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



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.


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.


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.



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.



Aerosmith interview with Dante Bonutto – all pics by Ross Halfin

“When I’m not playing l have to try and keep myself busy, and I hate it. Why kid myself that I’m going to be a good boy! I’m a guitar player and that’s what I should be doing. “ – Jimmy Crespo, Aerosmith.

“What’s the rock star look? You’re looking at it!” – Rick Dufay, Aerosmith

For this outfit, formed in New Hampshire in the summer of 1970, rock’n’roll isn’t simply something that happens onstage. Rather -and without wishing to sound melo-dramatic – it’s a way of life, an uncontrived attitude and air embracing everything from mode of attire (casually draped scarves are BIG in this band) to a sleepless, us-against-the-world look guaranteed to explore the nostrils of petty authority figures and humdrum nine-to-fivers.

Simply, Aerosmith play Rock and Roll because it’s the natural thing to do. The reason why at the end of 1980, though beset with problems and under pressure to produce a follow-up to the excellent ‘Night in the Ruts’ LP, the chose to breach the curtain in a number of East Coast dives. New York’s ultra-sleazy Privates club included.

Imagine the surprise of your soaraway correspondent on the spot purely by chance, as five elegantly wasted figures followed Humble Pie onstage around 2am and proceeded to soften up those in attendance with some copious chord-play.
Clearly, the band were alive and well-as-could-be-expected, but worrying tales, smacking heavily of heresy and hokum, soon began to filter through on the rock’n’roll grapevine. One pointed to a final split, another, more alarmingly, to vocalist Steven Tyler having cancer of the throat but when ‘Rock In A Hard Place’, the band’s eighth album, finally surfaced in September’82, some three years after ‘NITR’, it was clear that neither story was true and that Aerosmith were still very much in the removal business-roofs that is.

Founder member/guitarists Joe Perry and Brad Whitford by this time split with the ranks, but their replacements, Jimmy Crespo and Paris born Rick Dufay, joining in October ’79 and December ’91 respectively, seemed to have matters well in hand.

With heavy rock being essentially a guitar-orientated music, you’d expect a complete overhaul in the rhythm’n’lead dept. to drastically alter a band’s sound. But, as far as Aerosmith are concerned, this hasn’t proved the case, their prolonged absence from the scene making it possible for Crespo, in particular, to be absorbed into the ranks with a minimum amount of upheaval.

As well as collaborating with Tyler on the original material, he’s responsible for virtually all the guitars on the album (Dufay plays rhythm on one track and Whitford, who went his own way in the early stages of recording, provides a similar service on ‘Lightning Strikes’), yet the final product retains that distinctive Aerosmith feel. The scathing, saw-tooth guitar, the maverick lead and beneath that near-lazy, syncopated swagger (actually the result of much hard graft), all brought to life by Jack Douglas who hallmarked the production.

It’s definitely Aerosmith, at times definitively so, and while at first certain aspects – the early-hours say of ‘Push Comes To Shove’, the delicate balance of ‘Joanie’s Butterfly’- proved hard to come to terms with – it’s an album that continued to throw up new, often subtle, delights.

Clearly there was no shortage of studio flair, but what about on stage? Aerosmith’s US appeal, after all, was largely forged through back-to-back touring so how would the Crespo/Dufay alliance stand up live? And would long-standing ‘Smith fans accept them, anyway?

This was a super, superstar band in the present day Journey sense of the word and despite recent (apparent) inactivity, their presence in the hotel induced a certain starry-eyed gaze amongst the younger members of staff, one of whom can barely believe he’s been invited to the show by Tyler himself. The rock’n’roll circus has come to town…

Though only on road some two and a half weeks, concentrating on the more out of the way places along the east coast, tales had already been drifting back of across the boards sell-outs, kids being mugged for their tickets with baseball bats and police being summoned to calm things down. Fortunately, however, there’s no over-the-top chicanery tonight, though inside the halt, a large Wembley/NEC-style superstructure, the atmosphere is explosive, ready to blow…

The houselights dim, the swirling ‘shower scene’ music from ‘Psycho’ rattles the PA and thousands of hoisted lighters signal the band’s presence on the darkened stage. Any second now and… in an instant the lights are up and the Hitchcockian preamble cremated in a fireball of sound discernible as the opening strains of ‘Back In The Saddle’, now very much a statement of intent; confirmation that the bit firmly clenched once more.

For the rest of the set, past-album fodder such as ’Big Ten Inch Record’, ‘Walk This Way’, ‘Sweet Emotion’, ‘Milkcow Blues’, ‘Reefer Headed’ Woman’ and (of course) ’Dream On’, with everyone singing in unison, mingles with material from the current album. ‘Jailbait’ and ‘Lightning Strikes’ coming across best in the surprising absence of ‘Push Comes to Shove’ and ‘Joanie’s Butterfly’.

It is, however, early days. The backdrop has yet to arrive and the presentation of the songs is being chopped and changed all the time, though it’s instantly clear that the arrival of Crespo and Dufay has tightened the band considerably and given an extra punch to the sound with no noticeable drop in spontaneity close-to-the-edge excitement – very much the Aerosmith trademark.

Original members Tom Hamilton (bass) and Joey Kramer (drums), work closely together, unflappable to a tee, while Crespo, finding himself in the Aerosmith ranks largely through the influence of one Richie Supa (a friend of Tylers’s who wrote
‘Lightning Strikes’), having previously recorded two albums with RCA band Flame, handles most of the leadwork, a relatively sedate foil to firecracker Dufay, introduced to Tyler and co by Jack Douglas, producer of his 1980 (digitally recorded) solo album ‘Tender Loving Abuse’.

Situated behind Crespo, stage-left, is another new face, that of keyboard man Bobby Mayo. A Yonker’s contemporary of Tyler and Kramer who’s previously seen action with both Frampton and Foreigner, he’s classed as a ‘sideman-and-a-half, earning high praise from the band for scorning the dramatic synth and concentrating his digits on rock’n’roll piano.

Altogether an impressive line-up, the new blood and the old blending together in a heady, heavy brew, though in terms of sheer onstage charisma, it’s Tyler who steals the honours by a stylish long neck.

At an earlier gig he’d collapsed towards the end of the set (over-indulgence rearing its ugly head again) but on this occasion it’s alI systems go as, exuding ragamuffin chic, he casts his waif-like frame about the stage and, employing the scarf-infested mike-stand as an extra limb, leads the band through a final, tearaway ‘Toys In The Attic’ before bringing them back for the inevitable ’Train Kept A Rollin’’.

