Well 1982 was a far busier year for Canadian rock albums, so it was a bit tougher cutting this down to… 11 [ok, my last pick was only an EP, so….]. A few follow-ups albums from bands that had their biggest sellers in ’81, as well as a number of great debut albums. ..*leave some feedback in the comments on albums you would’ve picked.
Rush – Signals
A big deal was made of Rush’s use of keyboards, with Signals being a change for the band, with keyboards taking a more prominent role in many tracks, released in September that year. It had been preceded by the single “New World Man”. The next single “Subdivisions” remains my favorite Rush track [fantastic video]. Also includes “The Analog Kid”, “Chemistry”, and “Countdown” [the 3rd single]
Aldo Nova – Aldo Nova
Aldo Nova’s debut album, released on April 1st, was loaded with classic hard rock and pop-rockers like the 2 hit singles – “Fantasy” and “Foolin’ Yourself”, the latter was a huge top 40 hit. A 3rd single was the ballad “Ball & Chain”, with the album making the top 10 in the US. Aldo released a new CD in 2018 featuring 6 new versions of tracks from this album.
Triumph – Never Surrender
The follow up to Allied Forces, released late in the year in Canada, but early ’83 elsewhere. This was pretty close to being just as great, with the classics “Never Surrender” & “A World Of Fantasy”, and rockers like “Too Much Thinking”, and “All The Way”.
Coney Hatch – Coney Hatch
The debut from Toronto’s Coney Hatch, released in May and produced by Kim Mitchell [ex Max Webster]. Another classic first album, with the the band’s 2 biggest hits, and best known songs – “Monkey Bars”, “Hey Operator”, plus “Devil’s Deck”, as well as a number of live favorites – “We Got The Night”, “No Sleep Tonight”, “Stand Up”….New live album is in the mail as I write.
Santers – Racing Time
Another Toronto 3-piece. The band’s 2nd album, recorded and released following the band’s cross Canada tour, opening for Ozzy Osbourne. This is the band’s best IMO, featuring a number of great rock tracks like “Mistreatin’ Heart”, “Road To Morocco”, “Mystical Eyes”, “Winter Freeze”….
Frank Marino – Juggernaut
Marino’s 2nd solo album, released in the summer, would be his biggest solo commercial success. Seems a bit more ‘radio friendly’ in places. Featured the radio hit “Strange Dreams” (complete with keyboards), the 8 minute epic “”Stories Of A Hero”, and cool rockers like “For Your Love” and “Maybe It’s Time”. Great LP cover, cool album!
Headpins – Turn It Loud
Headpins stormed out in ’82, a side project by guitarist/producer Brian “Too Loud” McLeod of Chilliwack. Fronted by the Darby Mills, the debut album received plenty of radio play and went platinum in Canada. Released in June (to coincide with a Canadian tour w/ Girlschool & Toronto); It featured the hit single “Don’t It Make Ya Feel”, as well as the classic title track, and “Breakin’ Down”. RIP Brian McLeod.
Harlequin – One False Move
The Winnipeg band’s 3rd album from June. It boasted the hits “Superstitious Feeling” and “I Did It For Love”. Very keyboard-y, but also some great tracks, notably the guitar heavy “Ready To Love Again”, plus catchy pop rockers like “Shame If You Leave Me” and “Fine Line”.
Anvil – Metal On Metal
Anvil’s 2nd album released in April, featuring the classic anthem title track, as well as favorites like “Heat Seek”, “Jackhammer”, and the instrumental “March Of The Crabs”. The first of a few produced by the legendary Chris Tsangarides [RIP].
Leggatt – Illuminations
Don’t think this LP [released on 2LPs] got much press at the time, but known for including Hughie Leggatt [bass/vocals] and Danny Taylor [drums] – both ex of A Foot In Coldwater & Nucleus. Leggatt [other brother Gordon] are also known for penning the track “White Flags” [included here], which was the single, and went on to be a hit for Blue Oyster Cult 4 years later. But lots of great music here, progressive, pop, rock… cool tracks like “Amerikan Lights”, “Rolling Hard”, and “Slipping Into Limbo”.
Kim Mitchell – Kim Mitchell
The 5 song debut from Kim Mitchell, fresh out of Max Webster in November. Great songs, and a few that got plenty of radio play in Ontario – “Miss Demeanor” and “Kids In Action”. Awesome guitar record!
Other Mentions: April Wine Powerplay, Toronto Get It On Credit, Queen City Kids Black Box , Lee Aaron The Lee Aaron Project , Streetheart Streetheart , Sheriff Sheriff, Chilliwack Opus X .
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A classic pair of albums that go together as set for me are Alice Cooper’s first 2 solo albums from 1975 & ’76. Welcome To My Nightmare was a huge success, aided by a prime-time TV aired video for the album, as well as a massive tour. AC Goes To Hell would not be as successful, nor would there be a tour, but as far as themes, players, and sound go – these 2 are a pair. Both albums would be recorded at multiple studios, most notably Soundstage in Toronto. As with the earlier AC band successes, Alice solo was still working with (Toronto) Bob Ezrin, and use the former Lou Reed guitar team of Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter, both of whom also guest on earlier AC albums, as well as bass player Tony Levin. There would be other players on each albums as well, a number of them from Canada. Vincent Price, however, would only guest on WTMN!
“Alice Cooper Goes To Hell is sort of a continuation of Welcome To My Nightmare. It’s fun. You don’t really know if Alice woke up from the nightmare or not. He actually goes down to Hell and meets the devil. They have a battle on who is really the coolest.” – AC, Circus magazine, 1976.
Though Goes To Hell would be the weaker of the pair, like Welcome to Me Nightmare it did feature some classics. Both albums would lead off with the title track, both of which are pretty different than the typical rock tune, and both have returned to the live show for many tours. Each had an acoustic based ballad ending side one, both of which became big hit singles – “Only Women Bleed” and “I Never Cry” both reached #12 on the Billboard charts, about 6 months apart, while the former would reach #1 in Canada and the latter #7 here. These created a whole new avenue for Cooper with ballads on AM radio, with more to follow. While Welcome To My Nightmare seems a bit creepier lyrically, both albums would boast a couple rebellious teen anthems, “Department Of Youth” (from WTMN, and issued as a single) and “Guilty” (from GTH, which would’ve made a fine single).
Welcome To My Nightmare is heavier overall with tracks like “Steven”, “Cold Ethyl” and “Devils Food” & “The Black Widow”, while Goes To Hell seemed to have a bit more funky numbers like “I’m The Coolest”, “Give The Kid A Break” and “You Gotta Dance” – a somewhat disco tune, because disco was what was being played in Hell (or Hell was a disco!?). The latter album also had a few more ballads in “Wake Me Gently”, the Judy Garland cover “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows”, and the closing piece “Going Home”. Each album also borrowed some outside material – “Escape” [from WTMN] was a song recorded by The Hollywood Stars in 1974 (and unreleased for decades), with Alice re-writing the lyrics to fit the Nightmare theme. “Wish You Were Here” was borrowed somewhat (riff & solo) from the track “Stage Door Queen” from the 1972 album by Ursa Major – which included Dick Wagner and was produced by Ezrin!
Welcome To My Nightmare featured an iconic album cover from Pacific Eye & Ear, while Goes To Hell was far less memorable, but it did include the ‘bedtime story’ in the liner notes to go along with the lyrics, so.. Welcome To My Nightmare would be made in to a TV special, which included all the songs being acted out to the story, and the ensuring tour was one of the biggest of the decade and of Alice’s career, but Goes To Hell would see no TV show (though Alice did talk in interviews about wanting to make it into a Broadway performance), nor would there be a tour for Goes To Hell, with health issues keeping Alice off the road until his next album.
A proposed tour called “Ol Black Eyes Is Back” was scheduled to start in Canada (with Max Webster as openers), but was cancelled. There was however his performance on The Rock Music Awards in September of ’76, performing a couple of songs from the album with plenty of dancers. The lack of a tour may have also been part of the reason for there not being a follow up single to “I Never Cry”, and part of why WTMN made the Top 10 in Canada & the US, while GTH was in the Top 30 for both countries. It seemed Alice’s post-original band era would be more in to theatrics, but more like Hollywood theatrics with more focus on dancers, less straight ahead rock tunes, and becoming part of the Hollywood community (he would appear on the Hollywood Squares, and even acted in the Mae West movie “Sextette” during this time). His 1977 album Lace & Whiskey was a different story (lyrically and musically) to his first 2 solo albums.
Although I think Welcome To My Nightmare is the better album overall, Goes To Hell is a classic as well, “Guilty” being one of the best Alice rockers during this latter ’70s period and the lyrics to tracks like “Wish You Were Here” and “Go To Hell” being among his most twisted and funniest. I remember getting these in the early 80s (when I started buying Alice records), and thinking how strange these were next to the Greatest Hits songs I knew – the song “Welcome To My Nightmare” wasn’t really a hard-rocker, with all the horns and soft intro, not to mention tracks like “Some Folks”, “Years Ago”… all very strange to a supposed hard-rock album. And the other I found a bit odd as well with the ballads, and odd tracks like “You Gotta Dance” and “Didn’t We Meet”. But I enjoyed them both repeatedly, as I got in to the stories and Alice’s ability to add and change so much to the character from song to song and album to album. When I first saw him in 1986 (then not thinking I’d ever get to see him) he played both title tracks, and ‘metaled’ them up quite a bit for the times. A great back to back adventure in ’70s rock from Alice.
