T.N.T.

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

T.N.T. are one of those groups that most people have heard something by, but know little about. The band’s third album “Tell No Tales” released in 1987 caused something of a stir as guitarist Ronnie Le Tekro did some extraordinary things with his Kramer guitar and vocalist Tony Harnell pitched himself almost as high as an early ‘70’s Geddy Lee.

Prior to that attention grabbing album T.N.T. had already released two albums which saw them struggling to find a style and an image that they could expand on, and live with. Formed in 1982 by Le Tekro and three other Norwegians the band recorded a self-titled debut album in their first year, before the line-up began to change and gradually resemble that of today. Bassist Morty Black joined in 1983 and the band took the bold and necessary step of recruiting an American vocalist Tony Harnell arrived in Norway just in time to contribute to the band’s second album “Knights Of The New Thunder” – which was largely instrumental in forcing T.N.T. to the very front of the Scandinavian music scene. This was their first album for Polygram, doing well not only in Norway (where it went Silver) but, also in the States.

As mentioned earlier it was the band’s third album “Tell No Tales” which really put T.N.T. on the proverbial map. Gone, by this time was the Norse Viking look that had characterised the band in their early days and in was a stylish, clear as a bell sound and look. The album spawned two hit singles “Ten Thousand Lovers (In One)” and “Everyone’s A Star” with the help of their videos introduced many new MTV fans to the band.

T.N.T’s line up was consolidated in 1988 with the addition of drummer Ken Odiin, who apart from being a long-time friend of Blacks also engineered some of the band’s earlier demos.

Now, in early 1989 T.N.T are back with an excellent new album, a settled line-up, and a desire to adopt a much higher profile. Vocalist Tony Harnell spoke to me from Phonogram’s U.S. office on a day where rain was pouring outside both our windows. “Ah, it’s real ugly outside Dave, I’m glad I’m indoors.”

Me too, So tell me about the new album. How do you think you’ve progressed from “Tell No Tales”? “Well, I think that this album is another change in the band’s career, I would even say that it is as significant a step forward as “Tell…” was from “Knights of The New Thunder”. We’ve grown in every way, musically, lyrically, and socially. Perhaps the most noticeable improvement is with the vocal melodies and with the contribution that Ken has made. We’ve become much tighter now, I’m really happy about it all”

“Intuition” continues the trend that you set on your last album, that of being very positive and optimistic – which would presumably appeal to the many Christian fans out there, have you tried to cultivate that appeal? “Not really, but if we appeal to them then that’s fine. Our message is one with a general humanitarian outlook – it’s not driven at any particular religion, it’s just a basic feeling that we have about the way we like to live. We have had a lot of feedback on it though I must admit. There are a lot of subliminal messages in there, and I’m not sure how much they would be into the band if they were to study it in depth, although there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be. We aren’t trying to please any particular group of people, we just feel there is enough negativity around, so if we can be positive then that’s a plus for us.”

In one sense you seem to have gone for a more ‘mainstream’ approach on this album in that there aren’t any instrumentals (there were three on the last album) yet you have included something as ‘off the wall’ as “Ordinary Lover” why? “Ha! WeII, Ronni wrote the song about a year ago and we keep joking around with it, playing it at parties and stuff. Everyone seemed to think it was a kind of novelty so we tried to reproduce that in the studio, we got Ronnie really drunk and made him sing it – it’s his lead vocal debut. We had everyone singing the backing vocals on it Me, Ken, Joe Lynn Turner, Morty, and all the crew and our friends, so you can imagine it was pretty funny.”

The Introduction “A Nation Free” is a little strange. What can you tell me about that? “It’s about the whole World. Basically what it’s saying is say your prayers tonight, which is not so much religious as just hope for the best y’know? Chase your dreams, hold your head high, it’s personal but it’s also about wanting World peace and stuff like that”.

