SHARK ISLAND

KERRANG! ISSUE 284 APRIL 1990

LA GUNS, SHARK ISLAND – Sneakers, San Antonio

SHARK ISLAND kicked LA Guns’ butt tonight, only the audience didn’t know it. Sounds silly? Well, I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of being in a concert crowd that would cheer for anything as long as it was played by ‘their band’ – and while LA Guns put on a show that got better and better, the excitement generated was due almost entirely to the energy of their fans.

Shark Island’s set was packed with original songs and cool moves; strutters like ‘Spellbound’ and ‘Get Some Strange’ were fuelled by tall Chris Heilmann’s pumping bass – when this giant tells you to cheer, you cheer! – and Richard Black’s raspy vocals.

All the songs were expertly played and delivered, though the band could still do to get up a few notches on the energy meter. “Here’s a song we wrote by Fleetwood Mac,” they announced before a ballsy rendition of ‘The Chain’, and the classic tune roused Shark Island’s occasionally passive audience rather well. Radio favourite ‘Paris Calling’ set the rowdies waving their beer bottles, and finale ‘Shake For Me’ closed the show on an acceptable wave of howls and handclaps. Less than they deserved, but about what they expected.

The temperature in the nightclub got at least ten degrees hotter during intermission, all due to body heat. And when the lights went out and the first notes of ‘Slap In The Face’, cracked them across the ears, they went into a ; foaming, indiscriminate fist-waving frenzy. The force of the crowd response behind me ruffled my hair; in front were a few rows of scenes from the last days of Sodom and Gomorrah, and then the strangely sedate realm of the stage. Not just sedate in comparison, you understand, as (or much of the show LA Guns did not deliver ‘exciting baIls-to-the-wall rock’ as promised by their PR company.

When songs as potentially gut-shattering as ‘Rip And Tear’ and ‘Sex Action’ fail to deliver, you have to wonder why. It’s not the quality of the musicianship, it’s the attitude that has to exist before the songs are written, before the band jump onstage. LA Guns just aren’t hungry enough often enough.

But once in a while flint strikes stone at just the right angle and you get a haunting performance of ‘Malaria’ or a soulful ‘The Ballad Of Jane’. And then someone with heart – Tracii Guns – finally lets it out and delivers a blues solo that’s sensuous, passionate and just plain good. I didn’t know the dude had so much blood in him.

This was the turning point of the show; sad that it arrived so late, Three songs delivered full throttle, then off into the wings.

The crowd, which hadn’t backed down once, promptly began to chant, scream and stomp its feet. You’ve got to give LA Guns credit for managing to pull in fans like these, but sometimes you have to wonder why such adoration exists. The hard edged ‘One More Reason’, with its release of all the band’s unspent energy, gives me a hint though.
Good for LA Guns if these fans stick around, Good for us if the band gives them a reason to.

MARIBETH BRUNO

LA GUNS

KERRANG! ISSUE 284 APRIL 1990

LA GUNS, SHARK ISLAND – Sneakers, San Antonio

LAGUNS_284

SHARK ISLAND kicked LA Guns’ butt tonight, only the audience didn’t know it. Sounds silly? Well, I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of being in a concert crowd that would cheer for anything as long as it was played by ‘their band’ – and while LA Guns put on a show that got better and better, the excitement generated was due almost entirely to the energy of their fans.

Shark Island’s set was packed with original songs and cool moves; strutters like ‘Spellbound’ and ‘Get Some Strange’ were fuelled by tall Chris Heilmann’s pumping bass – when this giant tells you to cheer, you cheer! – and Richard Black’s raspy vocals.

All the songs were expertly played and delivered, though the band could still do to get up a few notches on the energy meter. “Here’s a song we wrote by Fleetwood Mac,” they announced before a ballsy rendition of ‘The Chain’, and the classic tune roused Shark Island’s occasionally passive audience rather well. Radio favourite ‘Paris Calling’ set the rowdies waving their beer bottles, and finale ‘Shake For Me’ closed the show on an acceptable wave of howls and handclaps. Less than they deserved, but about what they expected.

