All posts by KJ

Favorite & Classic Live Albums : Part 3

Alice Cooper – Alice Cooper Show

The first Alice Cooper album I bought. It was on the display wall/rack at Sam The Record Man, on sale! I knew a few of the hits from a friend who’d brought the Greatest Hits cassette to school. I remembering initially being disappointed that “Schools Out” didn’t sound just like the cassette version I knew [backing vocals lacking]. Regardless, I loved this album – slightly heavier and lengthier versions of “I’m Eighteen”, plus “Under My Wheels”, “Billion Dollar Babies”… This was Alice’s solo band and not the original band that had written and recorded much of these hits. Not sure why they never made a full 2 LP set out of these shows [a contractual obligation, I believe]. Includes his 3 Top 10 ballads from that era, as well as medleys of other classics. We never did get a definitive Live album from Alice Cooper – band or solo act, but this was a fantastic intro for a young buyer who would go on to become a lifelong fan.
Recently got the Friday Music 180 Gram vinyl reissue – great sound and nice gatefold cover.

Rare Earth – In Concert
In the early 70s this RnB-rock band was signed to Motown and released a number of classic studio albums, and a string of hits. Many of their classics consisted of taking other people’s songs and stretching them out with their own unique sound, and jamming. “In Concert” was the band at their best, featuring the hits & classics – “I Just Want To Celebrate”, “Born To Wander”, “I’m Losing You” and the 23 and a half minute “Get Ready”. Sadly the classic era of the band didn’t last much longer with singer/drummer Peter Rivera leaving, followed by further line up changes and softer albums and lawsuits amongst bandmembers. Founding member Gil Bridges still leads a version of the band.
But Rsre Earth In Concert is an essential 70s live album!
https://www.michiganrockandrolllegends.com/mrrl-hall-of-fame/78-rare-earth

Dead Daisies – Live And Louder
This is a newer album from the band that was [until recently] fronted by former Scream & Motley Crue singer – John Corabi. I enjoy Corabi’s work – a couple of great live solo albums, and his one album with Motley Crue [a shame he wasn’t on more, and they returned to being a circus act]. He’s also worked with Ratt and made a couple of albums with Union [with Bruce Kulick]. He joined Dead Daisies for recording of the band’s 2nd album, and went on to record a few more, as well as this aussum double live set. It’s a heavy album of guitar and great vocals, featuring Dead Daisies favorites like “Mexico”, “Lock n Load”, “Mainline”, and “Long Way To Go”, as well as a handful of cool covers – most notably – “Join Together” [The Who], “American Band” [Grand Funk], and “Midnight Moses” [Alex Harvey] – all heavier and fitting well in the band’s set. Great album, and a few excellent kick-ass guitar driven hard-rock albums; too bad Corabi’s no longer there.

Queen – Live Killers
I enjoy most of Queen’s 70s recordings but kinda fell out of interest with the The Game and future 80s pop/dance/disco output. “Live Killers”, for me – is Queen at their peak. Loaded with hits and classics, Killers shows how great of a hard-rock band Queen was. Aside from Freddie Mercury’s distinctive vocals, Brian May had such a heavy guitar sound of his own, and Roger Taylor is such a great player and can sing as well. I’m not a big “Bohemian Rhapsody” fan, but even it sounds better here, as do favorites like “Death on Two Legs”, “I’m In Love With My Car”, “Keep Yourself Alive”, “Spread Your Wings”, and my own fave – the alternate rocking version of “We Will Rock You” which opened the show.
My vinyl copy if pretty beaten, so i’m hoping they’ll do something special[ie Boxset!] for this album’s 40th anniversary [which is this year].

Magnum – Wings Of Heaven Live
Toured and recorded to mark the 20th anniversary of the band’s top selling album “Wings Of Heaven”, from 1988. This is Magnum at their best. Includes the full performance of the Wings of Heaven album [track by track], as well as updated, beefed up versions of the band’s newer favorites like “When we Were Younger”, “Out Of The Shadows” and “Dragons Are Real”, as well as classics like “Kingdom Of Madness”, “All England’s Eyes”, and “How Far Jerusalem”. Great recording! My favorite Magnum live album. Reissued on 3Lp in 2018.

