Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Hi again, as promised, a mere fortnight after our last post, here we are with another one! This could get to be a regular thing!
My many thanks to all of you who left comments regarding the last post, it's great to get the feedback and to find out what you're thinking about the music we're bringing you. It was also nice to know how many of you had missed their regular dose of obscure rawk from NILOOB, i guess we're doing something right!
Sergey, i'll be able to help you out with half of your request in my next post in 2 weeks time, remember & check back then. Sorry Ron, i don't have the "The Best Heavy Metal From Europe" compilation you were after, but i'll keep my eyes peeled on your behalf. Are there any other visitors who could help The Cheeb out with a copy of this album? If so, leave the details in the comments section.
Let's get on with this week's, "started off with an animal theme, which got more & more tenuous, until i eventually gave up on the idea" post.
Up first, TOAD THE WET SPROCKET were a Hard Rock/NWOBHM quartet formed in St. Albans in Bedfordshire in the late 1970's.
Named after a 'Monty Python' TV sketch, the band debuted in 1979 with their "Pete's Punk Song" 7" on BRS Records, following this up with the following years "Reaching For The Sky" 7" on their own Sprockets Records label.
The band came to the widespread attention of Rock fans with their inclusion on the original February 1980 "Metal For Muthas" NWOBHM compilation album on EMI Records, with the track "Blues In A". Although TOAD THE WET SPROCKET kept their name in the media, they were unable to capitalise on the "Metal For Muthas" exposure in the same way that other featured artists such as IRON MAIDEN, SAMSON, PRAYING MANTIS and ANGEL WITCH were able to.
The band then went on to record a four song session for Tommy Vance's BBC Radio One "Friday Rock Show", but drifted into obscurity shortly after.
Drummer Martin "Witik" Wightwick was the only member to resurface, in his role as live drummer for UK AOR group RIO, who released two albums on Music For Nations Records in the mid-'80's.
Not to be confused with the American Alternative/Pop band of the same name, this collection features all of TOAD THE WET SPROCKET's recorded output, that's both their 7" singles, the "Metal For Muthas" compilation track and the complete BBC studio session.

TOAD THE WET SPROCKET - Complete (1979-1981) UK


The bizzareIy named ETHEL THE FROG were a four piece NWOBHM band formed in 1977 in Hull, England by vocalist/guitarist Doug Sheppard and bassist Terry Hopkinson. Recruiting drummer Paul Conyers and lead guitarist Paul Tognola, they recorded their first record in 1978, an independent 7" release on the Best Records label with their version of THE BEATLES, "Eleanor Rigby", on the A side with, "Whatever Happened To Love?", on the flip.
The record quickly sold out, an impressive feat, despite it's small run of 1000 copies.
After building a strong live reputation touring all over England, they were offered the chance in late '79 to record a song for the now infamous "Metal For Muthas", compilation album, a project devised by EMI to showcase new and unsigned Heavy Metal & Hard Rock acts. The album, released in 1980 and now a cult classic, is revered as one of the greatest rock compilations of all time, and featured Ethel The Frog's "Fight Back", alongside contributions by the likes of IRON MAIDEN, ANGEL WITCH, SAMSON and PRAYING MANTIS.
Liking the sound of Ethel The Frog, EMI offered them the chance to record an album, which resulted in their ten song self-titled debut released in late 1980.
"Ethel The Frog", is one of the most overlooked and underappreciated albums of the era, walking the fine line between rock and metal, without ever settling on one style for long. They were perhaps, too much in the 1970's style of Heavy Rock, and thus, a little too subtle for supporters of the burgeoning NWOBHM, and sales were disappointing as a result. EMI also rereleased "Eleanor Rigby" as a single with "Fight Back" on the B-Side which failed to chart.
The band broke up shortly after these releases, ending a very promising venture.
It's not known what became of the band's founder members, Sheppard and Hopkinson, but Tognola and Conyers reappeared in Hull, forming a new band called SALEM before the years end. A four song demo appeared in 1981, with a 7" single, "Cold As Steel", on Hilton Records following in 1982. Two further demos surfaced in 1983, but it is unknown whether Tognola and/or Conyers were still part of the band by this point.
Ethel The Frog's album was rereleased on CD by the British Steel label in 1997.

