As my learned colleague, Craggy waxed lyrically when he reviewed ‘Honked’ the first of these Anniversary albums from Diamond Dogs, I went on a journey down the Rock and ROll highway and played every Diamond Dogs album released and the overriding thought I had was –  Damn this band was smoking hot when they got in that groove.

They were honking on the whole Faces early ’70s Stones vibe and they were killing it every time and the most important thing was they had the tunes to go with the swagger and if those five albums were my gift to the world I’d be so proud of my band and the songs we’d created. Its quite some collection and as the band aged like a good wine they changed taste but remained true to their roots and sound.

On reflection, it seems like yesterday the band were rolling into my small village and pitching up their amps in a restaurant at the rear of my local boozer on a Sunday night after having a show in the City cancelled they then proceeded to Rock the socks off the locals with a wonderful and impressive set. These sets are pressed on vinyl as well as CD and contain a plethora of bonus tracks (singles B Sides) to wrap up the tunes from that period in a perfect set.

As Your Greens Turn Brown: After the keys introduce the listener with a bit of ‘Bloodshot’ before kicking up a shitstorm in the shape of the fantastic no holds barred ‘Goodbye, Miss Jill’ even now it makes me smile a five-mile smile when the band kicks in and the harmonica starts honkin’.

The record ebbs and flows superbly with the highs being particularly high and when the band gets going man they sounded authentic and passionate.  The lulls when they’d kickback. Their blend of Hammond and Rock and Roll overdrive mixed with a few horns stabs here and there is timeless. Let the good times roll on the ballsy ‘Hardhitter’ and then they can drop a few gears as they venture off into Small Faces territory via ‘Singing With The Alleycats’ it’s easy to see how these guys got gigs with Punk rockers like the Damned or Rockers like The Cult and Nazareth when you hear the raw ‘Bite Off’ with its too fast to live riff and with that variety in mind you pick up the flavour of just how talented a songwriter Sulo is and he lives these songs and wears them on his sleeve you can’t bluff Rock and Roll this good which is why he attracted the likes of Darrel Bath and Steve Klasson into the fold.

 

The band were comfortable letting go and cutting loose as they were doing the jig is up country-tinged ‘Anywhere Tonight’ as they were doing the whole Thin Lizzy duel guitar kick-off that had songs like ‘Boogie For Tanja’ being so effortlessly good. Then when they needed to turn down the lights they could glide into ‘Yesterdays Nymph’ in one fell swoop. When Sulo took the mood down he has a wonderful tone on his voice and as far as taking on the Brits doing the whole R&B thing there’s no contest Diamond Dogs were more consistent than a lot of their contemporaries churning out albums of exceptionally high quality and this bad boy is right up there with the best of them and when your B Sides are as good as your A-Sides you know you’re onto something.

Fifteen songs of exceptional quality its like they once said Too much is never enough! Bring on the next one and I’ll get me filled up on more trips down memory lane and promise myself to play these records more often they deserve it and so do you – Buy it!

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Author: Dom Daley

Today we remember a couple of people who deserve to be remembered first up is the one and only Wayne from Auf Weidersein Pet but we know him from being the lead vocalist from Heavy Metal Kids who brought us the classics ‘Shes No Angel’ and ‘Delirious’.  Gary left us on this day in 1985 after an overdose of Morphine and Alcohol.

Gary was an accomplished actor plying his trade at the old vic as well as working with the Royal Shakespeare Company and he got minor roles in Quadrophenia and Breaking Glass but it was as Wayne and performing with the Heavy Metal Kids and his recordings with Casino Steel from the Boys that really brought Gary to prominence.  In a strange twist of fate he was considered for the role of Nasty Nick in Eastenders a role that went to John Altman who later went on to front The Heavy Metal Kids after Gary.

Holton also turned down the chance to front AC/DC after the passing of Bon Scott but turned it down. Instead, he went on to front Holton / Steel who managed three albums together.  Holton left behind a string of failed relationships but he did have a son in the mid-80s.

He lived his short life to the full and experienced all the Rock and Roll cliches of the time wine, women and drugs.  Holton managed to quit Heroin and come out the other side making some memorable records and his music has been covered by some of our favourite artists His ashes are laid to rest in the small Welsh town of Welshpool.

 

It’s easy to see why people like Angus and Malcolm were attracted to him to replace Bon because Gary oozed Rock and Roll and had the looks to match his distinctive vocal style. He was a very underrated frontman and his singing was maybe overshadowed by his acting but we won’t forget Gary Holton.  Rest In Peace sir.