Canadian guitar player Brian Greenway jumped into April Wine in 1977, making the band a 5-piece at the time, and beginning a 7 year run of massive tours and 5 major release albums. They shared the stage with some of the world’s biggest bands, toured the US multiple times, as well as trips the UK and Europe. The classic 5 piece era came to an end in 1984 following the release of Animal Grace. Brian Greenway would go on to record a solo album a few years later, and return with a reformed April Wine in the early ’90s. The band recorded a few more albums, and Greenway remains still from those glory days, alongside the band’s founder – singer/songwriter/guitarist Myles Goodwyn. In this interview Brian talked album the April Wine albums he was on, as well as his solo album, and what he’s up to over the passed year, as the band’s touring has been postponed due to Co-Vid. *Check out the links below I’ve posted to other articles and sites of interest.
You auditioned for April Wine back in ’73? I did. Well, Not with a guitar, I just had a meeting with Myles. and at the time I just wasn’t the person, Gary Moffett was also a consideration, and in hindsight he was the right choice.
You were in the last incarnation of Mashmakan around the same time!?Yes. The 2nd edition of Mashmakan, after Jerry Mercer and Rayburn Blake and all those guys had left, Pierre Senecal was Mashmakan.
All you guys seemed to know each other, even before you were in April Wine. You knew the Henman brothers before you were in the band. Mashmakan had open for and toured with AW in the Maritimes, quite a few times. and I remember seeing April Wine in their first show actually, in Quebec in 1970. Jimmy Clench I knew from other bands in Montreal, and Jerry Mercer I knew. so it was just the Henmans and Myles that I got to know, really. and Richie and David are still good friends.
You just did the one single with Mashmakan? Yes, “Dance A Little Step”, we did some other stuff… actually there was one called “Ride Johnny Ride” on Columbia, just after I joined. I’d forgotten about that.. but it didn’t do f**k-all. Pierre wrote the lyrics for it, and it was about my step-father, his name was John, and it didn’t go over so well in the house, because it wasn’t a positive song.
Interesting that he would write about your step-father. Yeah, I suppose. He was always writing about family.
You went on to do The Dudes album. Yeah. I got a call from Bob Segarini and he told me David and Richie Henman were going to join The Wackers [which became the Dudes], so I thought ‘oh I’ll join then’, and he told David and Richie that I was going to join – when neither of us had said Yes yet. haha
There was a lot of hype with that band!? There was a tremendous amount of hype. We had some incredible demos, and the record companies were sort of fighting over us, and we ended up choosing the wrong record company. And the album went from being recorded badly, very badly at Le Studio.. It almost wrecked the name of Le Studio, itself! Andre Perry wasn’t happy about it. He offered to re-mix the album for free, but Columbia wouldn’t let that happen. I guess they didn’t want the album to happen, so they did everything they could to not let it happen.
At the time you got the call to join April Wine had you kinda given up on the music thing? Well I’d got myself a day job because i needed to work. There was just nothing going on. So I was working in a warehouse, driving a forklift truck, and then eventually up to the head office, and in charge of inventory control – which is really bizarre because I’m terrible with numbers, and it was all about numbers, and there was no computers then, it was just a calculator and paper and writing it down in this card index box. there was a lot of scratch-outs!
What were sort of your first impressions when you met up with Myles about joining the band? What was the plan or how was it put to you? Oh I thought I was joining the band, but in reality I was joining the band for the summer tour to see how it worked out, and if I’d fit in. and then I’d become a permanent member, so I was on trial for 3 months.
One thing I’ve been curious about with you guys during that era [I’m jumping ahead] – but what was the comradery like with you guys – was it all business or was there certain friendships, did you guys hang out much? It mostly was business. I mean, Myles was married and having kids, I hung out with Gary a bit, ..Jerry was married and had kids, so there were families. Gary had a daughter that was much older. We would go cycling, but we’d never really hang out that much. Sometimes I’d see Myles at a club somewhere, and that’d be about it, but there was no plans, I’d go to his house – stop in and say Hi, you know – trying to build a friendship, and we did.
But it wasn’t a social club much!? It wasn’t a social club, we weren’t best friends, but we liked each other and respected each other musically, and as people. But it wasn’t like ‘hey – what are you doing, let’s do this….let’s do that!’ … But, towards the end, as it is now, no one really hangs out, nobody drinks like we used to, there’s no social thing – now it’s all business. And it was also the ’70s – it was the party.
The first album you did was First Glance, and that was done in 2 studios… Yeah. the band had already started that record, I wasn’t aware of it. But when I was brought in as a full-time member in the fall of ’77 we went in to the studio and worked on stuff like “Roller”, and “Rock n Roll Is A Vicious Game” was cut there, with Jimmy Zeller playing harmonica. and then “Roller” was actually re-recorded up at Morin Heights, at Le Studio, when we moved up there. And Nick Blagona took over engineering from Terry [I forget his name, we called him the Bearded Clam], and Bill Szawlowski. It was an upgrade.
You had one song on that album, and you also sang another song – “Let Yourself Go”. I’m kinda curious what you brought in, I know Myles generally the writer, but were you guys sort of encouraged to bring stuff in, try new things..? In the beginning I was told that they were looking for a 3rd guitar player who could sing, write, contribute, and play additional instruments – like I can with harmonica and keyboards. So that was the attraction there, and I already had some songs, and “Right Down To It” got on the record. But Myles was the chief writer.
Did you guys regularly write more than enough for an album or was it you got 9 or 10 songs ‘let’s go with those’. !? Well, I never really knew because Myles always plays his cards close to his chest, and we’d always seemed to have just enough songs for the record. We would never record anything more than was necessary, looking back at it I can see that it would incur extra expense on the budget of that album. So maybe there was other songs that were there that I was never aware of. I just thought of that actually.
I’m curious how a song might’ve been presented, how Myles brought it in, maybe on acoustic guitar … He would play it or bring it in on cassette. and we would learn the arrangement and the chords for the verses and choruses, and then we would put it together as a band and create our own parts – like with “Roller”, he brought in the lick, and that worked in to the 3 part solo – that was created in rehearsal. Plus we had the extra bonus of being able to play that on the road, live for about 2 or 3 months before we recorded it. So we could see what was working in the song and what wasn’t, from the live reaction. and not every song is like that.
There was a couple of songs that went on First Glance that were in the setlist before, right? Yes, those first 3 albums we were playing a lot, we were on the road all the time, and we would try new songs. We would rehearse on the road, and try things. From FG, what of those songs do you recall playing ahead of time? I read a set list with “Hot On the Wheels Of Love” Yep, I was going to say that. That was created partly in the studio too with ideas ‘hey let go try this and go try that’ – like the ‘sheriff’ part, that was my idea. And that worked in to a neat live part, we had a white bar at the side of the stage that would swing out and there’d be a hat and the glasses there, and I’d put them on and the spotlight would go on. It was a part of the song that added a bit of theater.
How would you guys develop a song in the studio – was most of it laid out, or did you have much input? On the first few albums, everything was rehearsed beforehand, ‘pre-production’ as we’d call it. So when we went in to the studio rarely was something torn apart and replaced and re-written. One instance was “Say Hello” from the Harder…Faster album. We’d recorded it, and Nick Blagona said ‘let me try some edits’. He was very good at editing – there was tape hanging everywhere in the bloody studio. And he cut out every 2nd or 3rd bass note, and created that bass part from edits. and then he said ‘let me try something with the guitars – -Gary go out there and record each guitar note 3 times’, triple it, and then the harmony on that, the 3rd and then the 5th, and that was the guitar part, he would mute it by gating it. that song was really structured technically and with technology in the studio. He was very talented at editing.
Back to First Glance…. You wrote “Right Down To It”. Yes. that was originally with The Dudes. Do you recall anything about writing that one, where it came from? No, it’s just one of those songs that sort of jumped out. The same way with “Before The Dawn”, I just had an idea, and sat down in the hallway of my townhouse, and 20 minutes later it was written. I wish I could do more of those. We were touring a lot, so I had lot of ideas, lots of energy, you know.
How did you end up doing vocals on “Let Yourself Go”? I wasn’t intended on doing it. It was Myles’ song, and he said ‘go sing this’, and while I was singing it he was still writing the lyrics. and I finished the first verse he said ‘ok I’ve got the 2nd verse, go do it’. and Nick said ‘try to sound like John Lennon on there in places if you can, and sound softer in places’.. so I said ‘OK, I’m a good mimic’, so I did it. I had no idea it was going to be on the record, it was just ‘go try and sing this’.
