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.

 

Buy ‘Live At The Pic’ Here

Facebook  / Yeah Right Records

Author: Dom Daley

Monday 20thJuly 2020 – After an epic and well documented 45-year career that launched an era of rock n roll legends, KISS launched their final ever tour in 2019.

2019 saw sold out KISS shows across the globe with arguably the greatest KISS show ever! The initial tour announcement was met with huge fan demand for added shows, but the END OF ROAD TOUR will officially come to a close with a date and NY location yet to be named.

Unfortunately, due to world events KISS could not complete the original dates scheduled through June and July 2020. But the band are delighted to announce rescheduled and new European dates for 2021. Further dates will also be added to the cities announced today

Paul Stanley says, “We are waiting. We are ready. When we are told everyone is safe and this pandemic is over, we will shake the earth and rock your world as always and as never before.”

Gene Simmons says, “We can’t wait for this pandemic to be over, and for all of you to be safe. We are planning to rock your world, once it is safe out there, for all of you and for us. See you in Europe”

KISS will be offering VIP experiences and special KISS Army fan presales. VIP experiences may include a personal photo opportunity with the band, access to an exclusive pre-show lounge and a behind the scenes tour.  Visit www.kissonline.com for more information.

Known for their trademark larger-than-life blistering performances, KISS has proven for decades why they are hands down the most iconic live show in rock n roll.  The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, who have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, have said this tour is devoted to the millions of KISS Army fans.

KISS END OF THE ROAD 2021 rescheduled and new European dates announced today are below. With more dates to be added.

Wednesday 2ndJune 2021                        Sportspalais, Antwerp BELGIUM
Tuesday 8thJune 2021                   Accors Hotel Arena, Paris FRANCE
Thursday 10thJune 2021               Westfalenhalle, Dortmund GERMANY
Saturday 12thJune 2021                Atlas Arena, Lodz POLAND
Tuesday 15thJune 2021                Barclaycard Arena, Hamburg GERMANY
Saturday 19thJune 2021                Tele 2 Arena, Stockholm SWEDEN
Monday 21stJune 2021                  Hartwell Arena, Helsinki FINLAND
Wednesday 23rdJune 2021          Scandanavian, Gothenburg SWEDEN
Friday 25thJune 2021                     Festhalle, Frankfurt GERMANY
Wednesday 30thJune 2021          Hallenstadion, Zurich SWITZERLAND
Saturday 3rdJuly 2021                    Rockfest, Barcelona, SPAIN
Sunday 4thJuly 2021                       Wizink Arena, Madrid SPAIN
Tuesday 6thJuly 2021                     Roman Arena, Nimes FRANCE
Thursday 8thJuly 2021                   Schleyerhalle, Stuttgart GERMANY
Saturday 10thJuly 2021                  O2 Arena, Prague CZECH REPUBLIC
Monday 12thJuly 2021                    Arena Di Verona, Verona ITALY
Thursday 15thJuly 2021                 Budapest Arena, Budapest HUNGARY

For local ticket information
XXX VIP Packages ONLY – XXX CET
XXX KISS Army Fan Club Presale – XXX CET

XXX Public Onsale – XXX CET

Unfortunately, due to scheduling issues involved with moving the tour back a year KISS will not be able to play the following cities, that were originally set for 2020.

Sandnes, Norway
Kaunas, Lithuania
Lisbon, Portugal
Gliwice, Poland
Sofia, Bulgaria

Those fans with tickets for the above cities should refer to their ticket office for refunds.

“All that we have built and all that we have conquered over the past four decades could never have happened without the millions of people worldwide who’ve filled clubs, arenas, and stadiums over those years. This will be the ultimate celebration for those who’ve seen us and the last chance for those who haven’t. KISS Army, we’re saying goodbye on our final tour with our biggest show yet and we’ll go out the same way we came in… Unapologetic and Unstoppable,” said KISS on The End Of The Road tour.

KISS – photo credit Jen Rosenstein

 

