Classic Rock - issue 12/2021
Classic Rock issue 12/2021


Classic Rock - issue 12/2021

09. Nov 2021
108 Pages


DECEMBER 2021 ISSUE 295 8 The Dirt Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen unveils series of his own fine art prints… Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner survives life-threatening on-stage aneurysm… David Lee Roth and John Mayall decide to retire… Welcome back dUg Pinnick and The War On Drugs and PFM… Say hello to Spidergawd and Crazy Lixx… Say goodbye to Darrell Bath, Steve Strange, Ron Tutt, John Rossall… 20 Q&A John Petrucci 22 Six Things You Need To Know About… Florence Black 24 Alan Lancaster 28 Cover Feature Deep Purple 36 Jerry Cantrell 38 Rush 46 The Gospel According To… Justin Hawkins 50 Dooms Children 54 Van Halen 67 Reviews New albums from Deep Purple, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, The Darkness, Steve Perry, Gov’t Mule, Rod Stewart, Black Label Society, Eagles Of Death Metal, Mostly Autumn, Florence Black, Enuff Z’Nuff… Reissues from Nirvana, Kiss, Motörhead, David Bowie, Jethro Tull, Mötley Crüe, Pretenders, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Radiohead, Frank Zappa, Funeral For A Friend… DVDs, films and books on Queen, Brad Whitford, Bobby Gillespie, Jay Jay French, The Beatles, John Illsley… Live reviews of Genesis, Skindred, Hawklords, Bruce Dickinson, Patti Smith, Steve Hackett, Caravan, Blaze Bayley… 89 Back To Live With gigs back on the agenda, we preview tours by The Cadillac Three, Fozzy and Fish. Plus full gig listings – find out who’s playing where and when. 106 The Soundtrack Of My Life Bobby Gillespie 28 Deep Purple Their new covers album is “a homage… to the spirit of the songs which made us want to play rock’n’roll”. SUBSCRIBE AND GET A FREE GIFT WORTH £39 p76 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 3

WELCOME The saying goes: build it and they will come! Or something like that. Well, I’m delighted to say that after a couple of months of soliciting here and in the Classic Rock special subscribers’ newsletter (why not subscribe and see what you’re missing out on), this issue sees the return of Communication Breakdown, aka the Classic Rock letters page, on p64. I hope it’ll kick off some interesting discourse as the issues go by. Please do get involved by dropping us an email at classicrock@ Use it or lose it… It’s not just the return of the letters page that we’re excited about this month, though. We’re also celebrating a brand new record from Deep Purple. Back in 2017, when the band released their Infinite album, rumours abounded that it might be their last. Thankfully, said rumours were obviously greatly exaggerated, as since then they’ve not only released the tremendous Whoosh! album in 2020, but also later this month they surprise us with their very first all-covers album. We sat down with all five of them to find out just what makes them tick in 2021, and what led to them making something new so soon. We also venture behind the scenes of the making of some classic albums – Geddy Lee talks us through Rush’s prog epic Hemispheres, and we also spend some time with Van Halen at the time they were making Fair Warning and Diver Down. All that, and an awful lot more. Until next month… Subscribe! COVER PHOTO: BEN WOLF © EARMUSIC Siân Llewellyn, Editor Save money, get your issues early and get exclusive subscriber benefits. Visit for our latest subscription offers. This month’s contributors EMMA JOHNSTON You’ll find Emma’s words across our pages every month. This issue she critiques The Darkness’s new album, among others, as well as interviewing Alexisonfire man Wade MacNeil about his new psychrock project Dooms Children (p50). She’s also written for Melody Maker, Select, Metal Hammer and Prog. When not writing about music she can often be found on a horse. ALEX BURROWS Former Classic Rock managing editor and longtime contributor /friend of the Louder team Alex dived into Blondie’s back catalogue (tough job, but someone’s gotta do it…) for this month’s Buyer’s Guide (p86). By day he’s Operations Manager at Twin V – the creators of Space Rocks, Iron Maiden’s brand new fan club mag, the World Metal Congress and much more. NIALL DOHERTY Niall Doherty is a music journalist and the former Deputy Editor of Q magazine (RIP). Earlier this year he wrote about Pearl Jam for Classic Rock. And while not wishing to paint the poor guy into a Seattle-shaped hole, this month we asked him to sit down with Alice In Chains’ Jerry Cantrell (p36). Niall recently helped launch the music newsletter The New Cue. CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 5

Stereo Can also be played on mono equipment SIR K 66 087 (2SRK 1987) Germany: Z France: WE 666 LC 2112 5150 Established 1998 Production Editor Paul Henderson The Steely Dan Band, Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live Editor Siân Llewellyn Now playing: Jerry Cantrell, Brighten Reviews Editor Ian Fortnam Geese, Projector Art Editor Darrell Mayhew Rivers Of Nihil, The Work Online Editor Fraser Lewry Fuzzy Robes, Night Prayers Features Editor Polly Glass Wolf Alice, Blue Weekend News/Lives Editor Dave Ling Dream Theater, A View From The Top Of The World Contributing writers Marcel Anders, Geoff Barton, Tim Batcup, Mark Beaumont, Max Bell, Essi Berelian, Simon Bradley, Rich Chamberlain, Stephen Dalton, Rich Davenport, Johnny Dee, Bill DeMain, Malcolm Dome, Lee Dorrian, Mark Ellen, Claudia Elliott, Paul Elliott, Dave Everley, Jerry Ewing, Hugh Fielder, Eleanor Goodman, Gary Graff, Michael Hann, John Harris, Nick Hasted, Barney Hoskyns, Jon Hotten, Rob Hughes, Neil Jeffries, Emma Johnston, Jo Kendall, Hannah May Kilroy, Dom Lawson, Dannii Leivers, Ken McIntyre, Lee Marlow, Gavin Martin, Alexander Milas, Paul Moody, Grant Moon, Luke Morton, Kris Needs, Bill Nelson, Paul Rees, Chris Roberts, David Quantick, Will Simpson, Johnny Sharp, David Sinclair, Sleazegrinder, Terry Staunton, David Stubbs, Everett True, Jaan Uhelszki, Mick Wall, Paddy Wells, Philip Wilding, Henry Yates, Youth Contributing photographers Brian Aris, Ami Barwell, Adrian Boot, Dick Barnatt, Dave Brolan, Alison Clarke, Zach Cordner, Fin Costello, Henry Diltz, Kevin Estrada, James Fortune, Jill Furmanovsky, Herb Greene, Bob Gruen, Michael Halsband, Ross Halfin, Mick Hutson, Will Ireland, Robert Knight, Marie Korner, Barry Levine, Jim Marshall, John McMurtrie, Gered Mankowitz, David Montgomery, Kevin Nixon, Denis O’Regan, Barry Plummer, Ron Pownall, Neal Preston, Michael Putland, Mick Rock, Pennie Smith, Stephen Stickler, Leigh A van der Byl, Chris Walter, Mark Weiss, Barrie Wentzell, Baron Wolman, Michael Zagaris, Neil Zlozower All copyrights and trademarks are recognised and respected ABC January-December 2019: 38,021 Thanks this issue to Russell Fairbrother (design) Cover photo: Ben Wolf. 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Allen brush strokes: (from top) Steve Clark, Eddie Van Halen, Janis Joplin. INSIDE THE WORLD OF ROCK FOR MORE NEWS: WWW.CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 8E 072 - 06 603 cat no:#295 ® 190 cat no:#295 COPYRIGHT FUTURE 2021 8 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

Rick Allen Brushes Up Def Leppard drummer unveils own fine art prints. Def Leppard’s Rick Allen has launched a range of fine art prints. The drummer has always been passionate about photography and art, and having lived in California for the past quarter-century, in recent years he has had numerous one-man shows across America. His ‘Legend Series’ is a range of paintings of fellow rock stars, including Eddie Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Tom Petty, John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, Prince, Johnny Cash and, most recently, the late Charlie Watts. A portion of the proceeds from each sale is donated to the Veterans Programs via Project Resiliency. Classic Rock caught up with Allen to talk portraits, people and palettes. You painted a picture for your mother when you were five, but when did you first pick up a brush in earnest? I got the bug as a kid. I’m not formally trained, but I really like the idea of full-contact painting, where there’s paint everywhere – more on the ceiling than the paper itself. When my youngest daughter was born, it wasn’t long before we were painting together. That’s what re-ignited my passion. How would you describe your painting style? Lumpy [laughs]. One of the techniques I like the best is taking a photograph that I love, making it poster-size and sketching it. That makes it a lot easier. You have painted many portraits as Legends. Which do you think best captures its subject? I’m most proud of the one of Steve Clark [the Def Leppard guitarist who died in 1991]. It was my first, and what better way to pay homage? I sent a photograph of the painting to my mother, who is still in contact with Beryl, Steve’s mum, who said I had really captured his essence. That’s what made me think that I should be doing this. Unfortunately we are losing people so often that I’ve got plenty of subject matter. Can your prints be bought in the UK? Yeah they can, via the Wentworth Gallery []. Is there any likelihood of exhibitions in your homeland? I really hope so, because you need to see the pieces in the flesh. Online doesn’t do them any justice. But the last couple of years have been very challenging for galleries everywhere. A portion of the proceeds from each sale goes to a charity that’s close to your heart. In 2001 my wife Lauren and I started the Raven Drum Foundation which benefitted incarcerated youths and women’s shelters, anybody that had gone through some kind of extreme trauma. Five years later I visited an Army Medical Centre and was really taken aback by the level of suffering that I saw. We refocused our efforts on something we call Project Resiliency, which gives back to wounded warriors. You sympathised greatly with those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Even though my injuries [Allen lost his left arm in a car accident in 1984] weren’t sustained through combat, it’s extreme trauma all the same, and some of the same things apply when you are talking about PTSD. Away from paint, what do Def Leppard have in the pipeline for 2022? In regard to the [North American] tour [co-starring Mötley Crüe, Poison and Joan Jett], that was moved to 2022 due to the pandemic. We just want people to be safe when they come to the show. Honestly, it’s Live Nation’s call as to whether it goes ahead, but should it do so I think the first date is Atlanta on June 16. And what about a new studio album? We’re always working on new music, that’s something that never stops, and it will see the light of day as soon as it’s ready. DL US readers of Classic Rock should know that Rick Allen has two Fine Art Sales at the Wentworth Gallery at Mall at Short Hills, New Jersey, and the Wentworth Gallery at Phipps Plaza in Atlanta, Georgia, on November 21 and December 12 respectively. Allen will be present at both. This month The Dirt was compiled by Lee Dorrian, Dave Everley, Jo Kendall, Hannah May Kilroy, Dave Ling, Dave Steinfeld Man at work: Rick Allen paints drums and more as well as music stars. CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 9

Thank you… and good night. Pete Franklin October 28, 1961 – October 2, 2021 East Londoner Pete Franklin was the frontman/guitarist with hard rockers Dirty Deeds. Before that band, and again afterwards, he played with cult heroes Chariot. A gregarious man, Franklin liked to have fun and generated it among all those that knew him. He was 59 when he succumbed to pancreatic cancer. Tom Leighton March 11, 1988 – October 10, 2021 The New Wave Of Classic Rock scene was shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Tom Leighton, the singer and guitarist with Cannockbased trio Wolf Jaw. The Rob Halfordapproved group had just launched a Kickstarter campaign for their third album. Father-of-two Leighton, who was 33, was described by his bandmates as “an incredible, talented musician and an all-round good guy”. Pat Fish December 20, 1957 – October 5, 2021 Born in London, Pat Fish (real name Patrick Huntrods) adopted the persona of The Jazz Butcher in 1982. An eccentric figure, he navigated the group that took his name through more than a decade of constant lineup and stylistic changes. According to a post at the Jazz Butcher Facebook page, he died “suddenly but peacefully”. Fish was 64 years old and had been suffering from sleep apnea, a condition where breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Deon Estus July 4, 1956 – October 11, 2021 Detroit native Estus found mainstream recognition as the bassist with Wham! and George Michael, and had a varied CV. A solo single, Heaven Help Me, was a US top-five hit in 1989 and the Grammy winner also played with Frank Zappa, George Clinton, Edgar Winter, Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, Elton John, Annie Lennox and Aaron Neville. Estus was 65 years old. Spandau Ballet’s Martin Kemp said Estus was “a brilliant talent who helped create the sound of the 1980s”. Paddy Moloney August 1, 1938 – October 12, 2021 An icon in his homeland, Irishman Paddy Moloney co-founded The Chieftains, and played tin whistle and 10 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM Darrell Bath December 24, 1966 - September 27, 2021 Often spoken of as the missing link between glam and punk rock, guitarist Darrell Bath has died at the age of 54. One of the most modest artists on the British scene, Bath played with Ian Hunter, the Dogs D’Amour, The Vibrators, UK Subs, the Heavy Metal Kids, The Godfathers, The Crybabys, Nikki Sudden, Die Toten Hosen and others. Just before he passed away due to as-yet unannounced cause, he was preparing to launch Ventriloquism, a new project with Eddie Edwards of The Vibrators. Bath became an associate of former Mott The Hoople frontman Ian Hunter following the death of Mick Ronson in 1993. Ron Tutt March 12, 1938 – October 16, 2021 Ron Tutt is best known as the drummer with Elvis Presley’s band, although in an illustrious six-decade career he also worked as a session musician with Roy Orbison, Jerry Garcia, Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash, Elvis Costello and more. The Texasborn drummer was 83 years old when he passed away, reportedly of natural causes. Tutt joined Presley’s group, The TCB Band (Takin’ Care Of Business) in 1969 and remained with him until the singer’s death eight years later. Of working with Elvis he once said: “We immediately had a great rapport. John Rossall November 26, 1945 – October 2, 2021 Best known as the saxophonist and trombone player with the Glitter Band, John Rossall has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 75. Rossall was born and raised in Blackpool, and his musical education came from the ballrooms and dances of the 50s. The Glitter Band first found fame as the backing band of the now disgraced former pop star Gary Glitter, before scoring the first UK Top 10 hit of their own with Angel Face in 1974, outselling Glitter’s Remember Me This Way in the process. While the band were working with Glitter, it was Rossall who approached producer Mike They met at the sessions for Hunter’s 1994 album Dirty Laundry and worked together on and off for the following six years. “Darrell Bath was a fine guitarist and a walking lyric,” commented Hunter. “I’ve always loved ‘characters’ in the bands I’ve been in. He will be missed.” “This is another sad day for rock’n’roll,” said Spike of the Quireboys. “Darrell’s guitar playing was beyond belief. I’m so honoured to have known him, to have written great songs with him and performed so many shows with him.” Charlie Harper of the UK Subs hailed Bath as “one of the greatest guitarists of our era”. DL Visually, our eyes were constantly watching each other.” For a while, Tutt chose to split his time between Presley and Grateful Dead leader Garcia, joking: “One night I’d be in Vegas playing with rhinestone twopiece outfits, and the next with Garcia wearing tie-dye and jeans.” In a social media post, Tutt’s daughter Tina led the tributes, describing him as “humble, loving, talented, God-loving, a loving father and husband.” A spokesperson for Elvis Presley Enterprises said: “In addition to being a legendary drummer, Ron was a good friend to many of us here at Graceland.” DL Leander about the idea of releasing music of the Glitter Band’s own. Sure enough, they went to achieve seven Top 20 hit singles during the mid-70s, including Just For You, Let’s Get Together Again and Goodbye My Love, and released three albums. Having played on all of the early Glitter Band hits, on New Year’s Eve 1974 Rossall quit in order to pursue a solo career. After more than 40 years, Rossall finally got around to releasing his debut solo album, The Last Glam In Town, in 2020. Rossall’s partner, Julia, confirmed that he had died peacefully at home, just as he had wished. DL GETTY x2

GETTY x3 Barry Ryan October 24, 1948 – September 28, 2021 Cat Stevens has reminisced about his friend, the musician, singer and photographer Barry Ryan, who at 72 has died after complications from a lung disorder. “It was Paul’s brother Barry who gave me my first book on Buddhism and meditation, The Secret Path,” said Stevens (also known as Yusuf). “When I spoke with Barry recently, he told me he was fully at peace knowing he only had a short time left on this earth. His trust in God was solid. We’ll miss him.” Leeds-born Barry became successful singer during the 1960s as part of a duo with his twin brother Paul. The pair, sons of pop singer Marion Ryan, shot to fame Richard H Kirk March 21, 1956 – September 21, 2021 Electronic and industrial music lost a pioneering figure when Cabaret Voltaire’s Richard H Kirk died at the age of 65. The Sheffield-based band played a crucial role in the development of synthesisers and experimental tape loops. Along with Chris Watson and Stephen Mallinder, Kirk formed the group in 1973, naming it after the Zurich nightclub at which the Dada art movement was born. Their early motto was: “No sound shall go untreated.” Using provocative and revolutionary cut-and-paste techniques, Cabaret Voltaire (along with the likes of Depeche Mode and New Order) Steve Strange April 17, 1968 – September 24, 2021 Tributes have been paid to one of the most popular figures in music entertainment. Having started out as a musician, Steve Strange climbed the industry ladder and became a booking agent for Thunder, Saxon, Queens Of The Stone Age, Coldplay, Stiff Little Fingers, Jimmy Eat World, L7 and Ash. He was also a manager for FM, Wayward Sons and Last In Line. The 53-year-old passed away unexpectedly after a short illness. Strange grew up just outside of Belfast, and moved to London in the mid-1980s with his band, hard rockers No Hot Ashes. After they broke up he remained in the city. Warm, funny, caring, generous with eight UK Top-50 singles between ’65 and ’67, including Don’t You Bring Me Your Heartaches, Have Pity On The Boy and I Love Her. Paul ceased performing due to the stress of life in public, but continued to write songs. He died of lung cancer in 1992. In ’68 Barry scored a No.2 hit with a solo single, Eloise, which with its orchestration and sense of drama is widely recognised as one of the best-produced songs of the era. The Damned covered the song on their 1986 album Phantasmagoria, and released it as a single, which reached No.3. Away from music, Barry Ryan established a successful career as a fashion photographer. DL turned the staid and traditional world of music on its head. Many bands are viewed as being before their time, but Cabaret Voltaire are a genuine example. Kirk put Cabaret Voltaire on ice during the 90s, then revived them is 2009 with himself as the sole original member. Due to a loathing of gratuitous nostalgia, all subsequent offers for reunions, including a lucrative proposal from the Coachella Festival in the US, were rebuffed. Kirk once said: “I don’t think we even thought about what was going to be happening next week, let alone thirty years into the future.” DL and possessing a laugh so loud that it could almost be heard in neighbouring counties, Strange was impossible to dislike. Later on he was a part of the reunited No Hot Ashes and played drums in a revived Fastway with good friend ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke. Ginger Wildheart described Strange as “one of my favourite people in the entire world”. Thunder guitarist Luke Morley said: “Our industry will be poorer without him.” A post from Motörhead said: “We are greatly saddened to hear that Steve Strange has left the building.” Posting on Instagram, Ed Sheeran said it was “a very sad day, and a huge loss”. DL the uilleann pipes on all of their 44 albums. He was also an in-demand session player, and played on records by Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Gary Moore, Mike Oldfield, Stevie Wonder, Sting and even The Muppets. Following his death at the age of 83, Irish Prime Minister Michael Higgins said Moloney had been “at the forefront of the renaissance of interest in Irish music”. Alan Hawkshaw March 27, 1937 – October 16, 2021 Yorkshireman Alan Hawkshaw is noted primarily for his library music and theme tunes – he wrote the introductory themes for Countdown, Grange Hill and Give Us A Clue, among others – but the pianist’s career as a ‘serious’ musician included backing artists including David Bowie, The Hollies, Barbra Streisand, Serge Gainsbourg, Tom Jones and Olivia Newton-John, and his work was sampled and used in many hip-hop tracks. The 84-year-old died of pneumonia, having suffered a stroke. Sean Kilkenny Died October 8, 2021 Sean Kilkenny was a co-founding guitarist of the New Jersey-based punk-rapcore-funk band Dog Eat Dog, having joined them from hardcore crew Mucky Pup. With MTV support, Dog Eat Dog’s debut album, 1994’s All Boro Kings, sold more than 600,000 copies worldwide. Their single No Fronts made the UK Top 10 in ’95. Having left the band in 2005, Kilkenny returned to play with them again in 2010 and 2015. He was 51 years old at the time of his death. George Frayne July 19, 1944 – September 26, 2021 Under the alias Commander Cody, George Frayne IV was the pianist and vocalist with the American countryrock band Commander Cody And The Lost Planet Airmen. Frayne and his group released six albums between 1971 and ’75, and their single Hot Rod Lincoln was a US Top 10 hit in ’72. He went on to work as a solo artist. Frayne, was 77 and had been fighting cancer for several years. Andrea Haugen Died 13 October, 2021 German black metal musician and model Andrea Haugen was one of five people reportedly killed in a bowand-arrow attack in Kongsberg, Norway. The 52-year-old released ambient pagan music under the names Nebelhexë and Andrea Nebel, and made cameo appearances with Cradle Of Filth and Satyricon. Cradle Of Filth’s Dani Filth said: “Andrea also modelled and danced for us on stage as well as presiding over ritual back in our formative years. She will be sadly missed.” CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 11

Two Music Icons To Call It A Day David Lee Roth and John Mayall both set to retire. David Lee Roth is retiring from music. In the same month, John Mayall revealed a decision to “to hang up my road shoes”. Former Van Halen frontman and solo artist Roth, who recently turned 67, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “I’m throwing in the shoes. This is the first, and only, official announcement. You’ve got the news. Share it with the world.” He added: “I’ve given you all I’ve got to give. It’s been an amazing, great run, no regrets, nothing to say about anybody. I’ll miss you all. Stay frosty.” Mayall blamed the pandemic and advancing age for his own retirement. The godfather of British blues, 88 years old in November, releases a new album, The Sun Is Shining Down, in January, and says he will make only sporadic trips outside of his adopted Californian. “My epic road-dog days have come to an end,” Mayall explained. “It has been a privilege to have spent my life doing what I love and having you along for the ride with me.” DL David Lee Roth: calling it a day. Priest Guitarist Cheats Death Richie Faulkner survives on-stage aneurysm. Judas Priest were forced to cancel the 25 remaining dates of a US tour when guitarist Richie Faulkner suffered an aortic aneurysm on stage at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Kentucky. In an explanatory statement the 41-yearold said: “As I watch footage from the show, I can see in my face the confusion and anguish I was feeling whilst playing Painkiller as my aorta ruptured and started to spill blood into my chest cavity. My surgeon tells me people with this don’t usually make it to the hospital alive. Incredibly, Faulkner completed the song before being rushed to hospital, where he underwent almost 11-hours of emergency surgery in which five parts of his chest were replaced with mechanical components. Faulkner, who had no history of clogged arteries, was recuperating at his home in Nashville. “Get yourselves checked, do it for me, please,” he told Priest fans. Meanwhile, Priest frontman Rob Halford has revealed that he is in remission from prostate cancer, having battled the condition during lockdown. DL 12 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM A school teacher in Canada who is an Iron Maiden fan has kept her job despite a petition demanding her dismissal. Objecting to her use of “satanic symbols” in social media photographs, 500 signatories sought to oust Principal Sharon Burns from her position at Eden High School in St Catharines, but a counter-petition attracted more than 23,000 signatures. Genesis were forced to postpone the final four UK concerts of their Last Domino? Tour after an unnamed member of the entourage tested positive for covid. The three dates at London’s O2 Arena will now take place on March 24, 25 and 26, 2022. Original tickets are still valid. The Glasgow show remains TBC. Scorpions release Rock Believer, their nineteenth studio album, on February 11 via Universal Music. It was recorded with their new drummer, former Motörhead man Mikkey Dee. The German band have announced a tour of mainland Europe and some gigs in the US, though as yet no UK dates are booked. Former Rush bassist/ vocalist Geddy Lee’s autobiography will be published in autumn 2022. He is collaborating on it with Daniel Richler, the author who assisted him on his Big Beautiful Book Of Bass, published in 2018. Lee (pictured) began the project while he was still “struggling” in the aftermath of the death of Rush drummer Neil Peart in January 2020. dUg Pinnick With King's X and solo albums due, and two another band projects, it's a busy time for the bassist/vocalist. dUg Pinnick is a busy guy. In the past few years the King’s X bassist/vocalist has released albums with two of his other bands: the hard rock supergroup KXM and the more blues-oriented trio Grinder Blues. There’s also a new King’s X album due for release in 2022. And he just dropped a bomb: Joybomb, his fifth solo record (and first since 2013). The album rocks like hell and proves that, at 71, Pinnick has no intention of slowing down. What was it like making a record during a pandemic? I did the whole record in my house, in my little studio, except for the drums, which a friend of mine did. I had written a bunch of songs for King’s X and myself. We made a King’s X record, and I took all my songs, about thirty of them at the time, to the band, and we did seven. To tell you the truth, [the other guys] wrote better songs than me. So I had all these songs left over. With King’s X we’re competitors, you know? We love each other dearly, but we’re gonna try to push each other. Tell us about Key Changer, the first single from Joybomb. I wrote the basic song maybe ten years ago. I was just trying to mathematically write a song that had these key changes, that kept fooling you. When you got back to the root, it didn’t sound like it was the same key, but it was. I always loved songs like that. Remember My Generation by The Who? They did a half-step up every time they did the verse and chorus. I wanted to ask about one of the early King’s X songs, Goldilox. Ty [Tabor, King’s X guitarist] wrote Goldilox. He went to a club one night, saw this beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed girl and he “King’s X records were banned from Christian music stores.” was completely enamoured by her. But he couldn’t talk to her. He was too afraid, it was a crowded place, and he left. And she left. But it impressed him and it stuck in his head so much that he wrote a song about it. You had a church upbringing. When you came out as gay, did you face more of a backlash from the hard rock community, or the church? I faced no backlash from the hard rock community. I never made a statement [or] a press announcement. It was just, I was doing an interview for this major Christian magazine. They started talking and I just thought: “You know, I’m so tired of these Christians and the whole hypocrisy. I’m just gonna tell ’em I’m gay and get it over with.” Even to this day it’s not an issue. I’ve never had any backlash from anyone. Except when the article came out. That was the point where King’s X records were banned from Christian music stores. When that happened we went “Great! Now we can get away from this Christian stigma.” For some reason, King’s X [was considered] a Christian band. Maybe because that was our faith at the time; none of us are any more. Jesus Christ is not my Lord and saviour. Looking forward, what have you got coming up. The new King’s X album is finished. We just started mastering it, so the record company is getting ready to do the campaign. My solo record will be out soon. And I have a blues band called Grinder Blues. It’s a three-piece, and it’s sort of like ZZ Top dropped to C. Like Tres Hombres, that kind of vibe. DS Joybomb is out now via Rat Pak Records. DAVID LEE ROTH: GETTY; GEDDY LEE: KEVIN NIXON

Riches from the rock underground QUELLA VECCHA LOCANDA Quella Veccha Locanda, Help Records, Italy, 1972. £600. Italian prog is an entire genre within progressive rock. Along with some of its better-known bands (PFM, Le Orme, Goblin), there’s a wealth of underground bands from the classic period still very much unknown outside of hardcore collectors’ circles. It’s mind-boggling to think that, suddenly out of nowhere, a host of highly accomplished musicians exploded on to the scene. Quella Vecchia Locanda (translation: That Old Inn) are certainly one of the better lesser-known bands from the era. Formed in Rome in 1970, they worked tirelessly on orchestrating their sound. On their self-titled 1972 album, each song is an adventure, taking the listener through a kaleidoscope of textures and unpredictable passages. Their blend of rock and classical might seem somewhat self-indulgent on paper, but their ‘Their blend of rock and classical is tasteful and avoids pastiche.’ The Byson Family’s frontman Philip Seth Campbell has pulled out of their British tour as special guests to Del Amitri. Craig from The Maccabes is standing in as his replacement. Campbell said: “I need to take a long time out to learn a new way of living”, adding: “Years of bad mental health, bad choices and addictions have brought me to this place.” With guitarist John Frusciante back in the Red Hot Chili Peppers for a third spell, drummer Chad Smith says the music on an almost completed new studio album, the band’s twelfth, will be “balls out” and “different and new”. The Chilis have been working with producer Rick Rubin. Jon Oliva, the 62-year-old former singer with powermetal band Savatage and a co-creator of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, was arrested by Florida police for driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance, and later released on bail. Oliva’s brother and Savatage bandmate Criss was killed by a drunk driver in 1993. The War On Drugs With a perfectionist approach, and drawing on classic 70s rock for inspiration, the Drugs do work. founded in 2005 by Philadelphia neighbours Kurt Vile and Adam Granduciel, The War On Drugs have since expanded into a fearsome sextet, updating the classic tenets of heartland rock for a whole new generation. Latest album I Don’t Live Here Anymore – rooted in Springsteen, Dylan, Fleetwood Mac and 70s kosmische – spent three years in gestation, nurtured by the perfectionist vision of songwriter and frontman Granduciel. We caught up with the hardgrafting bandleader. I Don’t Live Here Anymore has such a distinct sound. What were you looking for? We were working towards a goal where we felt like all the songs were swimming in the same ocean. Shawn [Everett co-producer/engineer] is so talented. It’s like he’s operating on a totally different level. And I enjoy that process of discovering cool sounds and arrangements. In the studio we found a Marshall JC-120 amp, which gives you a classic eighties feel. We were always getting inspired. “I enjoy discovering cool sounds and arrangements.” a Grammy put The War On Drugs on another level. How did that play into your approach here with the new one? We ended up playing bigger venues after A Deeper Understanding, our fan-base was really growing, and our band was expanding sonically. So I wanted to make sure we had songs that would play well in that larger context, to take some big songs and see how we could make them sound. You’re a major fan of Harmonia, who you reference on Harmonia’s Dream. What’s the attraction for you? We’re always listening to that stuff. You get into Neu! first, then Harmonia, and you start realising that it’s basically all the same people involved. That makes it even cooler. There must be about two hundred Michael Rother albums, and every year one of us comes back from touring Europe with a different one. I tend to go back to the well a lot, to my favourite classic records, whether it’s Harmonia or seventies rock. I’m always looking for that thing that puts me into an obsessive head-space. execution of ideas is always tasteful and avoids pastiche. The aptly titled Prologo gets things off to an explosive start with electric violin (bringing to mind Curved Air), piano, flute, high-pitched harmony vocals, Moog and Mellotron weaving in and out of complex rhythms. Un Villaggio, Un’Illusione is an energetic rocker. Realtà features a mellow mix of piano, wah-wah guitars and dreamy Mellotron. Imagini Sfocate picks up halfway through with an upbeat tempo and acid lead guitar. The album closes with Sogno, Risvegio E…, a beautiful piano composition that has an aura of mystery suspense and is a moment of pure elegance. LD 14 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM A team of metalloving Scandinavian palaeontologists have named a newly discovered 469-million-years-old fossil Drepanoistodus Iommii, after Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi (pictured). Magnum release The Monster Roars, their twenty-second studio album, on January 14 via SPV. It was produced by Magnum guitarist Tony Clarkin. During the making of the album you turned forty and also became a father. Did that play into these themes of transition and change? I think that was the main thing. I took six weeks off after the arrival of Bruce, which was a luxury, but it still didn’t feel like time to dive back into the old Adam, who would’ve been working in the studio all the time. So making this record was a way of navigating new responsibilities and using time better. Having a kid gives you a chance to start again, to try to be a great reflection of all the things you want to be. The band’s previous album, 2017’s A Deeper Understanding, which won Last year you remixed the Stones’ Scarlet, their ‘lost’ collaboration with Jimmy Page, for the Goats Head Soup reissue. How much of a thrill was that? I’d heard about those sessions, and was such a huge Stones and Jimmy Page fan. In the early days of touring, around 2007, Goats Head Soup was constantly playing in our van. The day after I’d sent [the remix] over I got a message back saying: “Mick loves it and he wants to have a chat with you.” I couldn’t believe it. He and I just had the most incredible conversation, talking about music, the remix and my band. RH I Don’t Live Here Anymore is out now via Atlantic Records. TONY IOMMI: OLLY CURTIS

“Some people consider ‘hair-metal’ a derogatory term, but I think it fits Crazy Lixx quite well.” Crazy Lixx “Rock music is meant to be rebellious and fun,” say this Swedish band. Sounds good to us… We’ve all heard some pretty rubbish band names in our time, and Crazy Lixx might be among them. “The name Crazy Lixx sounded very cool to me at eighteen years old,” says frontman Danny Rexon, “but if I saw it today I might think: ‘Okay, they’re a glam-rock band. Probably they don’t play so good. They’re mostly about attitude.’ So you do have a point. Had we called ourselves something different, maybe things might have turned out better, or maybe not,” he shrugs. “But it’s certainly a name you’ll remember.” Right from the start, Crazy Lixx expected to be swimming against the tide. “The music we wanted to play back in 2002 was desperately unfashionable; it was far from certain there would be an audience at all,” admits Rexon, whose parents remind him that at kindergarten his three favourite songs were Crazy Nights by Kiss, Europe’s The Final Countdown and Whitesnake’s Still Of The Night. Although early independent releases saw the group lumped in with the sleazy glam-metal of fellow Swedes Crashdïet and Hardcore Superstar, those childhood influences drip-fed a gradual progression to the super-hummable hard rock that Crazy Lixx play today. “Some people consider ‘hair-metal’ a derogatory term, but I think it fits Crazy Lixx quite well,” Rexon says. FOR FANS OF... “Personally, I’m inspired by the mega-releases from [songwriter] Desmond Child, things like [Bon Jovi’s] Slippery When Wet, Crazy Nights [by Kiss] and Alice Cooper’s Trash,” says Rexon. “Or if you’re a connoisseur of Desmond Child, try Saints And Sinners, a solo album by Kane Roberts [former Alice Cooper guitarist].” Crazy Lixx have won some great reviews over the past five or six years. And if life was fair they’d be much better known by now. “Of course I would like a bigger following, but we picked a genre that was quite small, and there have certainly been problems finding a younger audience,” says Rexon. “Rock in general is no longer a part of the mainstream of music.” It’s this sentiment that inspires Anthem For America, the first single from the seventh Crazy Lixx album, Street Lethal. A press release describes the anthem as “a call to action for the youth of the US, who seem to have lost touch with rock music”. But why be specific to America? Isn’t rock being devalued everywhere? “You’re right, it is happening globally. But the States used to be so innovative when it came to rock music and sticking it to the man, and now that’s disappeared,” Rexon offers. “When I grew up, America was a role model. It gave us comics, and so many wonderful bands. Now other countries are taking over.” With its use of stars and stripes banners, cheerleaders and choreographed headbanging, the clip for Anthem For America is big, brash and colourful. Are Crazy Lixx looking to bring back some entertainment to rock’n’roll? “I’m sure I’m not the only person who doesn’t want to grow up,” Rexon replies. “Rock music is meant to be rebellious and fun.” DL Street Lethal is available now via Frontiers Records. CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 15

MY FIRST LOVE Smashing Pumpkins SIAMESE DREAM By Dolf de Borst The Datsuns vocalist/ bassist sings the praises of a 90s alt.rock classic. “Phil [Somervell, guitarist] and I have been friends since we were kids, and one of the big things we got into was Siamese Dream by the Smashing Pumpkins when we were about thirteen. He had the album, and he made me a copy of the tape. “I grew up in a really small town in New Zealand with eleven thousand people at the time, so people were farmers or breeding racehorses or working at the abattoir or something, so you didn’t get records and people didn’t send you links to music [laughs]. People would trade tapes, and people’s older brothers was where you found out about music. We were more likely to hear things that had sold a lot of records. “We listened to the tape over and over, and I think the speed on the cassette player was a bit off, so everything played faster. So when I heard it on CD I was like: ‘Oh, this doesn’t seem to have as much energy that I remember [laughs]. “I revisited this record recently, and I still really enjoy it. The interesting thing is the record is super-polished and massive-sounding, and we ended up listening to more lo-fi stuff after that. But there are a lot of sounds on the record, like a lot of heavy fuzz, and some songs are super-mellow and quiet. At the time, it sounded really different from anything else I’d heard.” HMK 16 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM British Lion, Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris’s ‘other’ band, pulled out of a British tour as special guests of The Darkness, citing protocols that were “completely unacceptable”. The headliners replied that those policies had been “put in place by responsible venues and promoters”. Massive Wagons now fill the spot. British Lion have announced their own headline tour running from November 18 to December 8. Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger have become embroiled in an awkward seniorcitizens spat. It began when McCartney told the New Yorker magazine that the Stones are “a blues cover band, that’s sort of what the Stones are. I think [The Beatles’] net was cast a bit wider than theirs”. During a show in Los Angeles, Jagger responded by listing some of the celebs in the audience and adding: “Paul McCartney is here. He’s going to join us in a blues cover later on.” With traditional methods scuppered by the pandemic, Marillion are asking their fans to make financial pledges to insure the band’s UK tour this month. £150,000 has already been raised. Vince Neil (pictured) is recovering at home after breaking several ribs during a solo concert in Tennessee. Despite Neil being taken to hospital, the Mötley Crüe frontman’s band completed the performance, with guitarist Jeff Blando handling vocals. PFM After progging for 50 years, the Italian veterans still worry if they don’t always wake up with a dream. Premiata Forneria Marconi (better known as PFM) are one of the founding fathers of the cultishy influential Rock Progresivo Italiano movement, a strain of classically inclined prog that initially came out of Italy at the beginning of the 70s. Fifty years on, the Milanese band are still going strong, led by original drummer/vocalist Franz Di Cioccio and long-time bassist Patrick Djivas. Their latest album, I Dreamed Of Electric Sheep, was inspired by Ridley Scott’s landmark sci-fi movie Blade Runner. What’s the connection between Blade Runner and your new album? Patrick Djivas: Blade Runner is one of the most beautiful sciencefiction movies ever made. There’s a line in it: “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” [Also the title of Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel upon which the film is based.] The difference between an android and a human being is that androids don’t dream – they don’t need to. That’s the idea behind this album – dreaming as a human being, leaving behind all the problems Franz Di Cioccio: If you don’t wake up in the morning with a dream or fantasy in your head, be careful, because something has happened to you. Did the pandemic affect how you made the album? Patrick: Franz lives north of Milan, I live south of Milan, and it was difficult because you needed documents to travel. You could be stopped by the police. That happened to us: “Where are you going?” “I’m going to work, to make an album with my bandmate.” “That is not work…” It’s PFM’s fiftieth anniversary this year. What was it like being there at the start of the Italian progressive rock scene? Patrick: Something was in the air. Young “Italian bands are more inspired by classical arrangements.” people came to have a voice in society. The popularity of music was matched by quality, which had never happened. Before that it was middle-of-the-road singers who were popular. And the bands with the biggest audiences were making the most progressive music. Genesis were famous in Italy before anywhere else. You opened for ZZ Top on an early US tour. How was that? Patrick: It was great. We only played for twenty minutes, so we played the heaviest twenty minutes of our music. The cowboys were going crazy. How is Italian prog rock different from British or American prog rock? Patrick: Italian bands are more inspired by classical arrangements. It’s part of our culture. But growing up, we didn’t want to sound like a conservatory band, we wanted to play rock’n’roll. Franz: We don’t play better or worse than American bands, we just play differently. But we’ve played many different kinds of music in our lives. Every kind of music is beautiful. You just have to be open and wait for the music to capture you. When you started the band did you imagine still doing it fifty years later? Patrick: When I started, I said, okay, I’m going to play until I’m conscripted into the military. That didn’t happen. So I said, okay, I’m going to play until I get married or get a job. That didn’t happen. And now here we are, fifty years later. Unbelievable! Franz: We’re proud to have been there at the beginning of something fifty years ago, but what really makes us really proud is still being here today. DE I Dreamed Of Electric Sheep is out now via InsideOut Music. PFM: ORAZIO TRUGLIO/PRESS; VINCE NEIL: DAVID WALA