I wondered if it was about Norway for example because other bands like STAGE DOLLS and even FATE felt that there was a close knit community there among the musicians, would you agree? “yeah, I guess there is. I know that it seems to be a bit more between the Norwegian bands because there is a bit of rivalry between bands from Sweden and those from Norway at the moment – it’s something we all try and laugh off though. I mean I know that Ronni was partying with Yngwie the other week and they have become good friends. I’d like to play some more in Sweden because they are a great untapped audience, it’s just a case of getting over there but, we will do soon.”

Talking of the band’s homeland, you excepted, did you have any intentions when you joined of continuing that Norse Viking theme? “You know that was just something that when I joined I just went along with because that was pretty much where the songs were at then. What they did was they took me up into the mountains and showed me some castles and stuff to get me into the mood! After that album though I thought it had run its course and I wanted to move towards writing about more real life issues. When I say that I must add that I don’t like bands that write about reality, but dwell on the negative stuff, to me that’s harmful – whether you’re singing or just living out that kind of attitude. So what I’ve bled to focus on is a mixture of reality and fantasy, but with an emphasis on the positive side of things…”

Having said that though, Tony, does that mean that you don’t sympathise with bands like OZZY OSBOURNE and JUDAS PRIEST who, after writing about the negative side of things have been accused of causing suicides etc? “No. My feeling is that everybody has a good head on their shoulders (with a few exceptions), and I think we all agree on this, that whether they were listening to PRIEST or to God, then I think those people would have done what they did irrespective of what they were listening to – maybe those people just needed an excuse to snap, and that was a convenient one.”

We mentioned image before, in terms of the band’s old look, so what are you trying to emphasise nowadays? “I think we’re just trying to be ourselves – I think that is the most important thing. We’re trying to let our fans see that we’re a real band who write about real issues. We still feel that we’re a new rock n’ roll band because although we have had some success there’s still a lot of people that haven’t seen or even heard of us.

“At our shows we seem to attract a good cross-section of fans – women, rockers, you know the sort. Sometimes I think that the real heavy fans shy away from us – but to do that they have obviously never seen us live. I mean when people like that do take the time to listen to us I know that they get turned onto it ‘cos it is heavy, and it’s intense.”

What was it like working with Joe Lynn Turner then? “It was unbelievable. I mean I’ve admired him for years – when I was in a band playing cover versions in Philly and New York I used to sing all his RAINBOW stuff, I’ve just been a fan of his since I was about nineteen years old I guess. Just to stand next to him and sing all the harmonies with him it was amazing. He taught me so much about how to best do the backing vocals. I’d done them all on the previous two albums, and I thought they were O.K. but I really wanted some more. He showed me a lot of new harmonies, and how to do them a lot quicker. He’s just like a machine, he’ll find the melody then he’ll just do it, he is brilliant. He has such a rich voice, and I think that the bottom end harmonies this time are much fuller thanks to him.”

What made you choose to work with Bjorn Nessjoe again? “Erm, ‘cos he’s good! Ha! Seriously though he just seems to get a sound that just fits us – we’re not looking to sound like all the other bands out there. We don’t sit back and say let’s sell eight million records next time, go get Bruce Fairbairn and Desmond Child y’know? It’s O.K. if one or two bands do it but now that everyone’s having a go there’s soon not gonna be a lot of difference between them all. As a band we all felt that we wanted to keep our own identity, and I think with Bjorn we can do that”

Would you agree that your live profile has been pretty low, and are you going to change that? “Yeah, we are gonna try and change that with this album. We’ve had some real bad luck with some of the tours that we were gonna do, or were doing y’know. Our goal now is to play as much as possible – on the last two albums we were taken off the road before we really wanted to come off. We are a good live band, but that is something that people will just have to accept for now, until they get chance to see us. We’re looking at three options right now as to when and where we’ll be touring. One of the options is to open for a big band in the States, which is the record Company’s intention with this album. But, the band are mostly European and so we all want to do another European tour, and I especially want to do more British dates than the Marquee slot we did last time.”

