Thursday, June 16, 2011


Hello, good evening and welcome back to The New Improved Live & Otherwise Blog, for another man-sized portion of the full on, the furious and the forgotten from the back pages of Rawk's filthy past.
Tonight's selection is a godly mixture of little-known releases from barely remembered acts and some historical treasures from the bigger names too.
The common denominators are quality, class and rarity.
Up first, THE HELLACOPTERS were a Swedish Hard Rock/Garage band that was formed in 1994 by Nicke Andersson, Dregen, Kenny Håkansson and Robert Eriksson.
Andersson had been the drummer for Death Metal band ENTOMBED and Dregen was taking a break from his full-time band BACKYARD BABIES.
Dregen and Eriksson had been roadies for Entombed, while Håkansson was a childhood friend of Andersson's.
The Hellacopters were initially conceived as a side project for Andersson and Dregen, but it eventually became the main songwriting and performance vehicle for Andersson.
The band released their Swedish Grammy-winning debut album "Supershitty To The Max!" in 1996.
Just before a tour opening for KISS, the band recruited keyboardist and percussionist Anders Lindström on a part-time basis; he would become a full-time member in 1999.
After 2nd album, "Payin' The Dues", in 1998, Dregen left the band to return to Backyard Babies full-time, and Mattias Hellberg and Danne Andersson were recruited to complete the band's touring responsibilities.
After the release of "Grande Rock", which featured additional guitar playing from both Lindström and Hellberg, Robert "Strings" Dahlqvist was hired as a full-time lead guitarist in 1999.
With the lineup now solidified, the band released three more studio albums, a "best of" album and an album of cover versions, with many EP's, singles, split albums and limited edition vinyl releases issued as well.
The best of the band's non-album works were collected on two compilation albums, "Cream Of The Crap" Volumes 1 & 2.
During these years the band were recognized as one of the most influential and prolific groups from Scandinavia, and toured all over the world, usually as headliners, but also with the likes of ZZ TOP, THE HIVES and THE ROLLING STONES.
The Hellacopters disbanded amicably in 2008 so the members could move on to other projects.
Presented for your delectation this evening is this 12 song set recorded live before an invited audience at the BBC's Maida Vale Studios for BBC Radio 1's John Peel Show on 04/09/2003. Like everything the band did, it kicks arse, hard, from start to finish.

THE HELLACOPTERS - Live At The BBC (2003) Sweden

Next up, we continue with the HARPO discography...
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".

HARPO - Smokin' Gun (1996) USA

Next, we complete another discography, thanks to the efforts of Matt, who provided this missing piece in the SHRAPNEL puzzle. Many thanks for your contribution mate.
SHRAPNEL were a Hard Rock/Punk/Garage/Power Pop outfit formed in New York in the late 1970's.
Their debut release, the "Combat Love" 7" was released by Salute Records in 1979, with a follow-up single "Go Cruisin'", issued in 1981 on the same label.
The band played a lot in the New York area, including opening for THE RAMONES several times, and built up quite a large following.
Shrapnel also underwent a strange phase where they spent their stage time bedecked in military fatigues for no good reason, apparently the idea of their manager Legs McNeill.
The band then underwent line up changes, before reemerging as a quartet, by this time playing in a more straight down the line Hard Rock style.
Signing to Elektra Records, Shrapnel released a self titled five song Mini LP in 1984, but were dropped by the label soon after it's release.
At this point the band split, disheartened by their lack of progress.
Post SHRAPNEL, bassist Phil Caivano founded Thrash/Hardcore band BLITZPEER, releasing two albums on Epic Records.
Vocalist Dave Wyndorf would later found Stoner Rock institution MONSTER MAGNET and would later be joined in the band by his Shrapnel bandmate Phil Caivano.
SHRAPNEL guitarist Daniel Rey became a much in-demand producer by the late 80's, working with the RAMONES, CIRCUS OF POWER and WHITE ZOMBIE to name but a few.
He also recorded with MANITOBA'S WILD KINGDOM and played guitar with the infamous female biker band CYCLE SLUTS FROM HELL.
As well as his Monster Magnet work, Phil Caivano is also part of STIGMA, the side project of AGNOSTIC FRONT man Vinnie Stigma, and the Hard Rock trio CAPRICORN.

SHRAPNEL - Shrapnel Mini LP (1984) USA

Next tonight, POOKIESNACKENBURGER, a six-piece group of musical entertainers, formed in Brighton in 1981 and were 'discovered' while busking in Covent Garden, London.
The name Pookiesnackenburger came from a character featured on a compilation album of 1960s American radio recordings.
They signed a record deal with Stiff Records in 1981, releasing the "Just One Cornetto" 7" the same year.
An album, "Beach Party" was released the following year, under the name POOKIE.
Twelve months in the making, the "Pookiesnackenburger In..." TV series was commissioned by the UK's Channel 4 after the group had taken part in lively 'filler' items for the channel in 1983.
The series comprised five episodes of comedy and musical zaniness - each pursuing a different comedic idea.
All of the material was written, composed and performed by Pookiesnackenburger.
The best episode of the series was entitled "Hell Bent", and featured a "Black Metal" band called "IRöN LUNG" recording their latest album in an old abbey in the West Country whilst dabbling in satanism.
Songs in the episode included the epic "The Löst Pentatönic Canticle Of Beelzeebub" and "It's A Heavy Metal Life".
Pookiesnackenburger sadly went their separate ways soon after the series aired, with Steve McNicholas and Luke Cresswell going on to form the successful musical/dance collective STOMP.
Guitarist John Helmer later became a lyricist for Prog Rock band MARILLION, and also for Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery's side project THE WISHING TREE.
Helmer also wrote the novel "Mother Tongue", published by Quartet Books in 1999.
If you want to see the "Hell Bent" episode of "Pookiesnackenburger Is...", you can stream it at my other blog here:
Many thanks to tim50stroud for the video upload.


