Ken Mary’s long standing music career has placed him center stage in a wide spectrum of genres that have required an equally wide ranging and demanding set of skills. He is not only a drummer, but also an engineer, writer, vocalist, and an award winning producer. Combined, his body of work has sold over 5 million albums worldwide, and includes an extremely diverse, eclectic, and influential group of artists. His drumming can be heard on recordings from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Alice Cooper, Jordan Rudess, Northern Light Orchestra, Kip Winger, House of Lords, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Beach Boys, Impelliterri, Don Dokken, Fifth Angel, Bonfire, F5, and Soul Shock Remedy just to name a few.
Hit the link sit back and relax as Kenny gets on with some chatter that matters with the other Kenny
Coming outta Helsinki Finland, Plastic Tears have been around for ages knocking out a glam-punk sound on their own terms. They’ve just recorded a brand new album and to be fair it’s taking them to the next level with some excellent songs and they have undoubtedly found their own sound and added some good time Rock and Roll into the mix. We thought it was about time we sent out the call and brought them in for questioning. So it’s with great pleasure frontman and mainstay of the band Miqu who joined us for a chat and talk about all things Plastic Tears…
The band has been through some changes since starting out – how do you look back on the band’s career so far? You claimed that break-ups, lineups changes, record company changes and drama enough for a soap opera. Talk us through some of those soap opera moments?
We’ve been around for long, so we’ve seen a lot of ups and downs. The dramas are mostly stuff that happened in the beginning of our career. But we’ve split up on stage, had fights on stage, been filmed completely wasted for national TV and so on. We were wild, young and cocky then, I guess we’re a bit more stable nowadays. We’ve had a lot of lineup changes back in the day, and Eco and I are the only ones that are left from the early days. But I’m not much for nostalgia myself, I prefer to focus on the present.
The lineup is settled now, right? who writes the tunes in the band? and why?
Yeah, we’ve had this lineup since the last album, ‘Angels With Attitude’, and the band has matured a lot I think. I guess that’s what happens when you find the right guys who stay together. If you look through the band catalogue I seem to have written most of the songs. But I guess that’s kind of natural as I’ve been in the band from the start. But everyone in the band is welcome to contribute to the songwriting, and on our new album Juha has also written a couple of tunes. And that’s good because it widens the band’s sound.
The new album ‘Anthems For Misfits’ is about to be released, tell us about who’s releasing it an Italian label I believe? Where it was recorded? Give us some of the background as to how it was recording under lockdown during a pandemic or had it already been tracked?
Wormholedeath Records is releasing it worldwide. We’re really excited to work with them as they seem to be doing good work and still leave us the freedom to do stuff ourselves. That’s important to us, as we’re used to being independent and doing a lot of promotion ourselves. We had a European tour at the end of 2019, and before that we had already recorded the base for the album, the drums and bass.
When we got back we continued recording, but soon after that the pandemic started showing signs of itself. We were still able to continue recording, even though it progressed slower than originally intended. Our original plan was to release this album in the summer of 2020. We had to look for a new keyboard player too, as the one that was lined up didn’t want to expose his family to the virus. That’s understandable, but luckily we found Ville who did a marvelous job in the studio. We recorded at East Sound Studios in Helsinki with Sammy Aaltonen who also did the previous album with us. It’s easy for us to work with him as he comes from similar musical backgrounds and we could well fit on the same bill as his band Private Line.
As somebody who has been lucky enough to hear it, it’s fair to say it’s your strongest album thus far. Is that fair? I think the songs are stronger and the songwriting is really good there have been a few risks taken would that be a fair assessment?
I agree, it’s our strongest album this far. ‘Angels With Attitude’ already got a great response, and people have doubted me when I’ve said the new album is even better. I guess that’s how bands always feel about their new release, but I honestly think this is true. The band, the songs, and the production is better. We gave a lot of thought to the arrangements and wanted it to be a diverse album. I guess there are some risks, but, it’s not like we’ve consciously calculated what risks to take, the songs just came out like this.
We’ve always mixed in a bit of this and that, like ‘Spanish Whispers’ (still one of my favorite songs) reggae vibe on the first album, ‘Beat Me Blue’ on the second and so on. But I guess this time the production makes these things stand out better, and overall the album is diverse in a good way I think.
The first video/single is ‘Riot Zone’ which has a good hook but is only a fraction of what’s on offer why choose this one as the first to go public off the new record?
