Well, we don’t want to always be reporting sad passings of Rock n Rollers we love sometimes we should celebrate some of the good guys who’ve had a big influence on what we’ve listened to over the years so today we’re celebrating the Birthday of Jeffrey Dean Isbell born on this day in 1962 in  Lafayette, Indiana to an engraver and phone company worker.  His folks divorced when he was just eight years old.


His first instrument was a drum kit after he was influenced by his grandmother and this led him to form a band with a guy named William Bailey (W Axl Rose) which was the beginning of a magical journey that was to see the pair become two fifths of the biggest band in the world at the time. In 1980 he moved to California and formed a punk rock band.  By ’83 Isbell had left the drums behind and moved onto bass and ultimately the electric guitar it was around this time he reacquainted himself with Rose and wrote ‘Reckless Life’, ‘Anything Goes’ and ‘Shadow Of Your Love’ three of Guns n Roses best songs as it goes and ones that have stood the test of time. Hollywood Rose morphed into Guns N Roses and the rest, as they say, is history. Stradlin was always considered the cool Keith Richards like member of Guns and its believed to have been the driving force for their better songs.  ‘Sweet Child O’Mine’, ‘Paradise City’ and ‘Patience’ to name a few. After the phenomenal success of Appetite Stradlin sobered up (allegedly) and by the time the band reconvened to push Use Your Illusions one and two he was losing interest.  Still, he was responsible for the best songs on the albums with the likes of ‘Dust n’ Bones’, ‘Don’t Cry’ and ’14 Years’ Stradlin in true Rock and Roll fashion upped and fucked right out the door never to return. 

It wasn’t the last of him of course as we got the magnificent Ju Ju Hounds album as well as a string of less successful albums throughout the ’90s a few of which were only released in Japan and then some only via the internet or Itunes but if you wanted to investigate he was still writing excellent rock and roll albums no bloated rock operas for Izzy just good honest three minute rock and roll tunes.


He has since cropped up contributing to Velvet Revolver but declining the offer to join the band permanently then in 2006 he got up with his former band and played a couple of tunes at a show in New York City.  A year later he released two albums in twelve months the excellent ‘Miami’ only through iTunes then at the tail end of the year he knocked out ‘Fire’ and acoustic album which took his output to an impressive eighth album. There were a further two Internet-only albums by 2010 before he played on the debut solo album from Slash before blowing out the Rock and Roll hall of fame when the band was inducted and the attention-shy songwriter had Duff read out a prepared press statement.  He then refused to join the reformed Guns N Roses due to the money not being shared equally between the band and I’d like to think without Adler in the engine room it wasn’t really a Guns N Roses reunion, was it?  with only three-fifths of the line up reforming so again good on Stradlin’ for sticking to his guns (no pun intended). He also refused to join the band onstage after turning up for soundcheck at a show but it was never confirmed if it was the show that Adler played a couple of classic tunes on.

So, right up to the here and now Izzy remains active in Rock n Roll having cropped up on the last Mellencamp album guesting on ‘Grandview’ so who knows whats next – Me I’d love to see him do a few club dates in the UK with the Ju Ju Hounds and play that debut album in full now that would be something really special.  Izzy if you’re out there get in touch RPM Online loves ya and wishes you a Happy Birthday.

Buy Izzy Stradlin Music Here

Also on this day Donita Sparks,  L7 was born in 1963.  Happy Birthday, Donita.

When we were recently asked if we would share a playlist on Spotify for a band who are friends of ours I said sure without really knowing what Spotify is all about and whilst I’d much rather people buy the records or CD’s I understand that the face of music is changing quickly in this digital super fiber world we now live in so rather than be a dinosaur and close ourselves off we have to grit our teeth and jump into the middle of the superhighway and embrace this streaming world or get left behind.


I know the artists get a shitty deal and that should change but if people are at least playing decent tunes by decent bands they might not otherwise hear then it can’t all be bad.  We would like to state right here right now that if you do hear any bands you like then please support the artists by picking up the album a song is played from or a shirt or go see a show of theirs if they pass through your town.


Starting with Basel’s Bitch Queens and their playlist of High Energy Rock and Roll check it out at the link


In case you don’t know who Bitch Queens are here check this out –

The definition of a guilty pleasure is “something that one enjoys despite feeling that is not generally held in high regard”. That’s the story of my life right there! And yours too probably if you are reading this.