IRON MAIDEN surely need no introduction to anyone reading this, and if they do then you really don't belong here.
The hardest working band of their, and possibly any other generation, have been stunning audiences for more than three decades and show no signs of stopping any time soon.
They've had their ups and downs over the years, but since the return of Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith in 1999, the six piece line up of the band has been on incredible form.
There have been new albums, huge tours, a movie, dvd's and more, all of which broke new ground whilst remaining true to the bands roots.
What we are chuffed to present here is the 2005, live in the studio radio session, which Iron Maiden recorded for BBC Radio 1 as part of their "Legends" series.
It features renditions of the songs, "The Trooper", "Run To The Hills" and "Hallowed Be Thy Name", recorded on September 2 2005 at BBC's Maida Vale Studios in London, and aired as part of Zane Low's show on September 13 2005.
The last Radio 1 session MAIDEN had recorded before this was for Tommy Vance's "Friday Rock Show", way back in 1979.
The "new" six piece line up really light a fire under the three classics played here, performing with an energy and ferocity which would shame bands half their age.
It's nice to hear these songs performed in such a raw form, without any kind of production sheen softening the impact.
On this evidence, there's so much life left in these "old dogs", that they would rip your throat out should you suggest they retire.
Long may they reign!
I forgot to put the back cover art for this one in the rar, so if you need it grab it from this page.
It's just below the front cover here.

IRON MAIDEN - BBC Radio 1 "Legends" Session (2005) UK

And now, a double-dose of super rare NWoBHM seven inchers to finish tonight's post.
HARVEST MOON were a five piece NWOBHM band from North Wales, who originally formed in early 1979 from the ashes of a prior act called STEPPING STONES.
From the start they were a popular live draw in their home country, playing countless club dates and supporting larger bands passing through.
The band also gigged hard in the North West Of England, which brought them to the attention of Manchester's Smile Records label.
1980 saw Harvest Moon release their first record, the 3 song "The Lion And The Snake" EP, released on Smile.
Harvest Moon then won the Radio City FM Battle Of The Bands contest at Liverpool Empire in 1980, where the judges were former THIN LIZZY guitarist Gary Moore, RAINBOW's Graham Bonnet and DEEP PURPLE/GILLAN vocalist Ian Gillan.
As a result of this exposure the band signed a contract with Charisma Records.
However their only Charisma release was to be the excellent "Tales Of Wonder" 7" released in 1981.
The record sold well in Wales and was championed by DJ Tommy Vance who played it often on his BBC Radio 1 Friday Rock Show.
Charisma sadly decided not to pick up Harvest Moon's option after the label was bought by new owners and dropped the band from their roster.
After this the band opted to shorten their name to THE MOON, and tried to build up their profile again.
Under this name they played to the biggest crowd of their career at a festival at Wrexham Football Ground in 1982 alongside MOTORHEAD, TWISTED SISTER, TANK, RAVEN, ORION & RAMPANT ANTICS.
This was to prove to be another false dawn however, with a split coming in late 1983.
Guitarist Glynn Porrino then went on to join NIGHTWING, first appearing on record with them on the 1985 live album " A Night Of Mystery - Alive! Alive!".
Porrino remained with Nightwing until the band split in 1988, at which point he formed Hard Rock band WHITE TYGRZ with ex-Harvest Moon members "Pablo" Jones & bassist "Mogga".
Porrino rejoined the reformed Nightwing in 1996 in time for their "Natural Survivors/VI" album.
He remains with the band to this day, and appears on their most recent release 2008's "8472".
Tony "Sully "O'Sullivan is still active in the world of music, recording and gigging under the name SULLYSIXTY.
Bassist John "Mogga" Morris has also kept busy in music, playing in CHARLIE and DIZZY MAMA, and now gigging with BADGER BELL.
Nowadays, singer Steve "Pablo" Jones is a well respected artist, but still plays music too, and has reunited with Porrino in a Blues Rock band called KARAC.
Jones also recently released a solo album entitled "Pablo's Gone Bouzouki".

HARVEST MOON - Tales Of Wonder 7" (1981) 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 - Say Goodbye 7" (1979) UK

And that's yer lot for this evening...
I hope you agree with me that the quality of tonight's selection more than makes up for the slightly longer than anticipated waiting period inbetween posts.
Many thanks to everyone who took the time to put fingers to keyboards and shared their thoughts, feelings and remembrances on the music posted last time.
Also, my many thanks again to Matt for hooking me, and all of you, up with the Shrapnel Mini Lp. This isn't the first time you've generously uploaded music for me personally, or for the blog, and i very much appreciate it mate, you're a diamond.
Please feel free to take a leaf out of Matt's book by contributing music to the blog, or helping me out with items from my "wants list" which is on the right hand side of the page at my other blog :
As always, if you have any requests, comments, praises or hatemail concerning the blog, use the comments button here.
I look forward to hearing what you think of this week's selection.
I'll be back with more of the similar in 2 to 3 weeks time right here, 'til then, be excellent.