Procol Harum – Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
Never understood why this was a single Lp release – did they not play a full show? Anyway, it’s the lone PH album to feature guitarist Dave Ball [RIP]. A fantastic performance, with the first side consisting of favorites like “Conquistador” and “A Salty Dog”, among others… Side 2 consisting of “In Held ‘T Was In I”, featuring not only orchestra, but DaCamera Singers. Gary Brooker was/is such an incredible singer, sounds so good here. *Like the Rare Earth In Concert — an essential 70s live album!
I see the reissues include a few bonus tracks from the day; have ordered.

* Recently picked up great live albums from Ken Hensley & Live Fire and The Alan Parsons Project. Ken Hensley’s “Live In Russia” features the predictable Uriah Heep classics from the 1970-73 era. It’s a very energetic performance. Too bad the full show is edited, as there’s only 1 song included from Ken’s post-Heep days , [more was performed, but left off of this release].Released “as is” – which is fine fine by me , love the energy and band’s performance.
The Alan Parson’s Project “Symphonic Project : Live In Colombia” was recorded in 2013. APP was primarily a studio project that released a bunch of albums in the 70 and 80s, and had a string of hits. Parsons was a studio engineer in the late 60s / 70s, and is credited on a few Beatle albums. This 3Lp set may not include those that played or sang on the APP classic hits, but it is a stunning performance of the hits and classics – Eye In The Sky, Games People Play, Time, Don’t Answer Me…. Highly recommended!

KJJ 10/19

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ANGEL – Risen in 2019

Founding Angel members Frank Dimino and Punky Meadows last studio album together was “Sinful” – now 40 years old. In 2015/2016 both recorded their first solo albums, with Punky guesting on Frank’s. They went on seperate solo band tours, and eventually guested together, then playing together as a new version of the 70s hard-rock band.

angel - risen cover

Risen is the latest and greatest chapter in the return of Angel. First off – (and possibly for health reasons) neither Felix Robinson (bass player, who was also in Punky’s band) or Barry Brandt (drummer, who was in last incarnation of Angel with Dinino in late 90s) are on this, nor is keyboard player Gregg Guiffria , who left the music industry for bigger things years ago. The band is now a 6 piece with Meadows sidekick Danny Farrow, who plays guitar and co-wrote with the 2 founding bandmembers. The rest of the band consists of Charlie Calv on keyboards [from Punky’s band], Steve O’Jane on bass [also from Punky’s band], and drummer Billy Orrico [Tug Of War].
Punky Meadows notes that the album “…will satisfy every Angel fan and take you on a musical journey.” Well, he is not wrong! Risen consists of 15 brand new Angel songs, as well as the keyboard intro [“Angel Theme”] and a remake of the classic “Tower” [from the band’s debut in 1975]. For the most part this is a great batch of hard-rockers and pop-rockers with plenty of cool hooks, solos, catchy choruses, and all-round solid productions. For any Angel fans who liked the first track released – “Under The Gun” – you will be more than happy with this album and songs like “Slow Down”, “We Were The Wild”, “Our Revolution”, “Over My Head”, “Desire”, and “Shot Of Your Love”. With 2 guitars, the band is a bit heavier sounding than where they left off in ’79. I could do without the sugary ballad “IOU”, tho realize plenty of Angel fans will probably enjoy it,; I prefer the heavier ballad here – “Don’t Want You To Go”. A few different cuts in the 60s pop influenced “Tell Me Why”, softer pop number “Turn Around” [great chorus], and cool heavy anthem – “(Punky’s Couch Blues) Locked, Cocked, Ready To Rock” [Punky fans will dig this]. Stand-outs for me are the heavier rockers “My Sanctuary” and “Our Revolution”, and instant classic “1975”! If fans are looking for that mini-epic [ala Tower or Fortune] this is it – lengthy dramatic keyboard intro, starts out slow with acoustic guitar and organ, and picks ups from there – love the bluesy solo, the harmonies, and Frank’s vocals as this song pays tribute to the music scene of that period [mentioning New York Dolls, Kiss, Queen….].

