Sunday, May 22, 2011


Hello my friends, and welcome back again to The New & Improved Live & Otherwise Blog.
Owing to an escalating succession of catastrophes of both a personal and computer-related nature, i've been absent from the blog for way too long, and i thank all of you who took the time to leave messages of support and encouragement during the down-time, it really meant a lot to me.
Hopefully, everything that had to be fixed will remain that way, and i can now get back to bringing you the vintage voltage that you still seem to be as hungry for as ever you were.
Whilst i rebuild at this end, posts may initially only appear every 3 to 4 weeks, but i plan to get back to delivering the fortnightly dose you've come to expect from NILOOB.
To Matt, no, i'm afraid i never did get the SHRAPNEL link mate, any chance you could repost it in the comments section here? Many thanks to you for hooking me up with that DNA record too!
Shall we press on then? I feel i've kept you waiting long enough.
GRAND SLAM were a five piece Hard Rock band formed in 1984, the brainchild of ex-THIN LIZZY frontman Phil Lynott.
Lynott had originally intended to include two members of the most recent Thin Lizzy line up, guitarist John Sykes and, (after being turned down by MOTöRHEAD drummer Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor), drummer Brian Downey.
Sykes, after much cajoling and an impressive financial offer, instead opted to join up with David Coverdale in WHITESNAKE.
Downey initially signed up to Grand Slam but quit after a short time, saying he "didn't see the point in making a second-rate Thin Lizzy".
Lynott, although downhearted, carried on with his project, ending up with a line-up of Laurence Archer (Lead Guitar; ex-STAMPEDE, WILD HORSES & LAUTREC), Doishe Nagle (Guitar), Robbie Brennan (Drums), Mark Stanway (Keyboards; ex-MAGNUM), with Lynott on Bass and Vocals.
Lynott was keen to shed the "second-rate Thin Lizzy" tag, and was adamant that they would only ever perform three Lizzy songs live, ("Cold Sweat", "Sarah", "Whiskey In The Jar").
Grand Slam split up in 1985, due to their inability to secure a record deal, despite being an excellent live act with a large cult following.
Lynott instead embarked upon a solo career, releasing the "Out In The Fields" single (A duet with GARY MOORE), before following it up with the "Nineteen" 7", which was, ironically, a Grand Slam song.
Gary Moore then also recorded a version of a Grand Slam track, this time it was "Military Man", for his "Run For Cover" album.
Post-Grand Slam Laurence Archer recorded a solo album, titled "L.A.", which was only released in Japan in 1985.
Stanway returned to his previous band, MAGNUM, rejoining in time for their successful "On A Storyteller's Night" album.
Stanway remains a member of Magnum, and in 2002 he found time to produce and release 2 posthumous Grand Slam CD's, "Grand Slam : Live 1984", and "Studio Sessions".
Archer, having passed through the ranks of UFO, LONG ISLAND RED and MEDICINE HEAD has recently returned to music, reforming his old band STAMPEDE.
Phil Lynott sadly died on the 4th of January 1986 from liver, heart and kidney failure, a result of his years of hard drug and alcohol abuse.
He was just 36.
Some of Grand Slam's live and studio recordings got a limited posthumous release on the not-quite-legit Zoom Club Records during the 1990's.
In 2010 the Music Melon label issued superior remastered versions of these recordings as the 2-CD sets, "Live In Ireland" and "The Studio Sessions", and as the 4-CD "The Collection".

PHIL LYNOTT'S GRAND SLAM - Studio Sessions (2-CD) (1984) UK

HARPO were a terrific Melodic Hard Rock/Pomp Rock outfit from Sunbury, Pennsylvania formed way back in 1974.
Their 1981 self-titled debut Mini Album on Mallard Records found favour within the Pomp Rock collector fraternity thanks to the classic track "Rendezvous" that clocks in at 8 minutes and truly is worthy of a place in your collection. The rest of the songs are shorter, more streamlined and rock harder, all great in their own right, but the aforementioned track is something truly special.
On Harpo went, but they were not to record their first full length album until 1987, when "Armed To Deliver" was issued by Atlas Records.
This is a harder collection of songs, but there's still space for Harpo to show their subtler side here and there.
The new album captured the attention of EMI and Polygram Records with EMI deciding to take a trip to Scranton to see the band a second time.
Harpo seemed on the verge of getting signed to a major record label when tragedy struck. Lead vocalist John "Lloyd" Kistner was involved in a very serious auto accident when he was struck head-on by a drunk driver on Christmas Eve, 1988.
After a year of extensive physical therapy, the tenacious Kistner was again ready to rock.
Before releasing a six song Mini LP entitled "Fire Your Fire" ; Harpo added a new drummer, Rich Smith, from Williamsport, PA.
Together with original members Kerstetter and Kistner, Harpo were, once again, heading in the right direction.
It then took until 1992 for their next album to appear, "Too Much Is Just Enough".
This one was a bit of a mish-mash, collecting four new songs and compiling tracks from their first 2 releases for their CD debut.
By the time of 1996's "Smokin' Gun", Harpo had become a far heavier proposition, but there's style and finesse in abundance beneath all the bluster.
The band's most recent release, 1997's "Harpo Live - Go Heavy Or Go Home!", finds drummer Kyle Gilbert replacing Rich Smith, with the band in blinding live form in front of a partisan home town crowd playing 4 brand new tracks as well as their live hits.
The band played their final gig on New Year's Eve 1998, and sadly, that was pretty much it for Harpo.
These days Kerstetter and Silvagni make their living by playing a mixture of classic Hard Rock/Heavy Metal covers in the band SUCKER PUNCH and occasionally reunite to play a full scale gig with their former band mates as Harpo, reviving their old "hits".
This here platter is a NILOOB exclusive, coupling the exceedingly rare 1990 "Fire Your Fire" 6 song Mini LP with the four exclusive songs from 1992's "Too Much Is Just Enough" compilation album.

