MAMAS BOYS

Marquee, London, December 1982 – Nick Kemp

IRISH rockers Mama’s Boys stunned a capacity crowd at London’s Marquee club as they stormed througha fifty minute set that left the majority open mouthed in admiration. Even my usually frequent sojourns to the bar were rendered impossible as my legs turned to jelly at the sheer excellence of this latest combo to hit these shores from the Emerald isle.

Like their predecessors – Thin Lizzy, Stiff Little Fingers and influences The Horslips – Mamas Boys possess that almost exclusively Irish Phenomenon, namely melody, sheer power, balls and instrumental finesse, but still maintaining downright commercialism. take ‘Belfast City Blues’, a touchy subject at the best of times, especially for those who really know the situation (I don’t pretend to). The song is commercial enough to storm the charts, but you can still feel the pain that comes from singing about the situation.

Mamas Boys are a hard rock band but their roots lie in Irish folk music and touch on the blues (the purest form of rock’n’roll) and it’s deep rooted affiliation with melody coupled with absolute power, which doesn’t, in this case, corrupt absolutely, that won over the Marquee audience. Guitar supremo set the brain reeling and the body unwittingly moving as he let rip with a number of hooks that are destined to be added to the guitar hero handbook.

‘Runaway Dreams’, ‘Straight Forward’, ‘In The Heat Of The Night’, you point to any number in the band’s setlist and you’ve pointed to a rock classic. The singforthcoming single ‘Needle In The Groove’, the wickedly brillian encore ‘Demon’ etc etc. I could go on and on but space as usual wont permit. just let it suffice to say that Mamas Boys will be one of the biggest things to hit the music business since the Stones and you can quote me on that.



Mamas Boys: ‘Too Little Of You For Me To Love’ (Spartan) Steve Joule 1983

Now these boys certainly brought a smile of enjoyment to my face at Reading this year, but I’m afraid this record has wiped it clean off my face. I’m not quite sure what I don’t like about it because, all in all, there are some really nice things going on, not least of all the guitar sound which is quite excellent and after a few listens the vocals aren’t that bad either, but, no, I just don’t really enjoy it. Sorry lads but keep trying.

Live Sherwood Rooms, Nottingham DAVE DICKSON 1983
MAMA’S BOYS are currently trekking around the country promoting their latest work, ‘Turn It Up’, in the time-honoured tradition. And, tonight, they gave floor-space and concert-time to another well -heeled – if somewhat decrepit these days – institution of the British Rock Scene… ‘The Jam’. At one time a ‘jam’ meant an onstage get -together by a number of rock’n’roll luminaries who would run through a couple of old standards (‘Johnny B. Goode’, ‘Blueberry Hill’, that sort of thing) for the mutual enjoyment of themselves and the audience. But things have changed a little since the ‘good-old-days’, becoming what we’ll arrive at in a moment…

Meanwhile, let’s get back to the McManus brothers. At present they are in the process of moulding themselves into an extremely tight unit that will, given time, mature into an excellent performing hand. They offer good time rock’n’roll, a ‘party down’ spirit that is infectiously appealing, though they’ve yet to pen any truly memorable material. The spirit is certainly there aplenty, even if it lacks a suitable ‘monster hit’ vehicle to unleash it.

But one of the factors in Mama’s Boys’ favour is that they have the time to develop their skills. And, judging by this performance, they already have adequate support in the clubs to bolster them on their path to stardom. It’s also worth bearing in mind that America now seems to be opening its arms to yet another ‘British Invasion’ – witness the mind-boggling US success of U2, with Big Country coming hot on their heels. British and ‘ethnic’ is definitely the thing to be at present, something that makes Pat McManus fiddle playing (on ‘Demon’) a sizeable ace in their pack! Diverting and a little off-the–wall, the fiddle adds another dimension to what might otherwise be just another rock’n’roll band. The Yanks’ll love it – Just wish he’d can the Jimmy Page bit!

And so, at last, to the ‘jam’ in which Phil Lynott and John Sykes, together with the inaudible Mark Stanway, usurped the Mama’s Boys’ platform and dragged the event down to a Lizzy-revisited session. John McManus lost the use of the microphone and Pat was ousted from the spotlight by the demonstrative Sykes. A ‘get- together’ it was not, a ‘coup’ it most certainly was.

Coming on during the main part of the set, Lynott and co. took control immediately and converted the performance into a Lizzy showcase with ‘Day In The Life Of A Blues Singer’, a title I didn’t recognise, ‘Cold Sweat’ and ‘Baby Drives Me Crazy’, as an encore, on display. And the unfortunate thing as far as the McManus boys were concerned was that these guys were all pros at the top end of the success ladder – and it showed! A quantum leap in style was taken, with Lynott oozing charisma in abundance.

Ultimately, this did the Boys no favours at all. They are not yet in a position to be able to cope with this kind of competition … basically they allowed themselves to be walked over!

Turn It Up: Spartan Records 1983 NEIL JEFFRIES
WHAT BETTER way to follow up their triumphant Reading appearance than with this their second album? Last year’s debut, (‘Plug It In’) was a credible effort by any standards but a still more remarkable achievement coming as it did from three brothers only recently converted to rock from traditional Irish folk music. This album represents yet another quantum leap.

On that first album, they were an entertaining (if slightly derivative) sounding act that looked to ooze potential. ‘Turn It Up’ realises that potential with astonishing maturity.

Pat The Professor McManus (as well as writing all the songs) has developed into a first rate guitarist and definitely a man to watch. Check out his lead breaks in ‘Loose Living’, ‘Face To Face’ or the already stage-proven ‘Shake My Bones’ for the proof. His riffs too, sound fresher this time around. Even on the one possible ‘steal’, (listen carefully to ‘Gentleman Rogues’) Mama’s Boys wrap their own identity around it so tightly as to all but suffocate any ‘sounds familiar’ thoughts.

The other slightly weak link – brother John’s thinnish voice – is suitably strengthened by Barry Devlin’s strong, clear production so that it rings clear above Pat’s superbly full, fuzzed rhythm tones.

