all, a ball. Rock Goddess are, for me, the finest female rock band currently holding the live circuit together.


Marquee, Aug 1985 – Review by Paul Suter

THERE’S A special place in my heart for Rock Goddess – in fact there’s a special place in the hearts of most people who’ve ever seen the band; one of the most endearing, friendly, honest outfits you’re ever likely to encounter, and one that you will to succeed.
Rock Goddess have the talent certainly, but they currently lack both the good fortune and the ruthlessness that they need. Misfortune saw their deal with A&M go sour, with change in the labels management at a crucial time for the band killing off their chances of releasing the right record at the right moment, and now they’re reduced to playing a series of one off gigs largely fro the benefit of their adoring fans. Success is always assured within the four walls of the Marquee whatever the circumstances and performance and this time around neither were particularly auspicious.

Circumstances? Well, exactly why they bothered to play the gig escapes the collective KERRANG! Crew; it wasn’t a Record Company showcase, and they’ve played enough dates over the summer to keep memories fresh in London at least – so why bother?

And the performance was certainly a shade on the shabby side; Jody Turner admitted from the stage that the set has been cobbled together and even the likes of ‘Johnny B, Goode’ got wheeled out towards the end to fill out the show.

Things had begun well enough with a fiery ‘Satisfied Then Crucified’, and old favourite that had the audience exuberant from the start; on the other hand though, the sound was pretty grim and never really rose above average for the duration of the set, which was to cripple Julie Turner’s emergence from behind her drum kit to deliver a ballad accompanied by sister Jody’s guitar and Dee O’Malley on keyboards.

In fact Dee’s keyboards are becoming an increasingly important element of the band; they play their part well but maybe some rather tasteful settings would help even more. The band launched into the epic grandeur of ‘So Much Love’ its potential as a production masterpiece and the reality of its live firepower were tempered by a tendency to wince whenever the keyboards were strongly evident as a sound rather than as a supporting texture. A great song, though, and surely the best thing the ever-improving Jody Turner has written so far.

Ah, Jody – Dee O’Malley’s thunderous bass and the driving drumming of Julie may form the cornerstone of the band’s appeal, but Jody is the blossoming rock goddess. She’s already a strong performer and there’s still a whole lot more filed under ‘potential’. As a guitar player she’s starting to come up with some pleasantly interesting sounds instead of just thrashing away, and given fair breaks on the sound front her roaring vocal prowess could stun. On the night she overdid it, but she’s surely got what it takes.

But when it comes down to harnessing what it takes, and then making it, there seems to be a touch of the necessary determination missing right now. Just like Girlschool, Goddess are at one with their audience but that’s not enough, they need to reach out. You need arrogance and you need the belief that every night is really a headline show at Madison Square Garden. Perform like you’re huge already, don’t grovel to try and get a deal by demonstrating the you can fill the Marquee with happy fans at the drop of a hat – act like you’ve got a deal already, act ruthless. Sod the fans at the front, they love you already – reach out and blow off a few faces at the back where the waverers are trying to make up their minds.

On this particular night, however, it was the waverers who won. The fans were happy and may not understand the lack of a record deal, or indeed the appearance of this double-edged review; but those who stood at the back and watched saw a great band – easily the best all-girl band to draw breath, and potentially one of Britain’s finer prospects of either sex – marking time. Every gig Rock Goddess play needs to be remarkable if they are going to move on rather than stagnate – and this one wasn’t.

Marquee, May 1986 – review by Derek Oliver
SWEET NOTHIN’, and what’s sweet about that?
It may be too late, I fear, for Rock Goddess to regain lost ground, and it’s for all the wrong reasons. They have, in a very short space of time, developed their musical ability to extraordinary lengths and consequently have now outreached, overstated and over-complicated their existence. And it’s all so very upsetting…

From raunchy (mannish?) rockers to professional showstoppers, I’ve watched the girls leap up the ladder and chip away prejudices in a way that hinted at bigger and better things to come. ‘Hell Hath No Fury’, their final album for A&M, proved their potential in a barn-burnin’ blitz of sprightly hot rockin’ – good tunes and amiable musicianship. Yet on reflection, it also appears to have heralded the beginning of the end – not in an artistic sense (although that’s an obvious consequence), but rather because they’ve outgrown their limited market.

Heavy Metal, basic and loud, with spine-stealing hook lines was their main mark, but having tempted fate they’ve plummeted into the (very) serious art of musical complexity. A Rock Goddess gig was always sweaty, muggy, smoky and jam-packed with folk eager to join in the fun of Jody’s high-pitched shrills, but now it’s all far too po-faced and far too desperate. S-E-R-I-O-U-S.

So I didn’t dig the gig, right? Wrong buster! I really understood what was happening and I trusted myself enough to love the new songs (in abundance, perhaps too much), but there’s no denying that Rock Goddess have thrown away the key to heavens gate. They’re too conscious of what a f*ck-up it’s all become, too keen to show us what brilliant musicians they all are…and above all they’re putting themselves into touch.

Giving a nod to the few friends I have, I wasn’t alone with my thoughts. Even oldies like ‘Satisfied Then Crucified’ didn’t escape ‘modernisation’ – re-arranged and hamstrung with a peculiar twist, I was unsure whether this or ‘Let’s Spend The Night Together’ (the Stones’ classic) was the biggest mistake of the night. The new songs (no titles I’m afraid), fared a lot better, demonstrating that musically at least, they certainly haven’t deteriorated – it’s just that they’re now working in an area where they can’t compete. What’s the point?