Risen is a very enjoyable album, with so many easily likeable songs, and great performances from 2 guys [and band] who disappeared from making music for far too long. Frank sounds like he hasn’t aged at all, and Punky – despite being out of music for so many years, sounds like he’s got a lot to say and has never been better. Here’s hoping there’ll be more!

see also – https://glassonyonpr.com/2019/09/09/rock-legends-angel-return-with-new-album/

https://www.amazon.ca/Risen-Angel/dp/B07VSJ77JR/ref=sr_1_7?qid=1570152627&refinements=p_32%3AAngel&s=music&sr=1-7

https://www.amazon.com/Risen-Angel/dp/B07VQB1F3J/ref=tmm_vnl_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1570152726&sr=1-1

Punky Meadows and Frank DiMino of Angel to release limited edition 12″ single including unreleased song

Dale Collins & Bernie Shaw – Too Much Information

A project that really started 20 years ago has finally been completed and released, and was well worth the wait for Uriah Heep fans. Over 20 years ago, singer Bernie Shaw hooked up with some fellow Canadian musicians on a trip back home to British Columbia, played a couple of local shows as “In Transit”. The guitarist was Dale Collins, who in turn recorded a 3-track CD with Shaw titled “Picking Locks”, which included 2 Collins compositions “Hey Jimi”, “Here We Go”, and a cover of the David Essex hit “Rock On”. For years these songs have been put out there via youtube and various discussion forums, with the mention of an album to come. That day has finally come, as “Too Much Information” is an 8 song album, which includes re-records of the tracks recorded on Picking Locks, as well as 5 more tracks written by Dale Collins [one co-write with Bernie]. Collins recoded the instruments [most of which he played, except for the drums] at his studio in Alberta, while Bernie would eventually record his vocals in England. Although I initially enjoyed the Picking Locks tracks many years back [tho i’m not a huge fan of the David Essex song], it had been so long, I was even skeptical “if” this album would ever happen and just how good it might end up. Well, I am A – happy to finally see it released [and hear it], and B it has been a pleasant surprise, which [despite only having 8 tracks] has plenty to get into with each listen.

The first 2 tracks are easily likeable, both with guitar intros [my 12 year old pointed out that they remind him of Iron Maiden] – “So Many Times” is a steady rocker, while “Alone” is my favorite track here, it has a heavy intro, but settles down into a cool mid-tempo rock tune with heavy and acoustic guitar, some Heep-like harmonies in the background, a cool solo from Dale, and Bernie nails a very memorable chorus. Among other favorites include the “Hey Jimi” update – it’s a great tribute to Jimi Hendrix, highlighted by Collins’ guitar playing, plus a bit of piano with Bernie giving a solid delivery on this tale. “Sad Song”, another re-record from way back is a power-ballad, it starts out softly on piano and builds up in to a big chorus, as Bernie is perfectly suited to this type of thing; fantastic production! There is no filler here, with the title track, “Just A Little Bit”, the cover of “Rock On” – all enjoyable to hear. Although, for many – Bernie Shaw may be the initial draw to Too Much Information [being the lead singer of Uriah Heep for the past 32+ years], and he does a superb job on all of these tracks, huge credit must go to Dale Collins as songwriter, and more so for his guitar performances that highlight so much here. For proof, check out the re-record of “Here We Go” – love the extended guitar intro, and last few minutes of soloing; huge highlight here. … Of course you can find this album on youtube, but it’ll sound much better on the turntable or [in the car] CD player!

Not sure what the long-term plan is for this project, but suspect that after 20 years not to hold my breathe on any quick follow-up! Just happy to finally have this, and will be looking forward to any other projects either artist may have on the go in the future [aside from the obvious].

Uriah Heep Lead Singer Bernie Shaw Teams Up With Fellow Canadian Songwriter & Musician Dale Collins For New Studio Album ‘Too Much Information’ – OUT NOW!

Bernie Shaw & Dale Collins: Too Much Information, LPBernie Shaw & Dale Collins


https://www.amazon.ca/s?i=popular&rh=p_32%3AShaw%2C+Bernie+%2F+Collins%2C+Dale&ref=dp_byline_sr_music_1

KJJ, 10/19

Eric Singer (KISS) : 2008 interview

*This is an interview I did with Eric Singer of Kiss (and then also of Alice Cooper’s band).

erc singer db_esad08pearl1

Rock drummer Eric Singer has been a name in the business for 25 years now. Growing up a major rock fan in Cleveland, Ohio, Singer moved to Los Angeles and would go on to play with numerous rock legends, such as Tony Iommi & Glenn Hughes [in Black Sabbath], Bob Daisley, Gary Moore, Kiss, Brian May [Queen] and at present [and off & on] since 1990 – with Alice Cooper.