“Rock N Roll Is A Vicious Game” came out well before the album, and the band were still signed to London Records in the US. So when did Capitol thing come about? Was that well after the album was done and out [on Aquarius] ? Well, “Roller” came out on Capitol …… Well we needed distribution in the States and London didn’t want to do it any more. We always had Aquarius [in Canada]. and then Capitol came in, and nothing was happening really – towards the end of 1978, and the band was seriously thinking about moving to Los Angeles. There was just nothing going on for us in the States – nothing. And we needed to reinvent ourselves. So everybody was actually making plans of moving to the States, and It was like ‘well I don’t know if I wanna do that’, it’s a long way to go. And then suddenly “Roller” became a hit, and that changed everything. At the very end of the year a station in Saginaw, Michigan, a big reporting rock station – reporting to the charts ya know; reported that it was #1 in Saginaw, Michigan. and other stations are going ‘What!? Who’s this?’ and then Capitol, Mike Dymond out of Detroit with Capitol Records, and Jeff the disc jockey up in Saginaw, and pretty soon everybody was loving it, and it became #1 in Michigan, and then it took off, and the rest of the stations started playing it across the country. And all of a sudden we had a good record going, and then Capitol became very interested, and the ball started rolling – ‘let’s get them out on the road.’
You guys did a lot of tours – with Rush and Styx… Yes, in ’78, ’79, and then in 1980 we started headlining ourselves, but we would do some larger tours with Nazareth, or like double-billing [or triple billing, whatever]. the market was changing, so shows with multiple acts were starting to happen.
When you guys went in and did Harder…Faster, you had “Before The Dawn” on there, and you guys also did “21st Century Schizoid Man”. Who’s idea was that? I can’t remember… Steve Lang, the bass player (God rest his soul, who died a few years back, a friend of mine for all my life), he was in a prog-rock band before April Wine called Devotion and I don’t know if they were doing it or not, but I believe he suggested it. And we messed around with it…
I think they [Devotion] were, because a buddy of mine, Derek, was familiar with Devotion because he had a connection there And April Wine was by no means a prog-rock band. And once we did it, we did it well, and recorded it well, and oddly enough Nick Blagona who was engineering the album at Le Studio had been involved in the original recording with King Crimson, so he says ‘I know how they put the song together in the studio, so I’m going to do it the same way they did and see how it works for us’. And it came out pretty bloody well! And when I went to sing it, because it was different, I said ‘Nick – how do I sing this?’ And he said ‘I wanna hear teeth!’ , so I said ‘OK – teeth!’. and at the very end there was this high laugh that I did a mimic of a laugh I did by a fellow who used to own a club in Montreal, and whenever he laughed he’d laugh like that, so I did it, just as a mimic.
And that became a huge part of the live set.. It still is. And oddly enough Capitol records did Not want to release it on the album. They did not want to have it on the record at all; they thought it was just terrible! But it became a staple in the States, on FM. I only found out later that Capitol didn’t want us to do it. i had no idea.
On Nature of The Beast Nick Blagona was out and you had Mike Stone in for the next few albums. Yes. Myles wanted to change things up, so he called Mike Stone and the 2 of them hit it off, and he started to help produce it. They wanted a bigger name producing the band. Nick was great, but he wasn’t as well known as Mike.
Now, NOTB you didn’t have any songs on…
No I didn’t.
“Sign Of The Gypsy Queen” was the Lorence Hud song. Were you familiar with the original? Oh yeah, that was a hit in Canada, in the ’70s.
Who’s idea was that one? Myles came in and said we’re going to try to record this. but I don’t know what talk went on beforehand.
Did you ever meet Lorence Hud? No. Never have met him. He’s a bit of a recluse from what I hear. But I remember Myles used to say ‘he’s got so many royalty cheques waiting for him, if he’d just surface’.
What do recall of making NOTB. Were you guys aware it was going to be a big deal when you were making it? We had gone to England and recorded it at the Manor studios, outside of Oxford, which was owned by Richard Branson, and I absolutely hated it! Le Studio was close to home, it was first class, it had modern comforts… The Manor was a 400 or 500 or 1000 year old bloody building that had been added on to and added on to, and it was in the middle of nowhere. We couldn’t go anywhere, and it was too expensive, I mean the English pound was like 3 Canadian dollars for 1 pound at the time, so ya know – hire a car and go where!? I walked down the canal to the local pub every night which closed at 9pm, and then sit up and do bloody nothing.
Did you get out and see the country much or any shows? I went to Oxford and saw Billy Connolly, that was the biggest thing. Myles and Jerry would go out and play golf, but every day we’d be working.
What stood out for you on that album? Well, we did “Just Between You And Me” on that record, and that took a long time to record, just to get the feel right – to the point where I played rhythm guitar for hours and Gary played rhythm guitar for hours, and his was the track that stayed. So there was no need for me to play on it, so I’m not even on, except for a voice.
Did you guys ever have much input in to the album covers with Aquarius? Yes. In-house was one of the owners of Aquarius Records was Bob Lemm, and he was a graphic artist, and he was very good. He would design all the covers.
Would you guys ever get a say in it? Was it presented to you guys… It was presented to us and talk about it – ‘do you like this idea?’, and we would approve it eventually.
So did Bob do the lettering? Yes, he created the logo.
Did anything change between NOTB and Powerplay? Because on Powerplay you had some outside written songs, and it seemed a bit softer, and maybe that’s the whole difference between Mike Stone and Nick Blagona. Yes, and some input from the record company I imagine. And Myles became very controlling in that time. It started out – ‘everybody write’, and everybody did write; everybody brought in quite a few songs, and I think it probably shocked and surprised Myles because some of them were pretty good, and he said ‘No, I’m the only singer and I’m the only songwriter’. And that’s probably what the record company wanted too – because he was writing the hits, so that’s where they placed their bets. There was a lot of unproven songwriters and the record company might’ve said ‘no, we can’t afford to chance that, and we don’t want to spend the money recording it to find out.’
So there was nothing that might’ve been seriously considered – whether you had a song or Steve wrote a song… I’d written one, but I hadn’t completed the lyrics, and it got rejected, so I just dropped it.
There are 3 outside written tracks here, which I find odd, with Myles being such a prolific writer and if you guys could contribute, why would you need outside songs. Particularly “If You See Kay” – where did that one come from? That was from a writer in the States, and IMyles, I guess, was taken with the fact that it was a clever way to say Fuck and get it on the album. And I remember Steve Lang not wanting to have anything to do with this song.
Because of the title?Yeah. He was ‘I don’t want to be known as the fuck song band’, you know. And he had a point. And it was catchy in the same way that Billy Ray Cyrus had that first song of his, I forget the title.
And then The Beatles’ song. And I guess everyone wants to do a Beatles song at some point!? Myles was always a Beatles baby, as all of us, and he took great interest in trying to re-write a Beatles’ song that would be a hit. He gave “Tell Me Why” the sort of same treatment as “You Won’t Dance With Me”, and that was a big hit, so maybe the record company was hoping the same thing would happen, but it didn’t.
There was a lot of good songs on it, but I think those covers made a little inconsistent. “Anything You Want, You Got it” was a great opener, “Enough Is Enough”, “Waiting On A Miracle”… Yes, “Enough Is Enough” became a very popular song… “Waiting On A Miracle” – it was a good rock song at the time, but it was a bit dated.
And then you guys get to Animal Grace and the first thing I notice is the logo is changed. Yes, and I and have no idea why.
And obviously there was a lot of turmoil amongst you guys during that album. You had another outside writer – Tom Lange with “Hard Rock Kid”, and then Myles wrote everything else. I actually kind of like that album but I wasn’t crazy about that ’80s production, but for me I liked the songs more than I did on Powerplay – “Sons Of The Pioneers”, “This Could Be The Right One”… I thought it was a fairly consistent album. I guess It was, but there was a lot of internal strife, so the vibes weren’t all that good recording it.
Yeah, there was the article that came out around the time of the album, which Myles said some things that lead one to believe it would leading to the end of the band. Yeah – New Music Express.
And when I saw you guys in ’84 at the Kingswood Music Theatre, you only did one song from that album. You only did the single “This Could Be The Right One”. Yeah, the rest was garbage.
There was no discussion of playing any more of it!? There was no mention, I can’t remember. There were better songs to play in the amount of time we were allotted to play.
By the time you guys were done the album was it kind of a done deal that you guys would be breaking up? That was not known until the tour started in the spring – early summer of 1984. I was never an included business member in April Wine. I wasn’t included in April Wine Limited, the company. So at the beginning of that tour, it’s documented in books – Myles wrote and Keith Brown wrote that he demanded that everybody give him their rights or he wasn’t going to tour and it was going to cost a lot of money to the band. It was a capitulation. And he got what he wanted, and that was the end of the band there, so he was saying ‘that’s it – the band’s breaking up, I’m going on my own.’
But you came back for Walking Through Fire, which I assume was really of a solo album. It was, but it was a contractual album for him, because he was April Wine – he owned the name, and he got some really good musicians, Jean Pelleran, Martin Simon, and Daniel Barbe – who played keyboards on “This Could Be The Right One”. and we did that at the studio at the Bahamas, in Nassau. In the history of April Wine…. Forever For Now was originally going to be a Myles Goodwyn solo project, but it ended up being an album for April Wine. So he kept on wanting to do a solo project, and finally he moved to the Bahamas, but contractually he owed Aquarius another record, so Walking Through Fire was sort of made quickly.