HARPO - Fire Your Fire +4 (1990-1992) USA

SERVICE COMPRIS were a French Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band formed in 1981 in La Roche-sur-Yon, Pays de la Loire.
Having recorded a 10 song album in 1984, they were unable to find a label interested in releasing it, after a word of mouth arrangement with an un-named company fell through.
Undeterred, the band released the recordings themselves on cassette as "Watch Your Blood" which went on to sell well and attract glowing reviews.
As a result of the tape's success the band were signed to Devil's Records, and after slimming to a quartet, changed their name to JINX.
After the band's members adopted anglisised nom-de-plumes they went back into the studio in 1985.
The resulting sessions yielded the six song "Stand Up For Rock'n'Roll Power!" Mini Lp, released in 1986.
Switching labels to Swan Productions, a further release, the four song "Rockin' Band" EP followed in 1988.
However, this record was a slicker sounding affair, and seemed to alienate the band's fanbase which shrank accordingly.
Jinx then split up, without issuing any further product, in 1990.
Guitarist Fabien Gevraise then went on to contribute to the FURIOSO project and joined FACE TO FACE, playing on their 1992 debut album.
Sadly, that same year Jinx bassist Ricky "Riton" Buccatini, died of a heart attack aged just 26.
Gevraise also sadly died too young, passing away in 2007 at only 43 years of age.

SERVICE COMPRIS - Watch Your Blood (1984) France

This next item comes to you courtesy of the generosity of blog visitor Kenzo, thanks mate!
ORIGINAL SIN were a NWOBHM quintet formed in Liverpool in 1979, by the Brunskill brothers, Les and Alan, on Guitar and Drums respectively.
It's rumoured that the band recorded 1 or 2 demos in the early 1980's, but as far as i'm aware, the existence of the tapes have not yet been verified by any trustworthy source.
Gradually, the band line-up changed, solidifying round the Brunskills, with Vocalist Steve Daley, Guitarist Kevin McGinn and Bassist Paul Ollingsworth completing the outfit.
Original Sin's only verified official release would turn out to be the 1984 "The Shadow" 12" single, released on the band's own Sin Records label.
The single's rather nifty picture sleeve sported a striking illustration of the cult early radio and comic book character The Shadow.
Although the exact size of the single's pressing is unknown, it seems unlikely that any more than a few hundred were ever made, as the record hardly ever turns up for sale.
On the rare occassions when it does, as you'd expect, it changes hands for silly money.
However, this is one of those rare instances where the rarity and quality of a scarce release intersect rather nicely.
Both sides of the single are excellent examples of NWoBHM power, with memorable and gritty song structures combined with clever guitar interplay.
A further demo, the excellent three song "Burning" tape, was issued in 1985, but this seems to have been the band's last hurrah.
This band was no relation to the Huntingdon or London based acts or the New York or Los Angeles bands of the same name, or the Chinese Black Metal band either.