2008- “Alice Cooper is presently on a world tour, and you can catch Eric in action with Alice live. Eric also played on Cooper’s excellent new concept album “Along Came A Spider”.   Thanks to Eric for taking his time out on a very busy tour to answer my questions! The man also spent his days on the Canadian tour making numerous in-store appearances Pearl Drums.”

Check it all out: www.eric-singerdrums.com ; www.alicecooper.com & www.kissonline.com

All photos courtesy of  eric-singer.com except Alice Cooper band photo courtesy of sickthings.co.uk

Q- Prior to moving to LA, did you have any local gigs in Cleveland of note?

ES: I played in my Father’s band growing up and in a few local “original” bands such as TASKMASTER, which became Beau Coup. They ended up with a record deal and were a very good band.

Q- After your first pro gig with Lita Ford, you joined Tony Iommi’s Black Sabbath in 1985.  What was your big break; having gone from Cleveland to joining Lita’s band and onto Sabbath [which also featured Glenn Hughes at that time]?

ES: I lived in L.A. for about a year and entered Carmine Appice’s drum battle competition. Someone spotted me there and asked me to do a video for PLAYBOY “Women of Rock” and got the Lita Ford audition out of that experience.

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Q- You did a couple of albums with Sabbath and then played with Gary Moore and Badlands in the 80s. What can you tell me about going from being unknown to working with such rock legends as Iommi, Moore, Bob Daisley and others; all in a fairly short period of a few years?

ES: It all happened very fast; I went from being so “green” and inexperienced to learning the business and touring in a crash course on the job!  Bob Daisley and I remain great friends to this day.

Q- Gary Moore is a huge name overseas, but only talked about amongst real classic rock fans in North America. What can you tell me about Gary and your time working with him?

ES: The guy is an amazing player and the most intense guitarist I have ever worked with. He makes you a better player and I really raised the bar on my own self during that tour.

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Q- Seventh Star is a pretty underrated album IMO, being a Sabbath fan and a Glenn Hughes fan. You also worked on the next Sabbath album, which featured Tony Martin, having replaced Ray Gillen. This being one of Sabbath’s craziest periods as far as personnel went. How was it from your perspective?

ES: I was very young and learning as it happened. This was a time when the reality of the “business” aspect of music really reared it’s ugly head. Although I feel fortunate that I got to work with some great musicians and legendary people. I would love to be able to play with Tony Iommi again!

Q- Any favorite tracks, stories or Sabbath people to work with?

ES: The song Eternal Idol was a kool track and Turn to Stone from those 2 records I did. Loved working with Bob Daisley – the very best in the biz. The guy is John Paul Jones, Jack Bruce & Paul McCartney wrapped up in one.

Q- You played on the ‘Stream’ album. Now, was this mainly a session job as opposed to an actual band project?

ES: That was exactly just that. A session. Always great to work with Daisley!

Q- How did you land the gig with Paul Stanley’s solo tour in 1989 and do you recall any of the non-Kiss material performed live [anything you particularly liked]? And how much of a step was it to eventually join Kiss?

ES: I was recording in New York and was referred to Paul by Dennis St. James (bass player on that tour) That was a great fun band and led to my relationship with KISS. I was not much of a transition other than to learn to work with a new set of people i.e.: Gene & Bruce, who were very helpful to me thru the transition period.

carrzkiss_02162016122136280

Q- Of the Kiss albums and tours you performed on, what are your favorite musical moments [songs, album]?

ES: Loved recording the REVENGE record since Bob Ezrin was the producer.  The most recent European tour was great. Super crowds, band got along fantastic!

Q- Peter Criss and then Neal Smith [original Alice Cooper band] – were 2 legendary and influential drummers. Eric Carr was also a great drummer! Who would you say influenced your own drumming style more?

ES: I respect all the previous drummers from any band.  All you can do is try to play in the spirit of that style since those records were recorded many years ago.