ETHEL THE FROG - Ethel The Frog (1980) UK


Once described as "the ugliest band in the world", New Yorkers the GOOD RATS have a legacy that can be traced back over 40 years.
Having released their self titled debut album in 1969, the second,"Tasty", wasn't released until 1974, and featured a radically different line up to the debut, although frontman Peppi Marchello was a constant feature throughout.
"Tasty" was a great album, mixing Hard Rock, Jazz, Fusion and lots more besides to define the Good Rats sound.
Third album, 'Ratcity In Blue' caused some controversy for featuring the track, 'Writing The Pages', depicting the last moments in the life of Adolf Hitler, and was produced by Flo & Eddie, known for their work with THE TURTLES and FRANK ZAPPA.
More bizarrely, 1978's 'Birth Comes To Us All' album was based upon a play Peppi Marchello had written about life in an old peoples home!! The album featured a guest appearance from Manfred Mann. The GOOD RATS toured Britain with MEAT LOAF on the back of 'Birth Comes To Us All'.
"Rats To Riches", their fourth album, appeared in late 1978, and a double live album, "Live At Last", was recorded on the ensuing tour and released in 1979.
Following some internal wrangling, the 'Great American Music' album of 1981 saw the addition of former BLACKJACK guitarist Bruce Kulick and bassist Schuyler Deale, but the band bowed out of the limelight soon after its release and would not re-emerge until 1996 when the 'Tasty Seconds' album (known as "Cover Of Night" in Europe),was released.
Marchello had decided to break the band up and venture into production with artists such as FIONA. Peppi also assisted on the 'Destiny' album released through CBS Records in 1985 by his son Gene's band, appropriately named MARCHELLO.
In 1984 Kulick replaced Mark St. John in KISS. Deale later joined BILLY SQUIER in 1986 after playing in the Power Metal trio Z-BOY.
Drummer Joe Franco recorded with THE LADDER, Dutchmen HAMMERHEAD, MOUNTAIN guitarist LESLIE WEST and replaced A.J. Pero in TWISTED SISTER.
Mickey Marchello eschewed his musical career after the break up of the band in 1981 and took to managing boxers.
The band still play regularly in the New York area to this day, even hosting their own annual Ratstock Festival, which sees the classic line up take to the stage to delight old & new fans alike.
This "import" album, "Long Island - Live", was recorded at the Mini Cinema, Uniondale, Long Island, New York in 1978, and was recorded for broadcast by the WLIR-FM Radio Station.
It finds the classic line up at the peak of their powers and in their element onstage, you just don't hear musicians of this calibre nowadays. Certainly not having this much fun!

THE GOOD RATS - Long Island - Live (1978) USA


MACHINE DOG are a Speed/Power Metal trio from Cherry Hill, New Jersey who formed back in 1985.
The debuted in 1986 with their three song "Sic 'em" Demo tape, a cassette which showed them to be a tight playing unit with considerable song-writing chops. The falsetto vocals of guitarist John Pfrommer were something of an aquired taste however.
The following years four song "Prescription Of Sickness" Demo, showed that their debut had been no fluke, with the songs becoming heavier and more expansive. The band looked set for bigger and better things, but no further recordings were forthcoming.
Despite never actually splitting up, it would take until 2004 before Machine Dog would be heard again, when a 20 song compilation CD, "Anthology : 1986 - 1999" was released on the bands own Machine Dog label.
Even more surprisingly, a brand new Machine Dog album, "Recipe For A Resurrection? Or Destined For A Disaster...", was released earlier this year, and, like it's predecessor, is available from www.cdbaby.com

MACHINE DOG - Sic 'em Demo (1986) USA


MARY MONDAY & THE BITCHES were a female fronted five piece first wave Punk Rock band from Northern California formed in 1977.
The band was made up of four fifths of the East Bay band THE STREET PUNKS, with San Francisco scene queen "Mary Monday" fronting the group.
They would only release just one record, the seminal "I Gave My Punk Jacket To Rickie" 7" on Malicious Records. In a "Punker than thou" move, the rear of the striking black and white sleeve was held together with two small safety pins.
Apparently the single was one of the late John Peel's favourite records, and over the years has become a very collectible cult favourite which has been featured on several compilation albums.
Following the release of the record, "The Bitches" went back to their former lives as The Street Punks before splitting in 1978, whilst the mysterious "Mary Monday" was never heard from again.
There is some speculation that "Mary Monday" was an early pseudonym for "Vermillion Sands", an American biker who wrote for Search And Destroy fanzine, before moving to the UK and forming the band DICK ENVY.
Dick Envy eventually became VERMILLION, who released a couple of rare Punk/NWOBHM singles in 1978 & 1979 on Illegal Records. This link has yet to be proven however.
I've included a bonus track here called "Leave Us Alone", which was recorded at the 1977 single sessions, but went unreleased until The Street Punks made it free to download from their website a few years back.

