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.

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