By STEVE MASCORD
“I AM a very sensitive man,” Angry Anderson announces to the stage-front crush at Camden’s CT’s Tavern.
By STEVE MASCORD
“I AM a very sensitive man,” Angry Anderson announces to the stage-front crush at Camden’s CT’s Tavern.
Compiled by STEVE MASCORD
DIESEL will drive your dollar twice as far next month following the announcement of a second show on the Rock N Roll Tour for the Hordem Pavilion on Wednesday August 16.
What’s more, lasi time we looked there was still a cuppla seats left for the first gig on August 15. So be the first on your block to go utterly deaf after just two nights out!
While you’re at it. cop the mighty Georgia Satellites and gee-tar history make: Alvin Lee for absolutely no extra charge.
“I saw this song on MTV – I don’t have it at home but I was looking at it at a friend’s place – and I saw this song I really liked.” an anecdotal Satellites frontman Dan Baird told Loudmouth from (where else?) Atlanta, Georgia.
Then at the end of it it said it was Johnny Diesel and I thought ‘so we’re touring with them – cool’.
“You don’t know what a relief it is to be touring with a band you actually like.
“Wc toured with one we didn’t like once, but I don’t want to name them because that’s ugly”
It appears the nasty execs from Electra have banned the advance release here to co-incide with the tour of a single from the Satellites’ upcoming third LP. the reason being such a release would “interfere with the US market. Sure, and President Marcos may coach Canterbury.
Baird says the Satellites will play ten songs in their 40 minute supporting set on the tour – three from their debut, three from Open All Night, three from the newy and “Hippy Hippy Shake”, their contribution to the Cocktail soundtrack.
Once again, Loudmouth will collect its filthy, stinking pile of scurge-ridden possessions and hit the road, destined for the Rock n Roll Tour’s Oz debut at Adelaide Thebarton Theatre on August 2.
Alvin Lee better change his hotel pseudonym before he arrives, or else he’s gonna get some phone calls from working class kids wanting to speak to Jimmy.
Speaking of which, what are the chances of Mr Barnes (whose pseudodnym might be Mr Lee) not getting up with the Diesels in Sydney? About the chance of Slash being a virgin, methinx.
For all those people calling OTS this week. no. Alvin Lee is not a former member of the Chipmunks-
No, I don’t know if the Chipmunks have broken up. Go awav.
MUCH of the new release interest this week revolves around Black & White, a group of rap vocalists and HR musicians who stage a high frequency audio war on vinyl. Aside from saying members of Guns N’Roses and Motley Crue are playing and a bunch of rappers are singing and that’s where the name comes from, we can’t tell you anything more ’cause they won’t tell us!
LETTERS TO THE ‘EAD ‘ITTER.
Last week I saw a Sydney band that’s been doing the circuit for a few years. I’ve been hearing about the band’s great guitarist for a while now. Everything I heard about this guy was soon confirmed. I’m a little disappointed at the lack of recognition this fellow’s getting.
I spoke to the guitarist after the show. His name is Lorry Rayment.
I would like to see something on the guitarist in your magazine. I would really appreciate some photos to be published.
Perry Richards (Bankstown)
Loudmouth now has enough letters like this to build a life-size paper mache opera house. How many relatives you got, Laurie? Funny how they all seem to be from Bankstown.. . Hahaha. Or. if they’re all real punters, why haven’t we written a story about you. Good question, that…
Don’t forget. White Lion’s “Little Fighter”, a tribute to the Rainbow Warrior, is out now as a single, while the great cover art is enough to tell us that there’s another WL LP on the shelves, this time Big Game.
• Roxus guitarist Joe Cool lists “writing a symphony” as one of his major ambitions!
• Remember when there were ethics which stated if you were a journalist and you worked as a public relations officer for a band, you were automatically excluded from writing about them?
After all, you’re hardly gonna be very impartial if good press is likely to line your pockets, are you. And beneath all the glitz and hype, it is still journalism, not cheap promotion of personalities.
Why the f * “k, then, is Guns n’Roses band publicist Arlett Vereecke writing interviews with Axl Rose for magazines? And why is she selling the stories?
I’ll give this,caper away the day I pay for press releases.
• If you’ll remember, the last (spectacular, brilliant) Great White album was called Once Bitten. The follow-up is Twice Shy, and it’s already up around 16 on the US charts. Lemme tell ya, the single “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” is so good its in sell-your-grandmother’s-underwear-on-the-black- market-to-get-the-money territory. It’s that good.