We had a lot of choices so this was a hard decision to make. The label wanted to make an animated lyrics video to go with the single, so in the end we made the choice based on which song would fit that kind of video the best. It’s also a strong ‘bang your head and raise your fist’ style of song that shows our punkier side and is easy to sing along to. And it has a really funny midsection!
The album opens up with a real shot of energy with ‘Doomsday girls’ which is a real Rocker with some fantastic piano that really lifts the song – whos playing that? and how important is the running order of a record?
‘Doomsday Girls’ is a great opener, and it immediately gets you into a party mood. The piano was played by Ville Tolvanen, aka Doc Tolvanen. He also played all the other piano/organ/keyboard parts on the album. He’s a blues/roots guy, but he did fantastic work on all the different styles of the songs. He himself said he’s never used as many different sounds and styles in a studio session, that kind of sums up the album. A big thank you to Ville, his parts were the icing on the cake! The running order is really important. We’re old school in the way that an album is the crown of your work and want it to be strong and balanced from start to finish. So we spent a lot of time thinking of the running order, and I think it worked out pretty good.
Talk us through some of the highlights of the album in your opinion? I love the opener but in the first three songs, there is a wealth of rock and roll all different but all obviously by the same band. Has this lineup struck on its identity?
‘Doomsday’ is one of my favorites too. I also love the dark gothic feel of ‘Candlelight Hate Affair’, the pop sensibility of ‘Clash in the Night’, the New York Dolls meets Elvis of ‘Crybaby’ and Hallucinations is a really special song that I can’t really categorize. I think we have. We’ve never wanted to be a band that’s easy to define. There’s rock, punk, glam, power pop, hard rock and more blended into our own sound, and I think all the pieces fell together like they were meant now.
What’s the scene like in Helsinki? for fans of Rock and Roll, live music? places to go bands to see? I know you have support over here on plague island are there any plans to play any shows further afield?
Well, there used to be clubs and venues before the pandemic, let’s see what’s left once this is over. The scene is pretty good, there’s good rock bands of all kinds, and of course a lot of metal bands as we’re talking about Finland. What I’m missing here is the kind of small half-sleazy rock bars, like old Loose and Bäkkäri were. But as always, clubs and bars come and go. Still, good venues to go see bands here, like Tavastia, Semifinal, (new) Loose, On The Rocks, etc.
We had a UK tour scheduled for last year with Paradise Alley, but then came the virus. The plan was to reschedule them for this year, and we’re still on the lineup for HRH Sleaze in August, hopefully, it can be carried through. And if, then we’ll hopefully get some other gigs booked there too. We’re also looking forward to getting back to mainland Europe once that’s possible.
What formats will the new album be available on?
Italian label Wormholedeath Records is releasing it on CD and digital. There have been requests for vinyl too, but as our deal doesn’t include vinyl, we’re still trying to find a way to get that done.
With regards to the new record tell us how it comes together? How do you go about putting it together? Do you demo the songs as individuals? What works for Plastic Tears?
Usually, someone makes a rough demo at home which is then played to the other guys. We then start arranging it and everyone puts in their own parts before entering the studio. As we recorded over a quite long time frame with Sammy we still had the chance to make some changes at Sammy’s East Sound Studios. I think this a couple of days of recording every now and then works well for us, as it gives us time to do changes, as opposed to doing it on a tighter schedule.
Tell us a bit about yourself Miqu. Did you always want to front a band? Who were your influences growing up and what other artists still make music you relate to and get inspired by?
Me, I’m just a rock’n’roll singer, who writes a lot of songs of which only a fraction are completed. I guess since I fell in love with rock’n’roll at about the age of ten I knew I someday wanted to work with music in one way or another. Elvis was my first step into the world of rock. Shortly after that, I got hooked on punk and soon widened my musical taste with bands like Lords of the New Church, Cheap Trick, Hanoi Rocks, Slade, and many more. Of older artists that still make music I can relate to and get inspired by, I would say, Alice Cooper, Blondie, Social Distortion, John Fogerty, and Rolling Stones. Of the newer bands, I love The Interrupters, Tiger Army, The Sounds, and The Baboon Show. I’m a music fan so I listen to a lot of old and new music.
Thats always good to hear, someone still in love with music.
Congratulations on the album I think it’s your best to date and a big step up in production and songwriting and the whole package (that’s not to say the previous ones were bad, they weren’t but this is excellent)
Thank you Dom, happy to hear this and I agree completely!
