VIRGINIA WOLF

1982

VIRGINIA WOLF: ‘Walkie Talkie Boy’ (Creole).

Horrendous reports of this band live made me dubious about Walkie Talkie Boy’, but the fears I held were not totally realised. At least there is a rock band here unafraid to try something different. The song is a

synth’ rock number which would lie somewhere between. After The Fire and an infinitely less pompous Saga.

Execution of the style is somewhat lacking, but future possibilities? Well, maybe.

TYGERS OF PAN TANG

1982

TYGERS OF PAN TANG: ‘Rendezvous’ (MCA).

Isn’t it ridiculous to see how the Tygers have Progressed since the agelessly awful ‘Don’t Touch Me There’ EP’ on Neat? If there was ever a band I thought would die within its first year, then it was the Tygers. Yet here they remain, three years later, producing one of the best HM singles I’ve heard in a long time. Amazing!

The group are branching out into the world of songs rather than riffs and the use of sparkling keyboards and an excellent drum sound only enhances the effect.

Covering other people’s songs has helped the Tygers beyond measure. Maybe they should do an album of covers!

HOWARD JOHNSON


1982

CROSS

1982

CROSS – Greyhound, Fulham
BILLED AS Germany’s premier HM band (what about the Scorpions?) Cross arrived to a less than full London debut and a less than ecstatic reception. Not that they seemed to mind or notice, behaving exactly like some megaband would at a sell-out Earls Court gig – someone should tell ‘em that there’s an incy wincy difference between 17,000 fanatical worshippers, and fifty or sixty curious onlookers.

But apart from making prats of themselves, and apart from having a singer who doesn’t seem to be able to decide which key to sing in, Cross might well have a future ahead of them. The aforementioned singer, a raunchy female, gives the impression that she’s ready to leap into bed with all and sundry (there’s no better way to win over a chauvinist audience methinks), and the songs are pretty good, if slightly stereotyped.

Best of the bunch is the opener ‘Don’t You Yell At Me’, a title that only a German band could sink low enough to think up. The chorus line ‘You’ll never drive me wild’ would be much better, but titles don’t make songs and this one would fare well as a single.

It strikes me as pretty strange that in a country where electronic music predominates the limited number of HM. Rock bands that do get thrown up seem to make it internationally in a very big way. Putting my head on the block I’ll say that Cross are destined to join the few, but they’re gonna have to work pretty hard to crack this market. Rehearsals would certainly be a major asset as there’s a wealth of difference between looseness and lethargy, and there’s only one man who can get away with the slaphappy attitude Cross seem to have adopted, and in his case, Johnny Thunders doesn’t have much longer to live”

NICK KEMP

VANDENBERG

1982

THE ART of the guitar hero is well and truly prospering, as witnessed by the appearance of a Fan Library tribute to the genre. not to mention the never-ending letters page debates on the relative merits or deficiencies of Michael, Matthias and Uli, Angus and ‘Fast’ Eddie, Nugent and Hagar.

What a shame that the Guitar Heroes mag has not come out two months later, for It would have been forced to include one Adrian Vandenberg (Adje to those with a penchant for the Dutch dialect). Thanks to the trail-blazing of the Schenker brothers and the likes of Trust’s Nono, European exponents are now as readily accepted in a world where bigotry and prejudice towards US arid UK guitarists was as prevalent as a 10-minute guitar solo.

Adrian Vandenberg has, without doubt, attained the standard (patent and copyright – Michael Schenker) which allows him to be attributed the ancient ritual known as ‘hero worship’. This consists of swaying the head with rhythmic vigour and exorcising the two forefingers by erecting them and holding them above the head in order to receive air.

Unfortunately for those who wish the hero to respond to their adulation in the appropriate manner – namely by being heavy drinkers/smokers/drug-takers (deletion being wholly inappropriate), Adrian will be rather disappointing. His only vices would appear to be of a sexual nature – obviously a legacy of one too many meetings with Blackfoot! Yet maybe this total devotion to perfection of the art rather than perfection of the excess, has led to a lightning quick contract with Atlantic.

