Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Hi everyone, yup, we're back again with more of the great and the good from Rock's "Where Are They Now?" files.
My many thanks for all your comments and your good wishes during my recent illness. That bastard bug more or less wiped me out for the best part of three weeks, but i'm feeling much better now thanks very much.
Shall we get on with the music then?
We're all over the globe tonight with entries from the UK, the USA and to start with, Belgium.
WARHEAD were a four piece Heavy/Speed Metal band from Belgium formed in 1983, and signed to the Mausoleum label. They released two albums, "Speedway", in 1985, and "The Day After", in 1986. Musically, they specialised in speed metal in the vein of early RUNNING WILD and LIVING DEATH. The music is wickedly infectious, and the songs barrel along at a fair old pace. Perfect mid-'80's budget production values deliver a ragged guitar tone of doom whilst the singer, (Patrick "The Beast" Van Londerzele, formerly of CROSSFIRE), screams for mercy in what sounds like a huge cave. Awesome stuff! Guitarist Didier "Wall Of Sound" Kapelle went on to join thrashers CYCLONE in the late 1980's, whilst vocalist Patrick "The Beast" Van Londerzele worked with DRAGORLAD, appearing on their "On The Moonless Nights" Demo and their "Incantations" album.

WARHEAD - Speedway (1985) Belgium


Next, a NWoBHM influenced quintet from Brooklyn, New York, ARMED FORCES were originally formed in 1980 and went through the usual phase of having to play covers, in this instance songs by JUDAS PRIEST and IRON MAIDEN, in order to get the gigs and pay the bills.
By the time the band recorded their debut offering, the 1984 mini LP 'Let There Be Metal', lead guitarist Michael Manne was the only original member of the band. Whilst the band's demos had publications such as Britain's 'Metal Forces' magazine proclaiming the band to be the future of Metal, the actual record once released turned out to be a rather muted affair, with the production shaving too many of the bands rough edges off. By 1985 the band had undergone severe series of line-up changes and, almost overnight, changed their image too, going with a "Road Warrior"/ROGUE MALE/Post-apocalyptic look, much to the horror of some of their strongest supporters, with only Manne and Tetro remaining from the band that recorded the mini album. Joining the revamped line up came vocalist Kevin Burns, guitarist Billy 'Flash' Blakk and drummer Dante 'Madman' Renzi. It was with this line-up that the New Yorkers shortened their name to ARMED FORCE and signed to the Iron Works/Azra label for the release of the 1986 'Heavy Artillery' album, and the octagonal (!) "Heavy Artillery" 7". Although the muted reception to the album caused the band to split soon after, some ex-members went on to further prominence. By 1988 Dante Renzi had linked up with N.R.G. vocalist Les Brown and ex BLACK LACE members Carl and Anthony Fragnito to form DAMN CHEETAH. Renzi's later bands included GREEN DEVIL INDUSTRY and by 2000 the Nu-Metal crew REACH. Tommy Bolan later joined German Heavy Metal outfit WARLOCK.

ARMED FORCE - Heavy Artillery (1986) USA


Short lived Birmingham melodic NWOBHM group SURFACE first demoed in 1985 with a four song tape recorded at UB40's studio. The band hardly gigged, allowing time for drummer Jamie Hawkins to divide his duties with fellow Birmingham act THE STARFIGHTERS. Surface only recorded one record, the live "Race The Night" album, that was eventually released in 1985 through the Killerwatt Records label. Two years later, the album was re-released as "Beneath The Surface", on the JCI label, but by that time the band was disintegrating. Nowadays the original and the repressing are both pretty hard to find, so enjoy this very listenable rip of a very listenable little album that didn't deserve to languish in such obscurity.