So where do they go from here? Frankly, I’d hate to speculate bur as always I’ll wish them the very best of luck, because if they do pull, it off again they’ll certainly have paid their dues – and that’s no shame.

Marquee, October 1986 – review by Paul Henderson
PROBABLY BECAUSE, there aren’t many of them around, relatively speaking, all-girl bands are still looked upon firstly as all-girl bands and secondly as rock bands. For related reasons which are many and complex, Rock Goddess are just one o those bands for whom even a deserved amount of success must seem devastatingly elusive – effectively out of reach due to the sexist and/or patronising attitudes which pervade the rock world with respect to its female performers.

I’d seen Rock Goddess only once before (on television, at that) and wasn’t impressed. But that was some time ago, and a lot of lager has passed over the Marquee’s bars since that show. They’ve now got better songs and have noticeably improved as players; instrumentally they may not be outstanding individual talents, but they do work well as a cohesive unit.

Frankly, they were a lot better than I expected. As well as being well written and thoughtfully arranged, ‘My Name’s Not Marilyn Monroe’ and ‘I Aint Got A Man To Love’, were just two of several songs to feature and benefit from some excellent vocal harmonies – tight, accurate and generally of a quality the Marquee’s walls aren’t used to.

In fact, it’s probably fair to say that, in terms of performance, the vocal department is Rock Goddess’ real strength. As well as the harmonies, Jody Turner’s strong lead vocal was also impressive, and although her guitar sound was often a little muddy due to the heavy use of effects, her short solos were fired out with precision, and on occasion, a delightfully delicate touch.

Rock Goddess deserve more attention (for their music) than they are currently getting.

Marquee, April 1987 – Review by Maura Sutton
BELIEVE IT or not, it’s been well over 5 years since Rock Goddess first appeared within these hallowed pages (KERRANG! No.5 Armed And Ready history friends). Since then, they’ve borne more than their fair share of traumatic trials and tribulations, the most recent being the loss of bassist Dee O’Malley, who took time out to spring a sprog (i.e. have a baby). Far from allowing themselves to become demoralised the Turner sisters sought to turn adversity into triumph and have subsequently emerged with the strongest Goddess line-up since the very early days.

Tonight’s sold out performance marked the beginning of a new era for the band; new personnel, new image, new songs. The two new members – bassist Julia Longman and keyboard player Becky Axten – appeared incredibly relaxed, coming across as highly competent professionals, smilin’n’boppin’ away and generally looking like they were enjoying themselves as much as the audience.

Most of the old classics have gone to that great cemetery in the sky, but the traditional set opener ‘Satisfied Then Crucified’ remains, a fine indication that these four females are more than capable of delivering an iron-fisted punch. Jody Turner’s stagecraft has improved immeasurably, moving on from the Girlschool approved ‘ALL RIGHT YOU LOT!!!’ approach. She’s particularly effective at dealing with over-exuberant fans, deftly parrying some of the more norty suggestions, most of which occurred during a tasteful little number entitled, ahem, ‘Gimme Sex’.

As for the new material, well, Jody has always been highly adept at penning a jolly tune or two and tonight we were treated to some top-notch raunchy rockers such as ‘Wait For Me’ and ‘You’re History’, as well as two attempts at increased sophistication, ‘Hey Hey USA’ and ‘My Name’s Not Marilyn Monroe’. I’m not entirely convinced by the last two, but time will tell.

Overall the gig was an unqualified success – it’s good to have them back!

1988

JODIE TURNER – Marquee, London – Review by Chris Watts

AS JODY gets up under the lights to play her ‘thang’, I start counting. People who know about these things tell me that you have about 60 seconds at the Marquee to kill an audience. Any longer and you have your work cut out.

I counted to 35 before looking around at the respectable crowd to see them nestling in Jody’s palm, grinning like slaves.

She’s stood on the Marquee’s stage for so many hours that it must now seem like home. Certainly there are no signs of nerves or pressures to please, Behind the scenes, I suspect, it’s a different story.

You can rest assured that Jody Turner ain’t changed. A little thinner but just as aggressive. Dressed in stone-washed denim, she teases and strokes her home crowd with determination.

Now spared the obligation of solos, she’s free to play her guitar when it takes her fancy and can instead concentrate on the songs. At times she moves like Chrissie Hynde, shrugging out the shapes, and at others sounds a sucker for Brian Johnson.

Behind a ridiculous kit, Jody’s sister scowls like fury and keeps the beat. Julie Turner would have made Kim Fowley’s day if she’d been around at the time. As it is, I feel happily head over heels and would die dribbling for the girl.

Gavin Taylor (guitar) and Phil Manley-Reeve (bass) flash around in style but the show never forgets its star and Jody Turner plays up accordingly. Her downfall, with Rock Goddess and now alone, as with many women in rock, is that she would much rather be a boy. She’s never been a particularly feminine idol and for example, I would find it hard to love Jody Turner.

Rock Goddess’ (Jody, Julie and, er, the other one) problem was that they grew up. The family needed time to be away and tonight, their debut live appearance, was an admirable and well-received return. The songs are snap happy and heavy as you like it, well-paced and traditionally delivered.

A rematch in six months should confirm Jody’s status and mark a welcome attraction to the middle-league live circuit.

