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

CHARGER

1988

CHARGER – Dingwalls, London

CHARGER PLAYED their first London gig to a small and somewhat varied audience. The band that hail from Yorkshire, clad in soldier type jackets, tried with some success to charge the mixed bunch with their music. The first number, which is also their present release, showed the band for what they really are, a hardcore British rock band.

In a 25-minute set it is difficult, to say the least, for any group of guys to show what they can really do, but Baz Cummins, on guitar, is a skilled and talented musician, although he looked more like he works in a bank. A number performed by the guys titled ‘Tiger’ did not receive the roar I imagine the lads would have liked, but in my opinion it was their best one, well put together and well presented.

Drummer Steve Hall totally alienated himself from the audience which was his downfall; he seemed to forget that he was actually playing a live gig. The bass work from Colin Bell, however, was excellent. Bell, who is also lead vocalist, has a raw rough sound which complements Charger’s style of rock.

I did enjoy the set, but can’t say that I really got a buzz from the band.

DEANA SYKES

PANAMA

1988

PANAMA – Wellington, Shepherds Bush, London

PANAMA, DESPITE the Van Halen-esque moniker, are a substantial hard rock band every inch the younger and fitter brother of, say, Dio or Iron Maiden (not as ‘eavy). With a sense of the epic, big stage, five band members and lotsa lights, they chomped and chewed their way through an hour or so of my precious time without making me wish I was somewhere else. A major factor in Panama’s favour, then, the ability to entertain and hold one’s eye. Oh, and they also happen to have a stack of bloody good songs.

Pulling out the binoculars for a moment it didn’t take me long to recognise that ex-Airrace man Toby Saddler was grappling with the biggest bass I’d seen all week and hey, isn’t drummer Graeme Crallan the same geezer who was once a member of long lost Wimpwire favou rites White Spirit? Yup, but even their relative experience didn’t for a moment threaten to overshadow the colossal might of superhuman vocalist Tony something or other.

So what about the songs? Built on firm riffs, blasted out by two exotic guitar swinging henchmen, each toon, thank heaven, had a slow beginning, a Kerrunching middle and catastrophic finale. Well constructed, superbly arranged and stuffed full of hip swaying melody, I didn’t spot one duffer amongst the lot and made a special note of ‘Loser’, ‘Painted Lady’ and ‘Cold Hearts’ which despite the tacky titles had me grappling furiously with an imaginary Stratocaster.

A good show all right and I’m gonna be checking those Shrapnel pages very carefully for upcoming tour dates because this is one band I certainly don’t want to turn my snotty nose up at any more.

DEREK OLIVER

WILD!

1988

WILD! – Royal Standard, Walthamstow

TONIGHT IS a tragedy. Tonight Wild! sunk low and they know it. Tonight potential died on its feet and it’s not a pretty sight.

Unfortunate as it is, mildly Wild! are not yet a live band. Sure, they play on a stage but then so do strippers. Wild!, and vocalist Nikki Brookes in particular, are still impressed with a stage. They still treat it with respect. When you play to an audience of 18 it’s no use playing Rock ‘n’ Roll stars. It fools no-one.

Nikki Brookes is an experienced lady. She can sing to wake the dead but tonight she is out of context and out on her own. The between-song banter is embarrassing and the band know it. They kick with muscle before Nikki’s finished reading her cue-cards and sipping cider, cruelly cutting short the chat.

There’s a table of four in front of me. Boys and girls, friends of Nikki. She could have used the ten-feet gap between table and stage to scream in the faces of her friends. She could have crossed that divide and made tonight happen for those of us that bothered to turn out. Instead she winks at her friends and giggles like a Silly rock doll in spandex and scarves.

They have the material. ‘Don’t Look Back’ and ‘Starlight’ have true potential in the Big Boy Rock league, but tonight they fall flat on deaf ears. You may even have heard the Radio One sessions. They’ve been played twice.

Dave Wild exchanges lovers’ looks with Nikki and battles on with the show. He’s a fine player. Even on his back having tripped arse-over-tit. He should ditch the nut-crushing, purple-stretch strides and think about his songs. Forget about Steve Vai. Forget about Richie Sambora. Think Prince.

Wild! may just be too late for this bandwagon. They need humility and they need a serious re-think on their presentation. They don’t need the embarrassment of being refused an encore.

Nobody cheers. Nobody cries. There isn’t even any laughter. There is no reaction and that is sad. For a capable mainstream rock act to suffer the indignity of total indifference is to know the pits.

I’m sorry.