O.K. then Tony, does your “Intuition” tell you that this is going to be the album that’s gonna ‘make It’ for you, or do you foresee another one first? “My intuition tells me that this is the one, I’m not gonna jinx it though, so I have to say that it feels very good, that the record company are giving one hundred percent – it’s kinda frustrating because In the past we’ve always done what was expected of us, then fallen foul to outside forces or something. This time though I think we’ll be able to see it through, we’ll play all the shows we need to play, and really give it all we’ve got. We’ve some great plans to do some ‘proper’ videos this time and we’re all really excited about it all.”

Well, there you have it, if you’ve never heard T.N.T. do yourself a favour and grab a copy of “Intuition” – it can’t be wrong after all.

FORTUNE

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

FORTUNE

With an average age of 19, Boston based FORTUNE are a hard rocking sextet who look to be going places. Featuring Bob Vase (vocals), Pete DiStefano and Bill Plourde (guitars), Kevin Belanger (bass), Dave Vargas (drums) and Jeremy Heussi (keyboards), FORTUNE fall into the commercial end of the rock spectrum blending bluesy rock’n’roll with textured harmonized AOR with a pomp edge.

“The Wolf Will Survive”, which was featured on last year’s Flaid Report “Hard Hitters” CD, a promotion compilation disc that is circulated to all the album-orientated rock stations across the US, is a mixture of WHITESNAKE and STRYPER, whilst “Open Your Eyes” is more in the Y&T mould, oozing plenty of melody.

The ballad, “All I Can Do ls Dream” is pretty dreary and is by far the worst track on the four-song demo, but things are re-adjusted with “Don’t Lose Faith”, a powerful rocker similar to STRYPER but much heavier.

Definitely a band to watch, FORTUNE have already had label interest, and hopefully it won’t be too long before they get their inkings on a record contract.
BERNARD DOE

 

THE ULTRA VIOLET

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

THE ULTRA VIOLET


THE ULTRA VIOLET is a Chicago based modem rock’n’roll band, who put out an LP in 1986 titled “Mother Victim”. The band has an image somewhere between GUNS N’ROSES and DEF LEPPARD, but sound just the opposite falling between TOMORROWS CHILD, RAIN ON FIRE and FIFTEEN MINUTES. The bands current line-up reads: Chris Schneider (lead vocals), Angelo Vancheri (drums), Bob Pucci (guitars) and Bob Tyrell
(keyboards).

All their songs show major hit potential, from the vibrant “Shattered World” to the wildly commercial “Sanctuary” and the weirdness of the ballad “Shadows”.

There’s a helluva lot of U2 in there too and a lot of other comparisons too numerous to mention. If any band ever featured in this Demolition section had any chance of any real commercial success, then this is the band.

KELV HELLRAZER

PAIR A DICE

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

PAIR A DICE

Formed in 1986 PAIRADICE are a five-piece melodic hard rock band based in LA. Consisting of Paul Lancia (vocals), Dave Marshall (lead guitar), Billy D’vette (rhythm guitar), Nick Masella (bass) and Dazz Bash (drums), the bands demo contains three tracks which show their ability to write strong, catchy tunes which should grab the attention of a few A&R executives on the West Coast.

“I’ll Be There For You” is a moody ballad that oozes class. “Where’s Jenny” is an uptempo rocker with plenty of melody, whilst the pacey “Midnight Train” features some great lead work from Dave Marshall. Add to this the superb vocals of Paul Lancia, whose style is quite unique, and you have a real happening band who should be checked out at all costs.
KEN ANTHONY


Link

From the Pair A Dice Youtube channel

http://www.youtube.com/user/PAIRADICE88

NIAGARA

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

 NIAGARA – The Marquee, London


Whether it was just curiosity or actual interest in the band I couldn’t say, but the Marquee had a large crowd for Spain’s hottest new export: (just edging ahead at San Miguel lager!) NIAGARA.
From the offset they were out to impress – their stagecraft, learnt on stages far larger than this one tonight, was fluid, projective and perfectly executed – culminating in a SCORPIONS style synchronised set-piece (note the alliteration!) which served as an introduction to “Now Or Never” one of the band’s most potent cuts.