There’s plenty of punch from the rest of the engine room too courtesy of John’s bass (no complaints there!) and his partnership with youngest brother Tommy on drums. They excel themselves on each of the seven rockers … then just to underline the variety of talent they possess, perform equally well on the sentimental slowie ‘Too Little Of You To Love’, the ZZ Top-ish blues of ‘Lonely Soul’ (featuring a great harmonica over-lay) and final cut ‘Freedom Fighters’ where Pat rounds it all off with a beautiful fiddle solo.
All mightily impressive stuff. Mama’s Boys have really found their feet in the rock world now and I have no hesitation adding my name to the growing list of people tipping them for a VERY big future. Buy this album!



KERRANG! ISSUE No.36 Feb 24-Mar. 1983 Singles reviewed by Neil Jeffries
Mamas Boys: “Needle In The Groove” (Ultranoise)

Head and shoulders above the rest and one of the best records its been my pleasure to hear in a long while. A lazy sort of rhythm, (make that swagger) and a terrific, laid-back guitar solo. It’s a deadringer for something by ZZ Top right down to the treated vocal. The if-this-band-don’t-make-it-I’ll-eat-my-hat cliché is completely justified; stuff like this ought to be available on the National Health. Superb.


1988

MAMAS BOYS/TIGERTAILZ – THE VENUE, EDINBURGH

A NIGHT of contrast, you may say, but aside from the obvious musical and visual differences. Mama’s Boys and Tigertailz have a fair bit in common.

Both are hardworking, they’re exciting live, they are hungry and they enjoy themselves. In short, neither is content to rest on their considerable laurels, and that makes for interesting viewing.

Faced with a predictably packed venue, Tigertailz set out to please with ‘Shoot To Kill’ and ‘Star Attraction’. The title track of the album ‘Young And Crazy’ followed, by which time the TT’s had discovered the minute stage space was inadequate for their usual antics. Somehow they found room to spin, gyrate. bump’n’grind their way through ‘Livin’ Without You’. ‘Turn Me On’ and a roasting rendition of ‘She’s Too Hot’; the highlight of the set.

Bidding a first fond farewell with ‘Shameless’ and ‘City Kidz’, the largest shareholders in the British hairspray and make’ are persuaded to return for Motley Crue’s ‘Livewire’, leaving the audience mostly impressed.

There’s no denying that Tigertailz are an exciting bend to watch but I have a nagging suspicion that their longer term prospects will depend more on the quality of their songs than their hectic good-time stage show.

Now Mama’s Boys could teach them a trick or two here. With no pretentions to be anything but themselves, Mama’s Boys also deal out a good time but proved conclusively tonight that you don’t need an OTT image and a frantic stage show to do it. They understand the basics and deal with the frills later. While Mama’s Boys have feel, Tigertailz grope. It’s all down to groove and rhythm really. Oh, and songs.

All the family favourites were there tonight, from classics like ‘Needle In The Groove’, ‘Lettin’ Go’ and ‘Straight Forward’, through to the pick of the latest album ‘Growing Up The Hard Way’. Of the new songs, ‘Bedroom Eyes’ had a groove deeper than a bottomless pit, ‘Last Thing At Night’ dripped with emotion squeezed from a Thin Lizzy/Gary Moore vibe and the failed single ‘Waiting For A Miracle’ again exposed the injustices of Radio One’s
airplay decisions. Needless to say, the bulbous audience loved it and responded accordingly.

A couple of months ago, when Mama’s Boys played Edinburgh Venue on their comeback tour, new vocalist Keith Murrell looked just a touch out of place. Since then it’s been up to him to develop his position amongst the McManus trio to become a focus for their individual talents. He certainly showed tonight that he knows when to lead and when to sit back, and is obviously playing a key role in elevating the band to a new peak of greatness.

He’s also got a bloody good voice, which always helps.

Young bands like Tigertailz can’t be expected to become supergroups immediately, they need time to mature. In the meantime, why not look for experience, quality and attitude in bands who’ve been around? After all this time, Mama’s Boys still have everything it takes to be huge. How about it?

RICHARD HEGGIE


A superb show that night. Both bands on fire – TT’z with Steevi Jaimz, great stuff.

Dunsy

MOTLEY CRUE

KERRANG! issue 10 MARCH 1982

ALBUM REVIEW


Motley Crue – Too Fast For Love – Leather Records LR123

SELF-PROCLAIMED Mr Wonderful David Lee Roth thinks this lot are good and, at the risk of enlarging an already swollen ego, you have to admit he’s right. Roth, complete with semi-clad female at a recent West Coast gig and, by all accounts, the LA-based Glam-Rockers are wowing receptive crowds at a number of local niteries, the Whisky A-Go-Go included.

It’s not hard to see why. ‘Too Fast For Love’, their debut LP, is chock full of hedonistic charm and contemporary commercial appeal.

‘Starry Eyes’, sweet and innocent and the melodic ‘Public Enemy No. 1’ are both prime single choices, while ‘Live Wire’ and ‘Piece of Your Action’ the Crue, and guitarist Mick Mars in particular, show the rougher, raunchier side of their nature.

At times, Vince Neil’s vocals sound a little strained but, overall their roustabout, Roth-approved allure wins through.

Irresponsible posers, Motley Crue are barrel-load of fun and ‘Too Fast For Love’ is a back-combed delight.

Sammy Gee


KERRANG! ISSUE 29 – DEC 1982

MOTLEY CRUE ‘Too Fast For Love’ (Elektra ELK K 52425)

SOME BRIGHT spark over at Elektra Records obviously decided that, given the extraordinary amount of publicity this band has generated simply by existing, it was about time they dumped some vinyl on an ever-eager thrill seeking public. The original tapes of this debut planer were apparently re-mixed (or re-something) by Roy Thomas Baker who has succeeded in doing justice to the image.