• For those with a distinct AOR bent. Richard Marx gig at the Enmore Theatre (where? Enmore Road. Where? Enmore) on August 25 shapes up as a biggy.
“Satisfied” recently went to number one in the US, keeping up his huge profile since all those hits off his debut album.
In case you didn’t know. Ricky wrote Robin Zander and Ann Wilson’s “Surrender To Me” and co-wrote/produced Vixen‘s breakthrough “Edge Of A Broken Heart”.
• Now, I know it’s a case of you either love or hate Marx, but personally I think he’s one of the few believable AOR stars around at the moment, with a voice as convincing as Lou Gramm‘s and a freakish knack of writing quality songs.
Filed for: ON THE STREET
HARD rock has taken new territory with the announcement that Penshurst Hotel will host a booming bill this Sunday November 26.
Apocalypse, Addictive, Detriment and Enticer will all play “the Den’ in what is hoped will be regular hard rock night there.
Apocalypse, which plays originals plus covers by Metallica, Anthrax, Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden, is expected to take a well-earned break following Sunday’s gig.
Conversely, Addictive plays its first show since recording a demo tape which will be on sale at the show.
For the cover charge of $5.00, you also get young lions Detriment and Enticer.
WILD times indeed are expected backstage when Guns N’Roses, Kings Of The Sun and The Angels team up at the Ent Cent.
Guns N’Roses’ livers are wanted by medical science, The Angels don’t always live up to their name and Kings’ are known to invite the odd girlie back stage for a drink or twenty.
Would make for an inviting pictorial. Where’s Tony Mott?
ONE Sydney outfit currently chasing management is Wrecking Crew. They play “punchy, commercial” hard rock and were formed by English-born guitarist Brenton Dehn in October 1986
They claim to “have a purpose of re-establishing the energy of live rock’n’roll that has sadly given way to DJs and concept bands.”
Wrecking Crew will join Numatic, Starlett and Running Blind in a major gig at the Seven Hills Inn this Friday November 25.
The bill is Running Blind, which hits the stage at 7.3Opm, Numatix from 8.45pm, Starlet at 10 and Wrecking Crew at 11.1 5pm.
Numatix are a fourpiece act who play covers from Robert Palmer, John Cougar Mellencamp, Georgia Satellites and more, plus originals.
Door Charge is six bucks.
NEXT big thing dept: This one’s not much of a gamble because they already are big things. A bunch of middle Americans called Britny Fox, who have an album riding high on the US charts and are knocking them dead in support dates.
Except them to get noticed here (finally) in a couple of months.
NICE quote from one Lenny Wolf, lead mimmicker from Led Zeppelin clones Kingdom Come
“I don’t think about “how can I be original?” Wolf says.
“Kids don’t give a fuck. There’s so many other bands. Let them be original”. Talk about digging your own grave (or someone elses. . .).
ENTRIES rolling in for the “Heavy Headline’ competition aimed at renaming this here collection of barbed paragraphs. Suggestions so far include “Headbangers Galore’, “Metalbilia”. “Watch Tower”, “Thrash’n’Burn and “Rock Block”.
Because we’ve got so many prizes coming in, we may extend the comp a week or two. This week we have the latest offerings from Leppard up for grabs, compliments of PolyGram. These will be added to the reams of previous prizes.
To top that off, the second and third place-getters will also get these three albums on cassette. Not bad huh? More next week.
OK! Bulletboys and Night Ranger have foUnd their way to our shelves in the metal Christmas rush. The title of BulletBoys debut single wins chuckle of the week. It’s called. . . ahem. . . “Smooth Up In Ya”. The self-titled long-player was produced by Ted Templeman, who has David Lee Roth and Van Halen to his credit.
Night Ranger’s Man In Motion LP and single ‘I Did It For Love” are also out any day now. And The Georgia Satellites hope to do what they couldn’t from their last album — have a hit single — with a cover of “Hippy Hippy Shake” from the Cocktail soundtrack. New KISS album Smashes, Thrashes and Hits and single “Let’s Put The X In Sex” due out in January.
This week we recommend: Reach For The Sky by Ratt, he rodents’ best ablum yet. Cop the groove of “Way Cool Jr.”, the sophistication of “City to City” and “I Want a Woman” and the class a couple of listens but well worth the $19 import price tag.
Review next week.
