HEAVY PETTIN – Armed And Ready, November 1981 – Geoff Barton
Live The Roxy, Los Angeles HOWARD JOHNSON
IT’S BEEN a long time since I last set pen to paper in favour of the highly purchasable HP’s, but, now that I’m back in the proverbial saddle, let me gloat upon this band’s undoubted talent and their undisputed, unchallenged rise to the top of the rock ‘n’ roll tree. Heavy Pettin’s album knocked spots off all the other hard rockin’ competitors last year and with plenty of live experience behind them, you are witnessing the birth of hard rock’s next big thing! When the lights go down on the Roxy and Pettin’ burst on stage, the main thing that strikes the spectator is simply how bloody good this band looks! Everything from the clothing to the hairstyles through to the axes is ideal – and from the uncomfortable feeling certain girls in the hall were experiencing. Pettin are touching exactly the right nerve button to ensure Stateside conquest as a matter of course!
Ah, but we know that Pettin have more to offer than a few pretty faces and the odd pair of tight stripey pants! Musical credibility seeps forth like cold sweat emerging from Suterian pores at the sight of Lee Aaron, Anne Boleyn, etc. Music biz critique has been strong for the likes of the current US single, ‘In And Out Of Love’. ‘Rock Me’, complete with anthemic vocal hollering, and the distinctly Aerosmithy frenzy of ‘Victims Of The Night’,
What they probably don’t know about as yet is that HP have plenty more numbers up their chic torn shirt sleeves that are just itching (those girls again!) to go down on vinyl. We at the Roxy were treated to certain potential classics in the shapes ‘n’ forms of ‘Crazy’, ‘Ain’t Got No Money’ (both demoed over a year ago, as it happens) and ‘Dead Of Night’, another golden gonzo stomp, all of which show the Pettin musical pens to be well ‘n’ truly oiled. My only disappointment lay in the omission of ‘Rock Ain’t Dead’, another newie that apparently chews ’em up end spits ’em out like a real mean mutha. Something to look forward to, Innit?!
Yet Pettin’s live style has improved a thousand fold already, what with Punky Mendoza donning a ridiculous Batman mask for his solo, little Brian Waugh favouring white sorta ballet affairs to cover those tiny legs of his, and Hamie’s vocal presence now reaching gargantuan proportions. Not only has heart-throb Hayman’s singing reached exciting new peaks, but his stage-craft is fast becoming second-to-none. Spunky’n’ spirited, highlight for my money was a well-directed digit aimed at a certain unresponsive section of the audience in a none-too-cordial fashion.
There is no doubt in my mind that Pettin are on course for that four year goal I set them a year ago for reaching the top. They might even cruise home with time to spare!
HEAVY PETTIN’: ‘Lettin’ Loose’ (Polydor) NEIL JEFFRIES 1983
NO EXCUSES for failing to notice that there’s a very big buzz about this band at the moment. Polydor UK are convinced that these young Glaswegians are going to be HUGE, so they’ve pulled out all the stops, put their money where their mouth is and now presumably sit back with £ and $ signs in their eyes.
It’s a big responsibility for a group as green and inexperienced as Heavy Pettin’, but listening to this has convinced me that these five guys have got what it takes.
‘Lettin’ Loose’ isn’t perfect, it isn’t a classic debut, but they’ve hit upon a formula that sounds really good. Armed & Ready might have been full of curly-haired, tight-trousered, two-guitar five-pieces but these were – and are – blessed with something a little extra, something special.
Yup, as Howard ‘Liberated Lady’ Johnson has already wet himself expounding, HP can write songs! Electrifying riffs, super-crisp harmonies, lively solos and dynamic arrangements. . . a change of pace here, and acoustic guitar there. Nothing startlingly original but it works, Goddammit!
Main criticism would have to be that producers Brian May (from Queen) and Mack (who’s worked with the latter and turned Billy Squier into a star) have given them a sound a little too close to Def Leppard. I doubt if this is a case of “we know best sons”, though, because HP today still don’t sound that far removed from the then unknown combo who had a session broadcast on ‘The Friday Rock Show’ in May ’82. And they’ve re-recorded three of those songs -‘Shout It Out’, ‘Hell Is Beautiful and ‘Love Times Love’ – for this album. Now, they’re a little tidier and a bit tighter, but they haven’t sacrificed their abrasive edge.
‘Love Times Love’ in particular, is a brilliant, shining piece of commercial Metal, just made for the stage. Yet singling out any one track seems unfair because it’s my guess that everyone will have different faves. We’re talking Strength In Depth here, Jimmae!!
‘Lettin’ Lose’ is a marvellous mixture of power and melody, riot and restraint. Wall-to-wall chunky power-chords placed with infectious chorus lines. If they’ve more where this came from then Polydor are probably right. Heavy Pettin’ could well become the new stars of the Eighties.
November 1983 – Review by Geoff Banks
HEAVY PETTIN Marquee, London
THERE HAS been quite a lot of talk lately about Heavy Pettin, which normally means one of two things; either hype or undeniable talent. Having just released an album that points most definitely to the latter category, the question is ‘can the band cut it live?’
On this showing the question was answered in the affirmative, the only drawback being the sound quality- the twin guitars of Gordon Bonnar and Punky Mendoza often got lost in the suspect mix. Yet it would have taken more than that to destroy the overall power and dynamics of what was an impressive set of high energy 80s rock combined with the structures of early 70s bands like Deep Purple, a style currently being harnessed to great ends by Def Leppard.