And now. . . the interview! In the dressing room after the gig Tyler’s attitude to the whole affair is so casual that I half expect to be left wearing a trench in the
Carpet. But once back at the hotel it isn’t long before four-fifths of the band – Tyler, Hamilton, Crespo and Dufay, the latter nursing a bottle of champagne – are assembled in my room, the designated interview site.

Kramer, for some reason, never materialises but it barely matters as Tyler (aka Tallerico), reposing cross-legged on the bed, proves in talkative mood… so what’s the story behind ‘Joanie’s Butterfly’?

Tyler: “lt was just a dream I had, yet people hear ‘hooved’ and fur’ and they think it’s the devil, my first meeting with him,”

It sounds like there’s some sort of creature involved, though…

Tyler: “Yes there is, it’s a Pegasus, a unicorn Pegasus. When I woke up l put the whole thing down.. . it took a long time to write that number.”

Crespo: “It had a whole development – first off I wrote the song at my apartment in New York and l wasn’t really thinking of using it, it was just something that I dug. I thought maybe I’d put it on the next record as an instrumental piece, for like a minute, y’know, and then I played the basic chord structure to Steven, he dug it, lived with it for a couple of months and came up with a poem that knocks the shit out of me. The lyrics came a couple of days later.”

Will if eventually be added to the set?

Crespo:  “Oh yeah, it’s gonna be hot shit. . . we’re working on a way of doing it with a whole staging thing: It’s a special song.

Dufay: “Right now we’re just getting into the groove of playing; we’ve only done five, six, seven gigs and the shit’s got to come together on that one.”

And what about ‘Push Comes To Shove?

Tyler: “I’d love to do it, but the girl part, that’s falsetto….”

Dufay (shaking head): “It’s a risky business.”

Tyler: “We’ll have to get in some chick singers.”

Why did you bring in Jack Douglas to put the final touches to ‘Rock in a Hard Place’ when you started the album with Tony Bongiovi as producer?

Tyler: “The thing is Tony could put every thing down, and he did it good, but it wasn’t personal enough. It was just coming out like another new-wave thing. Then he stopped showing up because we wanted to take more time than the average band. So we decided to jack it in and I went overt o see Douglas who was happening again. He’d done John Lennon’s album and he was just getting over his death…”

Why wasn’t he involved with ‘Night in The Ruts’?

Tyler: “Well, he’d worked on Joe Perry’s album and had just had enough of the whole thing. It didn’t work out between he and Joe, and we wanted to try somebody new anyhow. He said: ‘Well F**k it then!’ and our egos were just inflated enough for us to say: ‘Well, F*** you too!’ So we split and got Gary Lyons in to produce ‘Night in the Ruts’ which I think is a great album.”

Why did Joe Perry leave the band?

Tyler: “Well, for a start Joe didn’t leave the band… he was at odds with the rest of the band generally on how we should conduct ourselves. We’d slowed down touring which he didn’t like. Actually, he’d been thinking about doing his own thing for a long time – at first he was going to do it within the context of the band but then things started to get pretty heated, y’know.

“He chose to make a big stink – which resulted in him being gone, and he did it at the wrong time. The record business was going through a slide.,

Tyler: “And there were a lot of outside influences causing that whole trip that should never have been. When it’s a band it’s a band, it’s the boys… and then I heard he was doing three or four Aerosmith tunes in his live show. How does he expect to pull that off? I have trouble doing them!”

And what about Brad Whitford?

Hamilton: “We were getting ready to do one of the basic tracks for the new albumin New York and he just called from the airport in Boston saying he wasn’t coming -period.”

Tyler: “Again it was due to outside influences. I’m not going to say what but I’m sure you’re reading things into this (what I’m reading into this and the Perry situation is the female influence, but remember I said that) It’s hard for me to believe that they can let other people run their lives.”

Do you think the band’s long absence from the scene was a healthy thing?

Tyler: “Oh yeah, to sit back and take a look around is real good for a group, especially one that went to the magnitude we did. We played so many places in the US it was overkill – when I had my accident (he lost a heel while riding a bike wearing moccasins) we were on the road for eight to nine months at a time hitting all the biggest places. It’s only us, Presley and The Who who’ve sold out Pontiac Stadium (Detroit), we were doing such gig undo gigs it was ridiculous.”

Was there ever a point over the past three years when Aerosmith ceased to exist?

Tyler: “No, never. Even when I was hospitalised the band were still rehearsing and sending me up cassettes and I would play them on my Sony by the bed with the nurses telling me to turn that shit off.”

How was ‘Rock In A Hard Place’ been received by the US media?

Hamilton: “Well, surprisingly so…”

Tyler: “Yeah, it’s starting to worry me. We were always a band that got shit reviews and were never played on the radio.”

Why do you think there’s been this change of heart?

Tyler: “Well, I guess since we left there hasn’t really been any good rock’n’roll. We’ve been missed. I don’t want to get big-headed about it but I love a good rock’n’roIl show, y’know with people getting up and kicking ass, and I’m not talking about Heavy Metal where everyone drivels and drools when they’re playing E-minor.”

So you wouldn’t define Aerosmith as a HM band then?

Tyler: “No, I think our music is more rock’n’roll. But heavy and aggressive like it should be.”

What’s the band’s financial position at the moment?

“We’re committing most of what we earn to the stage set, a video for ‘Lightning Strikes’ we’ve already done and another video we intend to do using a new kind of 3-D system that some big Hollywood studios have put millions of dollars into. From what Steven tells me, you just sit there and things come out of the screen at you.”

Tyler: “And you have to duck! . . .The offer that we’re getting on this 3D is that it will go with a trailer for Jaws III which should be out in the summer.”

Hamilton: “And supposedly the next ‘Star Wars’ movie will use this system.”

Tyler: “Let me tell you, the movies are never going to be the same again. It’s unreal!”
There seemed to be a feeling that you weren’t overly concerned with Britain and British audiences when you toured here in ‘76. Is that fair comment?

Hamilton: “Playing England was a lot like when we first started in New York because both places have been hearing the best for years and they’re not easily impressed. A lot of our style is patterned after English bands, when we went there, we felt resistance from the audiences and the press. I don’t know, maybe we didn’t smile enough.”