You’ll have to go to an import store to get the new Ozzy Osbourne album No Rest For The Wicked for a while yet, but it should be in your corner store for five bucks less before long.
The Europe live video is still being released here later this year, despite their decision not to tour. The KISS Crazy Nights video has been rejected at this stage, mainly because it has just three songs on it and because it would cost up to $30 if produced here. They’re hoping to import a whole heap of them, though.
LEPPARD’s Hysteria video is out.
Available here as a widely distributed import is the debut album from a US band called Winger. Lead singeris Dale Shearer, with John Ferguson on drums and Michael O’Connor and Alan Mclndoe on guitars. Well, not really. Apparently worth a listen though.
Alsoon the import front, the English pressing of Def Leppard’s latestin a long line of 12” extravaganzas, “Armageddon It” has got Aussie mainstream distribution.
PolyGram have launched a plethora of new radio adds for Hysteria. Smells like a tour to us.
Filed for: ON THE STREET @Loudmouthcolumn
By STEVE MASCORD
OLD Lemmy from Motorhead had an interesting view of the Donnington disaster, in which two people were trampled to death earlier this year during the annual rock festival, when we spoke to him last week.
“I think two out of half a million aint bad really,” said Lemmy from California, where Motorhead are winding up a national tour.
“We lost more than that in the second world war. It cost us 200,000 just to get on the beach at France, and that was from about the same amount of people.”
The boys will have a break now before beginning work on a new album. “We haven’t written a new song yet, not one,” Lemmy proclaimed.
ANOTHER new band to hit the local live scene is Silverthorn. The boys opened for Enticer the other night at the Sutherland Royal and look set for a few weeks of hard gigging.
In case you haven’t heard Enticer, they play a tasty combination of covers from Metallica, Metal Church and Iron Maiden and original material.
DEF Leppard’s new single worldwide will be “Rocket”. The band has rernixed the song to an “acceptable length” and is planning to unleash it soon on an unsuspecting globe.
“It’s not exactly the sort of song you think of as a single, but we’ve remixed it and it sounds good,” said guitarist Steve Clark.
Good to see HR acts going around promoting themselves wh press releases and stuff. When it comes to out of this world self-promotion, there’s nothing like your average Eathlings press release.
Earthlines were Kevin Borich‘s support on his recent Sydney dates and according to one recent release “it was not unusual to see record company and industry people hanging out backstage after the performance to talk to the boys about their future (which we all know will be bigger than BIG)”
Earthlings played recently Warilla Bowling Club. Rumour has it the boss of one of the world’s biggest record companies chartered the space shuttle and flew into Albion Park from New York, where a limousine took him to the Bowling Club. After the show he offered Earthlings two billion dollars, as many American Girls as they could handle and all the drugs in Columbia to sign with the company, but they rejected on personal grounds.
Only joshing. Keep up the good work boys.
THIRD Poison single “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” is looking like their first US number one. It moved up from five to three stateside this week.
Guns N’ Roses “Welcome To The Jungle” moved up one spot to nine on the Cashbox chart.
SO you thought the days of big outdoor concerts with humungous line-ups were over? Then you’re a raving looney because there’s a big one on just down the road in Wollongong next month.
They were not at the Showground because it is in what is termed a residential area.
Hope they don’t expect Jon Stevens and the boys to be quiet!
Noiseworks, Johnny Diesel & The Injectors, The Sunnyboys and The Bombers, supported by The Beefeaters and Imaginary Boys, will be playing the big Illawarra Steelers concert at Wollongong Showground on
AS for the ñdiculously hard working Diesels, Johnny and the boys will be on at the Revesby Roundhouse tonight, Banjos at Gladesville tomorrow night and Dee Why’s The Venue on Christmas Eve with Colour BWE and The Factory.
After Coogee Beach, The Diesels will be joined by Sundogs on Boxing Day at the Kardomah. That’s if there’s anything left of the place after the Candy Harlots play there tomorrow night!
The Hard Ons plus Cosmic Psychos and Slush Puppies on Friday the 30th.
Noisworks Touch LP has been certified platinum less than 4 weeks of release, according to CBS.