Alice Cooper must be one of a very rare breed in rock ‘n’ roll. Having now written and released music across seven different decades, I bet if you polled his fanbase for their favourite era or albums, the results would probably encompass most, if not all, of his many different career phases.
Me personally, I love the original Alice Cooper band albums (along with some of his mid and later era albums like ‘Special Forces’ and ‘Dirty Diamonds’) and of those records, it’s ‘Killer’ and ‘School’s Out’ that are my own go-to’s whenever I truly need to rekindle my love of Alice’s extensive back catalogue.
This rather conveniently brings me to ‘Detroit Stories’, an album that not only sees Alice return to his hometown and Alice Cooper band era roots, but also sees him fully reunited with producer Bob Ezrin, the man behind the desk for both of those old Alice Cooper band records I love so much.
Written and recorded using only Detroit based musicians (albeit with the exception of guest guitarists Joe Bonamassa and current AC band mainstay Tommy Henriksen) the fifteen songs that make up ‘Detroit Stories’ are what Alice himself refers to as being ‘Pure Detroit’. With the crack team of musicians assembled around him boasting the likes of Wayne Kramer (guitarist with the MC5), Johnny ‘Bee’ Badanjek (drummer with the legendary Detroit Wheels), Paul Randolph (legendary Detroit jazz and R&B bassist) as well as the Motor City Horns, they all help to build on the formula that Alice first tested out with his 2019 ‘Breadcrumbs EP, and in turn are all helping him create perhaps his most diverse set of (luney) tunes in quite some time.
As with ‘Breadcrumbs’ a few of these songs turn out to cover versions, like the excellent album opener – Alice’s version of Velvet Undergrounds’ ‘Rock And Roll’. However, what Alice does here (unlike with the covers that he does with Hollywood Vampires) is he really makes this song sound like one of his own. I mean you could be forgiven for thinking that ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll’ is actually an Alice song, or that it was at perhaps written just for him.
‘Go Man Go’ is the album’s first Cooper co-write and having been originally included on the aforementioned ‘Breadcrumbs’ EP the almost punk-like swagger of this tune might actually come as something of a surprise to some of Alice’s more hard rock biased fans who are yet to hear that EP, however knowing just how many punk rockers were originally influenced by Da Coop it’s great to hear him re-engaging with that rougher 70s spirit once again.
Likewise, ‘Our Love Will Change The World’ is also something of a surprise – not least because it’s a pretty faithful retelling of a 2008 penned Outrageous Cherry tune – and as such it sounds not much like Alice and much more like a latter day John Lennon song, one that bounces around on an optimistically youthful refrain. Some AC fans have already voiced their dislike of this song since it was first aired back in late 2020, but I like it as it fits perfectly within the jigsaw puzzle of songs that make up the complete ‘Detroit Stories’ picture.
‘Social Debris’ is up next and that finds us very much back on more familiar Alice Cooper band territory (featuring as it does Messrs Dunaway, Smith, and Bruce), albeit I just can’t get out of my head how much this could be a song written for an in his prime Ace Frehley. And talking of KISS on ‘$1000 High Heel Shoes’ AC once again proves that anything Starchild can do he can do better, as this delicious funky soul jam has seemingly already earned the moniker of one of the oddest songs Alice has ever recorded…well it is I suppose if all you have ever heard by AC is ‘Poison’ or ‘Trash’.
‘Hail Mary’ and the 2021 reboot of ‘Detroit City’ (originally on Alice’s 2003 ‘Eye’s Of…’ album and featured again on the ‘Breadcrumbs’ EP) return things to Alice’s more modern day upbeat hard rock territory before the sleazy blues jam of ‘Drunk And In Love’ and the high kicking ‘Independence Dave’ both once again usher in the anything goes attitude of those ‘70s Ezrin produced albums I mentioned earlier.
The Cooper, Dunaway, and Ezrin penned ‘I Hate You’ is another fantastic sonic curveball, as is the almost showtunes-y ‘Wonderful World’. Both tracks giving the mid-section of ‘Detroit Stories’ a couple more “WTF” moments (and I do mean that in the most positive sense too).
As ‘Detroit Stories’ enters its final four chapters the inclusion of MC5’s ‘Sister Anne’ and Bob Seger’s East Side Story’ are the only times when I’m left thinking that perhaps they were best just left on ‘Breadcrumbs’, largely because the original Cooper tunes that they bookend in ‘Don’t Give Up’ and ‘Shut Up And Rock’ just sounds so much more interesting. It’s the only tiny gripe that I have with ‘Detroit Stories’ though, as four years on from ‘Paranormal’ and with everything else going on across the world right now it’s just an absolute joy to get to grips with such an upbeat and positive sounding Alice Cooper record.