Sex would appear to be Motley Crue’s raison d’ettre and the subject crops up continually throughout the tracks. Only the last number, ‘On With The Show’, veers from the norm and, lyrically, is by far the most interesting; a morbid tale of death and overdose.
The songs are simple in structure, bassist Nikki Sixx, who nebs most of the credits, proving himself an able pop composer. They are fast, catchy numbers that, were Paul McCartney writing HM, he might easily come up within his sleep. Best of the bunch is ‘Merry-Go-Round’ on side one, an Infectious, bouncy track as forgettable as it is engaging. Vince Neil’s voice tugs with a casual suggestiveness reminiscent of early David Sylvain, making this an excellent choice for a single. The musicianship too, is flashy and instantly dismissible,

In fact, what you’re likely remember most about this album is the cover; Vince Neil In ‘cock-rock’ pose. Good, eh?

Motley Crue are not to be taken seriously but what they offer here is tacky and decidedly pleasing to the ear, Interesting without being, fascinating.
DAVE DICKSON


KERRANG! ISSUE 30 – DECEMBER 1982

DECEMBER 1982 – INTERVIEW WITH XAVIER RUSSELL

‘I wanna rock’n’roll all night and party every day.

THE REASON your humble scribe has launched this here piece with these famous lines from the once mighty Kiss, is simply because it perfectly describes, LA Glamhem merchants, Motley Crüe’s daily routine.

Walking around the backstage area of the Concord Pavilion, California, half an hour before the baaad (which in yank tongue means good) Crue were due to go on stage for their ‘Halloween Special’ gig, was like being in the middle of Soho in the rush hour. Simply, I’ve never seen so many foxy-looking dolly birds, everyone of ‘em dressed to the nines in spandex, and all obviously to grab ‘a piece of the action’; no wonder the Motley’s are featured in this month’s edition of the girlie mag, ‘Oui’.

Micky Mars was the first band member I met, as he staggered out of the dressing room clutching an empty bottle of tequila, which he informed me had been mixed with brandy or something equally as potent. How the Crue ever make it onto the stage amazes even me!

Luckily Nikki Sixx (great name), was still fairly sober, and was the obvious man to interview. He’s definitely a weirdo, but seems to be very aware of what’s going on around him – he even slammed the door in Tommy the drummer’s face, so we could be left in peace.

Being a gentleman Nikki automatically offered me a selection from the ice-bucket but I wasn’t going to risk any of these dodgy cocktails the band kept passing round, and settled instead on three bottles of Michelob. Pints at the ready, we began…

How did Motley Crüe come together?

“I was in a group called London before this one.”

You gotta be kidding?

“Nope, and we were really getting popular in Los Angeles, but I was feeling rather stifled because I wanted to write more heavy, hard rock music”.

Was London a Top 40 copy band – they normally are in LA?

“No, it was an original band more along the lines of Mott The Hoople, early David Bowie and stuff. Our old singer was Nigel Benjamin, who was in Mott, which was really Mott The Hoople’s after-thoughts. Anyway, I left the band and had about half this album written (the Motley Crue LP). I then gotta hold of Tommy (skinsman) thru a mutual friend, and I showed him all my material and he really liked it. We then picked up a local paper called The Recycler, and there was an ad in it that just said ‘loud, rude, aggressive guitarist-Mick Mars’. So I called, he came over and we hit it off instantly.

“The next night we went to a club called The Starwood (which sadly no longer exists, and what with The Whiskey recently closing down as well, only leaves The Roxy on Sunset Strip) and saw Vince Neal (vocalist) in a band called Rock Candy. So within a week and a half Motley Crue was put together.”

How did you come up with the name? Was it through the Mott connection? And why the umIauts above the name, surely that’s a bit old hat these days, with both Blue Oyster Cult and Motorhead having used them?

“Motley Crue was Mick’s idea actually. I’ve always wanted a name along the lines of AC/DC or Cheap Trick, and he said well what about Motley Crue, and I said that’s it, perfect. We misspell the name the way Slade used to mis-spell everything so it’s kinda tongue in cheek. As for the umlauts well we’re into like, militant type stuff, everything very organized. The Germans in the early days of the war were very militant and that’s where I came up with the idea, because we were going for a heavy, aggressive, German Heavy Metal sound.” (you coulda fooled me!)

Have you heard about your east coast rivals Twisted Sister?

“Yeaah, I’ve heard of ‘em, but I never heard we were rivals. I recently heard a cut of theirs, it kinda sounded punk to us.”

Are you pleased with the re-mix on the Elektra version of the album, and why was ‘Stick To Your Guns’ omitted?

We had to remove a song from the album to give it more clarity as the less grooves you have on the vinyl, the louder and clearer it becomes. So it was either ‘Stick To Your Guns’ or ‘On With The Show’, one of them had to go, and we chose the former. As for the re-mix, I don’t think it has enough nuts, but we recorded it, we produced it, we mixed it, we did everything. That album is basically a demo tape on vinyl.

“The new album will be much more aggressive (that word again), with a lot of political statements, sexual statements and street statements, and the lyrics will be more intellectual but still on a crotch level. We’re not planning on growing up.

“I’d like either Eddie Kramer or Roy Thomas Baker to produce our next LP. I wanna heavy, powerful sound, but we’re not just a headbanger HM band, we’ve got a little more to offer than that, so I think we’re gonna last a long time. We have about five new songs written already; ‘Knock ‘em Dead Kid’, ‘Looks That Kill’, ‘Red Hot’, ‘Shout At The Devil’, and ‘God Bless The Children And the Beast’.”

It all sounds quite evil to me, are you into the Satan trip, like Maiden and co?

I’ve always flirted with the devil, and so has everybody else. If you look at the front of the album cover, you’ll see that Vince is making a Satanic symbol with his fingers, and nobody ever picked that up. The whole thing of ‘Too Fast For Love’, is that none of us plan to live past 40; (that doesn’t give Micky Mars much time-Ed) it’s just fast lane rock ‘n’ roll.”

How do you feet about Kiss these days?

“I think Kiss have wimped out but they were great in their early days. A friend of mine Eddie Kramer, who produced them, told me their new album’s really heavy, but I don’t like bands who can’t make up their minds what they wanna do. If you wanna be a punk and it’s 1994 and punk is outdated, I think you should still be a punk. I’m always gonna be me, and l.don’t care if everybody hates Motley CrUe, I’m still gonna be in the band, I’ll never jump on any bandwagon. Everybody’s jumping on the Motley Crue bandwagon, and becoming glitter and glam and attacking us. We’re just us, we’ll always be us.”