How did you wind up on it? I was never a partner, therefor I could never lose anything, other than a job. So when I was asked ‘Do you want to go down to the Bahamas? Here’s what we’ll pay you.’ I said Sure. I liked to the people, and it lead ultimately to my signing with Bud Prager and my solo record.
Now, I saw the One More For The Road show, and that was quite a lengthy show, around 2 hours, but then the album came out and it’s a single album. Yeah. Again, it’s on vinyl right, so it was just ‘put the hits on it.’ Now, the Live From London video – that was the full show.
How did you guys like touring over there? I loved it. I loved touring there. Especially Germany.
And you guys got kinda lumped in with all those heavy metal bands over there, seeing from some of the bands you were touring with there. Yeah, they featured us as a heavy metal band, and maybe we were in Canada, but in England and Germany ‘heavy metal’ had a whole different meaning.
Who do you recall touring with that you particularly liked, or any friendships or guys you’ve kept up with? Uriah Heep we played with a fare amount. We did a couple of shows with Motorhead… Wishbone Ash, there’s another band…. Yeah, Uriah Heep and Wishbone Ash, we had a good time together; we were all around the same age, and like the same things.
I want to talk a bit about your solo album. Were you happy with how it came out? Oh I loved the outcome. Money was spent, we had great players, really great players. But unfortunately once again, there was politics involved, beyond my knowledge at the time. It wasn’t much about music at the time, it was about Bud Prager who was my manager, who was also Foreigner’s manager and also Ben E King’s manager in New York, and who was looking to become head of Atlantic Records, there was rumors’ of Doug Morris replacing Ahmet Ertegun, but that didn’t happen. So of course, all the projects that Bud had going, like me , were dropped. and although Atlantic records released it everywhere – they didn’t spend a dime on promotion. They turned to WEA in Canada, who I was not signed with, I was signed to Atlantic US. And it was ‘OK, we’ll release it Canada and see how it goes.’ And Bob Roper, who I knew well, in fact who I knew from his London Records days, he was the head of WEA at that point, and he rather unfriendly welcomed me to the office and said ‘Just because Atlantic calls us to promote you, what makes you think we have the budget?’, and I’m like ‘I don’t know, I’m just the artist’. But anyway, maybe I caught him on a bad day. But Kim Cooke, the head of WEA tried to make it work, but it just didn’t.
You had the video for “Danger Zone”… Oh yeah, they tried. But it was expensive, but they also waited 6 months to release it after it was done. And in that 6 month window music had changed radically. and all the hits were like female and softer, like Tracy Chapman and My Name was Luka…. And I was all of a sudden very old fashioned overnight.
It’s a shame that it did, because obviously you guys had a great string of albums there. Yeah, but we became old fashioned and out of style really quickley, all the bands did with the invention of the synthesizer and the Roland and the Yamaha. Bands like the Cars became the new wave, Elvis Costello, things changed – guitars became very unimportant, it wasn’t the sound. And the mega guitar solos like Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd had became famous for, it became old-hat, and nobody wanted to hear those any more. And the guitar became really unpopular.
Well, it eventually came back. When you’re dealing with digital technology you can create a song without really having to play. And the guitar became something you had to sit down and learn, and spend time with, but nobody wanted to do that any more. And that lasted for a long time . The guitar slinger was unpopular. Now it’s coming back. But nobody wanted to take the time to learn. There was no guitar heros in the last 20 years… maybe 30 or 40.
Regarding Serious Business, do you have any control over that album still? No. Atlantic owns it, and when I called them they never heard of me. A friend of mine has a label called Pace Maker Records and wants to put it out on that. He’s out of Toronto, but he also doesn’t want to get sued by them. But eventually if they don’t want to listen to us, we’ll just go ahead and do it, because sometimes it’s easier to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.
Now, you had a few years off. What was the difference when you rejoined with Myles and the new line-up in ’91-92?Well, originally when we started rehearsing, it was the original 5 piece. And we were told that perhaps we could get maybe 3 weeks of shows. And just before we said Yes to the tour, Gary and Steve said No – they didn’t want to be apart of it. Steve, at that point had gone in to the financial world and he had a very well paying high position job that he didn’t want to give up, and Gary just didn’t want to do because of what had happened in the old days with April Wine breaking up. He never really said, I don’t know what was on his mind. He never really said unless he wanted you to know. But he said ‘No, I don’t want to do it’. And that is when we got Jim Clench and Steve Segal. And Myles had been working with Steve Segal. who I knew and we had 3 guitars again, but I was the bottom guitar guy, Steve was getting the solos, so I wasn’t a very happy player. and it’d changed quite a bit. and people were saying ‘oh this isn’t April Wine’ and I mentioned that to Myles, and oddly his friends said the same thing, so eventually we went back down to a 4 piece. And that’s when the band started sounding like April Wine again.
Were you happy with Attitude? Not really.
It did pretty well, it brought you guys back a lot of attention. Yeah, but I didn’t really like any of the songs. There wasn’t any I could really get my teeth into. I mean if you listen to the songs I had on Back To The Mansion they’re so different.
For you guys – going from playing the arenas in the ’80s and being that headlining band, then going back to playing the clubs…. We were doing anything we could. What had happened was we would go in to these smaller places thinking they were still arenas and blast the hell out of them, and not just us, but the sound technician, and people would complain and we wouldn’t get invited back. We were just too loud, and nobody wouldn’t change. People were saying we were the loudest band they ever saw, and it’s not a badge of honor. Even on stage it was too loud. Jerry at one point, used to have 15 thousand watt monitor just for the drums. It was crazy. I used to hate it. But then again I was drinking a lot, and that was my way of getting through it – I used to have 5 or 6 beers before the show, and go out, shake my little butt, and smile and play guitar.
I saw a couple of shows at Front 54 in Thorold and can attest to that. Was it a kick to the ego playing the smaller venues as opposed to playing the arenas? I didn’t mind. I always gave the same show. As I said, I drank my way through the ’80s and mostly through the ’90s, and mostly the whole band did. And finally Myles stopped first, then I stopped 6 years ago. And then things became very clear – you just don’t go out and do that anymore. And we started working with a younger crew that would educate us on this. ‘No this is not how you do it anymore’. Plus, places we played now had decibel levels, limits that you couldn’t go over or they’d stop the show. People would complain, say ‘we’re not coming back’, and that would hurt the places we played rather than us, so people were voting with their dollars. And places were ‘there’s a 95 db limit – if you go over it you get fine heavily or we stop the show.’ It became politically correct, volume became a danger, and well so, I mean if we wanted to be that loud on stage that’s one thing, and lose our hearing, but don’t make everybody else do it.
The last think you did in the ’90s was the Frigate album. And that was kind of a mish mash … That was done in Myles’ house, and that was a mish-mash, yeah. Once again – contractual.
There was a couple of great heavy songs, then was a couple of odd things at the end of it, there was one that was all keyboards, and you had a couple of covers… There was one on there I called “Carrie” that I wrote, but it became something else and Myles sang it. It was a very grandiose type keyboard with a 12 string in it, it had a repeating chorus at the end. I forget what he called it. .. “Whatever It Takes” !? That’s the one. There wasn’t much on it. Back To The Mansion was sort of strange too. I had 2 songs on there that I was quite proud of actually.
Yeah, “Holiday” was a great song. Thank you. And I worked up a really neat acoustic version when I play it… well, when I used to play [haha]… when everybody used to play live shows. And the other one I wrote for my kids. It was about life experiences, but it was inspired by the George Harrison and the Beach Boys, the George Harrison song “Cheer Down” and the Beach Boys song “In My Room”.
With Back To The Mansion did you guys kind of do it like patchwork? Yeah, we did it in between shows. We did it at Myles’ house. I would come in and do a few song, and we’d rehearse, but the rehearsal was nothing, nobody was coming up with any ideas, so it was a waisted effort and I would leave.
You also did the cover of “I Am A Rock”… I thought that was very strange. At that point I thought you know, any song with the word ‘rock’ in it was a contender for an April Wine song. You guys were competing with AC/DC for using that word in titles? Yeah, or geologists – one of the two!
I thought it was a good album, but for me it lacked a real hard-rocker. It did. The single, we were on the TV show with it – “Won’t Go There”, but it wasn’t rock though, but then again, there was no rock at that time. We were trying to fit in where we couldn’t.
Then there was the Greatest Hits Live. It was at the Tournaments of Hearts, we recorded that live. That didn’t come out that well.
At that point you had Carl (Dixon) in the band for a couple of years, as well. How did you get along with him? All right. It’s a funny story, Myles thought he had called somebody else, so this guy came to the door, and it wasn’t the guy that Myles thought. You know, they set up a meeting and this guy arrived and Myles says ‘who are you?’ But he couldn’t play keys that great, and he couldn’t play guitar like us, so it was kinda weird. But he did make up for it by being the band’s opener for a year or 2, so it was all a self-contained show. But he was all right. He had a terrible accident and I was happy that he recovered from it. It was just strange times the band was going through; nothing against him personally, but it was like ‘what are you doing here?’, ya know.