Oh, and talking of ‘Paranormal’ if you are fortunate enough to get one of the expanded formats of ‘Detroit Stories’ you will also find a DVD or Blu-ray copy of Alice’s A Paranormal Evening at the Olympia Paris’ concert film included as part of your package, as the great man wants us to experience this show in the safety of our homes. A truly wonderful gesture from an artist who with ‘Detroit Stories’ is proving he is still one of the greatest storytellers the rock world has ever had.
The Coop heads up this Monday’s videos and this is the first taste of his new record and what a banger it is. Check out ‘Social Debris’ taken from ‘Detroit Stories’ which you can pre order Here
Following the release of their new EP ‘Threesome Vol. 2’, The Lickerish Quartet have just unveiled a hazy video for ‘The Dream That Took Me Over’. Which was reviewed on RPM Here
Set in Los Angeles, or is it set in a dream? Has this happened before or is this the first time? ‘The Dream That Took Me Over’ reflects on longing as well as the uncertainty of desire and its addictive pursuit.
Finally here’s a banger I can’t stop listening to from The Dangereens who released one of the best albums of 2020 – Enjoy some real good time RnR.
I’ll let JJ introduce what you’re reading, ” In short, the reason we did this was, we were going to record a video for Rats from the album with the guys from the notes, but, well, covid! So I also had a hard drive fail and lost some of the original files, so, we decided to rerecord it, and, also round and a round, as Billy sang on the original demo (on Best Of You) before Kory Clarke sang the album version, so, we redid that
We have a few songs already for the next album, and some weren’t going to fit, so we added a couple here. And, struck on the idea to get The Suicide notes on all the songs. Always loved Smoke It Like A Cigarette by them, so, we did our version, but, Billy sang it, Alex took the lead, and, his better half Kate had a vocal that was meant to be on the original but they didn’t get it down, so, she is on here.
Covers wise, Billy, Alex and Dame are helping with my Anti-Fashion project, so, we pinched Bad Luck from that. Drunk Like Me, I love, we love, and, knew Billy would kill the vocals. Bathroom Wall was a last minute addition/suggestion from Alex, so, we threw that down as well. On these 3, we have the wonderful Bret Barnes adding some sax
The last track we started a while back, the Alice cooper cover, and, it turned out amazing!
We also have the very talented Frank Meyer (Streetwalkin Cheetahs) adding additional vocals, keys, etc all over too.”
Ok, that makes perfect sense. But what the fuck does it sound like I hear you shout and where can I give them my money?
Here goes, ‘Rats!’ opens up with the title track and on a thunderously sleazy hotrod of Glam Slammin’ rock and roll it is. It’s got a heart as big as a beachball and it’s pumping ten to the dozen and a real whiplash rocket ride it is too. but don’t think for one minute that’s where it ends. No sirs it goes on with the party anthems of ‘Round And (A) Round’ followed by the brawling ‘The Right Way’ which is barking and snapping at the heels of the previous song.
There’s a bit of respite as ‘Inside Of You’ might be slower and more melodic but it’s not losing any of the attitude that’s pouring outta this record. You might be familiar with ‘Smoke It Like A Cigarette’ if you were paying attention to the acoustic Suicide Notes release. Sped up and rocked out it’s a top tune no question. I guess it makes sense to follow that with their take of the Dogs classic ‘Drunk Like Me’.
If you ever had a passing admiration for Mike Ness you might want to check out their take on ‘Bad Luck’ and of course, they slaughter the Faster Pussycat classic that is ‘Bathroom Wall’ in a suitably sleazy demolition job and the Sax is a welcome addition on the song. But the take on ‘Department Of Youth’ is impressive and the bar is raised with a great job completed on a great tune.
Closing off proceedings is a super sleazy take on Love Hates Classic Rocker ‘Blackout In The Red Room’ who said sleazy Hard Rock was done? you might want to check this out. It sounds like an arctic truckload of pinched harmonics and distorted scales.
Get the beers in boys and girls and wrap up all breakables, move the furniture back and turn the stereo up City Kids and The Suicide Notes are taking over the decks, and it’s a nonstop Rock and Fuckin Roll Partee, motherfuckers! and none of em give a single Rats! Get on it right now!
members of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Slash’s Snake Pit, Finn Brothers, Alice Cooper, Air & Beck – and all formerly of Jellyfish – reunite for 2nd EP with their first official UK release.