CHRIS WATTS


Album And Single Reviews

November 1983 – Review by Howard Johnson
ROCK GODDESS ‘Hell Hath No Fury’ (A&M Records)
THE HARDER end of the Women in Rock spectrum is looking a little under the weather at the moment, violently ill even! Where the Cheetahs, Toronto’s, Girlschools and Sleeks are lurking at present is a mystery to us all. While Judie Tzuke and her excellently airy-fairy ilk go from strength to strength, the females with a penchant for the studded wristband as opposed to the satin scarf are having a decidedly dodgy time of it.

Enter Rock Goddess, complete with new bassist Dee O’Malley and hotshot producer Chris Tsangarides in tow. Enter ‘Hell Hath No Fury’, the Goddesses’ second album. Enter the first female hard rockers to really hit the tops.

Rock Goddess’ first album was auspicious enough, a decidedly gritty affair with a fair quota of tasty tunes based around the voice of Jody Turner, this band’s most patent weapon and a joy to lend an ear (or two) to. Without a doubt the most erotic voice down on vinyl, Jody can caress you with her sensitivity, thrill you with her indignant anger and cause paroxysm a-plenty with her primeval hollering.

If it’s possible to fall in love with a voice without even seeing the face, this is the one!

Based around that voice, ‘HHNF’ is a 100 per cent improvement on the first album and simply one of the most convincing Heavy Metal platters in a long, long, while. Tsangarides has certainly brought the best out of the girls in their playing. They’re tighter here than Russell’s wallet, from little Julie’s kick-back drum pounding, through Dee’s simple and concise bass lines to Jody’s ever-maturing fretboard work – and the whole shebang hangs together on the pure songwriting strength revealed throughout the album. I don’t believe there’s a better Heavy Metal songwriting entity in circulation right now and all you have to do is checkout the empirical evidence.

Where to starts It’s a problem, but howzabout ‘Don’t Want Your Love’, a brutal mauling of some male who has curried the ‘Turner favour and lost (poor bugger!), which positively seethes with oppressive anger. Then again, ‘No More’ has more credentials for success than Neil Kinnock; with as catchy a chorus as you’ll find anywhere. Both numbers keep one foot in the former Goddess territory, while revealing a new maturity that becomes the band magnificently.

And Rock Goddess have no fear of branching out into untrodden waters with ‘In The Night’ and ‘The Visitors Are Here’, the former a Triumph-like emotive ballad and the latter a staccato song of no little atmosphere, supremely aided by some subtle Tsangarides synth shading.
Yet, if you think the Goddesses have forgotten how to rock out in the dumbest of HM traditions, then just blast out ‘Gotta Let Your Hair Down’ and you’ll know that this particular area is also well catered for.

The icing on the cake comes ultimately in the strength of the backing vocals. Pushed well to the fore and exploited to maximum potential, they’re crystal clear, deep biting in the finest vampire mode and ultimately refreshing.

Refreshing! Yeah, that’s the word for this release. One which should set Rock Goddess on their way with few problems. Y&T had better watch out! What with the desperately dull ‘Mean Streak’ and a co-headliner with the girls, they could well be in for a sound thrashing!


Other Stuff

April 1983

CONFUSION HAS certainly been reigning in the Rock Goddess camp. After their recent UK tour with Def Leppard (which apparently went rather well for the girls), blonde bassist Tracey Lamb dropped a major bombshell by announcing that she was quitting the band. However, within a matter of days, the differences between her and the rest of the band were sufficiently resolved for her to return to the fold in time for their current support slot on the Fastway tour. The exact reason for her original decision to depart remains rather mysterious. Group manager John Tumor would only say that “there were certain aspects of this kind of life she didn’t like”. However, these aspects might have more to do with the band’s set-up than anything else. It’s been well-known for a long time that Tracey fell like an outsider, surrounded as she was by the Turner family (John. plus his daughters Jody and Julie). It seems more than likely discontentment with such a situation eventually led to her ‘I quit’ announcement. Whether this problem has now been resolved permanently remains to be seen. In the meantime, the band have now added a new guitarist, Kat Burbela. 20, from Hull, to the line-up, a move prompted by their realisation that as a three-piece they were more limited than at first seemed the case. What does seem significant is that pressure, apparently, was brought to bear by the American side of the Goddess operation for this expansion to be made. And given Girlschool’s current surge of Stateside success, one wonders if Rock Goddess are to be marketed as ‘The New Girlschool’. However, there are no immediate plans for the band to go to the USA. After their Fastway commitments, they will be recording some new material in June, before touring with Iron Maiden on part of the letter’s massive European trek.

1983 MALCOLM DOME
AFTER WEEKS of ‘has-she-left-or–hasn’t-she’ speculation, Tracey Lamb (above) has finally quit Rock Goddess.
According to an official statement from A&M (the band’s label), that well-known social disease ‘musical differences’ was the cause of the split. However, the blonde bassist herself (who intends to form a new band) puts it down to personality problems.

“I just didn’t see eye-to-eye on anything with John (Turner, the group’s manager). And I’d also had quite a few arguments with Judy Turner- we just didn’t get on anymore.

“I wanted to leave before the Def Leppard tour, but was persuaded to stay on. I was determined to go after that finished. However, someone from the record company rang me up and asked if I’d just do the Fastway dates because it was a bit short notice to get in a replacement. But, we had a real bust-up after the Hammersmith Odeon gig, and I then walked out for good.

“It was a two-way thing really – I wanted to go, and I’ve heard they are quite happy to see the back of me. In fact, from what I gather, Jody and Julie actually threatened to walk out themselves if I returned. So this time there’s NO going back. ‘We don’t talk to each other at the moment, but I still wish them all the best for the future.’