Q- How was the adjustment to taking over the ‘Catman’ persona, with the make-up, etc..? Is it [applying the costume & make-up] a strange ordeal?

ES: It is no problem for me. I actually like the whole KISS experience of doing the shows. It makes for very long days and it is hard work. But, the fans love the band and this makes it worthwhile!

Q- You seem always busy, either with Kiss, Alice Cooper, ESP or other projects.  Do you keep up with any of the outside stuff of your bandmates – like take up golfing, watch Gene’s reality show or check out art shows?

ES: I do not golf (yet) I have been on Gene’s show (twice ?), and I know nothing about art other than I know if I like something when I see it (isn’t that the essence or idea anyways…?) I think it is great that others have found extensions of their personalities and outlets for expression. They are all very talented people and have more to offer than just their musical side.

alice bandphoto2008

Q- Both Gene and Paul released solo albums in recent years. [I actually haven’t heard Gene’s], but thought Paul’s was great, very overlooked. Any thoughts on either of these releases?

ES: They are exactly that. “Solo” records and this gives them the chance to do exactly what they want. I played on 2 tracks off Gene’s record and loved his video for “Firestarter”. Paul’s record has some great stuff on there and the production value is really good. Paul has always delivered the goods in my opinion as a writer.

Q- I’ve read you really enjoyed working with Brian May of Queen. They were a great band that really didn’t get to North America a lot, especially in the 80s.

ES: Brian is my Fave guitarist next to Hendrix! The guy plays the perfect solo on anything he touches. Brilliant musician and an even nicer human being you will not find… QUEEN is one of my most cherished bands of all time. Getting to play some of those songs with Brian (and Roger Taylor on a few occasions) will always be one of the best highlights of my career!

Q- You’ve obviously kept up a friendship and working relationship with Bruce Kulick. Do you guys have any plans in the near future? He is a great player, very adaptable [saw him with Grand Funk – sounds great].

ES: Bruce is the consummate musician and dear friend… We work together with ESP when time and schedule’s permit. Hopefully more in the future.

Q- Now, you worked on the Trash and Hey Stoopid tours, correct [Last Temptation?]? [You’ve also kind of played on every other album since Brutal Planet]. How did the association with Alice come about?

ES: I auditioned for COOP in Jan 1990 to replace Jonathan Mover on the Trash tour & have worked on & off with Alice since then… (this year is my 12th tour) I have also recorded 3 albums and been on 2 “live” concert long-form videos with AC. 

Q- Aside from the Alice Cooper albums you played on, do you have any favorite Alice classic songs to listen to or play and any favorite AC albums from Way back? [Ever see AC live in your early years, especially with Neal Smith?]

ES: Billion Dollar Babies is a “classic” record and one of my fave all-time records. In fact, all the early stuff is great and enjoy playing anything from that era.   Never saw AC live in the early years 😦  FYI, my mom would not let me go to the BDB tour in 1973!

Q- Brutal Planet was a very heavy modern metal. What can you tell me about those recordings, and the sound that was being looked for?

ES: The record was done very quickly on my part. I came in and replaced drum machine parts with “real” drums in just over 2 days. I liked the heavier approach but did not have a lot of time to absorb the music or think about my drumming other than to play what I felt or was directed by the producer.

Q- The Eyes of Alice Cooper was real return to old school hard rock, and included a number of great songs that should’ve been hits [if we had radio that still played decent New music]. [Again] can you tell me a bit about those sessions and a few of the songs that stood out for you?

ES: Great record IMO, and was fun making that record. We had a real band vibe with Mudrock the Producer who encouraged us to play “live” in the studio together as a band with no click tracks. He had a real vision and direction, which was a much-needed fresher approach, IMO from the previous record I had recorded with Alice (Brutal Planet). 

Q- “Along Came A Spider” is quite a masterpiece. You played on all but 3 tracks. What can you tell me about these sessions?

ES: Again, the recording of drums happened very quickly. I played what I felt for the songs even though the vocals were not done yet which makes the approach sometimes harder. I like to play off the lead vocal melodies whenever possible to be more musical/melodic.

Q- You aren’t credited as a writer on the Alice albums you play on. What exactly is your involvement & input, aside from the drums? Are you generally [or with the new album] there for most of the recordings and part of the main ideas and suggestions of what sound is being taken and what direction the project is going in?

