RAGE

JUNE 1982

RAGE – ‘Nice ‘N’ Dirty’ (Carrere Records CAL 138)

PROSPECTIVE STARS of tomorrow would do well to remember that in the search for rock’n’roIl fame a careful co-ordination of the business side of things is of vital, if not paramount, importance. Get that wrong and the hassles and headaches shouldn’t be long in coming as Rage, once Nutz, well know in their original guise the band once or twice veered dangerously close to collapse but through sheer resilience a deal with Carrere was finally swung which, encompassing a change of name, provided the chance to start afresh.

The first fruit of this alliance was the ‘Out Of Control’ LP, a better than average offering that came and went quietly through lack of image and promotion. In the wake of ‘Nice’N’Dirty’, however, the band, now joined by rhythm guitarist Terry Steer, are getting a good deal more support through a hefty promotional campaign, though it’s a shame that the album sleeve beats some of the covers from the Nutz era in terms of tackiness.

I know that a cover alone does not an album make and Led Zep II would still sound sweet wrapped in surgical stockings, but the fact remains that the sleeve is often the first contact a listener has with an LP, so it inevitably effects the way the music is heard. The sight of one skimpily clad lady ‘entertaining’ another put me oft completely, though I was pleasantly surprised by the music.

Solid, traditional fare, the rifts roll along nicety and Dave Lloyd’s voice impresses as ever. Lyrically, the latter works his way through some hackneyed themes but there’s a nagging, insistent quality to the music that helps pull him through, ‘American Radio Stations’, ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘Blame it On The Night’, area ll memberable, while ‘Wasted Years’ features some fine slide guitar word and stealthy vocals, but at no point do the band really break swaet. The overall effect enhanced by the open production, is one of polish and restraint, more nice than dirty.

Dante Bonutto


1982

RAGE: ‘Woman’ (Carrere)

The only flair that Rage would seem to possess is by producing rather tacky ‘sexy’ sleeves. ‘Woman’ is a fair hard rock song that gallops along in a commercial way but it has absolutely nothing to recommend it

over probably a hundred other singles.

No frills, no style and certainly not enough of what it takes to make a fortune

HOWARD JOHNSON

HANOI ROCKS

JUNE 1982

HANOI ROCKS ‘Oriental Beat’ (Johanna Records JHN 2063)

This is Hanoi Rocks’ second album and quite a tasty affair it is too. Opener ‘Motorvatin’ has a great bass hook and glorious Billy Idol-style vocals. The logical extension of Gen X’s ‘Valley Of The Dolls’ (wherein they stopped playing silly buggers and started playing Metal), it pretty much sets the tone for the album. Indeed, the final track excepted, the songs are largely variations on a single theme (sex and drugs) with heavy bass, sultry vocals, strangely subdued guitar, interesting saxophone breaks and surprisingly cogent lyrics from guitarist Andy McCoy. ‘Fallen Angel’, though, is the album winner. A slow piano and Mike Monroe’s soulful, broken voice, the end result Is a very poignant track. ‘Oriental Beat’ shows potential ripe and ready for some full blown hype. Shame they had to spoil it with such a tacky cover.

DAVE DICKSON


JULY 1982

HANOI ROCKS, Greyhound, Fulham


The Greyhound fills with a bizarre assortment of human flotsam spanning musical genres with an almost disturbing abandon. As the muzak stops pumping there descends a reverential hush and five untamed pretty Scandinavian boys steal on to the stage sans fuss or fanfare “Good Evening”,
whispers the impossibly beautiful vocalist Mike Monroe, and suddenly it’s like the flood gates of hades have been unleashed as they tear into ‘Oriental Beat, ripping out chords and scattering them like chaff over the unsuspecting, disorientated punters.

This is loud, this is dirty, this is what rock ‘n’ roll is all about. Pure unadulterated mayhem, the stuff adolescent headbangers’ wet dreams are made of with guitarist Andy McCoy storming about the tiny stage like a speed demented hyena, the appearance of a youth wasted beyond his years masking the dexterity of his fret-work.

Their aural assault is non stop, blistering, from the power of Motorvatin’ to the casual ‘Don’t Never Leave Me’ and the gut-pummelling Tragedy’. The solos are manic, the rhythms granite hard, quite naked, and the vocals battling to be heard over the overwhelming battery of amps, clear and incisive.
“Are You A Sucker,” Monroe leers, pointing a long painted finger towards the flying-V slung low around McCoy’s neck as it begins its screeching, ‘Bad Motor Scooter-esque intro to ‘M. C. Baby’ with all the subtlety of a Harley Davidson across the thorax. Hanoi Rocks offer a brief scorching two song encore which they proceed to maul like a pagan sacrifice, sever auditory jugulars in a frenzy unharnessed brutality and aggression like caged animals tasting blood for the first time.