Hello again, RPM-people, it’s been a while. A limited skirmish with a failing hard drive meant that I lost the first attempt at this article for the cultured readers of this fine web-based tome and, as with all tortured artists, I found myself shaking a fist at the Gods of technology rather than simply getting back on the horse and writing it again while the effortless cool (possibly) was still fresh in my mind. This article’s featured item was going nowhere, however, so new words about old stuff came easy.
Now, if you’re hitting up this webzine regularly then I would imagine that you are well-versed in all forms of rock ‘n’ roll rebellion; trouble is, many of those rebels that litter our record collections are now asking for new dress socks on gig riders or peddling butter on shit TV channels. With that in mind I have had to roll back the decades to find, not only a true rebel of the music business, but also an item of music memorabilia that is as decadent as it is delicious.
And that’s where Andy Gibb comes in.
“Andy Gibb?!” I hear the RPM head honcho exclaim as this hits his inbox like the late Scott Columbus hit those cymbals in Manowar’s ‘Blow Your Speakers’ music video, the Double Diamond tearing at the neck of his Maiden shirt, Ozzy-style. Hear me out: Andrew Roy Gibb was a true rock ‘n’ pop tearaway, and the ultimate piece of merchandise released to tie-in with his all-too-short career is collectable excess par plastic excellence. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
Andy Gibb was the youngest of the Gibb kids: brother to Barry, Robin, Maurice, and forever-forgotten sister, Lesley. He was born in Manchester, was raised in Australia until the age of eight before the Family Gibb returned to the UK. When his brothers were looking nailed-on for pop stardom, Andy was looking for trouble: he quit school at the age of thirteen and, armed with an acoustic guitar given to him by big bro Barry, he toured the clubs of Ibiza and the Isle of Wight (both places where his parents lived at some point). He was married, divorced, and had fathered a child before he was even out of his teens. Minor pop stardom came a-calling when he returned to Australia, but it was when Bee Gees manager, Robert Stigwood, signed him to his label and persuaded him to relocate to Florida that things really started to take off for Andy Gibb.
With Barry producing, and Joe Walsh guesting on guitar for a couple of tracks, Andy’s debut album, ‘Flowing Rivers’, sold over a million copies and, by the time the lead single from his second long player, 1978’s ‘Shadow Dancing’, hit the top spot, he had become the first male solo artist to have three consecutive Number One singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He dated Dallas star, Victoria Principal, starred on Broadway in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, sang with Queen (on a version of the song, ‘Play The Game’, which has never seen commercial release, with some believing that a recording doesn’t actually exist), and co-hosted American television music show, Solid Gold. He would, however, be fired from both the television and Dreamcoat gigs due to absenteeism, with the blame laid firmly at the door of his cocaine binges. The fall was rapid. Guest appearances on US shows Gimme A Break! and Punky Brewster followed, as did gigs in Vegas, but Andy was now tabloid fodder; the Betty Ford Center now a date on his tour itinerary.
In early 1988 it was announced that Andy would become an official member of the Bee Gees – the six-legged tooth machine mutating into quite the quartet – but it was never to be: just two days after his thirtieth birthday in March of that year, Andy was hospitalized in Oxford complaining of chest pains. He died on March 10th as a result of myocarditis; an inflammation of the heart muscle caused by years of cocaine abuse.
Dying young is a sad by-product of rock ‘n’ roll excess the history of which many of you are well-versed in, I’m sure; but I am here to wax lyrical on music-related memorabilia (I had to get there eventually!) so I have to roll everything back to 1979, when Andy was on the covers of teen magazines, on the walls of pop-smeared children’s bedrooms, and on the Toy Fair brochures of the Ideal Toy Company.
Now, there’s a saying amongst the elite of vintage toy collectors that goes, and I’m paraphrasing here, “buy mint and you buy once, buy not mint and you buy many times.” I’m not sure of the exact words because I always scoff when I hear it as, in my humble opinion, it is utter bollocks. Who wouldn’t pick up something über-cool for their shelf because some bloke on the internet has one in better condition? Not me, and that’s why I back-flipped all the way to Nerdtopia when I found myself a vintage Andy Gibb doll.
In 1979, Ideal graced the toy shelves of the coolest US stores with the Andy Gibb ‘Disco Dancin’ With The Stars’ doll. There is, in collector circles, many a debate over whether a toy is a doll or an action figure: never call a middle-aged white guy’s Action Man a doll for Gawd’s sake! Well, let me tell you, the Disco Dancin’ Andy Gibb toy is a doll. He came packaged in neon-littered box art with the supreme tagline: “move him to a disco beat on his dancin’ disc!” Yes, the disco dance stand that came packaged with the doll would actually move mini-Andy’s feet so that it looked like he was actually disco dancing. Sublime Seventies innovation, right there.
Thing is, I don’t have the box. Or the stand. Forgive me, men in sensible footwear in village hall toy fairs the length and breadth of the UK. I do have a mint condition Andy Gibb ‘Disco Dancin’ With The Stars’ doll still attached to its original box inlay, though, so I guess I’m still a winner at life. Also, someone, in their confused wisdom, decided that penning “one of the Bee Gees” on the back of said box inlay was going to help with the identification of this toy. All it did, however, was make me love it even more. Who needed to read that curious inscription anyway? The doll is wearing a lurid pink waistcoat with the “Andy Gibb” logo printed on it!
So let’s recap: a mint condition (save for a few age-related garment marks) Andy Gibb doll, still attached to its original cardboard inlay, wearing a white jumpsuit and pink waistcoat, and with a piece of inked graffiti completely lacking in irony administered to its forever home? Who the frig wouldn’t want one of those?! Not me!
This toy sits happily in my collection alongside the Sonny Bono, Cher, ABBA, KISS, Boy George, Rob Zombie, Alice Cooper, Sex Pistols, and Elvis toys and, do you know what? They all get along. Now, if we all just got along a little better then this revolving rock that we call home would be a little easier to negotiate. Not those people who told me not to buy the Andy Gibb doll because it didn’t have the box, though – they can fuck off.
I’ll be back as soon as possible, technology permitting, with more curios from the Pop Culture Schlock collection. I might even get my studded wristband back out for the next installment. Thanks for reading, keep watching the skies and, most importantly, don’t be a twat!
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Dutch rock ‘n’ rollers The Dirty Denims follow up 2017’s ‘Back With A Bang’ by releasing their brand spankin’ new long player ‘Ready, Steady, Go!’. It sees singer/guitarist Mirjam and guitarist Jeroen joined by a couple of new, denim-clad players aka Marc on bass and Suzanne on drums.