Vocalist Tony Cuevas has the voice and the look of a star – his English is virtually flawless and his mike-spinning acrobatics make him the centre of attention, a compliment indeed bearing in mind the quality of the band beside him.

Although touted as a ‘melodic rock’ band NIAGARA really crank it up live. Guitarist VIM. has the ability to caress your ears one minute, then hit you in the guts the next! – which makes for an interesting show I can tell you!
Clearly NIAGARA have got what it takes to be the next big thing their material is excellent, check out the beauty of “Take My Hand”, or the aggression behind “Power” (a fantastic instrumental). The latter displays the perfect Interplay between keyboardist Ricky Castaneda, bassist Angel Alias, drummer Joey Matos, and, of course, guitarist V.M. Arias.

Needless to say the crowd lapped it up, which seemed to spur the band to even greater heights and resulted in a singing contest which actually worked (!) and a couple of encores, one being a cover of DOKKEN’s “Into The fire”.
Hopefully NIAGARA will remove the stigma that so far has been synonymous with Spanish rock.
DAVE SHACK

BENATAR, PAT

KERRANG! ISSUE 33 JANUARY 1983

‘IT’S GREAT.’ Uh…. what can l say, except it’s really great!!!’

Even the crackly, bacon ‘n’ eggs, transatlantic line which connected the Big Apple to the home of smaller apples – Covent Garden, couldn’t – dampen the enthusiastic • response of Pat Benatar who was literally left almost speechless at the news of winning the Kerrang! top female vocalist award for the second year running.

I spoke to the lady a matter of days before she was about to embark on a tour of Europe which comes after a successful sell out US tour which culminated with her first headline performance-at the prestigious Madison Square Gardens.

With the latest album ‘Get Nervous’ and single ‘Shadows Of The Night’ flying high in the charts Benatar seems to be going from strength to strength which is more than I can say about her musical direction.

With her first two stunning albums and some killer live shows, Pat paved the way, and was almost the sacrificial lamb, for the dozens of ladies in rock who have appeared since. People like Tane Caine and suchlike who thrive between the true rock thrash of tomcats like Chrissie Hynde and pure syrup of Olive Newton John, the new breed who now dominate the AOR circuit.

But sadly as Pat’s following has expanded she seems to have fallen into a succession of self created pitfalls, displaying acute bouts of insecurity and having an almost schizophrenic attitude towards her musical aspirations. Benatar has always stood on the shakey ground between rock and roll and cabaret and now judging from the few restrained comments she made in our short conversation I feel we could have lost her to the realms of wimpdom – although the stage appearance at the Hammy Odeon will be the final confirmation.

“Our show now”, she revealed, “is much closer to the album. We still do some of the dinosaur HM although overall there’s a lot less headbanging.”

I asked her how she felt about the album which overall I felt was a bit of a let down after the impressive ‘Promises In The Dark.

“I like the album a lot, unfortunately I didn’t have enough time and circumstances didn’t permit me to write much material. But l think the album’s a lot of fun, it’s more danceable than the rest, not so much crunch rock.”

Crunch rock! Jesus…

The title, although basically tongue in cheek, reflects a period which Benatar herself describes as being ‘fucked-up’.

It saw the group go under a lot of pressure due to rigorous touring schedules and almost marked the end of a relationship between Benatar and her old man guitarist Neal ‘Spider’ Geraldo. The couple are now happily married and the only reminder of that torturous time is the departure of rivvum-guitarist Scott St Sheets who has been replaced by Charlie; a keyboard player snatched from the ex Doll David Johansens band.