The temperature in the nightclub got at least ten degrees hotter during intermission, all due to body heat. And when the lights went out and the first notes of ‘Slap In The Face’, cracked them across the ears, they went into a ; foaming, indiscriminate fist-waving frenzy. The force of the crowd response behind me ruffled my hair; in front were a few rows of scenes from the last days of Sodom and Gomorrah, and then the strangely sedate realm of the stage. Not just sedate in comparison, you understand, as (or much of the show LA Guns did not deliver ‘exciting baIls-to-the-wall rock’ as promised by their PR company.

When songs as potentially gut-shattering as ‘Rip And Tear’ and ‘Sex Action’ fail to deliver, you have to wonder why. It’s not the quality of the musicianship, it’s the attitude that has to exist before the songs are written, before the band jump onstage. LA Guns just aren’t hungry enough often enough.

But once in a while flint strikes stone at just the right angle and you get a haunting performance of ‘Malaria’ or a soulful ‘The Ballad Of Jane’. And then someone with heart – Tracii Guns – finally lets it out and delivers a blues solo that’s sensuous, passionate and just plain good. I didn’t know the dude had so much blood in him.

This was the turning point of the show; sad that it arrived so late, Three songs delivered full throttle, then off into the wings.

The crowd, which hadn’t backed down once, promptly began to chant, scream and stomp its feet. You’ve got to give LA Guns credit for managing to pull in fans like these, but sometimes you have to wonder why such adoration exists. The hard edged ‘One More Reason’, with its release of all the band’s unspent energy, gives me a hint though.
Good for LA Guns if these fans stick around, Good for us if the band gives them a reason to.

MARIBETH BRUNO

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

ROZZI LANE

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

ROZZI LANE


ROZZI LANE have been on the LA. scene for quite a while now, although it’s taken me ages to track them down. The band consists of Toni Snow (drums), Michael Marquee (bass), Mickey D’Mone (vocals) and Willy Houston (guitars) and they describe themselves as ‘New Wave’s Bastard Stepchild’ and I certainty wouldn’t be one to argue ‘cos the two songs l have on tape – “Betty Angel” and “Beauty’s Only Skin Deep” – fit that description perfectly.

The nearest band they remind me of is THE RAMONES, but with a more rocking edge. There’s also a bit of SWEET in there as well.

With the wildest and wackiest hairdos in Hollywood – every member has either got pink or orange hair – ROZZI LANE are one of the best and most entertaining live acts I’ve seen in a long time.

I believe the two tracks will be available as a single by the time you read this, so you’d better get writing, ‘cos ROZZI LANE are gonna bigger than their hairdo’s!
KELV HELLRAZER


LINK:

FIFTEEN MINUTES

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

FIFTEEN MINUTES

FIFTEEN MINUTES are a new L.A. based band featuring David Walker (lead vocals/guitars), Darby (drums), Joe Ferrario (bass) and Mark O’Connell (lead guitar). The band took their name from an Andy Warhol statement and have their roots deeply embedded in the post-punk era. Basically, FIFTEEN MINUTES play straightforward rock with a psychedelic tint.

“Hurry Up Man” is my favourite cut, being both bluesy and commercial, whilst “Closet Man” is a weird kinda psychedelic sounding number, one minute DOORS sounding and the next getting real heavy.

“Impossible To Talk To You” is blues of the highest order and David Walker’s bizarre vocals make it totally original sounding. There is no doubt in my mind that FIFTEEN MINUTES will get signed and they’ve already picked up a publishing/artist development deal with Chrysalis, so big news is surely just round the corner.
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

JUNGLE ALLEY

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

JUNGLE ALLEY


JUNGLE ALLEY is bassist Gary J. Corso’s (ex-ROCKNEE) new act. Joining Gary is his brother Joee (lead guitar), Steve Phillips (lead guitar), Muke Russo (drums) and Bump Scott (lead vocals).

“Ready” hits off the demo in fine AEROSMITH-like style. “Too Loose For Love” has some killer axework from Joee and Steve with the whole song structured around a kind of funky, but really meaty riff.