Another who deserves to be mentioned today is none other than broadcaster John Peel OBE.  His story is well known and his record collection was as big as the national library.  His knowledge of alternative and underground music was vast and he was also the go-to guy for championing new bands coming through many of whom became his friends and went on to big things in the industry.

 

Born just outside Liverpool Peel is forever linked with BBC late-night Radio and punk and notably The Undertones and ‘Teenage Kicks’ Up until his sudden death Peel was the longest-serving DJ on the BBC and was something of an institution doing things his own way and given pretty much carte blanche on his show. He was a massive fan of The Fall and in the 80s you hadn’t made it until you were on a Peel Sessions record released on Strange Fruit records.  The list of bands who queued up to lay down a session for John Peel is endless.

 

He has a train named after him, a stage at Glastonbury, part of the BBC is now the Peel Wing. He also sat on set with The Faces and mimed the Mandolin whilst the band played ‘Maggie May’. John is very much missed on the radio.  Why not blast out ‘Teenage Kicks’ in his honour.  After his heart attack whilst working abroad, John was only 65 and it’s now been fifteen years since his passing.  rest in peace John and yup “Teenage Dreams So Hard To Beat”. but every time we hear that one we’re reminded of you.

Following the recent news of an upcoming ‘best of’ package and vinyl re-issues of four classic albums, Sweden’s finest purveyors of glam slam boogie the Diamond Dogs are back with a new long-player of brand new music to whet the appetite.

It seems you can’t keep a good band down, and four years after they called it quits, following the tragic death of saxophonist Magic Gunnarsson, original members Sulo and keyboard player Henrik “Honk” Widen decided it was time to get the band back together. Joining the duo are long-serving guitarist Lars Karlsson, fellow guitarist Martin Thomander, bassist Stefan Bellnas and Thomas Broman on the drums.

While a revolving door of band members has come and gone over the years, the sound remains the same. Let’s just say, if you dig the cool as you like vintage rock ‘n’ roll of The Faces meets The Stones, then grab a Jack & Coke, drop the needle and sit back and enjoy!

 

Now, when I say new music, all is not quite as it seems. If you were to purchase this album on vinyl then you could say side A is Diamond Dogs originals; recalling their rock ‘n’ roll roots. And then side B is their own tribute to Soul legend Sam Cooke; six cover versions of classic cuts from the Soul singer, reinterpreted in their own classic style.

While their last few studio albums have been a bit patchy, this is a banger of an album from start to finish. Their trademark rock ‘n’ roll shuffles bring to mind a golden age of early 70’s British rock. Anyone from The Stones, Slade and Quo comes to mind at any given moment. You know the score.

 

Opening song ‘Recall Rock ‘n’ Roll’ sets the bar high from the off and sees singer Sulo in introspective mood as the band fire on all cylinders behind him. “Let’s turn back time and make it roll!” he suggests before blasting into a euphoric chorus. The likes of ‘Valentina (Queen Of Broken Hearts)’ and ‘Heavy Swing’ have that classic Sulo chorus refrains in abundance. High energy rock ‘n’ roll, with a tinkling of the ivories and key changes that takes it up nicely to the climax. No one does Mott meets The Faces better.

There’s a hint of sadness to the soulful balladry that ‘Singin’ With Elvis’ brings to the table. Sulo reminisces about times gone by and the ghosts of the past. “I walk down the street where we all used to meet, but it was all dark and quiet” he sings in an almost broken rasp. Swathes of Hammond organ and great, Stones inspired backing harmonies make this essential Dogs material.

The uber-cool ‘There Is A Fire Down There’ has a Black Crowes swagger, with trademark killer backing vocals and a wild n’ crazy slide guitar solo. No one does rock ‘n’ roll rapture quite like the Diamond Dogs do these days.

 

The album is split down the middle by ‘Soul Folks’, a re-recording of a Sulo original that first appeared on his album ‘Hear Me Out’. Sulo’s own tribute to his soul hero that actually comes across like an Exile-era Stones outtake. Cracking stuff indeed.

Now, the Sam Cooke side of things includes a bunch of guests. First up, we have Quireboys frontman Spike lending his gravelly tones to the good time rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Good Times’. Handclaps, sax and heavenly, female backing vocals bring the soul and help get the party started.

The good time boogie of ‘Don’t Fight it, Feel It’ and the 12 bar blues stomp of ‘Somebody Have Mercy’ are delivered in fine Diamond Dogs style, you wouldn’t even guess they were old Soul songs on first listen.

They breathe new life into ‘Keep Movin’ On’. Faster and more uplifting, that killer chorus introduces a song that sounds like it has always been in your head. Hellacopters main man Nicke Andersson adds his dulcet tones to this banger.