“Scott wanted more involvement than the situation would allow”, Benatar said ominously, “and we had been planning to add keyboards for quite a while. It’s worked out really well”.

One of Benatar’s ambitions at the moment is to record an EP of rock and roll standards under a pseudonym, although she’s putting aside any prospective projects, TV scripts, film offers etc, etc in favour of another ambition yet unfulfilled. “I really want to have a baby, that’s the next thing on the agenda.”

I suggested that she kept on practising.

“Oh no, I’ve done enough practising, l’ve got that part down to a tee”, she chuckled away merrily.

PETE MAKOWSKI

JUDIE TZUKE

KERRANG! ISSUE 31 DECEMBER 1982

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!”

TORONTO

 


KERRANG! ISSUE 31 DECEMBER 1982
TORONTO

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.
MALCOLM DOME

STAGE DOLLS

Kerrang Issue 286 April 1990

STAGE DOLLS, MARQUEE, LONDON
THE STAGE Dolls are in danger of overstaying their already slender welcome. A recent Fish support tour; a handful of headline British dates to their name and now another Marquee headline. Their persistence is nothing if not dogged though not fully rewarded either. The turnout – and don t forget its a Friday night – doesn’t merit the opening of the upstairs bar.

The Stage Dolls, now a visible four piece with a keyboard player rising from behind the line of Marshalls look relieved anyway. The strain of the Fish hardcore dutiful in word to the man alone has taken its toll. The Dolls aredelighted to be playing as a headline band glorious in the glow of their own crowd. There is an unlikely thrashout at the front, interested stragglers atthe back. The core is as tough as an apple stem concentrated toward Torstein Flaknes hackneyed though heartfelt resume of rock arid roll thank yous before they step easily into Hanoi Waters. The sound is, as the spine of their material, a smooth passage of harmonies and hummability. Hell on wheels it’s not, though no less satisfying because of that.

“Lorraine” is a freewheeling US highway smash that never was; toe tapping, finger clicking, irritatingly catchy. The visual Vacuum of two vocalists but no frontman acts, this time, as no hindrance on the equipment cluttered Marquee stage. The combination of Terje and Flakne’s voices clear and steely, pushing toward the silent balcony.

‘Love Cries’ is warm and quickly welcomed, while ‘Still in Love’ steps all over the feet of KISS’s ‘Lick it Up’; a legal technicality away from trouble. The verse’s are brimming, the chorus the weakest link.

As yet, the sum of parts doesn’t quite make up the visual live whole; though glaze over the momentary cracks and the Stage Dolls could be one international hit single from stadia eternity. It could happen any day now….

PHIL WILDING

SHY

NEW TORPEDOES / SHY Dingwalls, London JUSTINE COLE
FAVOURABLE REPORTS of Shy have abounded in these pages recently and that, coupled with the fact that tracks from their debut album ‘Once Bitten . , . Twice Shy’ have absolutely breathed class all over Radio One’s Friday night airwaves, meant that it seemed sensible to hoof it down to Dingwalls and give these guys the once over . . . I’m glad I did because, believe me, Shy deserve every inch of column space they’ve earnt themselves, and a lot more besides. Their greatest strength lies in their economical, yet oddly lavish, songs which are shot through with a pop sensibility that the boys can get their teeth into and the little girls will love. Moreover, they play with the kind of verve that everyone can get off on.

Not that Shy were faultless, mind (though they came pretty damn close for a band with so little real experience/. Big great boo-boo of the night had to be their cover of Foreigner’s ‘Nightlife’, which smacked of being a crowd pleasing cop-out that only detracted from the strength of their own emerging identity.

In Tony Mills, Shy have got a hugely promising vocalist who, whilst not (at the moment/ having the charisma and professional stagecraft of bill-topping Phil Lewis, still succeeded in pulling off live that which many other vocalists can only create within the confines of the studio. Given time to develop, bath he and the band as a whole are onto a good thing which can only get better.