The band sealed a Japanese recording deal on the strength of this gig and now seem destined to embark on an orgy of worldwide devastation. No excuses, no bullshit. this band MUST be seen.

DAVE DICKSON




JULY 1982

“ON THE ROCKS”

HANOI ROCKS are not in their rooms, nor are they to be found in me 24-hour bar of the formica-coated Julius Caesar Hotel in Bayswater. Something is wrong — but help is at hand. A pretty receptionist directs me to the ‘Tepidarium’ indoor swimming pool, wherein languish the collective bodies of Hanoi Rocks engaged in a Japanese photo session. The pool, I should note, has been conveniently drained for the occasion.

‘Oh, you’re from Kerrang!?’ guitarist Andy McCoy asks, pushing back his shades, good, we’ll go to my room.” McCoy is not a man used to sunlight. Vocalist Mike Monroe, rapidly becoming a teen-idol in Nippon, follows shortly leaving the rhythm section, guitarist Nasty Suicide, bassist Sammy Yaffa and drummer Gyp Casino to do whatever it is they do when their spokespeople are spoking.

McCoy looks pale and distinctly unhealthy as he lays on his bed, curtain drawn to protect him from the afternoon glare. At 19, rock’n’roIl already seems to have taken its toll. I wonder whether he’s quite prepared for my opening salvo: Why is there a naked woman on the cover of ‘Oriental Beat’?

“It’s topless, not naked. In fact it’s my wife, Anna! It just seemed like good idea, you know?”

OK, but the lyrical content seems a trifle limited, sex and drugs; I probe for a definitive Hanoi Rocks statement of position.

“I’ve got a very positive attitude toward sex, but I get enough of it now, I’m more into drugs …“claims Andy, a taint smite flickering on his lips. How much of this am I willing to believe remains an open question.

‘“Rock’n’roIl lyrics aren’t important anyway,” asserts Mike. “You can’t change the world with lyrics.”

But what about the fans, many of whom in their home country are only young teenagers? Don’t they feel a sense of responsibility to them, after all to some of them they are idols?

“No, we’re not their fathers,’ states Andy. ‘They’re all high-society kids anyway, whose parents spoil them: they want something, their parents buy it. That’s why there are no good bands in Scandinavia, they are so bloody rich’” (I get the feeling I’ve touched on a sensitive nerve). “We started right at the bottom, we didn’t have a thing. I lived with a girlfriend and our drummer had a sweet little mommie who took care of him, but Mike, Sammy and Nasty didn’t have anywhere — just the streets.”

Mike: ‘When we went to Stockholm and were on the streets for about four months, sleeping in corridors and rehearsing every night in a subway station”.

Sounds grisly, didn’t they ever get a proper job?
‘Not a proper job. I cleaned toilets,” Mike reminisces. I couldn’t get a proper job because of my hair and what I look like.”

One could envisage the average Scandinavian being rather taken aback by Hanoi Rocks’ appearance. Did they encounter a lot of hostility on the streets?

“I never go out.” says Andy (the daylight, you remember?), I just lay in bed.”

One way round the problem I suppose.

Mike: “It’s dangerous for us to walk around in Finland, people are very narrow-minded there.”

“The funny thing is,” interjects his partner, “it’s always the ugliest ones who want to pick a tight because they’re so f–king jealous, with a mental problem too, you must have something wrong up there if you want to beat someone up for no reason.” (The man has a point). “We never tried to create an Image, we don’t have to, we ARE like this.”

“All these ugly people who go around London trying to took pretty must have a personality crisis,” declares Monroe. I try to explain that times are difficult for us at the moment having just ended a war.

‘Yeah, yeah, Falklands!” chirps Andy, “it’s crazy! Would have loved to have been down there.”

Oh come an, what, to play a gig?

‘Yeah!” That would certainly have slopped the war.

“That’s really sick!” exclaims Mike with distaste.

Leaving the sociology lesson the conversation steers onto something more musical. The first album production is credited to “The Muddy Twins’, is this a deliberate jibe at Mick’n’Keef, ‘The Glimmer Twins’

“Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha,” quips Mike in staccato fashion. “People kept telling us we played like the Stones, so we put it on there. I mean, I hate the Stones nowadays, the last good album they did was ‘Black and Blue’, everything since then has just been crap!”

“I really think we’re the only rock’n’roll left,” adds Andy, “All sorts of people come to see us because we’re not punk, we’re not Heavy Metal; we play anything, you know, anything we like.”