MARY MONDAY & THE BITCHES - I Gave My Punk Jacket To Rickie EP (1977) USA


MAMMATH were a Welsh NWOBHM band formed in Merthyr Tydfil in 1984. Guitarist James Rees was a former member of CHINATOWN and frontman Tony Robson had previously been in the West German band STALLION.
Mammath's only release, a 7" single entitled "Rock Me", was released through Neat Records in 1984.
Bassist Paul Kelly quit in 1985, just before Robson was superseded by vocalist Ian Simmons.
Guitar player Bob Phillips then jumped ship to form AIR-RAIDE with Simmons in late 1985.
Guitarist James Rees later joined PREYER in time to play on their "Terminator" album, after Mammath had finally split.
Other MAMMATH credited players, lead guitarist Huw Lewis and drummer Mike Davies, formed SAMURAI, releasing two albums, "Sacred Blade" and "Weapon Master".
Drummer Kerry Lovelock reappeared in 1987 as a member of ASHAMATA, alongside ex-members of TOKYO BLADE and TRUFFLE, before then joining Glamsters RANKELSON.

MAMMATH - Rock Me 7" (1984) UK


Finally, STORMCHILD were a Hard Rock/NWOBHM quintet, formed in Bolton Lancashire in 1980.
Their lone release, the "Rockin' Steady" 7" on Serpent Records, has become one of the most collectable of the NWOBHM era releases, with a "very good" copy selling on E-Bay just last month for a staggerring £2,152!!!
It's a solid and likeable enough record if a little anonymous, although, if memory serves, it was quite favourably reviewed by Kerrang! magazine at the time.
The single's A-Side "Rockin' Steady", also featured on the bootleg cd compilation "NWOBHM Vol 6".
I just hope the guy who shelled out that crazy amount heard it first.
Don't confuse this Stormchild with the other UK band of the same name, who were from Lowestoft and released two demos in the mid 1980's.

STORMCHILD - Rockin' Steady 7" (1982) UK


So there y'go, hope you enjoy tonight's selection folks, please remember to take the time to share your thoughts on the blog by using the "comment" button. See you back here in 2 weeks time, with more vintage riffin' & rawkin' to kick 2010 off in style.
Just like to wish you all the best for the holidays and hope you have a great new year.
Over an' out.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Hello again. Yessiree, we're back in business!
To be honest there have been times when i've felt like jacking this all in in the last couple of months, but your messages of support and my love of obscure tunes won out in the end. I'll be taking things slowly to begin with, two updates per month on average, just while i see how the file hosting with Megaupload is going. Hopefully this will be often enough to slake your collective thirst for the obscure and unknown, of which i have plenty up my sleeves.
Many thanks to all of you who took the time to leave comments and encouragement during our enforced lay-off, hope there's something amongst tonight's selection to repay you for your loyalty and patience.
Without further ado lets get on with the music shall we?
VALHALLA was a Pennsylvania Heavy Metal band rooted in the antecedent covers band SNOWBLIND, assembled by guitarist Bill Hornyak, bassist Joseph Mutch and drummer Edward Horgan.
As a school trio in the late seventies this band performed songs by the likes of AC/DC, BLACK SABBATH and MOTORHEAD before adopting the revised title of ARMAGEDDON in 1980 and opting to pursue original material.
After a few unsuccessful try outs with short term vocalists the band inducted David Fefolt. The band penned their first composition 'Nightstalker' before hitting the Pittsburgh club circuit. However, Fefolt relocated out of state, this proving a major obstacle for the band who failed to find a suitable replacement. In the meantime ex-SOOTHSAYER man John Merkt was drafted on keyboards.
Shortly after, the group switched titles to VALHALLA and, adopting a more European styled Heavy Metal stance, pulled in another erstwhile SOOTHSAYER member, vocalist Dave Gonzalez, to complete the line up. The newest candidate's tenure would prove brief though, and with Fefolt now back in Pittsburgh their original singer promptly rejoined the band.
VALHALLA entered Micro Mix Studios in 1983 to cut a set of demos but would be persuaded by producers Jim Wilson and Jeff Bower to craft a Mini LP release. The six song Self titled record emerged in 1984 and performed well on local radio. Important Distribution then picked up the Mini LP for national distribution, further enhancing the band's profile.
That November VALHALLA relocated to Phoenix, Arizona in order to further their career. Unfortunately the group found itself struggling in the midst of a Thrash and Hardcore explosion. Bill Hornyak soon quit and the group's attempts to replace him failed.
They would be further damaged by Edward Horgan's diagnosis of diabetes and David Fefolt taking up an offer to join Doug Marks' HAWK. Faced with such insurmountable odds, VALHALLA folded.
Fefolt would later appear on ALEX MASI's 1988 album 'Downtown Dreamers'.
Continuing interest in the bands 1984 Mini LP saw a CD release appear in 2001 on No Remorse Records, entitled "Return Of The Mystic Warrior". The CD featured the six tracks from the original EP plus 5 more studio songs and a live track all from the same era.