Swedish trio Märvel know the score. Here, they embrace the odd and the not so odd, with their 8th album ‘Guilty Pleasures’. A 10 track covers album that pays tribute to their varied influences, some you will know, others you will wish you had known years ago, and all of them you will enjoy. From bizarre Swedish pop acts, to 70’s US radio classics, onto 90’s modern rock, Märvel have all bases covered and manage to make everything they tackle sound so fuckin’ cool in the process.


Let’s get one thing sorted from the off, Märvel sound like The Hellacopters. So much so, I would put money on Nicke Andersson having his leather-heeled boot in the door of this band. The true identities of the band members are a closely guarded secret, but one thing’s for sure, this masked trio comprising of The King (guitar and vocals), The Vicar (drums) and The Burgher (bass) kick serious ass on everything they do. If you haven’t seen or heard their version of WASP’s ‘Love Machine’ get it on YouTube before you read another word.

They open this album in style with a Kiss track. But not a well known classic from their 70’s heyday, that would be way too easy. ‘All For The Glory’ is probably the strongest track from their 2009 album ‘Sonic Boom’. It’s the perfect cover for Märvel, as the original (sung by drummer Eric Singer) actually already hints at that 90’s Scandinavian sound. Here, it is gloriously reinterpreted, complete with killer riffs and bang on Kiss style backing vocals. Sounding bigger, faster and better than the original, its high octane rock ‘n’ roll the way it should be delivered.


Elsewhere, they tackle 70’S AOR with ease. Giving a massive injection of rock ‘n’ roll cool with incendiary guitars and swagger to the likes of REO Speedwagon’s ‘Keep Pushin’ and Toto’s ‘Girl Goodbye’ making them sound 100 times better than the originals.

‘Ten O’clock Postman’ is a definite guilty pleasure. A 1980 Euro hit for Swedish disco/ synthpoppers Secret Service. Here, Märvel takes that poptastic chorus to another level, there’s even cowbell thrown in for good measure. And is it really possible to better Monster Magnet at their own game? Märvel pulls out all the stops to bring their own twist to ‘Powertrip’ and give Dave Wyndorf and co a run for their money.

‘Can’t Shake Loose’, this is an Imperial State Electric tune, right? No, it was a hit single for Agnetha Faltskog (the blonde bird from ABBA) in 1983 and was actually written by Russ Ballard, who of course wrote all sorts of rock ‘n’ roll awesomeness back in the day. So it’s no surprise this is the most rock ‘n’ roll song on offer and one of two that I keep playing and playing. The other being a killer version of ‘Sultans Of Swing’.

How they manage to make Dire Straits sound like Kiss is unbelievable. The swing has left the building and the overdrive is set to stun on this version. They change the whole feel of the song by changing the rhythm. Listen to that bass boogie, the unmistakeable Frehley-like guitar wail and the ‘Black Diamond’ styled backing vocals. Make no mistake, everything Märvel touches turns to gold.

They do the King himself justice by taking ‘Burning Love’ up a notch before finishing with a staple of 70’s US radio fodder in the form of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Hoochie Koo’.


Märvel go a long way to prove that good songs are everywhere. It’s all in the production and delivery. Forget your prejudice and look below the surface of your own guilty pleasures and you too could compile Märvel’s next covers opus. But for now ‘Guilty Pleasures’ is actually essential listening and a whole lotta fun. Put it on and you won’t be able to turn it up loud enough.

Buy ‘Guilty Pleasures’ Here


Author: Ben Hughes






Newport’s Deathtraps seem to be popping up all over the place at the moment, and if they keep this rate of gigs up I’ll have seen them more than Accept before the Summer is out. Its all very positive stuff for the band though as even just a short month on from my last review of them right here on RPM they’ve already added a thundering new track to their setlist, its one all about covers bands called ‘Play The One We Know’ perhaps their catchiest tune to date too. There’s no fear of them getting that call here in The Moon though, No Siree, as this has to be one of the coolest underground venues I’ve attended recently, and I can only but wonder how it’s taken me so long to discover it. You see the punters here tonight are all craving original live music, and that’s why the noisy bastards otherwise known as Veej, Fraser and Bullet Von Deathtrap are instantly doing brisk business over on their merch stall straight after they finish delivering their dirty deeds.

I have to admit I knew very little about Electric Eel Shock before tonight, well nothing other than they used to be briefly signed to Gearhead (which is always a good sign) and that they come from Japan. In saying this it takes them approximately 20 seconds of opener ‘Suicide Rock & Roll’ to have me whooping it up down the front with the diehards (of which there are a considerable amount) as I’m immediately won over by the band’s infectious charm.

