LOUDMOUTH: August 2012

@Loudmouthcolumn

* IT seems the illness which placed Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen in hospital is not as recent as the band has made out.

Reports emerged on August that Van Halen had undergone “emergency surgery” for diverticulitis, an inflammation and infection of the intestines. That statement gave the distinct impression this was a breaking story.

But the latest news indicates that EVH was in hospital for three weeks recovering from the surgery and is already home. The band has indefinitely postponed its November Japanese dates and Edward has to spend six months recovering.

* KINGS Of The Sun drummer Clifford Hoad has announced he will be the band’s new singer.

Hoad has been searching for around two months for a vox to replace that of his brother Jeffrey, who is no longer interested in show business. He announced on the band’s Facebook page he would be assuming the duties himself.

The band is to be relaunched shortly.

* MOTLEY Crue drummer Tommy Lee is being sued over his rollercoaster drum kit.

Lee invites fans onstage to ride the kit, which performs a 360 degree  manouvre on a rollercoaster-like circular track. But engineer Scott King says Lee stole the idea, which he first pitched to him in 1991.

King says Lee turned down the idea 21 years ago and then used it in 2012 without any recognition or payment. He’s threatening to sue.

* ROSE Tattoo have been confirmed as support for Slash on his Australian tour this month.

Evidently, Angry Anderson is going to take a break from his burgeoning political career to renew an alliance with the former Guns N’Roses guitarist.

read on

ANGRY ANDERSON: No Hollywood “Weenie” (1990)