Roger Joseph Manning Jr.,Tim Smith and Eric Dover are excited to announce their highly anticipated THREESOME VOL.2 EP, to be released 8th January 2021, will be their first on British indie label Lojinx. The first single, “Snollygoster Goon,” is out now.
Of “Snollygoster Goon” Eric Dover says “The music is Adderall-based, in theory, to reflect the absolutebreakneck speed at which the corruption flourishes. A frenetic forensic foray into classic old-as-civilization themes involving greed, graft and corruption as applied to any political sphere. The snake oil salesman kissing babies, the saccharine unimaginative public image.”
The new release is, naturally, the follow-up to their debut EP, THREESOME VOL.1 – lauded by critics as “a masterpiece” – which was released in May 2020 in the US.
With song titles “Snollygoster Goon,” “The Dream That Took Me Over,” “Sovereignty Blues,” and “Do You Feel Better?” Manning, Smith, and Dover’s undeniable chemistry can once again be found throughout THREESOME VOL.2.
The songs formed from the same sessions that begun in 2017 offer a slinky and feisty landscape of temptation, freedom of thought, hope and dreams, and a shout out to all who game the systems. An edgy second round of soaring vocals, angular guitars, and pulsing drums, enveloped by timeless keyboard arrangements requires multiple listens to appreciate fully. Manning, Dover and Smith ruminate on the other 3 new songs:
“Do You Feel Better?” as told by Tim Smith:
A romp along the primrose path of temptations, internal and external, real or imagined, the tiny demons we dance with throughout our lives. A pulsing bass and hypnotic guitar rhythm plays like the backing band to a striptease you’ve sneaked into, and don’t know where to sit, but all are welcome!
Some things are more dangerous than others, of course, but this song is sort of a combination of letting your guard down, because of preconceived notions of what’s right or wrong, and justification of actions you think you understand to have under control. Who knows?
Experiences do give us perspective, and this song tries to play between the id and superego – a Screwtape letter demon, and an Angel of Mercy.
“Sovereignty Blues” as told by Roger Joseph Manning Jr.:
“Fears fire’s all they’re fanning, but I won’t light up their fuse.” A tale as old as humanity. Group control over another through the tried and true tactic of fear. And always partnered with a fatal dose of “divide and conquer.” But who’s actually pulling the levers and pushing the buttons of the propaganda machine behind the Wizard of Oz’ curtain of crowd control, so to speak? Irrelevant.
Ultimately, the perennial question for any person, provided they value sovereignty above all else, is: am I going to choose love over fear, peace over chaos, and God over the ego in any given moment? Everything can be taken from a man but one thing (to quote Viktor Frankl): “The last of the human freedoms, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” And with that in mind, grab a torch, march to your own drum, and sing along!
“The Dream That Took Me Over” as told by Eric Dover:
You are driving without a destination lured by the wanderlust of your own making. You turn up the stereo volume and continue along, moonlight reflecting off the chrome of your vehicle.
We invite you to put the top down and take a ride into the inner dialectic of our conflicted protagonist as we answer the question: Is there equilibrium in the chaos or does science hold the key?
The first single from THREESOME VOL.1, “Lighthouse Spaceship,” has had nearly 100,000 plays on Spotify since its release in March with the vinyl release undergoing multiple re-pressings due to rabid demand.
Once upon a time, it was cool to be a full-tilt Rock and Roll band and get in a van with your mates and drive around continents plugging in goofin’ round and playing it like your life depended on it night after night putting in the hard yards – earning those Rock and Roll stripes without much fuss just doin’ it because you had to it where your heart was taking you for little reward except to find like-minded people around this globe digging what it was you were playing and the records you were writing and releasing. Well, guess what. It’s still cool and those guys who were in the trenches back then are still in the trenches fighting for their cause in the name of entertainment some Brothers fell by the wayside like The Dragons but some kept at it and still have records coming out like the recent ‘Live At The Pic’ set on Yeah Right! Records so I thought Id give CC a call and find out what it was like playing in cool rock and roll band and let him tell the story of The Spitfires. So here goes folks sit back relax and enjoy…
Tell us about The Spitfires how did the band come about where did you guys meet?
The original line up of the band grew up in the ‘burbs outside of Vancouver. We’d been jamming for a couple years under different names, not being very serious about anything. Being from a small town, anyone who had an instrument, or a place to jam, was someone you knew. The later members were friends we made in Vancouver.