I mean how could you not instantly love a band that has within its ranks one Tomoharu Ito, a nude drummer (well nude albeit for a sock on his cock that he stretches out to aid his headbanging at appropriate times during their set) someone who also uses 4 drumsticks live – two in each hand. Add to this a bass player (Kazuto Maekawa) who is one of the coolest looking four stringers this side of Dee Dee Ramone and a singer (Akihito Morimoto) who also plays a Flying V (when he’s not trying to eat it) like an in his prime Randy Rhodes. You put all of this in the mix and I’m sure you will agree you have a mighty musical proposition at hand.

It’s the organised chaos the band call songs that really add the icing on the garage rock cake though and with Akihito ironically boasting that in spite of the fact that it had been three years since the band last played Cardiff they had written two songs during that time, I can’t help but chuckle at the band’s self-deprecating humour whilst grooving along to tracks like ‘So Much 80s’, ‘Red Devil’ and ‘Favourite No 9’. Electric Eel Shock (like most of us here at RPM) certainly love their cheesy metal and there are a few times tonight where I can almost feel a human pyramid coming on amongst my RPM gig going amigos.

Keeping it short (which you must have to be to actually play The Moon and the celling is bloody low) but very sweet Electric Eel Shock leave us with the instant classic  ‘Metal Man’ a track that brings back memories of when I first heard 44 Magnum’s iconic ‘Street Rock’N Roller’ album, and you ain’t gonna see that reference in many reviews anytime soon that’s for sure. Then again there really aren’t very many bands out there like Electric Eel Shock, to miss them live really is a crime, one I’m thankfully no longer guilty off.


Author: Johnny Hayward

The Quireboys aren’t the sort of band who are going to drop this years hottest, Radio 1 friendly album, but then again, we wouldn’t want them to be. When I hear of new Quireboys material, I want to hear raw, bluesy rock and roll. And boy… do they deliver it.

‘Original Black Eyed Son’ is a great kick-off track. I heard this song for the first time this week, live in Cardiff on their current tour with FM. It’s got all the swagger you’d expect from Spike and the boys, wrapped up in a bluesy track that would make The Black Crowes envious.

I’m a sucker for a good slide guitar part and ‘Sinner’s Serenade’ gives me just that. After all these years, this band can still rock and roll with the best of them.

‘Seven Deadly Sins’ has a fantastic groove. There’s a definite Aerosmith vibe here, the bouncy rhythm reminds me of ‘Last Child’ from the Rocks album. How can you not bob your head to this?

I’m only 4 songs in now with ‘Amazing Disgrace’ and while this record is absolutely a Quireboys record, it certainly feels that the band have experimented a little with some of the songs. This sounds like a record that the band really enjoyed making. Fantastic chorus on this song, that’s a crowd singalong waiting to happen.

Having spent some time on the road with the band myself as a support act, I’ve seen them play a few country tinged tunes live and in soundchecks, ‘Eve of the Summertime’ is the next in line of the band exploring that world. If you didn’t expect The Quireboys to pull off country, think again. Spike’s rough and ready voice is perfect for the screaming rock and roll the band is known for, but he is by no means a one trick pony. His voice is pure honesty and a track like this really lets you get into that feeling.

A sweeping piano intro takes us into ‘California Blues’, this harks back to the early Quireboys sound. This is feel-good summertime rock played the way it should be. We might’ve explored country a little on this album so far, but ‘This Is It’ takes us even deeper. Spike regularly commands a YEEHAW from the band’s audience, perhaps we’re listening to the next YEEHAW track for the bands live show?

‘Feels Like A Long Time’ sounds like a classic track from this band. This could sit next to any of the big players in the bands set. It’s got the swagger; it’s got the blues and it’s got the big chorus!

The band dives into a more hard-edged rock stomp on ‘Slave Number One’. This is certainly a head bobber of a track, the riff commands you to do so. How do you follow a hard rock song? Easy, with  another country flavoured song. ‘Dancing in Paris’ is a tender look at falling in love for the weekend. Spike once again showing that behind that hard living, rock and roll machine, sits a tender soul. His emotive and fragile vocal sound hooks you in to every single word. He’s been one of my favourite vocalists for so long for this exact reason.

‘Medusa My Girl’ rounds off this eleven track slammer from the band. This song certainly feels like a departure for the bands typical sound, it’s great to hear them venture into new sonic spaces. This has an almost celtic feel to some of the melodies, it’s not all beer drinking and hell raising with there guys!

I’ve always loved this band, I’ve always been a fan and I’ve not really disliked any part of their back catalogue, but this album to me feels like a massive step up. The band sound like they’re having the best time of their lives and I think that shows in this collection of songs. There are new textures and colours here, while still maintaining the fact that it’s a Quireboys album that is going to kick your ass.