“Judas Priest’s Stained Class will connect you to Spidergawd VI.” Spidergawd MARTHE A. VANNEBO/PRESS The New Wave of The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal… but from Norway. For many, heavy metal grabbed us by our hormones as we hit our teens and has held on for the rest of our lives. Spidergawd frontman and guitarist Per Borten can beat that. “It got me when I was six!” he exclaims. “It was Dio, Iron Maiden, W.A.S.P., Manowar, Accept. I grew up on a small farm [in Norway] and my mother had a much younger brother,” he continues. “He had money to buy new albums, which I copied on to cassettes. The first album I bought myself, aged ten, was Houses Of The Holy. And I stole some albums from my neighbour’s mother, by Jimi Hendrix and The Who. I got my first guitar then as well, so that’s what I was listening to.” Unsurprisingly, Borten became a pro musician, and spent years playing in pop, soul-rock and prog bands, and also became a sought-after producer and co-owner of Soergarden studio. In 2013 he formed a new band with two friends – bassist Bent Sæther and drummer Kenneth Kapstad – from Norway’s biggest psychedelic rock band, Motorpsycho. “It was going to be a stoner rock side-project,” Borten says of Spidergawd, named after a Jerry Garcia instrumental. “Then we started to get popular, really fast.” This led to problems for the ’Psycho pair, and Sæther had to leave or his work schedule meant that “he would never see his kid”. Kapstad also had to make a choice – and Spidergawd won FOR FANS OF... “For a long time, I never got it with Judas Priest” says Per Borten, talking about influences. “Then when [bassist] Hal took over, Priest was his favourite band in the whole world. I started listening to the entire back catalogue, and I really got into the late-seventies stuff. Priest’s Stained Class will connect you to Spidergawd VI.” over playing in Motorpsycho. “Bent is the best bass player in rock,” Borten says. “You can hear the change from the first three albums to the last three – that’s when we moved more towards Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy.” Spidergawd’s latest, and sixth, album, Spidergawd VI, finds Borten and Kapstad alongside new bassist/vocalist Hallvard Gaardløs and guitar ace Brynjar Takle Ohr, who, in spite of his penchant for singer-songwriters, pairs majestically with Borten for some monumental twin-guitar shreds. “You don’t hear twin lead so much these days,” Borten says. “I was always into the Stooges, MC5 and hard punk rock, but also Wishbone Ash. It’s something we wanted to highlight.” Adding some extra oomph to VI is saxophonist Rolf Martin Snustad, a “former sports professional, now on steroids because of an illness, so he’s got a chest like a Greek god and can play a baritone melody line for hours”. With metal festivals like Tons Of Rock coming up, Borten is excited about Spidergawd’s participation in what he sees as a new dawn for hard rock. “We played some shows in Sweden just before lockdown and the NWOBHM thing is really happening there,” he says. “We also did a special show recently, and you’d think it was mainly grownups coming along but it’s kids too. I don’t know if it’ll be a massive movement,” Borten concludes, “I’m just happy that heavy metal’s coming back.” JK Spidergawd VI is out on December 10 via Crispin Glover Records. CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 19

John Petrucci Dream Theater’s guitar wizard on egos, tricky time signatures, worrying about the draft, own-brand bourbon, and beards. I Words: Henry Yates 20 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM n the still-youthful genre of prog-metal, Dream Theater are the undisputed silverbacks. Founded 36 years ago in the fertile breeding ground of Berklee College Of Music in Boston, the line-up took the calling cards of classic prog and turned up all the dials, leading the charge for a new movement that made you both bang and scratch your head. Comprising seven extended tracks, groaning with super-technical solos and pinballing between tricky time signatures, this year’s A View From The Top Of The World album represents everything you love/hate (delete as applicable) about the genre. Co-founding guitarist John Petrucci tells us more. Undoubtedly you’re pleased with the new album. I had a feeling when we finished it: “There’s something special about this one.” We started the band in 1985. A View From The Top Of The World is our fifteenth album. People expect bands to slow down. But everybody in Dream Theater is so competitive, always pushing each other. That’s why this crazy stuff comes out. You hear that in the opening track, The Alien. After playing our last show in Glasgow in February 2020, that was the first thing we wrote. And we were so pent-up. With this album we said: no rules. We ended up with a lot of very technical stuff. Lots of epics, longer songs, trading solos… What’s the most fiendish time signature on this record? Well, the first thing you hear when The Alien kicks in is my riff in 17/8. That’s a Mike Mangini groove. When you first hear it, it sounds so weird, not comfortable at all. But the whole compositional craft – not to sound pompous – is how you figure that out so it still sounds interesting. And there’s some glue that listeners can latch on to, even though the band is playing in an incredibly unnatural time signature. The funny thing is, when you’re doing things that are jarring and hold the listener in suspense, when the four/four section does come in, man, you can’t help but groove to that. Is the album title basically saying Dream Theater are the best band in the world? No! I don’t want that to be misconstrued. It’s from the title track, which I wrote about people who accomplish seemingly impossible human feats. Like slack-lining across a canyon without any net, or even cave-diving in glaciers, which are constantly moving. At first I thought they were out of their minds. Then I wondered what drives them. Part of it is that they get to see something with their own eyes that nobody has ever seen before. That’s what A View From The Top Of The World is referring to. Not our egos! Do you ever come up with a riff and realise it’s already been done by someone else? That totally happens. When I did my last solo album, Terminal Velocity, I spent the whole day in the studio working on a song – y’know, building the riff, programming drums, playing bass. I had it down. But towards the end of the day, I kept having this weird feeling. Then it hit me: I’d just rewritten Breaking All Illusions, from our album A Dramatic Turn Of Events. So I wasted an entire day. I just had to laugh. Are there any guitarists whose stuff you can’t play? Oh, many. That’s the crazy thing about guitar. You’re always striving, you never master it. I’ll listen to the late Allan Holdsworth and it just blows my mind, still. How does somebody think that way and have that kind of facility? The bar for electric guitar has been raised so high that eight-year-old kids are playing things that used to seem impossible. I’m a competitive person, so I take it all as: “Well, I’ve just got to practise more.” We’ve talked about the top of the world. But have there been harder moments in Dream Theater’s career? The grunge period, for us, was actually great. That was exactly when [1992 album] Images And Words was released, and somehow we had a radio hit with Pull Me Under that bucked the whole system. But in a career the length that we’ve had, there have been many difficult moments. Obviously we’ve been through band member changes. I remember after our first record, we didn’t have a singer, we weren’t signed, nothing was working out. Then the war was happening in Iraq, and we didn’t know if we were gonna be drafted. You list your main hobby outside music as ‘bearding’. Well, as you can tell, I have a giant beard. I’ve always had some form of beard, from the early nineties. But one day I was like: let me experiment with growing a full beard. When I did that, it opened up this whole world that I didn’t know existed, this whole culture of bearded men. It’s so deep and I got really into it, to the point where I’ve partnered with a UK company, Captain Fawcett, and we’ve released a beard oil, beard balm and moustache wax. Whose is the beard to beat? I think Billy Gibbons has us all beat. He’s been rocking that for ever – and that is one serious beard. Beard kits aren’t your only lockdown merchandise, though? Yeah. I’m also really into bourbon, and I made a connection with the Iron Smoke Distillery in upstate New York, where the owner is a guitar player and was in a band called Modern English. So we partnered and made the Rock The Barrel bourbon. Could it dethrone Jack Daniel’s as the rock’n’roll whisky of choice? I think it should. It has such a complex flavour profile. But it’s a lot stronger than Jack Daniel’s – it’s a hundred and twenty proof. So we might have some problems. What’s your theory on why prog gets so much flak? It can come across as self-indulgent or pretentious or just kinda nerdy. But it’s funny, when we started out there wasn’t a prog-metal scene, so we just kinda combined metal and prog – like Metallica and Yes in the same band. Fast-forward and now there’s this huge prog-metal family tree with tons of splinters. It’s not considered nerdy or uncool now. So it kinda flipped around. A View From The Top Of The World is available via InsideOut Music/Sony Music.

RAYON RICHARDS/PRESS “The crazy thing about guitar is that you’re always striving, you never master it.”

Florence Black Nine years, one album and more than a million streams. The Welsh rock’n’roll trio’s gambles are now paying off. Words: Rich Hobson Florence Black frontman Tristan Thomas is something of a rock’n’roll prodigy, but you wouldn’t believe it to hear him talk. Modest and easy-going, his manner in conversation is more like someone waiting for the punchline than the frontman of a band who racked up more than a million streams on Spotify before they’d even released a record. “There’s loads of great stuff coming out of Wales these days,” he insists. “Especially with bands like Those Damn Crows, Scarlet Rebels and Everyday Heroes, the scene has really come together.” Stick him in front of said band (completed by bassist Jordan Evans and drummer Perry Davies) and he becomes an entirely different person; a confident, thunder-voiced demigod whose band bridges 70s heavy metal, 80s arena rock and punchy, modern rock’n’roll. Shades of Thin Lizzy, Guns N’ Roses, Alter Bridge and even 00s glampunks the Zico Chain all pop up in Weight Of The World. Florence Black’s debut trades in the kind of escapist magic forged in postindustrial heartlands that helped make hard rock a global sensation in the first place. Florence Black started out playing covers but found more satisfaction playing their own songs. Back when they formed, the safe money was in covers sets on the pub circuit. But these three weren’t in it just for the money, and soon started slipping their own songs into sets. “We’d get people coming up to us to ask: ‘What was that song?’” says Thomas. “Which really confirmed [the choice] for us. It wasn’t easy, though – we made loads back in the day.” Coming from a working-class town has given them a strong work ethic. “Starting out, we played a lot of little pubs, but eventually worked up to social clubs and bigger venues,” Thomas says of his upbringing in Merthyr Tydfil. “Our whole lives we’ve took odd jobs wherever we could, working on construction sites and the like, to get money to help the band. That’s what people do here – work and build.” They were hooked on rock’n’roll early. Thomas was nine when he first fell in love with music, when he heard Led Zeppelin’s Rock And Roll in his dad’s car. “The drum intro got me fired up and I knew it was the kind of music I wanted to play,” he says. “A couple years later I got to see Status Quo. I’d got a mate and we’d both got these guitars, so we’d go around clubs and pubs in my dad’s car with our amps – these two little elevenyear-olds playing Quo and Guns N’ Roses!” In his teens Thomas played with original Budgie drummer Ray Phillips. “Ray saw me playing covers in a pub, and came up afterwards asking if I wanted to play with his band. Of course I did! I knew of Budgie through Breadfan, and once I started with him I got really into them and they became one of my favourite bands. I loved song titles like In The Grip Of A Tyre Fitters Hand and Forearm Smash. Ray taught me a lot about music and life in general.” Post-Malone’s dad loves Florence Black. “Post-Malone’s father is a massive fan. We’d got a message on Twitter saying: ‘Boys, I love your stuff!’ We’ve asked him if he can get his boy on a Florence Black song but heard nothing back yet. He loves his rock and metal, so you never know.” Slipknot’s Corey Taylor is also a fan. Generally speaking, tweeting a band to listen to your music doesn’t pay off. So imagine Florence Black’s surprise then when they got a text from Corey Taylor’s management inviting them to support the Slipknot/Stone Sour singer at the Bataclan in Paris. “We were working as crew for Deep Purple that day at the CIA,” Tristan remembers. “It was mad, being in this place where I saw my first ever band and getting a big offer like that. We didn’t get to hang out with him in France, but we got to do another show with him in Switzerland where we had dinner with his son and girlfriend. Weight Of The World is available now, self-released. 22 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

Florence Black: (l-r) Jordan Evans, Tristan Thomas and Perry Davies . RYAN CHANG/PRESS CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 23

February 7, 1949 – September 26, 2021 Dave Ling looks back at the life, music and times of the late Status Quo bassist/vocalist, who co-founded a British hard-rocking band that became one of the greats, with a broad appeal that made them a household name. 24 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM It’s November 13, 2012, the morning of the eighth annual Classic Rock Awards, and the Status Quo ‘Frantic Four’ – Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan – are gathered in a cafeteria inside London’s Roundhouse where the event is being held. Later in the evening they will accept an award for their 1977 concert release Status Quo Live! As a band, Status Quo rocked hard and partied even harder throughout the 1960s and 70s. But by the start of the following decade, for various reasons, their empire had begun to crumble. Now the reunion that nobody considered possible is actually happening. Just a few hours earlier, tickets had gone on sale for a tour the following March, these four musicians’ first dates together in 31 years, and already the guys know they are flying out the door. Quite understandably, all of the Frantic Four are giddy with nostalgia and excitement. “It’s such a pleasure to be sitting here together. I’m feeling like the ‘new boy’ all over again,” says Rick Parfitt, who joined Quo after their first hit, 1968’s Pictures Of Matchstick Men. “It’s freaking me out, in a way.” “I’m feeling disorientated, but I’m really enjoying it,” adds John Coghlan, who’s been out of the Quo line-up since 1981. “If the reunion didn’t happen [now] then it probably never would,” says Francis Rossi. “I mean, look at us – we’re old men.” “I’ve got this big mirror in my bedroom and I play air guitar,” admits a beaming Alan Lancaster, who was sacked by the band 27 years previously. “I’ve been practising jumping off the bed like I did from [drum risers] during the seventies.” The most poignant comment of all comes from Parfitt: “Perhaps after all these years we’ll finally get to know one another for the first time.” And for a short while that’s how things turned out, although sadly the Frantic Four’s wildly differing personas were doomed to return to type. Alan Lancaster was incredibly proud of his family, and of the band that he co-founded as a schoolboy. Lancaster – or ‘Nuff’, as the group’s fans knew him – “The band was always my baby. I had recruited everyone, including the manager.” Alan Lancaster had a clear vision of what Status Quo should and shouldn’t be. And when others within the group began to blur those same lines, sparks would fly about the direction of a particular song or album, or the hiring of a new producer. So it’s hardly surprising that he was forced out of Status Quo following the decision to carry on after reuniting for Live Aid in July 1985. Bass player/vocalist Lancaster and frontman/lead guitarist Francis Rossi had put the band together in 1962 as The Scorpions at South London’s Sedgehill Comprehensive School. By the mid-80s Rossi felt that a retirement from touring could only be overturned in a calmer and less volatile head-space. And with rhythm guitarist/singer Rick Parfitt electing to side with Rossi – despite having allegedly initially discussed teaming up with Alan to elbow Rossi aside – in January 1986 Lancaster found himself firmly out in the cold. Having put in so much hard work to make Status Quo one of the biggest and most exciting hard rock acts in the world, it was an ignominious place to be. Lancaster once said that watching the band continue without him was “like having your child abducted”. After Parfitt’s arrival, Quo ratcheted up the heaviness of their sound, grew out their hair and had a string of No.1 singles and albums, and played numerous sold-out tours. From 1970’s Ma Kelly’s Greasy Spoon to their ’77 double album Status Quo Live!, Quo were the UK’s undisputed kings of boogie-rock. Their ’74 album Quo is, barring a couple of softer moments, the band’s heaviest studio release, and a watershed moment in the pantheon of hard rock. Quo’s astonishing success was based on fan power. Lambasted by the critics, the band grew bigger with each album, thumbing their collective nose at those who dismissed them as a three-chord, one-trick pony. After the double live record, recorded over three triumphant and boisterous nights at Glasgow Apollo, Quo set their sights on America with the album and single Rockin’ All Over The World, having hired a specialist producer, Pip Williams, to smooth off the rough edges. For Lancaster, this was the beginning of the end. He respected Williams as a producer, but felt him wholly unsuitable for Quo. “Back then Quo was almost like a religion to the fans. To ➤


ALAN LANCASTER Power trio: Rick Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and Francis Rossi, circa 1980. Inset: (l-r) Parfitt, Lancaster, Rossi and John Coghlan attend the Classic Rock Roll Of Honour at the Roundhouse, London, November 13, 2012. the band it was like being in a football team; you were allowed to have the occasional bad game, but nobody wanted to hear us playing netball,” Lancaster once told me, with a mischievous grin. He would later learn that as early as 1969, Rossi and Parfitt had considered jettisoning him in favour of forming a power-trio with Kenney Jones of The Small Faces. The hushed-up idea made it to the rehearsal stage. “When I found out years later, it made sense,” Lancaster told me in 2001. “It was all part of their psychology. The band was always my baby. I had recruited everyone, including the manager. So there was intimidation.” “There was always tension between Alan and the rest of us,” Francis Rossi agreed in 2001. “Early on we got [our manager] Pat Barlow to sack him, but took him back again on a three-month trial. Unfortunately that lasted until 1984!” Behind the scenes, some bad decisions were being made. And while drummer John Coghlan stuck to alcohol, elsewhere in the group the use of cocaine was increasing rapidly. “Drugs were ultimately what broke up the [original] band,” Lancaster said in 2001. “We became the cocaine gang. If you weren’t doing it, you were excluded.” In another interview he elaborated: “Once the cocaine [took over], our humour started to sound “Cocaine changed the dynamics and the synergy of us as people. The camaraderie had gone.” Alan Lancaster in 2001 cynical. Paranoia set in, and things you’d say [as a joke] were [misunderstood]. Cocaine changed the dynamics and the synergy of us as people. The camaraderie had gone.” In 1985, Rossi and, to a lesser degree, Parfitt finally got their way. Two years earlier Lancaster had moved to Australia, where he started a family with his wife Dayle. Such was the bassist’s dissatisfaction with Quo’s song Marguerita Time that at first he refused to play on it, then did it only after Rossi told him the song would appear on a solo album. (For the record, Rossi disputes this version of events.) When Quo were invited to mime to Marguerita Time on Top Of The Pops, Lancaster stayed at home in Sydney. Jim Lea from Slade stepped in to deputise. For another TV show a cardboard cutout of Lancaster was used. “All Marguerita Time did was advertise that we were becoming a bunch of nerds”, Lancaster fumed. The situation worsened when, apparently at the record label’s insistence, Ol’ Rag Blues co-writer Lancaster’s lead vocal was removed from the track and replaced by an alternative take with Rossi singing lead vocals. Lancaster and the ‘new’ Quo reached an out-ofcourt settlement in ’86, before the release of an album titled In The Army Now. For many diehards, Lancaster’s exit spelled the end of Status Quo as they were known and loved. His successor, John ‘Rhino’ Edwards, had short hair, played a not very rock’n’roll-looking bass without a headstock, and creatively speaking contributed little to the group’s increasingly keyboard-friendly direction. To Quo’s detractors, Rhino seemed like less of a stereotypical rocker. “Alan was always much more macho heavy metal than I was,” Rossi huffed. “I never really understood that obsession of his.” In 1987 Lancaster hooked up with the Party Boys, a supergroup of Australian-based musicians, for the first of two spells, and appeared on their album of the same name. Next up he worked again with John Coghlan in The Bombers, before forming the Lancaster Brewster Band with John Brewster, guitarist with local heroes The Angels. In 2001, given the extent of the bad blood between Lancaster and Rossi and Parfitt, the mere notion of the Frantic Four burying the hatchet and sharing a stage again seemed pie-in-the-sky. Or as Rossi put it: “It would be like trying to get your dick up your own arse… impossible.” For Lancaster, the feeling was nothing less than mutual. “I would never play with them again. It would be against all my principles,” he swore as part of the same story (in a separate interview, of course). “When I left Quo they were one of the top ten bands in the world, but now they’re just a laughing stock. To me, there are better covers bands out there than the current line-up. My 22-year-old daughter says she’s embarrassed to tell people that her dad was in Status Quo.” Eventually, thanks to Quo manager Simon Porter, Lancaster and Rossi began to talk again, at first by phone. Lancaster realised that he’d been hoodwinked over business issues by somebody in the band’s organisation. And so, against seemingly insurmountable odds, their strong childhood friendship was rekindled. “Alan was apologetic and realised that he’d been wound up,” Rossi told me. “He is the epitome of the British bulldog. He’ll bite your leg off before bothering to decide whether you’re a friend or an enemy. But at the point [at which he expressed regret] it [the reunion] became possible.” MAIN: GETTY; INSET: WILL IRELAND 26 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

GETTY After Rossi, Parfitt, Lancaster and Coghlan had been reunited at Shepperton Studios for the touching conclusion of Alan G Parker’s 2012 documentary Hello Quo!, and again at the Classic Rock Awards, fans were astounded when the four of them agreed to a series of dates in 2013 – the first time they would play together in more than three decades. Lancaster stayed at Rossi’s house in Surrey before the tour, working on his fitness and exercising in the guitarist’s indoor pool. At the Classic Rock Awards, Lancaster had sought to quash rumours that he was suffering from multiple sclerosis. “There’s nothing wrong with my health!” he thundered. “I’ve passed every test known to mankind. I’ve got the heart of a thirty-year-old and my cholesterol’s fine. The only negative is a toxicity that came from some hair dye I used several years ago. It affects my energy level, but I’m completely stage-fit.” Although he looked frail on stage, and needed to have the pick glued to his fingers, his voice still sounded amazing, and for the joyous denim-clad hordes who attended the shows the Frantic Four reunion was akin to a religious experience. Although Rossi consented to another tour the following year, and enjoyed the second one far more, his negativity towards the reunions was hard to stomach. Following what turned out to be the final Frantic Four show, in Dublin in April 2014, Rossi spurned the aftershow celebrations. The following morning, along with Rick Parfitt, he boarded a bus to join a new tour by the group that Rossi considered to be the ‘real’ Status Quo. When informed that this could sound callous, Rossi shrugged: “Look, I’ve never been into that whole group hug thing. No… I’m going on to the next show. I said goodbye to everybody before we went on, and I was back on the bus within two and a half minutes of leaving the stage. That’s how I do things.” Although Lancaster lobbied hard for a third Frantics tour, Rossi refused. “We achieved the goal of playing some nice shows, and it’s time to put the thing to bed,” he explained. Lancaster had wanted Rossi to add some guitar and vocals to a handful of his new songs, for which BLUE FOR YOU Friends says goodbye to Nuff. I am totally devastated at the loss of my dear friend Alan after sixty years of friendship. John Coghlan Thank you for being a significant part of the soundtrack to my life. Lars Ulrich, Metallica MS is a bastard of a disease. That’s another of my contemporaries gone. Alan was a lovely man. Andy Scott, Sweet Sympathy and thoughts are with Alan’s family and friends especially and of course the many Quo fans all over the world. Don Powell I am absolutely devastated. Alan was the most kindhearted, beautiful person, hugely funny to be around and in the truest sense an absolute legend! Quo would not have existed without him. I love you and will miss you. Rick Parfitt Jr Sad news today. Love to the Quo family and crew. Massive Wagons Glad I got to see the reunion shows several years ago. Lee Dorrian, Cathedral Parfitt had recorded rhythm guitar parts before his death, and Coghlan played drums. The project was referred to as PLC (Parfitt, Lancaster, Coghlan). Rossi declined the request. Still rallying for further Frantics activity, Lancaster pushed things just a little too far with Rossi during a Boxing Day phone call, and the pair never spoke again since. Of the second Frantic Four tour, Lancaster once told me: “I can’t remember when I enjoyed so much laughter. We’d be playing the piano in the hotel bars, it was wonderful. And of course for John and me it was also about reclaiming the legacy. People had forgotten what [the original Quo] was really like.” Alan Lancaster died on September 26, 2021, as a result of complications from multiple sclerosis. He was 72 years old. Following the loss of Rick Parfitt in “When I left Quo they were one of the top ten bands in the world, but now they’re just a laughing stock.” Alan Lancaster in 2001 Alan Lancaster with Status Quo in Berlin, March 2014. 2016, that passing leaves just Rossi and Coghlan from the Frantic Four. In a statement, Rossi commented: “I am so sorry to hear of Alan’s passing. We were friends and colleagues for many years and achieved fantastic success together. Alan was an integral part of the sound and the enormous success of Status Quo during the sixties and seventies. Although it is well documented that we were estranged in recent years, I will always have very fond memories of our early days together and my condolences go to Alan’s family.” Quo manager Simon Porter added: “It was an absolute pleasure to be able to reunite the original line-up for two sell-out tours in 2013 and 2014 and to give Frantic Four fans a final legacy and such a lasting memory. Although Alan was not in the best of health even then, he got through the tours with determination and grit and was a pleasure to work with.” It’s no great secret that Alan Lancaster would never have held down a job in the Diplomatic Corps, but without his stubborn streak, not to mention talent, drive and sense of purpose, there would have been no Status Quo as we knew/know them, and the lives of many readers of Classic Rock would have turned out very, very differently indeed. RIP, Nuff. And then there were two. Please have pint or two with Ricky for all of us. CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 27


People often think a covers album is a sign of having run out of ideas, having a contract to fulfil, or maybe both. Deep Purple’s new covers album Turning To Crime is neither. Rather, it sees the band invigorated by revisiting songs that inspired them to play rock’n’roll in the first place. Words: Paul Brannigan CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 29

In 1954, the popular high-street retail chain Woolworth launched its own record label, Embassy Records, to help feed, or perhaps more accurately exploit, the growing appetite British teenagers were getting for rock’n’roll music imported from America. Newcomers in a competitive market, the label’s unique selling point was that they could commission soundalike copies of the most popular songs on the US ‘hit parade’ within days of their release, and make them available on vinyl in Woolworth’s department stores across the country at a significantly lower price than the original recordings. As Ian Paice recalls, there was but one minor flaw in the company’s cunning corporate plan. “Those knock-off records were crap!” he says with a laugh. “They were recorded quickly, by a bunch of average English musicians in a cheap studio, and they sounded so flat and lifeless. Now the original records, they still sing. You put them on now and the magic is still there. Listening to them you can totally understand why a whole generation moved away from jazz and be-bop and said: ‘I like this!’ Those records switched our generation on. And those memories continue to inspire us, even now.” On September 6 this year, a new website,, materialised online. It featured police mugshot-style black-and-white images of Ian Paice and his Deep Purple bandmates Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Steve Morse and Don Airey, plus a countdown clock scheduled to hit zero one month later, on October 6. Online speculation converged to suggest that this activity, hosted on a domain owned by the group’s Hamburg-based record company earMUSIC, was intended to tease an imminent announcement of new music from the quintet. Come October 6, this prediction was shown to be correct. Or at least technically correct, as the website revealed that Turning To Crime, Deep Purple’s twenty-second studio album, scheduled for release on November 26, would be a collection of songs previously recorded by other artists. If the prospect of a new Purple album emerging just 15 months on from the August 2020 release of their rather excellent Whoosh! was a welcome surprise for fans, the notion of the legendary English group – rightly acclaimed as one of the most influential, and boldest, architects of the hard rock genre – returning as a covers act in the twilight of their distinguished career sat uneasily with many – not least, as it transpires, with certain members of the band. “Oh, I was totally against it to start with,” Ian Gillan admits breezily, phoning from his property in Portugal. “I thought that Purple purists, myself among them, would see something like this as criminal, metaphorically speaking, so initially I didn’t like the idea at all. And then I started tapping my fingers on the desk at home, and thinking: ‘Hmmm, well, what are we going to do for the next year if nothing is happening?’” As has been the case on any number of occasions during the past decade, the more cautious members of Purple were coaxed and cajoled into taking a leap of faith by their most trusted collaborator, Bob Ezrin, the free-thinking, risk-embracing studio legend behind the console for such landmark recordings as Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Destroyer by Kiss and Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies. At the band’s very first meeting with the Canadian producer, in Toronto in 2012, they were challenged to direct the musicality, spontaneity and daring sense of abandon that “If you saw Ritchie Blackmore playing back then, or Jon Lord, it was like nothing you’d ever seen before. It was unreal, devastating.” Don Airey powered their most celebrated live performances at the peak of their 70s success into their contemporary studio work. Having pledged to commit to this collective mind-set, the five seasoned musicians rediscovered a sense of liberation in their playing and writing, and hit a creative hot streak with the three albums made under Ezrin’s direction:, 2013’s Now What?!, 2016’s Infinite and last year’s playful, powerful Whoosh! When I last interviewed the band, in the summer of 2020, each of them credited Ezrin’s role in revitalising a musical institution that had, as Roger Glover admitted, somewhat lost its sparkle prior to his Toronto pep-talk. “At our peak, we were dangerous, we were unpredictable,” Glover declared. “And we still are on a good night. It still feels fresh.” Denied the opportunity to bring Whoosh! to life in concert halls across the globe by a paralysing pandemic, Purple were urged by Ezrin to find new avenues of expression. “It wouldn’t surprise me if in six months’ time we’re so bored that we think: ‘Okay, let’s get back together and do another record,’” Ian Paice told me in late June 2020, half-joking, as an air of uncertainty clouded all attempts to look to the future. Remarkably, and somewhat to their own surprise, that’s what Deep Purple did. Each new journey begins with a single step, and the road map leading to the creation of Turning To Crime was first drawn up after each band member submitted their own list of songs to Bob Ezrin for potential inclusion on the album, then participated in a democratic vote ➤ SIMON EMMETT/PRESS x2 30 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

“I thought that Purple purists would see something like this as criminal.” Ian Gillan CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 31

to narrow down the longlist to an agreed shortlist. “As the song ideas started coming in,” says Ian Gillan, “our attitude became: ‘Well, let’s try a couple and see how it goes.’ Then once you have momentum, it takes on its own drive.” When votes were tallied, Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well had made the cut, as had The Yardbirds’ Shapes Of Things and Cream’s White Room, each of those an undeniable classic. But there were more esoteric nominations selected too, among them Bob Dylan’s Watching The River Flow, Love’s 7 And 7 Is, and Ray Charles’s take on Let The Good Times Roll. As a firm track-list began to coalesce, so enthusiasm for the project grew. With covid-19 restrictions ruling out any possibility of the five musicians assembling under one roof to knock around ideas on arrangements, song structure and instrumentation, as has been their traditional tried and trusted methodology in album preproduction, instead Ezrin oversaw the distribution and development of the source material with each band member. It was a time-consuming creative collaboration not unlike the children’s party game Pass The Parcel, except with layers being added, rather than stripped away, before being handed on to the next participant. Speaking at his home studio, where much of the album’s bedrock demo recordings were tracked, Glover chooses the words ‘illuminating’, ‘refreshing’ and ‘challenging’ to describe the painstaking process. “I kinda enjoyed being alone and working without interference from Bob or the others,” the bassist says with a smile, before stressing Ezrin’s importance to the new system: “If Deep Purple is a wheel, Bob is the hub,” he states. Reflecting upon his own approach to breathing new life into the album’s song selection, Glover reveals that he sought to tap in to memories of a creative environment he found inspiring before signing up to Purple Mk II in 1969. “There was a great sense of freedom that happened in the sixties,” he enthuses. “All of a sudden you didn’t have to adhere to a set template, every song didn’t have to talk about love, you could do anything you wanted to. And that sense of freedom was the magic of the sixties, really. There was such an explosion of free expression. It didn’t last, of course, and it’s a different world now, but we still revel in pushing beyond what’s expected of us.” “There’s no point in doing these things if you’re going to slavishly copy the original,” says Ian Gillan, a songwriting foil for Glover since the pair’s time in pre-Purple band Episode Six. “But at the same time, it’s awfully cheeky to think that 32 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM you can improve on the originals, which are embedded in everyone’s mind. We took these songs on because they’re great songs performed brilliantly in the first place, and they’re part of our heritage, part of our lives. We play each song with complete respect, and hope that our personality and style has developed to the point where we can give it the Deep Purple identity without taking anything away from our respect for the original.” The album’s opening track, and lead-off single, Love’s 7 And 7 Is, is a part of Gillan and Glover’s shared history, the pair having first performed the song with Episode Six. For Gillan, hearing Purple’s new interpretation of the track, originally written by Arthur Lee and released as a single by the Californian band in July 1966, was a watershed moment in the album’s genesis. “I couldn’t believe the energy,” he marvels. “It was just exploding. The band sounded like kids in a garage again. And then I heard the Ray Charles song… Wow, unbelievable,” he continues. “I think that was the clincher for me to fall in love with this record. I got on my knees and bowed to the guys for putting that track together. To me it’s incredible, it’s everything I love about Deep Purple. “I’ve said this before: Deep Purple is primarily an instrumental band. So we approach songs from that point of view first of all, and then my vocals are a kind of afterthought. I don’t think “This album is a homage… to the spirit of the songs which made us want to play rock’n’roll.” Ian Paice I contributed much to the final tracklist, to be honest – most of my ideas were struck off! – but it was such a joy making this record. I was laughing my head off in the studio.” While expressing admiration for each of his bandmates’ input to Turning To Crime, Gillan has special praise for the contributions made by Steve Morse, a man many Purple fans still view as the group’s ‘new’ guitarist, even though he’s now in his twenty-seventh year with the band. “Steve brings a different element into the band that we’ve never had before, because of his wealth of knowledge of jazz and southern rock and different approaches to music,” Gillan explains. “It’s given the band another dimension.” For Morse, there’s a neat life symmetry to Turning To Crime, in that the easy-going Ohio-born guitarist recalls that one of the first Deep Purple songs he ever performed with high-school bands was the their 1968 hit cover of Hush, written by American singer-songwriter Joe South, and originally recorded by country soul singer Billy Joe Royal one year earlier. In reflecting upon the place of cover versions in his own musical education, the 67-year-old Morse cites The Byrds’ take on Bob Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man, released as a single just one month after the original opened the acoustic side of Dylan’s 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home, as a track that “came alive” and “revealed its magic” to him in its new setting, where Dylan’s own recording had rather washed over him without making a lasting impression. Of the five band members, it’s Morse who appears to be the most acutely aware of the fact that bending classic songs into new forms is viewed as heresy by some more conservative music fans. It’s a lesson the guitarist says he learned first-hand after recording alternative takes on six classic Ozzy Osbourne songs with original Blizzard Of Ozz band members, and song co-writers, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake, and Australian vocalist Jimmy Barnes (plus guest keyboard player Don Airey), on the self-titled debut album by the short-lived hard rock project Living Loud, released in 2004. “We tried out some different things with the songs that Bob really liked, and ended up with something a little bit different. And my god, the floodgates of hell opened up! People lost their minds. So here [with Turning To Crime] I’m prepared for some backlash again. But I guess there’s always the possibility that some people might like it,” he adds with a knowing chuckle. For his part, Ian Gillan displays a sense of Zen calm when asked to consider what Deep Purple fans might make of this unexpected late-career curve-ball album. “I know this sounds stupid,” he says with a chuckle, “but we’ve never, ever sat down, when coming up with ideas for an album, and thought: ‘I wonder what the public would like.’ Never, ever, once. It’s all organic, and it all comes from within the band, and when we do something we do it one hundred per cent and have a crack. We’ve been around the block a few times, and I really love this record. You can always tell if you genuinely feel proud of a record if you play it a few times and really listen to it – which isn’t that case with all the records that I’ve made! But I have played this one, and I’m very happy with it.” Gillan’s enthusiasm is infectious, and clearly genuine. Much like Ian Gillan And The Javelins, the likeable labour of love in which in 2018 the vocalist reunited with the dance band he fronted as a teenager in the early 1960s to cover rock’n’roll, blues and soul songs, Turning To Crime can be viewed as a love letter to the five musicians’ formative years, imbued with their warm and still vivid memories of having their teenage minds blown and lives transformed by a seemingly endless deluge of electrifying seven-inch singles. There’s something wonderful and heart-warming about seeing seasoned pro musicians turn into wide-eyed teenagers again as memories of those days flood back. “Back then the musical landscape was being re-drawn constantly,” marvels keyboard player ➤


“I’m prepared for some backlash. But I guess there’s always the possibility that some people might like it!” Steve Morse Don Airey. “We were always waiting for the next Beatles song, or the next Stones song, which were always six weeks apart, and we kinda took all this great music for granted. And then of course Jimi Hendrix erupted on the scene, and then British blues turned into British rock, with Zeppelin and Sabbath and Purple.” “It was just mind-blowing when you saw bands like that,” he continues. “Whatever you thought you knew at the start of the gig, you left that venue as a different person. If you saw Ritchie Blackmore playing back then, or [late Purple keyboard king] Jon Lord playing, it was like nothing you’d ever seen before: the volume, the skill, the interplay with Ian [Paice]… it was unreal, devastating. Even if you knew the songs, you didn’t know what was coming next. And there’s some of that spirit of adventure, to me, on this record. With some of the arrangements that Steve did, going off at tangents on songs like Oh Well and Lucifer, adding his own take on things, that’s very exciting when the unfinished track comes down the wire to you. It’s like: ‘Oh, what’s he done there?’ And as a musician, the question of every day is always: ‘What can I do today to make this sound better?’ “For me, this record conjures up some wonderful memories,” Airey adds. “I never saw Cream, but I did see Eric Clapton playing with [John Mayall’s] Bluesbreakers at a university gig, and it was amazing. I didn’t really know what I was seeing, but you could tell something was going on. It was quite incredible. I remember Gary Moore telling me a story about him seeing Cream at his father’s ballroom in Belfast. I think Gary was thirteen or fourteen, but he was allowed to stay up to watch Cream. What he remembered of the night was seeing row upon row of grown men with tears streaming down their faces at Eric’s playing. The power of music to touch hearts and change lives is never something we take for granted.” Turning To Crime conjures memories for Ian Paice too. Of Purple’s first shows in America with Cream, of US tours and drinking sessions with Fleetwood Mac; of precious black vinyl discs that showed him worlds he never knew existed, at a time when he’d yet to travel outside of his home town Nottingham. “This album is meant to be fun,” he insists. “It’s a homage… not always to the actual songs, but to the spirit of the songs, which, when we were kids, made us want to play rock’n’roll, to take a whack at it too. When I was kid I remember buying a couple of Yardbirds singles, and boy they were exciting. Like they were on stage, not in the studio. Nobody was being careful or safe, it was like somebody stuck a few microphones in front of them and captured it. That rawness really came through. “And I tell you what, we’ve made a greatsounding record too,” he says with a grin. “When you stick it on loud it doesn’t half kick your ass!” Roger Glover, Paice’s partner in rhythm, gets thoughtful and reflective when weighing up where Deep Purple are in “I think we still have another ‘proper’ Purple album in us, but this was a great dive into nostalgia for us.” Roger Glover 2021. While he confesses to a certain amount of frustration that the band have yet to have the opportunity to play songs from Whoosh! on stage (Purple’s last concert took place in Mexico in March 2020, five months before album twentyone was released), he’s quick to stress how “privileged” he feels to still be part of an active, working rock band, and one regarded as a cornerstone of our world. “I think we still have another ‘proper’ Purple album in us,” he says,“but this was a great dive into nostalgia for us.” “In some ways,” he muses, “the covid lockdown was like a dress rehearsal for our retirement. And as much as we all loved the opportunity to have all this additional time with our families, it’s clear that none of us are ready for a life without music and artistic expression just yet. We have so much fun doing this band. We know we can’t go on for ever, but the idea of stopping isn’t a nice one, and right now it’s not a consideration. It’s hard to explain exactly why we’re still here fifty years on, but with this new record being a wonderful reminder of why we do what we do, that’s a question we can save to answer on another day.” Turning To Crime is released on November 26 via earMUSIC, and is reviewed on p68. MARK WEISSGUY WEISS/PRESS 34 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM


Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s first solo album in almost 20 years highlights his acoustic side. A lockdown project, he says it turned into “a pretty cool record”. erry Cantrell thinks of records as time capsules. Whether as the leader and chief songwriter of Alice In Chains or as a solo artist, he says each of his releases represents a period of time “etched in wax”. From AIC’s game-changing early-90s releases – albums that reshaped the rock landscape – to the acoustic-tinged EPs that punctuated their heavier moments, to the sonic exploration of his solo work, for Cantrell every one of them occupies a different head-space and era. It’s the same with his new solo album Brighten, the first record under his own name since 2002’s Degradation Trip Volumes 1 & 2. “I’m just trying to make the best record I can for a particular time,” he says. How has the past year and a half been for you? You know, probably like everybody else, vacillating between “What the fuck?” and the reality that we all have to deal with and try to help each other get through it. Did you take up any new hobbies. I made a record. It’s called Brighten. New record, old hobby. When did the album begin? Probably the end of 2019. Alice In Chains got done touring Rainier Fog and we were planning on taking about a year off, which is par for the course for us. I decided to take that time and work on some other stuff, and that ended up turning into a pretty cool record. Did you find it easy to be creative during lockdown? I’ve spoken to some artists who couldn’t turn that creative tap on. I’m glad I had something to focus on and that it was already in motion before all this shit started. If I had to start in the middle of it, that might have been different. But who knows? You play it as it lays, man. What is it about this collection of songs that made you want to do it as a solo record rather than with Alice In Chains? Well, the difference is there’s no Alice In Chains members on this record except me. That’s what makes it not an Alice In Chains record! But do you feel like you’re putting on a different hat in terms of the writing? Not really, I just write. The method is the same, the players in the field are different. That being said, there are times when I’m like: “Layne [Staley, former AIC vocalist] is gonna kill this and Sean [Kinney, drummer] is gonna do a really cool thing here, and I bet Mike [Inez, bass] will come up with something for this.” You rely on the strengths of the band and the talents that everybody brings for some things. But mostly I’m always cataloguing riffs and recording stuff. I’m a collector of ideas, and I have a deep file of ideas and things that are unrealised. Interview: Niall Doherty Portrait: Justin Borucki “I’m glad I had something to focus on and that it was already in motion before all this shit started.” On that note, hasn’t [single] Atone been around for a while? Pieces of it. It’s a completely new song, put together about a year and a half ago, but the riff and part of the chorus idea have been kicking around my head for years. Some songs have a longer gestation, and it was time for that song to be born a year and a half ago. July was the twenty-fifth anniversary of Alice In Chains’ MTV Unplugged, and Brighten has some of that stripped-back, acoustic vibe about it. Did you have any of that in mind when you were making it? Yeah, there’s some real moments where the acoustic songwriting part of me shines through on this record. It reminds me a lot of the music I grew up with, music of the sixties and seventies and eighties, and even the nineties too. It has elements of that. What do you recall about that MTV Unplugged session? The day we did it, we hadn’t played in a while, so a lot of our friends were there – all of Metallica was there, a whole bunch of our people were in the house. The crowd was great. It was a loose, fun gig, the capturing of a moment. There’s some real haunting foreboding moments in that performance, and there’s some fun, lighthearted moments. Brighten closes with a cover of Elton John’s Goodbye, and you got the nod from Elton to include it, right? Yeah. One of the things doing this that I’ve enjoyed the most is meeting a lot of my heroes and becoming friends with a good deal of them, and Elton is one of those. He played piano on a really important song and an important record for us when we decided to start over – on Black Gives Way To Blue, which I’d had written for Layne. He loved it and he wanted to be a part of it and played on it. I did a couple of live shows in LA, December 2019, and we closed the show with Goodbye both nights. Tyler Bates, my co-producer on this record, was like: “We should write a song that’s like that, that’s not really guitar-based, more keys and strings where your voice is like that.” As we got toward the end of the record, we thought: “Let’s just record that song, it makes sense.” So we demo’d it, and I called Elton up, sent it over to them, and was like: “Hey, I want to put this on the record, it would mean a lot to me, and I just want to make sure you’re cool with it, that you don’t think I butchered your fucking song!” And Elton said: “It’s beautiful, you should absolutely use it.” The universe gives you some science here and there, serendipity and shit lining up. I didn’t intend it, but it was the last song we recorded. And it’s also the last song on my favourite Elton John record, Madman Across The Water. That’s a nine-song record and so is this. I didn’t intend any of that, it just happened to be that way. It made sense. Brighten is out now via Jerry Cantrell. 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LET’S GET MYTHICAL Rush’s 1978 album Hemispheres was one of the band’s most challenging records to make, but its stunning 36 minutes are a clear indication of the trio’s chemistry. Geddy Lee recalls the album’s creation, and ponders its legacy. Words: Dom Lawson More than 40 years have passed by since the release of Rush’s Hemispheres album. Not only is it one of their most widely beloved records, it’s also arguably the one that most thrillingly encapsulates the progressive abandon of the Canadian trio’s first decade together. One of the most vociferously debated and lauded albums in Rush’s vast catalogue, its 36 minutes of pioneering prog is notorious for having pushed the three musicians to the limit of their abilities. Hemispheres is also often cited as the album that nearly broke Rush for good. Bassist/vocalist/keyboard player Geddy Lee takes us back to the trials, tribulations and, ultimately, triumph of the making of it. In the spring of 1978, after finishing a gruelling world tour in support of the hugely successful A Farewell To Kings, Rush were too full of ideas to contemplate taking a rest. “I think we were tired after the touring but at the same time we were also feeling pretty good,” Lee says. “Our range was expanding and we were feeling pretty ambitious at that time, which is evidenced in the crazy record that we made in Wales. We’d had a good experience working at Rockfield Studios before, and that left a good taste about the whole idea of recording in Britain again. When we arrived in Wales we were psyched, we were excited, but at the same time we were not superwell prepared. Although we had a lot of ideas, we hadn’t really hammered them out. So we found ourselves in a new situation, in a house not far from Rockfield. We’d planned to be there for a short time, and it turned into a much longer time, as everything to do with that album did. I’d say we were excited and a little bit nervous about the lack of preparation, but we were ready to dig in.” Hemispheres’ reputation as a difficult album to make is probably well founded. With nothing concrete to lay ➤ “What surprises me to this day is that so many fans come up to me and say that they think Hemispheres is the ultimate Rush album.” Geddy Lee 38 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM


down on tape, Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer/lyricist Neil Peart were under considerable pressure to conjure an album’s worth of material within a few short weeks. It is perhaps indicative of how potent the chemistry was between the trio at this time, that being woefully under-prepared seems to have pushed them to unexpected new heights. Not surprisingly, the bulk of the songwriting sessions were spent working on Hemispheres’ grandiloquent opener, Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres, the sequel to previous album A Farewell To Kings’ grand conceptual closer Cygnus X-1 Book I: The Voyage. “Once the lyrics started coming together and we saw that Neil had this strong conceptual piece in his head, that sort of helped us to form a plan of action, and so I think it was quite an exciting way to work,” says Lee. “In the past we’d usually save one song on any album to write while we were in the studio, just off-the-cuff. Usually those songs would point us in a different direction for the next record – songs like The Twilight Zone [from 2112, 1976], Vital Signs [Moving Pictures, 1981] and New World Man [Signals, 1982], for example. But this was a lot more than just: ‘Let’s write a short, fiveminute tune.’ “We’d get together in this room in the house where our gear was set up, and we’d wrestle with the lyrics and put together melodies,” he continues. “We’d do all of that sitting around with each other, not necessarily plugged in, with Alex on an acoustic guitar, perhaps, and me on my bass, or sometimes we’d both write on acoustics. Then, with Neil, we’d hammer out a loose structure and then we’d take it to the next step, get behind the machinery and start playing it out until we were able to form the song. It was very much a threeway street in terms of coming up with the final version of the song.” One familiar apocryphal tale about the making of Hemispheres posits that Neil Peart was struggling with writing lyrics and felt under immense pressure to deliver something special. But that wasn’t so, according to Lee, who says that continuing the Cygnus saga was fundamental to defining the direction the new music would take. “I think [writing a sequel] made it easier for him, to be honest. I think he’d been thinking about this for a while and I think he knew where he wanted to go. It was just a matter of fleshing it out. He was probably more prepared lyrically than we were musically. Alex and I were really playing catch-up.” Hemispheres is best known for its two magnificent bookends: the sprawling, joyously intricate title track, and the instrumental showboating blitzkrieg of La Villa Strangiato. But at a time when Rush were significant figures in the rock world and increasingly in demand on US rock radio, Hemispheres also included two of the band’s most succinct and enduring songs. The sub-four-minute splendour of Circumstances, in particular, hinted strongly at another possible direction for these young masters to pursue, while also giving them a much-needed break from the arduous process of long-form songwriting. “Yeah, that song was a bit of a holiday for us at that time, like: ‘Let’s do something short!’” Lee says, laughing. “The truth is, we don’t write more 40 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM Rush in May 1979. All smiles now, but recording Hemispheres the previous year had pushed them to their limits. than we can use. If, along the way, a song doesn’t cut it, we just kick it out. We famously have no hidden tracks, because every song took maximum effort, and we didn’t see the point in putting in maximum effort for a song we had doubts about. So we decided that we needed one more song for “I think Neil knew where he wanted to go. He was probably more prepared lyrically than we were musically.” Geddy Lee Hemispheres, Neil had these Circumstances lyrics, and it became a great opportunity to do something different. Working on a side-long piece is so draining on many levels. You feel like you’re a slave to this concept. So anything that’s not like that feels way more fun.” Strangely, the song that became one of Rush’s biggest hits, both on radio and within their huge fan base, was Hemispheres’ skewed curio The Trees. A deceptively spiky tale, this disquieting fantasy about oaks and maples competing for the sunlight is an unlikely anthem, particularly given its rather unpleasant denouement. (Spoiler alert: the oaks get chopped down to size.) “That song was one of the most fun that we were working on at that time, for sure,” Lee says. “We were surrounded by all that nature at Rockfield and it just made sense. I remember mixing it at Trident Studios. The engineer was a lovely guy. He was new to our music, and I remember him, after one runthrough of the mix, saying: ‘This is a nasty little tune, isn’t it?’ I said: ‘Well, maybe a little…’ But yeah, it was great fun to do that song. I loved the textures and the changes. It turned into one of our classic songs, I think. Surprisingly, I still hear it a lot travelling around America. When it first came out, I remember reading that it was a big

All the world’s a (back)stage: Lee and Peart at Southampton Gaumont, Lifeson at Newcastle City Hall, May and April 1979, on the Hemispheres tour. GETTY x3 radio song on some big FM station in Texas, and I thought: ‘Wow, that’s weird.’ It is kind of odd, but it’s sort of become one of our iconic songs.” There’s something wonderfully subversive about the thought of hearing The Trees alongside Boston’s More Than A Feeling and Steve Miller’s The Joker on US rock radio rotation, but Lee attributes the song’s enduring success to Peart’s unerring ability to leave room for manoeuvre in Rush’s lyrical world. “One thing that was always important to me as a songwriter, and regardless of what Neil was talking about, was I always felt the audience needed to have a choice,” Lee says. “You need to have the option of what you get out of the song. Whether it’s just a musical thing or if it’s the sound of the lyrics or whatever, that’s fine. You don’t have to understand it the way I understand it. And I don’t always understand it the way Neil understood it. I’m the first interpreter in that chain, and the audience are the next set of interpreters. That’s the beauty of art, it’s what makes it so alive. It should be communal and international, in a way. It should be open to interpretation.” Is one of the benefits of playing progressive rock that it’s a genre that deals in so many ideas and concepts, that the unexpected is almost expected? “That’s true. You can’t really write a rootsy country song about an egg-sucking dog [he’s referring to Johnny Cash’s Dirty Old Egg Sucking Dog] and keep any kind of mystery about what it’s about. I hate having things so explained to me sometimes. I was a huge Yes fan, and still am. Did I know what the fuck Jon Anderson was talking about most of the time? No! Does anyone? Does Jon? [laughs]. He had an idea, and only he really knows what he was trying to get across. I have my own takeaway from those songs, and I think it’s important to have that in music.” Take a quick straw poll of any random gaggle of Rush fans, and it seems a safe bet that La Villa Strangiato would come out on top of a list of favourite tracks from Hemispheres (although it has to be said that there are only four tracks on it in the first place). Perhaps the ultimate showcase for the mind-bending musical interplay between Lee, Lifeson and Peart, it has weathered its 40-plus years impeccably and still sounds like what it truly is: three young, gifted musicians showing off and being joyfully inventive in the process. Thinking back to working at Rockfield, Lee notes that the sense of utmost urgency we hear on Hemispheres’ closing track is the result of a lot of blood, sweat, tears and insanity. “I don’t really remember how the writing came together, but I do remember rehearsing the hell out of it beforehand. We really wanted to record it all in one go. It’s about ten minutes long and we wanted to do it in one shot. I remember writing it was great fun because the whole inspiration was, of course, these crazy dreams that Alex used to foist upon us every morning at breakfast. He’d start: ‘You’ll never guess what I dreamed last night…’ and the groaning would begin. But it was a really fun visual and musical exercise, constructing a soundtrack to an insane person’s dreams [laughs].” More than any other Rush track, La Villa Strangiato captures the wild energy that drove ➤ CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 41

Prog-power trio: (l-r) Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart and Geddy Lee in 1978. the band in their early days. You can almost hear them grinning as they switch moods and tempos with confidence, skill and ease. “Doing something like that gave us licence to change as often as we wanted, to make the music as complicated as we wanted, to stylistically shift gears every thirty seconds. All of that is free and open to you. That’s the beauty of doing that kind of instrumental, you can make it up as you go along, you can decide what the script should be, and it doesn’t have to bear any relation to anybody’s idea of what an instrumental song should be. So it was superfun to do, and it’s still superfun to play live. It’s one of my favourite songs to play.” Legend has it that you recorded more than 40 takes of La Villa Strangiato before nailing the final version. Is that close to the truth? “I don’t remember how many takes it took, but I do know that we never got it in one go,” Lee says with a chuckle. “We’d set out to get it in one tenminute go but, again, our ideas were more solid than our ability to play them. So we settled for doing it in four pieces. We divided it into four, focused on those, and then used the good old magic of editing tape to stick them together into one cohesive piece. Those were the days before click tracks and that digital, metronomic attitude towards putting music together. So it was very much down to how you felt in the moment. Sometimes you’d get excited and you’d speed up, and sometimes that’s the way it should be. That’s why it feels so live.” Originally planned as four-week stint at Rockfield, the Hemispheres sessions steadily turned into a much lengthier mission for all concerned. Due to both the complex nature of the music and the efforts required to perform it properly, and also to various technical problems that slowed the “The whole inspiration [for La Villa Strangiato] was these crazy dreams that Alex used to foist upon us every morning at breakfast.” Geddy Lee recording process, Rush and co-producer Terry Brown found themselves running out of time, and working around the clock to somehow piece this preposterous magnum opus together. “At this time we’d developed this crazy footpedal system, kind of a version of MIDI before that existed. It arrived in time for the writing sessions in Wales, but it didn’t work,” Lee recalls. “We were so upset about that, and we spent way too many hours trying to make it work. We got some semblance of it working, certainly enough to be able to record. We really had a lot of fun working there, but the hours were getting later and later. We were sleeping until four in the afternoon and having breakfast at supper time, and then before you know it we were up until six in the morning again, going to sleep as the birds were tweeting and the sheep were baa-ing, you know? It was a crazy schedule and we ran out of time there. They had other people coming in, so we had to high-tail it. So we didn’t use the time we had set aside for mixing at Advision [studio], we used that to record vocals.” Famously, Neil Peart introduced a gong into his percussion arsenal on Hemispheres. Meanwhile, Lee was experimenting with new effects pedals. Added to the intricacy of the songs themselves, is it any wonder that Rush struggled to get everything done in time? “I think basically what we wanted was to record everything live on the floor. We wanted to record the songs in long pieces. Cygnus Book II was an adventurous piece of music to play and it was much more difficult than we expected, so in a way our skill set wasn’t as polished as our ideas were. So it was difficult. We had to raise our game. And that’s really what that album was all about, raising our game.” Another well-worn snippet of Rush mythology has it that the band struggled during the GETTY 42 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

“It’s a weird cover. It freaked people out. The brains were not received well by all.” Geddy Lee Hemispheres sessions because they were deeply unhappy about the state of their living conditions at Rockfield. Again, Lee dismisses that idea, noting that they had been there before, to record A Farewell To Kings, and knew what to expect. “Oh, it was fine. I mean, you need something to complain about, right? Otherwise you start picking on each other. But I think we were okay there. We were happy there. I mean, we were there for far too long, and after doing two projects in a row we didn’t really want to go back there again. But we really liked the people at Rockfield. They took great care of us. We have very fond memories of Kingsley [Ward], who ran the place, and Otto [Garms], their in-house tech who was desperately trying to help me to fix my technical issues.” GETTY x3 With the four new songs down on tape, Rush left Rockfield and headed for Advision studios in London to add Lee’s final vocals. By this point the band were perilously over-schedule. And while they still felt hugely positive about the music they were making, the atmosphere in the studio was undeniably tense. Which was not the ideal environment for hitting some of the highest notes the singer has ever attempted. “It was getting later and later, and people were getting a bit gnarly about the record and when it would be finished,” Lee remembers. “I was certainly a bit gnarly when I was doing the vocals. The difficult thing was that as we’d sketched these songs out, sitting around in a casual manner and humming the melodies – I hadn’t really sung them out against recorded, heavy tracks – when I came to record the vocals it was all in a very difficult key and it really pushed my range. That made me a very unhappy puppy. Unfortunately I gave our producer Terry Brown a very rough time while I was recording, because I was so frustrated. I was in that vocal booth at Advision, trying to hit those notes over and over again, trying to make them as perfect as I could, and it was tough. It was really up there!” Those absurdly high notes have become a recognised part of Geddy Lee’s vocal repertoire. Looking back, however, he cites those sessions as an very educational moment in the band’s evolution as songwriters and album makers. “Oh, it was a major lesson learned. It was a major faux pas,” he admits. “I think part of it was that I was angry at Terry, in a way, because I thought: ‘This is what producers are supposed to do, isn’t it?’ You know? Shouldn’t he have come in and said: ‘Do you think that’s in the right key?’ But that was something that almost never happened with Terry. Whatever we wrote, he made sure we recorded. He would of course question arrangements and make suggestions on structure, but I don’t think he ever suggested I try something in another key. It wasn’t until I started working with Peter Collins [on 1985’s Power Windows] that it became a matter of course and you did that with every song. He’d say: ‘Let’s try this song in different keys.’ ‘Let’s see where your voice goes.’ Or ‘Let’s see what works best.’ Those were things I was still learning when we made Hemispheres. So yes, lesson learned on that one.” Can you still hit those high notes? “For short periods of time, absolutely. When we went out on the R40 tour [in 2015], we realised we were going to play some oldies, like Lakeside Park, another song that’s way up in the stratosphere. I kept wanting to transpose the song down, and Alex kept saying: ‘No, you can do it!’ We tried different transpositions, and he was like: ‘They don’t sound good, Ged, come on…’ So when we got into doing it at rehearsals, yeah, I could hit those notes, and I managed to do it for the whole tour. So I can do it if I rehearse properly and take care of my voice. But I couldn’t do it night after night.” ➤ CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 43

Choose your weapon: Alex Lifeson and (right) Geddy Lee at rehearsals at Shepperton Studios in 1979 and ‘78 respectively. Star man: Neil Peart soundchecking at Southampton Gaumont, May 13, 1979. “Hemispheres felt like the end of an era for me. In a sense it felt like saying goodbye to that period.” Geddy Lee Hemispheres was released on October 29, 1978, resplendent in its none-more-prog artwork by regular Rush collaborator Hugh Syme. Artfully capturing the album’s lyrical preoccupation with duelling sides of mind and spirit, the cover’s giant floating brains added an extra layer of intrigue and eccentricity to what was already the band’s most ambitious and thoughtprovoking record to date. “Yes, the artwork definitely helped,” Lee says with a grin. “Hugh was very much wanting to express the ideas that came out of Neil’s lyrics. He was really into that whole thing: what the songs were trying to say, and how that should be expressed somehow in the artwork. Neil and Hugh went to town, they’d run it by Alex and I and we’d give them our opinion. I think both of the chaps on the cover are Hugh’s pals. One was a ballet dancer and the other guy, I think, was a bank robber. I’m not sure if I’ve remember that correctly. But it’s a weird cover. It freaked people out. The brains were not received well by all. But it’s definitely very proggy.” A surprising critical success, Hemispheres did not take off in quite the way that Rush’s record label bosses would have wanted, but its initial, solid performance in charts worldwide – including reaching No.14 in the UK – confirmed that the band were still heading onwards and upwards. For Lee, Lifeson and Peart, it was a case of sitting back and waiting for the fans’ responses to start trickling down to them. As far as the band were concerned, they had made a great, if challenging, new record, but there was no guarantee that everyone else would agree. “I had absolutely no idea how people would take it,” says Lee. “I just thought people would think it was way too weird. We had no idea. I knew it would be a tough sell to radio, because these pieces were so long. But you can’t worry about that stuff when you’re doing it. I saw this interview with Robert Redford the other day, and he quoted TS Eliot, and Eliot said that it’s all about the trying, and what happens after that is none of our business. I’d say that sums up how we felt after making Hemispheres.” Were you surprised by how well received it eventually was? “Yes I was. It wasn’t initially super-successful, it was a slow-burn. But what surprises me to this day is that I have so many fans come up to me and say that they think it’s the ultimate Rush album. So it has become iconic, in a way, for our band, as a representation of our most complex period.” Just 15 months after the release of Hemispheres, Rush would casually redefine their entire sound, ushering in a new decade with the timely sheen of Permanent Waves. But while history might remember Hemispheres as a moment of transition, where Rush began to fully embrace music’s limitless potential, Geddy Lee remembers the album as an exhausting, if momentous, full stop at the end of Rush’s rise to prominence. “It didn’t feel like a transitional record. It felt like the end of an era for me,” he says. “I felt that the side-long thing was getting predictable for me as a writer, and I wanted to bust out of that. In a sense it felt like saying goodbye to that period. I had ideas of where I wanted us to go. Songs like The Trees and Circumstances pointed in that direction. I wanted to tell stories, but I didn’t want to be weighed down by themes that had to keep repeating over a twenty-five-minute period. I wanted to be able to accomplish many more musical ideas over twenty-five minutes.” Nonetheless, for many, Hemispheres remains the ultimate Rush album: 36 minutes of jaw-dropping, head-spinning, no-holds-barred prog rock, conjured from nowhere and delivered with ageless, life-affirming enthusiasm. “I don’t know if I can ever possess the necessary objectivity to be able to see and hear what people see and hear in Hemispheres,” Lee concludes. “But I like to think that it’s the ambitiousness in the effort we put in. There’s something truly prog about that record, and I think fans of that genre really appreciate that.” GETTY x3 44 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

Lowestoft and Glasgow are special places. Clothes maketh the rock star. You’ve got to have life goals. Success has its downsides. These are among the things that shape The Darkness man’s world view. ustin Hawkins has experienced all the highs and lows that rock’n’roll has to offer. His band, The Darkness, were a Brit Award-winning early 00s phenomenon, unexpectedly selling more than three million copies of their debut album Permission To Land before imploding after followup One Way Ticket To Hell… And Back. Their second act has been significantly less combustible; exuberant new album Motorheart is their sixth since reuniting in 2011. The Norfolkborn Hawkins currently lives in rural Switzerland, from where he joins us via Zoom to look back on lessons he’s learned from two decades at the rock face. “It’s going to be quite short, then,” he says with a grin. YOU NEED AN EGO TO BE IN A BAND If you don’t have an ego, you’re not doing it right. But that can lead to problems, as we found out in the past. We saw it all explode once before, and the situations that could potentially lead to that still happen, but we’ve learned to avoid it exploding again. It just takes a little bit of understanding of each other, and of yourself as well. Communication is way better in The Darkness this time around. There’s less grudge-holding, less stewing on things, less sulking – we don’t pretend everything’s okay then have a massive fall-out any more. Maybe it’s age, but I think it’s really a case of once bitten, twice shy. LOWESTOFT WILL FOREVER BE IN MY HEART I’ve always loved Lowestoft. If there was a way of having the opportunities that London afforded while still living in Lowestoft, I would have done it. I could imagine retiring there one day. The fact that it’s got a reputation of being a bit of a shitty town makes me love it even more. The beach has the softest sand imaginable, softer than you’ll get in more tropical climes. It’s been mashed up by the North Sea’s tumultuous wave patterns until it’s like flour. You just have to avoid the needles. SWISS IS A TOUGH LANGUAGE TO LEARN I live in Switzerland now. I have the highest residency permit, but you have to learn the language to get full citizenship. How’s my Swiss? [Comedy Mittel- European accent] It’s nerd guud. I play football for an old man’s team here, so I’m picking stuff up, though most of the vocabulary I have is sports-related. Like I know if someone is running up behind me, because people will shout “Hintermann!”, which means ‘man behind’. Interview: Dave Everley Portrait: Will Ireland “I used to fantasise about having myself riding a white tiger frozen in formaldehyde after my demise.” GOING VEGAN WAS A DODDLE I’ve been vegan for nine years. The tipping point was when my wife said: “We’re going vegan now.” To be honest, I was already nearly there. I used to be superfit back then, and the only thing I used to eat that was naughty in the vegan world was skinned, poached chicken breasts, so it wasn’t difficult. Sometimes I get this kind of fatigue, but I don’t think it’s to do with veganism. I have unusually low iron, I’m just below the level where they start doing infusions. They checked my blood and went: “This is really bad.” Then they went back and looked at older tests and it was: “Oh, it’s always been like this. Carry on as you were.” GLASGOW IS A SPECIAL PLACE FOR THE DARKNESS It’s completely different to any other city on these islands. There’s never a better show on any tour. When we drive into Glasgow, the thing we say to each other is: “Welcome tae Glasgae!” We had this song on our new album, and we were like: “We need something that’s a bit like Welcome To The Jungle.” And we went: “Welcome Tae Glasgae!” We’re guaranteed not to get a bad reception there now, so maybe we need to think about writing a song for every city we’ve ever had a bad gig in. Actually, it’s really annoying we’ve only just come up with that idea now. It would have been so much better if we’d done it years ago. FLYING A HELICOPTER TAKES FINESSE The first thing I really wanted to be was a helicopter pilot. I wasn’t interested in the Scouts – I couldn’t see the point in being in a forest getting bitten by ticks. Plus helicopters were the thing in the eighties: [reels off ’copter-centric TV shows] Blue Thunder, Airwolf, TC from Magnum. I don’t have a helicopter licence, but I’ve got quite a few hours of flying experience. My friend gave me the best of advice. He saw me really attacking the joystick like I was playing a video simulator. He said: “Why are you grabbing it like it’s a navvy’s prick? Treat it delicately.” IF YOU’RE GOING OUT INTO THE CROWD ON SOMEONE’S SHOULDERS, BE CAREFUL The first time I went out in the crowd on somebody’s shoulders was at the fourth or fifth Darkness show. Pedro [Ferreira, original Darkness soundman and producer] was physically perfect for the job of carrying me – he was so powerful he could have had me and [Darkness guitarist/Justin’s brother] Dan on his shoulders. But there were mishaps going out into the crowd. Well, I’d describe them less as mishaps, more as sexual assaults. People would finger your bumhole, trying to get stuff up there. It’s like: “What are you doing?!” YOU FIND FRIENDS IN THE STRANGEST PLACES The main thing I remember about being at The Brits in 2004 was hanging out with the Black Eyed Peas. They’d weirdly become really good friends. The ➤ 46 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM


JUSTIN HAWKINS Believing in a thing called The Darkness: (l-r) Rufus Taylor, Justin Hawkins, Dan Hawkins, Frankie Poullain. year before, their song Shut Up had stopped I Believe In A Thing Called Love being Number One, and when we met them they showed genuine remorse. We toured with them on the Big Day Out in Australia in early 2004, and I’d get up and do a solo on Let’s Get It Started. It was a brilliant relationship. They’re lovely people. WHEN IT COMES TO STAGE PROPS, DREAM BIG I used to fantasise about having myself riding a white tiger frozen in formaldehyde after my demise, so it could be rolled in during my funeral ceremony. So when we had the opportunity to have a stage prop where I rode something, it had to be a white tiger. The first time we used it was at Nottingham Arena. The moment comes where I’m going out on the tiger, playing this big guitar solo, except the guitar wasn’t working. So I was just sitting on a giant white tiger, not really being able to play anything. When I got back and got my guitar working, we went back out, only backwards. People say: “‘Oh, you should get the tiger back.” No, you can’t quite do that in Rock City. SUCCESS CAN MAKE YOU LOSE SIGHT OF WHAT YOU’RE DOING The whole reason we started The Darkness was out of defiance: “Nobody cares about what we’re doing, so fuck it, let’s do what we want to do.” But it became way bigger than we ever imagined, so the defiance changed colour a little bit. Instead of “We’re going to do this no matter what!” it became “Yeah, finally, motherfuckers!” Which was never the plan. There was a period where we were getting lots and lots of opportunities and it was not in our nature to turn anything down. It was snowballing, except we were rolling the snowball and getting caught up in it at the same time. We knew we should have stopped, but we just kept doing it. THE MASKED SINGER WAS A LONELY EXPERIENCE The normal rules don’t apply to The Darkness when it comes to stuff that’s a little bit humiliating. Anything that gets us out there is going to be considered. But doing The Masked Singer was lonely. You’re not allowed an entourage backstage, cos other people’s entourages might recognise yours and it would spoil the whole thing. So you go on your own, you put a mask on, you sing some songs, and that’s it. I didn’t take it too seriously. I wanted to be out the first or second week. If I’d stayed in any longer I would have missed my daughter’s birthday. Plus the night I was unmasked, my name was the most searched term on Google. It hasn’t been like that for a long time, let me tell you. 48 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM “I might balloon, I might lose a leg, but I’m still going to fu**ing wear that catsuit.” ACTING IS A LOT LESS FUN THAN IT LOOKS I’ve done a couple of small things in films. I was Screaming Lord Sutch [in 2008 Joe Meek biopic Telstar]. When the director, Nick Moran, told me what he needed, it was, like: “Okay, I can do that, but you should really be asking Russell Brand.” And I could tell by his face that he had already asked Russell Brand! On set it was strange. There were all these people there, like James Corden, but nobody wanted to talk to me apart from Nick Moran. Ordinarily that would be fine – I don’t particularly want to talk to anybody else. But I didn’t really want to be there, and I wasn’t really enjoying it. I’d just spend hours staring at a plate of Viscounts, thinking: ‘Oh, I better not have one of those.” ROCK ISN’T DEAD, IT’S JUST IDLING It’s always a bit dramatic when people say: “Rock is dead” or “Rock has lost its mojo”. It hasn’t. It generally has an idling mojo until something comes along and reinvigorates everything. It happened with Nirvana and, dare I say it, it happened with The Darkness. There’s that burst of interest, and then it goes back to its resting state. There’s been some stuff that’s been nearly exciting recently, but I find it hard to get into artists who only have one very specific influence – one particular album by one particular band. Just get another influence, mix it up. People used to say that The Darkness were like AC/DC and Queen. That’s two influences. Two is literally twice as good as one. EMBRACE THE RIDICULOUS Have I ever looked back and thought: “What the hell was I wearing?” Yeah – every single time. The best outfit I ever wore was a pair of flares that were so low-slung that my arse was hanging out the back all the time, combined with a little bolero jacket that was cut off above the nipples, with my name across the back in studs. And a matching tennis visor, obviously. LIFE GOALS ARE CRUCIAL Frankie [Poullain, Darkness bassist] said something to me that’s actually become a life goal. He said: “You’re going to be the only guy who can wear a catsuit when he’s fifty.” I’m four years away now, and I’m still on course. I might balloon, I might lose a leg, but I’m still going to fucking wear that catsuit. Motorheart is released on November 19 via Cooking Vinyl.

Having sunk into a dark hole of depression, Alexisonfire guitarist/Gallows frontman Wade MacNeil found the light with his psychedelic, Grateful Dead-inspired new project, Dooms Children. There comes a point in any punk’s life when it’s time to try something different. For Wade MacNeil, known to the world’s moshpits as guitarist with Toronto hardcore band Alexisonfire and as frontman with UK punks Gallows, that time is now. Far from the screams of the bands that made him, his new project, Dooms Children, is a deeply beautiful meditation on depression, addiction and hopeful redemption. Written partly during his darkest hours and partly in rehab, it’s set against a swooning psych-rock background and seasoned with touches of lush Americana. Over the past two years, while he struggled with personal demons, MacNeil delved into the Grateful Dead’s vast back catalogue – their influence can be heard throughout Dooms Children’s self-titled debut, not least in the cover of Friend Of The Devil. It’s a stunning about-face, born from those formative tours. “My deep involvement in punk and hardcore has always made me listen to other things,” he says. “On tour I’m playing these chaotic shows every night. When I get back to the bus I’m listening to something very, very far away from that. That’s important as a way to calm yourself down and to not live in this manic state all the time. Especially a few years ago, I was listening to a lot more folky stuff from the sixties, a lot more psych-rock. At that time, I felt like the walls were falling down around me. I was really depressed and really struggling. I felt that the cosier music was helping me get through the days.” It’s easy to fall into the habit of being the party guy on the road. The music industry practically demands it. MacNeil admits that he often felt that to put on the optimum show, he needed to be just the right side of fucked up. “Which, being on the other side of that now, seems insane,” he says. “Obviously, I’m not a better singer or guitar player if I drink a bottle of Jameson’s, I’m much worse. But it seemed to make a lot of sense at the time.” Depression, alcoholism, drugs, destroyed relationships, rehab: it’s all there on Dooms Children. 50 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM Words: Emma Johnston But while it’s easy to blame the rock’n’roll lifestyle, he has a learned self-destructiveness that stretches back to childhood. MacNeil grew up in the Ontario city of St Catherines, close to Niagara Falls. His father was from Detroit, so there was always soul music on the stereo, records bearing the Motown logo, classics by Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. And being a Canadian household, Neil Young was ever-present. But family life was “very chaotic between my parents, and not really a good place to be”, making home far from the safe space it should have felt like. “At the root of a lot of big substance issues, there’s a lot of trauma and stuff that’s not dealt with,” he says. “And then as you kind of get on with life, maybe you fall into those numbing-out aspects to try and deal with something that you’re not even really sure you’re dealing with.” Music was his escape. Finding his own voice in heavier genres, he fell in among like-minded “I’m not a better singer or guitar player if I drink a bottle of Jameson’s, I’m much worse. But it made sense at the time.” skateboarders and punks. It was in this scene that he met local kindred spirit George Petit, with whom he went on to form Alexisonfire and who, two decades on, remains one of his closest friends. “It was like finding my actual, chosen family. And that was like me starting to go to shows and meeting the people in the band.” In the lead-up to writing the Dooms Children record, MacNeil was running on empty. Long, intense tours with Gallows and Alexisonfire had taken a physical and mental toll. Yet he never slowed down. He used his time off the road to host a radio show in Toronto as well as scoring and acting in a Canadian sports comedy movie Goon: Last Of The Enforcers. He was more depressed than he had ever been, but he kept pushing on. “The real strain at the end of the day is just your relationship with yourself. Really, really hating yourself,” he says. “You can only stuff things down for so long before they all come out. I was really depressed. I was really drinking and using a lot as a way to deal with that. Trying to escape. And I was just miserable. Those were the conditions at which I started writing the Dooms Children stuff.” Writing songs helped him take the first steps towards a better place, but entering rehab was the greatest leap. It was, he says, a wake-up call to some of his peers – with booze so normalised and encouraged on the road, it can be hard to tell there’s anything wrong. When he sought treatment, it made friends look at their own habits. The lyrics he crafted during this period are unflinchingly honest, from Psycho Hospital Blues, in which he attempts to find meaning in a God he doesn’t believe in, to Morningstar, with its hopeful race towards a brighter future. They’re bound to strike a chord with anyone going through a similar rough patch. Oddly, the covid era’s enforced quiet has offered respite too, a time for reflection and a slower pace of life. He says he missed playing shows terribly, but the opportunity to reset could have been a personal blessing. In the aftermath, he’s taken stock of how he wants to go about creating his music. “Like, instead of working in a small studio the size of a closet and just cranking stuff out with apathetic people, I’ve only made music with really close friends of mine, and made it in a set-up in someone’s living room, which is what we did for this record,” he says. “Or we recorded on a farm or went away to the country. Almost all the recording sessions I’ve been involved in, there’s been chickens outside, and that’s the type of energy I’m trying to have.” Outside the sun is shining, and as soon as we’ve finished talking, MacNeil is planning on heading out to ride his motorcycle. To decompress, take life as it comes, and enjoy the simple pleasures he can finally see in front of his face again. “Honestly, now life is pretty good,” he says. “Musically, everything is very, very exciting. And I think on a personal level I’m doing all right.” Dooms Children is out now via Dine Alone. RASHAD BEDEIR/PRESS


“I just can’t get along with people. They don’t understand me… I spend a lot of time alone, playing my guitar.” Eddie Van Halen 54 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

In our exclusive book extract from Eruption: The Eddie Van Halen Story, we venture back to the early 80s, to Fair Warning and Diver Down, when Van Halen were nearly at breaking point. Words: Paul Brannigan Photos: Neil Zlozower As they listened to Noel Monk break down exactly how, where and why their money was going to be spent, no one in Van Halen could have been oblivious to the cold, hard, undeniable fact that the proposition they were being invited to consider was, by the letter of the law, illegal. The practice of ‘payola’ – the offering of cash, gifts, holidays, drugs or sexual favours to influential individuals at radio stations in exchange for airplay – may have been as well established as the music industry itself, but just because everyone else did it, or turned a blind eye when it was sanctioned on their behalf, this didn’t make the act any less palatable. And yet, as Van Halen’s manager patiently explained that, in the considered and trusted opinion of Warner Bros. Records, offering financial inducements to selected radio stations for guaranteed airtime was the only realistic option now available to them in order to boost sales of their new album from gold to platinum status, the decision to be taken seemed like a no-brainer. As Monk recalls, it was David Lee Roth who authorised the action plan on the group’s behalf. The emergency band meeting had been convened in the wake of a difficult conversation between Noel Monk and Warners’ head of artist development, Carl Scott. While Women And Children First and its predecessor, Van Halen II, had racked up a million domestic sales within three months of being filed in record shops, by mid-summer 1981 Fair Warning, the group’s fourth album, released on April 29 that year, had barely broken the 500,000 mark. Accustomed since day one to being regarded, and treated, as a priority act by Warners, Van Halen faced the prospect of slipping to second-tier status if they were deemed incapable of keeping pace with the label’s big hitters. Revisiting the conversation with Scott in his memoir Runnin’ With The Devil, Monk recalls asking: “Isn’t there something we can do?” and receiving the reply: “Yeah, there is. But it’s not cheap.” No innocent with regard to the shadier side of the record business, by his own admission Monk had naively assumed that payola had gone the way of piano rolls and 78rpm discs by the dawn of the 1980s. That same ➤ CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 55

afternoon, he would receive a crash course in the dark arts from the label’s head of publicity. “I wrote a check for more than two hundred grand and gave it to our promotion guy,” Monk admitted, “who in turn handed it over to the payola brokers, who in turn wrote smaller checks – or handed over wads of cash – to scores of individual radio stations. And, lo and behold, Fair Warning began to get significant airplay. Tracks that were not even intended as singles started showing up in regular rotation. Go figure. “The album reached platinum status on November 18,” he recalled, “and we all breathed a sigh of relief.” The irony here was that Fair Warning was a better album than the two collections that preceded it. It was, however, darker and denser, devoid of a hit single and, at points, a demanding listen. It was also, unequivocally, Eddie Van Halen’s album, from the jaw-dropping tapped intro of opener Mean Street to the dirty synth rumbles underpinning set closer One Foot Out The Door, which was written in the fraught, stressful winter months before the guitarist and his fiancée Valerie Bertinelli were due to marry, a time Eddie later remembered as “a dark period”. 56 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM Dave Lee Roth in his element, on stage, and (above) with Van Halen manager Noel Monk. “I was angry, frustrated and loose,” he admitted. “We started doing things my way, and we all kind of butted heads – me versus them.” “Women and Children First was real spontaneous,” recalled engineer Gene Meros. “We went in and did it in about four days. It was like total energy and real quick. Fair Warning was more of a painful process. There was much more experimentation going on. There was more time spent on arranging things in the studio, getting sounds, and laying down the various tracks. Edward was getting more and more into studio techniques at that time, whereas before, they would just come in and bang ’em out without even thinking about how they were recorded.” “I worked my ass off,” Eddie told Steven Rosen. “Everything on it I came up with within two weeks. I also weighed 125 pounds; I lost a lot of weight and a lot of sleep because I knew it had to be done.” “Ed typically worked all night in the back bedroom, where he’d set up his equipment, or at a studio in Hollywood,” recalled Valerie Bertinelli. “He sat there with his engineer and tinkered with ideas until he either got them the way he wanted, or ran out of booze, coke, energy, inspiration, or all of the above.” “I had bought a parrot, it made more f**king noise than a preacher in a strip club on a Sunday morning.” David Lee Roth “I’m pretty much a loner,” Eddie told Jas Obrecht. “I just can’t get along with people. They don’t understand me… I have nothing to say. I spend a lot of time alone, playing my guitar. It’s just more satisfying. “In order for me to come up with anything different… I gotta sit totally in silence by myself, playing my guitar for about two or three hours. It’s almost like meditating. I get in the state of mind where I’m not consciously thinking of writing.” “He put tremendous pressure on himself to create, and the band added even more stress,” Valerie insisted. “Even though he wrote like a machine, he always said that he had to come up with another song; something better, something catchier, something Dave approved of, something the record company liked, something that everyone – from the band to the execs in the record company boardroom – thought was a hit.” Determined to push the group forward and challenge himself as a writer and musician, the guitarist largely chose not to exhume material from earlier demos, except on Mean Street, which borrowed from the unreleased Voodoo Queen and She’s The Woman. As a result, much of Fair Warning sounds thrillingly unfamiliar. Push Comes To Shove mixes dub reggae, bubbling funk and one of the most outrageous solos of Eddie’s career, a jazzfusion improvisation reminiscent of Allan Holdsworth. Superficially jaunty and upbeat, So This Is Love? shows its dark underbelly in Roth’s bitter lyric (‘The grass is never greener, and there’s plenty around’), the prom-queen-turned-porn-queenthemed Dirty Movies ladles a futuristic new-wave synth sheen atop a filthy boogie, and the swampy, oppressively heavy instrumental Sunday Afternoon In The Park, written on an Electro-Harmonix Mini- Synthesiser, sounds like a 1970s Italian horror theme. Eddie told his fiancée that she had inspired it. “It’s us fighting all the time,” he said. The experimentation and diversity of the album makes the more ‘traditional’ tracks all the more potent. With its killer riff, stacked vocal harmonies, and a lyric celebrating liberation