That debut CD how did it come about?
C.C. We had a record finished and ready to release with Vancouver’s Mint Records before they suddenly dropped us. I think we were too trashy for them. I sent around the recordings (on cassette tape and in the mail!) to a bunch of labels I’d seen in Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll or Flipside. Mike at Sonic Swirl in Cleveland loved it, and he had released some stuff from Jason Solyom’s other garage rock band, The Fiends. Somehow Brian at TSB in Scotland got a hold of the album too, and he released the UK/Euro version.
Was the late 90s a good time for Rock and Roll bands in your district? Who else was out at the time? That you’d meet on the road?
Yeah, it was a blast. We had a really amazing group of friends up and down the West Coast. The Dragons, Murder City Devils, Humpers, Black Halo, Catheters etc. We’d gone to NYC a few times and never really made any tight friends. In Columbus we had the New Bomb Turks, and up in Montreal and Toronto we had The Spaceshits and The Deadly Snakes. It was a fun time. People made phone calls to book tours, and connect with people. We’d drive into some new city and hope the promoter would pick up the phone. Otherwise we’d sometimes be stuck at a coin phone at some gas station. Compton was a particularly interesting gas station phone booth to wait at.
What bands were inspiring you guys at the time?
We were really into Crypt Records bands and Sympathy for the Record Industry. A lot of the “Glunk Punk” as Eric Davidson would later coin it. But we were all suburban kids, who weren’t afraid to say we liked Alice Cooper, Kiss, Aerosmith and all the other great arena rock bands of our youth.
You managed to get Junk to press the new album on Vinyl. That must have been so uncool at the time hardly anyone was pressing vinyl at the time what kinda deal were labels like Junk offering at the time was there the opportunity to hit Europe on tour?
Haha, that’s a different perspective. Over here vinyl was totally cool at that time, at least with the scene we were in. Labels like Junk, Estrus, Sympathy, Crypt, were all putting out loads of good stuff. On CD too of course, but we had been hoping to get some real vinyl out. It was actually Estrus who put out our first vinyl single, “Cut Me Some Slack”. Junk was a really good label at the time. Lou Carus, the owner, was working as an engineer with Boeing. I’m pretty sure he spent every penny he earned on his bands. He’s still a really good friend, and every time I’m in California I make sure to see him. Junk was a sub label to Nitro at the time, so we really had great press and distribution. We didn’t get to Europe until the third album though.
Who decided on the third album title? I guess you were firing on all cylinders at the time? You also added a second guitarist. What was the reason for that? and by the time you made it back into the studio, you were back to a four-piece for the ‘Aim Low’ album.
I think that “Three” was a band decision? We love classic rock, and that seemed like a cool classic rock kind of thing to do. And yeah, we were on fire at that time. We did add Dave Paterson for that album, who was a lot of fun and a great player, but he only lasted a year. We replaced him with Jay Millette from the Black Halos, because Rich had just quit their band and moved to L.A.. “Aim Low” was a few years after the band had actually broken up. Jay Millette wasn’t in the band by then, he had moved to Toronto. It was actually a 5-piece recording with Marcel LaFluer and Deano on guitars. Deano, the last of the originals besides me and Solyom, was still in the band but he quit after the recording. That’s when Graham Tuson joined. We recorded a few songs with that line-up that are still in the vaults.
Did you ever get any heat from other bands called the Spitfires?
Good question. At the time that we started we had found out that “Pooch” from Flipside Magazine had a band in L.A. called the Spitfires. So I wrote him a letter and sent a demo tape. I said we’d happily chnge the name if they wanted us to. He wrote back to say, in fact, they would change their name! They became The Condors, and I’ve remained friends with Pooch to this day.
What were some of the tours like?
That’s funny, Marty (drummer) and I were talking about this just the other day. I’ve forgotten a lot of the stuff we did. We were a rolling disaster. I mean, we had a lot of fun, but I wouldn’t be able to tell my colleagues at work any of those stories! Haha. One of my best memories though was the U.K. tour we did in 2002. We had so much fun and so many laughs. The highlight was playing the Astoria in London with the Rezillos! We also played the Dirty Water Club which was packed and super fun.
What with hindsight was the best Spitfires album?
I’m partial to “Three”. I think the production and songs are really the best we had. Howard Redekopp recorded and produced it at a really great studio (Mushroom RIP), and that made a big difference. A lot of people thought we had recorded that on Pro Tools (which people thought was lame at the time) but it’s all analogue 24 channel board to 2-inch tape.