COMING DOWN ROSES (by Margaret Cott)
“I cant believe thata band that has a#1 album in America and is supposedly one of the biggest bands around at the moment could get this upset by a three line comment from an up and coming band in a free Sydney newspaper.” Well they can and they did, as speaker Jeffrey Hoad of Kings Of The Sun discovered when they supported Guns N’Roses at the Entertainment Centre last Saturday night. Booked to do a 45 minute set, the Kings had the set cut to 25 minutes, had half their production pulled (not that unusual in supports) and were told in no uncertain terms to ‘leave the stage’. Then the US Management confiscated all Kings members and guests’ Backstage Passes and ordered Out. Just because the boys told OTS in the interview published the week before that Rose Tatoo perhaps should have been accorded more credit for the kind of bad boy’ image that is so common today among LA bands like Guns and Motley Crue! Slash may never ‘say’ anything to OTS again, despite the flood of letters this particular free Sydney newspaper has received asking for a copy of Steve Mascord’s complete Slash interview transcript.
Guns N’Roses, one of the most publicised, heard, hated, adored and feared groups of 1988 is in full flight at the Sydney Entertainment Centre before about 10,000 black t-shirted disciples. Rose, the manic tattooed frontman, skips around like a windup toy about to bust a spring as his bandmates pump out a sleazy, slowed-down version of “You’re Crazy”.
“Awright,” he pants, greeting the audience’s approval at the end of the song. “Before we get started I wanna say something.
“We’ve been reading this article backstage and we’d like to apologise for having a puny ass band like Kings Of The Sun open for us. We’re sorry we gave them the opportunity.” Pity the poor journo, I muse. Hope he doesn’t name him. “We weren’t trying to rip off Rose Tattoo just because we included one of our songs in their set – we just wanted to play some good rock’n’roll.” Oh shit, that’s me.
As detailed previously, Kings Of The Sun were kicked out of the Entertainment Centre after the Gunners read the issue of OTS in which Kings drummer Clifford Hoad said “and you go over there to LA and you see Guns N’Roses and Motley Crue doing the whole tattoo business and ripping them (Rose Tattoo) off completely. They (Guns N’Roses) even did one of their songs in their set, “Nice Boys (Don’t Play Rock’n’Roll)”.”
The Gunners later played “Nice Boys” live for the first time in two years during their first encore.
There is barely a stage set, just the familiar Guns N’Roses logo draped across a curtain, black amps and a drum riser so small it would embarrass the humblest of pub bands. The lighting is unspectacular, to be polite. But you don’t look away. Not for a minute. Rose, an enigma of the highest order, is firey, volatile and utterly hyperactive.
Lead guitarist Slash is dropping more and more notes as his bottle of Jack Daniels becomes progressively empty. But his ambling from one side of the stage to the other, his Chuck Berry bunnyhops and his impossibly lock, curly, face-covering hair, make him the flashiest lead guiatarist around, bar none. More flash than Vai or Neilson (who once punched him out) or Young or anyone.
By comparison, Keith Richards lookalike rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin, blonde drummer Steven Adler and leering bassist Duff McKagan are unobtrusive and play well.
Rose, who left the stage up to 10 times during the two-hour set to be administered oxygen and brush his hair, announced he had “been on drugs the last few days”. He takes medication after being diagnosed as manic depressive, so despite what police minister Ted Pickering later suggested, Rose’s words are not an admission of guilt.
In introducing “Mr Brownstone”, which is about drug use, Rose warns “anything that comes between you and your dreams is fucked”.
During “Nice Boys”, Rose reaches for the microphone only to find it not on its stand. Without warning, he dived headlong into the seething crowd and is followed by three horrified security guards.
Just as they managed to haul a sockless Rose out, he keeled over and fell back again.
Exhausted fans are constantly being plucked from the stageside crush and large groups of security staff can often be seen sprinting to the back of the hall to break up fights. The hall shouts “hey fuckers” in unison at Slash’s prompting.
There could be a riot, if Axl decided he wanted one. He doesn’t. In fact he constantly pleads with his captive audience to behave itself. This is clearly not just another gig – this is a band of angry young men at its peak produced enough electricity to light up all of New South Wales for the night. What live rock used to be. Sure, they’re hitting some bum notes and being arrogant, but if you want polite perfection, go listen to Mozart.
“One of the main reasons this band got together was a song called ‘Take A Long Line’,” Rose announces.
Earlier, Doc Neeson had donned his best three-piece suit as the second on a three-band bill. Their new set, with an elevated rhythm section and a good light show, was far more elaborate than those of the headliners.
Neeson, too, was giving everything in the sweat department. His eclectic, frenzied movements returned to their pre-wheelchair pace and he ventured into the stalls for an enthusiastic recitation of “Marseilles”.