SURFACE - Race The Night (1985) UK


The Rochester, New York based act UNCLE SAM enjoyed the majority of their fame thanks to the release of their debut album 'Heaven Or Hollywood' in 1988. Actually, if truth be told, it wasn't so much the record but the album cover that attracted attention to the group formed by guitar playing milkman Larry Miller. The cover depicted a razor handed, naked unidentified female seemingly about to transform a certain part of her anatomy into what's known in the trade as a "shaven haven". The band had formed earlier as Garage Rock act THE ATTICS. When original drummer Tom Shippers left the fold to join IMMACULATE MARY, the band pulled in drummer Glenn 'G. Avery' Brisk and switched titles to UNCLE SAM. The line-up of the group that recorded the first album was completed by vocalist Scott Cessna and bassist David Gentner.
UNCLE SAM grabbed tons of coverage in the likes of 'Kerrang!' with the debut, leading to a European deal with, ironically enough, Razor Records. The first album certainly made an impact, going on to sell over 10,000 copies. Touring saw Ron K. taking the drum role before Jeff Mann made the position more permanent. In April 1989 Cessna was reported to have quit and was replaced on lead vocals by bassist David Gentner. Gentner's brother, Bill Purol, was enlisted to fill his shoes in the four string position. UNCLE SAM's next release was the 7" single 'Whiskey Slick', the B side of which featured a cover version of LINK WRAY's 'Rumble'. Their second album 'Letters From London', was another big success in the UK, and would have charted, but for the fact that their label , Skeller Records, had forgotten to put a bar code on the sleeve, making the sales ineligible for inclusion on the album charts. This was probably the most accomplished of the bands releases combining their Hard Rock, Garage, Metal and Punk influences perfectly. A third album, 'Fourteen Women...Fifteen Days', issued through London based Communique Records, was based upon the exploits of infamous Rochester serial killer Arthur Shawcross, but did not emerge until after the band's demise in 1993. Gentner went on to form THE VEINS, re-recording UNCLE SAM's 'Fallout Shelter' from their last album. No relation to the AOR/Pomp Rock band of the same name who released an album called "America America" in 1985.

UNCLE SAM - Letters From London (1990) USA


Anyway, that's your lot for tonight, hope you enjoy this weeks selection and i'll catch you all back here in approximately seven days or so. Let's be careful out there people! ;)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Folks, i'm feeling like crap tonight as i've been struck down by the lurghi, so i'll skip the usual preamble and just let the music do the talking if i may.
Normal wordy service should return next week after i shake this damned cold.
Up first, Bristol based band JAGUAR elevated themselves to NWoBHM notoriety with their 'Axe Crazy' 7" on Neat Records in 1982, although the band was actually formed as far back as December 1979. With frontman Bob Reiss in tow, the group demoed and entered a 'Battle Of The Bands' contest coming fourth, and a further demo followed at the end of 1980.
It was from the second demo that JAGUAR secured the track 'Stormchild' on the 1981 Heavy Metal Records compilation album 'Heavy Metal Heroes' and Heavy Metal followed this up with the 'Back Street Woman' single, which went on to sell over 4000 copies. However, JAGUAR fell out with Heavy Metal over re-pressing the single and, as well as losing their record company, JAGUAR lost their vocalist when Reiss left the band in early 1982. Former HELLRAIZER and STORMTROOPER singer Paul Merrill was recruited, and JAGUAR set off for Holland to headline a Dutch Rock festival. Neat Records mentor Dave Wood was in attendance and offered the band a deal, which they promptly took. The resulting debut Neat single, 'Axe Crazy', was a huge underground hit, being Neat's best selling single to date, and was much in demand on the American Heavy Metal circuit. JAGUAR promptly toured in Britain supporting the likes of STAMPEDE, THE RODS and THE STARFIGHTERS before going in to record their debut album, 'Power Games', in November 1982. By this time they had lost drummer Les Foster to TOK-IO ROSE. Career prospects looked promising for the band as the album garnered enthusiastic praise from the media and the band hooked up with Greybray Management, handling MOTORHEAD and GIRLSCHOOL at the time, in 1984. They managed to blow all that early promise with the neutered and over polished second album, "This Time". Remember them this way instead, young, hungry, heavy and (axe) crazy. This is the remastered Metal Blade cd reissue from a few years back, with three bonus tracks, more (head) bang for your buck!

JAGUAR - Power Games (1982) UK


SHAFTSBURY were a UK Hard Rock trio with progressive influences who formed in the early 1970's but didn't debut until 1979 with an album on the OK Records label. The album, "Lull Before The Storm" was a quasi-concept piece based on the shipwreck of Captain Lane in 1803. Containing 6 excellent songs, it reaches an ambitious climax with the masterful 13 minute long title track. Very scarce nowadays, it's daunting asking price continues to rise as the record's reputation grows. In 1981 the band released their second album, "We Are The Boys", which reigned in much of the bands Prog influences and featured shorter, harder, more direct songs. Unfortunately this seemed only to alienate the bands fan base without finding much favour elsewhere. Sadly, this appears to have been the band's swansong, as no further sightings of Shaftsbury have been reported since.

