TKO

Music For Nations Magazine 1984

The year 1984 has been a great one for the resurrection of sadly overlooked bands from the ‘70’s. The newest name added to that list is T.K.O. This is a different T.K.O. from the band that released the LP ‘Let lt Roll’ back in 1979. But is it really? The one thing that stood out in my mind about that LP were the powerful vocals of Brad Sinsel. And now6 years later it is that same Brad Sinsel who is the driving force behind this version of TKO.

This edition includes ex-Culprit members Kjartan Kristofferson and Scott Earl on guitars and bass respectively and Ken Mary on drums. Ken Mary is the newest member of T.K.O. as Brad Sinsel recently picked him out of the Randy Hansen group to replace Michael Alersich. According to Sinsel “It’s just another change of the many changes we’ve had since 1979. We’ve had 8 guitarists, 6 drummers and at least S bass players. I’m thing of building a rest home for ex-T.K.O. members!’

It’s good to see Brad can keep a sense of humour about the whole thing because it’s been an uphill fight for Brad Sinsel since the band was created. In 1979, T.K.O. released their debut LP ‘Let It Roll’ on Infinity Records. Says Brad, “You remember Infinity don’t you? They’re the same folks who signed The Pope up to do an LP for 1 million dollars. I think it’s now getting round to being released. Anyway, that’s when the parent company MCA said enough is too much’: Needless to say T.K.0. never did have the chance to do another LP on Infinity. After that came problems with Sins el’s previous management which tied the band up for a considerable period of time.

The band have recently signed for Music for Nations for the U.K. and Europe and Combat Records for America. The first release is an album entitled ‘In Your Face’ released November 16th.

So, five years later T.K.O.’s second LP has finally been released. ‘In Your Face’ contains 10 of the best Heavy Metal/Hard Rock songs ever written in the ‘80’s. Instant classics like ‘I Wanna Fight ‘Danger City’ and my personal favourite ‘Run Out Of Town’ with the brilliant line “it’s either somebody’s daughter or somebody’s wife.” Great stuff!

It may have taken 5 years but any T.K.O. fan would tell you this LP is worth it.

Mike Vergane – Metal Forces

 

ALASKA

Music For Nations Magazine 1984

 

BERNIE MARSDEN’s first serious musical venture was with a band called Skinny Cat based in the Oxford/Bucks area way back in 1970.

In 1973, having turned pro, BERNIE MARSDEN joined Phil Mogg in UFO (a well kept secret for years) moving onto join ex-Jethro Tull bassist Glen Cornick in Wild Turkey continually touring the UK and Europe where he met Cozy Powell who was then with Bedlam. With the two bands touring, a close relationship formed between Cozy and Bernie, which led them to both joining the legendary Hammer with a line that was then unacolainied: Don Airey, dive Chapman (from Jeff Beck and Cozy Powell’s band) Bernie Marsden on guitar, Franic Aiello vocals Neil Murray then replaced Clive Chapman and the line up remained the same until the band split in 1975, unfortunately without recording an album,

After the disappointment of Hammer’s demise, Bernie joined Babe Ruth and recorded two albums for Capitol Records ‘Stealin’ Home’ and ‘Kid’s Stuff in 1975 and ‘77. ‘Kid’s Stuff saw the appearance of names like Don Airey Nell Murray and Cozy Powell on the album. It has been described as the first Bernie Marsden solo album masquerading as Babe Ruth.

After Babe Ruth, Bernie started his long working relationship with the Deep Purple camp, joining PAL – Paice, Ashton, Lord in ‘76. The band produced one album ‘Malice In Wonderland, on Polydor.

Whilst working in Munich on the second unreleased PAL album, Bernie Marsden met David Coverdale and a new team was created. Upon David’s return to the UK, the song writing of Coverdale, Marsden, Moody was formed and the birth of White snake evolved in the Punk boom year late ‘77.

With record companies only willing to sign, an EP ‘Snakebite’ was released on white vinyl, now a collectors item at £20 a copy.

EMI signed the band and songs like Come On’, ‘Love Hunter’ and classic rock hit ‘Fool For Your Loving’ followed.

In 1979 Japan offered Bernie a solo album, he recorded “And About Time Too’ with Cozy Powell, Jon Lord, Simon Philips, Ian Paice, Neil Murray, Don Airey and the legendary Jack Bruce on bass guitar. “A dream come true, Jack Bruce playing on my solo album, I kept pinching myself’, said Bernie.