Thunder frontman Danny Bowes duets with Sulo on ‘Nothing Can Change This Love’. With the lyrical sentiment and the sparse musicianship, it retains the soulful feel of the original, but it’s given the Diamond Dogs treatment.  A rendition that sounds like it was recorded 50 years ago, not six months ago.

‘Sugar Dumpling’ closes the album and is my favourite of these cover versions. Featuring Swedish rapper Papa Dee, they take to another level entirely. To me, it comes on like The Dave Clarke Five meets The Archies, classic 60’s pop and a surprise finale. What a tune!

 

‘Recall Rock ‘n’ Roll And The Magic Soul’ will not only satisfy Diamond Dogs fan who have been craving more material, it will also remind those who forgot exactly why we missed them in the first place.

Ok, so it may not be an album full of original material. But as the title suggests, this new album is a throwback to the roots and the influences of what made Diamond Dogs one of Sweden’s greatest musical exports. And that is something we should all celebrate.

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Author: Ben Hughes

One of the best debut albums I’ve heard in quite some time happens to be ‘Out Of My Head’ it’s jam-packed with influences ranging from the good to the greats and the passion and energy poured into every groove of the LP is evident to the listener.  I tapped Matt up for an interview with RPM and he was happy to oblige.  If you’re lucky enough to have the band roll into a town near you I suggest you cancel whatever it is you’re doing and get down to the Rock and Roll show.  But hey check em out then support them and Dead Beat Records because we need more bands like this making music on labels like that.  So lets cut the crap and get down to the chatter that mattered  Ladies and Gents boys and girls  Matt from Poison Boys…
When did the band form and let us know a little about where you grew up and what inspired you guys to pick up an instrument and play Rock and Roll?
I grew up right outside of Chicago in Northwest Indiana, about 1 minute from the border of Illinois. Been obsessed with rock n roll since I was a kid. Me and my friend Mike Lippman had been playing in punk bands together since we were young teenagers and finally decided we wanted to start a rock n roll band. I played drums throughout those years but wanted to play guitar if it was a rnr band so started figuring out Ramones songs and went from there.
Can you remember what the first songs you wrote as a band was?  
Mike and I collaborated on nearly all of the early songs, he’d write riffs or I would, and I’d write vocals and he’d help me with the lines sometimes. First ones we wrote were Been Here All Night, Out of My Head, Cut Right Out, Bad Mouth, Without You and a couple of others. Unfortunately, Mike passed away before we could complete a lot of other songs which I ended up finishing later like Headed for Disaster, Got to Tease, and Up to the Sky among others. We always wanted it to be a well rounded rock n roll group, not just one specific sound the whole record or anything. But not to stray too far outside of the rock n roll spectrum.
You’ve released a couple of singles before the album came along with the first two being on the excellent UK label no front teeth.  How did that come about?  How did a label out of London pick up some guys in Chicago?  Is the line up stable now? your almost in Spinal Tap territory for past members already 
I found out about No Front Teeth from reading a PORK magazine and either seeing an NFT ad or a record review with NFT as the label it was released on. Just emailed Marco and he was super down to help us get our first (and second) 7″ out. Really I could not find any snotty punk labels in the states at all. Even now I only know of like 2 or 3 and that’s it. And if they aren’t interested or are too busy or whatever you turn to labels elsewhere that’s all.
As for the lineup… When people don’t wanna play rock n roll anymore or move out of state what do you do? The band hasn’t been around long enough to make much of an impression with anyone lineup, hasn’t had an LP or anything out prior to now so it didn’t matter to me. Granted I don’t exactly enjoy having members flake out or whatever but it is what it is. We’ve had a pretty solid lineup for about a year and a half or so with Matt “Chainz/the Chainblaster” Chaney on drums and Steve  “Stevsie/Stevie Poison” Elfinger on bass at home/guitar on the road, and touring members Nico Bones on bass and Julius Lange on guitar. It’s been pretty killer getting to know and hang with all of them.
The first single was back in 2016 then ’17 then you got White Zoo to release the last one last year.  Had you already signed up to dead beat to do the album by then?  How come you switched for the album? 
Dead Beat came about through me asking them earlier this year if they’d be interested in releasing the LP. They were very stoked especially after hearing the record, so we just had to finish up art and final mastering for it and it was a go. The 7″s were released on the other side of the pond, we were just looking for somewhere closer to get the records released by and knew Dead Beat had put out records by some of our favorite newer rock n roll bands.
Is there a chance of a European release for the record?  What about touring Europe and the UK?