As far as Tracey’s replacement goes, this is 19-year-old South Londoner Dee O’Malley, who was found via an advert SHE put in Sounds “Musicians Available’ column. However, before Ms O’Malley was found, Kelly Johnson stood in on bass for a TV special the Goddess recorded in Germany straight after the Fastway support trek.

The irony is that, when Enid Williams was sacked last year by Girlschool, Tracey was seriously considered as a potential replacement. Eventually, she was passed over because the ‘School didn’t want to cause the splitting up of what seemed at the time like a very happy Rock Goddess unit.
From such slender threads is the fabric of fate woven.

June 1983

ROX

Armed And Ready – Kerrang! 1981

VENOM is a popular name. To our knowledge there are currently three bands rejoicing under this miasmic moniker – these Mancunians, Satan’s lot from Newcastle and even an Oi band from Swansea.

This particular toxic troupe comprises Mark Anthony (Vocals), Ian ‘Red Hot Red’ Burke (guitar), Paul ‘Hoppy’ Hopwood (guitar) and Gary Maunsell (bass). At the time of writing the group are without a drummer – one Tony Fitzgerald having quit to form, of all things, a jazz-rock band – and are searching for another.

Unlike Silverwing, Venom have yet to release a record. But their four-track demo tape holds powerful wall-of-sound promise for vinyl excursions yet to come. ‘Are You Ready’, ‘Loser’, ‘City Streets’ and ‘Get Out’ hit harder than Bruce Banner in a bar-room brawl and are spearheaded by Anthony’s banshee-scream vocals, which have been known to mangle even a Memorex tape.

Venom are committed to their chosen cause. All the money they earn from their day jobs is ploughed straight back into the band, to satisfy their obsessively ostentatious ideals. ‘Hoppy’ Hopwood explains:

Much as we’d like to record our own single, we understand that you can’t do it for less than £350. And it’s difficult to lay your hands on that kind of money. It costs us so much to lay a gig. For example, we were paid £35 for a recent appearance at the Lancashire Vaults at Oldham. We spent nearly £20 staging the show and the rest was swallowed up by debts.

Luckily, Venom know a fair few people who’re adept with a needle and thread, so their outrageous stage costumes can be made for as little as £10 or £15.

“We’ve quite a selection,” says Hopwood, “and if we’d bought them all in clothes shops we’d probably be in hock for the rest of our career!”

Despite the lack of readies, the band are single-mindedly aiming for success. Concludes Hopwood, “Although sometimes we get down in the dumps we’re convinced that we’re going to make it.”

ROX – Armed And Ready February 1982 HOWARD JOHNSON
ALONG WITH Silverwing, Rox are members of Manchester’s own Glam Clan, and can be seen at many a gig in the city, standing out like a beacon in the dark, clad as they always are in their satin ‘n’ spandex, amidst a sea of denim ‘n’ leather.

Having witnessed the Rox of old (named at the time Venom) play one of the worst gigs I’ve ever had the misfortune to attend (classless and corny). I swore that 1’d never listen to them again! But hark; I chomp on my own words as I eat them, for the band have emerged with a new line-up, a new name and a new set of songs that knocked me into the middle of next week with their catchiness and energy!

The Rox line-up is Bernie Emerald (drums), A. P. Hopwood (rhythm guitar and backing vocals). Kevin ‘Kick Ass’ Kozak (lead and backing vocals), Gary Maunsell (bass Guitar) and Red-Hot-Red (lead guitar and backing vocals) – each one his real name (honest!)

As you might have guessed, the six track Rox demo is heavily US/Glam influenced, with maestros Kiss the most prevalent influence within that sphere; yet the overall impression left is one of class, and no mere spoof. ‘Hot Love In The City’ and ‘Sweet Sixteen’, to name but two of the tracks featured, immerse themselves in tacky bubblegum sex fantasies, coupled with simple riffs and hooks which always remain melodic and interesting.

Indeed, this is pretty much par for the course, and there is really no letdown track which I could cite as worthy of criticism, for ‘I’ve Had Enough Of You,’ Daylight Robbery’. ‘Shock Rockin’ ‘ (with a riff reminiscent of UFO’s ‘Lettin’ Go’) and not forgetting the infamous intro tape (!) are all ‘worth pressing into platter’ status.

If all this hasn’t convinced you, then let me inform you that the demo comes in a bright red presentation box, is printed by Kick-A-Kozak Industries Inc., with all songs published by Macho Man Music Inc, and Hunky Adorable Music Inc. Must be worth checking out.

Rox hope to release ‘Hot Love . . .’ as a single as soon as possible. Kevin Kozak informs me, and the sooner the better, says I

‘Rox – Rock ‘n’ Roll Forever’ the demo box says.

ROX: ‘Krazy Kuts’ (Music For Nations) Steve Joule 1983
Three songs from these lovable glam mop tops – ‘Sweet Sixteen’, ‘Sidewalk Strutter’, and ‘Shock Rockin’, all sounding like a Status Quo / Sweet soundcheck heard from outside the hall. Really this record has a lot of potential but it’s certainly not helped by the amateurish production. Still if you like Quo / Sweet I’m pretty sure you’ll get some sort of pleasure from this record.

ROX/SILVERWING Marquee. London XAVIER RUSSELL

Rox, meanwhile, are in a different league. They’ve still got a long way to go before they can enter the Motley Crue premier division, but they’re definitely the best English Glam band I’ve come across.