Buy ‘Amazing Disgrace’: Here

Author: Leigh Fuge

This one is a beauty! Celebrating 41 years of Billy Childish, a double CD or triple gatefold LP.

It’s out on May 24th and is available for pre-order now. Click on the pic to reserve a copy on the format of your choice. 

The Billy Childish Story 1977-2018

Punk Rock Ist Nicht Tot – 2CD/3LP – (Release date 24/5/19)

41 Years of Childish!   Career-spanning compilation!

Triple Gatefold Vinyl!  Double gatefold CD

Sleevenotes by Stewart Lee!

How did Billy come to be? Holed away in the distant inter tidal marshland of mid-Seventies Kent, breaking rocks in the hot sun as a teenage dockland stonemason, undiagnosed dyslexia and general insubordination denying him the educational path he might have taken, Childish took the punk gospel Malcolm McLaren and the Sex Pistols preached in 1976 as revealed scriptural truth.

Forty-two years later Childish is the last man standing, the most enduring, uncorrupted and prolific of the class of ‘77. And some heroic fool has now tried to sum him up in a mere forty-eight songs, from the thousand or so he has recorded.

This compilation provides tiny tasters of each of Childish’s phases, and some snippets of short-lived side-projects too. Administered correctly, it will make an addict of you. You have been warned. Here’s a field guide to the many faces of Billy Childish.

1 Whatcha Gonna Do About It (Live) The Pop Rivets
2 Kray Twins (Demo) The Pop Rivets
3 Love Can Lose The Milkshakes
4 I’m Out of Control The Milkshakes
5 You Make Me Die Thee Mighty Caesars
6 The Double Axe Thee Mighty Caesars
7 Come Into My Life Thee Mighty Caesars
8 Cowboys are Square Thee Mighty Caesars
9 I feel Like Giving In The Delmonas
10 Brimful Of Hate Jack Ketch And The Crowmen
1 Davey Crocket Thee Headcoatees
2 Girl From ’62 Thee Headcoats
3 All My Feelings Denied Thee Headcoats
4 Punk Rock Ist Nicht Tot Thee Headcoats
5 An Image of You Thee Headcoats
6 Evil Thing Thee Headcoatees
7 Wild Man Thee Headcoatees
8 Hurt Me Thee Headcoatees
9 I’m Hurtin’ Thee Headcoats
1 Step Out Billy Childish and Holly Golightly
2 Upside Mine Billy Childish and Holly Golightly
3 I Don’t Like The Man I Am Billy Childish And The Singing Loins
4 Muscle Horse Billy Childish and Sexton Ming
5 This Wondrous Day Kyra
6 Rum and Coca Cola Wild Billy Childish And The Blackhands
7 Mr Hitler Wild Billy Childish And The Blackhands
1 Archive from 1959 The Buff Medways
2 Troubled Mind The Buff Medways
3 Unable to See the Good The Buff Medways
4 Strood Lights The Buff Medways
5 The Man with The Gallows Eyes The Chatham Singers
6 The Angel of Death The Chatham Singers
7 Medway Wheelers The Buff Medways
8 You Piss Me Off The Buffets
1 Joe Strummer’s Grave The Musicians of the British Empire
2 Snack Crack The Musicians of the British Empire
3 Christmas 1979 The Musicians of the British Empire
4 Polygraph Test The Guy Hamper Trio
5 We Spartan Dreggs (Be Fine) The Spartan Dreggs
6 Headlong Fly the Achaeans The Spartan Dreggs
7 A Shropshire Lad The Spartan Dreggs
1 A Song For Kylie Minogue CTMF
2 In A Parallel World CTMF
3 Something’s Missing Inside CTMF
4 All Our Forts Are With You CTMF
5 Cadillac The Dear Watsons
6 It’s so Hard to be Happy The Shall I Say Quois

Definitely Nicht Tot!


Damaged Goods are also very excited to announce the release date of the new JOHNNY MOPED album…

It’s called ‘LURRIGATE YOUR MIND’ and it’s on LP/CD/Digital and it’s out on the 24th May 2019

Time flies! It’s three years since the band’s last album, It’s A Real Cool Baby, but the band have been busy in the meantime. Following the amicable departure of founding member Dave Berk, they welcomed Marty Love as their new drummer.

Since then the band have had successful tours of the UK, Germany, Holland and Scandinavia. They’ve had prestigious slots at Blackpool’s famous Rebellion Festival, recorded two radio sessions for Marc Riley’s BBC 6Music Show, and played a storming set at Damaged Goods 30th Anniversary show at London’s Koko last September. Plus they played with longtime friends, The Damned on their 2018 tour and finished the year with a headline Christmas show at The Lexington.