On the Yeah right! Bandcamp page they say to hide the fire extinguisher. Care to expand?
Well, this goes back to The Dirty Water Club in London. We had set an extinguisher off on stage, and it was awesome. Looked totally cool and it was a mellow shot of water that misted the whole room. But when we did it at the Horseshoe, it ruined our career and got us banned in Toronto. The build-up to the ban in Toronto was signing on with a bigwig agent, Ralph James at the Agency Group and touring with the Headstones (and getting them back on the sauce). When our agent got us a show at the Horseshoe Tavern for Canadian Music Week we were blown away. Then we ended up being Now Magazine’s pick of the week and headlining the show with Robbie Robertson, Chad Kroeger, Brittany Murphy, etc. in attendance. Ralph was fast tracking us at the time. Then our singer shot off a chemical fire extinguisher on stage which choked the crowd and created a panic and rush to the exit. This was shortly after the Great White fire in Rhode Island, so people were on edge. Anyway, it effectively ruined our career and probably rightly so! haha.
Who’s idea was the ‘Live at the Pic’ album? just released after some 17 years, It’s a bit tasty. How well did it capture the band live? Recorded in 2003 the line up had two guitars again, did the dynamic change when the band went from 4 to 5? What memorable shows stand out and why? Was the pic a one-off show for the recording or were you recording shows most nights and this is the pic(K) sorry couldn’t resist it 🙂
The album has been sitting collecting (digital) dust for more than 17 years now! It was the pinnacle of our career I’d say. We were totally on fire, and this might be the only recording that truly captures what the band sounded like. It was recorded by Howard Redekopp before he became well known (Tegan and Sara, Mother Mother, New Pornographers). The live footage that will accompany it was shot by Danny Nowack and his crew (Hard Core Logo etc.), so there’s some Canadiana there. The video was lost in our Jason’s basement until this spring! It is, however, not just a digital release. Yeah Right! Records is releasing the vinyl LP before Xmas this year!
When you hit the UK for some shows how did that come about?
That was through the help of Brian at TSB records in Scotland. He hooked it up with Ian at Hidden Talent over in the UK who booked everything and set up the gear/van/driver. Unfortunately, it was The Spitfires only trip off the North American continent. Our other bands have all toured Europe, but we never quite managed. It was an incredible tour tough, and we loved it. We got as far North as Glasgow and as far South as Brighton. Met a load of great people. Mark (RIP) up in Nottingham, Baz and the Punker Bunker, Dave Kerr and the Chery Kicks up in Scotland at the time. It was so fun.
Neil Leyton tried hard to put on a few tours of these shores for bands like The Pariahs as well as his own band. How cool was the scene back where you are because of all the Canadian bands I saw him bring over they were all excellent and there has always been a really healthy underground that I’ve been aware of especially power pop and alternative rock n roll bands. Is it still a cool place for bands and shows?
Yeah, it’s a cold country, what else are we gonna do? Haha. I think there are probably a few advantages we have here like Sweden, with a good education system that supports arts and music, as well as government assistance programs to support and develop Canadian talent. Which translates into free money for wild rock and rollers to take expensive trips around the world. You’re right though, this last decade has seen a hell of a lot of great Canadian music from all genres.
What’s next for the Spitfires post-pandemic?
There’s still all that new and unreleased stuff we recorded in 2009 sitting in Jason’s basement. At this rate we’ll have a new album done by 2030 hopefully!
You guys will win the record for the most bands within a band tell us about some of the projects you guys are working on that you think the readers should check out??
I really like the Dysnea Boys stuff I did while living in Berlin, but I’m in a New Wave/Power Pop trio now called Autogramm. I’m also working on an album with Rich Jones (Michael Monroe/Loyalties/Black Halos) called “Dangercans”. It’s an epic project that I hope we actually finish. Jason Solyom is drumming and mixing the record too. Jason is in a great 70’s inspired boogie rock band called La Chinga. They’ve done a bunch of touring. Jay Millette in the reformed Black Halos (who I am managing!) and recording his own solo stuff under the name Silver Receiver. Jay Solyom also has a recording studio and Graham has also been recording a bunch of new stuff. Shock, the newest Spitfire, has a band going called The Slip Ons.