ES: I “write” my drum parts which is sometimes overlooked by most people…   Drummers contribute a lot when it comes to arrangements and vibe to songs. Last time I looked out into the crowd during a show the people pump their fists in the air to what? The beat or rhyme 🙂

Q- Any plans for any future ESP recordings? You guys seem to have a following, especially in Japan and Europe.

ES: Possible European dates next year… We play where we can make it work for everyone.

Q- You were a big rock fan growing up in Cleveland. Can you give me a ‘Top 10’ list of favorite albums from your youth, as well as a few favorite bands and favorite shows you saw back then? [Have you kept an album collection?]

ES: I still have a turntable hooked up at home! Cleveland was a great city to grow up in and be from. There is a reason they say “Cleveland Rocks”. I saw so many great bands and shows in the 70’s early 80’s – I’ll name a few concerts that stick out in my memory…  Queen 1975 Music Hall / Led Zeppelin 1975 Richfield Coliseum / Mott The Hoople 1974 Allen Theatre / KISS 1974 Allen Theater (they opened for the New York Dolls) KISS 1975 Akron Civic Theatre (RUSH was opener “Fly By Night” tour) Edgar Winter Group 1976/Public Hall (they opened for J.Geil’s Band) David Bowie 1975 Public Hall //Diamond Dogs Tour / Van Halen, Music Hall 1980 VHII tour / Ozzy Osbourne, Diary of a Madman 1983 w/ Randy Rhoads, Richfield Coliseum and so many more that I could mention…

Q- Can you give me a few of your favorite drummers growing up – either on LP or live?

ES: Denny Carmassi, Tommy Aldridge, Carmine Appice, Steve Smith, Aynsley Dunbar, Billy Cobham, Simon Phillips, Bobby Caldwell, Cozy Powell, Brian Downey, Neil Smith, Alex Van Halen, Lee Kerslake, Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson, Lenny White, Max Roach, Bill Buford, Neil Peart, etc…

Q- You’re familiar with Uriah Heep, I presume – have any favorite Heep albums, songs or drummers?

ES: Yes, I saw Uriah Heep in their “heyday” 1975 Cleveland Stadium “World Series of Rock”. The bill was: Rod Stewart & The Faces / Uriah Heep / Aerosmith / Blue Oyster Cult & Mahogany Rush. I remember Lee Kerslake was an animal behind the drums and Heep were great!

Q- Growing up not too far from Canada, were you a fan of any Canadian bands way back?

ES: RUSH! In fact, Cleveland was the first American city to “break” the band in the U.S.A.

Q- Anything else you have on the go, or anything you’d like to mention or plug?

ES: Look forward to more drumming in 2009!

Thanx to all for so many great years and all the support throughout my life…

Review: © KJJ / Universal Wheels, October 2008

Phil Lanzon – 48 Seconds Interview

Very excited about “48 Seconds” – the new album from Uriah Heep keyboardist/songwriter Phil Lanzon! Check out my review in my previous post.

You can order Phil’s album on CD & Vinyl, as well as his novel “Curse Of The Mudchalk Devil” at the likes of Amazon.

https://www.amazon.ca/48-Seconds-Phil-Lanzon/dp/B07T5WBNKP/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=phil+lanzon&qid=1565664930&s=gateway&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.ca/s?k=phil+lanzon+curse+of+the+mudchalk+devil&i=stripbooks&dc&qid=1565666498&ref=sr_nr_i_1

phil UH 1

Check out > http://www.phillanzon.com
https://www.facebook.com/Phil-Lanzon-869497536405361/
http://www.uriah-heep.com

Here’s a Q & A with Phil about the making of 48 Seconds. Enjoy the read and check out the album!

Since your first solo album [17 months ago] – you’ve released your first novel, Uriah Heep’s Living The Dream, as well as a lengthy [and ongoing] world tour since [September release]. When and how did you find the time to write, record and produce “48 Seconds”?

I’m damned if I know, haha! No it was as you’d expect, piecemeal. Between touring and festivals I recorded sections in studios across London including Air studio where I recorded the orchestra.

On 48 Seconds you have taken the use of orchestra and choir a step further as part of the production. What lead you to that direction – being that it’s very different to what you’re known for and is quite a grand production?