A biography of the band is currently being written. More details to follow on that nearer to publication date. There’s even talk of gigs in the US and Japan in the not too distant future. Fingers crossed eh!

So what can we tell you about the new LP? Well, it has 14 tracks including recently sold out single ‘Catatonic’. There’s a guest appearance from Captain Sensible, a longtime friend and Ex-moped of course and the now found Xerxes. It was recorded at Panther Studios, Reigate and produced by longtime associate Dick Crippen.


This includes the following







All for £40 (plus shipping)

IT will also be available on CD and Red or Blue vinyl clocking in at a very reasonable £13.99 for the vinyl and £9.99 for the CD  – Get ordering Here!

BBC Wales and the Arts Council of Wales have today announced that applications are open for 12 new artists/bands for the 2019 Horizons/Gorwelion project.

The Horizons project aims to showcase promising talent in Wales & has given a platform to over 48 emerging artists in the past, providing them with opportunities to reach new audiences in Wales, the UK and beyond.

The 12 successful new acts will be supported in various ways over the next 12 months, with opportunities to appear at festivals and events, on the radio, including BBC Wales’ national services (BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Radio Wales) and on social media.

Celebrating its fifth year this year, Horizons has given a platform to over 48 emerging artists from Wales, providing them with opportunities to reach new audiences in Wales, the UK and beyond. And now they’re looking for 12 new artists.

The application process is now open. The 12 successful acts will be supported in various ways over the next 12 months, with opportunities to appear at festivals and events, on the radio, including BBC Wales’ national services (BBC Radio Cymru and BBC Radio Wales) and on social media.

The Horizons project aims to showcase promising talent in Wales. Highlights over the past five years include recording at the world-renowned Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire, Maida Vale Studios in London, and an exclusive collaboration with partners like the Football Association of Wales who are currently showcasing Horizons’ artist’s music as the soundtrack of Welsh football.

As the Horizons project celebrates its fifth year, there are plans to work with new partners as well as bring a host of new and former Horizons artists together to create some extra special moments across 2019.

Bethan Elfyn, Project Manager of Horizons at BBC Wales, says: “We’re looking forward to welcoming 12 new musical talents to the project. In this fifth year we’ll be on a mission to celebrate the role the project plays. We’re proud of everything from the grassroots work we do to the larger-scale collaborations, representing a wide range of diverse musical styles, talents, locations and backgrounds. Horizons is a crucial injection into an already energised and prolific Welsh music scene.

“By supporting a group of artists, not only do we help nurture new talent but create a window on Welsh music at home as well as further afield. Our vision continues to be to bring a new, fresh sound to represent a modern Wales – and some of the stories from the Welsh music world are having a huge cultural impact at a crucial time.”

Lisa Matthews, Portfolio Manager at Arts Council of Wales, says: “We’re proud to support Horizons for a further year and see another 12 artists have a creative and potentially career-changing year. There’s been some incredible opportunities created so far and we’re looking forward with excitement to enabling more developmental music experiences.”

Applications are open from April 4 to Midnight, May 1, and announcements will follow in June. Acts who want to be considered fill in a form online via bbc.co.uk/horizons. Horizons acts will be selected by a panel of experts from within the partnership and the wider music sector.


Horizons website

Four years on from the band’s amazing ‘Speaks Evil’ album and Italian glam punks Giuda have produced perhaps one of their most surprising career moves to date, by signing with the UK doom metal label, Rise Above Records for the release of their fourth album ‘E.V.A’.

I’m certainly not knocking it, as I have a lot of time and respect for Lee Dorrian and his label having produced some superb doom releases over their 30 years in the business. It’s just Giuda…alongside the likes of Church Of Misery, Uncle Acid and Witchsorrow, I mean c’mon c’mon, do they really don’t wanna be in this gang?

In saying this though I do get that Rival Sons, Blackberry Smoke and The Temperance Movement signing for Earache didn’t exactly do them any harm career-wise, and seeing that Giuda will also have the recently signed Danko Jones alongside as label mates it does all kind of stack up, and as long as they continue to pen the feel-good anthems we have all goto love them for then…who cares?

‘E.V.A’ then picks up exactly where ‘Speaks Evil’ left off with ‘Overdrive’ the band’s first single from the album, cruising along on a throbbing ‘70s AC/DC rhythm complete with a glam rock hook that should have all the young Droogs screaming along at the tops of their voices when the band take the album on the road. This really is the sound of Giuda at the very top of their game.