Taking the stage to the strains of the ‘Star Wars’ theme music, they set about making their mark on a semi-blasé audience with the frantically paced ‘Love Times Love’ and the blistering ‘Devil In Her Eyes’, both songs from the new album which took on a whole new lease of life in the live setting. Even on the single, ‘In And Out Of Love’, the vocal harmonies managed to come across with force, highlighting the range and power of Hamie’s voice.
Yet, it’s not all super-slick FM rock, Gary Moat’s maniac drum intro to ‘Hell is Beautiful’ For example, inspires Motorhead flashbacks, though thankfully they don’t last too long as the rest of the band soon lift the song to a higher plane.
When Heavin Pettin finally hit the bigger stages later this year and get a sound that truly does them justice I, for one, don’t see how their songs, playing ability and live presentation can fail to lead them in Leppard’s footsteps.
The Astoria, London 1985 HOWARD JOHNSON
WHEN IS a gig not a gig? (When it’s a lig! -Xavier Russell). Actually, when the purpose of the show is to record events for posterity through the medium of a live video. Free tickets were doled out willy nilly for this here bash, so I guess that no judgement of present UK Pettin popularity can be made, but those who bothered to turn up at the Astoria were once again treated to a thoroughly convincing performance from the cheeky Glaswegian fivesome.
Manager Ronnie Fowler watched over proceedings with the obvious glee of a father who realises that his wee bairns are turning into real men, for Heavy Pettin today are cocky rock boys with the stage savvy and excess adrenaline needed to put a top notch band into the big time.
Admittedly, the Astoria air could do little but stink of artificiality, but Pettin pulled out all the stops to show that this was their show, their own show . . . and their own shows are nothing short of spectacular. Of course, with that ubiquitous rock ‘n’ roller Hamie out front, it’s never easy to take your eyes from the stage. The man has boundless potential with his cocksure control of an audience, and his voice is immeasurably improved these days. Check out raucous new tunes such as the gonzoid ‘Rock Ain’t Dead’ (second cousin to ‘Rock Me’), ‘Dead Of Night’ and ‘Heart Attack’ to witness the calibre. Pettin have always minded the quality, never mind the host of gals waiting after the show to feel their width!
Punky Mendoza and Gordon Bonnar still have enough licks to blow lesser competition into the tumbleweeds, while Brian Waugh’s bass links with positively thunderous Gary Moat backbone to sparkling effect.
What the band do with the raw material of this live show for video remains to be seen, but those thoughts aside, Pettin once again delivered the goods hot, sweet ‘n’ sticky. Oldies, newies, a cover of AC/DC’s ‘There’s Gonna Be Some Rockin” – you’re just a greedy bastard if you ask for more!
Heavy Pettin, Glasgow, Drunken State – Rumours, East Kilbride
GOODBYE, HEAVY Pettin. Yes, tonight the local faithful bade a final farewell to a band which prom ised so much but never quite delivered. A sad demise really, brought on by an unworkable relationship between band and label. But first.
Local Thrashers Drunken State opened tonight’s musical menu. Lacking killer instinct and raw power, maybe as a result of a clean and quiet mix,
Drunken State are nonetheless a talented and disciplined band showing signs of potential. Despite their youth, they are quickly gaining experience having supported Wolfsbane, DRN and soon Chariot. A good prospect, given time to develop songs and image.
Glasgow certainly aren’t short of experience, having been around for some time before releasing a promising debut album, ‘Zero, Four. One’, late last year. Consequently, they are no fools when It comes to working a crowd, structuring a set and delivering what people want to hear.
Most of the tracks from the new album, especially the opener ‘Meet Me Halfway’. ‘Under The Lights’ and the current single ‘Secrets In The Dark’ seem made for live performance, which is, after all, what most of them were intended for.
A double encore for Glasgow was not a surprise, given the proximity of East Kilbride to Glasgow’s hometown, but they fully deserved the acclaim.
Check out the album and look out for them on tour.
And so to Heavy Pettin. Determined to enjoy his farewell, frontman Hamie gave everything ably assisted by band members old and new; Gordon Bonnar (guitar), Gary Moat (drums), David Leslie (bass) and the quite brilliant Alec Dickson (guitar).
In a set also full of old and new. high spots were provided by ‘Rock Me’, ‘Sole Survivor’, ‘Hell is Beautiful’ and of course ‘Rock Ain’t Dead’. Oh, and a nifty solo spot from the youthful Alec Dickson, including two-handed tapping.
On one or two occasions, the old fire was rekindled, with Hamie astride the monitors, proud and loud, but this really wasn’t a vintage performance.
How could it be under the circumstances?
Somehow an air of gloom seemed to creep in as the Pettiri set progressed with the growing realisation that this event was equivalent of a rock ‘n’ roll funeral. Who put the nails in the coffin?
A suitable epitaph was provided by AC/DC’s ‘Gonna Be Some Rockin’ closing the story on a high note with Pettin joined by most of Glasgow (the band), Dougie White (La Paz), Ian Donaldson (ex-H2O) and various others for a final singalong. An appropriate finale tinged with a touch of sadness and maybe even bitterness.
As the band left the stage, an eerie silence fell. The dream is shattered. Heavy Pettin are nothing more than a memory.