– STEVE MASCORD
Filed for ON THE STREET Appeared January 4, 1989
I THOUGHT Jon Bon Jovi was joshin’ when he was quoted a little while back as saying Elvis “is living inside me”. But here he is, his spandex-coated posterior pointed at the audience, doing a bloody hip swivel exactly like the Pelvis himself.
And what’s all this new talking during the downbeats in songs? Springsteen?
As the New Jerseytour powers into its second year (tonight is the second show of the 13th month), a couple of facts are glaringly obvious. Firstly, this is a much better Jovi concert for your 32 bucks than the last one. While the rather less frenetic material in the current album pales by cmparison to its predecessor, it balanced the live show out masterfully. As musicians, the BJs have progressed nicely and are tighter than Richie Sambora’s pants these days.
Secondly, it appears Jon has maybe become a bit of a cardboard cutout for himself. Two unsuccessful albums into his career, Mr Noo Joisy didn’t have much time to think about his image. Twenty-two million records later, he’s rambling about being a gangster and Elvis and has almost forgotten poor Superman.
Somewhere mid-set, he comments “I love Australia, the girls here are so easy”. What are you trying to prove, Jon? It sounds like something or Lemmy would say, not a permed megastar who was married six months ago. If it was meant to be shocking, it only managed to come across as very daft. Maybe it’s all that touring with Sebastian Bach.
The sound tonight is deplorable, but such is the visual maelstrom some would have forgiven this small defect if not for Jon’s incessant mumbling. He mumbles under Sambora’s wail, in between Tico Torres’ thumps and in spite of David Bryan and Alec Jon Such’s efforts. No-one• knows what he’s saying — maybe it’s the gibberish in the “Lay Your Hands On Me” intro that he missed reciting at the beginning of the show.
Indeed it would be sad if Bon jovi lost their sincerity up their own arse but I’m sure that will never happen.
Such vague misgivings aside, it was simply astounding tonight how compelling a band could be for so long. No-one looked away, onlya few sat down, as the jovis switched gears from “You Give Love A Bad Name” down to “Living in Sin” and back up again to “Let it Rock” with scarcely a jolt.
The diversity provided by two hit albums was the secret to a much improved showing than the Slippery Tour. The new effect where Jon flys up and out for the floor was not in use here, but they compensated by showing the band leaving their rooms on a giant catwalk, which gives all 14,000 of us ghastly close-up views of sweaty Americans. It’s that much better than the posy trapese act.
Roxus, who seem to get every HR support in Australia now, were also infinitely tighter than during their opening slot with Poison. Perhaps because they are, still, a poor man’s Bon jovi. New guitarist Dragon is a bit more showy than departed Joe Cool’ and the amount of new material is quite unbelievable. “Heartbeat City“, “Don’t Stop” and “Stand Back” all leap at ya, while the grand synth-laced “Body Heat” remains a masterpiece live. What a shame the studio version sucks so much.
Bon Jovi has now played 200 shows to over two and a half million people on this tour, supporting an album which has sold less. They got it right in the studio in 1986 and on stage this year.
Imagine if they managed to do both at once.
— STEVE MASCORD
IT appears Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora fooled everyone when he called 2MMM last Friday week claiming to be Eddie Van Halen and announced David Lee Roth had rejoined the band.
Sambora made the call from his nearby hotel about an hour and a half before doing on stage at Sydney Entertainment Centre.
He told Triple M’s receptionist he was Van Hcilen and that he had a phone interview with a Di who was not in the building, and was instead put live on air on zany drive time program Club Veg.
Sambora, sounding rather intoxicated, then proceeded to stun listeners with news of Sammy Hagar’s sacking and an Australian nightclub tour to begin six days later!
“I am reliably informed by someone on tour with Bon Jovi that it was Richie Sambora,” said Club Veg co-host Vic Davies.
“He was just trying to get back on us for some of the good-humoured little digs at him in the program, like calling him a big jobby.”
WEA and management of both Roth and Van Halen had been mystified by the call, which was thought to have emanated from a drunk Australian tourist somewhere in America.
According to Loudmouth’s sources, Jon Bon Jovi may have been responsible for a phone call the next day to the Seven television network in Sydney in which the caller claimed to be AxI Rose and announced an Australian promotional tour by Guns N’ Roses.