Continuing their tradition of releasing their albums in stages, 5 tracks were released as singles over a period of 6 months, this they entitled ‘Part 1’. Now, July sees the band release their full new album on CD, download and of course lovely vinyl.

 

This Eindhoven based band has been at it for a decade now and sound-wise they follow on where The Donnas left off. The Dirty Denims combine the traditional rock ‘n’ roll sound of The Runaways, Suzy Quatro and The Sweet with a slew of AC/DC riffs thrown in for good measure.

They claim to play ‘Happy Hard Rock’ and don’t take themselves too seriously.  Lyrically, we ain’t talking ‘The Wall’ here, the likes of last year’s single ‘Last Call For Alcohol’ is a testament to that. What they do deal in is upbeat, powerhouse rock ‘n’ roll with a sound and energy that makes you want to turn the dial up a notch and party with the best of them.

With its powerhouse 80’s drums, rumbling bass and tongue-in-cheek lyricism ‘Thunder From Down Under’ tips its hat to AC/DC in more ways than one and they even throw in the riff to The Cult’s ‘Wild Flower’ for good measure. ‘Roll The Dice’ follows a similar path, with killer riffs emanating from each speaker, stabs of piano, high-powered hollerin’ and cool, gang backing vocals.

‘Turn off The Radio’ will incite you to do just that and put a damn record on! Today’s radio tunes are boring anyway, right? The Dirty Denims know that and so do you!  Here, we are in prime power pop Donnas territory. Urgent, anthemic and melodic, just the way we like it. Elsewhere, ‘Creatures Of The Night’ is not the Kiss classic, but it crunches nicely and powers through, a solid traditional 80’s rocker that stands on its own two feet.

‘Band Not a Brand’ is killer, bubblegum pop full of handclaps and organ riffs. It’s their Saturday morning kids TV theme, a  middle finger to high street stores that sell Ramones shirts to Instagram influencers who wouldn’t know ‘Road To Ruin’ if it smacked them in the face. It’s also the best and most commercial song they have released to date.

‘Messin Around’ adds cool handclaps and percussion to the sound. This mixes well with Mirjam’s high octane hollerin’ and Jeroen’s token AC/DC riffage to give 70’s footstomping glam nostalgia.

They like ‘Last Call For Alcohol’ so much they played it twice! The album closes with a ‘Hangover Version’, stripped back and laid bare with acoustics and percussion, it’s the Sunday morning hangover remedy to the Saturday night party.

 

‘Ready, Steady, Go!’ is a fun, party record that does exactly what it says on the tin. The Dirty Denims are doing nothing new, they aren’t here to change the world or preach a message in these uncertain times.  But if you want escapism, if you desire something old school to kick your ass into next week and to blast from the stereo while you hit the highway to Hell, then you could do no better than visit Eindenhoven Rock City for 40 minutes or so.