VAN HALEN INSET: ALAMY Eddie Van Halen with his two loves: playing guitar, and (inset) fiancée Valerie Bertinelli. “[Eddie] put tremendous pressure on himself to create, and the band added even more stress.” Valerie Bertinelli and life’s endless possibilities, Unchained might be the definitive Van Halen rocker, “a blazer” in Eddie’s eyes. “I love that song,” he admitted. “It’s rare that I can listen back to my own playing and get goose bumps, but that’s one of them.” Famously, the track sees David Lee Roth break the fourth wall, responding to exhausted-sounding producer Ted Templeman pleading: “Come on, Dave, gimme a break…” with a filthy cackle and a hollered: “One break, coming up!” “One of my biggest obligations as director was to make sure that all the best mistakes stayed in the movie,” Roth later explained. “Don’t sew that up! Leave it bleeding! Leave it lying there and we’ll act around it! So that moment in Unchained when Ted’s talking to me from the control room was part and parcel of that approach; let’s leave in all the things that will keep you in the moment with us.” Roth’s lyrics throughout the album were a revelation, often downbeat, cynical, jaded and laced with anger. If the underlying theme of the band’s joyous debut album was ‘Life’s a beach!’, here the tone switched to ‘Life’s a bitch!’, nowhere more so than on the album opener, the film-noirinspired Mean Street, with its wired protagonist walking a ‘stinkin’ street’, avoiding the neighbourhood ‘crazies’. The only issue here is one of credibility: while Roth’s earlier fables of living life large on Sunset Boulevard fitted his persona like a diamante-studded codpiece, it was harder to believe lyrics laced with ennui and frustration. At points, however, there was a sense of real life and fantasy converging. On the surface, One Foot Out The Door is a snapshot of the bitter end of an affair, filled with recrimination and regret. With the benefit of hindsight, the lyric carries a weight and significance that may not have been immediately apparent at the time. However, Roth would later deny that the bleak lyrics were a reflection of growing tensions in the band, offering up a bizarre alternative explanation that may or may not be tongue-in-cheek. “I had bought a parrot,” he explained to James McNair. “A big, red Amazonian parrot named Ricky. Man, that bird was bad! You couldn’t go anywhere near that bird, much less its cage, without it shrieking. It made more fucking noise than a preacher in a strip club on a Sunday morning. At the time, I was living in a small apartment in North Hollywood, and I would walk past the bird’s cage at two metres’ distance, and the thing would start up a holy shriek to raise the devil and his henchman. Talk about anxiety overload! So when I sat down to write the lyrics for that album, that was what I was dealing with. Everything was clenched fist and stiff upper lip.” “The truth is, I don’t think he sang as good as I played,” Eddie told Steven Rosen bluntly in an interview for Guitar World, before following up with an out-of-character broadside that poured cold water all over the usual portrayal of Van Halen as a unified gang. “At least Dave pulls his weight,” the guitarist conceded. “Mike [Anthony] doesn’t. He doesn’t do anything. He has no input whatsoever. Period. But he has remodelled his whole house and bought himself a [Porsche] Turbo Carrera off the money he’s made off of us. Whatever.” Pulling the curtain back further, Eddie added: “I wasn’t very happy with the way things were going or the way people were approaching the whole recording process. I would sneak back into the studio at four a.m. with Donn Landee, the engineer, and completely re-record all the solos and overdubs the way I wanted them. The fucked-up thing was, no one even noticed. That’s how uninvolved they were on a musical level.” The guitarist’s assertiveness and control over the work did not go unnoticed. The most perceptive and insightful review of the album, written by J. D. Considine, appeared in the October issue of Musician magazine: “From the opening flash of distortioncharged harmonics, guitarist Eddie Van Halen clearly dominates the album,” noted Considine. “Once Van Halen (the group) has established a riff, Van Halen (the guitarist) often as not will move on to another idea. More significantly, the instrumental tracks generally seem to lead, with David Lee Roth’s vocals added on almost as commentary.” “You cannot label us,” the band’s newly emboldened guitarist insisted to Steven Rosen. “You cannot call us heavy metal; you cannot call us progressive; you cannot call us mellow… We do whatever we want to do, and that’s it. Take it or leave it. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it; if you do, you do. But we do what we want to do. Period.” It was when the dwarves started dishing out magic mushrooms to the cast and crew that Pete Angelus began to suspect he’d lost control on the set of the video shoot for Van Halen’s cover of Roy Orbison’s (Oh) Pretty Woman. The band’s lighting director and creative consultant, Angelus had pitched Warners a conceptual fantasy piece revolving around the quartet rescuing a damsel ➤ CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 57

VAN HALEN in distress from the clutches of evil villains. The goofy, light-hearted, knowingly cheesy promo, Angelus argued convincingly, would cement the band’s public image as everyone’s favourite naughty-but-nice all-American rock gods. As the cover of (Oh) Pretty Woman was envisaged as a stand-alone single, a stopgap release to buy the band some downtime following their six months on the road promoting Fair Warning, it seemed prudent to devote more time and creativity to the video, not least because MTV’s influence on the record-buying public was becoming increasingly significant. And so Pete Angelus’s storyboard got thoroughly Van Halen-ised, fleshed out with irreverent, tongue-in-cheek details. For reasons best known to themselves, the band decided to dress as different characters: Roth was to be Napoleon Bonaparte, Eddie would play a cowboy, Alex would adopt a Tarzan look and Michael Anthony would appear as a samurai warrior. A decision was then taken to cast two dwarves, a hunchback and transgender entertainer International Chrysis in the key supporting roles. To loosen nerves and inhibitions, the on-set catering was to consist largely of beer, weed, Jack Daniel’s and cocaine; hallucinogenic fungi were a bonus. It was all fun and games, until Angelus lost his dwarves. “I stood on the set, going: ‘Seriously, can anybody find the little people?’” Angelus recalled in I Want My MTV, Rob Tannenbaum and Craig Marks’s illuminating oral history of the music channel. “After twenty minutes of searching for them I thought, I’ll walk around and see if I can turn up anything. I got to the transvestite’s dressing room and opened the door… The little guy was wearing a black cape. He was holding the transvestite’s penis, which seemed kind of erect, and he was pretending it was a microphone. And he was singing Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones while doing a Mick Jagger impersonation. I thought: ‘This is not going well.’” 58 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM Blame Roth. It was Roth, twitching with nervous energy as the post-tour withdrawal symptoms kicked in at the end of 1981, who pushed for the band to record a cover version in order to maintain a presence in the market during what was supposed to be an extended hiatus. The singer had actually suggested taping a remake of Martha & The Vandellas’ 1964 hit Dancing In The Street, but Eddie nominated Roy Orbison’s sevenmillion-selling single from the same year instead. The quartet returned to Sunset Sound Studio with Ted Templeman and tracked three pieces of music – the single A-side, perennial live favourite Happy Trails, and the dense instrumental Intruder, required to fill out the space in the video soundtrack – in a single day. With the accompanying video in the can, the plan was to launch the song into the “Everything on [Fair Warning] I came up with within two weeks. I lost a lot of weight and a lot of sleep.” Eddie Van Halen The VH engine room: drummer Alex Van Halen and bassist Michael Anthony. marketplace and then have the band ease back into the shadows for a well-earned break. But God laughs when men make plans. Though MTV bridled at the video’s gleeful political incorrectness and pulled it from daily rotation within weeks, after receiving thousands of complaints, radio leaped on the effervescent, energised cover. As the song hurtled up the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it would peak at No.12 in mid-April 1982, Mo Ostin and Lenny Waronker at Warner Bros. contacted Ted Templeman to demand the delivery of a new fulllength Van Halen album within weeks – exactly what the band didn’t want. With considerable reluctance, the quartet brokered a compromise: they would deliver a new record, but having no time to work up new material – and once again unwilling to dig too deep into their vault of unreleased material – it would lean heavily on cover versions, in keeping with the raw energy of their unanticipated hit single. With Sunset Sound booked out, the band were shunted into Amigo Studios, owned by Warners, where Templeman and Landee cut the album in just 12 days. Diver Down was released on April 14, 1982, the same week in which (Oh) Pretty Woman peaked on the Billboard chart. Of its 12 tracks, three songs – Cathedral, Intruder and Little Guitars (Intro) – are sub-two-minute instrumentals, and no fewer than five are covers, with the Roy Orbison remake joined by versions of The Kinks’ Where Have All The Good Times Gone!, the previously spurned Dancing In The Street, Big Bad Bill (Is Sweet William Now), a 1924 composition, and the aforementioned Happy Trails. Of the original material, Secrets was a leftover from the Fair Warning sessions, Hang ’Em High was a reworked version of 1977 demo track Last Night, Little Guitars “was a song for señoritas”, according to Roth, and album highlight The Full Bug featured Roth in lairy ‘cocksman’ mode, bragging about giving some young lady ‘the best part of a man’. Testing the definition of ‘long player’, the whole album clocked in at just over 31 minutes – a fact that did not go unnoticed by reviewers. Writing in Rolling Stone, Parke Puterbaugh labelled the release “a cogent case for consumer fraud”. Choosing to interpret the scarcity of original material as an indication that the band were “running out of ideas”, Puterbaugh’s pithy two-star review neatly concluded: “There’s a little Van Halen in everybody, these guys are fond of saying, but there’s too little on Diver Down.” Not that hard-core fans cared too much, at least initially: Diver Down passed the one-million sales mark in just 10 weeks, peaking at No.3 on the Billboard 200, two places higher than its 1981 predecessor. Ever ready to uncork a fresh bottle of snake oil, David Lee Roth was able to put a positive spin on the hastily compiled set. Referencing the album’s minimalist artwork – a ‘diver down’ flag intended to mark the presence of a scuba diver beneath the waves – the singer told Sounds that it signified that “there was something going on that’s not apparent to your eyes… “A lot of people approach Van Halen as sort of the abyss,” he said. “It means it’s not immediately apparent to your eyes what is going on underneath the surface.” Given Roth’s astute understanding of the machinations of the Fourth Estate, this hint at the internecine tensions within the band was surely no careless, unguarded slip of the tongue. While a fan listening to the quartet giggling through the four-part harmony a-cappella vocals on Happy Trails, or hearing Eddie and Alex’s clarinet-playing father Jan trilling throughout Big Bad Bill…, at Roth’s invitation, might have imagined that the unit was closer than ever, this was an illusion. And an exasperated Eddie would quickly tire of manicuring the truth. Discussing his newest solo turn, Cathedral, in

1982, he informed regular confidante Jas Obrecht that he’d wanted to include the piece on a previous record but had been overruled by Roth, who bluntly told the guitarist, as Eddie remembered it: “Fuck this, man. No more fucking guitar solos.” “He’s on an ego trip,” Eddie stated. “He has always been. Ted didn’t know that that’s the way Dave felt. One day when Dave wasn’t there [in the studio], I said: ‘Ted, what do you think of this? And what do you think of that?’ I played him Little Guitars, the intro, the little flamenco-sounding thing, and Cathedral, and he’s going, like: ‘God! Why the fuck didn’t you show me this earlier?’ And I explained to him: ‘Dave just said fuck the guitar hero shit, you know, we’re a band’’. So Ted just said: ‘Fuck Dave’. So we put it on anyway.” Though he didn’t call him out with the same ferocity, Eddie was quietly seething at Templeman also, as he felt that the producer had “wasted” a keyboard riff he had envisaged turning into a Peter Gabriel-style track by plonking it on top of the Dancing In The Street riff. Never the confrontational type, Eddie sulked rather than vetoing the idea, but the incident gnawed at him. “I hated every minute of making Diver Down,” the guitarist would later state boldly. “David had the idea that if you covered a successful song, you were halfway home. C’mon… Van Halen doing Dancing In The Street? It was stupid. I started feeling like I would rather bomb playing my own songs than be successful playing someone else’s music.” “Fair Warning’s lack of commercial success prompted Diver Down,” he admitted. “To me, Fair Warning is more true to what I am and what I believe Van Halen is. We’re a hard rock band, and we were an album band. We were lucky to enter the charts anywhere.” Soon enough, Roth, too, made his true feelings known, offering telling insights into the working dynamic between himself and the guitarist. “What Eddie and I do is argue,” he told Creem. “We come from different backgrounds, musically, philosophically, socially, our hobbies. I have trouble understanding, more times than not, why he does what he does. There are meeting grounds, of course, but in the musical end there is no meeting ground. We’re arguing. Sometimes we reach a compromise. No one is ever happy except the public.” Originally scheduled to run for 80 shows across North America, beginning on July 14 in Augusta, Georgia, the amusingly titled Hide Your Sheep tour (also known as the Kicking Ass and Taking Names tour) was intended to paper over the fractures beginning to undermine the group’s foundations. In reality, it only exacerbated the simmering tensions between the band’s frontman and its musical mastermind. When the caravan reached California in September, Eddie took some time away from the hothouse atmosphere to visit his friends in Kiss, who were recording what would become their Creatures Of The Night album at the Record Plant Studio, this time as a trio following troubled guitarist Ace Frehley’s departure. Exactly what transpired on that autumn afternoon remains a subject of debate, but Gene Simmons swears to this day that Eddie was so over working with David Lee Roth that he offered to quit his own band in order to fill the vacant guitarist slot in Kiss. “He was so unhappy about how he and Roth were – or weren’t – getting along,” says Simmons. “He couldn’t stand him. And drugs were rampant. And so he took me to lunch. And Eddie said: ‘I want to join Kiss. I don’t want to fight any more with Roth. I’m sick and tired of it.’ But I told him: ‘Eddie, there’s not enough room. You need to be in a band where you can direct the music. You’re not going to be happy in Kiss.” I talked him out of it. It didn’t fit.’ When this writer spoke with Paul Stanley about this rumour, he confirmed that Eddie did indeed visit Kiss in the studio – “I remember him listening “Eddie took me to lunch, and he said: ‘I want to join Kiss. I don’t want to fight any more with Roth.’” Gene Simmons to the solo for Creatures Of The Night, which he thought was amazing,” he remembered – but had no recollection whatsoever of any conversation with either the guitarist or indeed his louder-thanlife bassist about Eddie joining the New York band. When it was suggested to Stanley that had Van Halen really offered to team up with the band during his lunch with Simmons, one might have imagined the bassist mentioning it upon returning to the studio, Stanley was absolutely adamant that this did not happen. “You’ll have to make of that what you will…” he noted, diplomatically. Eddie and Dave: not quite the bosom buddies they often appeared to be. “I don’t buy that Simmons story for a second,” says Jas Obrecht, who was in regular contact with Eddie at the time. “And you know why? There’s no way on earth Eddie would ever leave Alex. It’s impossible, it would never happen. Eddie is intensely loyal to his family, and it just would not happen, under any condition. I’m calling bullshit on that.” Unbeknown to all but their closest and most trusted friends, Alex had, in fact, talked Eddie out of quitting their band just one year earlier. “In 1981, when Ed got married to Valerie, things got a little loopy,” the drummer revealed. “He was getting press that he didn’t want, and things became unbearable. Ed wanted to quit. I told him: ‘Look, we’ve spent too much time to give this up. The lyrics and the image may not be exactly right, but people are getting to hear your music.’ I said: ‘Hey, we’re playing! That’s what every musician wants to do.’” Whatever the truth of the matter, ultimately the Hide Your Sheep tour was not derailed, save for the cancellation of three October shows in New Jersey, following another contentious incident, in which the guitarist fractured his wrist after punching a wall in anger. And the Van Halen juggernaut would continue to roll. For a while, at least… Eruption: The Eddie Van Halen Story is published by Faber and available from Amazon and all good booksellers. Extracted with kind permission. CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 59

MIKAEL ERIKSSON/PRESS One of the profound upsides of this century’s technological advances has been the ability to share music – across the world – at the drop of a hat. That might sound a little obvious (and it creates challenges as well), but in the absence of much actual travel this past year or so we’ve appreciated it more than ever. To paraphrase Status Quo, people really are rocking out all over the world. If that’s not music to a rock fan’s ears, we don’t know what is. Apart from, well, actual music. 60 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM This month our rocking-all-over-theworld Hot List transports you to Sweden with Ghost, Los Angeles with Dead Sara, Denmark via Brazil with The Courettes, Canada with SATE, and back to good old Blighty with Skam and Shackleford. With mind-bending blues, hard rock, sucker-punch pop and Americana between them (among many other sounds), it’s a delectable selection. Check out more of the best new tracks every Monday with Classic Rock’s Tracks Of The Week at Ghost Hunter’s Moon Tobias Forge returns with the first new Ghost music in two years. It’s also the music that runs with the end credits for the upcoming John Carpentersoundtracked horror flick Halloween Kills. Carpenter might bring the chills, but Ghost have the disco lights we all need after being scared shitless; along with the sort of pop-come-70s prog quality that builds on the band’s previous album Prequelle. If ABBA were soundtracking this movie, they probably would have written something like this.

Skam Deadliest Sin The Leicester power trio are going from strength to strength, as evidenced across their two 2021 EPs (Intra back in February, and most recently Venous, from which our Hot List track is taken). They know how to party with the best of ’em, but on Deadliest Sin they show their pensive side. And it’s a beautiful thing – introverted, stirring and ultimately uplifting. Complete with a big old stick-in-yer-head chorus, the moody, grungy sweetness at work made us think of Foo Fighters’ Learn To Fly getting roughed up by Soundgarden. They’re a DIY outfit, but at their best Skam give the big boys a serious run for their money. Houndmouth Make It To Midnight Billed as a “hazy ode to fading romance”, Make It To Midnight – the first taste of the New Albany, Indiana group’s just-released fourth album Good For You, the follow-up to 2018’s Golden Age – paints the sort of concise yet detailed, quietly devastating world of a great short story. Sonically it’s sort of alternative blues, a bit folky Americana, with some end-of-the-night, not-quite-steady-onyour-feet vibes. And it definitely rocks as well, in a heartbreaking, intimate way that stays with you. Eric Bolton The Home Light With a voice that falls into a sweet spot somewhere between Eddie Vedder, Michael Stipe and Chris Cornell, Canadian singer/songwriter Eric Bolton makes a gorgeous job of this heartfelt rootsy pop-rock ballad. “I wrote this song back in 2015/2016 in a time of leaving the church world I’d been brought up in,” he says. “I began trying to pursue that inner light that was real and honest. After coming out and learning to build a life that is authentic to me and my true self, now felt like the right time to release this song.” CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 61

SATE Nobody There’s a new blues-rock maverick in town, and she’s nothing like what you probably expect. A rising star from Toronto, SATE (aka Saidah Baba Talibah) gives the genre an energising facelift with this maelstrom of fiery soul-blues and driving chainsaw guitars. The daughter of Canadian blues/jazz singer and theatre pioneer Salome Bey, she’s got music in her blood. “I wrote this song because I was getting caught up in what others thought of me,” she says. “We determine our own worth. No one should ever take you for granted.” Toronto blues punks The OBGMs are the guys you’ll see jamming with her in the YouTube video. Dead Sara Hypnotic Ten years ago these Los Angeles rockers were hot stuff, with sucker-punch single Weatherman picking up radio plays and turning a lot of heads. Since then they’ve carried on comparatively quietly. Now they’re back with a new album and a gear-changing pop-tastic single that delivers on the promise of its title – it is hypnotic. A slick bump-’n’-grind sugar rush that swirls garage swagger, 90s production vibes and feelgood pop into one delicious milkshake, it’ll make you forget your troubles, if only for a couple of minutes. Shackleford Rhetoric On their Facebook page this Nuneaton four-piece describe themselves as “melodic punk rock with shitloads of harmonies, like what your older brother used to listen to”. Well, if said brother’s collection included a lot of noisy, fast-paced but ultimately sweet pop punk – think Green Day mashed up with a bit of Misfits-y chaos – it’s a pretty spot-on impression of Rhetoric. Taken from their self-titled album, it’s the punk equivalent of a short, strong coffee – with two sugars. Sometimes you just need two sugars, right? 62 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

Who Are... The Courettes? Martin and Flavia Couri answer a few CR questions. Describe your sound in a sentence? FC: The Ronettes meet the Ramones for a wild party at the Gold Star Studios’ echo chamber. You met in [Flavia’s homeland] Brazil when you were in different bands. What were your first impressions of one another? MC: Flavia was a sunshine of beauty. Even at five in the morning in a smelly tour van. FC: I didn’t know Martin’s old band Columbian Neckties at all. Then this guy came and sat by my side, in the only seat left available of the van. I was upset at the start, but then we realised we had very similar music taste, and we stuck together for the whole tour – and ever since. As married bandmates, do you live and breathe music 24/7? MC: We live it constantly. Playing, being in our studio, office work and at home. FC: Yes. And we are also dedicated parents to a lovely five-year-old named Lennon. Who are your go-to guitar heroes? FC: Dave Davies, Poison Ivy, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Keith Richards, Lady Bo, Pete Townshend and George Harrison. And drum heroes? MC: Hal Blaine and Ringo Starr. The Courettes R.I.N.G.O Flavia and Martin Couri’s band’s story is also their love story. Back in 2013 they defied the Atlantic ocean separating their homes (she’s Brazilian, he’s Danish) and formed The Courettes. Now, as exemplified on this ode to The Beatles legend Richard Starkey, they’re cooking up their own ice-cool fusion of 60s sensibilities – think surfy Ronettes-esque pop with a rumbling proto-garage underbelly. Plus that key lyric ‘I’m done with McCartney, I want Richard Starkey’ never stops being fun to sing along to. NATHANIEL RATELIFF & THE NIGHT SWEATS: DANNY CLINCH/PRESS; THE COURETTES: MARCO KRENN/PRESS Best voices in rock’n’roll? MC: Little Richard, Gerry Roslie and John Lennon, no doubt! FC: John Lennon, Tina Turner and Elvis Presley, for sure. You’re big Beatles fans. Who are your other sixties favourites? MC: The Beattle-Ettes, The Sonics, Thor’s Hammer, The Ronettes, The Shangri-Las, The Teardrops. FC: For me Os Mutantes from Brazil are as good as The Beatles! Our big-time favourites are Kinks, Stones (Brian Jones period), the Velvet Underground, The Ronettes, The Crystals, The Shangri-las, Duane Eddy and the Beach Boys. Defining moment in the band’s life? MC: The first time we played together in a rehearsing studio. It was such an explosion of sound! FC: Playing the day after I gave birth to our son, supporting The Sonics and signing with Damaged Goods Records were special days. What should people expect from a Courettes gig? MC: The real deal! The real sound! Played loud as hell! FC: A sweaty and wild celebration of the community that only a rock show can create. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats Love Don’t The spirit of Motown runs deep and rich in this toe-tapping, big-hearted slice of blue-eyed soul from Nathaniel Rateliff and his Night Sweats. With sweet, 60s-y foundations that crescendo into swells of brass, rock’n’soul and vocals that manage to be bear-like and honeyed at the same time, it’s the sort of tonic for the senses that we could all use in these chillier autumnal weeks. Like what you hear? Nathaniel’s new album, The Future, is out now via the legendary Stax label. CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 63

Communication Breakdown Send your letters to Communication Breakdown, Classic Rock, Future, 1-10 Praed Mews, Paddington, London W2 1QY or email them to For more comment visit or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. LET(TER) THERE BE ROCK! Really love the magazine. I pay for a subscription for my brother-in-law for years now and he loves it as well. Keeps us in touch with all things rock both new and old. Communication Breakdown was a good segment and I would like to see its return. James Gillespie, via email DISAPPEARING ACT Hello! I’ve been a purchaser of/subscriber to Classic Rock magazine for over a decade now, and I really appreciate the dedication and insight you put into the magazine, and I look forward to every issue. However, of late I have noticed that more frequently you aren’t including the Buyer’s Guide feature. That’s a bummer. That feature is my favourite. It’s the first thing I turn to when I get my copy. It has helped me discover some artists I didn’t know much about, and I also look forward to seeing which band gets ‘canonised’ next. I hope you keep this feature in the magazine regularly. There are still quite a few artists and genres you haven’t done Buyer’s Guides for, so don’t let this feature fade! Conor, via email It’s a fair cop, Conor. But don’t worry, Buyer’s Guide isn’t going anywhere any time soon. This month it’s Blondie’s turn (p86). I’m afraid it has taken the occasional hiatus of late, though – it usually disappears when we’ve had to accommodate some late-breaking news. As a reader/subscriber since virtually the start of the magazine, I look forward to getting the magazine for my fix on things rock every month. The disappearance of the The Screaming Jets: vastly underrated. letters page many moons ago was pretty disappointing, as it offered the fans an opportunity to share their thoughts, experiences and the like with likeminded fellow readers. This could be gigs, new/old music or anything. Please bring it back! It’s been sadly missed. A feature that would also be welcomed, and in conjunction with the return of the letters page, would be a ‘Where are they now?’ section. This could invite readers to suggest bands that flickered briefly or never quite hit the mainstream, and provide a brief synopsis on them then and whatever they are up to now. I’ll even provide one for starters – Runestaff. A Norfolk band my mates and I used to follow for years at most gigs in and around the local area in the 80s. They cut one self-titled album and were great live before disbanding. Great times, getting your lager and black in proper pubs on a Friday night with your leather and cut-off on, and meeting like-minded rockers, supporting your local band. Mark Day, 53 years (and 47 of them a rocker – since my dad started buying me a record every Friday in early 70s) Funnily enough, Mark, we used to have a Where Are They Now? feature in the mag about a million years ago. Perhaps that’s something else we ought to look into bringing back. Anyone else got any candidates for rediscovery? JET-SETTER I’ve bought most issues of Classic Rock, starting with issue 1. Every issue has a feature that I’m really excited to read, but nothing has surprised more than seeing the feature on The Screaming Jets in the new issue! A vastly underrated band that really should have had a bigger level of success. I can’t thank you enough for this feature! Keep up the good work. There is no other music magazine in the English-speaking world that is as good as Classic Rock. James, via email MAIDEN MISSTEP? Hi guys. Love the magazine. Think I have a rare medical condition. Am I the only person not impressed with Maiden’s new CD? The first CD contains the shorter material but nothing near the quality of, say, Can I Play With Madness or Wrathchild. As for the second CD, it all sounds so samey – a quiet intro, a few riffs, “Modern albums just don’t sound as good or make the same impression…” a bit of Brucie (good game, or nothing for a pair in this game – showing my age now!) and then a very long instrumental passage. But as far as I am concerned the quality is not present. Dare I say is the “writing on the wall” for them? I live in hope that a few more listens will do the trick and bring me round to everyone else’s viewpoint. Rob Small, via email IF IT’S TOO LOUD… I’m not sure if this is for ‘Communication Breakdown’ or a possible feature, but I’d like to stir up some debate on modern music production. In particular the ‘Loudness War’. I’ve read a lot about listening fatigue induced by everything being compressed to the max, and everything on a track is at the same loudness, and I have to agree with the sentiment that everything sounds the same. Even worse, I’ve read that because the ear/ brain isn’t detecting the subtle changes in the music and can’t pick out the separate instruments/tracks, songs are not memorable, they don’t make an impression that sticks. Maybe I’m just too old, but modern albums just don’t sound as good or make the same impression as albums from the 70s and 80s. Is it down to modern digital production, or just my ears? I have to agree with Geoff Barton’s review of the NWOCR CD. A great deal of it all sounds the same. There’s plenty of information out there about albums that sound poor due to being too loud. Death Magnetic by Metallica and Vapour Trails by Rush are two good examples. I believe that the production of these albums led to ‘clipping’. And Vapour Trails was even remixed and reissued. I know the first version is a hard listen. Anyway, just a suggestion. In general, any features about production and engineering of albums would be good. What do all the buttons do? What does the producer do and what does the engineer do? Analogue versus digital. What is mastering? Why do some albums sound great and some not so? Hope this is helpful, and keep up the good work. Chris Binns, subscriber since #2 Cheers, Chris. Some great points there. What do others think? Keep those letters coming, and thanks for the support. 64 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

p78 David Bowie Lustrous gems and rare treasures from 1992 to 2001 sparkle again. Classic Rock Ratings ■■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■■ ■■■■■■■■■■ Edited By Ian Fortnam A Classic Excellent Very Good Good Above Average Average Below Par A Disappointment Pants Pish 18 pages 100% rock Ingredients: p68 Albums p78 Reissues p84 DVDs & Books p86 Buyer’s Guide FRANK W. OCKENFELS 3/PRESS CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 67

ALBUMS Deep Purple Turning To Crime EARMUSIC Top of the purps. Covers album shows that covers albums don’t have to suck. Deep Purple are developing a wicked sense of humour in the twilight of their career. They’ve called their new album of cover versions Turning To Crime as a jibe against us cynical rock-critic types, who generally disapprove of such nefarious releases. But the usual criticisms of covers sets – tired, lazy, uninspiring, contract-fulfilling – don’t apply here. This record, which really should be titled Turning Back Time, is an absolute blast. For the first time, the band have collaborated remotely, out of necessity due to covid (a rendition of Huey ‘Piano’ Smith’s Rockin’ Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu must’ve been high on their tongue-in-cheek agenda). And it’s a triple-jabbed delight, with the band channelling their inner Showaddywaddy. Frontman Ian Gillan’s love of the early days of rock’n’roll has been well documented, as has his re-formation of his 60s band The Javelins, plainly influencing song choices such Let The Good Times Roll (by Ray Charles and Quincy Jones, given the full-on big-band treatment here) and Lonnie Donegan’s skifflemungous The Battle Of New Orleans. But it’s not all crepe shoes and drape jackets, and there are a couple of missteps. Opening track 7 And 7 Is, by Arthur Lee’s Love, is perhaps too Purplesized and lacks the sardonic charm of the original. And on Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well it’s surprising to hear drummer Ian Paice eschew the signature ‘tippety-tap bit’ (a technical term) just before Gillan intones the words ‘Can’t help about the shape I’m in…’; the original’s mournful ending is accurately recreated, though. But the highlights massively outweigh the lowlights. A rollicking Dixie Chicken simulates Little Feat’s trademark breezy lope; Bob Seger’s Lucifer is worth the price of admission alone to hear Gillan exclaim the immortal words ‘holy mackerel’ and, indeed, ‘moley’; Cream’s White Room is suitably sinister; Bob Dylan’s Watching The River Flow transports the listener to a saloon bar in the Wild West, Airey at a battered piano, smoking a big cheroot. The best is saved until last. Caught In The Act is thankfully not a recreation of Styx’s entire 1984 live double album, rather it’s a medley of tunes from Freddie King, Booker T. & the M.G.’s, the Allman Brothers and the Spencer Davis Group, and it rattles along like Casey Jones’s Cannonball Express on steroids. Oh, and sandwiched in there is also a smidgen of Dazed And Confused. Purple play Zep? Who would’ve thunk it?! The world of rock reels. ■■■■■■■■■■ Geoff Barton The Professionals SNAFU JTP Ex-Pistol soldiers on with relatively raw recruits. Formed from the stillsmouldering ashes of the Sex Pistols by Steve Jones and Paul Cook (with various vocalists), The Professionals were everything that John Lydon’s Public Image Ltd were not: thrashy, punky, anthemic, with a penchant for big choruses and power chords. Musical styles move quickly, though, and their sound dated quickly and Cook and Jones moved on to other things. And now the band are back, with vocalist Tom Spencer and guitarist Toshi JC Ogawa (plus guests including Billy Duffy and Marco Pirroni and, allegedly, Steve Jones). In the wake of pop-punk bands like Green Day and their like, SNAFU sounds relatively contemporary, with air-punching songs like Spike Me Baby and Punk Rock And A Hard Place. Enthusiastic, energetic, and a lot better than it needs to be, this is a powerful and enjoyable return. ■■■■■■■■■■ David Quantick Florence Black Weight Of The World FLORENCE BLACK British rock’s latest hotshots serve up impressive debut. South Wales has turned into an unexpected hot spot for new rock and metal bands: Those Damn Crows, Scarlet Rebels and now Florence Black. The Merthyr Tydfil trio have been corralled into the New Wave Of Classic Rock movement, but there’s nothing retro about their debut album. Weight Of The World roars like a jet engine about to leave the runway. Its big win is to wholeheartedly embrace the kind of blockbusting choruses many of their peers seem afraid to write. Propelled by singer/ guitarist Tristan Thomas’s fromthe-guts voice and some impressively metallic riffing, On The Ropes and In My Head deliver some truly enormous hooks. Even when things teeter on the edge of cliché – as per Zulu’s comically literal recreation of the Michael Caine classic film of the same name – they pull it back by melodic force of will. There’s an urgency here that comes with having slogged around the circuit for nine years, even though the band are still in their mid-20s. But the hard yards are behind them. With Weight Of The World, Florence Black have lift-off. ■■■■■■■■■■ Dave Everley The Cutthroat Brothers and Mike Watt Devil In Berlin HOUND GAWD! Debut album of psychobilly featuring ex-Minuteman. If you’re more partial to a broad, eclectic collection of styles, then perhaps this album isn’t for you. From Bad Candy Girl through to Wild Western, it’s 11 straight slugs drawn from the same well of dregs, sleaze, zombie horror schtick and decadent goo as The Cramps, The Birthday Party and The Gun Club. Jason Cutthroat’s anglegrinder guitars belch smoke and sparks, while Donny Paycheck keeps up a rumbling, menacing undertow on drums, as if playing with a caveman’s clubs. Topping it off is Mike Watt, bassist and veteran of The Minuteman and Firehose as well as being something of a literary legend in his own right. His presence here adds not just a grizzled gruffness to these songs of heavy experience, but also a wry, scholarly air. These guys have only been together three years, but it’s like they’ve been hitting the road since the crash they died in back in 1957, the un-dead raging on. ■■■■■■■■■■ David Stubbs Steve Perry The Season FANTASY Reanimated Journey man’s crack at festive faves. It’s fair to say that Steve Perry has never quite followed the traditional career trajectory. Since quitting Journey in 1998, he went into semi-retirement for 20 years before the soulful AOR of 2018’s Traces album. How to follow that? With a set of unashamedly sentimental, soft-focus renditions of Christmas standards, of course! With a voice like his, Perry could probably sing your Christmas shopping list and not sound half bad, but while his RENÉ TREIER/MARK WEISSGUY WEISS/SIMON EMMETT 68 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

elegantly weathered vocals provide the requisite warm glow for The Christmas Song, elsewhere there’s a distinct sense of “Why?” A lumbering rearrangement of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, for example, stretches the melodic pop charm out of the original and replaces it with little more than lounge-y mediocrity. And if you’re hoping to hear any trace of the rock stylings that made Perry famous, then it’s probably best skip this gooey, Bubleesque affair. ■■■■■■■■■■ Johnny Sharp Dion Stomping Ground KTBA The wanderer roams with yet more famous friends. The celebrityguest-list approach to making records might often work better as a marketing strategy than as a creative direction, but on last year’s Blues With Friends it gave this veteran of rhythm and blues a significant career boost. Like this follow-up, it was released on Joe Bonamassa’s label Keeping The Blues Alive, which might sound as much like a charity as a commercial enterprise, but which has sponsored far livelier sounds than you’d have any right to expect from an 83-year-old. Some of Stomping Ground sounds much as expected, like the chunka-chunka boogie of If You Wanna Rock’n’roll and My Stomping Ground, assisted by Eric Clapton and Billy Gibbons respectively. Elsewhere there are more surprising moments, such as the slinky soul duet with Rickie Lee Jones on I’ve Been Watching, the gospel-tinged meditation of Angels In The Alleyway with Patti Scialfa, and Mark Knopfler’s minimal but inimitable flourishes decorating Dancing Girl. ■■■■■■■■■■ Johnny Sharp The Scaramanga Six Worthless Music WRATH The art-rocking cottage industry is in rude health. Thanks to a hermetically sealed approach that’s seen The Scaramanga Six release their own albums, handle their own PR, shoot their own videos and book their own tours for well over two decades, the Huddersfield art-rockers are a band that’s easy. But are they one to fall in love with? With Worthless Music - their tenth album, no less – The Scaramanga Six (all four of ’em) make a convincing case for your affections. Their template of twisted punk rock remains in place, but here the results are harder and firmer. The skewwhiff madness of Horse With No Face hits hard, Death Mask Of The Unknown Lady Of The Seine rocks and rollicks while pausing to take a detour into 60s spytheme-music territory. The squelchy Ipso Facto overstays its welcome, the glam balladry of Boy tempers the pace. Music to quite fancy, then. ■■■■■■■■■■ Julian Marszalek Naked Raygun Over The Overlords WAX TRAX Cast from Chicago’s finest forges, the Raygun is firing again after three decades. Naked Raygun are perhaps most famous as the first band Dave Grohl ever saw live, thus inspiring rock’s cheeriest musician to pursue a career that would tilt rock’n’roll on its axis. Perhaps racked with guilt, they broke up less than a decade later. But 31 years has passed in a flash, and comeback album Over The Overlords picks up exactly where 1990’s Raygun... Naked Raygun left off. Recorded before the death of bassist Pierre Kezdy last year, the album is built on riffs that punch like knuckle dusters, while Jeff Pezzati’s voice has lost none of its bullishness. It’s surprisingly funny (Superheroes rhymes ‘eagles soaring’ with ‘Hermann Göring’) for a band who were anything but cartoon punks, and at their best, as on Suicide Bomb, which finds Pezzati emerging from beneath an absolutely towering riff to sing as if to God, Naked Raygun are still capable of thrilling. ■■■■■■■■■■ Fraser Lewry Exodus Persona Non Grata NUCLEAR BLAST Thrash bang wallop. Now that guitarist Gary Holt’s eight years of helping out in Slayer are complete, this blazing riff factory of a record confirms that Exodus has his full attention once again. Highlights include the opening seven-minute title track (the fastest song Exodus ever wrote), pulverising lead video single The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves) and The Fires Of Division, which sees Holt really let his creativity run wild. The finest track of all, The Years Of Death And Dying, reminds us that Exodus truly excel when they keep things simple, like a thrash AC/DC. Here, Steve Souza’s unexpectedly melodic vocal makes for a killer, commercial chorus. All that robs the wellproduced Persona Non Grata of classic status is the way that most of the longer songs would have had twice the impact at half the length. But by God you still wouldn’t want to meet this thing in a dark alley. ■■■■■■■■■■ Jason Arnopp Danny Bryant The Rage To Survive JAZZHAUS Paying the cost. A dozen albums into his career, and blues-rocker Danny Bryant is rolling with the punches. You can almost sense the pent-up feelings as he got back into the studio with his band and unleashed himself in one fourday blitz. Bryant is clearly not good at coping with isolation, and he lets it all hang out on one of his better ballads, Invisible Me, while the keyboards get sensitive and the brass section replays a plain but effective descending riff. The chorus is personal (‘I am a loner, and the lonely stay away from me/I am the guilt inside that you cannot see’), and the aching guitar solo is a nod in the direction of Gary Moore. Mostly, Bryant keeps it simple, howling into the wind over a strong repetitive beat on the rockers and enjoying the spaces on the slower songs, particularly the gospel-flavoured Rain Stopped Play. ■■■■■■■■■■ Hugh Fielder ROUND-UP: SLEAZE Illegal Leather Raw Meat DEAD BEAT You may or may not be hip to UK outlaw punks The Gaggers. But either way, Marco ‘Terminal’ Gagger fronts this vicious sleaze-punk offshoot. And what a ride. Raw Meat delivers on the title, vomiting up one nugget of hate-slathered destructo-rock after another. The casually nihilistic lyrics really put the whole thing over the top. The living, seething definition of bad fun. ■■■■■■■■■■ By Sleazegrinder 38 Coffin Hell Ride SELF-RELEASED 38COFFIN.BANDCAMP.COM Seattle punk rock force of nature Lauren Goffin will probably be known to anyone with a beat-up leather jacket as the war-whooper in Die Nasty. She returns in fine form with 38 Coffin, a band that plays snarly 60s fuzz-punk with a fun horror twist. I mean, they cover The Monster Mash here, and it sounds positively murderous. ■■■■■■■■■■ Killer Hearts: the real rock’n’roll deal. Trashcan Dance Beso Negro SLEASZY RIDER TRASHCANDANCE1.BANDCAMP.COM Lord Friday The 13th Irrational Anthem SELF-RELEASED LORDFRIDAYTHE13TH.BANDCAMP.COM VIOLETA ALVAREZ Killer Hearts Skintight Electric SPAGHETTY TOWN Straight outta Houston, Texas, Killer Hearts really get the fur flyin’ on this, their longawaited debut full-length album. Their sound is big-beat trashy rock’n’roll, fuelled by slinky 70s New York City downtown needle-punk guitars and the infectiously cavalier whine of frontman Jarrett Barger, a strutting rock’n’roll ego star of considerable charm and flawless delivery. You get a strong band-asgang vibe with these characters, and the songs reflect that all-for-one spirit. Sleazy head-boppers like 247 Action, Buried In Leather and Midnight Lucifer are all very obviously the work of a bunch of dudes who have seen at least a few thousand faces, rocked ‘em all and stolen a few cases of beer on the way out. Look, I get it. Times are tough, outlooks are bleak, but I implore you to dive crotch-first into this crucial new album and rediscover why you got into rock’n’roll in the first place. It’s the real deal. A total face melter. ■■■■■■■■■■ Following 2017’s Sleaze Pop, Finnish glam-slammers Trashcan Dance return with another dose of sex, horror, and hardcore flashrock. The production is mammoth; it makes modern 69 Eyes sound like old 69 Eyes, if you know what I’m saying, and the songs are chewy, danceable, and evil in the best way possible. ■■■■■■■■■■ Theatrical glamshockers from Austin. Sorta like Hedwig jamming with Sabbath on a lost Mandrax weekend in 1993, but sexier. Seems kinda incredible that something this gonzo and visionary is so underground. This is the kinda band they’ll make dark Netflix biopics about in 20 years, so get on the train now before it leaves the station. ■■■■■■■■■■ CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 69