Also on the Jovi trailin your weekly loudmouth, the video “Living In Sin” off nine-million- seller New Jersey, has been banned throughout Europe and by US MTV.
The video, the first concept clip the band has done in four years, failed a censorship board meeting at MTV and will be cut severely before being aired overseas but may still be shown in its entirety here.
Jonny boy says: “It’s been banned everywhere, no-one will take it. I know that England won’t take it . . . the English won’t even sell it at retail.
“We finally did a conceptual video after having not done one for four and a half years because the song just didn’t lend itself to being performed live on stage.
“We spent a lot of effort and money on it and no-one will take it.”
The video reportedly depicts a young couple living together and finishes with a confrontation between the pair and the girl’s parents.
• STAYING on the newsy, PolyGram, and rock star with a co-incidentally convenient surname side of things, LA Guns founder Tracii Guns has been arrested by Los Angeles police after a riotous chain of circumstances during the filming of the video for latest single, “Rip And Tear”.
The live performance video, which has since been banned by MTV for obscenity reasons, required the usual police officers whose job it was to control 3000 fans got talking to Tracii, with Guns jokingly requesting they help him get out of a few tickets with which he had been issued.
The cops apparently radioed the station to check on him, found he had nearly a dozen outstanding warrants for his arrest, and apprehended him at the next tape break!
Guns said after being handcuffed, searched, booked and jailed: “At first I thought it was some kind of joke. I was asking them if they’d haul me on stage cause I thought it would be great footage for the video. Then they handcuffed me and put me in the back of their black and white so fast I didn’t know what was happening.”
Guns was fingerprinted and thrown in a holding tank for two hours until his tour manager came up with several hundred dollars in bail.
ACE Frehley’s third album, Trouble Walkin’, is out this week on WEA.
The record features yet another version of current KISS single “Hide Your Heart”, which has also been recorded by Bonnie Tyler, Molly Hatchet and Robin Beck
Frehley chose the Desmond Child-Paul Stanley song after it was left off the last KISS studio album, Crazy Nights.
“Yeah, its on Ace’s album,” Stanley told Loudmouth from New York. “I heard it. It’s very good.
“We told him that it might not be a great move because, quite honestly, if Ace records the same song and we put it out people aren’t going to, certainly radio isn’t going to, play his version.”
A song called “Hot Lips”, which Frebley wrote with Gene Simmons and which Simmons describes as “a cross between “Addicted To Love” and “Cold Gin”, has been mysteriously left off Ace’s album.
Simmons said he didn’t feel insulted by the omission.
A humble bass player said: “The great thing about it is I’m just glad I can write songs, y’know? And that some of them are good enough to appear on records.”
The CHOIRBOYS were officially back on the road as of last night, when their Empire tour kicked off in Grafton.
This Friday the boys are back in town at Rooty Hill RSL, and then they don’t return until a December 22 gig at Tiffanys, followed
by Christmas Eve at Parramatta leagues.
Filed for: ON THE STREET
The very event which many thought would signal the end of KISS has, ironically, breathed life into the 15-year-old bonk-rocking beast.
As we speak, the Paul Stanley-Desmond Child (yeah, HIM again) composition “Hide Your Heart” is cutting a trail of destruction across US radio and must be on the verge of being added to playlists here. It’s a two-year-old song, a discard that KISS were never going to release from the poppy 1987 Crazy Nights album.
Stanley, however, loved it and included it in his controversial solo club tour of the US earlier this year, a tour which many interpreted as signifying a rift between him and definitive sleazoid bassist Gene Simmons. Simmons, however, went to see the Stanley show in Los Angeles, his jaw dropped when he heard the song and the rest may very well become history (instead of the band).
“’Hide Your Heart’ was the song,” says Simmons from PolyGram New York. “Seeing it live I thought the song was so good. It really belonged on that record, it had that feel.”
What did Gene think of seeing his longtime partner in crime on stage without him?
“I thought it was good. I thought he was terrific, I thought the band was OK. He was the star of the band.”
The tongue-flicking one, talkative on most subjects, isn’t saying much. Paul, however, says the solo tour’s benefits to KISS will eventually go way beyond one single.
“Well, doing the solo tour was great because.. . any time I become stronger the band becomes stronger,” the star-child says.
“Doing a solo tour gave me a chance to listen to what the fans want and what they wanted to hear. ..I wasn’t in a position where there were any songs I had to do. I could do whatever I wanted to.”