By STEVE MASCORD

ANGRY Anderson is intently thumbing through an English heavy metal magazine. It’s the one which  described him, following the release of soppy 1988 Neighbours hit ballad “Suddenly“, as “mildly annoyed Anderson”.
His suspicious eyes stop at a centrefold depicting Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, who is shirtless and has a smoke drooping decadently from an otherwise curl-  shrouded face.
“These guys are hysterical,” Anderson says. “They are such weenies!
“I mean in real life, when you go over there and meet them,” he adds, looking up. “I’m not putting shit on them, they’re nice blokes. But when you are 40-plus-years-old,
everyone is a kid. They’re trying so desperately hard to be bad — and I’ve been bad all my life trying so desperately hard to be good!
“Anyway, that’s life. All the goodies want to be baddies, and all the baddies want to be goodies.”
Angry shrugs his rounded shoulders and quickly dismisses the topic, for now. He speaks with a coarseness that would make Mike Tyson wince, and is wearing a black T-shirt with the words Life’s Tough, So What! screaming across his chest in rude seven- inch tall letters. There’s a bandana around his compact neck, earrings in his ears, a broken tooth in his mouth, and not a follicle of hair in sight on his head.
We’re sitting in a cubbyhouse turned interview room at Mushroom Records’ Sydney headquarters. The overhead lights have been turned off because they are too hot, but Anderson’s words almost visibly hang in the air.
The pocket battleship who once fronted all- time Oz rock heroes Rose Tattoo is stern and unflinching in manner.
With a new single, “Bound For Glory”, on release, and solo comeback LP Blood From Stone at the starting blocks, he may well be on the verge of achieving the commercial success Rose Tattoo deserved, but never really gained. His return, with Tatts axeman Rob Riley in his new band, comes in the most spectacular fashion imaginable — on the Pump tour supporting Aerosmith, a band Rose Tattoo toured the US with in 1982. And we all thought Anderson and Riley weren’t on speaking terms…
“It was just one of those cute little lies some of us people in rock ‘n’ roll make up to entertain journalists and the public,” he comments coldly. “There was never any serious rift between me and Robin.”
Angry has often stated his distrust for music journalists. He is initially apprehensive, but eventually lurches forward in his seat and sends our interview sailing past the hour mark. It is early on when he confirms rumours that his deal with US giant Atlantic Records, for whom Blood From Stone was recorded with the American market in mind, is over. However several rival labels have weighed in with substantial offers, and Angry bluntly admits he’ll go to the highest bidder.
“I went as far as I was willing to go with Atlantic,” he says.
“They (Atlantic) were keen to be involved, but what is happening with them signing their acts is that there’s very little rock ‘n’ roll (involved). I mean, look at their most recent ‘bad boys’ signings — Skid Row???
“Sebastian Bach of Skid Row thinks he’s a bad boy, but it’s not a way of life to them, it’s a business. Can you honestly tell me that Sebastian Bach doesn’t represent a middle- class American kid to working class, poverty- stricken Americans?
“When you join a band and get yourself tattooed ‘Youth Gone Wild’, who are you trying to convince? In America, I didn’t see anyone outside of the rock industry who looked like the guys in those bands.”
Angry Anderson was — for real — the rock ‘n’ roll bad boy to end all bad boys. During a decade spent fronting the Tatts, the reputation he forged was so savage I won’t degrade it by using the clichés used to promote Guns N’ Roses, the Row and dozens of others.
He and his cohorts used to head butt the amps until their heads were split open on stage. Angry also used to boast how he drilled his own teeth.
Maybe the latter boast was just a rock’n’roll fib, but there’s no denying Rose Tattoo’s influence on the likes of Guns N’ Roses, L.A. Guns, and any number of other stylized Hollywood cowboy booted corporate rebels. But it is on TV, and as a commentator on a wide range of issues facing Australian society, that Anderson has made his name in recent years.
Just as the music industry didn’t know how to take the colourfully-decorated rock n’ roll outlaw, sections of the Australian community have recoiled at Angry’s controversial views on immigration, and his friendship with arch-conservative Victorian RSL boss Bruce Ruxton.
“I am a racist, as is everybody,” he says with a voice which resembles the sound of titanium being shined with gravel. “The people who pretend they’re not are liars.
“The people who aspire to be less racist, less violent in their racism or more tolerant, they are the triers. They are the people who want better and strive for it. I am one of those.”
The thick veins in Anderson’s neck are much more noticeable, and his voice is raised. He says the U.S. looks after its own first, and we should do the same.
“If you’re going to compassionately welcome refugees from another country, even though you can’t even economically support your own population… if you’re going to extend your compassion to an extent where it’s eventually detrimental to your own welfare… I can’t see where that’s smart thinking!
“I mean, I’m a sympathetic person, and I’m a compassionate person, but I’m not an imbecile! I think we should take care of our own, first and foremost.”
Anderson doesn’t stop. He’s almost more used to expressing his anger through sharpened, barbed oratory these days than through music, although a phone call from L.A. super-producer Beau Hill (Ratt, Winger) not so long ago changed that balance. Hill wanted Rose Tattoo to reform to make an album with him. Angry refused. “So he said, ‘Will you do an album?’. I said ‘Yes.”
Soon Angry was in L.A., writing material with an English guitarist by the name of Michael Slamer, who also ended up producing Blood From Stone.. The result is a slab of plastic that just glistens with contradictions. Blood From Stone features slick — some would say even generic — production, defiantly untamed lyrics, but with some heavy social comment lurking not too far below the surface.
“He (Slamer) was able to create what the executive producer wanted, which was a palatable, white rock album acceptable for a middle-class, white American market,” Anderson admits frankly.
People don’t exactly identify the words ‘marketing’ and ‘palatable’ with Angry Anderson though, do they?
“No, but is it fair that other people can tell me what I am?”
But isn’t it a rather convenient time to record another album? A lot of people might say you’re cashing in on the success of bands who you’ve inspired…
“As far as the guys from the Gunners go, when it comes to standing in a bar with six or eight straight tequilas in ‘em, they’ll tell you the truth. They’ll say ‘This wouldn’t be happening without the Tatts’. And it wouldn’t!
“But if they think they’re a Nineties representation of what Rose Tattoo was about, then they’re misguided.
“Anyway, I don’t care what people say about my motivations!”
If Blood From Stone proves anything, it’s that Angry is not just living off his Rose Tattoo reputation.
And when he hits the road for the Aerosmith tour, Angry will be fronting a whole new outfit whose impressive line-up includes the afore-mentioned Riley plus American Bobby Barth on guitars, Jim Hilbun (formerly with the Angels) on bass, and former Venetians/Divinyls drummer Tim Powles.
I ask if all this means Rose Tattoo is finally dead. Angry still owns the rights to the name, and used it on the Beats From A Single Drum album because of contractual restrictions, even though he now describes the album as a “solo project”.
He swivels his head from side to side. No, the Tatts are not dead.
“As romantic as it sounds, I think Australian kids need bands like Rose Tattoo,” he says, adding: ”I believe that with all my heart. They need people who remain unbowed and with an element of truth.
“As egotistical as it may sound, I know there is truth in this album. Actually, Blood From Stone — symbolically — means life through truth. It’s just reflections on some truths I’ve discovered in my life.”
Slowly it becomes apparent that Anderson has set his new band a harrowing, some would say impossible, task: they have to BECOME a reincarnated Rose Tattoo. “I want to see all the beautiful things that Rose Tattoo represented rise again,” admits Anderson, “like the phoenix from the ashes.
“Rose Tattoo was always more a heartbeat, a soul, than the work of any one person. There is a snorting, blood-letting, ball-kicking band in existence that deserves and wants to be called that, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be.”
Welcome back to the streets…