ALBUMS Robert Plant & Alison Krauss Raise The Roof WARNER The perfectly matched pair’s long-awaited dark country follow-up to 2007’s Raising Sand. Many of the most celebrated collaborations play on their seamless weaving of clashing styles, eras or cultures: Kanye West and Bon Iver; David Byrne and St Vincent; Elvis Costello and The Roots; Run-DMC and Aerosmith. When Robert Plant and Illinois country singer Alison Krauss won a Grammy for their 2007 covers album Raising Sand, however, Plant’s restrained country blues vocals and Krauss’s honeyed bluegrass tones sounded like a blissful marriage, and wowed the world. Fourteen years on – and thirteen after initial sessions for a follow-up proved unsuccessful – comes this sequel, the formula unmodified, the plot unchanged. Once more helmed by T Bone Burnett, who produced and chose all of the songs to be covered on Raising Sand, Raise The Roof selects 12 more country, Americana, classic pop and blues songs for the pair to rework as crepuscular noir country, to often enthralling effect. Drenched in exotic percussion, liquor-blurred guitar, thick southern steam and outbursts of ragged junk blues, it’s another record to follow deep into the bayou, chasing the will-o-the-wisp harmonies. Whether originally jaunty (the Everly Brothers’ The Price Of Love), groove-laden (Betty Harris’s Trouble With My Lover) or fragile (Sandy Denny’s version of Go Your Way), here each song is drawn skilfully into Plant and Krauss’s immersive, dusky landscape. Geeshie Wiley’s Last Kind Words rolls in like a Mississippi tugboat on the Day Of The Dead, its dark carnival atmospheres enshrouding a sophisticated blues about a father’s dying wishes. Go Your Way is all stately rural desolation. It Don’t Bother Me, Bert Jansch’s ode of defiant self-belief, made freshly pertinent transposed to the social-media age, seems to growl from the undergrowth. According to their mutual inclinations, maudlin underbellies are ruthlessly exposed. Plant’s languid take on Bobby Moore And The Rhythm Ace’s Searchin’ For My Love is imbued with later-life resignation rather than the original’s youthful urgency, while Krauss unearths the buried regret in The Price Of Love’s key line ‘Wine is sweet and gin is bitter, drink all you can but you won’t forget her’. It’s an album about digging deep into the darkness of the source material rather than raising roofs – witness the descent into poverty, misery and abuse detailed in Aubrie Sellers’s unbroken Somebody Was Watching Over Me. But when the duo do cut loose it’s blessed light relief, turning Lucinda Williams’s Can’t Let Go into a forlorn dustyard jive, and giving High And Lonesome a devilish blues charge. From the murk, more magnificence. ■■■■■■■■■■ Mark Beaumont Emigrate The Persistence Of Memory EMIGRATE PRODUCTION/ SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT Here’s one I made (a lot) earlier. Quite an apt title for this fourth album from Emigrate, Rammstein guitarist Richard Kruspe’s side project, given that the original idea was to trawl the archives for material to create a bonus record to complement a vinyl reissue of their first three albums. Kruspe’s deep dive into his unreleased solo career back catalogue revealed enough worthy tracks for a standalone record featuring songs going way back – to 2001 in the case of Freeze My Mind. Among the nine tracks to emerge blinking into the light of day there are some intriguing ones. There’s a baffling but great cover of Always On My Mind that recalls Laibach, Hypothetical sounds a bit like an industrialised Kashmir, and You Can’t Run Away could have been a Bond theme put through the electro-rock mill. Other top tunes rescued from oblivion include the excellent I’m Still Alive (‘I feel it might get loud,’ Kruspe sings – he’s right), the bouncing singalong pop of Come Over, and the sinister Depeche Modeesque Blood Stained Wedding. Krupse must have had huge fun putting this playfully diverse collection together. ■■■■■■■■■■ Essi Berelian Curse Of Lono People In Cars SUBMARINE CAT Beauty and tragedy found in the hardest of times. People In Cars was written in a fog of grief after the death of frontman Felix Bechtolsheimer’s father and also of his former partner, and the sadness that soaks through it is visceral and real. It’s also deeply beautiful and cathartic even for an outsider. Americana is, by its very nature, a mournful genre. Slide guitars weep, percussion is stark, speaking of a life on the road searching for meaning. Bechtolsheimer’s vocals are deep and warm, and ought to be comforting, but, like Mark Lanegan and his ilk, all they do is reinforce the depression and addictions that have had to be battled to bring him this far, almost unbearably so on the stark and elegant Man Down. There is the odd sign of light in the likes of I Think I’m Alright Now, a moment of coming up for air and seeing the chance of a happy future, but mainly this album is a sprawling exercise in finding a strange kind of serenity in the darkness. ■■■■■■■■■■ Emma Johnston L.A. Guns Checkered Past FRONTIERS Veterans retain an edgy sound L.A. Guns need both guitarist Tracii Guns and vocalist Phil Lewis. As evidenced here, together they hustle like shady streetwise dealers and deliver music with a dark hue. Like the best albums from this band, Checkered Past is invested in sleaze and rock’n’roll, and sees the aforementioned pair trading off one another’s artistic peccadillos. Cannonball starts everything on the front foot, Get Along slithers and chides, and If It’s Over Now offers menace. Better Than You has Stones swing, while Dog harks back to the glories of their ‘89 album Cocked & Loaded. Yes, there are dips, as on the dirgy Let Me Down or the routine Billy Idol-influenced Bad Luck Charm. But these don’t detract from the overall feeling that the Guns/Lewis alliance, ably backed up by a rhythmic trio, is still one that suits both talents better than any other. ■■■■■■■■■■ Malcolm Dome Mostly Autumn Graveyard Star MOSTLY AUTUMN Neo-prog folk-rock collective party like it’s 1975. Endorsed by Ritchie Blackmore and Steve Hackett, among others, Brit rock collective Mostly Autumn occupy the wide open space between prog, folk and symphonic metal. Sumptuously orchestrated and beautifully crafted, Graveyard Star sounds like it was recorded in a mansion and culminated in several divorces, such are its authentically analogue pleasures. Most of the songs are built on a palatial scale, especially the 12-minute title track and equally expansive closer Turn Around Slowly, epic sagas of lost battles and stormy love affairs that feature massed battalions of strings and synthesisers, thunderous guitar solos, and FRANK MELFI/PRESS 70 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

operatic vocals from Olivia Sparnenn-Josh. But subtle craftsmanship and heartfelt emotions are the norm here, notably in country-rock weepie The Harder That You Hurt and the gorgeous piano-heavy power ballad Free To Fly. Bringing an unusual grace and nuance to musical terrain that is often guilty of bombastic kitsch, this resolutely retro album is an over-rich but mostly delicious wedding cake of doublebarrelled delights ■■■■■■■■■■ Stephen Dalton Black Label Society Doom Crew Inc SNAKEFARM Two necks are better than one Guitarist Zakk Wylde’s immediately recognisable sound has dominated Black Label Society’s studio albums to date. Eleven records in, for Doom Crew Inc the band have revitalised their sound by taking their two-guitar live line-up into the studio, and the difference is striking. Although Wylde’s playing was in no way lacking, his palpable chemistry with Dario Lorina adds a vibrant new dimension to BLS. The two trade frequently jaw-dropping solos (Gospel Of Lies, Gather All My Sins), their distinctive styles also gelling to add tonal colour to the album’s ample stock of downright filthy riffs (Set You Free, End Of Days). Wylde has matured as both singer and songwriter, tempering his voice for lighter moments (Forever And A Day) and to suit the imaginative shifting arrangement of You Made Me Want To Live. BLS’s best album since 2003’s The Blessed Hellride. ■■■■■■■■■■ Rich Davenport Hearts And Hand Grenades Between The Lines ECLIPSE Predictable but punchy second album from pun-metal New Yorkers. Melodic hard rock quartet Hearts And Hand Grenades had a busy lockdown, bashing out two albums in less than 12 months. Fronted by charismatic screecher Stephanie Wlosinski, these youthful upstate New Yorkers were scraping a living as a covers band barely three years ago, with AC/DC among their set regulars. But their second album draws on a wider spectrum than heritage metal, channelling vintage Joan Jett on hard-riffing earworms like Black Sunset, alongside more nuanced grunge and alt.rock shadings on subtler tracks, notably Beautiful Pain and the soaring, crashing, climactic power ballad Moonlight. Wlosinski cites Muse as inspiration, even if their imprint is barely evident. Indeed more of Matt Bellamy’s grandly operatic ambition might have added much-needed magic to generic snarly chuggers like Bad Medicine (sadly not the Bon Jovi song). There is plenty of sparky passion and latent potential here, but a more interesting band seems to be lurking beneath the polished punkmetal surface. ■■■■■■■■■■ Stephen Dalton Lee Aaron Almost Christmas METALVILLE So here it is… Christmas and hard rock are not a natural fit (unless you count Lemmy’s version of Run Run Rudolph, which is probably the exception to the rule), but Canadian singer Lee Aaron gets away with it by focusing on the seasonal rather than the secular – and by covering Run Run Rudolph too. No sleigh bells in sight as she tucks into seasonal selections that include The Eels’ Everything’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas, Pet Shop Boys’ It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas, Louis Armstrong’s Zat You Santa Claus? and Over The Rhine’s All I Ever Get For Christmas Is Blue. Even Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody sounds different when shorn of Noddy Holder’s Brummie whine. The jangly guitars keep things rock-poppy and Aaron knows how to make the best of a melody, particularly on an unaccompanied version of Joni Mitchell’s The Fiddler And The Drum. ■■■■■■■■■■ Hugh Fielder JD Simo Mind Control CROWS FEET Nashville bluesman weaves a more tangled web. Having gone from gritty blues rock towards soul and psychedelia over the course of his first two solo albums, on his third in two years this Tennesseebased Chicagoan follows another stylistic fork in the road. The hypnotic, faintly Liebezeitlike rhythm underpinning sixminute opener Go Away Satan sets us off following the blues down more experimental paths than most guitar heroes prefer to explore, Simo not afraid to take the focus away from his undoubtedly formidable guitar playing in search of a more atmospheric, immersive soundscape. His gamble pays off when rumbling bass and anxious percussion rumble weave and worry around sparse stabs of guitar on That’s When You Know That You’re Down, as his disgruntled growl borders on Tom Waits territory. The brooding bass creep of People Pleaser is just as arresting, while the swampy grooves of Let Go and Devil Is Always Watchin’ are as addictive as they are claustrophobic. ■■■■■■■■■■ Johnny Sharp Asking Alexandria See What’s On The Inside BETTER NOISE Metalcore heroes find their melodic range. Seven albums in, and Asking Alexandria have finally found a way of expressing their musicality that is entertaining, tuneful and confident. The Brits have become metalcore mainstays, but here they effectively branch out, embracing a more melodic approach that hints at My Chemical Romance. This is clear from forthright opener Alone Again, and is accentuated with vocal harmonies across Faded Out. It’s even clearer on power ballad Find Myself and the lush See What’s On The Inside. The band do occasionally throw in a metalcore cliché, as on Misery Loves Company and Fame, but these are kept to a minimum on an album that shows Asking Alexandria have the capacity to be a mainstream rock force. ■■■■■■■■■■ Malcolm Dome ROUND-UP: MELODIC ROCK Groundbreaker’s Steve Overland: a pure AOR record for pure- AOR people. Groundbreaker Soul To Soul FRONTIERS Over almost four decades, Steve Overland has deservedly accumulated much respect as the singer with British rockers FM. Regrettably, his work outside of FM, via the likes of The Ladder, Shadowman, Ozone and his own project Overland, is rather less celebrated. Soul To Soul is the second record from another of these extracurricular adventures, Groundbreaker, and Mr Consistency has done it again. While a critically lauded debut was crafted with Robert Säll (Work Of Art, W.E.T) and producer Alessandro Del Vecchio, Overland and Del Vecchio have worked alongside Lionville’s Stefano Lionetti, Pete Alpenborg of Arctic Rain, Infinite & Divine’s Jan Åkesson and Seventh Crystal vocalist Kristian Fyhr on a dozen songs that shimmer, seduce and satisfy. Comparisons to FM’s current, slightly bluesier direction are unfair, but fans of that band’s first two albums Indiscreet and Tough It Out should find much to enjoy on Soul To Soul, a pure AOR record for pure-AOR people. ■■■■■■■■■■ Memoria Avenue Memoria Avenue FRONTIERS Scandinavia delivers one high-quality melodic rock act after another, and this slick and stylish Norwegian quintet are the latest. With a first-rate singer in Jan Le’Brandt and a sound enriched by Dag Selboskar’s keyboards, expect Perfect Plan- and Work Of Artstyle greatness. If Memoria Avenue can write more songs as memorable as Stranded, they could go the distance. ■■■■■■■■■■ Tony Mitchell Hot Endless Summer Nights AOR HEAVEN The former singer with Kiss Of The Gypsy and Dirty White Boyz takes a trip back to the 80s via a third solo album. HESN is more laid back than predecessor Church Of A Restless Soul, with roots sunk a little deeper into US soil (curious, given that Mitchell is from Fleetwood). Highlights include the stirring Blame It On The Rock ‘N’ Roll. ■■■■■■■■■■ By Dave Ling Soma Heading For The Zeros ESCAPE MUSIC Despite having had the fabled John Kalodner as its A&R guru and been produced by the estimable Kevin Shirley, Heading For The Zeros was shelved upon completion in 1996. Mapped out with peaks and valleys, organic and slightly on the funky side, Soma come on like Kyuss, Alice In Chains and an edgier Tribe Of Gypsies. ■■■■■■■■■■ Edge Of The Blade Distant Shores AOR HEAVEN Album number three from the band featuring After Hours/ short-lived Shy vocalist John Francis and ex-Shy drummer Alan Kelly (and now multi-instrumentalist with 7HY) sees the pair further embrace their AOR roots following a dalliance with heavier sounds. Distant Shores has a basement-style ambience, some strong material and praiseworthy individual performances. ■■■■■■■■■■ CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 71

ALBUMS The Darkness Motorheart COOKING VINYL Lowestoft’s finest have a lust for (alien and robot) life on album seven. Since their very earliest days, The Darkness have walked a fine line between stupid and clever with such panache, even Charles Blondin would have applauded. With their uniquely British sense of profound silliness, their determination to go over the top and then over it a bit more when they perform, and a truckful of Carry On-style double entendres, their skill has been in returning a sense of fun to rock’n’roll without ever becoming the joke themselves. That’s largely because for every nod and wink, and every colourful catsuit, they’ve clearly always taken the music extremely seriously, reviving the 80s stadium-rock histrionics they love and rewiring it to light up the seaside town that spawned them. Said town, Lowestoft, is the setting for Eastbound, one of the later tracks on this seventh album. Featuring a guest cast of frontman Justin Hawkins’s friends and family as they rampage through the seafront pubs, with the same crew that’s been around since childhood, it’s their very own The Boys Are Back In Town. But the real love is reserved for Scotland in opener Welcome Tae Glasgae (‘The women are gorgeous and the food is okay’), a belter straight out of the blocks that finds Dan Hawkins riffing up a storm and Justin getting that falsetto warmed up to a cacophony of bagpipes and sirens. Sure, the accent he puts on at certain points is pure Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers films, but the affection is genuine. As ever with a Darkness album, the music and the lyrics go into a battle for supremacy, and once again it’s a draw. Melodies straight from the Van Halen songbook shine from loser anthem Jussy’s Girl, while Queen harmonies elevate Sticky Situations, a song that is exactly as much about wanking as you think it is, hovering over dodgy ground without ever quite landing there. The gags keep coming with It’s Love, Jim, in which our hero falls for an alien beauty (‘It’s love, Jim, but not as we know it/Wherever she comes from they’ve got a funny way to show it’), and the title track which is – let us not beat about the bush here – about sex with a robot (‘I need a Phillips screwdriver to get her undressed, but she’s mine’). The album fades a little towards the end, but it’s exactly the daft-as-a-brush cheer-up we all need right now ■■■■■■■■■■ Emma Johnston Nektar The Other Side CHERRY RED First album since frontman died honours legacy. Initially released in 2020 but now relaunched (with a makingof DVD) because it got stymied by legal issues, Nektar’s first since founding singer/guitarist Roye Albrighton died is a worthy continuation of the name. Of course the main man is missed, but fellow founders Derek Moore (bass) and Ron Howden (drums) link up with musicians who’ve played with Nektar in the past, and the results feel right. As they were always outliers – a primarily British band based in the home of Krautrock, then America – their compound of prog, psychedelia and spacerock was innately unpredictable. While this latest album can’t match mind-altering career highs like Remember The Future or A Tab In The Ocean, it switches between solid and surprising with both heft and grace. Albrighton in fact features on Devil’s Door, or at least tapes of him from an old live take are layered over its intro. Skywriter floats along nimbly, while I’m On Fire is a full-blooded rocker which leans into machismo. The best track, though, is Drifting, a lengthy, atmospheric instrumental rich with Floyd-like patience then drama. A valid postscript. ■■■■■■■■■■ Chris Roberts Richard Ashcroft Acoustic Hymns Vol 1 RPA/BMG Newly recorded takes on back-catalogue treasures. The ‘Acoustic’ of the title might suggest Ashcroft alone in a studio, cradling a 12-string, but this album is as big a production as any band album – and that is what it is. The credits list his touring band plus Chuck Leavell on piano, Steve Wyreman on acoustic guitar, a brass section, strings… It sounds great, then, and plays as an alternative 12-song ‘greatest hits’. Three solo successes A Song For The Lovers, C’mon People (We’re Making It Now) – here featuring Liam Gallagher – and Break The Night With Colour are accompanied by a reworked This Thing Called Life (originally on Ashcroft’s United Nations Of Sounds in 2010). The biggest hitters, though, are the eight from The Verve’s Urban Hymns. None top the originals, but some are refreshingly different, notably Bittersweet Symphony’s ‘Oo-oo’ backing vocals echoing the refrains on the Stones’ Sympathy For The Devil, a nice touch cementing the friendly settlement of the song’s writing credits saga. ■■■■■■■■■■ Neil Jeffries Gov’t Mule Heavy Load Blues FANTASY Haynes’s southern rockers get the blues. After years as the premier southern rock jam band in the US, Gov’t Mule have taken things down a notch to pay tribute to the genre that kicked off rock’n’roll in the first place: the blues. Recorded as live, to analogue tape, using vintage guitars and amps, there’s a warmth and instancy to a collection that combines originals by frontman Haynes – including If Heartaches Were Nickels, which they’ve reclaimed from the clutches of Joe Bonamassa – alongside studious covers of classics by Junior Wells, Ann Peebles, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, The Animals and Tom Waits. All are presented with a deep sense of respect, although they’re not slavish to the originals – Wells’s Snatch It Back And Hold It is given a funk edge as the band get lost in the reverie of playing songs they love. While it does start to get a little repetitive, it’s good to hear a band straying off the beaten track to play timeless music just for the sheer hell of it. ■■■■■■■■■■ Emma Johnston When Rivers Meet Saving Grace ONE ROAD Into the wild blues yonder. Just a year on from acclaimed debut We Fly Free, Grace and Aaron Bond return with an absolutely smoking follow-up, a spot-on cornucopia of dirty riffs and impassioned blues-rock power, with a keen ear for authentic instrumentation and atmosphere, and a touch of subtlety when required. If anything’s changed it’s the more upbeat feel of tracks like the excellent Testify and Never Coming Home and the SIMON EMMETT/PRESS 72 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

songwriting involvement of producer Adam Bowers, who contributes to four tracks. Lowkey heartfelt duets Don’t Tell Me Goodbye and Talking In My Sleep provide some intimate respite, but it’s tracks like loose and raw opener I Can’t Fight This Feeling, the loping 12-bar slide of Shoot The Breeze and the magnificently heavy Led Zep riffing of Lost & Found and Make A Grown Man Cry that’ll be shaking your fillings loose, in a good way. Difficult second album? Not here, guv. ■■■■■■■■■■ Essi Berelian Carl Sentance Electric Eye DRAKKAR ENTERTAINMENT Well-travelled vocalist forges ahead on second solo album. Carl Sentance’s vocal prowess has seen him progress from NWOBHM contenders Persian Risk, through working with Sabbath’s Geezer Butler and Purple’s Don Airey, to his current spot with Nazareth. Electric Eye continues in the hard-edged hard rock vein of his solo debut Mind Doctor (2009), but finds Sentance taking a few well-judged risks, blending lively beats and edgy guitars with old-school rock grit on Battlecry and California Queen. His thrusting vocals impress throughout, as do his less-heralded lead guitar skills, with metallic stompers Exile and Judas boasting particularly fiery solos. Don Airey guests on keyboards, his atmospheric touches on UFO-style rocker Alright and slow-burner Young Beggars enhancing the album’s engaging range of moods. ■■■■■■■■■■ Rich Davenport The Steely Dan Band Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live UME The jazz-rock giants gift us a discography-spanning performance not seen since 1995’s Alive In America. The Steely Dan Band – Steely Dan without the talents of late bassist/guitarist Walter Becker – take us through a pre-covid concert of classic Dan songs performed up and down America’s East Coast. These shows pay increased attention to guitarist Jon Herington, mainly through Kid Charlemagne, Reelin’ In The Years and an excellent take on Jay Graydon’s bends on Peg. Aja remains achingly atmospheric, and Hey Nineteen upholds its consistently sublime blend of harmonies, substituting a mellow guitar outro for an extended saxophone solo. Although Donald Fagen’s vocals have mellowed, there’s no decline in quality. Long-time Dan collaborator Gary Katz produced these performances with studio-fresh clarity except for the cheering audience sandwiching tracks. Sod the faff of red, green and amber countries; stick this on, close your eyes and you’re slinking through a dimly lit bar in Manhattan swilling a martini. ■■■■■■■■■■ Phoebe Flys Simon Bromide Following The Moon SCRATCHY Bromide mainman compiles heady, genre-straddling solo album. Stepping away briefly from his long-standing, grunge-leaning band Bromide, South London’s Scratchy Records honcho Simon Berridge indulges his penchants for Byrdsian lustre, psychedelic haze, far-flung exotica, gritty northern soul and Kinksy visions of London life on this wideranging debut solo album. Lowlife meets high culture: Earth’s Answer arpeggiates William Blake’s poem of the same name, and Chinua Achebe hymns the titular giant of Nigerian literature in the style of Tom Robinson joining the Only Ones. Then, one track on and in full gospel mode, The Skehans Song celebrates the colourful regulars at a South London cult rock pub frequented by Fat White Family. With Terry Edwards adding intoxicating brass to the flamenco pop The Argument and the album flowing to a pleasing psych-folk close, it’s quite the trip. ■■■■■■■■■■ Mark Beaumont Enuff Z’Nuff Enuff Z’Nuff’s Hardrock Nite FRONTIERS Their Beatles tribute album. They weren’t the first band out of Illinois to be hyped as ‘the hard rock Beatles’. That was Cheap Trick. But from ’89 to ’91 Enuff Z’Nuff channelled their love of the Fab Four into some of the best songs of the hair-metal era. Now comes this covers album, perfectly timed to coincide with the new Beatles documentary Get Back. With original frontman Donnie Vie long gone, it’s bassist Chip Z’Nuff who sings these songs with a fan’s reverence and a pure sense of melody in his smoky voice. Eleanor Rigby and Dear Prudence are beautiful songs, and here are sensitively handled. Post-Beatles songs are also included: Lennon’s Cold Turkey played hard, McCartney’s Live And Let Die performed better than Guns N’ Roses ever did it. Ending on a high with a Joe Cocker-style version of With A Little Help From My Friends, Enuff Z’Nuff’s Hardrock Nite is that rarest of things – a tribute album worth hearing. ■■■■■■■■■■ Paul Elliott Vardis 100M.P.H. @ 100 Club STEAMHAMMER/SPV Still fit to boogie. Given Status Quo’s huge popularity in the mid-70s, it’s no surprise that their influence was discernible among the NWOBHM bands rising to prominence at the end of that decade. Vardis’s belligerent boogie, infused with metal and punk influences, was sufficiently potent for them to get wellsuited support gigs with Motörhead, and a fan base loyal enough to demand the re-formation that happened in 2014. This double-live set’s titular nod to their debut album also reprises its overdubs-free ethic, capturing the band on rabid form as they charge through a relentless 20-song set. Steve Zodiac’s full-blooded vocals, jackhammer riffing and dextrous solos are propelled by a dynamic rhythm section, with the trio catching fire on highlights Move Along, Let’s Go Again and The Lions Share. ■■■■■■■■■■ Rich Davenport ROUND-UP: BLUES By Henry Yates Man Made Hills: a dormant world-class songwriter finally cracked wide open. Man Made Hills Lostboy SELF-RELEASED Let us be thankful that James Carrancio has returned from his midcareer crisis, quitting the New York standup comedy circuit and resuming the scuffed-up Americana that was his first calling. Latest album Lostboy suggests a dormant world-class songwriter finally cracked wide open, summoning material that feels bigger than him. Early standouts like Haunted House Blues, Sleepwalking and Sunshine set the pace for Carrancio’s modus operandi as Man Made Hills. Typically opening with the click-clack of plectrum on muted strings and a handful of tough-jangle chords, his sound might at first seem rudimentary. But then, from those basemetal ingredients, the melodies come flooding in, often decorated with harmonies and horns, lifting the songs to memorable places that blues ballast cannot reach. Try the faintly Byrdsian Just To Be Heard, the freight-train catharsis of Time To Waste’s chorus or, most of all, Infinite And Complete, a song so joyous it almost drags global circumstances out of the gutter. ■■■■■■■■■■ Moonshine Society Sweet Thing MOJO MUSIC The second album from Moonshine Society – a support act known to eat headliners alive – pools everything they’ve learnt at the sharp end. Jenny Langer is the kind of cultured blues shouter you could watch all night – a lioness on Shake, and wipes the floor with Bill Withers’s Use Me – while the band are so assured that Sweet Thing feels like a jam unfolding under your nose. ■■■■■■■■■■ Melissa Etheridge One Way Out BMG The elevator pitch for One Way Out – a mothballed cache of off-cuts, written by Etheridge prior to her late-80s ascent – might not sound mouth-watering, but the mystery is why she hasn’t got around to dusting them off earlier. The title track is a belter with throat and teeth, while the seething For The Last Time is not so much a kiss-off to a lover as a talon in the eye. ■■■■■■■■■■ Mark Pontin Group Kaleidoscope LUNARIA To his credit, Pontin is under no illusions that this career will bring him a mansion in the Hollywood Hills – and it’s hard to dislike a songwriter with a number titled This Will Never Be A Hit. Still, with the absence of commercial selfflagellation comes creative freedom, and from Sunrise’s shimmer to the dramatic soul swoop of Everything, Kaleidoscope skillfully paints in many colours. ■■■■■■■■■■ Krissy Matthews Pizza Man Blues RUF Another pandemic album? Yes, but Krissy Matthews handles the theme with wit and pathos, documenting the months when he was forced out of music and into menial jobs. The glowering funk of The Man Said No is defiant in the face of a fruitless job hunt, while the gangchanted title track hilariously recalls being threatened by squaddies while delivering margheritas to an army barracks. ■■■■■■■■■■ CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 73

ALBUMS Rod Stewart The Tears Of Hercules WARNERS Never a dull moment as his Rodness continues a late-career renaissance. Anyone who’s seen the video for this album’s lead single One More Time, which features a newly knighted Rod skipping up The Mall away from Buckingham Palace in a brocade jacket, knows that this is a man who, even as he approaches his seventy-seventh birthday, shows no sign of taking himself too seriously. So while the impressive career stats – nine No.1 albums, 31 Top 10 singles, more than 200 million sales worldwide – demand respect, album number 31 comes with a generosity of spirit and jaunty self-awareness most perma-shaded superstars lost sight of decades ago. As with 2018’s Blood Red Roses, Rod once again does most of the creative heavy lifting. He wrote seven of the 12 songs along with long-term writing partner Kevin Savigar, a member of his touring band since 1978, and his unique musical and lyrical DNA is evident throughout. His joy at being reacquainted with his muse is obvious right from lively opener One More Time. A Celtic-pop romp that nods to both Mandolin Wind and You’re In My Heart, it’s typically tongue-in-cheek, pop’s greatest Lothario pleading with an ex-lover to get back between the sheets over a tune so virally catchy it could have been cooked up in a Scandinavian hit laboratory. All My Days is equally breezy, with Rod fantasising about retiring to Mexico, where ‘they’ll teach us how to chacha while drinking piña colada’, before things get interesting with Born To Boogie. A tribute to Marc Bolan complete with spidery T.Rex guitars, it’s a full-tilt glam stomp, Rod rasping out a heartfelt tribute to ‘an East End kid who became a rock’n’roll sensation’. Viagra-boogie Kookooaramabama is equally potent, Rod delivering a sermon on the joy of sex, hollering ‘Try it in the kitchen when the kids are out/Spontaneous lust is what it’s all about’, still the perennial naughty schoolboy. He’s always been a master interpreter of other people’s material, and further evidence comes with the title track, an atmospheric ballad in the Fairytale Of New York mould written by Marc Jordan (responsible for Vagabond Heart’s topfive hit Rhythm Of My Heart). Throw in a sentimental Hold On, a bagpipe-infused version of Johnny Cash’s These Are My People, and a tearjerking Touchline, a tribute to his father, and the result is everything you might want from an audience with Rod Stewart. The pipe and those tartan slippers can wait a while yet. ■■■■■■■■■■ Paul Moody Wooze Get Me To A Nunnery YOUNG POET Genre blenders go back for the future. We’re living in strange times. Rather than emergent artists being obvious products of their own particular zeitgeist, strictly a la mode, shaped on the cutting edge of the youth culture from whence they came – as was the unwritten rule throughout pre-millennial rock history – 21st-century bands, raised on the temporal democracy of iTunes shuffle, pick, choose and fuse reference points from whenever, wherever and whatever genre they like. ‘Retro’ is no longer a pejorative term. Vanguard rock artists routinely deploy old-school tropes (glamera hooks, gated drums, detuned riffs, dubstep depth charges) as casually as 80s hip-hop DJs would once mix ’n’ match 60s and 70s rare groove breakbeats. Which is why London-based UK/Korean duo Wooze can happily coexist in a bizarre cross-generic netherworld located somewhere between QOTSA, Sparks, Prince, Roxy Music… Goldfrapp, even. There’s a lot going on here; a soupçon of funk, a hip-swing of bump-’n’-grind art-rock, but why waste precious needle time unpicking the lineage? Sometimes in this brave new world, ‘it is what it is’ is more than enough. ■■■■■■■■■■ Ian Fortnam The Kentucky Headhunters That’s A Fact Jack! PRACTICE HOUSE RECORDS/BFD DISTRIBUTION Pick a style, any style. Call it country, southern rock, Americana, whatever. That’s A Fact Jack! could be the Headhunters’ most eclectic album to date, a cunningly balanced confection of styles delivered with panache and melodic ease. From gentle love songs like We Belong Together and Susannah, via the contemplative Watercolors In The Rain, to ragged, full-throttle rockers like the groovy title track and a rambunctious blast through Shotgun Effie (an early single from 1973 when the band were known as Itchy Brother), the switching between gears is smooth and satisfying. There’s also a neat tip of the hat to the British bands that influenced them early in their career in the Merseybeat-inflected Cup Of Tea, a fine cover of Rick Derringer’s Cheap Tequila, and Christmas tune Let’s All Get Together And Fight is the perfect ironic countrified coda to pull all the strands together. Good, solid rootsy rock’n’roll. ■■■■■■■■■■ Essi Berelian Howlin Rain The Dharma Wheel SILVER CURRENT Roll with it. Howlin Rain reimagine the past in their own mystic image. The San Franciscans’ sixth album drinks from the deep well of classic American music – strands of Crazy Horse, Canned Heat, Little Feat and the Grateful Dead are woven through The Dharma Wheel as it journeys through a strange underworld that’s equal parts Jack Kerouac, Thomas Pynchon and Walt Whitman. Where their previous records have felt like being three feet away from a band in full flight in their jam room, The Dharma Wheel is more expansive. Don’t Let The Tears is loose and funky, Under The Wheels is a freewheeling road song, and the epic title track is a glorious blowout that somehow manages to stay on the rails for its 16-minute duration. Best of all is Annabelle, a gentle ballad featuring violin from 70s Dylan associate Scarlet Rivera. The perfect soundtrack for travelling down whatever road you’re on. ■■■■■■■■■■ Dave Everley Albert Bouchard Imaginos 2 – Bombs Over Germany DEKO MUSIC Heavy metal fruit. Blue Öyster Cult’s original drummer, Albert Bouchard, never lets the flame of the group fade. While Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom maintain the on-tour-forever ethos with aplomb, Bouchard prefers the occult flavour of the songs that Sandy Pearlman – resurrected here – pulled out of his bag. Following Re-Imaginos (2020) the second part of Bouchard’s trilogy revisits Tyranny And Mutation’s darker moments: Quicklime Girl (Mistress Of The Salmon Salt) and OD’d On Life PENNY LANCASTER/PRESS 74 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