Adrian has a wealth of experience to draw on, initially from his time as a young session musician playing on 25 albums of various styles and then as guitarist and sole composer in Teaser, a bad Dutch Bad Company rip-off.

“Teaser disbanded owing to the all-too-obvious ‘musical differences’,” recounts Adrian, “the vocalist wanted to play a more roots style of blues and I was attempting to go both more melodic, yet heavier. I did nothing for about a year simply trying to get new ideas for what kind of band I should form
– or maybe not to form a band at all! When I knew l wanted to continue I started to look for a vocalist who would fit the style of the two songs I’d written (‘Ready For You’ and ‘Out In The Streets’ were the songs which will appear on the album) and that is hard to do In Holland.

“I remembered a guy who l’d seen a few years ago on three or four occasions. The band he was in were covering Led Zap and Uriah Hoop numbers, and he was singing them so perfectly I thought he would definitely be the one. Having got in touch with him I found he hadn’t done any singing for four years and had been repairing vacuum cleaners, TV sets and the like (cue laughter) so he was enthusiastic about trying his hand again. We had one jam session with myself, the vocalist and a drummer and we knew immediately that this was what was needed.”

VOCALIST Bert Herring, drummer Jos Zoomer and Adrian teamed up with bassist Dik Kemper, whom they lured away from another Dutch outfit, Turbo. Two months passed before the band laid down their first demo. Enter important figure number one in the form of one Kees Baars.

“Yeah, I sent a copy of the demo to Kees who was a rock journalist at the time, to see what his opinions were. Two days afterwards he called me up with the tape blasting out in the background and was completely OTT. He said he wanted to give up his job and start to manage the band. Of course I wanted him to be a little cool — you can’t simply go throwing your job up on a whim, but we started to send tapes to British record companies to see if we could gamer a response. Within days we had a number of Dutch companies chasing really heavily to get us to sign, which was amazing. They must have wheedled a tape from someone and had gone out of their skulls over it. We only wanted to sign with an American or British label because of their obvious advantage.”

Why didn’t you work in Britain with British musicians from the start, saving all the problems and anonymity of being stuck in a Dutch backwater town such as Enschede with nothing to do but fiddle with fingers in dykes?
I did at one stage, but things didn’t work out too well. I rehearsed with Thin Lizzy for a couple of weeks but didn’t get on with the guys in the band, so I came home. Apart from that there are practical problems. I had a steady job as a designer in advertising and had I gone to England I would’ve had no source of income.”

ADRIAN’S talent for art is most impressive. The wall of his luxurious Dutch flat is the proud holder of two of the man’s work. One of the paintings depicts a vicious-looking knife jabbed into the side of a wall of all things. What’s more, it looks more than a touch realistic.

“I derive a lot of my influence from an American art form called Super-realism, whereby your work is almost photograph-like in detail and clarity. Yet within that frame I can also try connecting incongruities. You obviously can’t put a knife in a wall in reality but anything is possible on paper.” So did the interest in art begin at the same time as your interest in music?

“Yeah, I discovered art and music simultaneously. When I was two I had a cigar box with elastic bands slung ‘round it which I would twang, and I was scribbling on bits of paper at the same time — or so I was told.

“I didn’t actually pick up a real guitar until I was about 16. I’d only listened to classical music up until then but I was introduced to Hendrix and Cream by older guys in the neighbourhood and I just thought “to hell with classical music, I’m going for this.”

“The accent of my interest always see-sawed from art to music. I was at Art College but I got an offer from a blues piano player to go to Germany as a guitarist for the Pointer Sisters. I accepted, of course, so art took a back seat for a time. It was always like that! For the last two years I’ve lived off my drawings but since Phil (Carson — head of Atlantic Records) came along I’ve given it up.

Phil is important individual number three In the saga of Vandenberg but we must backtrack to a Michael Schenker party in Hamburg to meet with important figure number two.