‘Space Walk’ is the first of three glam slammers (the others ‘Space Go’ and ‘Ravers Rock’) on ‘E.V.A’ that harks back to the semi-instrumental highlights of ‘Racey Roller’ albeit here they have a touch of Space Ace sci-fi flair (rather than turned up denim flares)  just to be added to the cool factor.

Elsewhere ‘Interplanetary Craft’ has more than a hint of late ’70s Who about it, resonating on an almost New Romantic melody line that sees Ntenda and the boys adding yet another new influence to their musical melting pot sound. This influence doesn’t end here either as my favourite track on the album ‘Cosmic Love’ could very well have been an outtake from the first Duran Duran album, yes it really is that good.

I’m sure the band’s fan base will be open-minded enough to accept the band moving to a more ‘80s influence sound as the New Romantic scene wasn’t really such a seismic leap away from ‘70s glam was it?

Of course there are still plenty of the band’s trademark glamthems on ‘E.V.A’ and the pretty vacant ‘I’ve Had Enough’, ‘No Place To Hide’, ‘You’ve Got The Power’ and ‘Junk’ are all going to get you tucking your thumbs in your belt loopholes pretty damn sharpish, trust me.

With their trademark ten songs and thirty three minutes of music designed to confuse and enthuse in equal amounts, ‘E.V.A’ – just like with ‘Speaks Evil’ – demands repeat plays to fully get the tunes embedded in your cranium, but once they are in there really is no escaping them.

Oh, and before I forget one of the real bonuses of the band signing for Rise Above Records is that Giuda vinyl collecting nerds everywhere should be in seventh heaven (or should that be hell) with all the different pressings released on April 5th.

Go on…fill your (stackheel) boots.