Buy ‘Ready Steady Go!’ Here

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Author: Ben Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good to see ya again, RPM-people! Could there be a better time to sit and read retro articles on badass music websites? A better time to visit auction sites, PayPal account set to stun, searching for those “essentials” that you’ve just been reading about and simply MUST HAVE? Of course not.
For the eleventh of my PCS columns for RPM I have returned to finger the longboxes in the Schlock archive, searching for a couple of classic Seventies comics with a punk rock attitude and a hard rock guest appearance, all aimed to tie-in with the recent merchandise collaboration between KISS, the hottest band in the world, and Marvel Entertainment… and that’s where Howard The Duck comes in. But let’s backtrack a little… You may know Howard The Duck from the critically-mauled motion picture that was released in 1986. Yes, the feature film released in certain territories as Howard: A New Breed Of Hero. Yes, the flop flick that showed us that everything George Lucas touched DIDN’T turn to gold (dice) before we’d even heard of Mannequin Skywalker and Jar Jar Binks. You may know Howard The Duck from the modern Marvel cinematic universe: that post-credit scene in Guardians Of The Galaxy (and a cameo in its sequel); a quack-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance in Avengers: Endgame. For us cool kids, however, it was all about the comic books.
Howard The Duck made his debut on spinner racks in 1973 in issue 19 of Adventure Into Fear. Created by writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik, the duck, plucked from his home world and dropped into the Florida everglades, was originally intended to be just a secondary character (alongside the likes of Korrek The Barbarian and Dakihm The Wizard) in that comic’s Man-Thing strip. Within a few short years, though, and via his own back-up strip in issues 4 and 5 of Giant-Size Man-Thing in 1975, Howard would have his own comic book.
Running for 31 issues, Howard The Duck (the comic) found Marvel at its most subversive: social satire wrapped up in pages headlined by a creature deemed so similar in appearance to Walt Disney’s Donald Duck that complaints were inevitably made. Steve Gerber, surely one of the most expansive of writing minds at Marvel in the 1970s, railed against US politics by having Howard run for President in a storyline that tied-in with the 1976 presidential campaign, then in the infamous Howard The Duck issue 16 railed against his employer’s deadlines with the biting ‘Zen and The Art Of Comic Book Writing’ “rant”. But where does KISS come into all this, I hear you exclaim?
In 1977, Marvel released the first of its Super Specials. It featured rock superstars KISS, then wilfully teetering on the brink of total commercial success, battling against Doctor Doom and Mephisto. The red ink infamously contained the blood of Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, and Gene Simmons (not all of it, of course), and the story was written by… wait for it… Steve Gerber. Now, if only the writer had an ongoing monthly title where Marvel could covertly publicise the upcoming KISS comic book…
Howard The Duck’s presidential campaign failed in somewhat spectacular fashion. A fake sex scandal saw the duck fall from the cusp of political success to the depths of nervous breakdown. So bad was his fall that he found himself (in issue 12 of his monthly title, cover-dated May 1977), in a tale entitled ‘Mind-Mush!’, held in the Sauerbraten County Mental Facility. Winda Wester, a new supporting character introduced in the previous issue who spoke with a speech impediment that surely meant that her real name was ‘Linda Lester’, was possessed. Who could
feature in the “swirling, seething, savage nightmare rising in billows from Winda’s skull” on the final page of issue 12? You’ve guessed it… KISS!
“Aw-riiight! Sauerbraten County, Ohio – let this old cosmos… Rock, Roll Over, and Writhe!” yells the Starchild on the opening page of issue 13. Freezing security guards with a wild eye laser that would later be utilised in the classic KISS meets the Phantom of the Park (aka Attack of the Phantoms) television movie par excellence, the Starchild then passed the mic to the Catman who told Howard “The Word”. The Word? “When you meet reality head-on – Kiss it, smack it in the face!” More than one word, really, eh? “And then, with one awful WHOOSH, they were drawn back into Winda’s brain.” Five pages, thirteen panels, and that was KISS done with Howard The Duck. Daimon Hellstrom would turn up at the facility, Howard become a duck possessed himself, but that’s another story for another time.
Those five pages, though, as blatant an advert for the upcoming Super Special that they were, worked a treat. Okay, they weren’t the only thing pointing fans in the direction of issue 1 of the Marvel Comics Super Special – KISS was every-frigging-where – but they must have added to the swell of attention towards that blood-inked comic book that would go on to sell around half a million copies over two printings.
KISS would return to the pages of Marvel in issue 5 of Marvel Comics Super Special in 1978 in an occult adventure and, in the Nineties to tie-in with the reunion tour by the original band members, would later meet the X-Men in the KISSnation publication. The band has since met Archie, the Martians from Mars Attacks, Vampirella, and had ongoing titles published by IDW, Dynamite, Dark Horse, and Image Comics. There was even a 2013 comic series entitled KISS Kids which should not be interpreted as a command.
For all those comic book appearances, however, the first ones that you need in your collection are the two Marvel Super Specials and issues 12 and 13 of Howard The Duck. Why? Because, if you’re a child of the ’70s, or simply long to have been one, then there is little cooler than your favourite larger-than-life rock band, alongside a wise-cracking duck, in a Marvel Comic. ‘Nuff said.
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Beat City Tubeworks have gone and recorded the long lost follow up the Paul Stanley’s  ’78 solo album. I shit you not …..

No sooner has album opener “Road Runner” kicked in, a voice from the back seat of the car says “cool album daddy,” and kids know best.

We’ve got Slade, we’ve got Mud and we’ve even got a bit of Quo….. and okay there’s a little bit of Hellacopters in there too. In fact, Beat City Tubeworks may have succeeded where Nicke Andersson didn’t quite hit the spot in melding the sounds of Hellacopters and KISS together with his own currently dormant quartet, Imperial State Electric ( ooohh did I say that out loud?).

 

Next up is the lead video track for the album, “Succumbs” and it’s classic KISS. “Ivory Wave” is a little more British glitter, with more lead guitar than you could shake two sticks at. This is rock”n” roll and I like it. Love it. Like it. Love it.