ORIGINAL SIN - Burning Demo (1985) UK

DISTRAINERS originally formed in Leicester UK in 1977 as a three piece.
The original line up was Dave Roe (Guitar, Vocals), Phil Hammond (Bass & Vocals) and Steve Taylor (Drums, Vocals).
The band at this time were very influenced by the punk movement that was going on around them.
Dave left the band in 1978 and a replacement Guitarist in the shape of Pete Bambury was brought in.
The band had now started to move away from the punkier side of things and by the time of their 1979 three song demo they were being touted as a NWOBHM band.
Later in 1979 they released the limited edition 7" single “Say Goodbye", (only 300 copies pressed), on the D.J. Records label.
The band gigged extensively during 1978/79 and built up a reasonable following throughout the UK.
In addition to their headline gigs, there were a number of support appearances including WITCHFYNDE, WAYNE COUNTY & THE ELECTRIC CHAIRS, LIGHTNING RAIDERS and SAMSON.
Around this time, there were also regular appearances at The USAF base at Upper Heyford in Oxfordshire where they appeared along with the likes of URCHIN, CHEVY, and SLEDGEHAMMER.
As the bands sound developed a heavier feel they felt that the name they had chosen was a hindrance (sounding too “new wave”), so the decision was taken to change the name to ALIEN and expand to a four piece at the same time.
ALIEN continued for a number of years although Steve Taylor left in 1981 to join Northampton NWOBHMers SOLDIER.
An EP of material recorded in 1980 entitled "Japanned", was released in 2006 on the Headless Corpse label.
As a result of the positive feedback the EP generated, Phil Hammond and Steve Taylor decided to resurrect the Distrainers, but Hammond soon left to join Leicester band BURN.
With new personnel on board Distrainers are currently putting together an album called "England's Green Unpleasant Land (1979-1990)".

DISTRAINERS - Demo (1979) UK

RAW DEAL were a NWOBHM quartet formed in Leicester, who originally went by the name of ANVIL.
During their time as ANVIL the band featured future BLITZKRIEG/SATAN vocalist Brian Ross.
After Ross left the band in early 1980 to join SPLIT IMAGE, Anvil replaced him with Des Horsfall and opted to forge ahead under the new name of Raw Deal.
Signing with the Newcastle based Neat Records label, the band released their one and only record in 1981.
The "Lonewolf" 7" came and went with minimal fanfare or acclaim at the time, but it's a decent little piece of NWOBHM plastic, which deserves a bit more appreciation.
Following the record's release, Bassist Steve English left the band to join up with Ross again as Split Image metamorphosised into Blitzkrieg.
Without Steve English, who seems to have been Raw Deal's driving force, the band folded, becoming little more than a footnote in the history of Blitzkrieg.

RAW DEAL - Lonewolf 7" (1980) UK

BUFFALO were a NWOBHM quintet formed in Accrington back in 1978.
Their debut release was the highly regarded 1982 "Battle Torn Heroes" 7" on Wolverhampton's Heavy Metal Records.
DeathRiderDoom from Metal Archives describes the 7" like this:
"NWOBHMsters Buffalo aren’t exactly as well known as bands like SATAN and SAVAGE, but they play the same badass, tough-riffed, no bullshit style.
What sets these guys apart from the myriad of other no-name NWOBHM bands is that they had a substantial catalogue, and played music with balls.
While most bands were pussyfooting around with 70’s soft rock/pop rock inspired, DEEP PURPLE worship in 1980 Britain, this Accrington outfit hit the studio to record two tracks of solid, dirty NWOBHM that would kick the ass of half of the stuff that came out this year.
This stuff reminds me of Savage, ‘Shock Tactics’ era SAMSON, and Satan.
If you’re looking for ballsy NWOBHM, look no further than Buffalo.
I’m not familiar with their entire catalogue, but this here little single is deserving of a spot on any shelf of top-tier NWOBHM singles."
Fair comment i think you'll find.
The 7" was followed in 1982 by a four song demo called "In The Flesh".
Later that year, a second single surfaced, also on Heavy Metal Records, entitled "Mean Machine".
Then it all went quiet for the next 17 years, a silence broken by the 1999 release of a sixteen song compilation album on the band's on Buffalo label, the imaginatively titled "The Best Of Buffalo".
Later that same year a brand new 11 song demo was issued by the reanimated band.
This eventually led to Bufallo signing a deal with the German Karthago label and recording a brand new album called "Ride The Beast", which was issued in 2006.
Later in 2006 a limited vinyl LP called "Bones Of The Beast", was released on the Hells Headbangers label, which featured both archive and new recordings.
Only 500 copies of the LP were pressed.
Then, sadly, Buffalo went their separate ways once again.
Give "Battle Torn Heroes" a listen and then berate the universe for it's cruelty, for there surely is no justice.

BUFFALO - Battle Torn Heroes 7" (1980) UK

And that's yer lot boys and girls.
I hope you'll agree that tonight's selection was indeed worth the somewhat lengthy wait which you had to endure before tonight's post.
That Original Sin demo is a great listen, and something which i didn't know even existed, and i just wanted to say thanks to you again for sharing it with us all Kenzo.
As ever, i'd like to direct you all towards the comments button at the base of the post. Use this to share your opinions, thoughts, wants, recollections or anything else which comes in to your head.
It's really straight forward to do, and takes no time at all.
Until next time, take care, and thanks to you all once again for keeping the faith.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Rejoice, brothers & sisters!
The New Improved Live & Otherwise Blog will rise again!
A new post here is forthcoming at some point over this weekend.
Thanks for keeping the faith and leaving your encouraging comments.
A full explanation of my lengthy lay off and some dynamite music will follow in the next 48 hours.
It's good to be back.