“Anyway, there’s not another band like us – at least I don’t think so,” and Mike may well be right. On a good night, Hanoi Rocks play with more venom and aggression than a Nick Kemp album review; hi-energy rook with no frills or pretensions. But the Muddy Twins are always the centre of attention, the focal points of the stage show.
What’s their attitude toward the rest of the band?

“Ah, no comment,” says Mike evasively.

“They don’t have anything to say about anything”, scoffs Andy. ‘We ARE Hanoi Rocks on record but……..“ (Yes?) “Hanoi Rocks live is still the five of us. They’re really great guys, me and Nasty used to go to school together.”

Back to the present, what is the next move on the HR front?

“We’re recording a single called ‘Love’s an Injection’,” replies Andy, who then orders Mike to find a cassette player to deluge me with unreleased Hanoi Rocks tracks, amongst them ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Beer and Cigarettes’, both of which will pin you up against the nearest wall and beat you into submission.

And then?

Mike: “When we get some money we can buy some clothes,” (he shows me the hole in the knee of his jeans) “and look even better.”

Andy: “I’m really looking forward to getting away from England. It’s so f**king slow!”

Hanoi Rocks are disgustingly good live, the output on vinyl quite unable to capture the glorious mayhem in full flight. They should earn enough money to enable Mike to buy a new set at clothes and for Andy not to have to worry if the band broke up tomorrow. “If we broke up tomorrow,” he shrugs with casual nonchalance, “so what?”

“I’m gonna keep on playing till I die.” declares Mike.

Which is how long?

“Today, tomorrow, who cares?”

Y&T

JUNE 1982

“We’re not realty into effects like flash bombs. We Just want to blow up our equipment by playing it to death’’ – Leonard Haze, drummer with Y&T.

“We know it’s not our fault that we haven t made it yet, cos we’re such a great band’ We’ve just had bad luck” – Joey Alves, guitarist with Y&T.

“Six months ago we were worried. We thought we’d never be able to top ‘Earthshaker’ for songs, but we’ve kept coming up with great tunes” – Joey Alves, guitarist with Y&T.

‘The future? Were gonna huge stars!” – A tongue-in-cheek Dave Meniketti, lead guitarist and vocalist with Y&T.

HEARD ALL this before from the lips of countless American rockers? Me too, but while the likes Ted Nugent and Dave Lee Roth can no doubt match the above quotes with ease, their vinyl product has, as often as not, failed to live up the immensely entertaining fore-talk.

Y&T are different. They’ll give you great quotes, but they could quite confidently let the music do the talking ‘Earthshaker’ was easily the best out and-out-Metal album of 1981, an unbelievable improvement on the San Francisco based quarters first two offerings, Yesterday Today’ and ‘Struck Down’, both them patchy and badly produced. Y&T it seems have come of age. Joey Alves agrees’

‘When we finally signed with A&M to do ‘Earthshaker’ it was the beginning of a new era, almost as we were two different bands, ‘Yesterday & Today’ was our first studio work and we didn’t really know what we were doing, while the second LP was a case of a producer wanting to further his own career rather than produce a great album. We’ve finally started working with people who believe in us and the change of name from Yesterday Today to Y&T kinda signifies the new era,”

Fair enough, but why a three year delay (!) between ‘Struck Down’ and ‘Earthshaker’?

‘We had to straighten everything out – find ourselves a label, break with management and at the same time keep our music together, which took all of three years to do property, We put our heads together and asked the question: ‘Are we willing to do things property?, to which the answer was yes. So we decided go for a major label and settle for nothing less, which is real hard but we did it. You can’t afford to make too many mistakes in this business if you want to stay in it,”

Especially if you’re playing Y&T style music in AOR dominated America, right?

“Right,” concurs Leonard. “The majority of American sounding bands get signed to major labels, which left us out in the cold. Yet we continued to sell out night clubs and pretty soon, the powers that be had to admit: ‘Whether we like it or not, the kids love these guys’.”

Joey takes up the story.

“We were like a balloon that was bursting. Guys started stepping in saying: ‘I don’t care about the conventions, if these guys can sell out in LA or San Francisco and their audiences are growing despite the fact that they play there every week, then they can do it anywhere in the world. You can’t sell out every month in California and not have something.’

“Lots of small bands in the States imitate the more successful groups but Y&T’s strength is that we have our own style. We’re four individuals with different musical tastes and ego trips. Each one of us incorporates his own personality into music and it comes out Y&T.”

Why a visit to Britain just now then, Leonard, when there’s enough new ground to be broken the States to keep Y&T busy from now until eternity?