I mean, have you ever seen a drum -riser that takes up the whole stage? Skin-beater Bernie Emerald had to use a stepladder to get to his kit, and once there was forced to play in a crouched position to avoid demolishing the lighting rig.

The Rox live show starts off with an Angel-type intro tape, only this version is a clever rearrangement of the Lord’s prayer. And with lines like ‘give us our daily mayhem’, you just knew what followed had to be good: it was.

Kicking off with ‘Dressed To Kill’ the lads could do no wrong. It was powerhouse rock American-style that still showed a refreshing originality; ‘Sidewalk Struttin’, ‘Sweet Sixteen’, all whizzed by and were so impressive it surprises me that Rox haven’t already been snapped up by a major label. If you’re into Starz, Legs Diamond, Angel, Motley Crue and Kiss, do yourself a favour by checking out Rox next time they play in your neck of the woods. You won’t be disappointed.


November 1983 – Review by Howard Johnson
ROX ‘Violent Breed’ (Music For Nations MFN11)

HAVING FINALLY reached the goal they’ve long aimed for, Rox have to prove themselves all over again and convince an audience unfairly sceptical of UK Glam rock bands that they are a force to be reckoned with. That they are indeed just that I have no doubt, but whether they have done full justice to themselves on this their debut LP is open to debate.

While the overall production (courtesy of Martin Hooker) is certainly better than that on the band’s own, self-financed EP effort, I can’t help but feel that the point behind Rox’s existence has been missed. Glam rock is all about fun, about keeping the music light and having a good time. Rox have already shown that they are this country’s finest pop/rock songwriters, producing power pop with the most instant riffs and poppy choruses around, yet ‘Violent Breed’ seems too content to allow the relentless hammering to overpower the Glam elements, leaving the album tipped unfairly towards the Metal field and away from the pop flavour.

Don’t get me wrong, this is still a good record with plenty of marvelous moments and the hand can be justifiably proud of their achievements, but it’s moments you remember rather than whole songs. The keyboard intro to ‘Love Ya Like A Diamond’, the brilliantly melodic riff used sporadically during ‘I Wanna Be A Hero’ (flush the song apart from that), the chorus of ‘Say Goodbye To Love’ the chanting part of ‘Violation’, the list goes one!

The glorious exception to this sporadic brilliance is ‘Hot On Your Trax’, one of the greatest glom Metal numbers ever penned, coming complete with some hilariously wonderful backing vocals and a whole hatful of guitar tricks from Red Hot Red. This is what Rox are capable of achieving and, you can take my word for it, positively stunning possibilities spring to mind for the future.

YOUNG WARRIORS
“We want to be seen as more Heavy Metal,” ROX tell Howard Johnston, February 1984

KEVIN, KEVIN, where art thou Kevin? Many thought it impossible, many rubbed glazed eyeballs in confused astonishment when the news was broken; others with a passion for the hyped-up-hot-shot world of Glam Metal are still more than a little comatose, and all because the Mancunian maestro of self publicity, the bard with the biro and lipgloss in his satin jacket pocket, the notorious ‘Kick Ass” Kevin Kozak is no longer free to pout his little lips beneath that distinctive Rox logo! It wasn’t so much that Kev’s lunatic antics were too much for the Rox rockers, but rather that a change was utterly necessary and inevitable.

Y’see while we would all scan the music papers gossip columns for a smidgen of wisdom from Kev’s lips, ready to laugh our socks off at his brash and blatant OTT sloganeering, it was still not easy to ignore one crucial factor, namely that Kev couldn’t quite kick enough ass in the vocal department

While the band was coming up with some of the most energetic commercial music that this country has produced in a while – and making a damn fine job of it, Kev was struggling out front, playing the rock star with an almighty amount of heart (not to mention mouth!), but sounding like a demented hyena! We all loved his antics, but the truth of the matter is that he was holding back a very promising act to a large degree. Indeed, it came as something of a surprise to me, that Music For Nations picked the band up before the situation had been rectified, though it was apparent that things had to change – not least to the bad themselves.

All we can say is that we got away with our “Crazy Cuts” EP – just! It was a ridiciulus situation because Kev couldn’t lay down a vocal for a song straight off. He had to do it line by line, which is no way to work! Can you imagine it? We’d still be doing the album now!

Guitarist Paul Diamond nods in disappointed agreement..

“Kev actually came in to start work on the album but couldn’t get anything together for the first three days, so we took a weeks break and I went over to his place every day to help him get things together – to get the songs in tune! We went back in again and it was..well.. horrible!

As accurate a descrioption as any. Kev really left Rox with no choice but to perform the evil deed!
“We were all there when we told him,” says Red, before bassist Billy Beaman looks up from his beer to contradict in a broad Mancunian brogue..”Nah, yer wrong. I was at ‘ome watchin’ ‘The Love Boat,’ a claim which causes hysterics throughout the Rox ranks.

RIFF RAFF

Armed And Ready – Kerrang! 1982 NEIL JEFFRIES

GREAT YARMOUTH based Riff Raff are not a band to play it safe. Rather than play “comfortable three-chord thrashes” they prefer to stretch themselves and their music into what, a few years ago could only have been termed ‘progressive rock’.

