What needs to be said about Ricky Warwick, over the years whatever he has turned his songwriting craft to it’s always been of the highest quality.

So with a new Black Star Riders album recently released a tour announced this reviewer could not wait to get his live rock’n’roll fix.

Much to my surprise and delight the band were doing some HMV acoustic in-store shows so when this Cardiff date rolled around I made my way to Cardiff HMV and was treated to a fantastic three-song set  of the highest quality with all band members on great form and it was plain to see that they were clearly enjoying each others company and the interaction with the fans.

So as this crisp October night rolled in I made my journey to Cardiff university for the main event.

At 9:20pm the band arrived on stage and bang we were into the leading track off the new album ‘Another state of grace’ with it’s anthemic chorus and Celtic musical vibes it was a joy to the ears and both band and crowd were right up for it and with the duelling guitars of new boy Christian Martucci and that of six-string legend Scott Gorham going together in harmony like they had been playing together for years it was a joy to behold.

‘The killer instinct’ was up next and with Robbie Crane on bass and another new addition to the band drummer Chad Szeliga locked in pure thunderous rhythm driving force what a joyous occasion this Cardiff night was turning into.

‘All hell breaks loose’ was next up and I can honestly say after seeing Ricky Warwick numerous times over the years his gruff yet melodic vocals just get better and better with each passing year and his range is truly astonishing.

‘Testify or say goodbye’ is another gem and the energy of the band is truly amazing.

‘Tonight the moonlight let me down’ is my personal favourite off the new album and on record it has a lead saxophone break courtesy of a certain Michael Monroe but of course, he is not here tonight so Scott Gorham improvises with a truly stunning guitar solo in its place.

In fairness, Black Star Riders could play any song off their four albums and they would not sound out of place due to the quality of their back catalogue and they duly played some classics in the shape off ‘Ticket to rise’ and ‘Hey Judas’.

‘In the shadow of the war machine’ is another blinder off their most recent album and the energy of the band is stunning as they launch into ‘Soldierstown’.

‘Why do you love your guns’ is a great song about some serious issues in America and as Ricky explains to the crowd the nature behind the songs lyrics the tracks uplifting melody is still a pure joy to the ears.

‘Blindsided’ and ‘bloodshot’ keep this Cardiff crowd entertained which leads us into another new track off the bands latest masterpiece ‘Ain’t the end of the world’ which goes down a storm.

The songs just keep on coming with ‘When the night comes in’ ‘Underneath the afterglow’ ‘dancing with the wrong girl’ and ‘finest hour’ going by with each song being an absolute belter with great musicianship of a band at their best.

‘Kingdom of the lost’ and ‘bound for glory’ bring the night to a close and with that the band say their farewells and take a bow and the last hour and forty minutes have gone by in a blink of an eye and this Cardiff crowd have been entertained to a truly class performance that I can safely say we would all like the night to go on and on.

Black Star riders are one of the best live bands around and are truly at the top of their game so if you like loud rock’n’roll buy yourself a ticket and get along to a show you will not be disappointed and in these trying times we all need the power of music to shine a light.

Author: Gareth ‘Hotshot’ Hooper

Posted by Black Star Riders on Wednesday, 16 October 2019


It’s been a long time coming, but Write a Better Day is finally here. Buck and Evans have had a great year but the initial batch of the albums that were put out via Pledge Music were doomed because of some behind the scenes issues with Pledge not fulfilling payments. Buck and Evans grabbed that bull by the horns and self-funded the pressing of the initial run of albums for everyone that pledged on its making.
Surely, it wouldn’t be long until the real thing hit the shelves. November 15th is the official release date for the album, almost 8 months from the initial batch going out from Pledge. This is by no means any fault of the band, but merely a tragic outlook on the way that bands are treated in the modern industry. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the album first time around and I can assure everyone, the wait is worth it!
Slow Train kicks off things with a bang. I’ve seen Chris play a bunch of times both with the band and on his own at guitar clinics and it never falls short of spot on. This track was always destined for big things. I always thought that the thing Buck & Evans would probably struggle with the most when it comes to the recording is capturing the band’s vibe. The vibe is very important when you’re watching a band in the room and these guys have a chemistry on stage. Just one track into the album and that concern was quickly washed away. They sound just as good in the studio as they do on stage!
Change is a more tender piano led track as Sally shows her fantastic power and range. In many ways, some of the vocal phrasing reminds me of Kotzen era Mr Big. After Slow Train really kicks the album off it’s quite a gear change to drop to a piano only song. A bold move by a bold band.
Current single Sunrise is a moody, gripping journey through some incredibly tasty guitar tones and some powerful transitions. Buck and Evans have that whole light and shade mixture down. They can take it from a whisper to a thunderstorm at the blink of an eye. It’s hard not to sound thunderous with Bob Richards on the drums. His video stint with AC/DC and his work with other bands such as Son of Man, Asia and Graham Bonnett show how versatile he is. This song has a lot of space and Bob fills that space perfectly with some tastefully executed fills under Chris’s slowly building lead break in the middle.
Sinking sounds like it should have come straight off an Etta James album. It almost sounds as if Etta herself is being channelled through Sally Ann. When the band kick in this song has modern Americana feel. To my ears, if John Mayer joined the Eagles then we’re in the right ballpark.
Common Ground picks up the pace a little. It’s got bags of soul and some stunning melodies. It tows a line between a 60s Soul classic and the modern pop sensibilities of James Bay. That’s a good match by my reckoning. Then there’s the guitar solo. Taste, tone, harmonies… there are a million more notes that Chris Buck could’ve squeezed into this short lead break, but his restraint speaks volumes. Playing to the song is a lost art.
Back to Yesterday is a very haunting track. The almost discordant guitar with the swish of the ride cymbal creates an eerie tension for the listener which is resolved when the huge chorus kicks in. This is a fantastic song writing trick which really gives the chorus impact.
Sally Ann’s voice really shines in Fix You. While this song is a slower track, it has enough to hook the listener in based on the vocal performance alone. The song builds to an epic soundscape of guitars underneath the powerful vocal line.
Trail of Tears wouldn’t sound out of place on an early John Mayer album. It’s got a winding guitar line that dips through Sally Ann’s silky vocals. Whether by design or complete accident, Chris Buck’s guitar and Sally Ann Evans voice are a match made for each other.
Ain’t No Moonlight and Going Home are old fan favourites. I loved these tracks when I heard their earlier incarnations a few years ago and for me, they were always standout moments as the band dig a little deeper and get a bit rockier. I took inspiration from the Going Home solo when recording the lead parts in my own band Forever Vendetta’s song Just Can’t Quit You and channelled a little bit of Chris Buck in my own playing. Going Home was stuck in my head from the first time I heard the original live in the studio version.
The album wraps up with One Four. This song has bags of space, most of the verses are only underpinned with a simple drum beat and a thundering bassline from Dominic Hill. The simplicity of this song’s arrangement makes it such an interesting listen. As a guitar player, I’m drawn to the use of space to create an atmosphere in songwriting.
The songwriting that’s gone into this album certainly sounds distinctly like Buck & Evans. There are elements of other artists and genres that you can see the influence from, but when these 4 come together and work, they create something very special. A very strong debut album from a band I think we’ll be hearing a lot about in years to come.