Surprise, surprise, Aerosmith do care about this country. Very much so, in fact. If I were you I’d forget about the ‘76 UK tour and the notorious 65-minute Hammersmith set and recall instead the band’s performance the following year at The Reading Festival, an altogether happier showing, or better still look forward to late summer/early winter next year when, after probable visits to Australia and Japan, Aerosmith hope to return to these shores, perhaps slotting in a second Reading appearance.

“That place was crazy, it was a sea of people,” recollects Tyler, road manager Joe Baptista entering with the news that it’s now three o’clock and as we’ve all got planes to catch the next day wouldn’t it be a good idea, etc.. . There’s just time for a last question, the one I’ve always wanted to ask. Where the hell did they find the Aerosmith name?

“It was the name of a band Joey was in,” says Hamilton. “They rehearsed in a Yonkers basement but they never played.”

“It’s really just a name,” adds Tyler. “We sat around for months coming up with different ideas. We were The Hookers for a while, then Spike Jones, we had a shit load of names but nothing made sense. If you’re The Hookers you should come out looking like whores, y’know. So when we came across Aerosmith it was great – it doesn’t mean a thing!”

It has connotations, though, and it’s now associated with a certain look…

“Oh yeah, Perry has an Aerosmith face and so does he (Dufay) and this guy here (Crespo). In fact, the first time I saw Jimmy, I said: ‘Shit, there’s a guy who should be in Aerosmith!'”

“Don’t tell my mother I’ve got an Aerosmith face, will you,” says Dufay, clearly concerned. He should worry. He might have ended up in The Hookers…



Unlike most rock acts Judie Tzuke isn’t constrained by stylistic limitations and wanders happily from one extreme to the other, from ‘For You’ to ‘Black Furs’, and it’s this brave refusal to be tied down and categorised that is ironically costing her dearly.
The media cringe away from her because they’re not sure how to present her, and the consequently uninformed public (no radio airplay!) remember the frail waif who delivered ‘Stay With Me Till Dawn’ on TOTP clutching the mike-stand as if it was her only friend in the world, and draw the logical conclusions.

But Judie Tzuke snot a wimp – for heaven’s sake. She’s disarmingly frank about her failure to put her true self across, but more than a little willful in her unwillingness to co-operate. She knows what’s gone wrong, but she’s not about to grovel apologetically to those who’ve drawn the wrong conclusions – the ones who haven’t bought her records after all – and bluntly intends to do what she wants. If the mountain wont come to Mohammed then, sod it, there’s always soil erosion. Quick and easy stardom isn’t in this lady’s line of thinking at all.

“Basically I do what I do for me. I don’t do it for anybody else. They’re the ones that are missing out!” she laughs, although thoughtfully adding, “but one day they might hear it. If not they won’t catch on, but I’ll still be doing it..”

“It would be nice to be more successful, it would make things a lot easier. We’re not doing badly – we sell the same number of albums every time – but possibly we’re not going to be huge. The only reason that I would like to be more successful is so that I would have more facilities, be able to take more time over recording albums and so on, just to make them better records.

“Being huge frightens me anyway It’s bad enough now, if I go out and haven’t washed my hair or I  haven’t got make up and somebody recognises me I’m embarrassed because they’ve seen me like that – and if they don’t recognize me l wonder how bad I must look. There’s a certain obligation, if people know who you are, to be the person they think you are, not to be a disappointment.”
Eeeek, the image problem raises its beautifully coiffure head! Remember those wispily romantic posters and photos that have misrepresented her so badly? Judie freely admits that it’s her own fault.

“Now were going to try and base my image on what I’m always like, rather than what I‘m like when I’m at my best. If I’ve got to have an image then I might as well push what I actually am rather than what other people, would like me to be. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do but you go about it in the wrong way. In a photo session you naturally want to look your best – but in doing so you lose a lot of what you are.”

So what is Jude Tzuke? Simply a musician who Ioves music and loves creating it, and detests the straight-jacket that the music business can be. You can only play the business at its own game when you’re part of it, but to Judie it’s nothing more than machinery; she wants to make music, her music, and hopes that people will like it so that she can generate enough finance to keep on making it.

She’s hot crusading, not trying to deliver any great message – it’s pureIy a personal pleasure and she’s not about to manipulate the unaware in order to fuel that personal pleasure.

The simple fact is though that manipulation shouldn’t be necessary – if you listen to Judie Tzuke instead of dismissing her without hearing there would definitely be something there for one and all to savour. And never more so than on the new live album….
Reviews of the album have been universally favourable and tinged with tones of surprise -maybe the media in general are beginning to wake up to her; It’s rough and ready, a warts and all package of excellent material, well delivered, significantly different from the sanitised perfection cynics might have expected.

The mix is emphatically live, booming around the confines of the Hammersmith Odeon where it was recorded over a mere two nights on the current tour, with one track from Hitchin and one from Glastonbury the only additional recordings that were available to choose from (and were used!). No string section, just vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass drums and percussion – you know, a rock band.
“Some of the tracks I really like but some I wish could have been a bit better. To be honest I was going to insist on overdubbing the vocals – I’ve always wanted to do a live album but I’m such a perfectionist with the vocals – but I caught the flu and couldn’t overdub so I had to!

Now I’m glad that we had to leave it as it is – it’s got much more atmosphere, it sounds like I had always hoped that we sound.
Funnily enough vocally I think the best track on it for me is ‘Come Hell Or Waters High’ which we did at Glastonbury, I had a cold then, and I honestly thought I was dreadful that day. My voice was really going – usually when you are singing with a cold it doesn’t physically hurt, but it was really painful that night – and all the way through the show I was thinking ‘I can’t do it, I’ve got to tell them can’t go on.

“But when was about to do it I saw Jackson Browne standing on the side of the stage, and I’ve really liked him for years. That made me really want to do well and thought ‘damn it, no! and went. When I heard the tape I couldn’t believe it we sounded, really good…. considering it was live!”

Ironically the live album comes out at a time when the attractions of life on tour have reached their lowest point ever for Judie – the gruelling three months of dates that led up to the album have left their mark, and Judie and Pax (guitarist Mike Paxman) are now thinking about tracks for the next album, and not live dates to promote ‘Road Noise’.

Not even one or two, because keyboards player Bob Noble is about to tour with Roy Harper, whilst bassist John Edwards is currently… wait for it… a Dexys Midnight Runner!

“After the tour I just felt like giving up completely, not because it was unsuccessful in fact it did really well, but the whole thing wore me out completely and I got fed up and frustrated. I got involved far too much in the business side when I didn’t really want to, and got to a point where I didn’t like the whole thing any more.