This four-piece are fronted by twin brothers Dave and Fred Patterson, bass / vocals and lead guitar plus backing vocals respectively, with Mike Weaver, (vocals / rhythm guitar) and Roger Leggett (drums) completing the line-up. They have been together as
Riff Raff for nearly five years and in 1978 were finalists in a Radio One new band competition. Their history actually dates back further, so it is hardly surprising their style shows influences from early seventies bands like Wishbone Ash and Humble Pie.
But far more than mere copyists or revivalists, Riff Raff have worked hard to up-date the music in true “progressive” spirit. For example, the current set features lyrics on such contemporary issues as Northern Ireland – ‘Soldier On The Street’ – and Britain’s economic problems -‘Monetarism’. Dodgy title aside, both are ample proof that the band “are not afraid to tackle touchy subjects.”

The song that best illustrates this is the recently written ‘Goodnight Mary Jane’ about the death of a grandmother. The highlight of the show, it typifies Riff Raff’s approach with its complex chord and pace changes, and cleverly arranged harmony vocals. Heavy progressive or melodious rock, call it what you will, but the band are certainly different.

As well as re-vamping the set, Riff Raff are also in the middle of recording a session hopefully due for an airing on Radio Norfolk.

RENEGADE

Armed And Ready – Kerrang! 1982 KAREN HARVEY

IT’S SURPRISING how popular heavy rock has grown internationally, with young bands forming in the hope of following the triumphs of their British counterparts.

Renegade are a two year old Swedish band who have high intentions of changing any mythical views that Scandinavia is ABBA land! I first came across the band when they were in Britain checking out our healthy music scene, picking up a few tips and catching some of their favourite bands in action. It was at London’s Marquee that vocalist Bjorn Pehrson (20) told me about Renegade’s contribution to Swedish rock.

The band are: Bjorn; Putte Bergland, bass (17); Ulle Froberg, drums; Stefan Jonsson and Michael Sword, guitars (all at the tender age of 16). A Swedish Def Leppard perhaps? Well, they certainly have time and opportunity on their side! Musically they are full of energy and intuition and perform their traditionally heavy songs in English: ‘Beautiful People’, ‘Never Trust A Woman’ and ‘Killer In The Sky’ are three numbers in their repertoire.

Renegade admit they’ve been “influenced by the NWOBHM” but add that they try to base their songs on melodies!

Planning to tour Sweden this year, the band look forward to reaching the UK soon after. You never know, they might even be able to touch the success their Swedish compatriots, the EF band, just can’t seem to reach. Only time will tell.

RAVEN

AUGUST 1981

 

 

Armed And Ready – Kerrang! 1981

RAVEN; ‘As subtle as Nellie The Elephant in wellies’, Raven are another Neat Records band. To date their recorded output has included one single, ‘Don’t Need Your Money’, and a track called ‘Let It Rip’ on MCA’s ‘Brute Force’ compilation album.

However waiting in the wings (geddit) is a fully-fledged LP. Titled ‘Rock ‘Till You Drop’, it contains a fistful of originals as well as volcanic versions of two old Sweet songs, ‘Hellraiser’and ‘Action’.

Raven’s line-up runs as follows: Mark Gallagher (guitar), John Gallagher (bass/vocals) and Rob Hunter (drums). And although their career suffered a serious setback recently when John Gallagher broke his arm protecting his favorite axe from ‘bandits’, the group should by now be back on the road. See ’em and watch those feathers fly.


September 1981
“WE DID this gig for the Hell’s Angels once. Ended up playing ‘Born To Be Wild’ five times. Or else!”

Raven’s vocalist/bassman John Gallagher chortles to himself as he and his guitarist brother Mark recount a bit of hairy dues paying. Still only in their early twenties, Raven had been around the Newcastle heavy scene for a good five years before settling on the classic power trio format with the recruitment of Skinsman Rob Hunter and releasing ‘Don’t Want Your Money’ on the independent Neat label last year. So, they’ve seen a bit.

“We had this drummer before Rob” carries on Mark, taking up the story. “He was a right blabbermouth and he’d got talking to these Hell’s Angels. They told him he could join, which he thought was great. And then asked him if we’d do the gig. He couldn’t really refuse or they’d have filled him in. We were a bit dubious but he convinced us it’d be well organised.

“Got there and all there was was a field with a small generator and a bunch of Hell’s Angels with booze! It started to rain at the end but they still wouldn’t let us go. I had to fake an electric shock to get out of it. I was writhing around on the floor and this bunch of Angels came up, banging their fists together, saying ‘Ya gonna play?!?’ ‘But he’s had an electric shock!’ ‘What’s that got to dae with it? Play Born To Be Wild!”

As it happens. ‘Born To Be Wild’ would be an ideal theme tune for Raven. Over the top at going over the top, they throw themselves and their equipment around stages like a wrecking crew whose latest assignment is a music shop – Goes down a storm and fine when it’s the band’s own gear but a bit tacky when otherwise.

Like when the trio supported Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard of Oz and Budgie at Newcastle Mayfair and John got into the spirit of the occasion.

“I was throwing water into the audience and some went into one of the monitors and burnt it out. Then I threw my guitar at Budgie’s drum kit”

“Another monitor fell into the crowd.” takes over Mark. “Just little things like that y’kna? It was a really good gig. The road crew weren’t very happy, mind”.

“There were five monitors along the front proceeds John gleefully “Next gig there was one!”