“Fading to Grey” is probably the most ‘copters track on offer here tonight but with enough swagger to hold it head up high.

Paul Stanley would suck the chrome off bed knobs to get hold of tunes like “Estranged” and “Archaic Approach”. I tell you people, “Top Rock” is so good that continued listening demands wank breaks. Too much???

“The Joke’s On You” is glam rock perfection, like the bastard son of Paul Stanley and Noddy Holder. It’s so jam-packed with energetic 70’s glamtastic rock’n’roll and super sleazy garage rocky-ness that it demands to be played at every party, pub and club the world over.

 

While “Idiot Savant” has a little bit of a laid back groove, “Take Two Of These And Call Me In The Morning” is another tribute to early KISS and all the other cool records of the early 70’s that you nicked of your older brother and cool uncle.

Okay, we’ve come to the end of the show and Beat City Tubeworks play us out the door with the fast and furious “80’s Forest Treasure = Hands Of Sin”. Top marks, 10 out of 10. Gold star.

 

The “Top Rock” is available from the band’s Band Camp page at the bargain price of 199 SEK (or 21 Yankee dollars or even 16 quid to you and me) but the shipping from Sweden is a little eye-watering at about the same money on top again to us non-Swedes. But don’t despair, demand that the band play your town and pick it up at their merch stand.

 

Spend big and buy both “Top Rock” and the band’s debut LP “I Cannot Believe Its the Incredible…Beat City Tubeworks” at the same time or just download it for a small fee like the cool kids do. Just get hold of it somehow and make your world a better place, at least in 30-minute chunks.

Is January too early to declare the winner of the album of the year?

Buy ‘Top Rock’ Here

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Author: Fraser Munro

 

Some of the writers managed to send in their list of the top ten live shows they went to in 2019.  they attended hundreds of shows all over the place via trains, planes and automobiles.  On another day I’m sure these lists would change many times over.  RPM Online supports Rock and Roll and loves a live show and as you browse through the lists there are many genres covered as well as some familiar suspects there are many new entries this year.  We’d love to take this opportunity to thank all the bands who toured and played shows all over the UK and continue to do so, All the festivals that supported independent music from Rebellion Festivals and Camden Rocks to Steelhouse Festival in South Wales and all the festivals around Europe and wider thank you.  Continue to look after independent Rock and Roll and help it thrive and reach a wider audience if you want to get involved get in touch we always welcome fresh eyes and ears to spread the word: rpmonlinetcb@yahoo.com

 

 

Leigh Fuge 


John Mayer –  02 Arena London

Ryan Roxie –  The Asylum, Birmingham

Michael Monroe –  The Fleece, Bristol

The Cult –  University Great Hall, Cardiff

Kenny Wayne Shepherd –  City Hall, Salisbury

Kiss –  The Arena, Birmingham

Alice Cooper –  Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Paul Gilbert –  The Fleece, Bristol

The Wildhearts  – The Tramshed, Cardiff

FM & The Quireboys  – The Globe, Cardiff

Nev Brooks 
Pulled Apart By Horses – Newport Le Pub (Reviewed Here)

Primal Scream –  Great Hall Cardiff

Alice Cooper, MC50, The Stranglers – Motorpoint Arena Cardiff

Nick Cave – Millenium Centre Cardiff

Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Bar Stool Preachers – O2 Bristol

The Hip Priests, DC Spectres, Deathtraps – Le Pub Newport

The Wildhearts, Towers Of London – SWX Bristol

Wonk Unit – Drogonfly Pontypool

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Sin City Swansea

Holy Holy – Tramshed Cardiff

 

 Gareth Hooper
Duncan Reid, Cyanide Pills, Bruno – Louisiana Bristol

Ginger & The Sinners – St John’s church Cardiff

Clowns, BBSC – The Exchange Bristol

Amyl And The Sniffers – Louisiana Bristol

Rich Ragany & The Digressions, The Speedways, More Kicks, The Spangles – The Blackheart London

The Wildhearts, Janus Stark – Komedia Bath

The Hip Priests – Le Pub Newport

Bar Stool Preachers, Rich Ragany & The Digressions – Clwb Ifor Bach Cardiff

Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind – Jacs Aberdare

The Stray Cats, Selector, The Living End – Hammersmith Eventime London

Johnny Hayward
Bar Stool Preachers, Rich Ragany & The Digressions, Social Experiment –  Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff (Reviewed Here)

The Hip Priests, Rotten Foxes, Flash House, Glitter Piss –  The Pipeline, Brighton

Rebellion Festival 2019 – Winter Gardens, Blackpool

Jim Jones & The Righteous Minds, Heavy Flames, Deathtraps –  Jacs, Aberdare

Death By Unga Bunga, Seek Warmth –  Hy Brasil, Bristol

Dboy, The Vega Bodegas, Nigel –  Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The Stray Cats, The Selector, The Living End –  Hammersmith Apollo, London