“I’m sure we will go on tour again, it’s just that after the last one I’m sure that I was very close to a nervous breakdown. I ended up with 52 tea-sets you know! I get nervous during the day before a gig, so to relieve the nerves I suddenly developed this interest in wandering around – antique shops – I’ve been doing it now and then for years, but I suddenly became completely. obsessive about it, with the result that I’ve now got a room full of antique tea sets!

“It killed my nerves completely, instead of going on stage full of nerves I was trying to remember the colour of the teapot I’d bought that day! Afterwards I honestly thought I must have been going mad, but I met someone from the Moody BIues, and apparently he came back from an American tour with about fifty track-suits and twenty five squash rackets… and he doesn’t even play squash!”




Sheron Alton and Holly Woods of TORONTO are out to getcha

NO PUBLICITY, however sly, or sneaky or sick could have planned a better opening move. Just ask Toronto!

When this Canadian sextet first on the scene back in 1980, their debut album caused pandemonium both in Canada and the US – or at least the cover did. Depicting a rather ’too knowing’ young girl (no more than ten years old, surely!) standing on a sleazy street corner, under the LP title of ‘Lookin’ For Trouble’, the resultant uproar was deafening in the extreme.

Lead guitarist Sheron Alton recalls those days, with less than complete enthusiasm: “In Canada, they freaked out at the sleeve. We were mentioned on TV programmes about child pornography, for example. And in the States, some women’s groups tried to get the album banned.”
Eventually, when said LP trickled out in England, it was with a drastically altered cover.
“I must admit that I’ve seen worse sleeves than our original one. But, you know, this whole pornography thing wasn’t intentional just to get publicity. We were just so excited about having an album out that we never bothered to check the artwork properly.
“Besides, everything had to be done at great speed, and the idea of a little girl dressed in her mother’s clothes sounded fine at the time – if only we’d known how it was gonna turn out!”

Yet, if the sleeve proved controversial, then the music was hot, hard, and heavy. Indeed, it was undoubtedly one of 1980’s genuine high-spots. Twin guitarists Brian Allen and London-born Ms Alton were efficiently captivating, Scott Kreyer weaved neatly compact keyboard patterns, the rhythm section of bassist Nickie Costello plus Jim Fox (drums) boomed, and Holly Woods gave a vocal performance of teal torch-carrying stature. The Toronto-based outfit (well, where else would you expect them to be from – Aylesbury?) put out the LP on the then newly-formed Solid Gold label in their home territory and on A&M for the remainder of the world.

As Sheron explains “it sold really well in Canada, going gold (about 50,000 sales), and has now done about 160-170,000 copies so far.”

But…. the rest of the globe didn’t exactly get the Toronto message. Maybe part of the problem was the drawing of obvious comparisons (less than complimentary at that) to Heart.

“Yeah, this did affect us badly in the early days and doubtless when we finally come to England and also start touring the States, then we’ll find the problem still exists. But In Canada we’ve now come out of Heart’s shadow.”

In all honesty, there’s a vast gulf between Heart and Toronto – the former are more measured and production-orientated than the latter, who tend to place far more emphasis on dynamics and energy. Yet it has to be said that Toronto didn’t help their crusade for recognition in their own right by releasing last year such a thoroughly disappointing LP in the form of Terry Brown-produced ‘Head On’, on which vinyl disaster Toronto DO sound like a poor person’s Heart.

“I’d agree that ‘Head On’ was a let-down for us,” admits the lovely lead axewoman. “Part of the reason might have been down to internal strife over musical direction between Nickie and Jim on one hand and the rest of us on the other. Consequently, there was little cohesion. We also spent too much time on the production side of things, and didn’t come up with sufficient good material. And l think the public obviously felt the same way as it only sold about 110,000 copies in Canada.”

Well, whatever the excuses for this somewhat numbing vinyl blow, everything in the Toronto garden is a lot rosier now. For, the third installment in this continuing saga, the Steve Smith-produced ‘Get It On Credit’, is in Sheron’s words “more rock and more energy than the second album. It’s much more in line with ‘Lookin’ For Trouble’. We’ve actually left in some of the flaws to give it a rawer, more live feel.’

Clearly the recent departure of Costello and Fox (before ‘Get It……’was cut) has given Toronto (to paraphrase Skynyrd) ‘back their bullets’. New boys Gary Allonde (bass) and Barry Connors (drums) are much more ‘the business’ as are melodic songs like ’Run For Your Life’ and ‘Start Telling The Truth’

‘Get In On Credit’ (an apt phrase for the modem era?) represents Toronto’s first liaison in the US with small label Network.
“We’ve signed with this company ‘cos they aren’t huge and therefore can give us more personal attention than A&M ever could – there are just three acts on the label altogether! Al Coury, who owns the company, actually promoted the Beatles when they first came out to the US, so we couldn’t have a better person behind us!”

In Britain, ‘Credit’ is soon to be released on Epic, and plans ARE afoot in theory for Ms Alton and colleagues to heave themselves over here soon.

“I really wanna come and play. Being English by birth means that I, for one, would dearly love to make it in the UK.”
Perhaps someone, somewhere will follow up Toronto’s obvious interest in a Brit tour, and make sure they get over before the year is out. How about a double-header with the fabbo LA outfit Storm? In the meantime, check out ‘Get It On Credit’ – it certainly shows just why Toronto are, alongside Anvil, the most talked-about new Canuck hard rock band on the scene.




“ROCK ‘N’ ROLL is fun, but if you ever lose sight of that fact then what the hell are you doing it for? I’ve always wanted to play music as long as I can remember and I’ve never had ideas about doing anything else.

“If I wanted to make money, then I’d be selling insurance! I can recall playing for a couple of years when all I made was 10 dollars a week, if I was lucky. But I certainly don’t look back on that as being a bad experience – in fact it was a hell of a lot of fun.”

Bobby Barth, lead guitarist/vocalist with the American outfit Axe, is unquestionably a diehard rock ‘n’ roller. Originally a drummer, he first took up guitar in 1965 and has been striving to make it ever since.

At last, the years of hard graft are finally paying off and Barth is currently enjoying the most successful phase of his career to date. In recent months Axe have made chart impact in the States with their ‘Offering’ LP and they’ve also been out on the road supporting the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Cheap Trick and Judas Priest.

British rock fans might be aware of the band through their two MCA albums, which emerged in the latter part of the 70’s, and were somewhat uninspiring, lightweight pop/ rock packages. The 1982 Axe is a lot different and their Atco released LP ‘Offering’ boasts a fine array of numbers.