I understand your Canadian tour was a bit of a shambles,

“What happened in Canada was that we were booked with a promotion company before we signed to Elektra, and they had no idea what we were about. We were booked into discos and gay bars, and all other kind of ridiculous things. We’d come on stage with all this fire and bombs, Heavy Metal and crashing steel, and it just looked silly. And these cowboys with tattoos of anchors on their arms that said ‘mom’, just didn’t know how to relate to it.”

Tell the folks over in Britain more about your stage show.

“Our stage show, eh, well anything goes with Motley CrUe, we play blood ‘n’ guts rock ‘n’ roll. We bleed for the audience, and I think we’ve put on the best theatrical show of 1982. (I’ll second that). We’re always trying to upgrade our show, we have skulls, pentagrams and all kinds of Satanic symbolism onstage, but that’s basically just to make a stand, to show that we’re bad boys.

“I mean we’re all from the street, and every member of this band has been in and out of jail many times, yet everybody thinks we’re a bunch of pussies. But back to our show for a moment, we do have this one thing at the end, which is really great.

“Vince comes out with a flaming sword, Tommy lights his drum sticks on fire, and I have these boots that come way up to my thighs, and Vince just sets them on fire, it’s like the grand finale.

“We also have 32 red smoke bombs, but because of our outrageous stage show, we get into all kinds of trouble. Every city we go to, they say, we can’t do it, we can’t do it. Tonight they (they being Y&T) say we can’t do it, but we’re gonna do it anyway, (and they did God bless ‘em). We’re always getting fined, but we don’t care because we’re out there for the kids.”

Which raises the question, when are you coming to good old England?

“We wanna go there so bad, but we really can afford it. We were offered the Saxon tour, and shoulda taken it, but we were just new with Elektra at the time, and financially it just wasn’t on. But we’ll be there!”

XAVIER RUSSELL


HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: Y&T, MOTLEY CRUE, RANDY HANSEN.
Concord Pavillion, California

Being an avid fan of Motley Crue and glam rock in general, I was naturally looking forward to the MC’s set, and you guessed it they were totally OTT, and delivered perhaps the greatest glam rock show of all time, and that includes KISS. As far as I was concerned Motley Crue completely blew Y&T off stage, no wonder they wanted to ban the Crue’s special effects (they failed).

The Motleys opened up with the very catchy ‘Take Me To The Top’, and straight away I could see class. Tommy Lee has got to be one of the flashest drummers around, spinning the sticks continuously in his hand, never dropping them, and during ‘Looks That Kill’, one of the many new numbers they played, Lee hit the snare drum so hard the stick went thirty feet up, and he dumb-founded everyone by catching it in the middle of a drum roll.

As for the rest of the band, well Nikki Sixx stalks around the stage just like Gene Simmons, Mick Mars meanwhile is the quiet one of the band and simply relies on just playing killer lead guitar. Vince Neil takes over where Dave Lee Roth left off, and had little trouble in getting the 9000 present to chant, “LIVE WIRE”. The Crue’s new material is a lot stronger than anything on their debut LP, ‘Shout At The Devil’, ‘Red Hot’ and ‘Running Wild’ and ‘Hotter Than Hell’ (not to be confused with the Kiss toon of the same name) were all out’n’out headbangers. Can’t wait for the new album.

But the highlight of the show came during the encore, half way thru ‘Knock ‘em Dead Kid’, which was dedicated to the old bill. Vince Neal lighted a torched from one of the candelabras on stage and set Nikki Sixx on fire, a great stunt. I’m still trying to work out how it was done. A great way to end their set.

XAVIER RUSSELL


Feature from Blast! Magazine May 1987

When you hear Vince Neil sing “Home Sweet Home,” don’t take the title too seriously, The place he prefers to call “home” is the road, and that’s what the song is really all about. In June, his home base will take Motley on another mammoth world tour, something Vince and his vast following of fans are desperately waiting for.

I never officially met Vince Neil before. Although our paths crossed one another’s on many occasions, circumstances didn’t allow a proper introduction. A request to meet the blond bombshell in person was thus well in order and granted.

Our rendezvous was scheduled at his manager’s office in Hollywood, where Vince was already waiting for me… unfashionably early in this town While he finished up a phone conversation, I took advantage of the situation and quietly checked him out. He looks good, wearing jeans, a T-shirt and sunglasses… the all Californian look!

‘I’m all yours,” he offers, while shaking my hand… wow! “Look what was delivered for me today,” he says with a big grin on his face, pointing at a life-size female doll on the couch, sent to him by an unnamed fan, whose note read, ccShe never complains. Love.” My guess is, the doll doesn’t turn him on, despite the skimpy lingerie she’s dressed up in. But the idea behind it appeals to him…

Vince is all game when it comes down to having a good time, and I mean that in a very positive way–no need to get too serious. After all, isn’t that way all healthy teenagers want to be rock stars?

Front Ratt Stephen Pearcy, who, like Vince, enjoys having a good time, became his “partner” when in town during Motley’s one-year hiatus, and the now-legendary duo–known as tcThe Bordello Brothers”– fulfilled their mission: to conquer as many female hearts and bodies as possible on their prowls!

Vince’s run-in with the law gave anti-rock critics a field day, but he survived the ordeal with flying flying colors – his joie de vivre intact! Give credit where credit is due–he paid his dues in full, and now it’s time to turn the page…

At presstime, Motley’s album is about to hit the stands, and although Vince obviously has had his input on the album, he says he’s not at all a studio buff. He trusts the other Crues in the band enough to know they’ll call him in when his opinion and presence are needed.

His main contribution is coming up with the melody lines. As he explains, “Nikki will come up with some riffs, and I will just sing to it like na na na… ‘ and figure out what way the vocal line is gonna go. I’ll tell Nikki how many

syllables are gonna be in each line of the verse and how many in each line of the chorus, and he takes it home and writes the lyrics to it.”