“We’ve sold one or two records here firstly, and secondly the equipment and recording techniques here are better suited to our music. Plus, we’ve always lacked that filth member – the producer who knows what we want. We’ve now found him in Max Norman (responsible for producing Ozzy’s album) and he wanted to work at Ridge Farm, so here we are.”

There must be a huge number British fans more than a pleased at Y&T’s arrival. Judging from letters received and word mouth; they’re probably the biggest cult US Metal band in the UK and with justification.

‘Earthshaker’ a classic (true classic) album, so what do the Y&Ters think of British Metal and Metal in general?

“We don’t listen to much British Heavy Metal,” says Leonard “We saw Saxon and enjoyed them but it’s kinda like once you’ve heard three songs you’ve heard album.”

Joey: “I don’t knock the term Heavy Metal at all, cos it was Heavy Metal fans who stuck with us through the bad times. Anyway I think we are a Heavy Metal band, even if Leonard doesn’t, Y’see, everyone in the group has a different idea of what we’re about. We just write great songs.”

Amazingly, Joey, Leonard, Dave Meniketti and bassist Phil Kennemore have been working together as Yesterday & Today since 1974, ample time for these four longhairs to grow heartily sick of the sight each other, especially when one thinks of the pressure the band has been under, but no, they’re still laughing and joking, still 110 per cent convinced that they’re God’s gift to music. How have they managed to stay together?

“Because we hate each other!” comes the chorus.

Joey: ‘Eddie Van Halen once said to me ‘Don’t let anything stop you. You’re too good. It you let that happen, I’ll come lookin’ for you and I’ll kick your ass, so you’d better not quit!’ You’d better believe we’re gonna take his advice!”

I sure believe it, but less of the past. Let’s look to what must be a spectacularly successful future for this brilliant band. The new album is due in Britain in September and Dave and Joey are more than happy to whet our appetites with a sneak preview of what’s on the way.

‘Black Tiger’: Heavy Metal tune with a jungleish intro. It’s been in the set for a while and it’s a great song.

‘Open Fire’: Fast rocker in the vein of ‘Hurricane’.

‘Bar-room Boogie’: Hi-tech boogie Metal tune – definitely unlike anyone else boogie tunes.

‘My Way Or The Highway’: Slow rocker in a kinda AC/DC. Stonesy groove with real chunky guitar.

‘For Ever’: A sorta guitar hero song for Dave. Starts very melodically but gets realty heavy style of ‘Earthshaker’ or ‘Rescue Me’.

‘Winds Of Change’: The one ballad – a six minute tune containing acoustic guitars and a mind bending solo.

‘Hell Or High Water’: Has to be heard to be believed!

That just about sums up Y&T!

HOWARD JOHNSON


JULY 1982 – Y&T Marquee, London

‘HERE’S the moment you’ve all been waiting for!” hollered a decidedly sticky roadie as he introduced the heap of sweat and instruments that was Y&T. The Marquee uncannily resembled a warship in its last death throes, as bodies desperately sought relief from the most oppressive of heats, then suddenly remembered that they just had to go back to rescue their most prized possessions. In this case it wasn’t mementos, but rather the opportunity to witness four Californian guys who know how to rock!

The word was dearly out, for despite the fact that Y&T had never played a live gig in Britain before, denim battled with fearless flesh for poll vantage points as Dave Meniketti, Leonard Haze, Joey Alves and Phil Kennemore proceeded to do the business.

The business, in this case, being a set delivered with utter conviction giving the audience exactly what they wanted – rock as hard as granite and melodic to boot. This skill and strength was appreciated beyond measure, being the sole form of stimulation capable of keeping the frantic masses relatively upright
‘Hungry For Rock’ we were indeed, and even more thirsty for lager as Meniketti launched into the first of many memorable solos. Y&T had no intention of letting fans off lightly as they beat to the heat, reeling off three numbers from the almighty ‘Earthshaker’ album in quick succession. The aforementioned ‘HFR’, ‘Hurricane’ and ‘Dirty Girl’ lifted the atmosphere to fever pitch before a new number. ‘Don’t Want To Lose You’ provided the opportunity for some less frenzied headbobbing.

After collecting my ears from the other side of the hall, I managed to get a taste of the positively animal ‘Black Tiger’ In fact, it was a little too animal for a civilised human being but ‘I Believe In You’ and ‘Rescue Me’ brought the set back into the human sphere.

Setting the box office attendance record at the Marquee is no mean feat and despite Meniketti’s fingers occasionally slipping off the fretboard due to the oppressive sweat factor Y&T justified that achievement.
HOWARD JOHNSON



Reading Review SEP 1982