Itself. The arcane thrust of the Imaginos saga – world history from the Nazis of the title track (ME 262 in old money) to The Beatles’ appearance in Dominance And Submission – is viewed through a mirror of madness. The new arrangements are stately and writhe like a box of eels. The lyrics still surprise and thrill and tumble down rabbit holes. Maybe the weirdest album of the year, and definitely one of the best. ■■■■■■■■■■ Max Bell Eric Clapton The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions MERCURY For an audience of one. Deprived of his annual Royal Albert Hall fix, Eric Clapton relocated to the Victorian grandeur of Cowdray Hall in Sussex, taking three of his most regular bandmates – Steve Gadd, Nathan East and Chris Stainton – with him for an acoustic show that makes the original Unplugged sound like an orgy of feedback. The delicacy and precision of the playing is pin-drop stuff, and if you’re not paying attention it’s easy to miss the understated feeling as they perform to an audience of one – Eric’s wife – in the balcony. That’s because musicians of this calibre do not need to express their feelings visually. The grunts of pleasure at the end of each song say it all. Clapton also shakes up his set-list, highlighting hidden gems like River Of Tears, Believe In Life and Going Down Slow as well as a couple of unexpected Peter Green classics. Layla might also surprise you. ■■■■■■■■■■ Hugh Fielder Bad Wolves Dear Monsters BETTER NOISE MUSIC Here’s the new bloke – and it’s business as usual. Establishing a new singer is presumably not where Bad Wolves want to be on album number three, but new fella Daniel ‘DL’ Laskiewicz (replacing Tommy Vext) fits in perfectly, no problem at all. With a gift for melody allied to bowel-quaking heaviness – not unlike, say, Five Finger Death Punch – all the Bad Wolves hallmarks are very much present and correct. Songs like On The Case, Sacred Kiss and Never Be the Same pile on the dissonant riffs and squeals like they’re going out of fashion, while Gone demonstrates a tight control of chilly atmospherics as well as precision bludgeon, and the mostly acoustic Springfield Summer points to intriguing possibilities for the future. Modern metal delivered without missing a beat. ■■■■■■■■■■ Essi Berelian The Hard-Ons I’m Sorry Sir, That Riff’s Been Taken CHEERSQUAD Aussie punk icons get it up with gusto. Even back in the days of obnoxious album titles like seminal (eww!) debut Smell My Finger and its follow-up, Dickcheese, The Hard- Ons were always more interested in writing sharp, memorable tunes than in alienating people with snotty noise. A three-year hiatus aside, the Sydney punks have been steadily plugging away for 40 years now, but this thirteenth full-length record is as spikily melodic and irresistibly ramshackle as anything they have ever released. Hard-Ons tunes can still be roughly divided between headsdown, garage-rock thrashers like Fucked Up Party and Pucker Up and more bright-eyed, janglepowered material like opener Hold Tight and the Cheap Tricklike stomp of Home Sweet Home. It’s the former approach that dominates here, with the fiery, metal-tinged likes of Humiliated Humiliator and anthemic closer Shoot Me In The Back sounding like the work of scruffy kids with great songs and goofiness in abundance, just as it ever was. ■■■■■■■■■■ Dom Lawson Thrice Horizons / East EPITAPH Californian post-hardcore outfit ask the big questions on album number 11. The evolution of Thrice over the past two decades has been a beautiful thing to witness. Starting out as a talented, heavy post-hardcore band lyrically entangled with and anchored by their Christian faith, in recent years they’ve become more experimental, both musically and in their spiritual soul searching. Horizons / East, their eleventh album, is an intensely inventive piece of work, Dustin Kensrue’s poetic and soulful vocals adding warmth to cyclical, hypnotic, Tool-like beats and swirling sandstorm riffs that overwhelm Summer Set Fire To The Rain. ‘I can’t go home, what if I just let go?’ Kensrue questions on the stark Still Life, the rising sense of existential panic echoed in a melodic crescendo that subsequently sinks into a gorgeous moment of calm that screams of fear followed by acceptance. More neo-prog than posthardcore, Horizons / East is a grand statement of intent that takes Thrice into the next stage of their grand journey through life. ■■■■■■■■■■ Emma Johnston Premiata Forneria Marconi I Dreamed Of Electric Sheep INSIDE OUT Prog for paranoid androids. Bassist/ keyboard player Patrick Djivas and lead singer/ drummer Franz Di Cioccio are the last men standing from PFM’s mid-70s prime, when Chocolate Kings sealed their reputation as Italy’s greatest prog-rock gift to the world. The sextet’s music may be less explosive these days, but there’s still much to commend it. As with 2017 comeback Emotional Tattoos, this latest is a two-disc affair, the same songs delivered alternately in Italian and English language (another 70s throwback). Artificial intelligence and its implications for humanity form the conceptual heart of the album, from its Philip K Dick-referencing title to themes of creativity, imagination and love (If I Had Wings features a drone smitten with Earth). Busy synths and Marco Sfogli’s choppy guitar jostle for attention on Adrenaline Oasis and City Life, offset by calmer pieces designed, as Di Cioccio intones on Let Go, to ‘recharge your weary soul’. The undoubted highlight is Kindred Souls, carried along on clouds of weirdy psych-folk, with guest spots from Steve Hackett and Tull’s Ian Anderson, whose flute is followed by a chorus of voices for a suitably grand finale. ■■■■■■■■■■ Rob Hughes BEST OF THE REST Other new releases out this month. Ewan MacFarlane Always Everlong ROYALE STAG Sparking with triumphant Wah! exuberance, the former Apollo 440/ Grim Northern Social frontman channels his inner Tom Petty to excellent effect. The Scottish Neil Diamond that no one knew we needed. 8/10 Scattered Hamlet Stereo Overthrow BAD MOON Like a backwoods Zodiac Mindwarp force-fed through a surly Licensed To Ill brat filter, Appalachian quartet Scattered Hamlet boast greasy-baseball-capped swagger in their party-hard punk rock stagger. Righteous. 8/10 JuJu La Que Sabe WEIRD BEARD JuJu mastermind, Sicilian multi-instrumentalist Gioele Valenti, merges his driving motorik loops with bleary shoegaze psych and crisp industrial synth-pop in an irresistibly hypnotic miasma of danceable darkwave. 7/10 Bad Waitress No Taste ROYAL MOUNTAIN Self-identifying as DIY-punks, Toronto’s Bad Waitress sell themselves somewhat short. No Taste is positively obese with ideas, street smart with a side order of Sonic Youth, a grrrlish death disco diva Banshee fest. 7/10 Heartless Bastards A Beautiful Life SWEET UNKNOWN/THIRTY TIGERS Erika Wennerstrom’s Austin, Texas collective can reliably wrangle an engaging, chart-friendly rock-lite tune (you’ll hum despite yourself), yet don’t sound anything like their irresistibly evocative name would suggest. Which is a shame. 7/10 Floored Faces Kool Hangs SELF-RELEASED Broad, fuzzed-out, desert rock far horizons recall Queens Of The Stone Age, while treacle-thick Swervedriver riff-washes invoke a thousand-yard staring Dave Wyndorf in full Space Lord effect. Seattle psych in excelsis. 7/10 Mike Skill Skill… Mike Skill SELF-RELEASED The soaring, Byrds-jangling, sunshine pop naiveté of veteran Detroit power-poppers The Romantics is reliably deployed by their founding guitarist here. Jarring vocal effects can’t hide time’s passage. Nor should they. 6/10 Maniac Squat The Cloud Upon The Sanctuary MANIAC SQUAT Colchester art-punks Maniac Squat employ Bowie/Iggy alumni to fashion a pair of lengthy tracks allying avant-jazz improv with unsettling vocal back-masks and musique-concrète sound collage. Textbook uneasy listening. 6/10 The Lucid Furs Damn! That Was Easy ARGONAUTA Maintaining the Motor City’s proud tradition of mashing feral rock chops with booty-quaking funk electricity and blue-collar blues grit, Detroit’s exceptional Furs boast a rare abundance of finger-licking hot-buttered soul authenticity. 9/10 Donald Fagen The Nightfly Live! UME A companion piece to Steely Dan’s Northeast Corridor in-concert slickathon, this flawless, atmosphere-free ooze through Fagen’s timehonoured AOR/FM masterpiece might well be live, but it’s hardly Kick Out The Jams. 6/10 Meatbodies 333 IN THE RED Boasting enough brutal, deep-in-the-bong riffs to satisfy even the most doomed-out Black Sabbath aficionado, this latest cache of aural meds from stoner all-rounder Chad Ubovich (Meatbodies, Fuzz and more), along with drummer Dylan Fujioka, doesn’t so much hit the spot as annihilate it. 7/10 BEST OF THE REST REVIEWS BY IAN FORTNAM CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 75

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REISSUES David Bowie Brilliant Adventure 1992-2001 PARLOPHONE/ISO Bowie goes back to the future in a decade full of knowing nostalgia and risky reinvention. 78 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

Dusting himself off after his mullethaired late-80s slump and unloved Tin Machine side project, David Bowie spent most of the 90s fighting to regain his high cultural standing as a godlike art-rock innovator. Looking backwards to move forwards, he reconnected with key figures from his imperial phase including Mick Ronson, Brian Eno and Nile Rodgers. He waxed nostalgic about Bromley and Berlin, but also embraced cuttingedge electronica and industrial noise, wisely resisting full surrender to the lucrative but deadening conservatism of Britpop. Spanning 1992 to 2001, this latest addition to the ongoing flood of posthumous Bowie box sets is full of qualified gems and rare treasures, notably the first official release of the fabled ‘lost’ album Toy. Black Tie, White Noise, Bowie’s first solo album in six years, reunited him with Let’s Dance producer Nile Rodgers and Ziggy-era guitar legend Mick Ronson. Informed by contemporary trip-hop and house music, the high-gloss production sounds airless and dated today, but the Marvin Gaye-quoting title track stands up better than expected, and the rousing, gospel-infused version of Morrissey’s I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday is a deliciously camp improvement on the original. Behind its sexy sci-fi dance-pop sheen, Jump They Say pays elliptical tribute to Bowie’s schizophrenic half-brother Terry Burns, who committed suicide in 1985. This solid comeback album scored Bowie a rare No.1 just weeks before Ronson died of cancer. Citing both Bromley and Berlin as inspiration, Bowie revisited his South London roots for The Buddha Of Suburbia, a partial soundtrack to the 1993 BBC drama series. Overlooked by critics but cherished by Bowiephiles, this autumnal collection is a little too heavy on anodyne funk-pop tastefulness. That said, the roaringly dramatic title track feels like a sequel to Absolute Beginners, and features winking quotes from both Space Oddity and All The Madmen. There is an eerie Eno-ish beauty to electro-jazz audioscapes The Mysteries and Ian Fish, UK Heir, while the shimmering synth-pop gallop Dead Against It is a genuine underrated classic. For the first time since 1979, Bowie then reunited with Eno to make Outside, a neo- Brechtian cyber-goth concept album narrated by multiple characters. Channeling Trent Reznor with its snarly mesh of electronica with industrial guitars, this boldly experimental 1995 album was later talked up as an unsung avant-rock masterpiece in Diamond Dogs mode, not least by its creators. Alas the passing decades have not improved its overstuffed theatrical clutter and dearth of strong tunes. Even so, the gleaming electro-blues ballad Wishful Beginnings is a gorgeous slice of lateperiod Scott Walker pastiche, and I’m Deranged a slice of vintage Bowie melodrama. ‘A rich feast for connoisseurs, a rewarding research project for curious casual fans.’ The 1997 album Earthling, a more convincing mix of beats, loops, samples and shredding guitars, marked Bowie’s 50th birthday with a bold detour into mutant drum’n’bass. Critics were dismissive, but vivid electro-punk tracks like Little Wonder, Battle For Britain (The Letter) and The Last Thing That You Do are classic Bowie blends of discordant art-rock noise with hookheavy space-cockney melody. Marking the end of his long collaboration with avant-metal guitarist Reeves Gabrels, Bowie’s final album of the 90s was the soft-rock collection Hours, a pipe-and-slippers affair that felt disappointingly bland at the time. With hindsight the wistful ruminations of Thursday’s Child, Seven and Something In The Air have real emotional bite and sumptuous acoustic depths. A minor work, but not without merit. The main event in Brilliant Adventure is the first official release of Toy, on which Bowie reworks songs from his pre-fame mod-abouttown period spanning 1965 to 1970. Initially intended for release in 2001, the project was shelved by EMI, which led to Bowie switching labels and writing new music instead. But most of these tracks later resurfaced as B-sides, compilation cuts and bootlegs. Originally skimpy exercises in jaunty music-hall beatpop, Let Me Sleep Beside You and Silly Boy Blue lose some of their raw juvenile charm in these polished MOR makeovers. But lushly orchestrated remakes of Shadow Man, Conversation Piece and The London Boys gain extra emotional resonance as midlife ruminations on lost youth, while proto- Britpop belters Karma Man and Can’t Help Thinking About Me still sound like pill-popping Carnaby Street catwalk struts. A worthwhile exercise in knowing nostalgia. Already available but still a welcome inclusion here is Bowie’s live BBC concert from June 2000, recorded around his Glastonbury headliner set, which features terrific versions of Wild Is The Wind, Ashes To Ashes, Cracked Actor and others. ReCall 5, an uneven double album of alternative mixes and outlier tracks, throws up various jewels including the pounding discogallop Pet Shop Boys mix of Hello Spaceboy and Eno’s gliding ambi-tronic reinvention of The Man Who Sold The World. Among the handful of charity compilation tracks is a luminous orchestral cover of George and Ira Gershwin’s A Foggy Day (In London Town) arranged by Angelo Badalamenti, and a sluggish trudge through The Who’s Pictures Of Lily, which somehow manages to make teenage wanking sound like a dull chore. Nothing on Brilliant Adventure touches the genius heights of Bowie’s 70s peaks, but nothing is as lame as his worst 80s efforts either. A rich feast for connoisseurs, a rewarding research project for curious casual fans. ■■■■■■■■■■ Stephen Dalton CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 79

REISSUES Nirvana Nevermind 30th Anniversary Editions GEFFEN/UME A game changer, now in a range of formats. “ Is Nevermind such a big deal?” a friend asked on Facebook. “Should I give it a listen?” Up to you, mate. If you’ve come this far without hearing it, it seems a bit pointless to start now. Another asked why people aren’t talking about (crazed NYC psych-heads) Bongwater. Or Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger? Or Hole (whose debut Pretty On The Inside was released at the same time as Nevermind). I don’t know, maybe people like to have some form of communality, an intimate connection with the outside world. Maybe Red Hot Chili Peppers would have gained the same iconic status as Nirvana if Flea had killed himself after the release of Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Or maybe Nevermind is just an amazing rock record, full stop. There was plenty of talk around the time of its release that the sheen given to it by producer Butch Vig and remixer Andy Wallace was tantamount to bogus commerciality; that it didn’t reflect the band’s raw power and spontaneity live. Point one: before Nevermind, Vig was not known as a ‘commercial’ producer. Nirvana brought him in cos he’d worked with former Sub Pop labelmates Tad, and the mighty churning hardcore of Minneapolis band Killdozer. Point two: Wallace was brought in cos he’d worked with Slayer. Is there any – and I mean any – rock record that matches the sheer power of the live experience? Motörhead, perhaps? The Who? Nah. The Clash? Nah. Thin Lizzy, Ramones, Runaways? No. What Vig (and to a lesser extent Wallace) did was to allow Kurt Cobain’s tumultuous, agonised scream – the scream that seemed to sum up the hurt and rage of a generation – ample space to be heard, and those powerhouse drums from Dave Grohl to thunder on through (all due credit to original Nirvana drummer Chad Channing), particularly on In Bloom. They made real Cobain’s vision of mixing the pop sensibilities of the Bay City Rollers with the rock thunder of Black Sabbath, and in a way that reached millions upon millions of listeners. Back to that initial question: Is Nevermind such a big deal? Should my friend give it a listen? I reckon he should. This being the 30th anniversary of Nevermind’s original release, the reissues come in a bewildering array of formats ranging from Super Deluxe Editions (eight LPs or five CDs plus Blu-ray) to standard digital, CD and single-disc vinyl with bonus seven-inch. All deluxe reissues feature four complete live shows that are absolutely incendiary stuff. ■■■■■■■■■■ Everett True Pretenders Reissues RHINO Still special. Chrissie-curated tribute to original band. Timeless classics bristling with punk attitude, the exquisite run of hit singles released by the original Pretenders between ‘79 and ‘81 dazzled as the era’s brightest Brit-pop diamonds: Kinks cover Stop Your Sobbing; Kid’s heart-tweaking brilliance, game-changing Brass In Pocket, Talk Of The Town, Message Of Love, Day After Day, finally their desperately beautiful take on unrecorded Ray Davies lullaby I Go To Sleep. Most of them appeared on Pretenders and Pretenders II (both 9/10), two of the era’s greatest albums thanks to the rare telepathic combustion sparking between Chrissie Hynde’s mellifluous vocals, guitarist James Honeyman- Scott, bassist Pete Farndon and drummer Martin Chambers, spectacularly flaming on Lovers Of Today, The Phone Call and The Adultress. Curated by Hynde over two three-CD sets tragically hued by Honeyman-Scott and Farndon’s early deaths, the sets extend Chris Thomas-remastered albums with B-sides, demos (including an intimate Stop Your Sobbing, Small Faces’ Whatcha Gonna Do About It, unreleased ballads Tequila and Suicide, two I Go To Sleep try-outs), BBC sessions including Paris Theatre show, plus ‘80-81 live sets from Boston, New York’s Central Park and Los Angeles. These monumental packages double as ultimate tributes to Hynde’s original Pretenders while vividly documenting her ascension to today’s inspirational female icon. Kris Needs Emerson Lake & Palmer Out Of This World: Live (1970-1997) BNG Waving their prog willies. Size mattered to ELP. And on this seven-CD/10-LP set of five shows from across their career, it’s interesting to note that the 5,000 or so who saw them at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1992 is a drop in the ocean compared to the hundreds of thousands who witnessed their show at 1970’s Isle of Wight festival and 1974’s California Jam, or even the 66,000 who showed up at the Montreal Olympic Stadium in 1977. It’s never easy to record the subtleties (and ELP had a few) at such massive events, particularly when you’re trying to play a revolving piano while dangling 50 feet above the crowd – which is one reason for their bombastic reputation among their prog peers. It’s also difficult to hear the 60-piece orchestra that accompanied them on their financially disastrous 1977 tour, although your patience will be rewarded on Pirates. But the majesty is still intact in 1992, and to a lesser extent on 1997’s Phoenix Union Hall show, although there’s compensation in the shape of 21st Century Schizoid Man. The real problem is that all but one of these shows has already been issued, and even ELP completists might baulk at having to buy them all again just to hear the Phoenix concert. ■■■■■■■■■■ Hugh Fielder Echo & The Bunnymen Reissues DIG! All my colours: vinyl reissues for Scouse school of cool. The Liverpool band who thrilled a generation of greatcoated students with windswept literary criticism and twisted rock dynamics reissue their unassailable first four albums on coloured vinyl. With 40 years’ hindsight, perhaps ‘John Webster was one of the best there was/He was the author of two major tragedies’ isn’t especially insightful, but as Ian McCulloch crooned it over Will Sergeant’s guitars and an inquisitive rhythm section it all seemed tremendously deep at the time. As synth-pop battered the barricades, rock heroes were seeking post-punk sounds to revitalise the old structures, and The Bunnymen did that with more vigour and wit than U2, while mainlining almost as much passion as The Sound. There’s a sly stealth to these 1980-84 albums, which know it’s important to mean something, but equally important to be drop-dead cool. Their fire-ice balance is flawless. They’re also an example of a band accumulating hubris not necessarily being a bad thing. Crocodiles is a sparky, serrated, psychosexual debut; Heaven Up Here adds epic soul and Over The Wall bounds with expertly paced goth-meets-Bowie NIELS VAN IPEREN/GETTY IMAGES 80 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

genius. Porcupine is a little up itself, but after opening with The Cutter and The Back Of Love it’s entitled to be. Ocean Rain is string-drenched, somewhat bombastic, but the songwriting sustains it. The Killing Moon gets most accolades, but Silver and Seven Seas are just as deft. And rarely have the lines ‘c-c-ccucumber c-c-c-cabbage, c-c-ccauliflower, men on Mars, April showers’ been sung with such heroic conviction. Their kingdom remains a promise and a pleasure. ■■■■■■■■■■ Chris Roberts Radiohead Kid A Mnesia XL What they did after OK Computer. Recorded at the same time and often lumped together – not a view the splendid Kid A Mnesia will change – Kid A and Amnesiac were Radiohead’s response to the madness wrought by OK Computer. Together the pair were a step back from the stadium circuit that was now theirs for the taking, yet simultaneously a musical step forwards. They sounded astonishing then, and they sound astonishing now. Fuelled by Thom York’s obsessive consumption of the Warp label catalogue and repeated readings of Ian MacDonald’s Beatles biography Revolution In The Head, Kid A (originally scheduled to be titled No Logo) harkened to krautrock while being utterly futuristic. According to guitarist/keyboard player Jonny Greenwood, Amnesiac had more “straight-ahead” songs (I Might Be Wrong is almost poppy), although Yorke’s vocals on You & Whose Army were delivered through an egg box. They’re not immediate, but they soon become essential. There’s also a bonus album. Kid Amnesiae includes alternative versions, snatches of sessions and two unreleased songs from the period. The acoustic, distorted and threatening Follow Mr Around was played live in 2000, while the percussive If You Say The Word offers a different kind of tension. Originally rejected for sounding too edge-free, its bereft broodiness makes it a snug fit. Of the rest, the instrumental How To Disappear Into Strings adds a stentorian dimension to How To Disappear Completely, while Fog ascends to a whole new level of mystery in its Again Again version. Radiohead’s loving tending of their back catalogue wins out again. ■■■■■■■■■■ John Aizlewood Various Once Upon A Time In The West Midlands: The Bostin’ Sounds Of Brumrock 1966-1974 CHERRY RED Three-CD collection of artists both famous and obscure. The selfdeprecating title of this collection reflects the cultural cringe that still afflicts Britain’s second city. But as this collection attests, its prolific scene actually outdid more exalted cities like Liverpool and Manchester as the 60s grew into the 70s. With its effective promotional networks and even a dedicated music magazine, the groups it spawned would evolve into multiple genres from metal to glam, R&B to psychedelic and prog. Not everyone made it. From 1966, I Must Be Mad by Craig, who included a 15-year-old Carl Palmer on drums, is one of the collection’s gems: raw, bruised R&B with all the crash and thunder of The Who. But they swiftly broke up. Also short lived were The Bobcats, whose Let Me Get By is ironically sanguine and spirited considering their imminent demise. Others went on to bigger things. The Moody Blues’ Life’s Not Life hints at their later grandeur, Medicine Head’s His Guiding Hand belies the excellence of their brief pop success in the 70s, while Slade’s broody, compelling One Way Hotel rumbles with a potential and distinctiveness lacking in some of the also-rans included here. ELO’s Roll Over Beethoven, their hit ‘73 mission statement features, while Judas Priest’s Rocka Rolla, while not very heavy or especially metal, hints at the music to come that would match the sacrilege of their moniker. ■■■■■■■■■■ David Stubbs Mordred The Noise Years DISSONANCE San Fran band who mixed thrash and funk brilliantly. Sometimes a retrospective box set is a timely reminder of the pioneering quality of a particular band. This is one of them. Mordred recorded three albums for Noise Records between 1989 and ‘94, and each still sounds compelling because they pushed the boundaries of what a thrash band could do. 1989 debut Fool’s Game was essentially thrash played by virtuoso musicians, but they showed the way forward on tracks like a cover of Rick James’s Super Freak and also Every Day’s A Holiday. These exposed their funk credentials. Two years later, the San Francisco band got into their stride on the classic In This Life, as they found their rhythm and mark, embracing rap as much as funk, within consummate modern metal. By the time they put out The Next Room in ‘94, there was a new vocalist in Paul Kimball up front, replacing Scott Holderby, but the style and delivery were still unmistakable. Both In This Life and The Next Room feature bonus tracks, the latter being 1992’s Visions EP. The overall impression is of a band setting the scene for much that would follow. ■■■■■■■■■■ Malcolm Dome Jethro Tull Benefit (50th Anniversary Edition) PARLOPHONE/WARNERS Tull’s third album was the bridge between their R&B beginnings and the style that would define them. JETHRO TULL ARCCHIVE/CLAUDE DELORME Jethro Tull’s third album, 1970’s Benefit, marked the transition from the R&Bdriven Stand Up and the defining merger of acoustic arrangements and heavy guitar riffs that would characterise Aqualung and beyond. As such it sometimes tends to get forgotten in the grand parade of Tull’s 70s classics. But those who worship at the altar of Aqualung will find plenty here tracing that album’s origins, particularly among the voluminous additional material that expands the original 46-minute album to a four-CD/two-DVD beanfeast. Ian Anderson’s desire to give Tull a more distinctive style was influenced by wanting to stand out from the hordes of British blues rockers invading America at the time, plus the realisation that neither they nor anybody else could compete with Led Zeppelin. The change is apparent from Benefit’s opening track, With You There To Help Me, where a strummed acoustic guitar is inserted into the band’s rock-solid approach and guitarist Martin Barre’s increasingly riff-oriented approach shows he’s been listening to Jimmy Page. The addition of pianist John Evan also freed up Barre to focus on his own style while filling out the band’s sound. Nothing To Say is the first of several Aqualung ‘previews’ as it switches from a march to a ballad to an almost symphonic chorus, although the band are still grappling with applying the techniques. More convincing is the heavy-sounding Son, on which Anderson has dig at his dad (‘Permission to breathe, sir? ’). It’s no coincidence that the tracks that look back to Stand Up – Inside, To Cry You A Song – now sound more dated. But Sossity: You’re A Woman, a sumptuous acoustic classical medieval one-off, owes little to anything that came before or after. Progmeister Steven Wilson’s remix even manages to bring warmth to what was originally a somewhat clinical-sounding album. Pick of the out-takes is a nine-minute run through My God, a song that would later be one of Aqualung’s stand-out tracks. It also shows up on both the previously unreleased live US shows from 1970 – Tanglewood (which is repeated on one of the DVDs with film footage and a surround-sound mix) and Chicago (mono). Bootlegs no longer required. ■■■■■■■■■■ Hugh Fielder CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 81

REISSUES Kiss Destroyer 45th Anniversary Super-Deluxe Edition UNIVERSAL They will Destroy you. It seems inconceivable that Destroyer is 45 years old. To put that into perspective, if this were 1976 we’d be writing about an album originally released in 1931, a fossilised artefact by Bing Crosby or some such. But, hey, time marches on, even if – unlike Bing – you’re wearing clomping great platform shoes. Destroyer was Kiss’s sui generis moment; a sorcerous explosion of infernal imagination. The band’s Sgt Pepper, if you will. The planets aligned and the creative juices didn’t so much flow as cascade, in the manner of a fountain of blood gushing from Gene Simmons’s crimson cakehole. There was no sign of such a record coming, especially after the band’s clunky first three studio albums. But then the mind-warping Kiss Alive! punched the clock and set the stage for the New Yorkers’ greatest recorded achievement. (Remarkable to think that Paul Stanley was just 24 when Destroyer was released; Ace Frehley also.) This anniversary edition comes in various guises, but the one you really, really want is the top-of-the-range superdeluxe edition, retailing via Kiss’s online shop at an entirely reasonable $200 (£146). It has more bells and whistles than a Don Partridge convention: four CDs, ear-boggling Blu-ray Audio surround-sound disc mixed by Steven 82 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM Wilson, 68-page hardcover book, replica 1976 Kiss Army Kit… the kollektibles keep on komin’. There’s a total of 73 tracks, 48 of them previously unreleased. Do you really want a mono version of plaintive ballad Beth, an instrumental version of Beth, an instrumental version of Beth (take six) or a cut-and-shut Simmons demo titled Rock ‘N’ Rolls-Royce? Of course you do. Naturally the core appeal of this gilded codpiece of a package remains the original album, expertly produced by Bob Ezrin, his sonics as lush as The Starchild’s chest rug: the crash-bangwallop of Detroit Rock City (the best album opener, ever); the stalking menace of King Of The Night Time World and God Of Thunder; the triumphal Flaming Youth; the call-toarms anthem Shout It Out Loud; the sinister Sweet Pain; the sanguine Great Expectations; the anguished Do You Love Me (complete with perhaps the greatest ‘but!’ of all time)… I’s a rocket ride like no other. This writer must have listened to Destroyer 100,000 times and it never ceases to excite, enthral and amaze. As for Wilson’s surround-sound thingy, well suffice to say that by the end of Detroit Rock City you’ll be filing a multimillion-dollar insurance claim for whiplash injury. ■■■■■■■■■■ Geoff Barton Electric Prunes Then Came The Dawn: Complete Recordings 1966-1969 GRAPEFRUIT And they do mean the complete recordings. This comprehensive six-CD collection from one of the leading lights of South Californian psychedelic rock features the Electric Prunes’ entire output plus various rarities and demos, including various versions of killer wellknown tracks I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) and Get Me To The World On Time – and the first mono CD reissue of the wonderfully deranged and overreaching Mass In F Minor, on which Gregorian chants meet psychedelic rock, helmed by David Alexrod. There are five studio albums included, from the raw psych freak-out and fuzz-tone guitar of 1967’s The Electric Prunes to 1969’s disarmingly titled Just Good Old Rock And Roll, featuring the new ‘improved’ Electric Prunes after most of the band left in confusion after the Axelrod experiment (including 1968’s equally perplexing Release Of An Oath). The one constant factor was vocalist James Lowe, who also features prominently in the extensive sleeve-notes here. Whether you need all of the 100-plus tracks is debatable, but the first few albums and live recordings are peppered with garage gems, and in the Prunes’ oscillating sound effects and rudimentary electronica you can hear the shape of (some) futures to come, from Spacemen 3 to the Black Angels. ■■■■■■■■■■ Everett True Mötley Crüe 40th Anniversary Remasters BETTER NOISE MUSIC Early Crüe highlights remastered. While Mötley Crüe have dined out on their legendary debauchery, they outlived their clones thanks to superior songwriting. Nikki Sixx drew influence from The Beatles and Harry Nilsson, along with the metal, glam and punk elements that characterised the rawer, darker sound of these first two albums, remastered to mark their 40th anniversary. Independently released debut Too Fast For Love (8/10, 1981) was the work of a Sunset Strip club band with stadium-sized ambitions and songs to back them up. Stripped-down rockers Live Wire and Take Me To The Top land hook after hook, the band hammering out riffs and refrains in tight unison. The glam-slam title track and Public Enemy #1 brim with a cocksure charisma that was contagious enough to shift 20,000 copies and land them a deal with Elektra. Shout At The Devil (8/10, 1983) sheened and sharpened their raucous approach. Looks That Kill, Too Young To Fall In Love and Shout itself wield earworm riffs and radio-friendly choruses that helped to fuel their mainstream breakthrough, and deeper cuts (Red Hot, Danger) maintain the standard. These albums laid a foundation secure enough to sustain them through mid-80s turbulence, and remain twin peaks in their catalogue. Rich Davenport Corrosion Of Conformity Sleeping Martyr: 2000-2005 CHERRY RED Three-album anthology from early-2000s metallurgists. North Carolina’s Corrosion Of Conformity, or COC, had long left their abrasive punk origins by 2000, and with the release of America’s Volume Dealer were figuring out their raison d’être in a new century in which metal might play a less starring role. It’s a slick, well-turned affair, with Woody Weatherman’s garrulous wah-wah guitar a prominent feature on Congratulations Song, while Sleeping Martyr, featuring Warren Haynes’s slide guitar, is a sudden shift down a country rock dirt path before they rejoin the metal freeway. They’re a band ‘standing tall for one more year’, as Pepper Keenan sings on Take What You Want, while the limpid, woozy change of pace on Angels is very welcome. Live Volume, their first live album, recorded in 2001 really captures their low-end churn, cut from the same loaf as early Sabbath, especially on These Shrouded Temples and the distinctly non-aerial Albatross; the growls of rock mudmen. 2005’s In The Arms Of God sees them overcome the struggle for relevance from simply ploughing their furrow, staying good and true to themselves. Stone Breaker is a sort of hybrid of Sabbath and Floyd, the Eastern-tinged acoustics of Rise River Rise

remind of Led Zeppelin in Orientalist mode, while It Is That Way features tremendous broadsides of wah-wah. These nods back to the 20th century are indicative of a band defiantly still hoisting aloft the tattered pennant of the old ways, the old days. ■■■■■■■■■■ David Stubbs Various Brown Acid – Thirteenth Trip RIDING EASY More heavy tracks from your degenerate uncle’s teenage band. More cratedigger fever dreams unspool in this still-steaming collection of long-gone protometal tracks. Riding Easy hit the bins hard and often, unearthing hopelessly obscure tracks from the dawn of the heavy rock era (and paying licensing fees to the bands, many for the first time ever). While they have yet to uncover the elusive pre-Sabbath metal band, virtually all of ‘em come close. Take for example John Kitko’s 1973 ripper Indecision, which sounds like a psychedelic band being eaten by a giant praying mantis. Further revelations include Dry Ice’s 1974 stoner jam Don’t Munkey With The Funky Skunky, which is sorta like a bubblegum track gone completely off the rails, and Max’s mammoth Run Run, which sounds like a galloping mid-70s Thin Lizzy rager. While I did hold out hope that the thirteenth edition would deliver some spooky shit, there’s enough heroin abuse, ‘Nam flashbacks and bummer jams to keep you up at night anyway. Brown Acid is one of the most crucial comp series since Nuggets, and the quality shows no signs of flagging. Sink into the couch of woe and prepare to have your mind blown – again. ■■■■■■■■■■ Sleazegrinder Frank Zappa 200 Motels (50th Anniversary Edition) ZAPPA/UME Non-essential indulgence gets the £125 treatment. As Zappa metamorphosed his singular art from the sociopolitical, post- Varèse, satirical freakery of the Mothers Of Invention’s We’re Only In It For The Money to the relatively slick commercial viability of The Mothers’ Over- Nite Sensation and Apostrophe (!), he did an awful lot of growing up in public, over-indulging himself with orchestral experiments and a semi-autobiographical, in-joke-heavy film with a patience-testing double vinyl soundtrack way beyond the budget, or indeed ego, of any equivalent artist today. Affluent Zappaphiles with extremely tolerant partners will irrefutably suck up this 173- track, six-CD monster as if it were so much ambrosia, but for most the double vinyl/two-CD edition will do just fine, thanks. For while 200 Motels has its moments (Jimmy Carl Black hamming his way through Lonesome Cowboy Burt), it’s hardly essential. Directionless pomp, puerile lyrics that don’t play too well post-#metoo, baffling interludes of avantclassical pretension, there’s little-to-no quality control at work. And that’s just the core material that made up the original artefact. So who needs the demos? Out-takes? Radio ads? Obsessive-compulsive completist collectors dispassionately crossing ’t’s and dotting ‘i’s, that’s who. That said, you do get a Do-Not-Disturb motel door hanger tucked inside the box set, and who among us wouldn’t want one of those? Ultimately, though, it seems that for discerning members of FZ’s fan base who are intent on keeping their archive definitive, the torture never stops. ■■■■■■■■■■ Ian Fortnam Funeral For A Friend Reissues DIG! Welsh post-hardcore heroes’ first three albums, reissued on vinyl. The early 2000s were a special time for the British rock scene, when a close-knit wave of young post-hardcore bands wrestled the genre from their American cousins and put their own spin on it. Bridgend’s Funeral For A Friend were at the heart of it all. And as they’re now reissuing their first three albums on vinyl it’s the ideal time to revisit them. Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation (7/10) remains an astonishingly confident debut, crammed with anthemic slices of life, frontman Matt Davies- Kreye’s clear and emotional vocals occasionally giving way to raw screams from drummer Ryan Richards. Standout track Juneau, in particular, is an instant singalong as irresistible as it was 18 years ago. The band always did have a sense of the joy of pop melodies, and follow-up Hours (8/10) is crammed with hooky riffs and towering choruses, perfectly capturing the fizzing thrill of their live shows while burnishing it to a fine gloss in the studio. By the time we get to 2007’s Tales Don’t Tell Themselves (7/10), the urge to write a concept album had kicked in: the story of a fisherman lost at sea in a storm, battling to make it home. A bold move, but the chorus of opener Into Oblivion (Reunited) is such a towering radio-friendly anthem that all you can do is applaud the gall of it all and admire the fact that they managed to pull it off with such aplomb. Emma Johnston Jackie Leven The Mystery Of Love Is Greater Than The Mystery Of Death COOKING VINYL 1994’s epic solo debut reactivated to mark tragic anniversary. The Mystery Of Love Is Greater Than The Mystery Of Death was Jackie Leven’s first solo album after Doll By Doll, the punk era’s most extreme outsiders, imploded around 1983. Shortly afterwards, Leven released two solo singles before a vicious street attack temporarily robbed his voice, plunging him into heroin addiction for years before this marvellous rebirth, now reissued to honour 10 years since his untimely passing. Leven’s eternal quest now manifested as darkly observational poetic troubadour, exploring mental imprisonment on Shadow In My Eyes, alcoholic despair on Heartsick Land, poignant resonance behind Bacharach-David’s I Say A Little Prayer, referencing Hindu poetry on Clay Jug. Bolstered by spoken word and empathic musicians sculpting cinematic backdrops, that magnificent voice was back on supernatural form, most compellingly on Snow In Central Park and widescreen career peak Call Mother A Lonely Field, his virtuoso guitar chops enlivening The Bars Of Dundee. ■■■■■■■■■■ Kris Needs BEST OF THE REST Other new releases out this month. Motörhead Everything Louder Forever BMG Surely promising “Motörhead’s loudest” is a bit like pledging “water’s wettest”. Whatever, this 42-track ‘best of’ offers an excellent opportunity to rediscover some deeper ‘Head cuts, not least Burner and Sucker. 1916 clearly didn’t read the dress code. 8/10 Come Don’t Ask Don’t Tell FIRE Impressively expanded two-disc version of the ’94 second album from Boston’s Come, an ex-Live Skull/Codeine grunge-literate alt.blues quartet largely overlooked in an era spoilt for choice. Well worth a second coming. 7/10 Broken Social Scene Old Dead Young: B-sides & Rarities ARTS & CRAFTS A loose confederation of players revolving around Toronto’s Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, BSS specialise in a form of fearfully intelligent Canadian post-rock where everyone seems to be trying to out-clever everyone else. Nice plan. 7/10 Renaissance Scheherezade & Other Stories (Expanded) ESOTERIC Prior to punk’s expectorating simplification of rock’s M.O., bands had it hard. Take the 25-minute slog of 1975’s Song Of Scheherezade. As brilliantly complex as S&OS’s epic climax is, it’s got to be just as hard to play as it is to listen to. Bonus live version? Tragically, yes. 7/10 Mud The Albums 1975-1979 7TS At their peak Chinn & Chapman could convince 70s man that even Les Gray was a glam-rock god. Sadly this post-hits Showaddyshoddy box misses Mud’s fleeting ’73/’74 heyday while unflinchingly charting their steady decline into ‘not very good’. Shame. 4/10 Colin Blunstone One Year (50th Anniversary Edition) SUNDAZED Back in ‘71 the ex-Zombies singer applied his soulful delicacy to this timeless set of breathlessly romantic ballads that even delivered an unlikely hit (Say You Don’t Mind). Now generously expanded with an entire unissued album (That Same Year) of quality extras. 8/10 Bob Dylan Bootleg Series Vol. 16: Springtime In New York COLUMBIA/LEGACY Covering the least-loved period of Dylan’s serpentine career, SINY comprises out-takes, lives and alternatives from the Shot Of Love, Infidels and Empire Burlesque era. Neither nadir nor zenith, Bob’s undervalued early 80s occasionally dazzle. 7/10 War Greatest Hits 2.0 RHINO Two discs (CD or vinyl) combining cuts from the Californian Latin funk-rock ‘n’ soulers’ early output as backing band to newly Animalless Eric Burdon (Spill The Wine) with latter-day stone-cold Sly/ Santana-styled classics (Low Rider, Cinco De Mayo). 7/10 Stackridge Recordings 1971-2021 ANGEL AIR Often underrated as a quaint novelty by virtue of their Do The Stanley (thanks, Old Grey Whistle Test), these ingenious Bristol/Bath stalwarts occupy a pop/prog pigeonhole between The Beatles and XTC. A concise two-CD ‘best of’ with their final ’15 show on CD3. 7/10 Orange Goblin Rough & Ready, Live & Loud DISSONANCE A live collection born of covid necessity, released digitally last year to celebrate the mighty Goblin’s quarter-century in harness, finally makes it to vinyl/CD. Blazing old-school metal, ripping in-form performances and an extra track (Blue Snow). 6/10 Watchtower Control & Resistance DISSONANCE Hugely influential, Austin’s implausibly technically adept Watchtower meld prog-metal with thrash and, on this second ’89 album, a flourish of jazz fusion. Harbingers of Death (not to mention Dream Theater), well worth seeking out. 7/10 BEST OF THE REST REVIEWS BY IAN FORTNAM CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 83