SHAFTSBURY - The Lull Before The Storm (1979) UK


DUMPY'S RUSTY NUTS were an infamous London based band formed in 1981 by ardent biker "Dumpy" Dunnell, a character who had previously been a member of THE RIVVITS. Renowned over the years for their many appearances at biker festivals, the group was originally titled DUMPY'S DIRT BAND and the transition to DUMPY'S RUSTY NUTS came in 1981 when the frontman was joined by Mac McKenzie on bass and drummer Chris Hussey, both previously members of NUTHIN' FANCY. Unbelievably the band had to change its name to DUMPY'S RUSTY BOLTS to secure airplay for the debut 1982 'Just For Kicks' single when DJ's deemed the original band name too lewd. Sometime afterwards, Mac McKenzie left to rejoin NUTHIN' FANCY (much later ending up as manager of THUNDER) and was replaced by Jeff Brown, although he lasted for only a short period of time before making way in 1983 for Kerry Langford.
The band suffered a severe setback in 1984 when their record label folded. The advertised 'Rock The Nation' EP never surfaced commercially although mysteriously copies came to light much later. By 1985 the band included former TANK drummer Mark Brabbs, although Brabbs quit after a year and left the fold with Langford in early 1986 and the pair were promptly replaced by bassist Alan Fish and drummer Mick Kirton, both ex-GROUNDHOGS. Fish was also a veteran of NWoBHM band ZORRO, a founder member of TREDEGAR and involved with AUTOLAND COMMAND. The band's line-up remained ever fluid, even at one point seeing bassist Alan Davey and drummer Danny Thompson on temporary leave from HAWKWIND with Fish having departed to form EGYPT. Ex CLOVEN HOOF guitarist Mick Grafton also enlisted for a short stint, whilst yet another bassist, Graham Le Mon, joined in 1987 , the same year that the 'Get Out On The Road' album was issued. The record featured HAWKWIND mainman DAVE BROCK as a guest. Kirton was later to leave to join HAWKWIND. In 1991 the band released a cover version of JO JO GUNNE's 'Run, Run' Run' as a single, but while DUMPYS RUSTY NUTS are still a going concern, no further product has surfaced. Dumpy is also now a sometime member of the venerable psychedelic institution we know as HAWKWIND.

DUMPY'S RUSTY NUTS - Get Out On The Road ! (1987) UK


ZOSER MEZ were a Copenhagen formed Danish Heavy Metal band with pedigree. Guitarist Hank Shermann was a veteran of MERCYFUL FATE and FATE whilst Michael Denner was also ex-MERCYFUL FATE and KING DIAMOND. A 1990 ZOSER MEZ demo tape, 'Vizier Of Wasteland', saw new recruit Kenny Lübcke handling all lead vocals. The 1991 'Vizier Of Wasteland' album, which included a cover version of CAPTAIN BEYOND's 'Mezmerization Eclipse', was recorded at Easy Sound Recording in Copenhagen by the two guitarists plus session musicians and the band line-up only secured following its release. Tracks for a proposed second ZOSER MEZ album were recorded in 1992 for promotion purposes, but never made commercially available. Of the three new songs an instrumental track, 'Land Of Goshen', would be subsequently re-worked to become 'Castillo Del Mortes' on the MERCYFUL FATE album 'Time'. Shermann, Denner and Wiergang reunited in 1997 for the GUTRIX project in collusion with MERCYFUL FATE drummer Bjarne T. Holm for the 'Mushroom Songs' album. Wiergang would subsequently join FURIOUS TRAUMA. Kenny Lübcke featured as session guest on ANDRE ANDERSON's 1999 'Changing Skin' album. During 2000 Shermann activated SHERMANN SOLDIERS, being joined in this venture by MERCYFUL FATE colleague Bjarne T. Holm on drums, ex-NARITA singer Brian Rich and bassist Manil Lopez. Another Shermann band initiated during 2003 witnessed another alliance with MERCYFUL FATE drummer Bjarne T. Holm uniting with KING DIAMOND bassist Hal Patino for demos. This unit, adding IRON FIRE vocalist Martin Steene and another MERCYFUL FATE colleague Michael Denner on second guitar, was dubbed as FORCE OF EVIL. FORCE OF EVIL have recorded two albums to date.