And since then, there was one further album, and then you guys have just been touring since then. Yeah. And we were gaining some traction, in ’18, ’18, and ’19 we were doing bigger and bigger shows and then CoVid came along. I don’t know what will happen when we get back together; we still have shows booked, and they keep on getting postponed and put off. Ya know never in the history of music has it just closed overnight.
Brian & Myles Goodwyn on stage in Toronto, CNE. 2018. (Photo: Gordon Enright)
Myles has kind of talked over the years about doing another April Wine album. Oh yeah, we still talk about it, and just recently too. We’ve been sending songs back and forth and trying to figure out how we can get one done before the end of the year. And I’ve got a good little studio set up now, so I could do it properly; I can send my parts out, and everybody can. So it can be done.
If there’s a new album, is there potential you’ll have anything on it? I hope so. My whole style of writing has changed, I’ve been working on putting out a blues record. That’s my original roots, back in 1965 when i first heard John Mayall with Eric Clapton. Sort of British blues … I have a band called The Blues Bus, and I call it ‘British and American Blues served with a touch of Wine’. And I do my own April Wine stuff, but it comes off sounding so heavy, I’ve sort of brought down my intensity, I’m more like a JJ Cale.
So are you recording at home? Yes I am. Right now, I’m working on a bucket list thing me, which is an old instrumental that was on a John Mayall album, with Eric Clapton called the Bluesbreakers, but most people ended up calling it the ‘Beano’ album. And it’s an old Freddie King song, an instrumental called “Hideaway”. And I was always stunned by Clapton’s performance on it, and I said ‘one day I want to record that’. So i sat down in the beginning of February and learnt it note for note, and I’m just working on recording it. I’ve got bass and drums down, and keyboards, I’ve just got finish getting the guitar down.
Who else plays on it with you? A friend of mine, Lloyd, from The Blues Bus, Lloyd Dellaire is on it. He also filled in for Richard when Richard had some surgery, in 2019. Lloyd filled for a month with us. And right now it’s just a software program from Superior Drummer, but to me it sounds like a real drummer. Superior Drummer is a great program because what they did was they actually had a real drummer go in and do parts, in a very well known studio, so it sounds like real drums, it Is real drums.
Do you have a plan on when you want to get something out under your own name? No, if no label signed, we’ll just throw it at the world or get some small label to release it, maybe through the blues world. I really don’t care at this point, I’m going to be 70 this year and whatever happens, happens. It’s just like I did when I was 17 or 15 – ‘Gee, it’d be nice if this happens but I don’t know how to do it so let’s just see what happens. I’m sort of starting over again, just having fun for the enjoyment of playing music. And during CoVid, I said ‘I’m going to learn how to use my studio properly’, so I did. I’ve learned an awful lot in the past year, which I wouldn’t have done without CoVid, . and an awful lot about myself. A lot of time to reflect. .. Well my wife went back to work, and she’s working from home and we have a 2 year old Labrador and he follows me around everywhere, and he won’t go downstairs unless i go downstairs. So everyday I’m spending most of my time dog sitting to prevent him from barking because she spends most of her time on the phone. (Dog talk ensues).
Any road stories? Nazareth was always fun. They were so Scottish, right out of Glasgow. And we would be touring in the States, and Americans – the mid-west especially, just did not understand that thick Glaswegian accent. And I remember sitting with Danny McCafferty in a Holiday Inn once, by the swimming pool, because all Holiday Inns had swimming pools back then, in the ’80s. And the waitress came over with her little Farah Fawcett clip up hair-do and asked what we wanted, and I said ‘I’ll have a hamburger’, and Dan said – ‘[groans, grumbles..] with a sandwich’ – and she didn’t understand a word of it. So I translated for him [haha]. And i said ‘oh he’s from Glasgow, Scotland.’ And when she came back with his drink she said ‘If you’re from Scotland, why is everything on your t-shirt written in English?’ . And she walked away and he looked at me and said ‘so where are you from?’, and I said ‘well, I’m half Scottish myself’. And he said ‘you’ve lost your brogue, and I said ‘well I was born in Canada, and my mother was born in Canada, so I never had any other accent than the one I have now.’ And he says ‘I’ll tell you what, it’s real easy to get it back.’ and I said ‘how’s that Danny?’, and he says ‘it’s simple – just with everything you say – make it sound like a threat! – ‘Hey You! Git over here – Now!’ And I thought it was very funny, very Scottish. There was other times, the food fights and funny things that would happen on the road. that you really don’t want to say because they could embarrass someone, you know.
Lastly, after everything that’s gone on over the years with Myles, how do you guys get along now? We get along OK. He’s made me angry, he’s made me sad, we’ve had some happy time. And we call each other friends, and we are after all these years – 50 together. There’s things that have happened that make me angry -still, and there’s others, but you become older and you say ‘Hey, we’ve been together for so long, let’s finish this on a friendly term, now’. So, that’s my take.
When Ozzy Osbourne was fired from Black Sabbath and replaced by Ronnie James Dio, it began and new promising era, a fresh start, and a pile of new ideas and up to date sound for the new decade. The band had been closing out the 70s on a bit of a downturn with the last few Ozzy era albums [though I admit I really like Technical Ecstasy] . My introduction to the Dio era of Black Sabbath was borrowing a friend’s copy of Live Evil (which I’ve yet to return 38 years later). I eventually picked up LPs of Heaven And Hell and Mob Rules (had them on a cassette for a while). Mob Rules being my favorite Sabbath album, with Heaven And Hell not far behind. Dio could contribute a lot more than Ozzy, with lyrics and melodies, where as Geezer Butler is generally known for writing many of the Ozzy era lyrics. The new Dio era sounded heavier with Dio’s distinctive voice that could deliver new and darker stories clear and more aggressively, all put together by legendary producer Martin Birch. I thought these 2 albums were/are timeless, and I can pull them out any time and they sound just as good as they did 40 years ago. With Live Evil mixing new and old Sabbath songs, I honestly was not so crazy about this one, having been a fan of the early Sabbath albums I just didn’t think Dio was as suited to those songs, perhaps because Ozzy had such a unique voice, but I did like his performance of “N.I.B.”. After Live Evil Dio, along with Vinny Appice would go off and form Dio. A shame then – done after 2 superb studio albums!? Well, the Mob Rules line-up reformed again in the early ’90s released Dehumanizer . It was a bit more Dio /Appice influenced in sound, IMO, with those slow heavy dark rock tunes. It took me a long time to get in to this one due to the overall production / sound of the album, but it featured some really good tracks, but overall not high on my Sabbath list. Again, the band split, and over the next decade plus, Sabbath would return to work Tony Martin on vocals [who did a fine job on the Dio era songs live], and then do some shows with Ozzy.
With the release of 2007’s CD compilation release The Dio Years, Iommi, Butler, Dio and Appice again reformed to add 3 new tracks to the album. The band went out on tour, playing only tracks from the Dio-era albums under the name Heaven & Hell, taking Scott Warren [of Dio’s band] in place of Geoff Nicholls – adding keyboards and some guitar. This tour lead to the release of Live At Radio City Music Hall. Rhino Records also released Live At The Hammersmith [from 81/82] in 2007. Continuing as Heaven & Hell, the band made one more studio album – The Devil You Know in 2009. This was a strong album, and I preferred this to Dehumanizer, very heavy, up to date, great clean sounding. Interestingly, The Devil You Know was the highest charting album of the 4 on Billboard USA. The band toured further that year, with Ronnie James Dio later diagnosed with stomach cancer. Shows for 2010 were cancelled, and Dio passed away May 16, 2010. A posthumous live album marking 30 years of Heaven & Hell had been recorded at the band’s performance at the Wacken Open Air Festival in the summer of 2009, and released in late 2010 as Neon Nights – Live In Europe. The 4 Dio era studio albums remain hugely popular amongst Black Sabbath fans, with many hailing the first 2 amongst the band’s best, usually flaring up the who was better – Ozzy or Dio debate. As I said earlier, I am one who easily puts Heaven & Hell and Mob Rules at the top of my BS favorites list. I recently got the 2021 2CD remasters of each, and though some of the ‘bonus’ material is already out there [like Live at Hammersmith] , the Live in Portland show from ’82 [added to Mob Rules] is a nice addition. Here’s hoping there’ll be more live stuff that surfaces [officially] in the future. Here’s a look at my top 10 picks of classics from the Dio era of Black Sabbath [and That includes The Devil You Know!]