STUFF BOOKS & DVDs Tenement Kid Bobby Gillespie WHITE RABBIT From slums to Screamadelica – Primal Scream dynamo’s inspirational memoir. Named after a track on Primal Scream’s 2013 album More Light, Bobby Gillespie’s autobiography dazzles with the confessional honesty, punk attitude, fervent political beliefs and obsessive musical passion that drove Primal Scream to become the ecstatic, idiosyncratic trailblazers who defined an era with 1991’s Screamadelica. Forty years of often outspoken interviews accompanying the Scream’s excess-all-areas roller-coaster suggested a decent account could be forthcoming, but Tenement Kid grips instantly with its vivid evocations of growing up dirt-poor in gang-ridden 60s Glasgow, playing in perilous industrial ruins, enduring sadistic school teachers and working in a printing factory, with Patti Smith’s Piss Factory burning his brain. Gillespie’s fiercely socialist father was a politicising influence, from home Black Power posters to staunch union activitism. Gillespie’s first single was the Sweet’s Hellraiser, gig Thin Lizzy at the Apollo, Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen his “psychic jailbreak”. Writing with compelling eloquence, he captures the transformative impact of musical milestones with Force 10 passion worthy of Lester Bangs; “Johnny Rotten’s voice was like a razor blade stuck through a cheek. His intense laser stare burned holes straight into my innocent teenage consciousness with the pure, amphetamine hatred and contempt of a self-righteous, paranoid speed freak.” Seeing The Clash in ’77 was “beyond music… it was pure energy”. He roadies for Altered Images, records and supports New Order playing drums in Factory outfit The Wake, forms Primal Scream in 1983. He also joins Jesus And Mary Chain’s “four-headed monster of fuzz-toned psychosis”, describing JAMC’s infamous riots from the bottle-strewn stage. After Psychocandy, Gillespie concentrates on Primal Scream’s evolution from paisley psych through “ramalama balls-to-the-wall filthy fuck music” to embracing acid house as punk’s DIY successor, and meeting DJ Andrew Weatherall, whose visionary punk genius and Loaded remix pave the way to Screamadelica’s triumph and tour, where the book ends. Gillespie still believes in music’s redemptive power. That undimmed youthful enthusiasm, tempered with life experience wisdom, are just two reasons why this profoundly moving memoir will stand among the great music biographies. ■■■■■■■■■■ Kris Needs Magnifico! The A-Z Of Queen Mark Blake NINE EIGHT A royal banquet of Mercury and co morsels Considering their enduring hugeness (Greatest Hits returned and topped the charts yet again this year), Queen haven’t been subject to anything like the same forensic historical examination as other monsters of rock. That could be because of the snooty contempt in which they were held by ‘serious’ music critics during the peak years of their career. Subsequent generations of fans-turnedwriters, such as Classic Rock contributor Mark Blake, have taken this British rock institution more seriously, and Blake has enough knowledge and research in his locker to take us on a deep dive into lesser-known corners of the band’s history. While Blake’s Magnifico! is no chin-stroking, exhaustive analysis of the band’s history, to call these 400 pages of stories, snapshots and analysis mere ‘trivia’ would be to undersell it. Nonetheless, there’s something here for casuals and obsessives alike. It could make a nice starting point to tempt you further into the band’s back story – with the format allowing you to consume it piecemeal or binge in one long sitting. For Queen anoraks it might also reveal new details, from a second-by-second analysis of the band’s Live Aid performance before, during and after, to Brian May’s job teaching Poly Styrene, later of X-Ray Spex, his passion for penguins, and the Queen’s run-ins with Lynyrd Skynyrd. You want it all? There’s not much missing here. ■■■■■■■■■■ Johnny Sharp The Beatles: Get Back The Beatles CALLAWAY/APPLE CORPS Volume produced to accompany Peter Jackson Let It Be sessions documentary. Copiously illustrated with photos by Ethan Russell and Linda McCartney, Get Back also features essays by Hanif Kureshi and John Harris and an introduction by Peter Jackson. Rather less scintillating is the bulk of the text, which comprises conversations between band members and those present at the Let It Be sessions. Although it’s fair to observe that recordings of these sessions show that, far from being burnt out, The Beatles were still at a creative zenith (that would lead to the final flowering of Abbey Road), it is clear that the band’s days are numbered. John Lennon and George Harrison want out; it’s Paul McCartney who does the bulk of the talking, the cajoling, the diplomacy. It’s fascinating how they avoid having it out face to face. The silly voices and improvised comedy sketches, such as an interview about religion with ‘Ringo McCartney’, are a form of displacement. There’s much small talk, of tea and toast. Perhaps they love each other too much to bring themselves to hurt one another. Harrison does complain about feeling like he’s about to go to school assembly. It’s clear from their body language, their facial hair, that they have grown very old in a few short years. But these unedited transcripts, studies in nonconfrontational avoidance, make for a difficult, laboured read. ■■■■■■■■■■ David Stubbs My Life In Dire Straits John Illsley BANTAM Appropriately titled memoir of life in one of the world’s biggest groups. Even now, Dire Straits don’t get the respect their multi-million sales and elegant, sophisticated and covertly emotional music deserves. Bassist John Illsley was there every step of the way, and since Mark Knopfler writes the foreword there’s no axes to be ground, unless Styx being unpleasant counts. Illsley charts the band’s speedy rise from the pubs of South London to the world’s stadiums in flash-free fashion. For a band so successful, Dire Straits’ ride wasn’t especially bumpy: members came and went, and Illsley went through two awkward divorces, but he and Knopfler avoided acrimony and addiction. It’s not a dramatic tale and there’s no great revelation, although he doesn’t seem over-fond of manager Ed Bicknell, but it’s affectionate and surprisingly uplifting. When Dire Straits stopped (they haven’t formally split: “never say never”) SAM CHRISTMAS 84 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

after a show in Zaragoza in ’92, Illsley turned to therapy, a stopstart solo career and painting. It’s difficult not to wish him well. ■■■■■■■■■■ John Aizlewood Listen To Whitford Ross Halfin RUFUS Photographic tribute to Aerosmith’s ‘other’ guitarist. Titled after photographer Ross Halfin misheard Steven Tyler shouting “Mister Whitford” on Aerosmith’s Live Bootleg album, Listen To Whitford tells no tales, not even via the magic of contextualising captions or chronology. Given legitimacy by Halfin’s all-access closeness to his subject, it is, however, a beautiful visual record of Aerosmith (they even look good alongside an elephant), if Whitford were Aerosmith’s most prominent member. There are words, but not many. There’s an introduction by Johnny Depp (“Brad Whitford is one of the most munificent individuals I have ever had the fortune to meet”), which must have seemed like a good idea at the time. Kirk Hammett (“He goes in, does his job and fuckin’ kicks ass”) and Dave Navarro (“Holy fuck, Whitford is incredible!”) chip in with afterwords, and there’s a brief contribution from Aerosmith’s soundman, Nitebob (“He is personable, knowledgeable and funny too”). A curve-ball, for sure, but a sweet one. ■■■■■■■■■■ John Aizlewood Electric Wizards: A Tapestry Of Heavy Music, 1968 To The Present JR Moores REAKTION BOOKS An alternative view of half a century of heaviness. Attempting to crunch 50-plus years of musical and cultural history into 400- odd pages is like standing under an elephant and trying to catch its piss in a thimble. With this hugely readable, consistently insightful, occasionally infuriating celebration of heavy music, JR Moores hasn’t tried. Instead, Electric Wizards brings equal weight of intellect and enthusiasm to the bands and movements that Moores thinks have moulded heaviness down the decades. He rightly doesn’t equate ‘heavy’ with ‘metal’, ensuring it’s not the same old history lesson. Sabbath are the North Star around which much of this revolves, but elsewhere French electronic visionaries Heldon get reams more space than Led Zeppelin, and the early 70s Swedish ‘progg’ scene is venerated over its Anglo- American counterpart. Inevitably some things jar – Lulu might be a great artistic statement, but it will never be a good piece of music, while the takedown of nu metal is eye-rollingly predictable and uncharacteristically shallow. But that’s the point of Electric Wizards: like the bands it covers, it exists to challenge. And on that front it’s a deafening success. ■■■■■■■■■■ Dave Everley Twisted Business: Lessons From My Life In Rock ’N’ Roll Jay Jay French & Steve Farber ROSETTA BOOKS Veteran Sister recounts a life of ups and downs. Jay Jay French has a lot of thoughts to share. That’s not entirely surprising, given that he spent 40 years in Twisted Sister, alongside a frontman (Dee Snider) who is, to put it mildly, quite gobby and comfortable in the spotlight. As a result, Twisted Business is a real pageturner, with French’s unique perspective (he was the band’s guitarist and also their manager) and gently sardonic prose providing real insight into the origins, first steps and unlikely triumphs of New York’s heavy metal kings. It’s also a sustained monologue about the dos and don’ts of making it in the rock’n’roll biz, and brutally honest with it. With palpable regret, French notes that Twisted’s 1985 cover of the Shangri-Las’ Leader Of The Pack lumped the band “squarely in the buffoon rock world”, but he also eulogises with fierce pride on their absurdly successful latter-day reunion. Warts and all, Twisted Business is the business. ■■■■■■■■■■ Dom Lawson AVAILABLE NOW ON NONESUCH RECORDS THE BLACK KEYS Delta Kream ‘Ohio’s finest doff the cap to the great Mississippi hill country bluesmen. Crowns Auerbach and Carney as both grand scholars and natural conduits of the genre. This joyous tribute is the perfect way to send a whole new generation scurrying back to discover the source.’ – Classic Rock, 8/10 RHIANNON GIDDENS They’re Calling Me Home (with Francesco Turrisi) ‘Sublime. Giddens’ extraordinary voice hits new levels of resolute power.’ – Uncut, 9/10 RANDY NEWMAN Roll with the Punches: The Studio Albums (1979-2017) ‘The last four decades of America’s great storyteller. Taken as a whole, these albums hold a mirror up to the ongoing, evolving state of a nation; an endlessly vivid chronicle, often uncomfortable but with intermittent glimmers of hope.’ – Record Collector NONESUCH.COM THE BLACK KEYS El Camino (10 th Anniversary Edition) ‘In thrall to grand American traditions of cars-and-girls driving music, El Camino makes its own trip from Rubber City to Music City, touching upon great modern pop music but never losing its grimy old-school identity.’ – Mojo EMMYLOU HARRIS & THE NASH RAMBLERS Ramble in Music City: The Lost Concert ‘A spine-tingling performance from some of the greatest musicians ever assembled, playing some of the greatest bluegrass and country songs ever written. The timeless performance is a must have.’ – Maverick, 10/10 CONOR OBERST Ruminations (Expanded Edition) ‘A direct line into the spirit of Right Now. Heartrendingly beautiful, filled with the beauty of day-drunkenness and Proustian flights into memory and waking up in the afternoon and realizing that, however imperfect the day is, it’s a day.’ – GQ

BUYER’S GUIDE Blondie but not dumb: (l to r) Gary Valentine, Clem Burke, Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Jimmy Destri in 1976. Blondie With their sharp songwriting and lyrical flair, they took the pop-rock artform to a new, and hugely successful, level. Essential Classics Invariably linked with New York’s punk rock explosion of the late 70s, Blondie had the street smarts and rebellious attitude to coincide with rock’n’roll’s burgeoning nihilism just by being in the right place at the right time. But as a band originally influenced by a musical melting pot of early-60s doo-wop to garage rock, their intelligent lyrics and sharp songwriting made their music a class apart. They exploited punk briefly for their own ends, but their watchword was expansion of their sound, and they quickly evolved. By the time Blondie were founded by guitarist Chris Stein and singer Deborah Harry in late 1974, they were already experienced musicians. In the late 60s, Harry was a backing singer in folk-rock outfit the Wind In The Willows. She later joined proto-punks The Stillettoes, who hired Chris Stein as their guitarist. The band was born in NYC’s legendary Max’s Kansas City venue where Harry worked as a waitress. The Stillettoes also played regular shows at 315 Bowery, before it reopened in 1973 as CBGB. Multiple personnel and band name changes followed The Stillettoes’ dissolution. Harry and Stein’s band were first called Angel And The Snake, then Blondie And The Banzai Babies, before they thankfully simplified it to Blondie – named after ex-Playboy bunny Harry’s catcalls from truckers. Her blonde-bombshell looks meant she would become one of the most photographed female icons of the late 20th century. More importantly, Harry would become an enduring influence on female musicians for decades to come. Charismatic 18-year-old drummer Clem Burke was added to the line-up, followed by his friend, bassist Gary ‘Valentine’ Lachman. Jimmy Destri then joined on keyboards. Lachman quit after Blondie’s debut album and was replaced by another of Burke’s friends, Frank Infante. Infante then moved to second guitar, with Nigel Harrison joining on bass, consolidating the classic Blondie line-up. Their third album, 1978’s Parallel Lines, was a huge international breakthrough for Blondie. As much of an iconic 70s album as Led Zeppelin IV, Never Mind The Bollocks or The Dark Side Of The Moon, it’s a rock-pop classic. Having diversified their eclectic sound, and absorbed influences like disco, funk, reggae and rap, the band split after 1982’s sixth album The Hunter. They reunited in 1999 and have recorded another five albums to date. Alex Burrows Parallel Lines CHRYSALIS, 1978 In the USA, Blondie were still a cult underground band prior to Parallel Lines, and at first the band were criticised for adopting a more polished sound. “Everyone asks if we’re selling out by going commercial,” Chris Stein told the NME at the time. “But I view it as a challenge to try to produce something that has mass appeal.” That power to attract was evidenced by the musical diversity on offer on the record: the shimmering disco-infused Heart Of Glass; the doo-wopinflected new-wave perfection of Sunday Girl; the swaggering cover of The Nerves’ unruly Hanging On The Telephone; the riff-heavy garage menace of One Way Or Another. An instant classic. Eat To The Beat CHRYSALIS, 1979 At first listen the follow-up to Parallel Lines, Eat To The Beat, semed like Blondie doubling down on their rock credentials, with harder songs like the title track, Atomic – the most apocalyptic song ever written about a hairdo – and the poignant romance of rock anthem Union City Blue. But Dreaming (which Chris Stein later stated was “pretty much a cop” of ABBA’s Dancing Queen) is an ode to disco. The Hardest Part immerses Blondie in funk-rock that almost predicts the Red Hot Chili Peppers, while the popreggae of Die Young Stay Pretty was a signpost of what was to come with the following year’s follow-up Autoamerican. GETTY 86 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

Superior Reputation cementing Essential Playlist X-Offender Blondie Rip Her To Shreds Blondie Blondie PRIVATE STOCK, 1976 A scene had formed around NYC’s CBGB, comprising Blondie, Television, Ramones, Talking Heads and the Heartbreakers. Blondie played a show every week while they lived on the breadline in a nearby loft space with bullet holes in the windows and homeless bums dying outside in the snow. But they practised daily, and their passionate debut came out of that destitution, connecting their love of retro pop with the emergent punk scene. Bassist Gary Valentine wrote their debut US single/album opener X-Offender with Harry, while she and Stein wrote the Velvet Underground-influenced Rip Her To Shreds. Plastic Letters CHRYSALIS, 1978 Valentine quit before the recording of this second album, so Stein played both bass and guitar on their major-label debut. But Clem Burke insisted on using Valentine’s (I’m Always Touched by Your) Presence, Dear. It was released as the second single from the album, following Denis, a reworking of Randy & The Rainbows 1963 doo-wop classic Denise. Kidnapper, Love At The Pier and Detroit 442 bear healthy Dr Feelgood influences. Blondie had been fans of Wilko Johnson and co. since Clem Burke returned from the UK in early 1976 with a copy of Down By The Jetty, and Harry credited them with giving the NYC punk scene direction. Autoamerican CHRYSALIS, 1980 After Eat To The Beat the band members went in different directions, absorbing different influences: Chris Stein, Clem Burke and Jimmy Destri produced other bands, Nigel Harrison played with Michael Des Barres. Autoamerican’s opening track, the symphonic instrumental Europa, with its lush orchestration, instantly emphasised the band’s intention to surprise their audience. It’s lead single, a cover of The Paragons’ rocksteady track The Tide Is High was a huge international hit, and the glorious Rapture fully embraced rap. By now Blondie had matured beyond all expectations. The Hunter CHRYSALIS, 1982 In 1981, Hary released her debut solo album Koo Koo, as much an art project with HR Giger as an album. As a whole, the band’s influences had expanded even wider. The Hunter, a progressive conceptual work ahead of its time – perhaps too far ahead for some of Blondie’s traditional audience – took a socio-political view. The calypso-style swing of the playful Island Of Lost Souls was the most accessible track, but the brash dance/rock of War Child utterly confounded expectations. Dragonfly evokes B-movie sci-fi, and the alluring For Your Eyes Only was rejected, somewhat unfairly, for the 1981 Bond movie of the same name. (I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence, Dear Plastic Letters Kidnapper Plastic Letters Hanging On The Telephone Parallel Lines One Way Or Another Parallel Lines Fade Away And Radiate Parallel Lines Union City Blue Eat To The Beat Good Worth exploring Avoid Atomic Eat To The Beat The Hardest Part Eat To The Beat Rapture Autoamerican Call Me Autoamerican (reissue) No Exit BEYOND MUSIC, 1999 Re-forming without Frank Infante and Nigel Harrison due to personal friction, Blondie were keen to avoid returning to their late-70s peak-career sound, and instead forged ahead into new territory. That said, the wonderfully exuberant Maria, a Destri composition, harks back to early Blondie. The album’s title track (co-written with Coolio and featuring Mobb Deep and members of Wu-Tang Clan) built on Blondie’s adoption of rap, while ska-punk opener Screaming Skin showed that the band were keeping abreast of current music. And Nothing Is Real But The Girl and Under The Gun proved that they had lost none of their aptitude for rock. Panic Of Girls FIVE SEVEN MUSIC, 2011 While 2003’s The Curse Of Blondie album received mixed reviews – possibly due to its ambitious breadth of diversity – Panic Of Girls is the most popular album with fans since Blondie’s re-formation. Sadly Jimmy Destri was out. Core members Harry, Stein and Burke expanded the line-up to include bassist Leigh Foxx and guitarist Paul Carbonara, who’d both played with Blondie since the re-formation. Carbonara left and was replaced by Tommy Kessler, and keyboard playert Matt Katz-Bohen rounded out the new line-up and contributed to songwriting, notably on rocker What I Heard. Lead single Mother was classic Blondie: anthemic rock crossed with euphoric dance. Pollinator BMG, 2017 Following Ghosts Of Download, Blondie’s latest album built on the success of Panic Of Girls. Reuniting the same line-up, with the band returning to their heartland, it has an emphasis on guitar rock, with a strictly no-nonsense production. Opener Doom Or Destiny sets out the album’s stall with co-vocalist Joan Jett among an array of guest performers and songwriters. My Monster sounds eerily like early-80s Blondie despite being written by Johnny Marr, Nick Valensi of The Strokes performs on and co-wrote Best Day Ever. Blondie had returned pissed off about the planet and its useless leaders, and were back on form. Ghosts Of Download NOBLE ID, 2014 Confusingly, their tenth studio album was released as part of a multi-album package titled Blondie 4(0) Ever to mark the band’s 40th anniversary. The set includes a Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux and a live DVD from 1977. Ghosts Of Download itself is a strictly dance-oriented EDM album, for the most part created digitally by computer and synths, with little in the way of the band’s traditional rock, pop and genre crossovers. While disco and dance music has always been part of Blondie’s musical palette – cleverly fused together with rock or pop – a whole album of just EDM was something of a clinical and loveless affair. For Your Eyes Only The Hunter Maria No Exit Nothing Is Real But The Girl No Exit Good Boys The Curse Of Blondie Mother Panic Of Girls Doom Or Destiny Pollinator CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 87

p98 Genesis Did they really turn it on again? The High-Voltage What’s On Guide Edited By Ian Fortnam (Reviews) and Dave Ling (Tours) GETTY p90 Interviews p95 Tour Dates p98 Live Reviews CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 89

“We’re heavy and groovy, but there’s a lot of harmony going on. It’s hard-driving, good-time rock’n’roll with a dark twist.” Fozzy Frontman Chris Jericho promises their tour will be “a great package of fun rock’n’roll”. Chris Jericho became an icon of American professional wrestling during the 1990s, and went on to form the band Fozzy at the end of that decade. The quintet, with seven studio albums to their name, preview the release of an eighth with 11 UK and Irish concerts. Many tours from overseas artists are being postponed or cancelled. How do you feel about Fozzy’s visit? We definitely won’t be cancelling. This tour is shaping up to be our most successful yet – it’s sold out before we even board the plane. We just did twenty-five shows here in the States over the last few months and nobody got sick. That means no more meet and greets. Yeah, but we do a five-song mini-concert for the VIPs. We can still do that. Afterwards we stay on the stage, sign a few things and answer questions. It [live music] can still be done and done safely. Did you develop any news skills during quarantine? I started a new band in quarantine called Quarantine. We’re a covers band of the eighties, non-make-up era of Kiss. Apart from that I concentrated on my podcast and each week I did a live steam, Saturday Night Special, to keep the Chris Jericho flag waving. What’s going on with the new Fozzy album, which was going to be titled 2020 and released that year? [Laughs] How stupid does that sound now, right? The original idea was to do what Van Halen did with 1984, and release it on New Year’s Day of 2020, but everything went to shit. But it has been mixed and mastered for the past nine months and will be out early in 2022. Here in the UK it will be available via Mascot, a new label for Fozzy. Yeah, that’s right. And the interesting thing is that Mascot seem to be picking different songs as singles than the American label. I love that they are paying attention to the specific taste of the UK market. ADRIENNE BEACCO/PRESS 90 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

Years ago you described Fozzy the “bastard son of Metallica and Journey”. Does the comparison still hold? What I actually said was we were the love child of Journey and Metallica, with a nanny that was AC/DC. And I still believe that. We’re heavy and groovy, but there’s a lot of harmony going on. It’s hard-driving, good-time rock’n’roll with a dark twist. Rock fans can be reluctant to accept those with careers in other areas, even after they prove to have longevity. I’ve no complaints over the way Fozzy are perceived. Had you told a fifteen-year-old Chris Jericho that his band would be playing a festival to forty thousand people a few slots down from Judas Priest and Metallica, I would have shit my pants. But can your level of fame be a problem? Probably. But some still people still bag on Rob Zombie for making movies. I knew from the start Fozzy would have to work twice as hard with me in it [than without]. There’s really nothing I can do about that. Do you try to bring a little of the glitter and glamour of the ring to the stage? Absolutely. When I started wrestling at the age of nineteen I wanted to be the ultimate rock’n’roll frontman of the ring; to take those qualities I had learned from Paul Stanley, Mick Jagger and Bruce Dickinson. When we started Fozzy, I put that same feeling back into music. It’s all about being in front of a live crowd. Fish The big Scotsman on live streams and delaying his farewell tour. WOJTEK KUTYLA/PRESS Do you still wrestle? I’m a part the AEW [All Elite Wresting], a new venture from the guy that owns Fulham Football Club. It’s the coolest wrestling company in the world. Do you have good memories of hosting the Classic Rock Awards in London in 2015? Yeah, of course. I told a joke on stage: “Why didn’t Robert Plant cross the road?” And the punchline was: “Because Jimmy Page was on the other side.” Some people laughed and, with Jimmy in the house, some others winced. But the reason I told the gag in the first place was because Paul Stanley had given it to me [laughs]. Are you familiar with support acts on your UK and Ireland dates: the UK’s The Treatment and the Californians Stitched Up Heart? I’ve known the singer Mixi [Demner] of Stitched Up Heart for many years, and of course I’ve checked out The Treatment, and liked them. It will be a great package of fun rock’n’roll and I’m excited to be touring with both of those bands. What about personal safety? If somebody is considering buying a ticket for a show, should they bring a mask? It’s a personal choice. All of the band has been vaccinated. If you want to wear one, that’s fine. But after so long of this [covers his face with his hands] I really want to see people smiling again. My belief is that we’ve gone through the worst of it all, but be smart and be safe. I get that some people are nervous, and that’s completely fine. If you can’t make this tour, then we’ll be here for you next time around. DL The tour ends in London on December 12. Separate from your farewell tour, you have UK dates lined up for November. Will they go ahead? I hope so, obviously. But the whole thing feels like pushing a boulder up a hill. And if we do get through them it will be a slog. You must have been ecstatic at the response to your final album, Weltschmerz? I’m very proud of it, and it did exactly what I hoped it would. It’s the perfect album for me to call it a day with. Other than that, how was your lockdown? The first one was okay, but the one in the winter was difficult. And then coming out into Brexit made things a hundred times worse. My expansive garden kept me sane, and having Weltschmerz out provided me with something positive that I could get behind. Many artists started out performing streamed gigs, only for them to peter out. Fish On Fridays, on the other hand, was free to view and kept on going. You had no fears of what some call ‘cheapening the brand’? I didn’t want to monetarise Fish On Fridays. We did around seventy of them, and they meant a lot to some people. Those people really needed the two hours of entertainment. And I realised that I needed them myself. They provided a punctuation mark for my week when the months began to blur into one another. These upcoming dates will combine the final live performance of your first solo record, Vigil In A Wilderness Of Mirrors, and selected highlights from Weltschmerz. How much of the latter will we hear? There will probably about an hour’s worth of Weltschmerz. We’ve a new keyboard player, Spencer Cousins, and very short rehearsal time. Should it get the nod, Garden Of Remembrance, a song about dementia, will be a toughie to sing. I don’t think that one will be in the set. It’s just too tender and too awkward. It’s still raw. Billed as Vigil’s End, the tour’s final show, in Leamington Spa, is a pay-per-view event. Some people are complaining about the price. Leamington Spa will be a high-quality, multicamera show. It will have high-quality sound and presentation, and by November 24 we should have ironed out any potential glitches in the show. Due to covid, your much-vaunted farewell tour has been moved back to late 2022. It’ll probably be 2023 now. With things opening up again, hopefully, next year we just can’t get the venues we want to play for two successive nights in all of the cities that I love the play. On top of that I need to see what happens with Brexit. Talking of which, how well or otherwise do you think the government handled its response to the pandemic? I was pleased with the way Scotland reacted. But the biggest problem is that you cannot buy cancellation insurance. I had no help whatsoever from the government during lockdown. I didn’t ask for any because there were others that needed it. Their apparent plan for herd immunity concerns me immensely. Bill and Ted loan you their time machine, and can go back and change some things in your life. Which do you pick? At school I would have spent far less time sleeping the back of my Accounts class, and I’d have enjoyed sport a lot more. When out on long distance runs, do not stop off at the pub. The tour begins in Glasgow on November 14. CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 91

‘The set-list varies from night to night. We probably play a similar amount of songs from all of our records.” The Cadillac Three Drummer Neil Mason sets the scene for the biggest tour so far from the Nashville-based trio. For an American band, what sort of hoops must you jump through for these UK shows happen? That’s still to be determined; the rules seem to be ever-changing. Right now I believe we take a day-two test upon arrival, but some of the individual venue protocols are still up in the air. I wish I had a better answer to your question, but who knows for sure? What were the good and bad points of your lockdown experience? The biggest challenge for me was there was no end date, and that was by far the worst part of it all. But personally I got married and had a baby, so being at home for the first time in ten years was a blessing. Lockdown allowed us time to slow down. We began a live stream, we started a fan club, we had a radio show [Garage Radio, on Planet Rock], and we learned how to be a band in different ways, that were not reliant upon touring. How important did it feel to help support local Nashville venues with your livestream, called Country Fuzz? Some of the smaller clubs just won’t reopen, right across the world, and I worry about that. The Barfly 92 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM in London was the first place we played in London [in December 2013], and that’s gone. It’s absolutely vital that those halls survive. Does it seem possible The Cadillac Three have been a band for a whole decade now? [Laughs] Some days it feels like much longer. I’ve known Jaren [Johnson, frontman/guitarist] and Kelby [Ray, lap-steel guitarist and bassist] since high school. We’ve done a lot in ten years. Together we’ve released five albums and toured the world, and there’s nobody else I’d want to be doing it with except those two dudes. What would be the absolute high point? We just did two nights here in Nashville at the Ryman Centre [a 2,362-capacity venue], which would be one. Another watershed moment was that Barfly show I just mentioned. We couldn’t believe that halfway around the world a hundred and fifty people would have any interest in seeing us play our songs. Will the new album, Tabasco And Sweet Tea, feature heavily in these shows’ set-lists? Yeah. That and [previous album] Country Fuzz, though the set-list varies from night to night. We probably play a similar amount of songs from all of our records over the two hours on stage. For those unfamiliar with Brent Cobb, can you tell us something about the tour’s special guest. Brent is one of my favourite songwriters. I’ve known him for many, many years. He’s like the Neil Young of our generation, just a fantastic storyteller. I’m hoping that he will sing a song with us each night on the tour, but please get there early to check him out. The world is so full of civil discourse. What do you think the next year will hold? I can’t predict the future, only tell you what I hope will happen. Some amazing work was done during the pandemic, including the speed at which the vaccine was invented and rolled out. That was monumental. People are waiting for life to get back to normal, and I hope it does, but going forward what would be cool is that people might high-five each other [chuckles]. I hope that we will remain a little more supportive and understanding of each other. DL TC3’s dates begin in Manchester on December 1.

RECOMMENDS Tour Dates … HALESTORM JAKE OWENS BRYAN ADAMS London Royal Albert Hall May 9, 10 Brighton Centre May 13 Birmingham Utilita Arena May 14 Nottingham Motorpoint Arena May 15 Manchester AO Arena May 17 Liverpool M&S Bank Arena May 18 Newcastle Utilita Arena May 20 Aberdeen P&J Live May 22 Glasgow The Hydro May 23 Hull Bonus Arena May 25 London O2 Arena May 26 Belfast SSE Arena May 29 Scarborough Open Air Theatre Jul 1 Widnes Halton Stadium Jul 2 Telford QE2 Arena Jul 3 Durham Emirates Riverside Jul 5 Kelso Floors Castle Jul 6 Norwich Blickling Estate Jul 8 AMARANTHE Manchester The Ritz Jan 18 London Kentish Town Forum Jan 19 BALAAM AND THE ANGEL, DAWN AFTER DARK Birmingham Institute 2 Dec 28 Bedford Esquires Dec 29 Brighton Patterns Dec 30 BAD TOUCH, PISTON Norwich Waterfront Studio Nov 17 Newcastle The Cluny Nov 19 Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut Nov 20 Dundee Beat Generator Nov 21 Manchester Bread Shed Nov 22 Nottingham Bodega Nov 23 Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill Nov 24 Leeds Key Club Nov 26 Buckley Tivoli Nov 27 Newport The Patriot Nov 28 Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach Nov 19 Exeter The Cavern Nov 30 Southampton Joiners Arms Dec 1 London Islington Academy 2 Dec 2 Gravesend Red Lion Dec 3 BLACKBERRY SMOKE, THE STEEL WOODS Birmingham Academy Feb 27 Glasgow Academy Feb 28 Belfast Telegraph Building Mar 2 Dublin Olympia Mar 3 Manchester Academy Mar 4 London Chalk Farm Roundhouse Mar 6 BLAZE BAYLEY, ABSOLVA Glasgow Ivory Blacks Nov 24 Newcastle Trillians Nov 25 Grimsby Yardbirds Club Nov 26 Manchester Club Academy Nov 27 Peterborough Met Lounge Dec 10 Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill Dec 11 BEAST IN BLACK London Islington Assembly Hall Dec 1 BLUE OCTOBER Glasgow Garage Mar 9 Manchester The Ritz Mar 10 Birmingham Institute Mar 11 London Shepherd’s Bush Empire Mar 12 DANNY BOWES & LUKE MORLEY: AN EVENING OF CONVERSATION & MUSIC Stourbridge Town Hall Nov 9 Ipswich Corn Exchange Nov 14 Bury St Edmunds The Apex Nov 15 Exeter Corn Exchange Nov 17 Porthcawl Grand Pavilion Nov 18 Llanelli Ffwrnes Nov 19 Lytham St Annes Lowther Pavilion Nov 20 Ilkley King’s Hall Nov 22 Crawley The Hawth Nov 23 Bedford Corn Exchange Nov 25 Grinstead Chequer Mead East Nov 29 BROKEN WITT REBELS Leicester Academy 2 Nov 25 Liverpool Jimmy’s Nov 26 Leeds Lending Room Nov 27 Cambridge Portland Arms Dec 10 Nottingham Bodega Dec 11 London Oxford Street 100 Club Dec 16 Guildford Boileroom Dec 17 Southampton Joiners Arms Dec 18 Brighton Green Door Store Jan 6 Tunbridge Wells Forum Jan 7 Norwich Waterfront Jan 8 Exeter Cavern Jan 12 Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach Jan 13 Buckley Tivoli Jan 14 Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill Jan 15 Edinburgh Mash House Jan 20 Aberdeen Tunnels Jan 21 Glasgow Garage Jan 22 BUCKCHERRY, DAMON JOHNSON & THE GET READY, SCARLET REBELS Milton Keynes Craufurd Arms Nov 29 Leeds Warehouse Nov 30 Blackpool Waterloo Music Bar Dec 1 London Islington Academy Dec 3 Nuneaton Queen’s Hall Dec 4 Newcastle Riverside Dec 5 Manchester Academy 2 Dec 7 Chester Live Rooms Dec 8 Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill Dec 10 Southampton Engine Rooms Dec 11 Cardiff Tramshed Dec 12 THE CADILLAC THREE, BRENT COBB Manchester Academy Dec 1 Leeds Academy Dec 2 Birmingham Institute Dec 3 Nottingham Rock City Dec 5 Newcastle Academy Dec 6 Glasgow Academy Dec 7 London Chalk Farm Roundhouse Dec 9 Cardiff Great Hall Dec 11 Dublin Whelans Dec 12 Belfast Limelight Dec 13 PHIL CAMPBELL & THE BASTARD SONS Glasgow Garage Nov 9 Carlisle Brickyard Nov 10 Bradford Nightrain Nov 13 Belfast Limelight 2 Nov 14 Dublin Grand Social Nov 15 Nottingham Rescue Rooms Nov 17 Bristol Thekla Nov 18 Bournemouth Old Fire Station Nov 19 Swansea Patti Pavilion Nov 20 ELIANA CARGNELUTTI Southampton 1865 Nov 11 Stamford Mama Liz’s Nov 14 Newcastle Cluny 2 Nov 15 Bilston Robin 2 Nov 16 Edinburgh Bannerman’s Bar Nov 17 Liverpool Phase 1 Nov 18 Sedgefield Rock & Blues Club Nov 19 Lincoln Blues, Rhythm & Rock Festival Nov 20 FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES Dublin Academy Nov 10 Nottingham Rock City Nov 11 Norwich UEA Nov 13 Southampton Guildhall Nov 15 Bristol Academy Nov 16 Lincoln Engine Shed Nov 17 Birmingham Academy Nov 19 Newcastle Academy Nov 20 Glasgow Barrowland Nov 22 Edinburgh Corn Exchange Nov 23 Liverpool Academy Nov 24 Manchester Academy Nov 25 London Brixton Academy Jan 21, 22 CATS IN SPACE, VAMBO Reading Sub 89 Dec 7 Wimborne Tivoli Theatre Dec 8 Stoke-on-Trent Eleven Dec 9 Frome Cheese & Grain Dec 10 Swansea Patti Pavilion Dec 11 Nottingham Rescue Rooms Dec 15 Dover Booking Hall Dec 16 Buckley Tivoli Dec 17 Sheffield Corporation Dec 18 CHEAP TRICK, RAVENEYE Newcastle Boiler Shop Feb 1 Manchester Academy Feb 2 Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill Feb 4 London Shepherd’s Bush Empire Feb 5 Bristol Academy Feb 6 ROGER DALTREY Manchester Apollo Nov 9 Nottingham Royal Concert Hall Nov 11 London Palladium Nov 15 Brighton Centre Nov 17 Southend-on-Sea Cliffs Pavilion Nov 19 Oxford New Theatre Nov 21 Glasgow Armadillo Nov 24 Newcastle City Hall Nov 26 ‘An Evening With…’ shows where you’ll get “deep cuts, all the fan favourites and even some brand-new songs”. See following page for dates. Currently February 27 to March 13. Liverpool Empire Nov 29 Portsmouth Guildhall Dec 1 Bournemouth International Centre Dec 2 THE DAMNED Glasgow Academy Feb 11 Manchester Apollo Feb 12 Birmingham Academy Feb 16 London Hammersmith Apollo Feb 18, 19 THE DAMN TRUTH Leek Foxlowe Arts Feb 13 Leeds Lending Room Feb 15 Bristol The Exchange Feb 16 Southampton 1865 Feb 25 DANKO JONES Bristol Thekla Dec 6 Newcastle Cluny Dec 7 Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut Dec 8 Nottingham Bodega Social Club Dec 9 Manchester Rebellion Dec 10 London Camden Underworld Dec 11 DARE Holmfirth Picturedrome Dec 4 THE DARKNESS, MASSIVE WAGONS Brighton Dome Nov 17 Margate Winter Gardens Nov 19 Bournemouth Academy Nov 20 Southend-on-Sea Cliffs Pavilion Nov 21 Norwich UEA Nov 23 Cambridge Corn Exchange Nov 24 Reading Hexagon Nov 26 Cardiff Great Hall Nov 27 Exeter Great Hall Nov 29 Guilford G Live Nov 30 Liverpool Academy Dec 2 Manchester Academy Dec 3 Hull Bonus Arena Dec 4 Stoke-on-Trent Victoria Hall Dec 6 Bristol Academy Dec 7 Glasgow Barrowland Dec 9 Newcastle Academy Dec 10 Leeds Academy Dec 11 Nottingham Rock City Dec 13 Birmingham Academy Dec 14 London Shepherd’s Bush Empire Dec 16, 17 Recommended THE DEAD DAISES, QUIREBOYS London Shepherd’s Bush Empire Nov 10 Cardiff Tramshed Nov 11 DIAMOND HEAD, ROCK GODDESS Milton Keynes Craufurd Arms Jan 20 Chester Live Rooms Jan 21 Blackpool Waterloo Music Bar Jan 22 Newcastle The Cluny Jan 23 Edinburgh Bannerman’s Bar Jan 26 Swansea Patti Pavilion Jan 30 Cambridge Junction Feb 1 Bournemouth Madding Crowd Feb 2 Stoke-on-Trent Eleven Feb 3 Nottingham Rescue Rooms Feb 4 Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill Feb 5 BRUCE DICKINSON (SPOKEN WORD) Liverpool Philharmonic Hall Dec 9 Edinburgh Usher Hall Dec 10 DROPKICK MURPHYS, THE INTERRUPTERS Manchester Victoria Warehouse Feb 15 Newcastle City Hall Feb 16 Dublin 3 Arena Feb 18 Belfast Telegraph Building Feb 19 Glasgow The Hydro Feb 22 Cardiff Motorpoint Arena Feb 23 Brighton Centre Feb 24 Birmingham Academy Feb 25 London Wembley Arena Feb 26 THE DUST CODA London Tufnell Park Boston Music Room Dec 4 Manchester Deaf Institute Dec 5 Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut Dec 6 Nottingham Billy Bootleggers Dec 7 Newcastle Head Of Steam Dec 8 Bristol The Exchange Dec 10 Birmingham Dead Wax Dec 11 Southampton Heartbreakers Dec 12 EAGLES OF DEATH METAL Brighton Chalk Nov 22 Cardiff Tramshed Nov 23 Newcastle University Nov 24 Birmingham Institute Nov 26 Dublin Academy Nov 27 Belfast Limelight Nov 28 Glasgow SWG3 Nov 29 Leeds Beckett University Dec 1 London Chalk Farm Roundhouse Dec 2 Nottingham Rock City Dec 3 Manchester The Ritz Dec 5 Bristol Academy Dec 6 BRIAN FALLON AND THE HOWLING WEATHER Norwich Waterfront Dec 3 Leeds Academy Dec 4 Glasgow SWG3 Dec 5 Nottingham Rock City Dec 6 Bristol Academy Dec 8 Manchester Academy Dec 9 Birmingham Institute Dec 10 London Shepherd’s Bush Empire Dec 11 FISH, DORIS BRENDEL Glasgow Academy Nov 14 Frome Cheese & Grain Nov 15 Southampton 1865 Nov 16 Cambridge Junction Nov 18 Sheffield Academy Nov 19 Liverpool Academy Nov 20 Leamington Spa The Assembly Nov 24 SAMANTHA FISH, WILLE & THE BANDITS Bath Komedia Jan 30 Edinburgh Queen’s Hall Jan 31 Newcastle Wylam Brewery Feb 1 London Shepherd’s Bush Empire Feb 3 Manchester Academy Feb 4 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 95