“Even Though” is a ballad reminiscent of “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, where Bump Scott’s vocals and the band’s harmonies come across exceptionally strong.
‘Tired Of Your Love” has a more commercial feel to it with keyboards and a memorable chorus, plus some more excellent dual axework.

Finally, ‘On My Way” has a mid-west rock’n’roll feel to it and closes a happening demo.

JUNGLE ALLEY has been working with Tony Thompson of the POWERSTATION and keyboard extraordinaire, Jeff Loiter who helped produce this demo, and I’m sure the band will be tearin’ up L.A. by the time you read this.
KELV HELLRAZER

Jungle Alley from their  myspace page

http://www.myspace.com/junglealley

 

 

BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB

METAL FORCES ISSUE 37 MARCH 1989

BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB

 
BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB is none other than my old buddy Nigel Itson (ex-LONDON/RUBY SLIPPERS). “After the demise of RUBY SLIPPERS, it was pretty obvious that l wasn’t going to make it doing the OTT glamour thing,” explains Nigel, “so I decided that l would do the thing by myself.

I found four scum buckets that were already in a band and we formed MILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB, but due to inflation we changed it to BILLIONAIRE!”

Being a big tan of Nigel I couldn’t wait to get my lugholes around his latest affair.

“Sealed With A Kiss” hits off the demo, and is Nigel at his trashiest yet, being backed up by the weirdest bunch of junkie punks I’ve seen in a long time – in the form of Robert Tracy (guitars), Billy (guitars), James Frey (bass) and Tony Purvis (drums). It’s not surprising the band sound trashy.

“Twinkle Twinkle” is the glamiest anthem around, Nigel turning in his finest vocal performance to date. “You Girl” is another glamour anthem of the finest order, showing Nigel’s MOTT influences.

I think Nigel stands a better chance than ever before with B.B.C., the image Is more streetwise, which will help ‘cos a lot of people were offended by RUBY SUPPERS – sometimes they were just too OTT.
KELV HELLRAZER

RUBY SLIPPERS MYSPACE

http://www.myspace.com/rubyslippersrock/music

JOHNNY CRASH

APRIL 1990 Interview by Dave Reynolds

JOHNNY CRASH

If we’re compared to Rose Tattoo or ACDC my feelings are that it would be a compliment. They’re my heroes. I grew up in the ’70s listening to them.

“But if people claim we’re just a rip of then that’s wrong. We just come from the same school of clean guitar sounds and straight ahead rock and roll.

This speaks Johnny Crash vocalist Vicki James Wright when I confront him a question he’ll no doubt be hearing from a good many other people before the year is out.

Most reviews of ‘Neighbourhood Threat’ (the Johnny Crash debut out in the UK on Epic, April 16) have compared it to ACDC or Rose Tattoo but will the comparisons be a hindrance or help

“I don’t see it as that big an issue, really claims Wright. A yorkshireman who first made a name for himself as frontman of Tokyo Blade. We’re no more ACDC sounding than Rose Tattoo. Remember when the Tatts first came out and everyone compared them to ACDC That was rather unfair.”

Wright speaks with an accent that still betrays his Yorkshire roots but is becoming more and more American as time rambles on. He has lived in California for the last five years but pleads that Ross Halfin reckons he still speaks like a true Englishman!

“I came out to LA on a whim I just packed a couple of suitcases, bought myself a plane ticket and arrived in Los Angeles not knowing a soul. It was a real struggle at first but, well, here I am.”

WHAT WAS the problem with Tokyo Blade then

“I split with Tokyo Blade in December 1985,” the singer recalls. “Things had been going well – we were all friends – but something just crept into the band that turned it sour for me.

“I think it just went wrong because we didn’t communicate with each other in the finish. All the best bands in the world are good communicators. Once communication breaks down between band members then that’s when the splits occur. This is exactly what happened with Tokyo Blade. I really think only Andy Boulton…” (TB’s lead guitarist) “…was happy in that band.”