“The PA company had learned their lesson after we destroyed their equipment,’ assesses Mark proudly – Surprisingly, da boys have never had to cough up for any of their journeys into carnage. “I’ve got this great address!” explains Mark “Sure! Just send us the bill’

THE QUESTION that’s raised out of all this mayhem making is, of course, how much is real and how much is show? As the Gallaghers hop around like nuclear kangaroos, even at sound-checks chances are that the enthusiasm is gen enough. But could they actually stop mid-smash if they wanted to? Mark and John reply in unison.

“Sometimes! Not always!”

“John’s the worst!” sneaks Mark.

“It’s frustration’, counters the bass player ‘if the crowd aren’t interested that’s when things really get broken. And when we do it we really do it. Some bands like Saxon smash guitars against dry ice and the readies sneak a carpet underneath to make sure nothing gets damaged.

Raven got the Newcastle Mayfair gig after Ozzy Osbourne had heard ‘Don’t Want Your Money’ at a radio station while waiting to be interviewed. The Oz liked it more than somewhat and eventually tracked the band down, insisting they were added to the bill. Jet. Blizzard’s label, were instructed to watch and opportunity looked all set to knock for the mop tops – Then, as John explains,

“Ozzy and Jet really liked the band at the Mayfair. The next gig was at Hammersmith and Jet were going ‘Great lads! See you later on! before it. They seemed really interested

‘Played the gig. We were told that the audience at Hammersmith might be a bit funny. A couple of kids stood up when we played the single. But otherwise, a pretty cold reception. We thought we played a blinder. But after that the record company stayed away from us, never approached us. We never saw much of anyone. They just pretended we didn’t exist.

“As far as we’re concerned” snorts Mark, “if they don’t want to know, stuff ’em”. Blizzard still liked us apparently. But then they vanished and reappeared later with a new line-up, so maybe they were having problems themselves, suggests John.

‘DON’T WANT Your Money’ was probably the best single Neat put out. Lunatic frenzy with a built-in sense of fun and a John-vocal so shrill that every bat within a quarter of a mile radius stands a good chance of being deafened every it’s played. Lots of airplay but no offers from any of the major record companies.

‘It came out just as the ‘New Wave Of British Heavy Metal’ thing was starting to fizzle out as far as record companies ware concerned.’ states Mark, matter-of-factly.

‘Also, Fist and White Spurt, the other Neat bands signed after the Tygers of Pan Tang success, hadn’t done anything. So being on Neat may have worked against us. Nothing against Fist or Spurt mind. They re good bands of you like that sort of thing.

So, an album has been recorded at Impulse Studios, Wallsend, AKA Neat HQ. This was to emerge on Neat, but at the moment this doesn’t seem too likely if the stories about Neat’s alleged problems have any foundation. Raven have been taken under the wing (cough) of a London management who are trying to arrange the release of ‘ Rock Till You Drop’ via a major label.

So what do you think about all this then Rob? That evil glint must mean something.

“If we had the finances of a record company behind us we could destroy everything at practically every gig.



Live Nottingham Boat Club HOWARD JOHNSON
TO HAVE a gig blown out due to an incompetent agency must be the pits for any band just breaking out of its native area. But when a review is in the offing from it, disastrous is an understatement. Thus when Raven’s Manchester gig was lost, it was my duty to catch them somewhere – Nottingham’s Boat Club in fact.

When the opening bars of ‘Hard Ride’ rang out, I knew that that sense of duty was to be rewarded. The hardest of the hard, Raven have more meat than Sainsbury’s, and come across infinitely more powerful in the flesh than on vinyl (hard to achieve you’ll agree!).

Which isn’t to say that the gig was perfect – of course there were the odd ‘technical problems’ such as Mark Gallagher’s lead falling out but when a band show such total commitment (you can see the strain on their faces) and couple it with the meanest set of rifts this side of Angel City, then you can’t help but be satisfied.

The 13 number sat, incorporating most of their debut album and odd tasters from the soon-come newie (watch out for the excellent ‘Crash, Bang, Wallop’ single), is all no compromise heavy metal, and though I yearn for a good commercial hook from 90 per cent of HR bands, Raven are such efficient metallurgists that I make no complaints!

Three-piece limitations are hardly in evidence thanks to John Gallagher’s nimble eight-string bass work and his use of a wide array of
pedals, while his vocals are the craziest, leaving a tingle in your ear each time he hits a peak. 95 per cent of bludgeon bands are worthless and plodding, but the remaining few who get things right are the meanest bunch of muthas around. Raven are one of the few. Catch ’em with Girlschool.


LIVE – Aardschock, August 1983

Next up were RAVEN who were, quite simply brilliant. How they could play this well to this sort of following in Holland, yet mean so little here at home is almost unbelievable. They went down the proverbial STORM depite, or probably because of, a mysterious 20-minute P.A. failure at the mid-point of their set. Most bands would have died a death, but Raven just whacked up their backline and soldered on , and 5000 pairs of arms aloft showed just how much the crowd enjoyed this Trooper Attitude.

Mark filled in with a guitar solo before John and Rob returned to belt out the the hell-raising new single ‘Break The Chain’, then ‘Faster Than The Speed Of Light’. A moving “Raven” chant broke out but, rather than bask in the glory, the band just hammered into ‘Hard Ride’ until the P.A. sureged back into action amid huge roars of approval. ‘Seek And Destroy’ from the new LP, ‘Crash Bang Wallop’, ‘Live At The Inferno’ and their first single ‘Don’t Need Your Money’. then hurled the set to a breathless climax. Throughout their encore Raven really let their delight at the response show. Guitars were bounced, bashed and stomped on and Rob Hunter all but demolished his kit. A mervellous performance that must rank among their best and one that prompted a giant block capital “follow that!” scrawl in my notepad.