Produced by Al Nalli, who also handles Blackfoot, it should be available in the UK very shortly and one suspects that when they recorded it, Axe had aimed for a more live, aggressive sound than had been evidenced on the earlier platters.

Barth agrees: “Yeah, that’s what we were after – we wanted to hit out much harder. The first two albums were a little too ‘studio’ for us and so this time we just went in there and let loose.”

What happened with MCA? “Who?” laughs Bobby. “It just wasn’t right for us. We’re touring band and like to be out there playing all the time – every night we have off is no fun at all! When we were with MCA we really wanted to tour but they weren’t into it.

“The first band to really give us a shot at touring was Judas Priest. They saw the band live and said ‘Well, this is a HEAVY band!’ But the problem was that people would then listen to the albums and find that they were much lighter. In fact we ended up living under that shadow for about two years.”

Didn’t that get a bit frustrating?

“Yeah, it did. But when we got out and did some touring, the people who saw us realised what we were all about and got turned onto us.”

Unhappily though, the lack of road work during their MCA days caused Axe to break up. They recorded some demos with Judas Priest producer Tom Allom though and subsequently these led to their deal with Atco. Was it tough getting another label interested?

“It wasn’t too bad actually,” answers Bobby. “After the band had broken up I’d decided I was going to branch off on my own, I sat around for about six months not doing anything and then I got a call from Atco saying that they’d like to do something. So I called everybody up and we all got back together in a couple of days, although we got ourselves a new bass player.”

‘Offering’ was recorded in February of this year and took just over a month to complete. One of the appealing factors is the strong use of vocals and clearly this was something that Barth had been keen to pursue from the outset.

“I wanted to put together a heavy band which had good use of vocals. So many heavy rock bands tend to forget about them but they really are important. I’m not talking about cissy vocals – in fact if I do things that sound a little wimpy I gag myself! I’ll go home and chastise myself for it!

“No seriously, I think there’s a place for good vocals in hard rock music and I always loved the way Uriah Heep used to employ them. They still managed to keep their identity and that’s what I feel we’ve achieved.”

Barth mentioned his dislike of ‘wimpy’ vocals (somewhat ironic in view of the early albums!) and it was a topic he was keen to pursue.

“Let me tell you something, I can’t stand anything wimpy – I really can’t. And there’s an awful lot of shit out there these days that’s pretty wimpy…..and I certainly don’t want to be a part of it.”

How long has Barth held these anti-wimp views?

“My whole life! I grew up fighting and scrapping and I never had time for wimps. I can’t handle anything that’s wimpy. Like the other day, I bought myself a new pair of blue jeans, which I put on just before we went on stage, and believe me I felt shitty all night long! I just couldn’t stand ‘em.”

“So we ran the truck over him a few times!” interjects drummer Teddy Mueller.

Barth laughs loudly, and indeed it wouldn’t have surprised me if the drummer’s words had been true. Bobby Barth is a pretty tough looking character and his manner of attire (faded blue denims and old leather jacket) suggest an air of street credibility.

“Oh yeah,” he confirms, “we’re definitely street. We dress street, we act street and we breathe the streets. We’re street kids. That’s how we grew up and that how we’ll die!”

Does he consider Axe to be an HM band?

“Well, that’s what everybody’s been calling us but we’ve always figured that we were simply a rock ‘n’ roll band. I don’t know if we’re heavy metal, in fact names don’t really matter. It’s the music that counts.”

With ‘Offering’, Axe have certainly proved their vinyl capabilities (check out their electric rendition of the old Montrose classic ‘I Got The Fire’ -very impressive.) Whether they can deliver the goods on stage I’ve yet to discover but according to Barth: “Playing on stage is what this band’s all about – believe me!”




DECEMBER 1982 WHITESNAKE – interview with Dante Bonutto

And here I am again on my own,  Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known (David Coverdale, ‘Here I Go Again’)

SINCE EARLY this year when all suddenly went quiet on the Whitesnake front (established personnel opting for no-comment conversation and ducking all pertinent probing with ‘name, rank and serial number’ responses) guesses and bets have flowed unchecked, touching tidal wave proportions with the official confirmation of the forthcoming UK tour. The mighty rattler, long subdued, had at last coughed up the cobwebs and was primed once again for an injection of venom, nationwide.

Coverdale, predictably, was still at the helm, but who was manning the oars? The permutations were endless, the intrigue Crossroads/Coronation St/Dallas (delete according to taste) compulsive. For a long time the true situation remained unsussed with rumours flying to and fro like demented fruitbats, most seeming to spring from nowhere and most well wide of the mark.

One had David Big E-ing the band on the punk-like premise that rock’n’roll was a young man’s game, while another, a variation on the theme, had the dismissed personnel refusing to budge, a bizarre idea conjuring visions of an arthritic, wheelchair-ridden troupe chaining themselves to the EMI railings and thrusting obdurate, ‘we shall not be moved’ placards under the noses of passers-by.

And as for potential new recruits…. Jimmy Page was certainly the hottest contender, a rumour that reddened ears on both sides of the Atlantic, though Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour and Bad Company’s Mick Ralphs have also had their names dropped in dark, secret places.

On a different, more drastic, tack word came that Coverdale had tired of his reptilian rabble-rousin’ and decided to give it a go with either Bad Co (an enduring slice of gossip not to be taken seriously), or a pre-Graham ‘no more jokes, honest’ Bonnet MSG.

Fingers were being pointed at the slightest provocation, but behind the blur of flying digits it was clear that something was amiss – there was no contradictory claim or statement of intent from the Whitesnake camp and, with Bernie Marsden going off to form his own band. SOS, and Neil Murray and Ian Paice falling in behind Ozzy fave Gary Moore, both live and in the studio, change, and dramatic change to boot, seemed a likely, logical assumption.
And that indeed has proved the case. With the British tour now poised to get underway, only Micky Moody (guitar/vocals) and Jon Lord (keyboards) remain from the original line-up – Coverdale excepted – the latter having recruited cozy Powell (drums), Colin ‘Bomber’ Hodgkinson (Bass) and Mel Galley (guitar/vocals) to give the band a new, more committed edge. Tunnel vision in the best sense of the term. Fresh blood assembled and concert halls booked, the chief Snake was finally ready to talk…

I’d last met the one-time Purple frontman outside a Boston hotel a couple of years back, in the middle of Whitesnake’s first US trek. And, renewing the acquaintance at his publicist’s London office, it’s clear that time has taken little toll on image. Clad in denim (jeans), leather (jacket) and an obligatory touch of snakeskin (tie), his only noticeable concession to contemporary trend is a pair of woollen ankle-warmers and a couple of millimetres off the celebrated mane, still copious enough to provide the archetypal rock’n’roll silhouette.