ZOSER MEZ - Vizier Of Wasteland (1991) Denmark


Okay people, enjoy the music and look after yourselves. Laters.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Howdy peoples, it's another round up of rare treats from the Rawk of ages.
I'll be serving up one of those old-school seven part posts this evening, just because i feel like it, not for any special reason, just 'cause i felt like spoiling you lovely people.
Up first tonight, as championed in last weeks comments section by Nightsblood, (and rightly so!), the final album from RIFF RAFF, "Give The Dead Man Some Water".
Finnish band RIFF RAFF were an Oulu based Heavy Metal act formed in 1980. The young group got signed by the Poko label after winning a battle of the bands contest that was recorded and released as an LP, ("Heavy Metal & Live"), in late '81. Two 7" singles followed before the band's debut album, "No Law'n'Order" was released in 1982. From the NWOBHM influenced sounds of the first album the band ultimately headed for a harsher sound. Signing with the Mirror Records label, their next album, "Robot Stud", appeared in late '82. The third album, 1983's "Give The Dead Man Some Water", was one of the rawest and loudest Finnish metal releases back in the day, and has Ms. Kaija Koo on backing vocals who became a best selling female pop star in Finland in the early '90s. Vocalist Immu left Riff Raff after the third album and was replaced by Esa Eloranta (later of GARBO) for a short period of time, but eventually the band faded away without any further releases, despite owing new label Amulet Records another LP. Drummer Esa Palosaari continued playing drums in KIRKA and Albert Järvinen's band, and in 1991 he recorded an album with JACKFLASH where he handled the vocals. Bass player Kessler has also played in FAFF-BEY.

RIFF RAFF - Give The Dead Man Some Water (1983) Finland


Something a little unusual for NILOOB next, the sole 1971 album from Psychedelic/Proto Metal/Hard Rockers, MEGATON. Take off the blinkers, and give it a try, it might just tickle your prostate! So how's it sound then? 1971 Hard Psych with swingin' London exploitation moves, loud, acidy leads, echoing vocals and catchy tunes, originally released on the Decca label. A thrilling, no-holds-barred, Heavy Rock treatment of a clutch of riff-based but fairly commercial Pop tunes, Megaton's sole album has plenty of admirers these days. Megaton was the creative inspiration of Les Humphries (of The Les Humphries Singers, big hit makers in early '70's Germany) and his writing partner/right hand LHS man, Jimmy Bilsbury. Perhaps having the likes of future URIAH HEEP vocalist John Lawton in the midst of the LHS was an inspiration, but whatever, Humphries nose for a commercial opportunity sniffed out the FREE, LED ZEPPELIN Hard Rock/Blues Rock market and he duly delivered. There's some pretty shameless riffs on Zep and other Hard Rockers of the era, and that actually kind of adds the seedy charm.

MEGATON - Megaton (1971) UK


Another item next that i wouldn't normally post here, but i figgered what the hell, maybe someone here will appreciate it. We'll see.
At the peak of their success PEARL JAM managed to persuade their European label that it would be a great wheeze to release their "Dissident" single as 3 separate cds, each containing a third of their recent triumphant show at the legendary Fox Theatre in Atlanta Georgia on April 3rd 1994. Somehow or other, they got Epic to say yes to their request, and thus managed to release a triple live album to their fans for the bargain price of three cd singles! Disc 1 came in a quad-fold digi-pack with space for the other 2 discs which were released separately. Of course the wealth of material on the discs meant that they were totally ineligible for the singles chart, something that Epic didn't appear to realize until it was too late. So here it is then, 22 tracks of live PJ at the height of their powers, still hungry, in front of a sold out adoring audience on the '94 "Vs" tour. As such, they pretty much play everything from the "Ten" & "Vs" albums, with only one song per record omitted from the set, with non-album track "State Of Love & Trust" also getting an airing. A poignant reminder of how awesome the band was in a live setting back in their heyday.