Filed for: HOT METAL 

Rose Tattoo To Reform

Angry to reform the Tatts
AUSTRALIAN ROCKERS Rose Tattoo look set to reform early next year for a series of dates in support of a new solo album from their former singer Angry Anderson, according to sources within Anderson’s Australian record company, Mushroom.
Anderson has been working under Beau Hill (Ratt/Winger producer) at Los Angeles’ Enterprise Studios and is expected to finish his comeback album by the middle of this month. He is recording there with session musicians and it’s unclear if he will attempt to bring together the original Tatts line-up or simply trade under the moniker himself.
Rose Tattoo — known for rootsy blues-based songs like ‘Bad Boy For Love’ ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Outlaw’ and ‘We Can’t Be Beaten’— are listed as major influences by acts like Guns N’ Roses and Faster Pussycat. They originally formed in 1976 and have gone through almost 20 members since then!
Kerrang! has been also told that a booking under the name “Rose Tattoo” has already been made at at least one club in Sydney, and that other Australian dates are “locked in” for a tour Down Under in January and February.
“Rose Tattoo’s reformation was brought up at our fast promotions meeting that they were planning to get back together and do some dates,” said Mayhem’s Mushroom Records source.
Anderson is thought to be on the verge of signing a lucrative deal with Atlantic and has become something of a cult figure during his three months n Los Angeles.
He recently joined Aussie emigres the Angels and AxI Rose onstage at the Whiskey for a rousing recital of the Tatts’ classic ‘Nice Boys (Don’t Play Rock ‘N’Roll), the tune often covered by Guns N’Roses,
An official announcement from Anderson’s management on the reformatian is due within two weeks. Further details as they come to hand. STEVE MASCORD

Filed for: KERRANG!

KINGS OF THE SUN: Cultural Cringe (1988)

By STEVE MASCORD

KINGS of the Sun say they’re not bitter. Last Thursday night, over a thousand punters packed the Kardomah Cafe to see the “new sensations” who had “made it big” in the US. Two years ago the same group had decided to disband because of lack of public support, particularly in Sydney. Despite a charting single, there was no record contract. They were ready to give up.

A couple of overseas trips, suddenly they’re the flavour of the month back home.

“1 think if we had spent as much time in Melbourne as we did in Sydney, we’d have been much better off,’ says drummer Clifford Hoad pointedly at Mushroom Records’ Sydney office.

“Melbourne crowds are loyal and support bands, whereas Sydney is so fickle. Look what Sydney did to the Sunnyboys….”

Clifford and brother, blonde-maned  lead prancer Jeffrey, are just back from a short time at home on the Gold Coast and are shocked at what they saw. ‘It’ss full of Japanese tourists,” says Jeffrey. “It’s been one year and the whole place is full of Japanese signs and Japanese tourists,’

It was on the sun-soaked tourist strip that the Kings rose, partially from discontent with the slow but hedonistic lifestyle. Jeffrey Hoad says his school was a tough one, with “suicide, and drug busts and people going crazy’. The paradox between their music’s southern feel and the northern coastline lifestyle that inspired their name, name is not lost on them, “I wear leather boardshorts,”’ chortles Jeffrey.