KERRANG! ISSUE 79 October 1984

BEST OF BRITISH – SHY

I‘VE NEVER been one to deny talent when I’ve spotted it, but I’m forced

to admit that on a few occasions I’ve had to gag my personal feelings in order to cover Shy with coatings of praise. The harsh reality of the situation was that, whilst Shy’s music was unnaturally sophisticated and captivating for a bunch of Brummies who weren’t even all out of their teens, the band’s attitude was hard to stomach.

The arrogance of certain Shy members really was difficult to take. After all, who did these guys think they were? Just because they’d released an enjoyable album! In the sphere of human achievement, that hardly ranks alongside the discovery of penicillin or the Space Shuffle, now does it?

Matters actually came to a nasty black head when Shy opened for Magnum in their native Birmingham – and acted like the most arrogant upstarts you could imagine. Ouch, it hurt, let me tell you, and my enjoyment of the band’s supremely sophisticated rock ‘n’ roll was severly impaired.

Then came the news I’d been expecting; the revelation that Shy had signed a major deal, with RCA as it ‘appens, and that I would soon be face to face with the snotty brats for an interview once more. Nurse, the sick bucket. But. . . but. . . BUT, quel surprise, mes cheres, what a difference a few months make!

THE SHY of today is a vastly different entity to the one which I had harangued so severely. These days, they have the whole situation far more in hand, have calmed down, begun to realise the work that other people have done for them and actually become pretty decent blokes!

“It all went to our heads a bit,” admits vocalist Tony Mills. “We just weren’t ready for the attention we were getting. I remember getting really annoyed with you over that live review when you called us arrogant, but our new management called us into the office and explained the points made. Slowly, we began to realise that we weren’t as good as we thought we were. As soon as we grasped that fact I think we became a lot more mature – and a lot better as a band!”

Indeed so! The first song that the band have produced as a taster for RCA of the talent they now have on their hands is monstrously impressive. Titled ‘Caught In The Act Of Love’, ft is six minutes of Journey-orientated balladic bliss.

Mills really is a quite astonishingly talented vocalist, hitting notes that make me hurt in the nether regions – and he has the perfect foil in flashy axeman Steve Harris! For a guy who has yet to wave bye-bye to the teens, he’s amazingly accomplished in his playing, being thoughtful, rocking and stylish. RCA can’t believe their luck, I should guess.

“We signed with them for two reasons really,” states Mills “Firstly, because they don’t have another act on their roster that’s similar to us, and secondly because we felt they could make the most headway with the commercial sound that we’ve got.”

Ah yes, the Shy sound. Is it designed specifically for the American market?

“Well, I guess we’d be lying if we said that we didn’t have half an eye slanted towards the States, but we certainly wont just go over there and become in effect another US band!’

Harris is adamant on this point.

“Our deal is essentially a British one; the album will be promoted here extensively and we want to tour here as much as possible ,too. We’d really like to make it here”

To this effect, Shy decided not to follow fellow Brum rockers Tobruk’s example and opt to record in the States. Instead, the band’s next album will be done in the UK, with odds-on favourite studio at the moment being Chipping Norton, where ‘Caught In The Act Of Love’ was laid down with producer Ritchie Gold.

AS FAR as producers go, Gold is being considered.

(“We’ve got to try him on the heavier stuff yet”) and John Ryan is also a distinct possibility, though rumour has it that Robin George wasn’t too satisfied with his efforts on his soon-come album! Whatever the final choice, however, it’s all a long way from the days of Millsian greasepaint and independent Ebony Records…

“It doesn’t seem like things have happened in a matter of months,” laughs Mills. “More like a matter of days. We did have some trouble getting out of our Ebony contract, but we found some good lawyers who negotiated on our behalf.”