Buy E.V.A Here

Author: Johnny Hayward

I began writing this a couple of weeks ago but didn’t post it immediately.
Where to begin really, on what began as a short writeup as a tribute on a sad day, that we lost guitarist, Bernie Torme. Lost to us after he’d been hospitalised for the previous four weeks., after his battle with pneumonia. I was shocked, saddened and gutted to learn that this man who has been an influence on me, was no longer with us.
So this tribute became more of a tour through Bernie’s musical path and in some ways my own musical path. The paths crossed over throughout the years in different ways.
Anyway, wind back the clock, to my school days which is where I discovered this great guitarist. There are not many guitarist’s that have impressed me over the years, but Bernie definitely did. Bernie had been on the circuit before I discovered him, but probably the 1st time I showed an interest was when Ian Gillan put together a new solo band. The band didn’t really seem to fit the mould of the rock bands that were around at the time, late 70’s. Gillan came from your typical long-haired rock band of the time, Deep Purple. Then, probably via Sounds music paper, I was introduced to this new Gillan band with this Punky looking guitarist, Bernie, Bald, Bearded and a rather large Bass player, John McCoy, whom we had gotten to know via his playing on the 1st Samson album. Not forgetting the Mr Nic.e guy keyboardist of the band Colin Towns. And completed with Mick Underwood on drums.
Their 1st album, Mr Universe was played non stop during the year of its release in 1979, and is still one I’ve returned to even to this day. The band seemed to be on a constant tour of all the Odeon style venues during 1979/80. They played some venues twice at different times on the 1st tour. I got to catch them at Birmingham Oden on two occasions at both ends of the tour. The tour was memorable for John McCoy swinging out on a wire over the stage and audience, while playing the bass solo. This was around the time that bands included a solo for most of the members of the bands, including Bernie with Gillan. This is where Bernie came into his own with his own distinct guitar sound. It would then lead into the classic Smoke on the Water song being played. Great for those of us that actually were not old enough to get to see Gillan perform it with Deep Purple. Always a moment of chills going down the spine while hearing Bernie play his solo and then go into it.
They played Reading Rock Festival around the same time. Also around that time, they became a regular band, playing on the then ‘in fashion’, musical highlight and programme of the week, Top of the Pops, on a Thursday night. It was great to see our rock hero’s playing side by side with the pop stars of the era. Bernie got to play on a couple more Gillan albums before eventually leaving in 1981, due to , and I think this is right, not coming back from Germany to do a Top of the Pops show. He was then either asked or left on his own.
By this time in 1982, he had gone back to his solo band career and released a new solo album, Turn Out The Lights. And so back out onto the road to promote it with his new 3 -piece format band, which was the style /format of a band, he later was said to enjoy more., with no frontman ego’s and in more control of things. And at this point is where I got to meet Bernie for the 1st time, although I may very well have briefly met him at one of the Birmingham Odeon gigs , where we queued to meet Gillan, the band.
I was singing in what was the 3rd band of my musical career, Firefly. I’m not sure quite how it came about but possibly, me, being cheeky and approaching the Manager of the General Wolfe pub in Coventry and asking for the support slot with Bernie Torme. We had only played a few local pub gigs although we were fairly well known with the rock crowd in Coventry at the time. We didn’t have any demo tape so the manager took us for our word that we were going to deliver on the music front.
The night of the gig was one of my 1st experiences of playing a big gig, well in my eyes at least. Most up and coming bands at the time on the circuit would play the General Wolfe in Coventry. We thought we had made it as we got to use the dressing room area upstairs. We got to socialise with Bernie and his band , chat, and take photos. I don’t recall there being a lot of alcohol being drunk before the gig though or possibly even after.
There was the soundcheck behind closed doors and the nerves kicking in as the venue filled up. By the time we got to go on the General Wolfe venue was packed. I recall we struggled to get through the crowd to reach the stage. We’d never experienced anything quite like this at the time after playing in backroom pubs around Coventry previously to half filled rooms. But surprisingly we did a great show opening for Bernie with a mix of your own original songs and covers and we went down well with the audience.
The standout moment from this night though, I can recall at the end of the night chatting with Bernie and his then-girlfriend , Lisa, in the car park, where he was loading his estate car up with his equipment. Even back then after doing all those big gigs with Gillan and Ozzy Osbourne, he was still so down to earth, friendly and a gentleman.
So on into the 80’s and Bernie teamed up with Phil Lewis of Girl and later LA Guns fame. 1st time we got to hear and see them was on a Friday evening Rock programme called ECT. There was a real buzz around them and one of the highlights from the programme over the few weeks it was aired for. I was fortunate at the time to have one of the 1st video recorders and over the months the two songs that the band Torme, as they were now called, were watched constantly. The two songs were Hardcore and Star that came from the album that was to follow and became the blueprint for a lot of the new Sleaze bands that were emerging. My own band, Fridayz Angelz, at this point were influenced heavily too, with our guitarist a big Torme fan who partly molded himself on him. We had also introduced the song ‘Star ‘into our set. Because of this in later years, I’d also suggested while chatting with Bernie on line, before his 1st Pledge album, that I’d love to sing Star with him one day. I think from this suggestion it may have become one of his Pledge idea’s. So the opportunity did come along for his 1st album Pledge but I wasn’t in a position to put the money up for it. A real shame as I’m sure it would of been fun.
I was fortunate enough to catch the band Torme live at JB’s also in a venue rammed to the hilt. Never got to meet Bernie that night though as there were far too many people who had the same idea.
A few years later when I struck up a friendship and was chatting online to Bernie, he had this to say about the Torme/Lewis Glam connection of the ’80s:
“yes, I suppose the lewis Torme thing was pretty glammy. but then when I was with Gillan earlier on I had the lightning thingy on my face a la Bowie, and makeup and all that. I was but the band wasn’t! That was 79 and 80. A lot of young kids liked that at the time. first electric gypsies gigs in the marquee at least 10% of the audience looked exactly like I did, lightning flash/makeup/pirate clothes. Girls and boys. it was weird.”
Then Bernie, for me at least, seemed to go off the radar after that band split and all was pretty quiet, apart from forming a new band called Desperado with Dee Snider. Unfortunately the album they made never got an official release at the time, and as far as I’m aware no gigs were played.
For me, my own personal life began moving in a different direction also. These appeared to be the wilderness years and I can only guess that Bernie took a backseat a little too with raising his family. He wanted his kids to steer clear of the musical path. As in the words from Bernie in a conversation we had:
“I tried to get my kids to be bankers or lawyers, they all want to be rock n rollers, the two older boys already are……who is going to pay the bills in my old age? buggers!!!”
And so the next time that I got to hear Bernie back doing stuff was with the formation of another 3piece band, GMT with John McCoy and Robin Guy around 2006, although there had been a few low key solo albums through the years leading up. This was the next time that I got to see Bernie play in a gig fairly local, in a small pub called The Crew in Nuneaton. The gig wasn’t packed as in previous times but they were professional and played a full-on gig complete with Bernie’s solo section. A great night though as I got to hang out with Bernie and the band and have a few Guinness’s together and a good chat. It was at this point that Bernie encouraged me to get back to singing and put a band together again. So in the months that followed, I took his advice and did exactly that and put back together the Guttercats, who went on for the next 7 years in different lineups.
But your asking is there a point to mentioning my band? Where’s the connection?
Well, towards the end of the Guttercats we recorded our Whisky Avenue EP that was getting great reviews, and we were handing out free to anyone who wanted it., Bernie included. So read on.
Bernie had released his album Flowers and Dirt via Pledge in 2014 and went out on tour to support it. I’d actually got en quite chatty on Facebook with Bernie by this time and was even helping out setting up events pages on FB for his tour.
At one point I did get told off by Bernie, although in the ended it turned out I’d done him a favour and saved him some money and he was really appreciative of me. Somehow during the 1st Pledge, he had uploaded all his albums and they had become a free download. I’d posted a thank you for all the albums, and Bernie said I needed to take my post down as there had been a blunder on Pledge, fortunately, my post had highlighted it and he was able to change it., as the albums had to be paid for and were not a free download. He would of had to refund people had the problem not been highlighted by me. He thanked me and said he owed me a free T-shirt, that I never took up the offer of.
I caught up with Bernie in Leamington Spa for what was the 1st gig of the tour. A great set although the 1st part of the set the band had been told that they had to keep the volume down as there was a show going on with a comedian in the venue above. Anyway, It was another night of chat with Bernie, that could of gone on all night as Bernie was up for a few Guinness but unfortunately I had to decline as I was driving and had work the next day. Oh well wasn’t meant to be.. Anyway, he signed a couple of vinyl single covers I’d bought along. I also gave him one of the Whisky Avenue EP’s to have a listen to. Wasn’t sure he would listen to it but after being in contact via FB a few weeks later, this is what he had to say.
“Hey Andy, finally got the chance to sit down and listen to your EP, good stuff man! I really like that! all good tracks too! bangin! thank you for that! the band sounds kicking too! Good songs. I wish I was going down whiskey avenue right now! that’s a really good ep, its rock n roll andy, it’s not about perfection it’s about the vibe and attitude and that has it 200%. I really liked it. I get given stuff all the time and I rarely hear anything I like, I really like that.”
I felt very proud and honored to think that Bernie had taken time out to listen to some of my musical work. The fact he enjoyed it so much and the music had made an impression on him was such a great feeling and boost, as it was probably my final musical output and probably my best ever work with a band.
As for Bernie, looking back at 2018 unbeknown at the time, he released his final album, unless there are any unreleased stuff in the vaults? He did his last tour of the UK. Met up with Ozzy, after thirty odd years and Zak Wylde and reunited with Phil Lewis on stage with LA Guns.
Unfortunately, I never got to see Bernie play for last time as, the usual story these days, money is tight for getting out, to see every band, unlike when I was younger, when money seemed no object.
Bernie Torme RIP I thank you and will miss you x
Author: Andy Guttercat-Rothwell