VALHALLA - Return Of The Mystic Warrior (1984) USA


"MOOSE MOLTEN METAL Volume 1 features 10 of the hottest, unsigned or self-released Metal bands from the Montreal & Ottawa regions of Canada. Finally given a chance to be heard, these artists provide rough-edged and exciting music. HEAVY MOOSE METAL at it's grassroots best!"
So claim the sleevenotes to "Molten Moose Metal", a compilation of Maple Leaf mayhem from back in 1985.
As a sampler of what was going on in Canada in 1985, this is a pretty effective little time capsule, with the more Hard Rock bands sounding quite "Sunset Strip", and the grittier bands sounding more European in outlook.
No big names here, although you may/should be aware of the likes of DAGGER, DDT, FIST and WITCHKILLER all of whom i've featured here in the past.
Other contributing acts include: STORMBRINGER, SADWINDER, TZAR, CREEPY FAMILY, HEAVENKNOX and GALLEON, and although there's nothing truly "classic" about this compilation, it hangs together pretty well and gets better with repeated plays.

VARIOUS - Moose Molten Metal (1985) Canada


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 1984 the band included former TANK drummer Mark Brabbs, and this was the line up responsible for the "Somewhere In England" album, a 16-track 2-LP vinyl set recorded live at the London Marquee Club, where they were a regular and popular attraction. Brabbs quit 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 - Somewhere In England (LIVE) (2-LP) (1984) UK


AMBUSH were a six piece Swedish Heavy Metal act, founded in Köping in 1982. Their sole official release was the 1984 "Four Track EP", on their own Ambush Records label.
This was followed by a demo tape entitled "Don't Turn Your Back" in 1984. The band reportedly folded for good the following year.
Juha Nurmenniemi, (once also of ACHILLEUS), would later resurface with Progressive/Space Rock band DARXTAR under the pseudonym "Captain Juba", and appeared on four of the band's albums.

AMBUSH - Four Track EP (1984) Sweden


Darlington based Hard Rock/NWOBHM quartet YOUNG BLOOD first formed under the name CIVILIAN in 1981.
Their sole release, the four song 1984 EP, "First Blood", released on Landslide Records, was highly praised in the music press and on Rock radio at the time, leading to a support slot to MOTORHEAD at London's Hammersmith Odeon on their "No Remorse" tour.
Unfortunately, nothing further was heard from Young Blood after this, although guitarist Andy Webb later reappeared, having formed the band FROZEN HEART who recorded an EP and a Friday Rock Show session in 1989. This band eventually became the AOR act WALK THE WIRE, who recorded a self titled 1994 album and toured the UK with MAGNUM before eventually splitting.

YOUNG BLOOD - First Blood EP (1984) UK


SCORCHED EARTH were a five piece NWOBHM band formed in Birmingham in 1978.
Maintaining a solid line up from the outset, they built up a loyal following on the Midlands live circuit over the next few years.
The replacement of drummer Tim Kristic in 1983 with former DIRTY TRICKS and GRAND PRIX drummer Andy Bierne brought the band to the attention of Carrere Records who signed them up.
Their lone release for the label was the four song "Tomorrow Never Comes" EP, which was probably too cultured and subtle to attract an audience at the time of it's release, poor sales leading to the band being dropped.
A four song demo (confusingly, also titled "Tomorrow Never Comes"), surfaced later in the year, but with no breakthrough in sight, Bierne jumped ship joining LIONHEART, and the remainder of the band called it quits.
Guitarist Paul Bodley later became a music teacher in Stourbridge, whilst Bierne stayed active as a respected session drummer.

SCORCHED EARTH - Tomorrow Never Comes EP (UK-1984)


Finally, SEDUCER were a prolific NWOBHM act on the UK club scene who formed in Addlestone in 1981. The band debuted in 1983 with the "Call Your Name" 7" on Sticky Records. The band were also featured on Mausoleum Records "Metal Prisoners" compilation LP later that same year.
1984 saw Seducer releasing a four song EP entitled "Indecent Exposure" through Thunderbolt Records. Prior to recording 1985's debut album "Caught In The Act", Seducer enrolled former CHINATOWN bassist Dave Mandy to replace Phil Smith who would later form THEE HYPNOTICS.
In 1986 Seducer released their second and final album, "'eads Down...See You At The End", on Stud Records.
Drummer Tim Haywood departed in August 1987 to form PANIK ATTAK with former members of JJs POWERHOUSE, CLOVEN HOOF, WHITE HEAT and CHAIN LIGHTNING. Sadly, Haywood died prematurely a few years later, and does not appear on the 1991 Panik Attak 7".
Seducer replaced Haywood on the drum stool with Dave Sutherland. In late 1987 Sutherland was badly injured in a car crash, forcing the group into cancelling a series of gigs, which along with record company problems, ultimately led to the band's dissolution as they struggled to regain their momentum.

SEDUCER - Call Your Name 7" (1983) UK


So there we are, that's yer lot for this evening. Hope you approve of my picks this time round, please lemmy know your thoughts on tonight's selection via the comments section.
See you back here real soon, in about two weeks or so, 'til then, be awesome.