Nottingham Rock City Feb 5 Cardiff Tramshed Feb 6 Brighton Chalk Feb 7 Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill Feb 8 FM Chester Live Rooms Nov 11 Inverness Monsterfest Nov 13 Dover Booking Hall Nov 21 Holmfirth Picturedrome Nov 26 Blackpool Waterloo Music Bar Nov 27 Stourbridge River Rooms Nov 28 Barnsley Birdwell Venue Mar 31 Cottingham Civic Hall Apr 1 Manchester Club Academy Apr 2 London Islington Assembly Hall Apr 7 Nuneaton Queens Hall Apr 8 Norwich Waterfront Apr 9 Bournemouth Madding Crowd Apr 15 Swansea Patti Pavilion Apr 16 Nantwich Civic Hall Apr 17 Newcastle University Apr 22 Glasgow Garage Apr 23 Reading Sub 89 Apr 29 Nottingham Rescue Rooms Apr 30 FOCUS York Crescent Community Centre Nov 11 Carlisle Old Fire Station Nov 12 Exeter Corn Exchange Nov 15 Whitby Pavilion Apr 1 FOZZY, THE TREATMENT, STITCHED UP HEART Liverpool The Cavern Nov 29 Manchester Club Academy Nov 30 Newcastle Riverside Dec 1 Glasgow Garage Dec 2 Dublin Opium Dec 4 Belfast Limelight Dec 5 Chester Live Rooms Dec 6 Birmingham The Mill Dec 7 Bournemouth Old Fire Station Dec 8 Swansea Sin City Dec 10 Nottingham Rescue Rooms Dec 11 London Islington Academy Dec 12 BOBBY GILLESPIE AND JEHNNY BETH London Pitchfork Festival Nov 10, 11 Manchester Cathedral Nov 13 Brighton Theatre Royal Nov 14 GIRLSCHOOL, ALKATRAZZ FEATURING DOOGIE WHITE Milton Keynes Craufurd Arms Nov 17 Stoke-on-Trent Eleven Nov 18 Blackpool Waterloo Music Bar Nov 19 Swansea Hangar 18 Nov 20 Grimsby Yardbirds Club Nov 21 Chesterfield Real Time Nov 24 Edinburgh Bannerman’s Bar Nov 25 Bradford Night Train Nov 26 Troon Winterstorm Festival Nov 27 Newcastle Trillians Nov 28 London Camden Underworld Dec 1 Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill Dec 2 GUN Bath Komedia Dec 1 Buckley Tivoli Dec 2 Swansea Hanger 18 Dec 3 Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill Dec 4 Bury St Edmonds The Apex Dec 7 Manchester Night People Dec 8 London Islington Assembly Rooms Dec 9 Glasgow Barrowland Ballroom Dec 11 Aberdeen Lemon Tree Dec 12 Southampton Engine Rooms Dec 14 Newcastle The Cluny Dec 15 Stoke-on-Trent Eleven Dec 16 Bradford Night Train Dec 17 Wavendon The Stables Dec 18 Brighton Mid-Sussex Music Hall Dec 19 HAKEN Manchester Academy 2 Feb 24 Glasgow Saint Luke’s Feb 25 London Shepherd’s Bush Empire Feb 26 AN EVENING WITH HALESTORM Manchester Albert Hall Feb 27 Southampton Guildhall Feb 28 Birmingham Academy Mar 2 Dublin Olympia Mar 4 Belfast Ulster Hall Mar 5 Glasgow Barrowland Mar 7 Newcastle Academy Mar 9 Cardiff Great Hall Mar 10 Sheffield Academy Mar 12 London Shepherd’s Bush Empire Mar 13 STEVE HARLEY & COCKNEY REBEL London Shepherd’s Bush Empire Dec 5 Port Talbot Princess Royal Theatre Dec 8 Holmfirth Picturedrome Dec 9 Harrogate Royal Hall Dec 10 Leamington Spa The Assembly Dec 11 Bury St Edmunds Apex Dec 15 Cheltenham Town Hall Dec 16 Bath Forum Buildings Dec 17 Bexhill-on-Sea De La Warr Pavilion Dec 18 Glasgow Armadillo Mar 5 THE WARNER E HODGES BAND Blackpool Waterloo Music Bar Dec 12 Leicester The Musician Dec 13 Sheffield The Greystones Dec 14 London Camden Dublin Castle Dec 15 London Islington Hope & Anchor Dec 16 Edinburgh Bannerman’s Bar Dec 17 HUNDRED REASONS, HELL IS FOR HEROES Southampton Guildhall Feb 24 Bristol Academy Feb 25 Birmingham Institute Feb 26 Leeds Academy Mar 3 Glasgow Barrowland Mar 4 Manchester Academy Mar 5 Norwich UEA Mar 10 Nottingham Rock City Mar 11 London Brixton Academy Mar 12 WILKO JOHNSON, JOHN OTWAY Portsmouth New Theatre Royal Feb 2 Swindon Wyvern Theatre Feb 4 Peterborough Cresset Theatre Feb 5 New Brighton Floral Pavilion Feb 10 Bury St Edmunds Apex Arts Centre Feb 11 Bexhill De Le Warr Pavilion Feb 12 Whitley Bay Playhouse Feb 17 Glasgow Saint Luke’s Church Feb 18 Manchester RNCM Feb 19 Cheltenham Town Hall Feb 24 Birmingham Town Hall Feb 25 Nottingham Albert Hall Feb 26 Worthing Assembly Hall Apr 22 Poole Lighthouse Apr 23 London Islington Assembly Hall Apr 28 Shrewsbury Theatre Severn Apr 29 High Wycombe Swan Apr 30 ARYON JONES London Hoxton Colours Dec 7 KENNEY JONES London Gt Portland Street 229 Club Dec 3 KATATONIA, SÓLSTAFIR London Kentish Town Forum Feb 11 Manchester The Ritz Feb 12 Bristol SWX Feb 13 Glasgow Garage Feb 14 Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill Feb 15 Recommended MYLES KENNEDY Bristol Academy Dec 3 Leeds Academy Dec 4 Glasgow Academy Dec 6 Newcastle Academy Dec 8 Manchester Academy Dec 9 London Shepherd’s Bush Empire Dec 11 Birmingham Academy Dec 13 Bournemouth Academy Dec 14 CORKY LAING PLAYS MOUNTAIN Great Yarmouth HRH Blues Festival Nov 11 Edinburgh Bannerman’s Bar Nov 13 Kinross Green Hotel Nov 14 Leeds Brudenell Social Club Nov 15 London Oxford Street 100 Club Nov 16 LEVELLERS Sheffield Leadmill Nov 22 Frome Cheese & Grain Nov 23 Plymouth Pavilions Nov 24 Lancaster Town Hall Nov 25 Manchester Academy Nov 26 London Brixton Academy Nov 27 Margate Dreamland Dec 8 Guildford G Live Dec 9 Birmingham Academy Dec 10 York Barbican Dec 11 Glasgow Barrowland Dec 12 Norwich UEA Dec 14 Southampton Guildhall Dec 15 Cardiff Motorpoint Arena Dec 16 Nottingham Rock City Dec 17, 18 LINDISFARNE Skegness Butlins Folk Festival Nov 28 Kinross Green Hotel Dec 3, 4 Carlisle Old Fire Station Dec 5 Morecambe The Platform Dec 10 Newcastle City Hall Dec 18 … MARILLION RECOMMENDS There’s a lot more to them than Kayleigh. Catch Steve Hogarth and co. and hear some of the best songs of any prog band going. See below for dates. Currently November 14 to 27. LONELY ROBOT London Islington Assembly Hall Feb 16 LORDI Milton Keynes Craufurd Arms Feb 10 Sheffield Corporation Feb 11 Birmingham Academy Feb 12 London Islington Academy Feb 13 Glasgow Garage Feb 15 ERJA LYYTINEN Edinburgh Bannerman’s Bar Feb 9 Kinross Green Hotel Feb 10 Newcastle The Cluny Feb 11 Liverpool Phase 1 Feb 12 MANIC STREET PREACHERS Llandudno Venue Cymru Dec 1 London Wembley Arena Dec 3 MARILLION Hull City Hall Nov 14 Edinburgh Usher Hall Nov 15 Cardiff St David’s Hall Nov 17 Manchester Bridgewater Hall Nov 18 Cambridge Corn Exchange Nov 20 Birmingham Symphony Hall Nov 21 Liverpool Philharmonic Hall Nov 23 Bath Forum Nov 24 London Hammersmith Apollo Nov 26, 27 CHANTEL MCGREGOR Hull Adelphi Nov 13 EdinburghBannerman’s Bar Nov 24 Kinross Green Hotel Nov 25 Aberdeen Café Drummond Nov 26 Glasgow Hard Rock Café Nov 27 Bristol Thunderbolt Dec 3 Looe Blues Festival Dec 4 Tavistock The Wharf Dec 5 Derby Flowerpot Dec 9 Grimsby Yardbirds Club Dec 16 London Oxford Street 100 Club Feb 4 Leeds Brudenell Social Club Feb 5 Wavendon The Stables Feb 6 Bilston Robin 2 Feb 7 MOGWAI London Alexandra Palace Feb 25 MOSTLY AUTUMN Bilston Robin 2 Nov 28 Southampton 1865 Dec 9 York The Crescent Dec 12 Wavendon The Stables Dec 19 NEW MODEL ARMY Nottingham Rock City Nov 26, 27 London Chalk Farm Roundhouse Dec 4, 5 NIGHTWISH, AMORPHIS, TURMION KÄTILÖT Dublin 3 Arena Nov 17 Birmingham Resorts World Arena Nov 18 London Wembley Arena Dec 13 THE OFFSPRING, THE HIVES Hull Bonus Arena Nov 19 Cardiff Motorpoint Arena Nov 23 Birmingham Resorts World Arena Nov 24 London Wembley Arena Nov 26 Glasgow The Hydro Nov 27 Manchester AO Arena Nov 29 Leeds First Direct Arena Nov 30 ORANGE GOBLIN, SPIRIT ADRIFT, KING CREATURE Buckley Tivoli Dec 9 Belfast Limelight 2 Dec 10 Dublin Grand Social Dec 11 Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut Dec 13 Manchester Gorilla Dec 14 Birmingham Asylum Dec 15 Cardiff Globe Dec 16 London Camden Underworld Dec 17, 18 OZRIC TENTACLES, SILAS & SASKI Glasgow Mono Dec 1 Newcastle Cluny 2 Dec 2 Stockton-on-Tees Georgian Theatre Dec 3 Todmorden Golden Lion Dec 4 York Fulford Arms Dec 5 Birmingham Hare & Hounds Dec 6 Southampton 1865 Dec 8 Guildford Boileroom Dec 9 Tunbridge Wells Forum Dec 10 Ramsgate Music Hall Dec 11 Cambridge Portland Arms Dec 12 Brighton Green Door Store Dec 14 Cardiff Globe Dec 15 Bristol The Exchange Dec 16 Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre Dec 18 London Islington The Lexington Dec 19 Manchester Deaf Institute Jan 16 Carlisle Brickyard Jan 17 PARADISE LOST, MOONSPELL Leeds Warehouse Feb 5 Colchester Arts Centre Feb 6 Norwich Waterfront Feb 7 Brighton Concorde 2 Feb 8 Stoke-on-Trent Sugarmill Feb 9 Glasgow Garage Feb 11 Newcastle Riverside Feb 12 Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill Feb 13 Nottingham Rescue Rooms Feb 14 Manchester Academy Feb 16 Bristol SWX Feb 17 London Camden Electric Ballroom Feb 18 PAVEMENT Leeds Academy Oct 17 Glasgow Barrowland Oct 18 Edinburgh Usher Hall Oct 19 Manchester Apollo Oct 20 London Chalk Farm Roundhouse Oct 22-25 Dublin Vicar Street Nov 10 PITCHSHIFTER Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill Nov 29 Manchester Academy 3 Nov 30 Bristol SWX Dec 1 London Highbury Garage Dec 2, 3 Nottingham Rock City Dec 4 QUIREBOYS, TROY REDFERN Leeds Brudenell Social Club Nov 18 Gateshead The Sage Nov 19 Stoke-on-Trent Sugarmill Nov 20 Manchester Academy Nov 26 WILL IRELAND 96 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

ALAMY Gloucester Guildhall Nov 27 Brighton Concorde 2 Jan 21 Birmingham Institute Jan 22 Oxford Bullingdon Jun 11 Southend-on-Sea Chinnerys Jun 12 Bristol Thekla Jun 17 Nottingham Rescue Rooms Jun 18 FÉLIX RABIN Southampton 1865 Nov 11 Great Yarmouth HRH Blues Festival Nov 12 Stamford Mama Liz’s Nov 14 Newcastle Cluny 2 Nov 15 Bilston Robin 2 Nov 16 Grimsby Yardbirds Club Nov 17 Liverpool Phase 1 Nov 18 Keighley Studio 5 Nov 19 Lincoln Blues, Rhythm & Rock Festival Nov 20 Kinross Green Hotel Nov 21 Edinburgh Bannerman’s Bar Nov 22 RAGING SPEEDHORN, EARTHTONE9 London Tufnell Park Dome Dec 10 THE RAVEN AGE Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill Dec 9 Manchester Rebellion Dec 10 Leeds Key Club Dec 11 Glasgow Attic Dec 12 Newcastle The Cluny Dec 13 Bristol The Exchange Dec 15 Brighton Green Door Store Dec 16 London Camden Lock Powerhaus Dec 17 RHINO’S REVENGE Chesterfield Real Time Live Jan 14 Sheffield Academy Jan 15 Skegness Great British Rock & Blues Festival Jan 16 Barnoldswick Music & Arts Centre Jan 17 Henley-on-Thames Crooked Billet Jan 18 Blackpool Waterloo Music Bar Jan 20 Kinross Green Hotel Jan 21 Birmingham Asylum Jan 22 Minehead Giants Of Rock Festival Jan 23 Winchester Railway Inn Jan 28 Horsham REC Rooms Jan 29 Peterborough Met Lounge Jan 30 HENRY ROLLINS (SPOKEN WORD) Bexhill-on-Sea De La Warr Pavilion Feb 18 Buxton Opera House Feb 19 London Palladium Feb 20 Cardiff Tramshed Feb 21 Bath Komedia Feb 22 Whitley Bay Playhouse Feb 23 Nottingham Albert Hall Feb 24 Cambridge Corn Exchange Feb 25 Birmingham Town Hall Feb 26 Liverpool Grand Central Hall Feb 27 Manchester Bridgewater Hall Feb 28 Recommended SAXON, DIAMOND HEAD Glasgow Barrowland Jan 27 Manchester Apollo Jan 28 London Hammersmith Apollo Jan 29 SEPULTURA, SACRED REICH, CROWBAR Glasgow QMU Nov 1 Manchester The Ritz Nov 2 Dublin Academy Nov 3 Wolverhampton KK’s Steelmill Nov 4 London Camden Electric Ballroom Nov 5 JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR Liverpool Arts Club Nov 9 Leeds Warehouse Nov 10 Oxford Academy Nov 12 London King’s Cross Lafayette Nov 14 Bristol The Fleece Nov 16 Nottingham Glee Club Nov 17 Swansea Sin City Nov 19 Birmingham The Mill Nov 18 EARL SLICK BAND Manchester Night People Nov 9 Kinross Green Hotel Nov 10 Norwich Brickmakers Nov 12 Hull Wrecking Ball Arts Centre Nov 13 Newcastle Cluny 2 Nov 14 Glasgow Mono Nov 15 Edinburgh Voodoo Room Nov 16 Gravesend Red Lion Nov 18 London Putney Half Moon Nov 19 Pudsey Old Woollen Nov 20 Reading Purple Turtle Nov 21 SCOTT STAPP Leeds Warehouse Feb 10 Birmingham The Mill Feb 11 London Islington Academy Feb 12 STEREOPHONICS Cardiff Principality Stadium Dec 18 London O2 Arena Apr 1 STONE BROKEN, PHIL X & THE DRILLS, THE FALLEN STATE Manchester Academy 2 Jan 23 Newcastle Riverside Jan 24 Glasgow Garage Jan 25 London Camden Electric Ballroom Jan 27 Exeter Phoenix Arts Centre Jan 28 Bristol SWX Jan 29 Cardiff Y Plas Jan 30 Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms Feb 1 Brighton Chalk Feb 2 Norwich Waterfront Feb 3 Birmingham Institute Feb 4 STRANGLERS Lincoln Engine Shed Jan 25 Aberdeen Music Hall Jan 27 Glasgow Academy Jan 28, 29 Stoke-on-Trent Victoria Hall Jan 31 Norwich UEA Feb 1 Guildford G Live Feb 3 London Brixton Academy Feb 4, 5 Warrington Parr Hall Feb 7 Nottingham Rock City Feb 8 Cardiff Great Hall Feb 10 Manchester Apollo Feb 11 Leeds Academy Feb 12 Portsmouth Guildhall Feb 14 Southend-on-Sea Cliffs Pavilion Feb 15 Brighton Dome Feb 17 Newcastle City Hall Feb 18 Birmingham Academy Feb 19 Bristol Academy Feb 21 Reading Hexagon Feb 22 Sheffield City Hall Feb 24 Leicester De Montfort Hall Feb 25 Cambridge Corn Exchange Feb 26 STRAY Wavendon The Stables Nov 21 SUPERGRASS, ASH London Brixton Academy Dec 20 SUPERSUCKERS London Oxford Street 100 Club Mar 20 York Crescent Community Centre Mar 21 Glasgow Broadcast Mar 22 Blackpool Waterloo Music Bar Mar 24 Newcastle The Cluny Mar 25 SWEET Brighton Chalk Nov 25 Southampton 1865 Nov 26 Frome Cheese & Grain Nov 27 London Islington Assembly Hall Nov 28 Birmingham Town Hall Dec 2 Shrewsbury Buttermarket Dec 3 Bexhill-on-Sea De La Warr Pavilion Dec 4 Norwich Waterfront Dec 5 Newcastle Boiler Shop Dec 8 Glasgow Garage Dec 9 Edinburgh Queen’s Hall Dec 10 Holmfirth Picturedrome Dec 11 Cardiff University Dec 17 Manchester Academy Dec 18 Nottingham Rock City Dec 19 Bury St Edmunds Apex Dec 20 THERAPY? Dublin Olympia Feb 4 Belfast Limelight Feb 5 THUNDER Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill Dec 17 Glasgow Clyde Auditorium May 21 Leeds First Direct Arena May 22 Cardiff Motorpoint Arena May 26 Birmingham Resorts World Arena May 27 London Wembley Arena May 28 WALTER TROUT, DANIEL NICOLE Gateshead The Sage Jan 12 Edinburgh Blues Club Jan 13 Holmfirth Picturedome Jan 14 Skegness Great British Rock & Blues Festival Jan 15 Buxton Opera House Jan 16 Bury St Edmunds Apex Art Centre Jan 18 London Islington Assembly Jan 19 Brighton Concorde 2 Jan 20 Frome Cheese & Grain Jan 21 Minehead Giants Of Rock Festival Jan 22 MARTIN TURNER EX-WISHBONE ASH Lytham St Annes Lowther Pavilion Nov 10 Derby Flowerpot Nov 11 Looe Rhythm & Rock Festival Dec 3 Dartmouth The Flavel Dec 4 Cardiff The Globe Dec 5 Glasgow The Ferry Dec 8 Kinross Green Hotel Dec 9 … HENRY ROLLINS If you think spoken-word gigs are not for you, get down to one of this guy’s and you’ll very likely change your mind. See below for dates. Currently February 18 to 28. Newcastle Cluny 2 Dec 10 Selby Town Hall Dec 11 Maidenhead Norden Farm Centre Dec 16 Swindon Level III Dec 17 Tavistock The Wharf Mar 25 Torquay Foundry Mar 26 Nuneaton Queens Hall Apr 1 Hull Wrecking Ball Arts Centre Apr 2 Twickenham Eel Pie Club Apr 7 Havant The Spring Apr 9 Worcester Huntingdon Hall Apr 10 London Chelsea Under The Bridge Apr 22 Sheffield The Greystones Apr 16 Bilston Robin 2 Apr 17 Fletching Trading Boundaries Apr 22 RICK WAKEMAN’S EVEN GRUMPIER CHRISTMAS SHOW Basingstoke The Anvil Nov 28 Leicester De Montfort Hall Dec 1 Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion Dec 3 High Wycombe The Swan Dec 4 Dorking Dorking Halls Dec 5 Cambridge Corn Exchange Dec 6 Birmingham Town Hall Dec 9 Southampton Central Hall Dec 11 Salisbury City Hall Dec 12 Southend-on-Sea Palace Theatre Dec 14 Manchester Bridgewater Hall Dec 15 Gateshead The Sage Dec 16 Middlesbrough Town Hall Dec 17 Edinburgh Queen’s Hall Dec 18 Bradford St George’s Hall Dec 20 Hull City Hall Dec 21 WAYWARD SONS Manchester Academy 3 Nov 9 Glasgow Cathouse Nov 10 Newcastle Riverside Nov 11 Leeds Wardrobe Nov 13 Nottingham Rescue Rooms Nov 14 Bristol Thekla Nov 15 London Islington Academy Nov 17 Wolverhampton KK’s Steel Mill Nov 18 THE WILDHEARTS South Shields Hedworth Hall Nov 11 Inverness Monsterfest Nov 12 DAMIAN WILSON & ADAM WAKEMAN Cardiff Acapela Studio Nov 19 Ardly MFMF Nov 20 Helmdon Church Nov 21 Bury St Edmunds Hunter Club Nov 25 Cranleigh Arts Centre Nov 27 Fletching Trading Boundaries Dec 22 Kirton-in-Lindsey Town Hall Dec 23 WISHBONE ASH Wavendon The Stables Nov 9 Shoreham-by-Sea Ropetackle Arts Centre Nov 10 Southampton The Brook Nov 11 Wimborne Tivoli Nov 12 Honiton The Beehive Nov 13 Frome Cheese & Grain Nov 14 Harpenden Eric Morecambe Centre Nov 17 London Islington Academy Nov 18 Bilston Robin 2 Nov 19 Leicester Y Theatre Nov 20 RECOMMENDS Festivals CALL OF THE WILD FESTIVAL MASSIVE WAGONS, THE TREATMENT, RECKLESS LOVE, MORE Lincolnshire Showground May 19-22 CAMBRIDGE ROCK FESTIVAL ELECTRIC STRAWBS, FOCUS, CATS IN SPACE, MORE Peterborough East Of England Showground Jun 16-19 DESERTFEST ELECTRIC WIZARD, SHELLAC, WITCHCRAFT, MORE London Camden various venues Apr 21-May 1 GIANTS OF ROCK FESTIVAL FM, NAZARETH, TEN YEARS AFTER, MORE Minehead Butlins Jan 21-24 HARD ROCK HELL BLUES WILKO JOHNSON, BERNIE MARSDEN, QUIREBOYS, MORE Sheffield Academy Apr 9, 10 HARD ROCK HELL NEW WAVE OF CLASSIC ROCK MASSIVE WAGONS, WAYWARD SONS, BAD TOUCH, MORE Leicester Academy Jan 22, 23 HARD ROCK HELL PROG TANGERINE DREAM, STEELEYE SPAN, SPOCK’S BEARD, MORE Great Yarmouth Vauxhall Holiday Park Mar 17-20 HARD ROCK HELL VIKINGS ENISFERIUM, WARKINGS, THYRFING, MORE Sheffield Academy Dec 4, 5 LEEDS BLUES, RHYTHM & ROCK FESTIVAL DR FEELGOOD, KRIS BARRAS, FÉLIX RABIN, MORE Leeds Brudenell Social Club Feb 22 LOOE BLUES FESTIVAL AYNSLEY LISTER, MARTIN TURNER, THE BLOCKHEADS, MORE Looe Tencreek Holiday Park Dec 3-5 MONSTER FEST FM, THE WILDHEARTS, MARCO MENDOZA, MORE Inverness Ironworks Nov 12-15 SOUNDBAY FESTIVAL MASSIVE WAGONS, TOBY JEPSON, BAD TOUCH, MORE Swansea Patti Pavilion Mar 25-27 WINTERSTORM FESTIVAL HARDLINE, ALKATRAZZ, INGLORIOUS, MORE Troon Concert Hall Nov 26, 27 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 97

And then there were three. Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks deliver in typically dramatic style. ‘Genesis are leaving the stage with grace and good humour.’ Genesis Manchester AO Arena Still turning it on, again. He might hobble on stage with a walking stick and perform his vocals while sitting down nowadays, but Phil Collins has lost none of his populist skills as a crowd-pleasing showman. Just a few numbers into the latest – and almost certainly last – Genesis reunion tour, the unsettling oddness of watching a rock frontman performing seated is soon forgotten as Collins has the Manchester Arena audience in the palm of his hand like a seasoned music-hall comedian. Despite no longer being able to drum, due to spinal injury and other health problems, the 70-year-old is in genial mood, hamming up his physical limitations as farce rather than tragedy. Behind the drum kit, his 20-year-old son Nicholas plays with impressive power and precision, lending this farewell tour a big-hearted family vibe. It was easy to hate Genesis in their Armani-clad, rolled-up-sleeves, mullet-haired 80s pomp, when they seemed both inescapably huge and insufferably bland. Shortly before Collins left to pursue his solo career, his easy-listening soul-pop formula came to dominate the band’s sound. But this show is a pleasing reminder of how many enjoyably weird and surprisingly potent numbers lurked between the anodyne MTV anthems. A roaring, crashing Afterglow explodes with glorious glam-rock melodrama, while Mama becomes a gothic trip-hop throbber as Collins turns on his acting skills, his snarling, menacinglooking face bathed in red light. Even the wretched I Can’t Dance packs a real wallop as Mike Rutherford pumps out its bluesy guitar riff with an agreeably gnarly ZZ Top rawness. Even back in their proggy heyday, Genesis were always masters of high-tech theatrical razzle-dazzle. This tour keeps that tradition alive with long-time collaborator Patrick Woodroffe’s dynamic modular lighting rig, which dances above the stage, arching and bending and tilting at sharp angles throughout the show. A giant hi-res video screen also provides strong backup, blending real-time performance footage with newly filmed, CGI-heavy material. Tellingly, the strongest visuals mostly accompany the weakest songs. Land Of Confusion, for example, which features surreal pandemic-era imagery of masked businessmen and toilet rolls. Or House By The Sea, which unfolds beneath incongruous horror-movie graphics more suited to an Iron Maiden show. As on previous Collins-fronted tours, fans of the band’s 70s Peter Gabriel period mostly have to content themselves with instrumental medleys and brief throwback sections. The best of these blends the Selling England By The Pound songs Firth Of Fifth and I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) into a baroque mini-symphony of manic jazz-fusion and psych-punk excess. That said, Collins does tackle a handful of Gabriel lyrics, lending The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway a husky, rueful, unplugged feel and Dancing With The Moonlit Knight a wistful nostalgia. Supported subtly by backing vocalists for the first time, Collins has clearly lost some of his former power and range. But this mostly gives his voice a grainy, soulful quality well suited to the more poignant numbers. Fading Lights (written 30 years ago to mark the singer’s initial departure from Genesis) acquires an extra layer of autumnal melancholy, while Throwing It All Away, ostensibly about a dying relationship, also resonates on a deeper level as an elegy for a band taking one last victory lap before retirement. That question mark at the end of the tour title The Last Domino?, speaks of magical optimism, or maybe just hard-nosed commerce. But it is pretty clear that Collins will not be doing this again. Love them or hate them, Genesis are leaving the stage with grace and good humour. Stephen Dalton GETTY 98 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

Patti Smith London Royal Albert Hall ‘There are covers, but the real heat hisses off her own landmarks.’ REVIEWS Pandemic-delayed gig intoxicates and levitates. It was worth the wait. Patti Smith’s Albert Hall debut takes the glazed-iron roof off. The disparate elements of her set – ferocious garage rock, punk, reggae, poetry, ballads – are fused into a herculean whole by her evergreen on-stage charisma. Her lifelong belief that rock can be transformative, intelligent and visceral is vindicated. A Smith show is a sea of possibilities. Even hardened fans concur that tonight was an extraordinary release, the priestess at her most potent. After she’s roared in with a recitation of Piss Factory, Lenny Kaye and the band liberate Free Money. From here we’ve won the lottery. Redondo Beach is dedicated to Lee Scratch Perry; My Blakean Year, oddly, to Ralph Fiennes. There are Stevie Wonder, Dylan and Stones covers, but the real heat hisses off her own landmarks: Dancing Barefoot, Pissing In A River, a mesmeric Ain’t It Strange. Between testifying about hope, nature and the human spirit, upon picking up a guitar she chuckles: “My hand’s frozen. I’m nervous!” Her daughter, who’s in the band, as is her son, reassures her that just means she’s excited. Through the inevitable thrilling, tumbling, adrenalised climax of Land and Gloria – still the greatest 10 or 12 minutes of live music in the world – we all are. Smith is now dancing like a 22-year-old. Coming in in all directions. Chris Roberts Patti Smith: possessing an evergreen on-stage charisma. GETTY Skindred London The Roundhouse That’s entertainment. They come on stage to the sound of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck and The Imperial March from Star Wars, and already the packed audience is in a state of excitement. Some bands would find such an introduction difficult to follow, but Skindred take it in their stride, racing into Stand For Something. Frontman Benji Webbe has always been a natural on stage, and the lengthy enforced absence from playing live has given him an extra frisson. He’s a master communicator. The 70-minute set blazes along, with the high velocity reined in only for the acoustic and contemplative Saying It Now, with Webbe proving he has a magnificently emotive voice, accompanied by Mikey Demus playing some delicate guitar. Just to add an extra dimension to the whole notion of audience participation, the band get a member of the audience up on stage to take part in the Skindred Sandwich Challenge – the aim is to eat a whole sarnie in under 30 seconds to win a prize. It’s reminiscent of a 1950s holiday camp jape and is gloriously bonkers (the fan fails the challenge, by the way). A cover of Slipknot’s Duality leads into the manic finale Warning, complete with the inevitable Newport Helicopter, which prompts T-shirts whirled above heads in the audience. Skindred exit to the recorded strains of Nobody Does It Better – an appropriate choice for an incredible night. Malcolm Dome An Evening With Bruce Dickinson Birmingham The Alexandra Iron Maiden frontman takes a stroll down memory lane. “I was sat in the dressing room at six-thirty when I found out I’d got covid.” It isn’t history repeating, but Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson reminiscing on the circumstances that caused him to cancel the final dates of his spoken-word UK tour just as doors were reopening in Birmingham back in August. “Tonight you can cough, sneeze, spit at me all you like – I’ve not got anywhere to be tomorrow!” he says, grinning, setting the tone for a relaxed bout of storytelling that covers everything from his birth and public school education to life in music, his battle with cancer, and which Right Said Fred hit was the best. No cow is too sacred as Dickinson applies a cheeky humour that toes the line of bawdiness but never strays into spite. Amid the zingers arise prevailing themes of rebelliousness, perseverance and earnestness best summed up when, during the show’s Q&A segment, a fan asks: “When you were diagnosed with cancer, did you have negative thoughts?” Dickinson considers for a moment, then responds quite simply: “Yes, but life is better than all other options.” Like it or not, Dickinson doesn’t trade in universalities. His perspectives are entirely his own, the result of experience and a resolute personality that has made him one of metal’s most iconic and fascinating figures. Rich Hobson Caravan Basingstoke Haymarket The classic Canterbury band, rebooted. There’s a photo on Caravan’s Facebook page, taken by drummer Mark Walker, that looks out from behind his kit while playing on stage tonight. The long-standing (but only one of them original) members of the band – Jan Schelhaas, Pye Hastings and Geoffrey Richardson – face the audience, cracking on with business. Then there’s the elated face of Lee Pomeroy, Caravan’s new bass-player and friend of Walker, grinning away with a thumbs up to his pal, having the time of his life. This is the story of the night as Caravan play the first date of their tour – new life from new members giving this quintessential Canterbury band (and their audience) a huge boost. The set-list is a gratifying mix of Caravan standards, heavy on their career-peak ’71 album In The Land Of Grey And Pink, including long-time fan favourite Winter Wine, plus numbers from new album None Of Your Business that fit in and go over very well. The title track has a spring in its strut, and Wishing You Were Here shows much For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night vigour. It’s the first date of the tour, and there are some tech hiccups (and the band might be a tad underrehearsed; Hastings reads from notes), but the joy from session ace Pomeroy – who’s diligently studied Richard Sinclair’s bass parts – and the effervescent Walker spreads to the rest of the group as they bob around, beam and bounce off one another. Jo Kendall CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 99

Steve Hackett Bexhill-on-Sea De La Warr Pavilion ‘A claim for Hackett being the real keeper of the Genesis flame.’ REVIEWS Former Genesis guitarist faithfully delivers his old band’s classics. With his former bandmates Genesis filling arenas, until covid derailed their reunion and cancelled their London shows, guitarist Steve Hackett plays 31 dates around the UK’s theatres. A short set of solo tunes, including an impressive pair from his latest album Surrender Of Silence, previews the main event: a re-reading of Seconds Out, Genesis’s celebrated double live album from 1977. For the most part, Hackett and his excellent backing band play the tracks faithfully, although we get the full version of The Carpet Crawlers, and a Jazz Club-style segment inserted into I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) causes much mirth. A poignant Firth Of Fifth, featuring Hackett’s signature solo, deserves its standing ovation, and at the appropriate moment during the expansive Supper’s Ready the audience leap to their feet as one to shout: “A flower?!” Nad Sylvan is more than a match for the Peter Gabriel-voiced years, but the towering Swede just can’t summon Phil Collins’s Artful Dodger-style delivery on Robbery, Assault & Battery. In place of Collins and Chester Thompson’s famous drum ‘battle’ during Los Endos, Craig Blundell steps up with a delightful drum solo of his own. Tonight’s performance submits a strong claim for Hackett being the real keeper of the Genesis flame. Dave Ling Steve Hackett: all the right notes in all the right places. Hawklords Hastings The Carlisle Nick Cave & Warren Ellis Brighton Dome Blaze Bayley London Camden Underworld AVALON Not Hawkwind, but in the same orbit. Tonight the Hawklords want to take us back to 1975. The Carlisle, which looks like it last saw a lick of paint in that same year, is the perfect location for such a time trip. And we mean that in an affectionate way. Formed in 1978, when to all intents and purposes Hawkwind looked dead, and rebooted in 2008, Hawklords have called upon a succession of familiar faces to accompany them on their explorations (the quartet’s latest line-up includes three with connections to Hawkwind), although more importantly they’ve released a succession of excellent space-rock operas. Following two decades with Dave Brock and company, first as a roadie and then bassist and frontman, Mr Dibs was beamed down too late for current album, Time, but after just two gigs with the band the chemistry seems very strong indeed. Despite the quality of original material such as Speed Of Sound, SR 71 and Devil In Your Head, Hawklords are easing Dibs in gently, hence they play a little more Hawkwind-related material than usual. But tonight’s audience certainly isn’t complaining about the inclusion of Robot, You Shouldn’t Do That, Master Of The Universe or Psi Power. Hawklords plan to release a new album, with input from Dibs, for their spring 2022 UK tour. To dismiss them simply as a ‘mini-me’ Hawkwind would be a grave error. Dave Ling From the air-punchingly powerful to the emotionally almost unbearable. Most of tonight’s set comprises songs from Carnage, the album Cave and Ellis created during lockdown, and 2019’s Ghosteen, the album Cave recorded following the death of his teenage son Arthur. The mood is haunting: sepulchral and undeniably haunted in places, with three gospel singers layering devotional support, but perhaps surprisingly chaotic and even wickedly evil in others as Cave strives to embrace and move forward from the recent past. The audience is up and out of their seats, punching the air to the profane gospel of Hand Of God, first encore Hollywood (a modern-day Mercy Seat), and the tumultuous Carnage with multi-instrumentalist Johnny Hostile adding pure oomph to the seated beatific Ellis’s deprecating air-kicks, as Cave proves he still knows how to fucking wail. And the set closer, the darkly humorous Balcony Man, is a pure joy, with Cave fully relaxed by now and goading those in the balcony to scream every time the word “balcony’ is spat out in-song, which they do with gusto. Lavender Fields (from Carnage) and Bright Horses (Ghosteen), on the other hand, are almost unbearable in their plaintive call-and-response refrains, the latter with Cave imagining his son (‘my baby’) is ‘coming home now on the five-thirty train’. A very moving evening. Everett True Ex-Iron Maiden frontman serves it up for the faithful. It’s more than 30 years since singer Blaze Bayley exploded out of Tamworth in a fireball of attitude and chest hair, but his defiance remains undimmed. “They said I could not sing,” he says tonight, introducing Pull Yourself Up, an anthem of self-empowerment from his latest solo album The War Within. “So sing with me.” Naturally the floorful of fellow heavy metal lifers in front of him oblige. Bayley’s journey from livewire frontman with Wolfsbane to undeserved whipping boy for Iron Maiden’s least-loved period has come full circle. He may be sturdier and balder these days, but his 1,000- watt charisma is still set on full-beam, whether he’s barrelling his way through solo numbers such as War Within Me and the aptly titled The Man Who Would Not Die, or relating the tale of the time one of his shows was stopped by a massive earthquake. There are no earthquakes here tonight, but there is a lot of love from the audience. While his solo material is sturdy, it’s naturally the Maiden songs he plays that go down best: Virus plus the closing onetwo of Man On The Edge and Falling Down. And they’re way better here than they ever were in their ill-fated studio incarnations, all bullish belligerence from a man reclaiming his own past. After everything Blaze Bayley has been through, he deserves that, at the very least. Dave Everley CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM 101

The Soundtrack Of My Life Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie on the records, artists and gigs that are of lasting significance to him. Interview: Ian Fortnam Having just finished writing his autobiography, Tenement Kid, Bobby Gillespie has spent the past few months considering the formative musical moments that shaped the man and the musician that he became. “As a kid, stuff’s always going in,” says the Primal Scream vocalist. “It may not seem to have any significance, but you’re always hearing it: when you’re out on your bike, playing football with your pals, climbing walls or pretending you’re in World War II. Music was a huge part of the ambience of life, and I guess that some of it sunk in.” THE FIRST MUSIC I REMEMBER HEARING My parents’ records. My dad used to play Ray Charles’s Greatest Hits Volume 2, and my mum Hank Williams’ Moanin’ The Blues. They also had The Supremes’ Greatest Hits and Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits. So all those plus pop radio: The Move, The Troggs, the 1910 Fruitgum Company. It all comes out in Primal Scream at various points. When you’re young you take this stuff on board as if by osmosis. THE FIRST SONG I PERFORMED LIVE Sixteen by The Buzzcocks at the Bungalow Bar, Paisley in 1981. Jim Beattie and myself played one song. We’d a drum machine, Jim played bass and I played guitar. And there was no one there. Literally. THE BEST RECORD I MADE Give Out But Don’t Give Up. The original Memphis recordings produced by Tom Dowd. The songwriting, musicianship, production… And the intention behind us going to Memphis to record with the Muscle Shoals rhythm section and Memphis Horns. I’m very proud of that record. THE WORST RECORD I MADE Crystal Crescent. The second single. I asked [label boss] Alan McGee not to release it. In my head it was like we recorded it too fast, didn’t take time to produce or arrange it, and just got this rush of energy – which is probably why some people liked it. But I knew it wasn’t right; too stuttering, too fast. Luckily everybody fell in love with its B-side [Velocity Girl] and forgot about it. THE GUITAR HERO Keith Levene of Public Image Limited and John McKay of Siouxsie And The Banshees who, between them, reinvented rock guitar playing. THE SINGER There are so many. It’s a very wide-ranging question. I love Keith Hudson. He’s not what people would normally call a singer, but I love his voice: strident, “If you don’t dig the MC5, you don’t dig rock’n’roll.” hard, dense, obscure, abstract. I love soulful rock singers like Paul Rodgers, Gillan. And Phil Lynott, a hard rock singer who could sing you into bed. Peter Tosh: militant, righteous. OV Wright, Bobby Blue Bland. Male voices, men who’ve lived, suffered, been wronged; hard lives, real blues. THE GREATEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME Jailbreak by Thin Lizzy. It’s half hard rock (Jailbreak, Warriors, Emerald) and half ballads (Running Back, Fight Or Fall, Romeo And The Lonely Girl). Then you’ve got The Cowboy Song which is half ballad, half rocker. It’s a great mix of stuff. Phil Lynott tried to replicate that on every Lizzy album after and it was really hard, because it’d come so naturally. Phil brought a poetic, romantic sensibility to rock. That’s why people loved and still love him. That record hit me at just the right time. I was fifteen and The Boys Are Back In Town was fucking everywhere. THE MOST UNDERRATED BAND EVER Foxygen were a really brilliant band who played one of the best gigs I’ve seen this century. They had an album called …And Star Power that was fucking brilliant. They made about four albums and then disappeared. THE BEST LIVE BAND I’VE SEEN I always wanted to see the Sensational Alex Harvey Band play, but was too young. Then when I was eighteen I saw him on The Mafia Stole My Guitar tour. He played a gig at the Glasgow Apollo and there was no one there. Four years earlier he’d done three nights at the Apollo for Christmas, sold out, and here he was, in his home town, playing one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen, to a near-empty hall. THE BAND I WISH I’D SEEN MC5. My godhead band. Their music represents everything for me: rock, pop, drugs, sex, they’re the prefect looking band. Again, they’re too good for the straights to ever get them. If you don’t dig the MC5, you don’t dig rock’n’oll. THE SONG I WISH I’D WRITTEN Warren Zevon’s Hasten Down The Wind. It’s about the true pain of two people knowing their relationship is ending but not knowing how to end it. It’s not a song of certainties, it’s two people trapped in a quicksand of dying love; an observation of human frailty, pain, need and longing, and a fantastic love song. MY SATURDAY NIGHT/PARTY SONG Sister Ann by MC5. Up against the wall, motherfucker. THE SONG I WANT PLAYED AT MY FUNERAL There’s a couple, but if I say them, somebody might nick them. Okay, the first is a make-’em-cry song: I Feel Like Going Home by Charlie Rich. The other one, for after, is a make-’em-laugh song, but I’m not going to tell you what that is. Get them laughing as well as crying, duality’s always good. Tenement Kid is available now, published by Orion. BOBBY: SARAH PIANTADOSI/PRESS; MC5: GETTY 106 CLASSICROCKMAGAZINE.COM

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