Anybody Wanna Skate, originally it started off life as a 7-inch project but the songs were just too good to hold back on……….

Opener and title track, Anybody Wanna Skate has a great Rocket From the Crypt vibe to it. The hooks are there and the production is perfect, what’s not to like?

Straight into Dead Boys territory with Sick of Feeling Sick, then off to Ramonesville with Sticks and Stones. Barely five minutes in and a quarter of the album gone and I’m already thinking “contender for album of the year.”

Blundertoe is a fine slice of instrumental surf rock, while Gift of Desperation flings you back into the warm and welcoming arms of Johnny Thunders and Dead Boys. With their stall set out, TMNT has another great Ramones feel to it, while 70’s Too Young for Lemmy to Die is another stripped down Rocket From the Crypt stomper, complete with gang vocals and a key change.

‘Anybody Wanna Skate’ is like a selection box of all my favourite bands blended together into the perfect mega-rock-monster. It’s just fucking great!

It’s Fashionable is a bit of a Clash City Rocker, while It’s a Shame reeks of Stiv and Trying to Kill Me is the bastard son of Dee Dee and Cheetah Chrome.

Surfin’ Swami takes us back to the beach in fine surf rock style and builds us right up to the final banger, ZOEY, rounding the album of in fine fast and frantic style.

Anybody Wanna Skate is not only a fine album but it’s also a thing of beauty. It’s available in classic black, limited Red Yellow Black Slash Splatter and Clear with Blue Black and Green Glow in The Dark Splatter; all wrapped up in eye scrambling artwork by Riccardo Bucchioni.

Some bands are born great, others have greatness thrust upon them. Anybody Wanna Skate is the dog’s bollocks…. ave it !!!

Buy ‘Anybody Wanna Skate’: Here







Author: Fraser Munro