“Kees and I were at the party in Hamburg and bumped into Peter Mensch (top Rock manager). We asked him if he’d be interested in managing the band but he turned us down because he had four of the world’s top bands on his books at the time. We sent him a tape anyway and got a call from him a couple of days later saying that he thought the tape was great. He asked us to go to London to talk, which we did and he promised to try and help us, even ‘though he couldn’t burden himself with management.

“That gave us a lot of confidence in ourselves because a man who knows about music thought we were really worthwhile — even If he was too busy to get back to us.’

THUS encouraged, a tape was dispatched with haste to Phil Carson, who was also suitably impressed. He demanded a second demo and having seen the band play a gig in Hilversum, established a deal for Britain and America.

Coping with English vocals must have been a problem for Bert

“It was a problem, because we’re bombarded with both American and British films which are not overdubbed, so we get a strange combination of accents. We solved the problem, because Phil Carson sent Phil May from the Pretty Things to help Bert with pronunciation. We re-did a few vocal lines from the demo and things were generally much improved.”

The Vandenberg album was recorded in April at Jimmy Page’s studio in the English countryside and is indeed an exciting debut, fit to rub shoulders with the best of product. The actual production, handled by the band with Adrian at the helm, is of an exceptionally high standard, bringing Adrian’s excellent guitar play to the fore in a crisp, clean sound while never neglecting the individual contributions of the other three musicians:

“Atlantic in Britain wanted to bring in a top-line producer to take control, maybe Martin Birch or Mutt Lange. Yet Atlantic America liked the sound of our demo so much they were fearful that our sound would change if an outside influence were brought in. They basically vetoed any move so we did the job ourselves.”

THE album is good enough to scare the spots off any other young hopefuls who have their sights on the top. Not only does each song contain essential dynamics which make a heavy rock song interesting and effective, but Adrian is a guitarist of rare quality. His sound is extremely Schenkeresque as you’ll see on checking Back On My Feet Again’ or ‘Lost In The City’.

Thus fuelled with essential information on Vandenberg, I can happily report this band can surely kill in the live scenario. Witnessing these four guys in rehearsal in a tiny room in the heart of Holland is an event that impinges itself on the brain quicker than a limpet sticking to a rock.

Bert slips the scarf away from his neck (a part of his anatomy which has been giving him a fair amount of trouble of late) and casually steps up to a microphone, while Adrian releases the opening salvo of ‘Back On My Feet Again’. Dik and Jos sweat it out and provide a tremendously potent rhythm section that is tighter than a Scotsman’s wallet while Bert lets forth effortlessly. Even if he is not happy with his form he sounds fine.

The songs from the album spring out with a great deal more vigour live, and stick with you for a fair while afterwards. Particularly memorable ‘is ‘Wait (‘till The S**t Hits The Fan)’ which must be the most incredible title ever dreamed up, (“It’s one of my ambitions to hear an audience crying that out at the top of their voices,” says Adrian. “The song is a slow rocker with a burning passion that I’m sure Tommy Vance will love getting his teeth into,”
The band are yearning to play in Britain and have signed a deal with the Cowbell agency for promotion, which should mean a tour is a distinct possibility.

A juicy snippet would round off the Vandenberg saga nicely. Y&T have asked them if they might open the show for the Dutchmen when they make it to the States. Now that surely signifies a band of quality!


KERRANG! NO. 30 DECEMBER 1982

When did you begin playing guitar? About eight years ago when I was sixteen.

Why did you start? I used to mess about with imitation guitars so I guess it was in the blood and I was just a late starter.

First type of guitar? An old Dutch brand, an Egmond.

Musical training: 2 years of piano.

Early influences: Leslie West, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Jan Akkerman.

First public performance: at a school party. I knew a song containing two chords which I was supposed to perform with a friend on cardboard boxes for drums but he lost his nerve and I did it alone.

First appearance on record: I was nineteen and did a single with a band called Darling titled ‘Guitar Man’ or something.

Recording bands: Darling, Jaap Dekkar, Teaser and Vandenberg.

Other vinyl appearances: A lot of session work in Holland with various unknowns.

Equipment (live): 4 Marshall 50 Watt amps, 6 cabs with Celestion speakers and two Les Pauls, ‘though I’m building my own new guitar at the moment.