Grave Pleasures – The Fleece, Bristol

Pulled Apart By Horses, Baba Naga, Dactyl Terra –  Le Pub, Newport

Clowns, Broken Bones Gentleman’s Club, Glug – The Exchange, Bristol

Fraser Munro
Adam Ant – St Davids Hall Cardiff

Kiss – Kiss Kruise, Miami

Michael Monroe, Electric Eel Shock – The Fleece, Briatol

The Hip Priests – The Drippers, Deathtraps – JT Soar, Nottingham

Alice Cooper, MC50, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Turbonecro, The Hip Priests – The Chameleon, Nottingham

Dboy – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff

The Damned – KK’s Steel Mill. Wolverhampton

Skidrow, Backyard Babies – The Forum, London

the Wildhearts, Towers Of London – Tramshed, Cardiff

Ben Hughes
Michael Monroe – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (Reviewed Here)

Duff McKagan/Shooter Jennings – Academy 3, Manchester

The Wildhearts – Stylus, Leeds

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Low Cut Connie – The Fulford Arms, York

Amyl & The Sniffers – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Ryan Hamilton Songs & Stories Show – Bloomfield Square, Otley

Tyla’s Dogs D’amour – The Fulford Arms, York

Levellers – The Minack Theatre, Cornwall

Hands Off Gretel – The Fulford Arms, York

Nigel Taylor 

The Stray Cats – O2, Birmingham

Saint Agnes – Plymouth Junction, Plymouth

The Wildhearts – Cavern, Exeter

Motörgoblin (Orange Goblin plays Motörhead) – St Moritz Club, London

Ginger Wildheart – St Johns Church, Cardiff

Queensryche – Islington Assembly Hall, London

Mother Vulture – End of the World Festival, Plymouth

Uriah Heep – Steelhouse Festival, Wales

Cradle of Filth – London Palladium, London

Ghost – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Blaze Bayley – The Junction, Plymouth

Dom Daley
Rebellion Festival – Winter Gardens, Blackpool (Reviewed Here)

The Damned – London Palladium, London

Michael Monroe, Electric Eel Shock – The Fleece, Bristol

Duncan Reid &The Big Heads, Cyanide Pills, Bruno – Louisiana, Bristol

Amyl & The Sniffers – Lousiana, Bristol

Ginger & The Sinners – St Johns Church, Cardiff

Clowns – The Exchange, Bristol

Rich Ragany & The Digressions, The Speedways, More Kicks, The Spangles – Black Heart Camden, London

New Model Army – Tramshed, Cardiff

The Wonder Stuff – O2, Bristol

Season’s greetings to all RPM-People! This time of year is prime for accumulating all manner of collectables that you really don’t need, but really must have: Christmas is coming, the goose is getting tat, and all that. With that skewed mantra in mind, for this latest of my Pop Culture Schlock columns I present a righteous rockin’ relic that I found loitering under the Xmas tree at my childhood home on December 25th, 1981…

I have extolled the virtues of the annual previously in the virtual pages of RPM; detailing the must-have Rock On! annual from Christmas 1979 in an earlier column. It would be very remiss of me, however, to not dip a cowboy-booted-toe into the waters of this hard-backed veteran of youthful gift lore at the time of year when, once upon a happier time, an annual was as Christmas as mince pie.

 

The Record Mirror Pop Club annual 1982 – released in time for Christmas 1981 – was given to my then-ten-year-old self by a cool aunt. She had once won a beauty contest, almost got scalped in a car accident, and had got the top of one of her fingers cut off at a zoo so, yeah, she was cool. The cover photo of said annual was a great live shot of The Police, the first band that I, post-childish Showaddywaddy infatuation, really got into and had posters on my bedroom wall of. I guessed that this cover was the reason why this annual had resided in a pile of now-crumpled wrapping paper under my tree. But, no; a quick finger of the pages informed me that this gift was pointed in my direction due to the inclusion of my latest (and arguably greatest) musical infatuation, KISS!

Yes, a full-page colour feature entitled “The KISS of Success” was the reason why this annual found itself in my possession, where it would remain for almost four full decades. The photograph that accompanied the article was, and remains, simply awesome. Messrs Simmons, Stanley, Frehley, and Carr, the newest band member, looking slick in the photoshoot used to promote the band’s 1980/81 ‘Unmasked’ world tour. Now, I know that the photos were taken on the day of the band’s 1980 show at the New York Palladium – the only show where Eric Carr wore the original “silver fox” version of his make-up. Then, I, like many others, I guess, was left wondering just how this great new drummer looked a little different. The photos were used for the tour books of the European and Australian legs of the ‘Unmasked’ world tour with crude touching-up of Carr’s make-up to remove all traces of the silver outlines. I wouldn’t hold an ‘Unmasked’ tour book in my hoarder hands for many a year, so this was my first experience of the original (not to be confused with Carr’s hawk make-up trial which was mocked more than Gene’s future hair hats) fox look and it felt special.