Sounds simple enough, if you can do it…

As far as story ideas, for the songs go, again he credits Nikki.

“It happens sometimes that Nikki writes too much for one song, and then I can change things. But usually when Nikki delivers the lyrics, the changes are very, very minimal.” The end result is what counts, and this album, Girls, Girls, Girls, is it! “It’s my favorite album,” Vince says, “It reminds me of our first album, but with big melodies and chunkier. It’s really cool. We didn’t have that on the last album.”

Since recording sessions are not Vince’s forte, I decided to find out more about what Vince Neil likes and dislikes, just to get to know him a bit better. A man with a permanent smile on his face like he has must have something up his sleeve!

Motley’s one-year break left Vince with more than wanted time on his hands. “I’ve done everything, you know,” he says “I ran out of things to dot I’ve been hanging out with other bands on the road! When Bon Jovi was opening for .38 Special, I went Out with them for four days and sang with them once in a while. I go to clubs everywhere from Orange County to Palm Springs (California). I just like being on stage, and I’ll sing with anybody!”

That doesn’t necessarily mean that he wants everybody to jump on stage when Motley’s tour starts. “Sometimes it can be cool,” he explains, “like when we played the last night of our world tour in Paris at the Zenith Hall, Phil Cohen of Def Leppard and Warren DeMartini of Ratt joined us for the encore part of the show. That was really great.”

After all, what better publicity for an unknown band than to have Vince Neil join you on stage? But let’s face it – the other way around is far less interesting. You don’t have to be a snob to understand the logic of that.

As of June, when the tour starts, the spotlights will be on all four members of the band 24 hours a day. Nothing will go unnoticed. Goodbye, privacy! To me, that would be an annoying, even a scary thought, but not so to Vince. The rebel- on-the-road has nothing to hide and loves every minute of it. “I dig that!” he laughs. “I’m used to it. That’s what I like to do. Being on the road isn’t hard for me. As a matter of fact, if I could sing every single day, THAT would really keep my voice happening! When I take a couple of days off, then I have problems. It’s weird, you know. It’s like when you work out in a gym every day, you have to keep doing it, otherwise, your muscles soften. The same with my voice. People think that you have to rest your voice, but for me, that doesn’t work. I’ve got to keep screaming…

How does one pack properly for a year’s tour? Personally, I’m not the type who travels light, but Vince has no such problems. “I just pack my bags, and I’m out of here! I can leave tomorrow. I’m that ready!”

Not that fast, Vince!

Motley will most certainly shoot and deliver at least one hot video before their departure to coincide with the single release, and that is something Vince is looking forward to doing. While most rock stars hate to sit around sets, the “hurry-up-and-wait” syndrome is nonexistent to him. “I LOVE making videos” he states, “and I would love to direct videos in the future. I’m always bugging the director when we shoot videos, saying, ‘Why don’t we set it up this way?’ And he usually goes, ‘Get out of here!” The laughter that follows gives away his rebellious spirit. It complements Nikki’s!

From videos to movies is a small jump, especially when you’re as attractive as Vince is and have an impressive track record as a ladies’ man. Dino De Laurentiis, the film company whose previous experiences with rock stars in movies include Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne, contracted Vince to play “Prince Charming” in a movie called Cinderella, a project which should have been in the making right now. Unfortunately, the script is still unfinished, and Vince’s acting plans are temporarily shelved.

His favorite “vice’’ is g-i-r-l-s! Is he engaged or in love? His answer is quite simple “I have LOTS of girlfriends!” he boasts. I bet he has, and he will undoubtedly add several names to the already extensive list once the tour starts! Now that’s something to look forward to!

KROKUS

KERRANG! issue 10 MARCH 1982 – CHRIS WELCH

LIKE a spring flower pushing through an ice wall of indifference, Krokus fought long and hard for recognition, and have bloomed into a band unique among power rockers.

Prophets without honour in their own country, the Swiss band with a Maltese lead singer have won friends and allies throughout Europe and America, and now even the Swiss are beginning to recognise their home grown talent.

Krokus have won through on the strength of their music, which impressed British fans way back in 1 980 at the Reading Festival, and since then they have been accepted on equal terms with the heavyweights. There is no denying the importance of singer Marc Storace in the saga of the band. Known as ‘The Voice’, Marc, who lives in London, joined them in 1978 and brought vocal qualities to match giants, like Plant or Gillan.

And yet Marc is of remarkably diminutive stature, a small curly headed man who gives the impression of being vague, and easily distracted, and yet manages to rivet the attention, He talks in an erratic series of anecdotes and vague thoughts about the world that invariably ends in a smile and cry of “What was I saying?”

Marc, the man who bellows his way through the suggestive ‘Long Stick Goes Room’, the opening cut of Krokus’ new album ‘One Vice At A Time’, and can be seen baring his teeth like an irritated tiger on the cover, is a mild mannered, cultivated, and sophisticated and a far cry from the frothing ago maniac I half expected as I searched for his lair in Streatham,

Somehow I envisaged a man shaving with a broken bottle, repairing a motorcycle in his bedroom, and living in a squalor of empty beer and baked bean cans. Instead Marc Storace, painter, fisherman and squash player, inhabits a neat, tidy flat, tastefully decorated with antiques, where he drinks the odd glass of wine and extols the virtues of keeping fit.

Admittedly we drank rather more than a glass of some rare Sainsbury’s vintage, during a long free ranging conversation that touched upon everything from Maltese politics to the art of using a harpoon gun, but Marc seems able to cope with most of life’s challenges, except it seems, ego tripping rock stars, Krokus had a of a brush with Shakin’ Stevens recently, and they were not impressed with old Shaky as Marc imparted with some scorn.
In case there are some among you who know not Krokus and think Fernando Von Arb is a First World War airship pilot, it should be explained he is the group’s excellent lead guitarist, supported by newly joined Mark Kohler on rhythm guitar, They are backed by Chris Von Bohr on bass and Freddy Steady (drums), whose real name is probably Count Zeppelin von Stronheirn.