PEARL JAM - Dissident : Live In Atlanta (1994) USA [3-CD]


RAVEN BITCH was a Heavy Metal band with some Thrash influences that was created in 1984 in Janesville Wisconsin, by Greg Kalember and Jim Beam. Through trial and error they managed to pull together a solid line up with Dan Witt on vocals, Jeff Lilly on guitar, Chris Rossitier on Guitar, Greg Kalember on drums and Jim Beam on bass. With this lineup, they managed to record an EP in 1987 called, "Tear Down The Walls." Released on the band's own Bitch Music label, "Tear Down The Walls" sold in very healthy quantities. Distinguished by a fantastically chunky guitar sound and ever-changing time signatures, the EP today sells for big dollars.
Extensive touring burned out guitarist Chris Rossiter and Raven Bitch had to find a new guitar player. Bobbie "Bitch" Schumacher took over the duties as lead guitarist, becoming infamous for his speedy solos and wild stage antics, and taking on "Bobbie Bitch" as his new stage name. The band found themselves opening for big acts like BLUE OYSTER CULT and METALLICA. Personnel problems beset the band with many comings & goings, until, with Greg Kalember being the only original member left, the band eventually called it quits in the early 1990's.
1994 saw the release of a vintage live recording on double cd, entitled "Live: In The True Sense of Reality", which resurrected interest in the band once more. A new Raven Bitch studio album called "Mental Disruption" was issued in 2002, although the only members of the band remaining from their heyday are Bobbie Bitch & Jim Beam.

RAVEN BITCH - Tear Down The Walls EP (1988) USA


CLIENTELLE were a NWOBHM quartet formed as early as 1977 in their home town of Hatfield, Hertfordshire.
Their debut release came in 1979 in the form of a double A-Side 7" coupling "Can't Forget" and Sky Flyer" on the Quest Records label. A full length album, "Destination Unknown", appeared in September 1981 on the Banana Records label. This, in turn was followed by a self released cassette only live album called "Live Takes" in 1983. Following the release of the live cassette, drummer Phil Goodfellow and guitarist Rik Taylor left the band, to be replaced by Terry Cox and Bernie Divine. 1985's three song "1985 Demo", showed the band were still in good form, but this was to be their final release, as they seemed to give up the ghost shortly after the demo's release.

CLIENTELLE - 1985 Demo (1985) UK


"Orange Goblin/Alabama Thunderpussy" is a split 7" by London, England's ORANGE GOBLIN and Richmond, Virginia, USA's ALABAMA THUNDERPUSSY released on Eccentric Man Records in 2000. Both bands contribute a cover version of a 70s hard rock/proto metal band. Orange Goblin cover LEAFHOUND's "Freelance Fiend", while Alabama Thunderpussy cover CAPTAIN BEYOND's "I Can't Feel Nothin'". The cover image is an engraving of Stede Bonnet aka "The Gentleman Pirate", from the 1724 book "A General History of the Pyrates". Orange Goblin are currently preparing to record their 7th studio album, their first for new label Candlelight Records. Alabama Thunderpussy announced their split in 2007, after 12 years together and six full length albums.



What we have here is two great bands of today covering two great bands of yesteryear. Or "Modern Masters Pay Tribute To The Old Gods", as the sleeve notes state. Side A boasts UNIDA's run through of LEAFHOUND's "Stray". A great version with rippling muscular bass and drums, great bluesy guitarwork and John Garcia's inimitable wail floating and soaring over the top of the whole sonic stew. Brilliantly executed "Stoner Rock" with a bluesy edge. Almost matches the original for sheer groove. Side B is another cover version, as Sweden's ENTOMBED give CAPTAIN BEYOND's "Mesmerization Eclipse" a souped up overhaul. The arrangement remains much the same as the original, but with greater intensity and heavier grooving, this is down to the downtuned dual guitar attack and the stupendous double bass drumming. L.G. Petrov's deathly bellow is supercharged here, he gives it his all to great effect. Great version!
Not sure if this is a continuation of the series of discs planned for Eccentric Man Records a few years back. In the end, that amounted to one split 7", again with 2 bands covering Leafhound & Captain Beyond. A worthy, rare and collectible, if short, release then, and one which fans of Psych, Stoner & Death Metal alike can all cherish. How many discs can you say that about?

UNIDA vs ENTOMBED - Split 7" (2003) USA/SWEDEN


So then, pretty much something for everyone, unless you have absolutely no taste whatsoever.
And let's face it, if you had no taste whatsoever, you wouldn't be perusing the pages of New Improved Live And Otherwise Blog would you?
I'll try and get some more stuff up on the other blog this week, i've not been too active over there for a while. So if you have a look there at the week's end you may find some "new" stuff to enjoy.
My many thanks to the two visitors @ the other blog who upped items from my "wants" list for me. It was much appreciated folks, you made my day guys! Anyway, i best get off, enjoy the music and keep the faith! Over & out.