CHRIS WATTS

PADDY GOES TO HOLLYHEAD

1988

PADDY GOES TO HOLLYHEAD: The Greyhound, Fulham

However, all was not lost and onstage walked Danny Hynes, the vocalist for Paddy Goes To Hollyhead. Danny, ex-Weapon, looking brilliant as usual, was joined by guitarists Mal McNulty and Andy Scott, still sounding ‘Sweet’, and the brilliant Bruce Bisland on drums with Jeff Brown on bass, both ex-Statetrooper. The evening really began to swing and the greatest appeal the Paddies have is that onstage they really do enjoy themselves, and this rubs off onto the crowd.

Danny was in excellent voice and along with the rest of the band got their excellent performance off to a really good start, Any set that includes an Abba number and still keeps the audience rocking must be good.

DEANA SYKES

JOKERS WILD

1988

JOKERS WILD, Greyhound, Fulham

LETS HEAR it for the little guys! Yeah, Jokers Wild are the kind of home-loving melodic rock band that make you feel as entertained as, say, Bon Jovi or Survivor do, Theirs is a class sound with highly effective blobs of angly melody and wicked amounts of raw energy. But hey, don’t go crying to mummy about how this is yet another British rock band trying to muscle their way onto the AOR gravy train. Oh no, Jokers Wild have got far more suss than to let that happen.

Like FM but unlike, say, Terraplane, what Jokers Wild have got going for them are great songs and a great vocalist. Stewing up a nice little hotch potch of brazen hard rock bravado and silky smooth schmaltz, the band played something in the region of fifteen or so songs without managing to bore. They even went so far as to keep me well away from the bar, not that it was particularly crowded you understand (the other punters were glued to the stage like me!) it just seemed like bad second choice!

Band leader and hot shot guitar player Robin Yates has, after quite a few false starts, finally assembled an ideal line-up for a band whose heritage I seem to recall stretches way back to the early ‘8Os (maybe even the late ‘70s!). They look good with neat stage clothes, not overtly ritzy in the Tigertailz mad cap fashion or unduly dull like the dismal clobber worn by Little Angels, just neat and kind of straight to the point.

The vocalist, whose name I can’t quite remember although a dicky bird whispered to me that he used to be in Bronze (after Max Bacon left), has a fantastic voice full of the gusto peddled by such luminaries as Joe Lynn Turner and Lou Gramm, but let’s get him teamed up with a tailor or two.

Plenty of high-grade songs to groove on down to, including a swell rendition of their recently released single ‘Don’t Fall In Love’, which had a few punters including yours truly falling over themselves in an effort to lend a wind pipe or two to the chorus. Neat keyboard touches and some fabulous and, let’s not beat around the bush here. sensitive drumming puts this song into a class of its own, beating the recorded version by a mile. Ditto their next single, finance pending. ‘The Simple Life’.

Yeah, it’s no secret that I’ve already pencilled this lot in for bigger and more impressive things. Given the right backing, some more prestigious gig supports and a record deal (indie or major, though I’d opt for the former at this stage), Jokers Wild will have little trouble attaining the heights reached by a multitude of similar acts and further to eventual stardom.

The seed of success has been sowed, so let’s cultivate the bugger.

DEREK OLIVER

IRON HEART

JANUARY 1988

IRON HEART: ‘Runninq Away’ (Listen Records) – singles reviewed by Chris Welch

Ambitious debut 12-inch single from a Reading-based band that sounds more sophisticated than the cover shot (which shows a man about to shoot himself in the mouth) would suggest. A semi classical keyboard introduction paves the way for a fairly driving performance that shows the band have plenty of potential.

ARAGON

JANUARY 1988

ARAGON: ‘Break It Up’ (Cassette) – singles reviewed by Chris Welch

Very workmanlike, solid power rock from a Sussex-based outfit, who have been somewhat influenced by the mighty Megadeth in their use of grinding, angry guitar riffs. Not a bad model and it means they have a good base to work from as they develop their careers. Good luck lads,

ASLAN

JANUARY 1988

ASLAN – LOVING ME LATELY (EMI) – Review by Chris Welch

Highly rated newcomers from Ireland who sound like they mean business with a performance that is probably a shade too fast for radio plays. Apparently, scientific research has shown millions tune out when the rhythmic pulse becomes too frantic. Pity, because I find this all rather exciting, with its shouting, bawling, hammering and bashing. Uh oh – I just heard, Wireless Telegraphy House have given it the thumbs down.

OVER AND OUT

JANUARY 1988

OVER AND OUT – MARQUEE, LONDON

Their debut Marquee slot and, believe me, Over And Out have something special. Vocalist Jeanette is Irish and quite superb. In time she’ll have to ditch the ‘Rock Chick’ image, the mediocre Metal band and even the ‘let’s boogie’ raps. In twelve months she’ll be unstoppable! Her acid ballad, ‘Prove Me Wrong’, could be sheer genius. The rest is formula, adult Rock but still cannot detract from Jeanette’s presence, feel and, Goddammit, power! As I say, twelve months.