But the grass was no greener down south. With the early ‘80s music scene being dominated by Duran Duran  and Culture Club,  prime gigs were hard to come by.  They toured, broke up, surfed and tried it again.

The Kings were playing their second last show in 1986 when a record company executive approached them backstage and bluntly offered them a trip to the US. After two years of playing loud, entertaining shows and coming up with zilch, they accepted.

Jeffrey is at first diplomatic on the point of bitterness: “When you’re playing, playing, playing and you get no reaction, you just have to go where the interest is. That was two years ago. Now we come back here and there’s a real market for us.”

But there’s more there. Neither, of the Hoads seem to be in love with America and the fact they had to go there to be noticed clearly irks them.

Jeffrey announces: “Australia has produced some of the greatest bands ever in the world, and it’s also destroyed some of the greatest bands in the world. Rose Tattoo should have been one of the biggest.

“And you go over to Ike LA:’ says Clifford’, and you see Guns N’Roses  and Motley Crue doing the whole  tattoo business, ripping them off completely. They (Guns N’Roses) even do one of their songs in their set, “Nice Boys (Don’t Play Rock’n’Roll).

‘We were just scared it was going to happen to us, because we were around for two years doing the hotel scene with no money. It’s pretty disheartening. This is a band that knows its got something to offer and full of positive energy and when you’re around that atmosphere and no-one gives you a write-up or anything, you get to the point where you think you’re just going down with the rest of them.”

Kings of the Sun are the Hoad brothers, bassist Anthony Ragg and guitarist Glen Morris, They play a raucous brand of southern influenced hard rock that so many American hands have been striving for this decade.

That fact alone provides the ultimate irony of their story. Having been virtually forced out overseas, they now return to accusations of selling out.

“They take a good time fun band from America, but they won’t take it from Australia,” said Jeffrey. “We try not to worry about people saying stuff like that. The people we get flak off are really the people who don’t like heavy guitar  music anyway. They’re the people who think it’s all trivial and it’s all sexist.”

Yet there is more here than meets the eye too. They do worry — they guard and foster an Australian image ferociously, The Kings fought tooth and nail with their record company against what they called the ‘glossy album cover syndrome’, They insisted on an Australian cover and Jenolan Caves now adorn the cover of the Eddie Kramer-produced opus. And when an American photographer asked them to pose in a cadillac for an Australian press shot, they blew up. ‘Can you Imagine what ihe Ausiralian public would think?’ said Clifford.

Years of bashing the skins in vain brought Clifford to the conclusion some Australians just don’t know how to enjoy themselves.  ‘It;s cool l to enjoy it. Before they know it they’re 40 and they think  ‘fuck., what’ve I done’ and up bitter old men.”

Clifford reckons the Kings’ critics are “threatened by sexuality and volume, I think, which are two things you really shouldn’t be scared of”.

Says Jeffrey: “We’ve had complaints from feminists and and moralists and goodness knows who else.

‘The whole thing is just so tongue-in –cheek  and fun, We’re not crusaders in the sex and depravity stakes. There’s people who make child porn and stuff like that.”

He taunts, teases and tricks the audience into falling for him like the best American showmen but remains enough of a larrikin not to alienate anyone. , “People know it’s bullshit but they don’t care – they love it. You see bands on stage performing all the rock’n’roll clichés, like stumbling around on stage. “Hey man, what  town are we in’ and they’re local bands! That’s what Adolph Hitler said: “: You get a crowd together, you can say he most banal things, stupid things, and people will respond

“I think people are turning more towards characters in bands There’s so many pretty faces out there like Bros who are just being sold like popcorn and there’s nothing really behind it. People can sense chat its not a real band”

Despite a clearly developing live pulling power and their popularity with music television, the Kings are yet so realise their lull chart potential. But after two years’ sweat for nothing, that’s hardly a problem.

‘It’s only our first album – give us a break,” Clifford implores. “We’ve done better than most groups on our first album. I think people expect too much from this record. INXS, Midnight Oil, they broke five or six albums later.

‘That album — you mark my words — that album is a classic and it will be picked up on  more when the second album does well.

Who’s going to argue? We’ve all been made fools of once.

Filed for: ON THE STREET