A coffee and some preliminary chit-chat later, the scene shifts to an upstairs room where a bottle of white wine is chilling nicely in the fridge and, seats taken, glasses brimming and tape machine awhir, we begin a comprehensive run-through of the year, examining the complex events that have made this encounter so long-awaited.

Though clearly relieved to be setting the record straight, David picks his words with care, not wanting to gloss over matters or sweep them under the carpet yet at the same time concerned to avoid litigation. From his point of view there’s been quite enough already for, as well as shaking up the band personnel towards the end of ‘81, he also determined to divest himself of manager John Coletta, an inheritance from his Purple days, a move that solicitors advised him could best be effected if he kept his mouth shut. Hence The Silence.

Listening to ‘Saints An’ Sinners’, the band’s sixth album, however, it’s plain that these ‘behind the scenes’ goings-on have done something to stem creative juices, an unfortunate yet predictable occurrence. Recorded with the same line-up that handled ‘Come An’ Get It’ (the only difference being the appearance of Mel Galley on backing vocals), ‘SAS’ is really already out of date, a part of Coverdale’s past and hence likely to reflect the problems that have dogged him in recent months.

The LP cover (a photo of a statue long assigned to the Coverdale khazi), has an interesting ambiguity, but with the exception of ‘Here I Go Again’, the single, and ‘Crying In The Rain’, an epic knee-trembler launched on some exquisite slide guitar from Micky Moody, the material and the playing are rarely more than average. Coverdale, his colossal chords very much the saving grace, disagrees

“I would say that it’s the best thing we’ve done; certainly my singing has never been better. . . ‘Victim Of Love” is a great little rock’n’roller, ‘Bloody Luxury’ I like very much, I can see that going well in concert, and ‘Crying In The Rain’, from what a few people told me, could well be the new ‘Mistreated’ (let me add a ‘yea’ to that), and it’s time for a change anyway.

“If I didn’t think this album was up to standard I’d have burnt the masters, though I’d probably have ended up floating in a river in Hull. It’s a fine testament to the power of ‘de Snakes but the next one will be even more powerful, that’s for sure!

When did you realise that there were problems within the band?

“Well, I flew off for my annual holiday which I always use for writing and topping ‘n’ tailing my songs, swam a lot and came up with some of my best tunes. I really wanted to go for the album, but when I got back everything had changed. Jon was just finishing off his solo project, so I went along to the studio and he said: ‘what tunes have you got for us, David?’ And I said: ‘well, I’m embarrassed, I’ve got a ton of stuff, but I’m going to hold back and see what other people have got’. And what did other people have? NOTHING!”

What were they doing?

“I’m not interested. I want to learn from the past not live in it…… the last thing we did was a German tour in December and I decided that if I didn’t have a good time with the band then, and I don’t mean superficially, I’d knock it on the head. But the tour was riddled with illness so it would have been unfair to make a decision at that point.

“By the end of ‘81, however, it was out of control and I was really disappointed with my colleagues – they were cruising along on gold status and I’m hungry for platinum. To me, Whitesnake had lost its strongest element: its hunger. So coming into ‘82 I really made up my mind and played some horrid character, the Arthur Scargill of rock.

“I took over the completion of the album and put Whitesnake on a holding pattern. I said to the band: ‘I make no promises to any of you. If you get an opportunity to join someone else, please take it’. It was also at this time that I decided to divorce my management company because I was getting more and more disillusioned with the way my career was being run – or wasn’t being run.

“Lots of decisions were being taken that I disagreed with 100 per cent, it was terrible, terrible. Incidentally, I also engineered it for the rest of the guys to be contractually free, but nobody’s ever said thank you. Sometimes you just sit there and think why the hell do I bother?

“Anyway, it all proved very expensive but I’m pleased it’s sorted out at last because in the final analysis the buck stops with me. It rests on my ass, and I’m sick of picking up the pieces of other people’s mistakes. I’m not perfect but I’m going for as close as possible to that.”

Perhaps the other members of Whitesnake were suffering from a lack of incentive; it is essentially your band after all.

“No, listen, I’ve always asked for everyone’s opinion, but towards the end they started to get so high and mighty I thought, f*** it. And when I get angry it’s not a pretty sight; definitely firecrackers up people’s asses time.”

So what went wrong with Whitesnake in the end?

“I don’t know, tell me about it. “Why does a relationship with a woman get boring? Sometimes a thing has just run its course.”

How did the members react when you put the band on the shelf?

“They played much, much better. They put the icing on the cake during the last week of recording but they should have delivered like that in the first place. Then the album wouldn’t have cost over £100,000 which is more than the whole Whitesnake catalogue put together. It’s not a piss in the ocean, but it won’t happen again that’s for sure. I’ve now surrounded myself with players who are as lunatic as I am and as passionate to improve.”

Not all are new faces, though…

“No, I’ve kept Micky Moody who’s now regained the root feeling that I felt he’d unfortunately lost at the end of ‘81. He’s coming back to earth, which is great because I love his playing, his temperament…. and his hats! He’s got the hunger back at last.

“Actually, I’m something of a private ‘guitar hero’ myself, though l don’t think I’ve got the bottle to throw shapes on stage. Maybe one day, who knows. I’ve never played on a Whitesnake album but I did quite a contender solo on ‘Belgian Tom’s Hat Trick’, even though it was wiped instantly and banished to the ionosphere.”

Apart from Micky Moody, you’ve also retained Jon Lord in the ranks…

“Well, John enhances my songs more than any musician I’ve worked with. I listen to keyboard players and there’s nobody as complete as Jon Lord.”

And what about the new recruits?

“Let’s see, I’ve got Mel Galley, who was formerly with Trapeze and who was supposed to be in the original Whitesnake line-up with Dave Holland, because I love his voice, his singing blends well with mine, and I’m very fond of his guitar playing. He’s a fine songwriter too, we’re already coming up with great stuff together…. then on bass I’ve got ‘Bomber’ Hodkinson who’s played with Jan Hammer and Neal Schon and is probably the best in the business. He’s unique, a hooligan. He changed Stanley Clarke’s style and he’s not that old, just early 30’s.