Studio equipment: the same.

Number of guitars owned: Eight. Two acoustics, five electrics and a bass.

Most memorable solo on record: On the Vandenberg LP: ‘Back On My Feet Again, ‘Burning Heart’ and ‘Too Late’.

Other guitarists you admire: Allan Holdsworth, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads and Michael Schenker.

BUFFALO

1982

BUFFALO is a truly horrendous moniker, conjuring up the worst of NWOBHM clichés and attitudes, and I would strongly advise the guys in the band to induce a name change or be pre-judged with all the wrong ideas by a vast amount of punters.

Yet the band is not, in fact, a raucous, unprofessional, sexist group of upstarts, but rather four experienced musicians with a penchant for hard, tuneful songs. They now have little to do with the dreary Battle Torn Heroes’ song which appeared on the worst compilation album ever — namely New Electric Warriors’ and as a single on Heavy Metal Records.

The current line-up of Buffalo is: Mick Priestley on lead guitar. vocalist and guitarist Mick Bailey, Gary Short on bass and newest recruit, drummer Gary Taylor, while the next recorded piece of Buffalo Is due in June on the Heavy Metal label once more. The release will be a single, namely ‘Mean Machine’ / ‘The Rumour’ but as Mick Priestley explained, it is rather a false representation of Buffalo:

“The single was put down a long time ago with our old line-up so it has little to do with the current Buffalo. Our last demo is far more relevant.”

This five track demo is a vast improvement on previous band output, containing solid rock songs such as ‘Detroit Motor City’, ‘Back To The Wall’ and the old Spencer Davis Group chestnut Gimme Some Lovin ‘and while It wouldn’t set the world on fire, being dismissed by more fashion conscious people as dated and irrelevant. I know that It would appeal to many an HM disco-goer. HM disco fans are not A&R men, however, as Mick has discovered.

‘We were very pleased with the demo and sent it off to twelve different A&R departments with high hopes. So far we’ve heard nothing. They haven’t even had the decency to return the tape. It seems to me that if you don’t mention devil worship and that kind of demonism in your songs, then you can’t get anywhere

‘Another blow to us was that we were due to record an album for Heavy Metal Records titled ‘In The Flesh’, but now the owner of the label has said that he doesn’t like the material, so we may not be able to go ahead with it.’

Mick is genuinely perplexed at this negative response but doggedly refuses to give up:

‘We keep gigging around our home areas of Manchester and Blackburn and hope that something will turn up. We’ve had good reactions in the past and useful support slots have come our way, such as with Motorhead, Gillan and The Pirates. We own six tons of gear so we have the potential, and we may be going to Canada for seven weeks’ work soon’. Are you listening A&R men?

Howard Johnson

AMERICADE

1982

LOCK UP your daughters, hold your horses: the year of the red, white and blue has arrived. In true American spirit and colour Americade are set to devastate our land in the same way Van Halen did not so many moons ago. In the words of head singer P. J. de Marigny. Americade are “Music Made For A Show”.

This four-piece rockforce don’t simply provide raucous Heavy Metal but an American Metal Extravaganza. Along with vocalist P.J., the rest of Americade consists of Gerald do Marigny on lead guitar. Nick Sadano on bass and Walt ‘Wildman’ Woodward Ill on drums, the latter two hailing from New Jersey band Rachel who have seen their vocalist Rhett Forester go to Riot.

Americade posses one of the most stunning stage shows in existence with drummer Wildman Woodward entering the stage in a cage and within one glimpse of his presence can melt even the coldest hearts of an unfamiliar audience.

They’ve been exploding local New York halls to sawdust. with destructive mega-classics such as ‘Go For Your Guns’, ‘On the Prowl’ and ‘Runnin’ Scared’ all penned by guitarist Gerard de Marigny. The band refuse totally to resort to any use of cover versions and see themselves as New York’s answer to Van Halen. Check out Wildman Woodward in the above photo, giving Dave Lee Roth more than a run for his money.

They’ve built their own 16-track studio and have recorded a phenomenal demo tape.