April Wine had debuted many years before this 1978 classic album, and achieved a good deal of success on the singles charts in Canada, as well as drawing regular crowds across the country. Along the way they had a couple of early hits in the US, but didn’t pursue the US market much in the way of touring, and despite a number of strong albums, the band needed a jolt. Forever For Now (1976) had originally began as a Myles Goodwyn solo album, and despite having a few hit singles, the album was softer, featuring a number of ballads, and lacking any memorable rockers, and it would not get released outside of Canada. And despite the press surrounding the El Macombo gigs sometime later (opening for the Rolling Stones) the Live At The El Macombo album wasn’t a breakthrough either. Looking to add something new & a spark to their sound, the band hired another guitarist – Brian Greeenway [ex Mashmakan, The Dudes] in time for a summer tour in ’77. He would stay with the band following the tour, as the band went on to record a new album. The impact of this change was immediate with their seventh studio album First Glance, released in March of ’78, produced by singer/guitarist/songwriter Myles Goodwyn at Studio Tempe and Le Studio in Quebec. The album had been preceded by the single “Rock n Roll Is A Vicious Game” in late ’77 (even getting a US release on London Records), a ballad about a rock star dealing with the rock n roll life ups and downs (harmonica courtesy of blues artist Jim Zeller) . It would be one of the hits from the album, and a live favorite for years to come.
Soon after the band was signed by Capitol in the US to distribute their albums (as well as the UK & Japan), and First Glance would be released there in September of that year. The Capitol Records’ edition featured a different cover, with the band photo on the front with a brand new logo over top (created by Aquarius’ Bob Lemm); the logo that would grace many album covers to come. the first two tracks in the running order were also altered. But the Canadian (Aquarius) LP, which came in a nice gatefold cover with plenty of color and individual band member pics on the inside would kick off properly [to me] with “Hot On The Wheels Of Love”, a lyric influenced by some of the trouble Goodwyn got in to in his younger years – in this example it’s about stealing a car to go meet up with a girlfriend. Steve Lang would get a rare co-writing credit on that one; a great rocker, featuring a bit of theatrics with Greenway voicing the cop involved in the chase.
The album’s biggest song (and the band’s most important to date) was “Roller”, which ended side one. It featured an unforgettable hook on 3 guitars, that was another story based song about a woman who liked to gamble. The song was picked up by an FM radio station in Flint, Michigan, and became a huge hit on US radio, and a top 40 hit on Billboard in the spring of 1979. The song would go on to become one of the band’s trademark tunes, and regular show closer with the “bye bye” ‘s put in as the song comes roaring to a halt. “Get Ready For Love” was the follow up single, which didn’t do much, but it’s another strong track that would feature in the band’s live set. April Wine – Get ready for Love 1979 – YouTube
Brian Greenway would contribute the track “Right Down To It”, another good rock track, which had been demo’d by The Dudes. He also took lead vocals on the track “Let Yourself Go”, which was issued as a single in Canada. Side 2 would start with another hit, in the powerful ballad “Comin’ Right Down On Top Of Me”, which began with piano and vocal before the band came in, giving this a good bit of bite; great guitars and vocal on this. Lyrically, during this period Myles Goodwyn was penning some of his most memorable songs, plenty of cool stories and thoughts put down, and less of songs about relationships and ‘rock’. The 2nd half also features 2 of the band’s most underrated classics in “I’m Alive”, an upbeat anthem which has that same kinda punchy feel and vocal to it as “Don’t Push Me Around”; the other being the album’s closer “Silver Dollar”, a slower scary tale, loads of awesome guitar throughout this one from Goodwyn, Greenway, and Gary Moffett; a mere 5 and a half minutes, but quite an epic; too bad it wasn’t stretched out longer (minor complaint in side 2 being a bit short). April Wine – Silver Dollar – YouTube
First Glance began the band’s most successful era; with the band receiving their first Gold record in the US. They would soon be on a few major US tours opening for Blue Oyster Cult and Styx, followed by a pair of highly successful albums and headlining tours in North America, and trips to the UK and Germany. Aquarius Records would also issue Greatest Hits in 1979, which included 14 of the band’s hits covering up to First Glance, as well it featured the same band photo that featured on the US version of that album. For me it is a toss up between First Glance and the follow up Harder…Faster as the band’s best; they definitely seemed to have more energy and edge on these 2 albums, despite the band’s 1981 Nature Of The Beast being their biggest seller.
This year  was a big year for Canadian rock, Canada’s biggest 3 hard-rock acts at the time all had their biggest selling albums – April Wine’s Nature Of The Beast; Rush’s Moving Pictures and Triumph’s – Allied Forces. So 1981 may have been one of [or the] best years in Canadian rock [!?] But I’m already thinking of 1980 & ’82 – an amazing period for bands from this country. I’ve compiled a list of a 10 great Canadian albums released that year, and that was cutting it down from a list of about 20 [ok, most I have on vinyl].
Feel free to chime in with your own favorites from 1981 in the comments… anything at the top of your list you think I need to check out?
Rush – Moving Pictures
Released in February, and would feature such classics as “Tom Sawyer”, “Limelight”, “Red Barchetta”, “YYZ”, etc…. The band would follow this up with the double live Exit…Stage Left released later in ’81.
April Wine – Nature of The Beast
This came out in January, 11 great tracks on this album, with notable hits “Just Between You And Me”, and a remake of Lorence Hud’s “Sign Of The Gypsy Queen”; plus hard rockin’ favorites like “Big City Girls” and “Future Tense”.
Triumph – Allied Forces
Released in September, and featured the hit “Magic Power”, as well as other classics “Fight The Good Fight” and “Fool For Your Love”. 40th Anniversary box set coming this summer!
Loverboy – Get Lucky
Loverboy’s 1980 debut album was huge, included 3 hit singles, and the band won a few Juno’s (Canadian music awards) from it. This follow up was nearly as big, with another string of hit singles, most notably the anthem “Working For The Weekend”.
Santers – Shot Down In Flames
Toronto hard-rock trio’s debut LP, late in the year. Featured the title track (dedicated to Bon Scott), as well as rockers like “Caught In The Wind” and “Crazy Ladies”, as well as a cover of Donnie Iris’ “The Rapper”.
Frank Marino – The Power of Rock n Roll
Marino’s first album labelled as a solo album (minus Mahogany Rush, though he used the same rhythm section and engineer) from the summer of ’81. Marino, from Montreal, influenced by Hendrix, killer guitar playing here and some cool tunes like “Play My Music”, “Stay With Me”, “Crazy Miss Daisy”, and “Ain’t Dead Yet”. This album, wasn’t a huge commercial success, but it’s follow up would be.
Saga – World’s Apart
Saga’s 4th and biggest album as well, released in September. It featured the hits “On The Loose” and “Wind Him Up”, perhaps the band’s best known songs, as well as the ballad “No Regrets”. Hugely successful overseas, particularly in Germany.
Frank Soda – Saturday Night Getaway
Frank Soda & The Imps were backing band for Thor in the mid 70s, then went off on their own to make a few albums. This, released later in ’81 was the first just credited to Frank, as it sees him re-do a number of tracks from the band’s 1979 [live] debut. If you’re not familiar – check it out,
Anvil – Hard N Heavy
The first (and arguably) the best from this Toronto Heavy metal band. Originally released independently under the band name of ‘Lips’ before signing to Attic and changing the name. Released in May, and featured the classics “School Love”, “Bedroom Game”, “Ooh Baby”, as well as the band’s metalized pounding of the Stones “Paint It Black”. A very influential band on many thrash metal bands to come.
Red Rider – As Far As Siam
From June, this cleverly titled 2nd album featured the hit singles “What Have You Got To Do (To Get Off Tonight)”, as well as the band’s best known song “Lunatic Fringe”, which featured in the movie Vision Quest, as well as a few TV shows like Miami Vice and My Name Is Earl.
Other mentions: Toronto – Head On , The Kings – Amazon Beach , Goddo – Pretty Bad Boys, Pat Travers – RadioActive, Butler – Butler , Bryan Adams – You Want It You Got It
Esoteric Antenna label is pleased to announce the release of a new CD EP by the legendary PROCOL HARUM to be released 7 May 2021
Legendary British progressive rock band Procol Harum have a new 3 track EP coming. The band lead by founding member – and one of Britain’s recognizable voices – Gary Brooker, and also includes longtime guitarist Geoff Whitehorn (ex Crawler) . “Missing Persons” is a song that was in the band’s live set some years ago, but strangely never made it to the band’s 2017 album Novum; I say ‘strangely’ because it’s a fantastic song! The slow organ intro, before Brooker’s unmistakable voice comes in with piano, followed by the band. It’s a classic PH ballad, that leaves space for Brooker to deliver lyrics that many will relate to today, it’s a moving song about loss. It rocks a good bit in places, with Geoff Whitehorn delivering a couple of fine solos, especially as the song picks up pace as it comes to a close. The other new song here is “War Is Not Healthy”. It reminds me of a ’60s protest song, pretty funky, great chorus, and some cool slide guitar and organ throughout this one. The EP ends with a radio edit of “Missing Persons” (heck – I wish radio played stuff like this!) Here’s hoping there’s a full album in the not-so-distant future.
Missing Persons (Alive Forever) was completed during lockdown, after founder and lead singer Gary Brooker rediscovered a CD of rough mixes of two studio tracks the band had laid down during a previous session. “They weren’t written last week, neither are they old” says Gary, but the precise date of the original recordings remain a mystery. With the world locked down Gary and the band revisited these tracks and they now proudly sit alongside the band’s venerable catalogue.