We’d love for it to be released by a European label! Haven’t heard anything about that yet but time will tell I suppose. We plan to set up a European tour for hopefully next year.
As far as the album goes I was really pleased to hear plenty of influences in there and some choice covers.  Obviously, I have to ask why those covers? (apart from them being great songs) 
Well, I was listening to a Beatles singles comp called ‘Past Masters’ and heard a banging rocker called ‘Slow Down’. Knew it had to be a cover and found out Larry Williams was the original and sounded killer!! I figured we could pull it off and should give it a go. It delivers well live so we figured it’d be a good way to help open up the album and add more bitchin’ piano to it which we love big time. As for the Dead Boys cover… that one’s always been relatable to me and it fits with our style really well I think. It’s, of course, a tribute to them and our influences getting into punk at an early age.
I love the album and think it’s one of the best debut albums I’ve heard in an age and the attitude in the songs is superb – really authentic sounding. Is there a plan to tour then record some more? are you someone who writes all the time? 
Thanks man I really appreciate it. We worked hard on these songs and it’s good to finally let them have their day. Really nice to hear that people like them. We’re leaving for our “Out of My Head” East Coast/Canada Tour 2019 this week and beginning recording for our 2nd LP this week as well. Plenty still on the horizon for the Poison Boys. I write all the time even if it’s just little pieces and put them together as I go. Show ’em to the guys and get opinions and we work em out from there.
How has the reception been at the live shows?  How would you describe the scene over there in Chicago? is there much of an appetite for real rock and roll?
The live shows are killer and what we love the most. People seem to love it too and get down to our set so that’s cool. I think people need this type of rock n roll but just aren’t getting it much from bands these days. Not a lot of people go to rock n roll shows around here anymore unless it’s the Stones or KISS or something. A lot of bands around here either play washed out reverb’d out psychedelic shit or shoegaze or grunge or a mixture of all that. There’s like 3 bands in Chicago that don’t do that. As with many bands, the reception on the road is way greater than at home.
There seem to be pockets of superb music coming out of America right now – any chance you cats hooking u with bands like Wyldlife, Ravagers and The Sweet Things and stealing over here for a package tour?  Are there any bands you hear about currently tickling your fancy so to speak?
We generally like touring alone but are open to whatever if the situation’s right. One of our first shows ever was in Indianapolis in 2014 opening for Wyldlife. Alex from Ravagers does a lot of our artwork and we have a gig with our boys the Sweet Things coming up at Coney Island Baby in Manhattan in a couple weeks, Friday 8/02. Yeah favorite bands going on right now in the states are mostly in California, like Black Mambas, the Crazy Squeeze, the Flytraps, Dr. Boogie (although they just broke up), and also bands like Terry and Louie, our boys Jonesy from Montreal, the Rubs, our buds Big Blood from out here, stuff like that. And of course the Sweet Things out in NY. There’s a good amount of rock n roll going on elsewhere and I think it’s growing thankfully.
Listening to the album I hear some obvious inspirations from the likes of Dead Boys, Thunders, then I hear classic Stones and Faces – you guys have some of the swagger that made early Guns N Roses shine (tear Me Apart)  and I love the confidence of songs like ‘Up To The Sky’ but you can also mix it up like Hanoi Rocks on songs like ‘Desperado’   it opens up options for you to go in any direction what’s on in the van currently? What are you listening to?
We listen to old protopunk shit like Berlin Brats, Hollywood Brats, Razor Boys, Nervous Eaters, Rockpile, Flamin Groovies, Stooges, all that. A lot of Johnny Thunders and Dolls stuff of course, their solo stuff right after the Dolls broke up too. Hanoi Rocks, Dogs D’Amour. But also stuff like the Nuggets comps and other more obscure comps like the Bonehead Crunchers comps and shit like that. A ton of old punk bands like Menace, the Only Ones, Teenage Head, the Saints, Chelsea, Testors, Slaughter and the Dogs, Gen X… Then Mott the Hoople for 24 hours straight, Lou Reed, Kiss, T Rex, Motorhead, the Faces, Stones. All the goods all the time. Oh yeah and the RAMONES.
If there is anything you guys need to get off your chests here’s your chance.  Anything you’d like to add?
Come see us on tour!!! Buy merch, support rock n roll and keep us on the road. If you play rock n roll start a band get a shitty van and a mechanic friend and go tour. Keep this shit alive and growing and spread the love not shit talk and hate. We’re too small of a scene to be separated all the time by trivial cool guy bullshit and life’s too short to waste energy tearing each other down. It ain’t like the old days, we all know that… Rock n roll is so unimportant to modern society and we’re all we have left. We’re all in this together. Be inclusive there’s no room for hate against each other.
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