RAVEN – Break The Chain – Single Review, June 1983 – Howard Johnson

Always had a soft spot for Raven’s manic dementia, but I’ve recently had the incling that they needed to take stock and rethink their approach. Maybe a touch of sofistication would be in order, a slowing down?

On ‘Break The Chain’, however, they seem to be caught between two stools, mixing screaming thrash with a more middle of the road grind. Pleasant but not inspired – maybe they should’ve gone the whole hog.


RAVEN – ‘All For One’ (Neat) 1983 HOWARD JOHNSON

IT’S A SHAME that this isn’t 1979, ‘cos the collective Raven footwear is firmly embedded in that musical time zone. Blasting forth with collectors’ fervour for stockpiling riff-upon-riff-upon-solo-upon-solo was the stuff that mayhem dreams were made of during those heady days. But as fans grew up, they thought a little more, matured somewhat and started to look for (9uIPl1 sophistication in their music. They didn’t want an overall dissipation of power and basic energy, but they were looking for muscle AND melody for class. In short kids wanted variety. You don’t believe me? Well, musical blinkers are being shed slowly but surely, and class rock ‘n’ roll is stronger than it’s ever been in the UK – the album charts prove it!

Raven now stand as a duck without water. They have their deals, but wild winds are blowing, times have changed and they sound committed but hopelessly lost. The Raven call to arms is ‘Athletic Rock’ and that’s a fair description of the band’s stance, but I was only ever good for 140 metres, long distance treks were never my scene! ‘Don’t Need Your Money’, the band’s first single remains an absolute gem of three–minute dementia, but Raven LPs have always paled immeasurably after an initial explosion. The same is true of ‘All For One’ despite its more mid-paced (only in Raven’s book) approach and superior production.

A week-end’s constant crushing has resulted in a discerning blur of screaming vocals, smashing axes, and wild, wild drums, but very little at all which will last. Only ‘Take Control’ and ‘Run Silent, Run Deep’ grip on to your mind as anything remotely approaching ‘enthralling’. There’s very little more that is worth mentioning specifically and all that remains with me is a huge admiration for its passion but also a distinct emptiness which the best music always fills.

Raven have a number called ‘Mind Over Metal’ which sums what I’d like to hear-above all, songs with thought behind them, but songs played powerfully because that’s the only way to do it. One without the other simply can’t cut it.

QUARTZ

‘Against All Odds’ (Heavy Metal HMR LP9) Review by NEIL JEFFRIES July 1983

I SAW Quartz support Black Sabbath seven years ago and although they were called Bandylegs then they weren’t as bad as the moniker suggested. A change of name to Quartz seemed to bring about regression in musical ability and I thought I’d seen the worst HM band ever when they toured with Gillan. Now, against all odds (pun intended) they’re back. Unbelievable.
In truth they have improved on my previous memories thanks to the arrival of a new singer named Geoff Bate. Also the production, (handled by the band themselves and Robin George) sounds very slick. Despite these two plus points though it’s still pretty much “in–one-ear-out-the-other” stuff.

As ever Black Sabbath remain their idols and their sole influence. (It certainly sounds that way at least.) Tony Iommi gets another sleeve credit although I can’t for the life of me understand why he involves himself in such a pale imitation of his own excellent works. Quartz guitarist Mike Hopkins sets his instrument up in virtually the exact tone as Tony’s and although some of his work is pretty good, it lacks the fire of the original. Most of the songs are built on his rehashed Sabs riffs and these don’t sound good beneath the glossy American-ised production. One saving grace is Geoff Nicholl’s keyboards (see the Sabs connection again?) but some very pedestrian drumming all but cancels out his contributions.

Side Two’s ‘Silver Wheels’ is good but too much of the rest sounds all too familiar and you’ll come to it in the knowledge that it’s all been done before and so much better? Some Black Sabbath fans might like it but I expect I’m in a majority who will find this record very dispensable.

PRESENCE

AS FAR as I can see, in the case of most UK hard rock outfits practice makes perfect. The majority of new acts which emerged during the halcyon days of 79 were desperately over-rated and under-experienced. Yet the likes of Samson, the Tygers and to a lesser extent Maiden and Saxon have all come up with excellent material of late. New acts which offer something immediatley, however, are as scarce as pennies in a poor journalist’s pocket, which is why Presence are the subject of this piece.

To support a bunch of ageing cronies such as The Glitter Band without any form of sound-check is hardly the most pleasant way to debut on the London circuit, and while that lack of preparation certainly showed in an abysmal sound which drowned guitarist Gavin Lewis right out of affairs, Presence’s material is tremendously strong and versatile. It leans towards Journey-esque pop/rock though remains heavily pure rock based thanks to the tight rhythm of bassist Mark Parkin and outstanding drummer Ian Robert Stacey. Star of the show, though, is without doubt young Gavin, who has plenty of tricks up his guittaring sleeve, making use of a sensitive, tasteful style akin to Neal Schon’s cultured play.

‘Listen To My Heart and ‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy’ are two excellent examples of Presence’s sound and direction and given the correct studio treatment could be big airplay hits. My one reservation is that vocalist Jon Dunmore could’ve done more! While he’s excellently enthusiastic, he really doesn’t cut it vocally or visually, his movements being forced and rather shambolic. Problems can probably be ironed out with more experience, however, so keep an eye out for ’em.
HOWARD JOHNSON