After a heavy Whitesnake tour, an incredible 7 albums in five years and a second solo LP ‘Look At Me Now’ the seeds of a split were sown, quote from Bernie “1 just wanted to do something new, Whitesnake was a great band to be in, but after five years of heavy touring the edges were beginning to fray We departed all close friends, if I had stayed longer l don’t think that would have happened”. The split occurred in May1982.

Out of the limelight Bernie took time off to write new material, BERNIE MARSDEN’s ALASKA emerged with a line-up as follows:- BERNIE MARSDEN guitar (ex-Hammer, Babe Ruth, Whitesnake), RICHARD BAILEY keyboards (ex-Magnum, Trapeze), ROBERT HAWTHORN vocals, JOHN MARTER drums (ex-Voyager, Marillion), BRIAN BADHAMS bass (ex-Rainmaker).

The end product of this collaboration is ‘Heart Of The Storm’ (MFN 23) released on Music For Nations on May 11th. A single ‘Susie Blue’ was also taken from the album and received extensive National airplay. Since then Richard Bailey has left the band to play keyboards with Whitesnake. During October’84 Alaska toured Europe as special guest to Manowar.

A new album from the now four piece Alaska is due early ‘85.


WENDY O WILLIAMS

Music For Nations Magazine 1984

From the moment Wendy O. Williams‘(aka WOW) made her rock and roll debut in July 1978 at CBGB’s in NYC, she has generated more controversy and excitement than any other woman in the history of rock. Born in the rural farm country of upstate New York, Wendy made her first appearance on national TV when she won a local tap dancing contest at the age of six and was sent all expenses paid to appear on the Howdy Doody Show Later, as a teenager, Wendy did a short stint as a scholarship whiner at the prestigious Eastman School of Music,

Shortly after, still in her teens, Wendy left home and the stifling existence that she says was “preparing her for a nine to five job somewhere in nowhere.” This was an idea she could not endure. Wendy travelled the world working here way through Europe, and hitchhiking across the US. She worked as a dancer with a gypsy dance troupe, a macrobiotic cook, a lifeguard and a dominatrix in a live sex show. She travelled from Boulder, Colorado, where she lived in a tent, via Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where she lived on the beach to the Himalayas where she studied with a mystic guru.

By the time Wendy returned to the United States, she was determined to have a rock and roll band that would “shake the complacency out of a tired rock establishment’; and that’s exactly what she did. With conceptual artist, Rod Swenson, she formed the PLASMATICS, and the Dominatrix Of The Decibels was born. Within a year the Plasmatics had become the biggest cult group of their time, releasing their own single on Vice Squad Records, Wendy and the Plasmatics became the first group to ever headline NY’s Palladium at regular ticket prices without a major recording contract.

Soon, the group signed to Stiff Records, and the single ‘Butcher Baby’, featuring chainsaws ripping guitars made it into the British top 40 charts. A headlining show at London’s Hammersmith Odeon (during which Wendy planned to blow-up a car onstage, a feat she had already accomplished in the US) was banned by the Great London Council on the grounds that Wendy would “whip the audience into a frenzy’

Three US and one European tour followed the release of two albums ‘New Hope For The Wretched’ and ‘Beyond The Valley Of 1984’ and the EP ‘Metal Priestess’ on Stiff Records. Highlights of this period include what Roman Kozak of Billboard called “the most explosive stunt in the history of rock and roll’; during which Wendy drove a Cadillac into a stage loaded with explosives, jumping out moments before the entire car and stage were blow sky-high. The event took place in front of 12,000 people on Pier 62 in NYC and was covered by national TV and live by all three local network affiliates.

Wendy’s sense of style dominated the media as she became the first woman in history to go on national television with a Mohican haircut and appeared on People Magazine’s best dressed list where designer Betsey Johnson cited her as a lead “on the razor’s edge of fashion’. More controversy followed with the now famous arrests in Milwaukee and Cleveland and the first amendment cases that followed. Wendy won both cases.

Subsequently, Wendy recorded a one-off manic metal cover version of Tammy Wynette’s ‘Stand By Your Man’ with Lemmy from Motorhead. In the summer of 1982, Wendy and the Plasmatics recorded ‘Coup D’Etat’ with Scorpions producer Dieter Dierks in Germany. The album was released in the late Autumn worldwide by Capitol Records. The record was followed by the news-making and now classic video of the song ‘The Damned’ during which Wendy drove a school bus through a wall of 100 TVs, climbed onto the roof of the moving bus, and jumped off the roof moments before the bus crashed through a second wall of 100 TV’s and exploded.