Are you still in touch with any of them

“No. But I did try and contact the bassist, Andy Wrighton, when I was over in London last summer mixing the album at Battery Studios, although I couldn’t get hold of him. John Wiggins isn’t on the phone…”

So what were your impressions of Los Angeles when you arrived

“It was weird. The first six months were more like a dream. I was in total culture shock. Everything was big and loud. I had plenty of time to gather my thoughts and think about what I wanted to do. The music I love is straight ahead, simple stuff like I’m doing now. I went to tons of auditions and went through bands, then I met Chris Stewart…” (Johnny Crash’s rhythm guitarist) “Every week since then something good has happened. Things have just snowballed from there. We formed Johnny Crash and soon got people talking.”

How long did it take

“Six months. Jerry Greenberg, the president of WTG…” (a subsidiary of CBS in the States) “…saw us at a showcase and told us, ‘Don’t speak to anybody else!’ “WTG didn’t exist at the time, but he loved us and told us that he’d sign us once he’d got his new label sorted out. We waited nine months.”

Wasn’t that pretty frustrating

“Yes, it was, but we believed in him. And in those nine months we worked hard, came up with loads of better songs than we had so it worked out in our favour.”

DIDN’T YOU have some kind of solo thing happening in LA before Johnny Crash I seem to recall seeing flyers and ads for the ‘Vicki James Wright Band’.

“You’re right, I did. The thing is that when you do a solo thing people seem to get the impression that you’re some kind of ego maniac. I did it because Tokyo Blade had a small underground following in America so I put a band together using my name to get my foot in the door. We did Tokyo Blade songs at first until we got our own material together. The whole thing lasted a year before I wanted to be involved in a proper band thing again. I was out for eight months trying to find a decent band to hook up with, but I couldn’t find one. I remember going to more auditions in one week than I’d had in my entire life. Some of the bands I auditioned for are actually kinda big now…Anyway, I got kinda disoriented so I came back to England for two weeks – and saw the state of the UK scene was even worse than when I had left! There are great bands in the UK but the apathy towards rock music in Britain is terrible. MTV in the UK sucks for a start, the record companies just aren’t interested in Heavy Metal, it’s not on the radio and people just stamp all over it. It’s a horrible situation. When I returned to LA my good friend Tracii Guns called me up telling me about a band that Chris Stewart was in called World War Three who were on the verge of splitting up and that they were just up my street musically. So I got in touch with Chris and, like I said, that was it! I joined Chris and the lead guitar player, August Worchell, and we put Johnny Crash together with ‘Punkee’ Stephen Adamo (drums) and Andy Rogers (bass).”

ONCE SIGNED to WTG Johnny Crash insisted on getting Tony Platt to produce.
“Yeah, we asked specifically for Tony,” confirms the singer, “and Jerry Greenberg was wonderful about it. He’s given us so much space and the label as a whole have bent over backwards to cater for us. Not only were we allowed to pick the producer but we chose the cover art, the songs and Nigel Green – the guy who mixed the album with Tony. So if the record fails then we’ve only ourselves to blame! Tony Platt was our first choice as producer for the record. See, we wanted a producer who wouldn’t come in and try and change everything but a guy who would work with us, like the sixth member of the band.Tony is a Yorkshireman like myself and he’s really a great guy to work with. We’re very pleased with the job he did. He comes from the old school of producers and he gave us a live feel basically because we virtually did everything live anyway.”

With ‘Neighbourhood Threat’ already in the shops Stateside, Johnny Crash are set for the road.

“We’re going out with Bonham shortly doing 2,-3,000 seaters over here in America. There has been talk of some showcase gigs in the UK but nothing has been confirmed, especially as we may be getting onto a bigger arena tour after our stint with Bonham is over, because we plan on being out for the next 14 months. But so far, I love British audiences the best because they get into the bands a whole lot more than LA audiences that, let’s face it, just consist of other bands who just stand there. When I was last in London I went to see a Thrash band at the new Marquee and it was mad! I definitely want to come back to the UK and play with Johnny Crash. The thing is,” he sighs, “some people will say I sold out by going to America, but it was a career move. I think I’m kinda intelligent, I thought I’d take a chance and go over to see how it was and it paid off for me. Let’s face it, Def Leppard would never have got anywhere either if they hadn’t gone to the US when they did.”

Right, so America must love Yorkshiremen! I knew there was a moral to this story somewhere…