WARRIOR SOUL have released a music video for Alice Cooper’s ‘Elected‘, the song taken from the forthcoming covers album ‘Cocaine And Other Good Stuff‘, which will be out on November 13th, 2020 via Livewire/Cargo Records UK.
Kory Clarke – “We wanted to make a record that was not about all the crap we are all living in, as it seems like a well worn path for . So, I had to think out of the box“.
The album was recorded all over the western world (Edinburgh – Scotland, Newcastle – England, Copenhagen – Denmark, L.A. – USA, NYC- USA, Chicago – USA, Detroit – USA, Sheffield – UK, Costa Blanca – Torrevieja – Spain) in home studios.
The idea for a covers album started when mainman Kory Clarke was contacted by legendary rock photographer, Alex Ruffini‘s brother, enquiring if Warrior Soul would record a cover of a KISS song, which was Alex Ruffini‘s favourite band, for a tribute in aid of Cancer Research. Warrior Soul recorded ‘Cold Gin‘. Once the band started recording, it sounded really positive and they decided to assemble a complete record of covers ranging from Motörhead to KC and the Sunshine Band.
Kory Clarke – “I contacted many of the musicians who have played with Warrior Soul recently and asked if they wanted to be part of it – everyone was very much up for it and ready to go. We called John Dryland at Livewire/Cargo Records, and he said ‘of course, go for it‘, the irony of recording ‘Good Times Roll’ during a global pandemic really works as you can hear the sneer of sarcasm right through every chorus!”
Here we have one of many compilations coming out in 2020 from Australian rock’n’roll journeyman Johnny Casino. The material here stemming from his earlier days in Asteroid B-612 to some additional tracks from the turn of the Millenium in Johnny Casino’s Easy Action. This is the 90—00 addition of his retrospective deep dives lovingly titled Hits & Misses.
Always incredibly underrated in international terms, the contribution of the land from down under to the metamorphosis of punk rock and it’s reactionary genres. Whether you are looking at their garage rock bands of the seventies, Melbourne’s post punk scene and even New Zealand’s Dunedin alternative rock sound. All highly influential on European and American acts alike but never getting a lot of the name checking it deserves.
I first came across Asteroid B-612 on a garage rock/psyche compilation years ago, I’d originally thought that they must of been a part of the original 70s wave of bands because their sound is so authentic without sounding dated. Not at all unlike contemporaries such as The Hellacopters and New Bomb Turks but at times with a harder edge like Mudhoney or Tad, particularly on 9 minute opus ‘chainsaw’ and album opener ‘moody’.
Original material on the record is backed up with an excellent array of covers spanning from Alice Cooper to Per Ubu. A particular stand out here is their ‘down on the street’ Stooges cover which has the ferocity of Dead Moon, it’s sonic fury making up for any production shortcomings.
Overall this is a great beginning to a career retrospective that has left me wanting to here part two and three that are also available. As well as that we have a new solo album to look forward to, you can check out country-tinged single ‘trouble weighs a ton’ which is out now. We’re just over the halfway point of 2020 and Johnny Casino is more productive than most artists are in the space of five years, pandemic or not, nothing is going to slow him down. Head over to his Bandcamp page and check him out, you won’t be disappointed.
Armed with a venomous swagger The Heat Inc. release their debut single ‘Raptors’, a caustic slice of vitriolic rock’n’roll through Melted Dino Records.
On this scorching debut, The Heat Inc. have delivered a visceral thrill, with Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age) hailing ‘Raptors’ as “a perfect rock song.”.
Describing themselves as a “Rock and Roll band”, The Heat Inc. recorded ‘Raptors’ in the RYP Recordings Studio in North West London, with Michael Smith (Elvis Costello) producing.
“So when I say I know rock ’n’ roll when I hear it, you best believe I know rock ’n’ roll when I hear it—and The Heat Inc. are good old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll, just like mother used to hate. You might have a good idea of how great The Heat Inc. sound—but don’t bother because The Heat Inc. are so cool they defy definition. There’s all kinds of heat. There’s the summer hot heat that’ll drive you crazy. There’s the in-ring heel heat that’ll get a wrestler over. And there’s the relentless hard heat that’ll track you down until you’re trapped. But ain’t none of them can compare to The Heat Inc you’re about to hear—and that’s not hyperbole, that’s a fact. Who you gonna believe, me or your own ears?” exclaims Jeffrey Morgan – Creem journalist and biographer of Alice Cooper and Iggy & The Stooges.
The Heat Inc. is the suavest new band around and enough to make most God-fearing rockin’ rollers believe in miracles.