 

The feature spoke to me of enthusiastic acclaim for ‘Attack of the Phantoms’ from Australia and Germany; of how the solo albums sojourn had seen the band members return stronger, with astonishing new energy, to produce sensational albums like ‘Dynasty’ and ‘Unmasked’; and of how former member, Peter Criss, would always “remain as a member of the KISS partnership.” As frothy as the feature was, the fact that I now had a full-page colour feature to drool over rather than the minuscule black and white cuttings collected by each and every UK-based KISS Kid meant everything.

The annual wasn’t all about KISS, though: the pages featured many intelligent articles on all manner of (then-)current bands and artists. The Daily Mirror Pop Club was, you see, an actual club that offered money off concert tickets, free to enter rock and pop contests, and a members-only cassette lending library which boasted over 5,000 titles. Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones were honorary presidents of the club. If proof were ever needed that the Daily Mirror once had a life beyond indentikit idiocy enabler then here it is.

 

“Things Look Good For Dire Straits” yelled a headline accompanying a two-page spread; “Go Quo in ’82!” another such piece. Cover stars The Police got a three-page article where each band member’s private life was dissected; guitarist Andy Summers revealed to have once shared an apartment with actor Paul Michael Glaser – yes, Starsky himself! Sheena Easton, Olivia Newton-John, Joan Armatrading, Kelly Marie, and Earth, Wind and Fire all got one-page features, as did Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond in a dedicated crooners section. To even things up a little, The Tourists, XTC, and Hazel O’Connor all featured, as did a lengthy John Peel article. With Elton John and Billy Joel spreads rubbing inked shoulders with features on Air Supply and Don McLean, the eclectic mix of the hit parade of the early Eighties was captured almost perfectly. But what of the rock and metal, I hear you cry over your Manowar records – full colour posters of Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy would surely quench any metalli-thirst.

Posters, you say? What kind of savage would cut up a frigging annual? Not me! If, however, you were some kind of imbecile then matt-finished photographs of Debbie Harry, Kate Bush, Rod Stewart, Madness, Sad Café, Cliff Richard, and Leo Sayer in a bike jacket could have covered up the woodchip in your boxroom.

 

I hope that an annual resides under the Xmas tree of all cool kids who have taken the time to read my retro ramblings on RPM this year. I shall return in 2020 with more tales of rock ‘n’ roll spit being swallowed by the worlds of comic books, board games, action figures, and the like. I know that the world appears to be more fucked up than it has for some time but, if you’ve ever asked the question offered by the theme tune of one of the greatest television shows of the twentieth century – “is the only thing to look forward to, the past?” – then I may be able to bring you brief moments of solace via my much-loved, well-fingered pieces of tat. Have a cool yule, y’all!

 

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Author: Gaz Tidey

                       Kiss ADD MORE EUROPEAN & SOUTH AFRICAN TOUR DATES FOR 2020

After an epic and well documented 45-year career that launched an era of rock n roll legends, KISS launched their final ever tour in 2019.

2019 saw sold out KISS shows across the globe with arguably the greatest KISS show ever! The initial tour announcement was met with huge fan demand for added shows, but the END OF ROAD TOUR will officially come to a close on July 21, 2021 at a NY location yet to be named.

KISS are delighted to announce further dates to their incredible END OF THE ROAD TOUR in June and July 2020, with more dates in Europe and South Africa announced today.

KISS will be offering VIP experiences and special KISS Army fan presales. VIP experiences may include a personal photo opportunity with the band, access to an exclusive pre-show lounge and a behind the scenes tour.  Visit www.kissonline.comfor more information.

Known for their trademark larger-than-life blistering performances, KISS has proven for decades why they are hands down the most iconic live show in rock n roll.  The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, who have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, have said this tour is devoted to the millions of KISS Army fans.

“All that we have built and all that we have conquered over the past four decades could never have happened without the millions of people worldwide who’ve filled clubs, arenas and stadiums over those years. This will be the ultimate celebration for those who’ve seen us and a last chance for those who haven’t. KISS Army, we’re saying goodbye on our final tour with our biggest show yet and we’ll go out the same way we came in… Unapologetic and Unstoppable,”said KISS.