The fans clearly liked “Hide Your Heart”, a tale of a rather messy urban love triangle involving two blokes from rival gangs. Its omission from Crazy Nights, which thrust KISS back into the Australian top 25 albums chart, meant it was recorded instead by Bonnie Tyler, Molly Hatchet, Robin Beck and now former KISSer Ace Frehley.
“We let (producer) Ron Nevison pick the songs for the (Crazy Nights) album,” said a hyperactive Stanley. “So he didn’t pick that one. Last month I ran into Ron and he said ‘is the album coming out?’ and I said ‘Yeah, it should be out shortly.’ He said ‘what’s the first single?’ and I said ‘The song you didn’t use from Crazy Nights!’
Paul and Gene have resumed production duties on 15-track Hot In The Shade (H.I.T.S.?), the band’s 23rd album since their debut on Casablanca in 1974. The result is a far more typical KISS record, with Stanley blasting away with seven 8Os stadium rockers, Simmons chipping in with seven sleazy sonic slammers and drummer Eric Carr trying his hand at his first vinyl vocal assignment, aside from last year’s remake of Beth.
Highlights include the tremendous anthemic Rise To It, Simmons twin street songs BetrOyed and The Street Giveth, The Street Taketh Away and Stanley’s scythingly emotive vocals on Silver Spoon and King of Hearts.
According to Simmons, Hot In The Shade is about “the New York Experience”.
“I have no problem singing about fucking, which is one of my favourite activities, but sooner or later you’ve got to pick a different point of view about that stuff,” he says unabashed.
“So, emphasising that, I wrote songs that I thought were almost story songs… that talked about… growing up in New York and Cadillac Dreams, you know, ‘when I was 17 I was an angry young man’. That kind of stuff. Autobiographical story songs.”
When the phone is handed over to Paul for a few minutes, he insists Gene is just a little bit wrong on this point. “It’s really not about memories and growing up as a kid as much as it’s about life in the city right now.
“I mean, it’s what we see around us now. It’s not about recalling our pasts as children. Hot In The Shade’s about New York right now…”
Refusing to lay down and die, KISS re-signed for another ten years with PolyGram in a huge deal which includes seven albums, Alive Ill, a greatest hits package (oh dear, not another one!) and solo albums. Simmons Records is clawing its way upward and Gene is now living with former centrefold Shannon Tweed and their eight month old son. His life, he says, is going well.
“The record’s really just flying out the windows in America,” he says. “You know, it was just released here, we’re approaching platinum even as we speak. Which, if you’re still counting, means 21 gold and 18 platinum. I can’t believe it myself.
OTS: There were plans for you to play in World Park ‘89 and quite some controversy over its postponement. What did you know about the whole thing?
GS: “We have to set the record straight. We know nothing about what’s going on in Australia. All we knew was that there was a promoter who wanted to bring the band there, we were willing to go, and then all we knew was the promoter disappeared. And the rest is guesswork. I can’t tell you what happened after that, except this guy, the promoter — we never heard from him again.
OTS: There is a theory at the moment that a band needs to sell about three million of a current album to do an arena in the States. Do you agree with that?
GS: “No. Hold on a second, a pretty grl just walked in.
“I’m back. There are just no rules. There are bands in America like the Grateful Dead, which is not one of my favourite bands, but they can play a big place and they sell no records. There’s another group called the Beach Boys, who can play any large venue and sell it out but there are no record sales there either. On the other hand, you can be Richard Marx, who has the number one record in America, who can’t sell any tickets at all. So there really just aren’t any rules. “Tone Loc, who had the nurnber one single in America and the album went very well too, it did double platinum, and he was doing clubs. On the other hand the Stones, who do not really sell a lot of records, never did and still don’t, can fill up a stadium anywhere in the world.”
OTS: The song you wrote with Ace doesn’t appear to have made if onto his album. Does that bother you?
GS: “No, not really. That’s the lesser of all evils. The great thing about it is I’m just glad I can write songs, y’know? And that some of them are good enough to appear on records. You can’t hit the mark every time and that’s the way it goes.” OTS: It appears that Paul is the one probing for the hit single and your approach seems to be more constant. Is that a fair comment?
GS: “Yeah, that’s OK. But within the context of a band you’ve got that kind of flexibility. Everybody reaches for different things and that makes for a nice little album.”
OTS: Does that mean you’re more secure than Paul? Does Paul need to keep proving himself?