Their history goes back as far as 1974 when being both Swiss and heavy metal was voted the combination most likely to arouse hoots of derision. Swiss kids gave their own band very little encouragement, but they struggled on producing their own albums ‘Pay It In Metal’ and ‘Painkiller’. They had a few changes in personnel and Chris Von Bohr decided to concentrate on bass and give up lead vocals in favour of new boy Marc, He had met the group while
supporting Krokus in another Swiss band Tea, Since then they have recorded two albums for Arista, ‘Metal Rendezvous’ and ‘Hardware’, and toured extensively but in Britain and America, are about to tour most of the known, civilised world and Marc was busy lubricating his throat with tea and honey, after an energetic game of squash, when I arrived to probe the mysteries of Krokus. “Sometimes people talk tome and my mind is somewhere else,” he warned as he juggled with a recalcitrant gas fire, and turned up the volume of an old Rolling Stones album. As soon as he was in one of his periodic states of distraction, I turned down the gas, and the volume, “I always hope I haven’t offended anybody,” he prattled merrily, “especially when I’m tired after a concert and trying to do an interview. My mind goes yoga!”

I ATTEMPTED to steer him onto relevant Krokus topics and he roared with laughter and explained to me in great detail how Maltese hotels are supplied with fish, and also aired his theory that fish are naturally friendly towards mankind, and are hurt and annoyed by our constant attempts to eat them. I had to insist. What was Marc doing in Switzerland in the first place? “Oh I was just seeking peace of mind and a band. I was living in London for a long while and found everything so hard — to keep a job and a band.” After Marc joined jazz-rockers Tea in Switzerland for a while, he gave up and came back to London. “It was because I HAD NO MONEY!’ He suddenly began singing, and it occurred to me the fully vocalised interview might be the next craze to supplant roller skates and video.

“THEN CAME KROKUS — AND I DON’T REGRET A S-I-N-G-L-E DAY!” sang Marc. If only there had been a drum kit to hand, we could have got a passable jam session going. But he reverted to plain speech to explain that Krokus had a great sense of humour. “They are crazy — just over the top. Yet the Swiss are not known for their sense of humour, anymore than for being hard up or oppressed. I suppose once life gets too easy, there is no point in getting up in the morning. There is nothing to try and achieve.

Marc’s eyes suddenly glazed over, and he began to tell me about his recent skin diving exploits off the Maltese coast, when he caught a fish that weighed ‘‘half a ton”. I gave up and listened to his exploits for half an hour or so, then during a suitable lull, asked when he had first taken up fishing. Sorry. SINGING. Mr Storace confuses the mind wonderfully.

“Oh, I was 14 when earned my first couple of quid for a gig. I thought if I could do a support, then I could go on to be a headliner one day. I’m talking in Maltese terms.

“Basically I was a rock singer, and started off doing ‘Lucille’ by Little Richard. I used to love that harshness in his voice, and I was into soul a lot as well, I liked Wilson Pickett and Otis Bedding, God rest his soul. There was a whole variety of songs I liked, until Deep Purple released ‘Hush’ and THAT switched I on another light in my head,”

Sure there was no fish involved in all this? No — right carry on. It transpired that his first band was called The Boys and they changed their name to Cinnamon Hades as they beefed up their music. “I loved that aggressive rhythm behind the vocals. I was also into The Who, and Alvin Lee — the fastest gun in the west!”

When he was 20, Marc decided to leave the holiday isle and come to London in search of work and opportunities as a heavy rock singer. “I wanted to work and take it seriously, get on the road, tour and play with a huge PA system to THOUSANDS of kids, y’know? And I wanted to be appreciated because I wasn’t appreciated by anybody down there in Malta, and the band is not appreciated by everybody STILL. But there is a bigger percentage of positive feedback now. I’ve never experienced such a great change in my life since I joined Krokus, Everything has escalated and got better all the time.”

But Marc admits that Krokus have only just come out of a period of owing large sums of money, and album sales aren’t likely to make them all millionaires. Their main interest is improving the music and reaching as many fans as possible.

“Life has never been as exciting for me as it is with Krokus, I love the whole thing, whether it’s traveling on a bus or singing on stage.’’ How had Marc developed his
remarkable voice?
“Well, if you listen to Metal Rendezvous I think my voice was slightly softer then. It has evolved and I can’t really say what direction it’s gonna go.”

MARC thinks he is most influenced by the music of the band, in particular the guitar work of Mark Kohler and Fernando Von Arb, He conceives of some mysterious physical force that seizes him by the throat when the band starts playing, over which he has little control, “You can’t describe it, except to say it’s like a mysterious energy that comes from the
metaphysical plane and into my body. ‘It’s almost like being a medium, conducting the energy and using bits of it, There is much more energy in the band than comes across on the album, That’s just nine songs. But we are a band that can jam along for hours.

“You need to, be physically fit to stand the strain of rock singing,’’ he vowed. ‘l don’t smoke, except for the occasional . . Hargh, hargh, hargh.” He suddenly broke into a coughing fit and rolled his eyes. I couldn’t imagine what he meant by his demonstration. “Even that is being phased out nowadays, I drink the occasional glass of wine, but generally I’m a tea addict,”

By the time we had finished the occasional glass had turned into a bottle and our conversation became more and more disjointed.

“Tea, lemon and honey •. . oh great, It fills me full of life again,’’ said Marc rolling on the floor in the direction of the wine bottle. “I wish they’d learn how to make a bloody cup of tea in America,’’ he bellowed from a prone position, glaring up at me, “They don’t let the bloody water boil,”

“Terrible, terrible,” I muttered sympathetically, allowing the sparkling Sainsbury’s to gush down my throat. “By the way,” I said, “I’ve been meaning to ask you something, ever since I got here. Look here old man, who are you

Meanwhile Marc (for that was his name) was still complaining about the Americans, “The average British housewife can boil water and make a cup of tea. WHY CAN’T THE AMERICANS?”