“I actually met him some years ago when he was with a jazz/rock trio called Backdoor. They were from the same area as myself, the north-east of England, and in fact they asked me to join them at one time but I thought what the hell can I do there?……No, really, Cohn’s great and he uses a pick which is something I’ve always wanted from a bass player; I adore that chunky, bottom-end sound. Apparently, Hammer won’t work without him but he’ll have to now, that’s for sure!”

Which just leaves Cozy Powell..

“Well, Cozy was actually the first member of the new Whitesnake – he’s my right-hand man. He and I have been threatening to work with each other for years but the time and the situation has never been right before: it is now. When he left Rainbow he came to me and said: ‘I can’t push Ian (Paice) out because he’s doing a first class job’, but I was very disappointed with the way things eventually – started to slope downhill. I wish Ian had played on ‘Saints An’ Sinners’ the way he plays on Gary Moore’s album.”

Has Cozy got a new solo in the pipeline?

“Oh yes, and he’ll have to be careful he doesn’t blow the rest of our asses off stage. It’s marvellous, real heroic stuff, severe Viking shit, though I’ve threatened to upstage him by flying across the stage on wires in a blue suit with a red cape.

“To be honest, I just can’t wait to kick ass with him because he’s so root. He’s an animal when he plays, the same as I am when I sing; it’s a marriage made in heaven though he was seriously thinking about knocking it all on the head at one point, he was so disillusioned after his Marks & Spencer’s Group, MSG or whatever.”

Weren’t you tempted to gather younger musicians around you this time though?

“We’ll, a lot of people told me l should but I don’t really like white noise merchants, they all sound the same, besides which they haven’t got the bottle. When Powell goes into his double bass drums it’s just frightening and would blow a kid offstage. It’s actually a physical thump in the back… but this age thing. I don’t give a toss. The energy level of the new Whitesnake is gonna show a lot of supposed young bands the way home.”

Why weren’t the backing tracks on ‘Saints And Sinners’ recorded with Martin Birch, who gets producer’s credit overall?

“Well, Martin was ill at the time and I was pressured, bullshitted actually, into believing that I had to deliver the album by the end of December last year. l wanted a minimum of two week’s rehearsal but we ended up with four days which then turned into two with not all the band members around at the same time. There was a pocket of feeling that we should produce ourselves, but it proved a case of too many chief’s and not enough Indians.

“We started off at a studio in Shepperton, Rock City, then moved onto Clearwell Castle in Gloucestershire with a mobile. In all that time I got one drum track from two weeks in Rock City, eight drum tracks from Clearwell Castle and one drum track from Britannia Row, London, which was in January this year. The rest of it was all done at Britannia Row, again in January, and I finished off the album in September/October in a three week burst at Battery Studios, London, where I supervised two guitar overdubs, did 10 vocals, all the backing vocals and mixed the single.

“Actually, we mixed the single on a Tuesday, cut it, delivered it to a security man at EMI at midnight, by Wednesday it was on its way to the factory and by Friday it was on the air. Wild! It must be some kind of record. And Birchey had to do a severe doctoring job and put everything but the kitchen sink on the backing tracks. When I recorded the vocals, they made the tracks sound really thin, but you won’t notice it. I certainly hope not, anyway.”

So did Bernie contribute much to the writing of the album?

“Hmm… he gave me a tune; the riff of which was identical to that on a single by a very well known group. I hadn’t heard it, so I spent ages writing a song with it and came up with a contender – I won’t tell you which one it is because we changed it so it doesn’t sound anything like the other one now. But I wasn’t amused..

Did he know what he was doing or was it just a coincidence?

“I’ve no idea. It’s strange, though, because Bernie and I have written some good songs together.”

He seems to be having a few problems with SOS at the moment…

“Sink Or Slim, isn’t it? Right now I’m feeling just a bit bitter. The only people who wished me well when I went in to finish the album were… well, Moody was helping me out and Lordy was popping in every other day, but I had no message from any of the others, like: ‘go for it!’, y’know. The only word I had was from one member calling up to find out what his publishing was. So f*** it!”

Will you keep in touch with the ex-members?

“Well, they have my number, but l don’t think they’ve got a copy of the album. Maybe they’ll have to buy one, I don’t know.”

Were you worried at having to sing in the studio after the long enforced lay off?

“Oh, yeah, because it’s not like riding a bike. Initially, I just did backing vocals to try and ease myself in, but the first lead vocal I did was ‘Love An’ Affection’ and that was a straight take. Then I went on to ‘Saints An’ Sinners’ and that was straight through too. I was singing like a dream, perhaps the lay off did me good – there’s some real severe notes on ‘Victim Of Love.”

Did you get frustrated while contractual hassles were being sorted out?

“Oh, certainly, I had nothing all to do for six months. I wasn’t allowed to go in a studio, nothing! It drove me mad though Powell was very supportive. I was really miserable, and my private life was in a shocking disarray, because I’m a pain in the ass if I can’t work. I went through terrible frames of mind, up and down like a whore’s tights, and I started to feel really sorry for myself. I swam in brandy for about a fortnight, then I saw my doctor who said I should knock it off.

“I had my head in my hands and suddenly my daughter became very ill, she contracted a terrible illness called bacterial meningitis, it can be fatal and there’s absolutely nothing you can do. Thank God she came out of it without a mark and that proved to me that the only time I should ever be despondent is when I can’t do something about a situation.”

When were you finally free of management ties?

“August 5. lt took six months but it could have taken 18 and my career would have been finished. You’re not gonna believe this but the day after I got the settlement agreement I went to Dartmoor and back-packed for like 70 miles with Big John and Cozy – I call him Action Man by Powelly Toy – and then we went the whole hog and bought a load of little tents and camped out on the moor.

“And this was just after seeing ‘American Werewolf In London’ which is hardly conducive to having a tent flapping round your ass. It was a bit decadent with the booze and everything, I suppose, and we ended up signing dozens of autographs”.

What did make of all the rumours that sprung up in the absence of any comment from the band?

“Well, I was highly amused by some of them, in particular the one that I auditioned for Michael Schenker. The only people I audition for are the audience, you know. I don’t audition!”

Did you want him to join Whitesnake?