In the spring of 1983, the Plasmatics toured as a special guest with KISS, and Wendy met Gene Simmons. Gene approached Wendy about producing a Wendy O. Williams album. The idea and the chemistry seemed perfect and plans were made to record the first Wendy solo album in NYC that summer. “My objective is to be the heaviest female singer in rock and roll:’ says Wendy “Gene is the perfect producer for me. He’s a master of metal and understands what I’m trying to say and what I want to get out:’

When Malcolm Dome from Kerrang! previewed two of the tracks from the album he said”.., like the combined armed forces of the NATO allies joint manoeuvres. Heavy? Compared to the sock-it-to-em sounds on these tracks, Godzilla is a mere introverted mouse in carpet slippers!’ The album features a special guest solo by Ace Frehley and other surprises. A video is in the works which Wendy says “be so strong, it’ll make the rest of the stuff that’s out there look like child’s play”

In early May Wendy O. Williams signed to Music For Nations for the UK and Europe and the album entitled ‘WOW’ was released on June 15th. The album was greeted with rave reviews in all magazines and went straight into the UK National Album Charts on the week of release.

EARTHSHAKER

Music For Nations Magazine 1984

Along with Loudness, Earthshaker are currently Japan’s hottest Metallic property They have, in much the same way as Motley Crue, become a teenage cult in the USA, captured the imagination of the Nipponese youth to a degree hitherto unprecedented by any home grown act.

They have in short become idols. Formed originally 5 years ago the line-up finally stabilised in late 1980 as Masafumi ‘Marcy” Nishida vocals and visual dynamics, Shinichiro “Shara” Ishihara guitar, Takayuki Kai bass and the tremendous Yoshihiro Kudo drums.

After a lengthy period of gigging they released their debut album ‘Earthshaker’ in March’83 and it proved to be quite an album, featuring some exceeding hot guitar licks from Shara and some precise yet powerful drumming from Kudo. The album also boasted a cut called “Dark Angel (Animals)” penned by one Adrian Smith (guitarist with Iron Maiden).

The band admit to a strong Y&T influence, indeed they supported the U.S. act at the 1982 Japan Heavy Metal Festival. Other influences on the band include Deep Purple and the Scorpions and there is a strong European feel to their music which has helped elevate them to large venue status in Japan.

Their second LP ‘Fugitive’ was a surprisingly tuneful affair recorded at The Automat in California and again met with great critical approval. The band’s strength seems to lie in a combination of tight punchy, almost poppy tunes played well and recorded excellently It’s a winning formula that bodes well for their up and coming album release ‘Midnight Flight’.

The band have yet to play in the UK but as the live side of their recently released EP ‘T-O-K-Y-O’ shows, they really do go for the throat live. Hopefully it won’t be long before they visit these shores and it should be a sight worth seeing.

Geoff Gillespie.

 

WAYSTED

Music For Nations Magazine 1984

It’s only a year since Waysted first formed, but they’ve already come a mighty long way down rock’n’roll, Fabled wild man Pete Way started recruiting suitable henchmen for his new project even before lie walked out on UFO’s sinking ship, and continued to do so while he marked time playing with Ozzy Osbourne, and co-creating last year’s U.S. success story Fastway with Motorhead’s Fast Eddie Clarke. His most significant find was an unknown Glaswegian called Fin More whose tonsil talents were first spotted by respected publisher/ piss artist Bob Halfin, father of Way’s perverted partner in grime HM photographer Ross Halfin. Way agreed with Bob’s conclusion that Fin’s grittily soulful vocals made him one of the most impressive new singers around. The rest of the band were Ronnie Kayfleld (ex-Heartbreakers) on guitar, Frank Noon (ex-Def Leppard) on drums, and Kipper Raymond (ex-UFO) on guitar/keyboards.

Instantly snapped up by Chrysalis, Waysted recorded a debut LP called ‘Vices’ with Mick Glossop at the controls. It was released to significant critical approval and firmly established Way’s new venture as a heavy rock band of the first order, like UFO without the schmaltz.