KISS END OF THE ROAD 2020 European dates announced are below (newly announced dates in red including South Africa) –

Tuesday 9thJune 2020                   Accors Hotel Arena, Paris FRANCE
Friday 12thJune 2020                     Download Festival, Derby UNITED KINGDOM
Sunday 14thJune 2020                  Westfalenhalle, Dortmund GERMANY
Monday 15thJune 2020                  Barclaycard Arena, Hamburg GERMANY
Thursday 18thJune 2020               Copenhell Festival, Copenhagen DENMARK
Saturday 20thJune 2020                Osterhuis Arena, Sandnes NORWAY
Monday 29thJune 2020                  Zalgiris Arena, Kaunas LITHUANIA
Wednesday 1stJuly 2020               O2 Arena, Prague CZECH REPUBLIC
Sunday 5thJuly 2020                       Wizink Arena, Madrid SPAIN
Friday 10thJuly 2020                       Festhalle, Frankfurt GERMANY
Saturday 11thJuly 2020                  Schleyerhalle, Stuttgart GERMANY
Monday 13thJuly 2020                    Arena Di Verona, Verona ITALY
Wednesday 15thJuly 2020             Arena Gliwice, Gliwice POLAND
Thursday 16thJuly 2020                 Budapest Arena, Budapest HUNGARY
Saturday 18thJuly 2020                  Armeec Arena, Sofia BULGARIA
Saturday 25thJuly 2020                  Ticketpro Dome, Johannesburg SOUTH AFRICA


www.kissonline.com

Rock photographer Bill O’Leary has a book Featuring over 175 full color concert images from the ’70s through ’90s of icons like Van Halen, Rush, Judas Priest, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, Queen, Pink Floyd, Zappa, and more Available Here
During his career, photographer Bill O’Leary took pictures of some of rock’s biggest names at the peak of their powers – Van Halen, Rush, Judas Priest, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne, Queen, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, etc. And now, he has opened his archives for the first time ever – assembling a collection of not only his best images, but also, offering stories and recollections behind concerts he shot over the years. Indeed, this book is comprised of over 175 full color, live concert images photographed primarily from the late 1970’s through the 1990’s.

Artists include…AC/DC, Albert King, The Allman Brothers Band, Anthrax, Blues Traveler, Bob Seger, Cheap Trick, Def Leppard, Dixie Dregs, Foreigner, Frank Zappa, Grateful Dead, Hot Tuna, Jeff Beck, Jethro Tull, Joan Jett, Judas Priest, Kiss, Marillion, Mercyful Fate, Michael Schenker Group, Molly Hatchet, Mötley Crüe, Motörhead, Outlaws, Overkill, Ozzy Osbourne, Pat Travers, Phish, Pink Floyd (The Wall), The Police, Queen, Rainbow, Reo Speedwagon, The Romantics, Rossington Collins Band, Rush, Scorpions, Slayer, Styx, Ted Nugent, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia, Triumph, UFO, Van Halen, White Zombie, XTC, Yes, Yngwie Malmsteen with Alcatrazz, and ZZ Top.

O’Leary says:
“Hard to believe that I have been shooting concerts for 4 decades now, beginning in the mid 70’s when I went to my first concert at the world famous Madison Square Garden in New York City. I felt at home among the walls of speakers and the towering lighting rigs, I also immediately knew that leaving the show with a ticket stub, program and maybe a t-shirt would not be enough, so I had to capture the memory permanently. Within’ weeks I had traded my Sony home stereo system for a black leather jacket and my first Minolta SLR camera. After a brief learning period experimenting with the constantly changing lighting and vast array of colors, film speeds and the quick movements of the artists, I was told by many people that I was a “natural”. I have always felt that “knowing” the music deeply and being passionate about it as well, really was the “secret” to capturing the “moment”. With that confidence, I was soon shooting many concerts, 46 in 1980 alone. By then I was also being published in many major magazines as well. In the early days, I practiced “gorilla type tactics” to get my equipment into the venue’s. Later, I was forced to play the game of securing credentials in order to shoot shows. All too soon, promoter and band management rules and demands on photographers began to take the excitement out of shooting shows. Then the ” first 3 song” rule became common, NO more pictures after the third song. Pro concert photographers know that the “best” part of a shows production comes later in the event. In the end, I’m glad to have been a part of the glory days of concert photography.”

FOREWARD by Freddie Salem of The Outlaws:
“Bill O’Leary has played an extremely important part in the rock n’ roll world, as the consummate live performance photographer for over 40 years. As a professional musician, rock photographers are a part of the music scene – whether it be shooting promotional shoots, live concerts, or simply capturing life on tour. Bill first photographed us back in 1979 – a couple years after I joined the Outlaws, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. We were touring in support of our latest album, In the Eye of the Storm. Madison Square Garden is a big show for any touring band – as well as me personally, as a musician. A landmark venue. The following year, 1980, Bill again photographed me onstage – twice. Once at a Pat Travers Band show at the Palladium in Lower Manhattan in April, then again later that fall in November, as the Outlaws were touring in support of our latest album, Ghost Riders. This time, we were playing a smaller venue in Passaic, New Jersey, called the Capitol Theatre. Hundreds upon hundreds of marquis performers from all over the world have been captured on film by Bill – with the help of his trusty camera. I am surely anticipating the release of Bill O’Leary’s book, featuring his life’s passion and his iconic photography work. Looking at the thousands of live photos Bill has shot over the years one thing is very clear – he knows when to “pull the trigger.”