“No, not at all. I think Michael’s great but he’s a liability. The sooner he stops surrounding himself with people who lick his ass, the sooner he’ll grow up and become the guitarist he could and will be, cos he’s excellent. What happened was Cozy said he’d like me to join MSG in January and I agreed to go down and have a blow because supposedly I had to start singing very soon and I wanted to get the dust off the Hobson’s Choice. When I found out he was going to be managed by the guy I was divorcing, though, that was it. No more Mickey Mouse operations, thank you.”

What about the Jimmy Page rumour?

“Oh, I don’t know where that one came from, I haven’t seen Pagey in ages; he’s probably pissed himself laughing too. And who else was supposed to be joining – there was tons. That Dutch guy Vandenberg was actually under consideration as one of the guitarists – but they all sound the same to me…the best guitarist in the world, if only he’d settle down and not grimace quite so much, is Gary Moore. He’s great and we discussed about him being in the band but I just don’t want to build songs around guitarists.”

ABOUT the only group Coverdale’s name has yet to be linked with, in fact, is Black Sabbath, a huge, reputation-crumbling oversight on the rumour-mongers’ behalf, for Tony lommi, it seems, approached both David and Cozy with a view to filling the vacant Sabbath posts. Both, however, had other plans.

How well those plans have now come together and how well the new line-up has gelled, can be judged on the coming UK tour, sadly minus a Xmas Eve show (David tried to persuade Haircut 100 to relinquish their yuletide claim on the Hammersmith Odeon but, unfortunately for London Snake fans, they dug in petulant heels).

Following the British dates, the band move onto Europe, then Japan, where they’ll be playing the most concentrated tour ever by a British or American group with three gigs at the Budokan alone, finishing off in Hong Kong, Bangkok and possibly Australia.

Armed with a band single-minded in purpose and individual musicians more interested in getting on with it than out of it, the next LP, possibly called ‘Slide It In’, could well emerge as the “governor album” David hoped ‘Saints An’ Sinner’ would be and he’s already mulling over potential producers, with Lange and Templeman high on the list.

Certainly both have good track records in the States and, having recently secured a deal covering the US, Canada and Japan with David Geffen’s ultra-exclusive label, home of Hagar, Quarterflash and Asia, he should soon be breaking down hard-to- fathom colonial resistance,

“Whitesnake is a strange band,” he reflects. “The idea of the name is that you either love it or hate it – Snakes, the cock-rock sign. But it’s wierd, it sort of transcended that HM thing which it never was and became a kind of people’s group. There was an incredible, bond between the audience and the band and I hope it’s still there. I hope so.”


WHITESNAKE, Newcastle City Hall

“I’M always nervous before a gig. Here lam close to home as I can get and my bottom is quivering”. David Coverdale had no need to be nervous. The Whitesnake fans of Newcastle were due to give Coverdale and heavy friends the kind of warm welcome that encourages the most pusillanimous of posteriors.

David was roaming the corridors of a magnificent castle when I met him a half hour before the concert was due to start at the City Hall. I was just admiring a suit of armour lurking in an alcove when David swept along a stone passage, a mass of curls flowing over his shoulders, looking not unlike a medieval prince about to go hawking, hunting and riding rough shod over the villains.

Whitesnake had established base camp at Lumley Castle, a magnificent edifice set on a hill some 12 miles out of town. I had arrived by Mr. Stephenson’s newfangled railroad to meet the band and see the first of three nights of musical orgying. There was just time to greet David, Cozy Powell and Jon Lord before hastening back to the city centre for the concert.

It was only the third night of the debut tour of the revamped band and they had a lot to play and say. If David has been accused of demanding a regimented backing band in the past there was no evidence of that during a show generously larded with solo space and feature spots.

For this was very much a ‘hello’ to the fans who leapt to their feet the second the band took the stage.

“Good evening!” roared David, clad in blue jeans, a waistcoat and mike stand. “Are you READY?” He seemed to stamp great authority on the simplest of greetings. From then on he led band and audience on a wild ride of flash and mayhem.

At this early stage in the new band’s development there were moments of imbalance, however. The group seemed to be searching for that elusive climax that makes for total satisfaction and there were signals afterwards that they hadn’t entirely reached that state of nirvana. But they came pretty damn close.

Whitesnake is certainly loaded with talent, but David is the unifying force, a sort of Luke Skywalker amidst the star wars raging around him. He can sing from a shout to a whisper, from a tenor boom to a falsetto shriek with dazzling skill. As he fixes the audience with a smile or a scowl he veers from vulnerable sex symbol to imperial procurator, now gracious, now bullying, his moods changing with kaleidoscopic speed. The music reflects his personality, always demanding, and seeking new avenues. Funky ballads are mixed with raunchy blues, explosive rave-ups vie with the occasional oasis of calm. None falls into any particular category and musical labels are anathema to David as he told me later. What counts most with Whitesnake is the level of performance and swift communication with their fans.

They could take the easy route and go for straightforward bludgeoning, but that would be boring. At any rate with Cozy Powell on drums and Colin Hodgkinson on bass there’s never any danger of Whitesnake’s driving thrust flagging for an instant. Colin is a remarkable bassist who came to fame with Back Door and Cozy has long been one of my favourite drummers.

Front-line duties are shared between Jon Lord and guitarists Micky Moody and Mel Galley. The latter have distinctly different styles, Micky, beaming beneath a huge hat and moustache, concentrates on blues and slide guitar solos, while Mel plays the harder hitting lead lines, with vocals to match.

David led his men through ‘Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues’, the fast boogie shuffle ‘Looking For Love’, ‘Ready An’ Willing’,‘Don’t Break My Heart Again’ and many more, with the tans yelling, waving their arms and joining in the chorus.

One of the greatest highlights of the show was Cozy Powell’s amazing drum solo. Flash, bang and wallop would be the easiest way to describe a tour-de-force that featured Cozy drumming along to recordings of ‘633 Squadron’ and ‘The 1812 Overture.’ I won’t give away all the details, go and see the show. But be warned, if you wear contact lenses don’t peer into the glare of the flames.

Jon Lord was featured too on a moving keyboard solo and Mel Galley and Colin worked up a lather on a traditional blues that reminded me of Cream’s old workhorse, ‘Rolling And Tumbling. All the while David was up front armed with a towel to wipe off the sweat and a drink to lubricate his throat. ‘Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City’ was delivered over a slow, menacing beat with the kids joining in with yells and handclaps before the band broke into ‘Fool For Your Loving’.

“Whitesnake,” we chanted. “MORE!” we shrieked. The band are just at the beginning of what will be a long journey that will doubtless take them round the world, and it can’t be long before Coverdale is a superstar of international proportions.