Confident about the disc, they are, too…

“Oh, we’ve got some great songs,” states Harris. “Stuff that’s perhaps a little more rocky than what we’ve done before. I mean, we’re never gonna be Def Leppard or Iron Maiden, but we’re gonna make sure we never become Fleetwood Mac. We’ll always be a rock band at heart!”

Not that Shy need make any apologies for their approach, cos if there’s any justice in this business the boys will go far. Casualties, however, are inevitable.. . Keyboardist Paddy McKenna and drummer Alan Kelly still sport Shy colours certainly, but bassist Mark Badrick has now been shown the door to be replaced by former Trouble man Roy Davis. Tough business, this rock ‘n’ roll! Let’s hope that Shy are fighters! I think they might be.

HOWARD JOHNSON


1988

SHY – Marquee, London

SHY ARE a great band – I know cos I’ve got the albums, read the reviews, seen the show. . . So why aren’t I bopping down the front like as Shy storm

Soho’s infamous sauna? Good question.

Delighting in the melodious raunch of ‘Brave The Storm’ and the altogether more excellent ‘Excess All Areas’ for some time now, I’d thought it rather curious when RCA dropped their potential golden boys with nary a second glance. On the evidence of this showing l am not so surprised.

Jokes within the band are fine, but not immediately after taking to the stage. Tony Mills’ shambolic display of gonzoid greetings to guitarist Steve Harris left his comrades hanging around like callers on hold until he finally decided to lead them into opener ‘Telephone’. Throughout the show (which, incidentally, was rather short ‘n’ sweet at little more than an hour including encores) he gave the impression of simply trying too hard – pitching (ouch!) himself over the edge with a continuous barrage of ear-piercing shrieks and wails.

Earache aside, there were some good moments. ‘Young Hearts’ skipped along nicely on the back of Steve’s light-fingered guitarwork; for a ‘shy’ boy he cut quite a histrionic dash. And ‘If You Want It’ exhibited real potential as a crowd participation number via a classic stomp-a-long-a Tony chorus.

What interested me most though was the crowd’s reaction to the five guys onstage. Never before have I seen a Marquee audience so neatly divided in two – those on my right loving every second, those on my left standing mute and apparently unimpressed. Very strange. It has to be said that those on the right were enjoying themselves to the full – singing along to the chorus of ‘Breakdown’ as if they might never hear it again. But crowd reaction is as important to A&R men as Cliff Richard is to the average Shy fan.

Until they consistently play live with the same class as they exhibit on record, this far from bashful black country quintet will never be more than a ‘good’ band aspiring to greatness.

Lyn Guy


METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

SHY – The Hippodrome, London


I was pretty excited about this gig beforehand: SHY’s final British date before they crossed the pond, certainly sounded good on paper. But, well… Vocalist Tony Mills has got a problem, namely his ego. Musically the gig was great (apart from sampled backing vocals overkill that is!) it was just Mills’ attitude to the crowd that ruined it for me.

SHY aren’t massive, they could be, but they will have to learn to make allowances for a Nightclub crowd that came to stare – not sing, chat – not clap, and pose – not participate. Quite a number of the crowd were enjoying the show too, which featured material past, present, and future – if you see what I mean!

After opening with the equally strong “Emergency” and “Can’t Fight The Night” both off their “Access All Areas” album Mills introduced a new song “Burnin’ Up” which, with a pounding rhythm shows that (in the studio at least) this band have an awful lot to offer. This was confirmed with another new song “Make My Day” which emphasised their versatility when played back to back with that excellent ballad “When The Love Is Over”.

The sound was erratic I would say, with the vocals sometimes disappearing and virtually no sign of Steve Harris’ guitar at all. “Devil Woman” closed the set to probably the best reaction of the one hour set.

Encoring in a rather off-hand manner with “Telephone” and “Break Down The Walls” SHY left me dissatisfied with their ability to work a crowd that were showing anything but total adoration for them.
Good luck in the States – you’ve got the songs, but have you got the rest?
DAVE SHACK