I love movie soundtracks. I sometimes find myself listening more to soundtracks at the cinema and at home than paying attention to the story. I guess I need that enveloping sound that I only get from the warmth of an orchestra

You often write pretty interesting story-based songs – either on books you’ve read or historical moments. Do you spend much of the time on the road [or home] reading? and what sparks your interest that may end up being a song idea?

I had a period of heavy reading a while back but I don’t read much at the moment. Usually it’s life matters that spark the interest…something I feel strongly or passionate about.

I’ve read the song 48 Seconds was something you had as an idea for many years!? Can you give me your interest in the subject [event] of the San Francisco fire and how it eventually evolved in to the song we hear?

After reading a book on the subject when I was ten years old, the subject stuck in my mind and would often raise its head and ask to be made into a song, but it never materialised over the years until now. I always felt an affinity or a connection to the event. No idea why, it sometimes feels to me that I may have lost a family member in the fire. I knew it would have to be built into sections as there was a good few elements to set up the whole picture. I created two fictional characters into the story so the listener could relate to what went on. Together with arranger Richard Cottle we concocted a suitable orchestration to fit the bill and then let poor old Simon Hanhart producer and mix it. A masterful result indeed.

Another I really like is “Road To London”. This seems a bit of a spooky tale — did this come from something you read or some where else?

No, it is solely based on the story telling style of traditional folk tales. Go to any traditional Irish or English folk session and you’ll probably come across a similar tale of ghostly woe.

“Look At The Time” is a great rock track – more progressive / pop – Can you tell me how this one evolved and what inspired it?

Purely politics and its self serving code of ethics

You’ve used 2 of the singers from your first album, as well as the same production team. But you’ve also brought in a number of new people. Can you discuss how many of these players came to your attention and got involved?

All the musicians/singers were brought into the fold via Simon and Richard. I leave that to them as they are the experts.

Who is the singer on “Rock n Roll Children”? [she is also on “Face To Face”] . She sounds great! Can you tell me a bit about her?

Miriam Grey. She’s amazing. Gutsy as well as subtle, she’s got a set of pipes on her for sure.http://www.mimgrey.com

“Forty Line” has quite a big orchestra piece [where one might put a guitar solo]. this is pretty unique, giving it an old big band sound, sort of like something out of a movie. How did these musical breaks develop? Were you hands on with suggestions, written ideas, etc.. ?

Yes, I was. The big band thing came from an idea I had to turn the verse into an old fashioned big band solo with all the trimmings. I handed the job over to Lorrie Cottle (Bass) who came back with this incredible arrangement and a blast of brass that knocked my socks, and everybody else’s socks, off.
I also wanted to write a song that had no specific meaning, if you listen close you’ll see what I mean.

Any moments on the album that you most proud of or impressed with the outcome?

As I worked so close on every aspect of the album, I would never let anything go that wasn’t impressive in some way. I think it all gels so well.

You now have 2 albums under your own name, plus a busy schedule with Heep [current tour and 50th anniversary next year]. would you like to [or plan to] get a few shows of your own music together – with some of the performers on these albums?

Would love to. So if you know anyone out there willing to invest I would be glad to hear from them. I would only perform with the real instruments… real strings and real voices.

You went to Michael Cheval again for the cover-art. Was this a piece he created specifically for 48 Seconds?

Not particularly, I gave him the concept and he had a piece of artwork that had a slight resemblance to the idea. I drew a sketch of how it could be modified and after going back and forth a few times he came up with the one you see.

http://www.chevalfineart.com/

Might you want to see some of the orchestra stuff perhaps work it’s way in to a Uriah Heep project? [Something along the lines of Heep’s Salisbury from 71].

Yes, we have always discussed working with an orchestra but only on a live situation. We’ll see.

Further reading: https://metalshockfinland.com/tag/48-seconds/
http://getreadytorock.me.uk/blog/2019/08/album-review-phil-lanzon-48-seconds/

PHIL LANZON – 48 Seconds (Album Review)

Up Next [well, working on it] : a look at Phil’s early days [before Heep!]