The title track Missing Persons (Alive Forever) is a particularly poignant and emotive song, and a fine example of the musical tradition of Procol Harum. Gary adds: “Keith Reid’s lyrics sound incredibly apt for the time we’re living in, this is the sound of Procol Harum today.” The EP’s other new song War Is Not Healthy is also a touching observation of war and its impact on humanity.
This is Procol Harum at their timeless best.
Procol Harum is Gary Brooker (vocals, piano) Geoff Whitehorn (guitar) Josh Phillips (organ) Geoff Dunn (drums) Matt Pegg (bass)
You know, those albums that go together as a set, if you have one – you got to have the other[?] They are linked in some way, be it – cover art, band line-up / personnel, success, sound, lyrical themes and song titles, etc…
So, I’ll start with one of the easiest pairs of albums for me, and that is the first 2 Ozzy Osbourne albums [aka the Blizzard Of Ozz band]. 1980’s Blizzard Of Ozz and 1981’s Diary Of A Madman – the same band, written & recorded less than a year apart, for the same label. These 2 go together as a set, more than anything else in Ozzy’s career, and for me it was all downhill after these 2 albums. Both were major successes, and gave Ozzy’s post-Black Sabbath career a huge lift-off. (I’ve also added in some detail & recall).
“I went to a gig in London, and there was a band called ‘Girl’ playing, and they were a Jet Records band; Widowmaker had also been on Jet Records (as you probably know). I was looking for work myself, and I thought ‘well, it’s always good to put yourself around and see who’s about!’ I met Arthur Sharpe – who had been working for Jet Records, and it was Arthur who introduced me to Ozzy. Ozzy told me he was about to form a band and would I like to go up to his house in Stafford, and have a play, and he’d get a couple of local musicians in, and I said ‘Yes’. So I went up there, and he knew I’d just come from Rainbow; he said he liked my playing and would I be interested [?]. And I said ‘yes, I’d be interested in getting a band together with Him, but I wasn’t so sure about the local drummer and guitar player that he’d got in. And he said ‘OK, leave it to me, hang on a minute.’ And he walked out of the room and in to the studio that was in his house and said ‘OK guys – it’s not working out – Now pack up your stuff and go!’ [laughs]. And that was how he told them, which I thought was quite funny. Then he got on the phone to Arthur Sharpe and said ‘Bob and I get on like a house on fire, and the fire-brigade’s just left!’ And we went from there. He said he knew a guitar player that he’d met in LA called Randy Rhoads, so Jet Records flew Randy over and we started auditioning drummers…. He [Lee] was the last drummer we auditioned, and we must’ve auditioned 30-40 drummers at that time. We almost decided on 1 or 2, but they didn’t work out, and we had one more to audition and that was Lee Kerslake…. We auditioned down at The Who’s rehearsal place at Shepperton in London, and he perfect within the first number! I think the first song we did was ‘I Don’t Know’, and as soon as Lee started playing he just went for it ‘big time’, broke sticks, bits of sticks were flying everywhere, and Randy and I looked at each other and thought ‘this is the guy!’. He was like a bull in a China shop – he was perfect!” – Bob Daisley, 1999
To start you had a new band [for any doubters, look up earliest band photos] that featured the line up of Ozzy Osbourne [fired from Black Sabbath, but who had a distinctive voice and was a major character], along with Bob Daisley – ex of Rainbow, Widowmaker, and whom would pen most of the lyrics on the 2 BOZ albums], Lee Kerslake – the last to join, had been a huge part of Uriah Heep’s classic line-up having played on their biggest albums, And a young American guitarist named Randy Rhoads – Rhoads was a guitar teacher, and previously played with LA glam rock act Quiet Riot; he could play classical guitar, as well as contributed huge riffs and solos. He had a sound of his own, and as far as ’80s guitarists go, he was #1 for me – NO one sounded like him, or was as creative.
“He [Randy] was admittedly influenced by Ritchie Blackmore, Jimi Hendrix, and certainly Eddie Van Halen, you can hear a bit of the Van Halen thing in his playing. But he had his own interpretation, and he had a great musical background, having come from a musical family – his mom ran a music store and Randy had been a teacher for quite a few years himself. It really fell together right, the chemistry was right, we got on well as personalities.” – BD
Although the band would co-produce both albums, Max Norman engineered Blizzard, while serving as co-producer on Diary [while Lee & Bob were cut out of the credits on this album]. You had Don Airey playing keyboards on the first album, while Johnny Cook played on the 2nd [uncredited]. And even though the album covers aren’t very similar, they do feature what would become Ozzy’s classic logo, as well as a photo of Ozzy in some scary setting [with upside down crosses], taken by legendary rock photographer Fin Costello.
“That was the idea – to make it a sort of comic book image. It took on legs with ‘Diary Of A Madman’ and with ‘Bark At The Moon’… It worked in establishing Ozzy after the Sabbath imagery. It’s the same stuffed cat on the first two. The cover for Japan’s Tin Drum cover was shot on the Diary set on the first day of construction.” – Fin Costello
I can put on either of these albums any days, both feature 8 classic songs [OK, Diary features a short guitar piece by Rhoads titled “Dee” for his mom, and “No Bones Movies” may have been a later add on that isn’t quite as outstanding]. But, both featured killer intro songs [“I Don’t Know” vs “Over The Mountain”], followed by a classic rocker that would be the major hit single off the album [“Crazy Train” vs “Flyin’ High Again” and become one of Ozzy’s trademark tunes, followed by a ballad [or lighter track\ featuring Randy Rhoads on acoustic guitar [“Goodbye To Romance” vs “You Can’t Kill Rock n Roll”]. Each featured another killer rock song with lyrics based on dark subjects to kick off side 2 [“Mr Crowley” vs “Little Dolls”.] “Little Dolls” would feature 1 of 2 big intros from the drummer.
“It was just on the spur of the moment. And as we were writing it, and I went ‘I’ve got an idea for this’, and I did, as simple as that!” – Lee Kerslake, 2014
Also included would also be a fast paced rocker [one that is under appreciated IMO – “Steal Away” vs “S.A.T.O.”] , as well as an epic track featuring classical guitar and strings [or synths resembling strings] [“Revelation (Mother Earth)” vs “Diary Of A Madman”] – both have the band coming off like an metal orchestra! And not to be forgotten were 2 other fan favorite / classics [“Suicide Solution” vs “Believer”].
Unfortunately, the band would be split with Daisley & Kerslake being fired before the release of Diary Of A Madman [hence, no credits and a photo of the ‘new’ Ozzy solo band on it]. A shame there are no official live releases from the one UK tour this band did, though there was a 12″ Live EP released between albums featuring live versions of “Mr Crowley”, “Suicide Solution”, and the non-album track “You Said It All”. The BOZ albums stand above and apart from anything else Ozzy did in the years [and decades] to come, and I eventually lost interest.
“Over the Mountain, Flyin’ High …- They’re great tracks, they’re so different. And I was the first to ever put triplets in to an introduction of a song, also a single on Over The Mountain.” – Lee K.
Randy Rhoads was tragically killed in a plane crash on March 19, 1982. A live ‘tribute’ album w/ Randy was eventually released, featuring much of these 2 albums, but with Ozzy’s US touring band.
“He was a very dedicated musician; he practiced a lot, he was really in to music. He was a very young up and coming guy. I think he got an award as one the ‘best new talents’. He certainly was and still is an influential guitarist for that sort of music, and he certainly had a lot to do with the success of Ozzy’s career as well!” – Bob D.
Bob and Lee went on to join a reformed Uriah Heep after their departure from BOZ, and .bring some of that ‘heaviness’ and energy to the albums Abominog & Head First. Bob would return to work with Ozzy, while Lee stayed with Heep for the remainder of his career. The pair reunited for 2004’s Living Loud project [along with Don Airey, Steve Morse, and singer Jimmy Barnes] where they did an album which included a number of remakes from Blizzard Of Ozz & Diary Of A Madman. In 2007 Lee was forced to retire, due to health issues, and sadly passed away September 19, last year. He made record a solo album in his last few years [recently released] titled Eleventeen.
Following the loss of Randy Rhoads, Ozzy carried on – first with a live album of Black Sabbath tracks [guitarist Brad Gillis doing an excellent job], followed by 1983’s Bark At The Moon. By this time Bob Daisley had left Heep and returned to write [uncredited for a few more Ozzy albums]. Max Norman was also back for Bark At The Moon, and the live albums, as was Don Airey. I liked that album [Bark] at the time, to me it tried to keep to the pattern of the 2 BOZ albums, and Jake E Lee [who would also get hosed, as well as not credited for his writing] did a great job. But the album was less heavy and less consistent, as well as including the ridiculous sappy ballad “So Tired”. Bob would go on to work on Ozzy albums The Ultimate Sin and No More Tears, as well as record with Black Sabbath, Gary Moore, and The Hoochie Coochie Men. He also wrote his book “For Fact’s Sake”, published in 2013, which detailed his career, with plenty of insight and stories into his time writing and recording Blizzard Of Ozz & Diary Of A Madman, and generally setting the record straight about his years working with Ozzy – a must read, really. Don Airey would eventually join Deep Purple, and Ozzy would carry on recording solo albums [with one released last year]. and with much of his live repertoire reliant on classics from the albums the original band created. I haven’t bought an Ozzy album in years, [mainly, but] not just for it being that last few I heard sounded forgettable, but the treatment of former band members [Sharon once referring to Lee & Bob as ‘session players’], the re-writing of Ozzy’s early history by Sharon, and Ozzy’s overall rise to fame as a TV star / celebrity, with his ‘metal’ persona and music taking a laughable back seat were about it for me. I was happy to see him with Black Sabbath 4 or 5 years ago, but I’m done with adding to my Ozzy collection in this lifetime – unless I come across something already out there of the original BOZ band I haven’t heard or have.