GS: “I don’t know that that can ever be verbalized as simply as that. I think it probably comes down to more that we both have slightly different points of view on music and the kinds of stuff we like but any one of us going off on his own and doing something is probably not as satisfying as both of us doing the same thing together. The only analogy I can make is within the confines of the Beatles. McCartney always wrote sweeter stuff and Lennon always wrote darker stuff. Each of them on their own just didn’t seem to have the goods. Together, they were the Beatles. With Harrison doing his thing and Ringo doing his thing, you can see a part of the Beatles in each one of them. But together, they are the Beatles. And no matter how many hits each one of them has, you can never eclipse the Beatles. Neither one of us, or anybody in the band, is ever going to eclipse KISS because it’s the chemistry. It’s that thing, it’s the combination of spices that makes something taste good or make something half taste good. “
OTS: There’s a rumour that you haven’t played bass on the last three KISS albums, that in fact Jean Beauvoir has done it instead.
GS: “Well I wish I could tell you that’s true, but.. . the truth is that on “Little Caesar” Ace played bass, I’m sorry, not Ace, Eric played bass, I played guitar on “Love’s A Slap In The Face” and “Somewhere Between (Heaven and Hell)”. Bruce played bass on something else and Paul played slide solo and not Bruce. All those considerations of who plays an instrument and all of that sort of stuff, it’s just not as important to us as keeping the personality of the band.”
0TS: Have you been changed by monogamy or not?
GS: “The questions is, am I monogamous?”
OTS: But you are a family man now, aren’t you?
GS: “I wonder what that means.”
OTS: What does it mean?
GS: “I think to most people it would mean marriage, in which case in this case it just doesn’t apply. I’m not married, never have been and never will be. But do I have a boy? Oh yeah”
Filed for ON THE STREET November 15, 1989
MARK Gable is on his knees, like some masochistic, shirtless guru. He shrieks shockingly. “bloody politicians suck”, the lights swirling around him on an otherwise darkened stage. “When are they going to give us decent roads? Do you have to die every time you go to Brisbane?”
The day before, 36 people had perished when two busses collided head-on at Kempsey on New South Wales’ north coast. Tonight, New South Wales’ south coast raises its collective fist and yells in anger. Choirboys guitarist Brett Williams begins plucking chillingly and Guilty explodes as the lights come up again.
I didn’t think the Choirboys could astonish me any further, but tonight they became — firmly — the best live band in Australia as far as I’m concerned. Feeding off a rabid crowd, Gable hurled himself into the performance (and into the crowd) with breathtaking conviction. They move right, they look right, they sound right. The Choirboys are, perhaps, still seen by a few
people as a suburban pub grog-rock irrelevancy. . . by those who underestimate the intelligence of the masses and in doing so expose their own stupidity. For a bunch of north shore boys, though, The Choirboys capture the entire suburban ethos better than anyone, and wrap the whole thing up with boundless hooks and intimidating but genial LOUDness.
To say any other band is “heir apparent” to the Oz hard rock throne is pure stupidity. They have an atmosphere of completeness about them that none of their competition has. Melody, hooks, riffs, attitude.
You realise what it must’ve been like to see Cold Chisel in a pub after just two albums when “Run To Paradise” winds up. No wanky “this is our hit, lets extend itto 60 minutes” intro, just a bit of a communal singalong and a strange tingly feeling down your spine. For mine, “Fireworks” and encore centrepiece “We’re Never Gonna Die” say it all. To be a little young, a little drunk, a little arrogant and very happy, chanting “We’re Never Gonna Die” is surely a large portion of what rock ‘n’ roll is about.
They have all the moves, minus the cock-rock pelvic thrusts and drooping tongues. Gable’s voice is the indestructably unmatchable, Williams plays the guitar like it really is attached to him, Doc Neeson-lookalike Ian Hulme is one of the most interesting-looking bassmen around and in Lindsay Tebbutt the Choirboys have a personality-plus skinsman.
If only they had churned out material when they were told — they would surely be in the stadiums already. If only the audience had accepted Gable’s invite for a drink at his place — I would have had a great story!
It occurs to me as I see him turn that horrible “Whiter Shade Of Pale” song into a masterpiece with his soaring vocal that you almost have to slag off 10 bands before anyone will listen to you when you throw superlatives at one.
• Well the next ten bands I review better watch out, because this was the best club gig I can remember seeing. — STEVE MASCORD