KJJ, Aug, ’19

Phil Lanzon – 48 Seconds

Phil Lanzon’s second solo album is titled “48 Seconds”. It comes just 17 months after his first solo album – “If You Think I’m Crazy” [and what an aussum surprise that was!], 10 months since Uriah Heep’s latest – “Living The Dream”, plus Phil’s first novel. So….my first question would be is – where did Phil find time to write and record this new one!? [Heep has been on the road for quite a while]. But, as with his debut – 48 Seconds is a welcome surprise! It’s very different, and if you’re expecting something resembling a Heep album, don’t bother! Where If You Think I’m Crazy was a fantastic collection of swinging pop, rock, and prog [with some orchestra], 48 Seconds goes a step further with Phil using orchestra throughout this album, as well as bringing back singers John Mitchell and Andy Makin, producer Simon Hanhart and arranger Richard Cottle.

48 Seconds starts out with the intro titled “Azura’s Theme”. Like a dramatic movie theme, this is a fine beginning to the mix of songs and stories that follow. Much of Phil’z songs are story-based, such as the ghostly ballad “Road To London” [which Phil sings], and the epic title track, which is based on the San Fransisco earthquake of 1906 – this is a fantastic production with story, orchestra, synths, a Hammond organ break, and choir. There is so much to get in to on this album, much like it’s predecessor – that 48 Seconds will take many many listens to fully appreciate. Tracks like “You Can Make A Living” [a rocker] and “Look At The Time” [more prog-pop]- stand out right away – the latter being reminiscent of Asia to me.
Great stuff, and I look forward to the LP [any day in the post now!], as [among other reasons] it features stunning art created by Michael Cheval. As much as I look forward to the next Heep album, I am also looking forward to Phil Lanzon’s next adventure on record.

To purchase the album via download, CD, or LP go to – https://www.musicglue.com/phil-lanzon/ . There is also a very thorough bio of Phil’s career and a few other items.

Phil speaks on 48 Seconds-

A great interview at:

To check out a few samples and much more on Phil Lanzon – go to his website – https://www.phillanzonwordsandmusic.com

Magnum – Favorite Tracks Since the Band’s Return

A few weeks ago longtime Magnum bass player Alan Barrow announced he was leaving the band (Barrow relocated to the US from England a few years back). Barrow had been with the band since the band reformed in the early 2000s and has consistently put out strong albums of their own brand of British rock with elements of orig, AOR, and hard-rock. This is the band’s 3rd bandmember change in the past few years. The band consists of founding members Tony Clarkin (guitar & songwriter) and (singer) Bob Catley, as well as Rick Benton (keys), Lee Morris (drums), and Dennis Ward (bass, ex Pink Cream 69). Aside from playing bass, Barrow also contributed photography to a number of Magnum album sleeves and a few covers. He was/is also present on the band’s Facebook pages and groups – answering questions, keeping fans up to date, and chipping in plenty of feedback; such input will be missed. It was “Into The Valley Of The Moonking” album that I really discovered Magnum with, as the disc arrived one day to review. Up until then I knew very little of the band – they don’t play in Canada, and their albums are rarely issued here or available in shops, so they remained “one of those mysterious old British bands I needed to check out – one day!” I loved the Moonking album, and continued to pick up new albums after that, as well as going back and picking up the older albums [still have a few omissions in the collection]. But, it is this era, post-reformation, that kept me interested in Magnum and each album has been solid and looked forward to. The band’s latest release was “Live At Symphony Hall”, earlier this year. with cover art by Rodney Matthews [who’s done many Magnum album covers over the years].
So, here is a pile of my favorite Magnum tracks from their post 2000 return era.

When We Were Younger
My favorite Magnum song. classic keyboard intro, chorus, love the lyrics, anyone can imagine this.

Live Til You Die
love the build up intro. the title and intro – to me – gives this a James Bond feel. this would’ve made a great Bond film song!

Brand New Morning

The Moonking
cool guitar intro; heavier guitar tune, great work-up to the chorus.

All The Dreamers
great intro floating in and kicking in to a classic tune.

Lost On The Road To Eternity
fantastic symphonic rocker; theatrical. Bob Catley sharing vocals with Tobias Sammet.

Twelve Men Wise And Just

Sacred Blood ‘Divine Lies’

All My Bridges

No One Knows His Name

Eyes Wide Open

A Forgotten Conversation