It was the kind of tragedy that could make strong men cry, but I urged Marc to continue talking about the mysteries of his vocal chords, for the benefit of all fascinated Kerrangl readers. “I’ve never had any trouble with my throat, thank God, I wet the sheets once.” I recoiled somewhat at this information, but he explained that he had been suffering from a high temperature and had been covered in sweat. Even so the show had gone on. ‘The doctor would give me a jab up the bum and I’d go all funny, and drowsy and slow, and then I’d goon stage and that’s when THE FORCE of Krokus re-enters the body. It’s something from outer space I think. It’s the same feeling you get when you practice karate. You can smash your hand right through solid objects.’’

Musically speaking; both Marc and the rest of Krokus are all self-taught and have little idea how their technique has been developed, except in terms of practical experience. “I just compress the air in my lungs, and POW — it all comes out like a lizard’s tongue. Have you seen how fast they can catch a fly? That’s how fast you need to shoot out the air through your vocal chords. But the moment I start to analyse my singing, that’s when I’ll start to go backwards. If you can do something yourself, why the hell take lessons? It will only hinder your natural instincts.”

WAS Marc surprised that Krokus could achieve a breakthrough in Britain, in view of the competition? “Well, Switzerland has no credibility as a rock source, although it has some great venues. It WAS a big surprise for us, and for the British rockers, that this band suddenly came out of nowhere. It was like Golden Earring coming out of Holland a few years ago. That took us all by surprise, and Focus too. There were good musicians in Switzerland, but it was a matter of getting the formula right. And keeping a band together there was a pain in the ass. There’s always a lot of changes in the line-up, and there are no small clubs where a band can play. There’s no in between, you are either unknown — or huge!”

But despite all the problems of operating a group spread across two countries, and without much appeal in either, somehow Krokus struggled through. Spain was one country that helped them out with appreciative audiences, apparently, and then in 1980 came the break through. During last year they spent months touring with Ted Nugent, Rainbow, Pat Travers and then Nazareth, who Marc claims they blew oft stage.

“You can become a vegetable very easily on tour, and we spent hours sleeping in coaches, with bunks one above the other. But it’s better than flying everywhere, because you then become a machine, programmed to arrive in each town and play a concert, without ever seeing any of the country. So we will be coaching it for a long time yet.”

As Krokus are on their way up, they can see many of the old stagers of rock on their way down. “I think they have lost a lot of zest, and energy and a lot of it is from too much fast living. The musicians have had an excess of booze, sex and drugs, I think that probably they are beginning to lose their popularity. But some of these bands are getting on and if you do a lot of drugs, then the body doesn’t have a light that flashes on, it becomes anaesthetised. If you want to go on an upper — then run up the stairs. If you want to goon a downer, go for a walk in the cemetery, or read the news.”

Marc says Krokus refused to be inhibited by any kind of negative vibe, be it hard drugs or bad reviews. “We like to enjoy a child-like freedom on stage. We don’t give a damn where we are playing, whether it’s London or Switzerland, it’s all the same. The audience comes in and you know they have been turned on by the same sort of band, or they wouldn’t come and see you in the first place. Our job is to entertain them, and if we don’t do it right, we know they are gonna walk out. It’s so simple really.

“We’ve always managed to hold an audience, and in some places they’ll climb on stage, where they are held back by the security, who sometimes get out of hand themselves. In a way you can’t blame them. They’ve got a bunch of maniacs behind them and a horde of wild beasts in front of them! So a lot of them get very tense and paranoid. I think security people should, by law, smoke a joint before a concert, so it will calm their nerves, and they can see things as they are, Those kids aren’t aggressive, they are having FUN.

“A football crowd is more aggressive when they have been drinking a lot. The barricades are enough and we can control a crowd. We have had times when the kids have climbed onstage, and I have strict orders that if anyone lays a finger on a fan they are fired straight away. I’m talking now as if every concert was a riot! But I can usually control it.”

IT seems that when they are not onstage, Krokus are either swimming, ensconced in a sauna bath or engaging in physical exercise. It was all a far cry from the drunken sixties. I said reaching for the wine bottle. Were Krokus intent on becoming a race of supermen? “Oh we still occasionally get drunk. But the difference is we can stop,”

Krokus have seen the example of overweight, boozed out smoked up wrecks among the flock stars, and are determined not to go the way of all flesh, at least for as long as possible.

What were their ambitions now? Was there a long term Krokus strategy or were they just enjoying the success they have achieved thus far?

“There’s no intricate planning. But things are very positive for us right now. We are out of debt, and only good management can get you out of these problems. ’We had a lot of lovely bills to pay at one time. We got a big advance from the record company but it all gets eaten up by the costs of running a band, We travel a lot of miles! It’s like going to the pub with a tenner, It just disappears in a flash! I can remember when I could get through a whole weekend with a couple of quid. The times they are a changing. Dylan said that ages ago.”

So that’s who it was. I always said the man was a poet. It seemed to me that despite their HM appeal, Krokus conceal a wide variety of influences in their music, They did not solely rely on the famed boogie shuffle, for example.

“I think faster than sound tempos are not good for music. You can have it at certain points in the show, but if it’s too fast, it will go above an audience’s head and they won’t appreciate it, Aim lower — right at the crutch! When the new wave of heavy metal came out, too many bands were sounding the same, and Krokus made it a point to put in a lot of variety. We put a lot of that good old passion, which comes from the heart. Our music is not just about aggression, because aggression is very weak. An instrument is not a machine gun, but a way to express your emotions, The same with singing. You don’t need 100 words a minute and a scream on every chorus.

“SURE I SCREAM. – – BUT I SCREAM WITH FEELING,”

The bottle of wine was empty, and before Marc felt inclined to emit a piercing scream of rage, I lurched unsteadily into the night. “If there is no feeling, there is no art!” said Marc.

Right on, If I had a gas lighter, I would have lit it.