Originally released in September of 1981, Allied Forces was Triumph’s 5th album, and their biggest success, and arguably the favorite amongst longtime fans. Besides 4 radio hits [including 3 singles], most notably “Magic Power”, this album also featured such rockers as “Fool For Your Love” and “Hot Time (In This City Tonight)”. The album charted at #13 in Canada, and at #23 in the US – where it stayed on the Billboard Top 200 for a full year.
Allied Forces would mark the band at their peak, with “Magic Power” becoming the band’s signature song, and a regular in the band’s setlist (along with the song “Allied Forces”) until the band split in ’88. “Fight The Good Fight” is one of the band’s classics that still gets FM radio play on occasion… (Amidst writing this I heard “Magic Power” on Buffalo’s 97 Rock). The band carried on with a great run of successful albums with 1983’s Never Surrender, Thunder Seven , and the more radio friendly Sport Of Kings .
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THIS YEAR, RECORD STORE DAY DROPS TAKES PLACE ON JUNE 12 & JULY 17, 2021, AND TRIUMPH HAVE BEEN NAMED THE CANADIAN AMBASSADORS
RSD EXCLUSIVE 40TH ANNIVERSARY BOX SET OF ‘ALLIED FORCES’ IS SET FOR RELEASE ON JUNE 12, VIA ROUND HILL RECORDS
One of the greatest and most successful Canadian rock bands of all-time, Triumph first rose to prominence back in the golden era when vinyl was king – and the preferred format of most music fans.
So, it makes perfect sense for Triumph – Rik Emmett (guitars/vocals), Mike Levine (bass, keyboards) and Gil Moore (drums, vocals) – to be named Record Store Day’s Canadian Ambassadors 2021 (previous Canadian RSD ambassadors have included Marie-Mai, the Trews, and the Sheepdogs, and RSD ambassadors have included Metallica, Pearl Jam, and Brandi Carlile, among others). To prove this point, the band will also be releasing a Record Store Day exclusive/40th anniversary box set of their classic 1981 album, ‘Allied Forces,’ fully loaded with rare archival content and assorted unearthed gems.
Record Store Day, the global celebration of the culture of the independent record store, takes place this year on June 12th and July 17th, 2021. And on the 12th the ‘Allied Forces’ 40th Anniversary Box Set will drop.
A rock music collector’s dream, the Round Hill Records-issued set will include:
Vinyl #1 : Picture Disc of Original ‘Allied Forces’ Studio Album Vinyl #2 : 2xLP ‘Live in Cleveland’ 1981 Vinyl #3 : 7” Single – Tribute 2021 Version of “Allied Forces” + “Magic Power” Live from Ottawa 1982 (Never Before Released) 11×17 Maple Leaf Gardens Poster (CANADA EXCLUSIVE) 24-page booklet featuring rare photos and behind the scenes. + ‘Allied Forces’ essay 40th Anniversary Allied Forces retro tour book 40th Anniversary Allied Forces retro tour poster 40th Anniversary Allied Forces retro tour pass Rik Pics (3 Hand Drawn Cartoons) Handwritten Lyrics (Magic Power, Allied Forces & Fight the Good Fight)
The trio’s first record to be recorded at their studio, MetalWorks, ‘Allied Forces’ spawned such rock radio hits as “Magic Power,” “Fight the Good Fight,” and “Say Goodbye,” as well as the title track, which became an automatic concert favorite. The album was also the highest-charting of the band’s career and earning platinum certification in the States.
“We’re extremely proud of ‘Allied Forces.’ It was the record that started the global rocket ride for us and we’re also excited to share with our fans some really great moments from our archives with this boxset” – Mike Levine
“Record Store Day Canada is thrilled to announce the legendary Triumph as the 2021 Record Store Day Canadian Ambassadors. They are one of the most respected bands in Canadian history and their music has stood the test of time. It will be exciting to hear and hold the 40th Anniversary ‘Allied Forces’ box set, being reissued on high-quality vinyl for fans worldwide.” – Ryan Kerr, Record Store Day Canada.
While Triumph no longer tours, the spirit of the band remains alive in not only this killer box set, but also, in a documentary and tribute record that are both in the works. And on June 12th, 2021, fans will get the opportunity to re-experience ‘Allied Forces’ in an entirely new way!
Picture Disc of Original ‘Allied Forces’ Studio Album
Allied Forces Track Listing:
Side A Fool for Your Love Magic Power Air Raid Allied Forces Hot Time (In This City Tonight)
Side B Fight the Good Fight Ordinary Man Petite Etude Say Goodbye
2 X LP ‘Live in Cleveland’ 1981 (remastered)
‘Live in Cleveland’ track list:
Disc 1 Side A Intro Tear the Roof Off American Girls Lay it On the Line Allied Forces
Side B Fight The Good Fight Blinding Light Show/Moonchild
Disc 2 Side C
Rock ‘N’ Roll Machine I Live For The Weekend Nature’s Child Drum Solo
Side D Instrumental Rocky Mountain Way Hot Time (In the City Tonight) Limited Edition 7” Single
Vinyl #3 : 7” Single – Tribute 2021 Version of “Allied Forces” + “Magic Power” Live from Ottawa 1982 (Never Before Released)
Record Store Day Canada thanks the following sponsors: Return To Analog Records, Nickel Brook Brewing Co, Warner Music, Microforum Pressing, Org Music, Sony Music Canada, GrooveWasher, Universal Music Canada, Whiprsnapr Brewing Co, Audio-Technica Canada, Paranoid Print Co, The Orchard, Return To Analog Records, IDLA, Light Organ Records, 604 Records, Megaforce Records, Unidisc Music, Aquarius Records, and Tacca Musique.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: ALBERT BOUCHARD, FOUNDING MEMBER OF BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, TO LIVESTREAM RE IMAGINOS IN ITS ENTIRETY PLUS OTHER CLASSICS SATURDAY APRIL 10TH.
Albert Bouchard is best known as a founding member of Blue Öyster Cult. The original line-up sold millions of albums for Columbia Records, with such classic songs as “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” and the #1 hit on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart “Burning For You”. Bouchard contributed to songwriting, drums, and lead vocals on some of their greatest songs, such as “Cites on Flame with Rock and Roll”.
‘Re Imaginos’ came out on November 6th though RockHeart Records / Deko Entertainment (ADA/Warner Music Group) and hit the Billboard Top 100 (#97), Albert’s first time back on the charts in 32 years. Now to celebrate the vinyl release of Re Imaginos which hits stores April 9th, Albert will be performing the album in its entirety plus other Blue Öyster Cult classics on Saturday April 10th at 4:00 PM (est). This special event will be streamed live from Deko Entertainment’s 2Trax Studios and is being hosted by Mandolin. Albert had this to say about the upcoming event, “I am very excited to perform this well loved and legendary album in order, in its entirety, for the very first time LIVE. There will also be a selection of deep cuts and a bit of improvisation incorporated into the performance. This event will be a unique live presentation of many songs from my Blue Oyster Cult and solo catalogues.”
To commemorate this one-time event you can pick up the Limited Editions Albert Bouchard Event T-Shirt, or any ‘Re Imaginos’ merchandise, and receive a 10% off code for the live stream. Manager Jeff Keller states, “When Albert and I started speaking about the idea of having a ‘Re Imaginos’ livestream concert, I was instantly excited about the possibility. Without the ability to take this to live in-person audiences right now, this was the perfect idea to get this performance out to everyone all over the world. The fans have been so supporting of this release and I can’t wait for them to see the show.”
There are limited edition “vinyl” bundles (while supplies last), which can be ordered via the Albert Bouchard Store, get your 10% off coupon code here: http://bit.ly/38JqKPA
Product Includes: – One (1) Albert Bouchard – Re Imaginos Vinyl (2LP) – One (1) Albert Bouchard – Re Imaginos Poster (Autographed) – One (1) Albert Bouchard – Drum Sticks (Autographed) – One (1) Albert Bouchard – Re Imaginos Guitar Pick
“Re Imaginos” Tracklist: 1. I Am the One You Warned Me Of 2. Del Rio Song 3. In the Presence of Another World (extended version) 4. Siege and Investiture of Baron Von Frankenstein’s Castle At Weisseria 5. Girl That Love Made Blind
6. Astronomy 7. Imaginos (extended version) 8. Gil Blanco County 9. Blue Oyster Cult (extended version) 10. Black Telescope 11. Magna of Illusion 12. Les Invisibles 13. Imaginos Overture (LP Only)