Proving it live came next. Waysted blagged a support slot on the sell-out Dio tour and played like heroes. But the more bigoted amongst the British hardcore HM audience were hostile to Fin’s stylish dress sense (dapper Victorian topcoat, frilly dicky and wolf-head cane), although he was and remains too much of an individual to ever pander to such pathetic prejudices.

Waysted were better received in the States the following February when they trod the boards as opening act on the myth-making Ozzy/Motley Crue package tour. But under the pressures of such massive audiences, the cracks began to show For starters, Frank Noon just didn’t hit as handsomely hard and heavy live as he had done on vinyl. While after Kipper had been sacked for “superstar-itis”, without his guiding presence, Ronnie Kayfield’s frenetic fretwork so impressive on ‘Vices’, tended to degenerate into an undisciplined mess.

Waysted were experiencing other problems too – with their record company and their management. Chrysalis hassles stemmed from the Euro-section of the Dio tour. Seems the barmy bassist was so wrecked in Brussels that he was left coaxing the confused crowd through a sing-along of ‘Too Hot Too Handle’ blissfully unaware that the band had finished the set and walked off stage minutes before. Add to that a catalogue of hotel disgraces which resulted in three telexes of formal complaint winging their way back to London and, well, the businessmen were livid. Who did these guys think they were? The Who or something? Waysted’s management responded by banning all alcohol backstage. A Draconian measure that backfired badly when Pete sacked them! And so by the summer of ‘84, Waysted had parted company with their record company their management, and the band members who good as they were on the club circuit just couldn’t cut it at the stadium size shows. Only Fin and Pete, the real Waysted writing talent, were left.

But snobby London cynics had started writing the band off premature. They should have known that any man with a devotion to rock’n’roll as advanced as Way’s (cut him and he bleeds vinyl) wasn’t going to give up that easy.

After meeting Motley Crue’s seriously insane drummer ‘Tommy Lee’, they decided to try out former Angelic Upstarts beat keeper Decca Wade. But when he turned out to be too wild even for Waysted, Way contacted his old UFO drum chum Andy Parker who came without hesitation to supply The Big Beat from 9,000 miles away. Says Pete “no-one else was good enough”. Next came three days of auditions for would-be guitar heroes. They discovered Neil Shepherd, a 17 year old veteran of the Jess Cox Band who, as the ‘Waysted’ album shows, has the potential to develop into a significant six-string slinger.

The new line-up’s first demo sounded red-hot to Music For Nations, the biggest, most impressive noise on Britain’s healthy HM indie scene, And ‘Waysted’ (produced by Leo Lyons, another UFO connection) is the first fruits of their alliance.

If anything it’s more impressive than even ‘Vices’. A five track mini LP, it showcases not only the tough rock attack that characterised the band’s earlier recording, but also bolder material like ‘Hurt So Good’ a ballsy ballad in the Faces/Steve Miller vein, and the epical set-closer ‘Cinderella Boys’ which sounds like vintage Iggy Pop meets Rose Tattoo’s ‘Butcher & Fast Eddie’ and deals with the Libyan Embassy siege! As with their music, Waysted’s lyrics aren’t designed to wallow in the same well-ploughed sex/drugs/shock-horror furrows as the bulk of modern metallers.

Waysted’s commitment is to pure r’n’r, rather than clichéd mainstream metal. And as a band they’re determined to establish their own individuality within that frame work (which is why Fin won’t ever trade his togs for boring denim and leather).

As Way himself says: “Waysted are definitely an extension of rock’n’roll. We’re not interested in what’s fashionable. No one else is playing hard r’n’r like us, with a great guitar sound, powerful bass, dynamite drums, great songs and great singing. We don’t believe in uniforms and we haven’t got a fad to fall back on. We’re a totally honest band. We just get up there, plug in and play. We’re like the Faces or the Stones in that sense, down to earth. I like to think that if Eddie Cochran was alive today he’d sound like us”.

‘To coincide with the release of their mini LP, Waysted went on tour as special guests to Iron Maiden. It was at this time that they decided to swap Nell Shepherd’s youth for Paul Chapman’s experience. The result was astonishing. The tour was a major success for the band who received standing ovations and encores every night. Within four days of its release in the UK the mini album went straight into the National album charts and reached No. 4 in the Heavy Metal Chart.

The band are currently writing and rehearsing new songs for their next album which is to be recorded in January 1985.

Gary Bushell.