KROKUS/MAGNUM – Hammersmith Odeon, London 20/2/82 – KERRANG! ISSUE 11 CHRIS WELCH

ROCK’N’ROLL — the international passport to smoking pleasure. Smoke, great billows of the stuff, wreathed around the strutting skinny legs of cosmopolitan heavy metallists, Krokus, when they stormed the gates of the Odeon Hammersmith,

The ‘gates’ were constructed of stout cardboard, and made a suitably theatrical backdrop. The smoke was of the quick evaporating type, but there was often so much being generated back stage and pumped out through the scenery, that lead singer Marc Storace frequently disappeared in a fog. One might have expected him to choke to a halt, but Marc is aptly nicknamed ‘The Voice’, and those tonsils, inspired by the likes of Little Richard and Ian Gillan, roared with ungassable fury. And when Marc wasn’t yelling, and the band wasn’t blasting like an avalanche demolishing an alpine village, then the audience was chanting
K-RO-K-U-S! K-R-O-K-U-S!

Krokus are Swiss and Marc is from Malta, but it doesn’t matter what part of the world a band comes from, as long as they can deliver — with conviction. Krokus could be Albanians — it wouldn’t have bothered Hammersmithies eager for a good night’s mayhem. Did they get it?

Well, Krokus are a highly professional, extremely competent band, with a ‘find’ in Marc who is the perfect frontman, They leapt into action with all the confidence and polish that befits a band who have won a worldwide following in just two years.

Their opening shot — a gut wrenching sustained guitar chord that leads into the earth shaking ‘Long Stick Goes Boom’ is the equivalent of most bands’ finale, encore and farewell.

Such a grand entrance can pose problems. They had to struggle to maintain their impact, and a broken guitar string at a crucial moment didn’t help. Fernando Von Arb (lead) had to dash off stage for a replacement axe, seconds before he was due up front for a solo. Not that this put them off. But there was an unspoken feeling that the band had probably enjoyed more ecstatic responses on earlier nights of their tour.

Krokus material is refreshingly free of stereotyped block busting.
Apart from the dramatic use of power chords, they vary their dynamic approach, so that drummer Freddy Steady can lay down a relaxed back beat as well as switching on more frantic modes of delivery. Indeed his drum battle with bassist Chris Von Rohr, switching to a secondary drum kit, was one of the show’s highlights. Freddy’s sonorous bass drum work and expert command of snare drum rudiments were a joy to behold.

Mark Kohler’s rhythm guitar showed just the right combination of reticence and reliability for what is often a thankless task, and he provided just the right platform for the rest of the band to bounce off. Sometimes the twin guitars sounded like the Rolling Stones fighting their way out of Altamont.

More tracks from their new album, like ‘Down The Drain’ whipped up the audience to greater fervour and matches were lit in time honoured fashion. They returned after several moments to girlish screams as Marc appeared stripped to the waist and ready to tear the remnants of his throat to pieces, on ‘To The Top’ and a brace of encores, They had to work hard, but it was worth it. The audience clapped football style and chanted, and Storace could stagger off in search of honey and tea.

Magnum probably felt they should have been topping the bill after all these years, but accepted support status with good grace, put on a good show and were rewarded by successfully attracting a large percentage of the crowd from the bar. Lead singer Bob Catley was every inch the seasoned rock hero. Like Storace he’d dispensed with the warmth and comfort of a vest and leapt about bare chested with cat-like grace. He also sang with a tonal sophistication rare in the barrack rooms of rock.

The band too are well versed in the traditions of what used to be called progressive rock, utilising a device like the clipped keyboard accent stamping on the beat with bass and drums while synthesisers and lead guitar, courtesy of Mark Stanway and Tony Clarkin, swirl in a unison chorus.

Tunes from ‘Chase The Dragon’ their new album were given prominence and Bob also introduced ‘Changes’ a number he freely confessed they had been doing for years. I liked the acoustic piano sound used to introduce the big ballad ‘The Lights Burned Out’, and was impressed by the funky backbeat drumming of Rex Gorin.
Recognising quality the audience gave them a standing ovation.


KERRANG! issue 10 MARCH 1982 Dante Bonutto

KROKUS – ‘One Vice at a Time’ – Arista Spart 1189
THAT KROKUS owe a debt to AC/DC is not a bad thing in itself. Styx, for example, were once little more than a US version of Yes while Rush, in their formative stages, followed closely in the footsteps of Zeppelin. The difference, however, is that Styx and Rush have now moved on and developed their own recognisable styles where as Krokus’s infatuation with AC/DC seems to rule out even a hint of progress. On the evidence of ‘One Vice At a Time’ (and it’s true of previous albums also) the band are less concerned with creating something new than apeing a tried, tested and successful formula.

With the help of produce Tony Platt, who engineered on ‘Highway to Hell’ and ‘Back in Black’. Krokus create a passible facsimile of Angus & co’s distinctively layered sound. The motivations behind the music and that all important AC’DC swagger, however, can’t be reproduced, a fact that leaves the album sounding two-dimensional and soulless. Music by numbers (largely) predictable and uninspired.

From the opener ‘Long Stick Goes Boom’ to the last track ‘Rock and Roll’, the songs follow the same narrow guidelines. Guitarists Kohler and Von Arb supply the riff, drummer Freddy Steady plays with all the versatility of someone knocking a nail in a wall while vocalist Marc Storace, formerly with jazz-rockers Tea(!), gets his mouth around lines of unquestionable logic as ‘Life’s for living, and that’s for sure’.

Storace, though Maltese born, resides in Streatham and speaks excellent English so there’s no reason why the lyrics, reproduced in full on an inner sleeve, should be quite so daft and the imagery emplyed quite so hackneyed. On ‘Playin’ the Outlaw’, for instance, the band make a calculated theft of the ‘Given A Dog A Bone’ chorus while Storace comes on like a Spaghetti Western extra. ‘Don’t shoot the man with the iron star’ he warns without a whit of humour. When he does 10 gallon hat and bow legs, he means it!

It’s significant that when the band vary their approach, even slightly, (‘American Woman’, ‘To The Top’) the results are instantly more interesting. But, for the most part, Krokus are content to copy a band who, by all accounts, refused to let them play at last years Donington Festival.

AC/DC clearly aren’t flattered by the imitation and without wishing to condone paranoia, you can see their point. Musically and lyrically it’s time the Swiss Rockers came of age.