Author: Leigh Fuge


It’s not unusual for me to spend a Saturday evening travelling to a gig, but a gig less than 20 minutes away, what a bonus! Pity my Brains main man Jamie Richards is developing quite a schizophrenic personality (gig wise at least) with the Pity my Brain alter ego Woodfired summit (check em out on facebook ) putting on this little shindig led by the Alarm’s main man Mike Peters. Now I have to admit never having heard of the venue itself and with Crickhowell being such a tiny place I initially spent a bit of time wondering where the Hell have they put a concert venue? Directions sorted and a real pleasant surprise that it could, in fact, hold about 300. That’s for a seated gig, which this started out as.


Settling in front and centre you had the feeling that this had the potential to be a bit special, and finding out that there were going to be two hour-long sets tonight the first Act being called Downstream (Eye of the hurricane) and the second act Upstream (Change) with the additional encore made up of crowd faves and requests. What I couldn’t imagine at the beginning was that the songs from both seminal albums weren’t going to be just stripped back acoustica, but totally reworked and re-interpreted, adding in the fact that the albums had been torn apart, reset mixed up to supply a narrative, a story if you like that runs throughout, then add in some addition work again placed in order but all the while building the story.


Looking around the rapidly filling venue seeing the Alarm flags draped over the upstairs balcony, picking up the hint of anticipation from the crowd, it was time to strap in and at 7.30 exactly we began, one man, kick bass drum, harmonica and electric acoustic.

Opening with a spoken word intro picked up by Mike and we’re into “A New South Wales” sounding nothing like I’ve ever heard it presented before, the sparse backdrop, minimal lighting bringing the focus onto Mike Peters, the voice as strong as ever.


This is no simple rerun of the aforementioned albums, and in Act 1 the songs that really stood out were “Ghost’s of Rebecca”, “The Ballad of Randolph Turpin” and “Irish sea”, fitting so well, they could/should have taken their place on Eye of the Hurricane?.


I think at this point there are a couple of strands of the story starting to come together, a story steeped in Welsh Tradition and History, moving into the industrial revolution, before becoming about one mans life, and what keeps him moving forward, never losing touch with his heartland, the place of his birth. The man’s legacy as imagined becoming ever entwined with his own cultural identity.


As we moved through Act 1 standouts also included “Rain in the Summertime” “Only love can set me free” and “One step closer to home”


Moving into Act 2 opening with “Where a town once stood” there’s a very different feel, heavier more raw almost bluesy and for me the nite really took off with stunning versions of “Sold me down the river”, “Prison without bars”, “Scarlet” and “Devolution working mans blues”, within the narrative I think a point of realization for the narrator, a sense of where they are and struggles defeated and struggles to come.  Fair play this is Mike Peters putting himself out there, raw emotional and in your face.


But to my one gripe of the evening, when an artist is pouring out their soul, SHUT THE FUCK UP OR LEAVE THE VENUE!!!! I never get why people pay to get pissed and talk all through an acoustic performance, go home and settle in with your Strongbow watch the X factor where your knowledge of music can be espoused without annoying other people who likewise have paid to see said artist. Perhaps we could give promoters a licence to cull the idiots.  Rant over !!!!


Coming back for the encore we get “Strength”, “Spirit of 76”, “Blaze of Glory” and two requests “The Majority” and “Bells of Rhymney”, by this time very few in the venue are still seated!!!!


It’s back to the alter ego with Pity my Brains 5th party coming up at Clwb Ifor Bach, on the 9th of November. Here’s to many more years of musical diversity and perhaps promoters being given the power to do something about the idiots more interested in getting pissed and talking rather than listening to music.

Author: Nev Brooks



Love Hope & Strength





As far as cover versions go I think its fair to say I didn’t see this one coming did you? Prima Dona unleash their inner teeny-bop with their take on ‘Cruel Summer’

Just incase that’s left you feeling slightly queazy why not cleanse your pallet with something by the Damned seeing as all roads today lead to the London Palladium for the night of a 1000 Horrors where the Damned will be playing one of their most audacious sets yet at the famous theatre. a fan-made video this time for one of the bands finest tunes never to make an album – please enjoy ‘Limit Club’

Finally seeing as this past week has been mostly about the live shows we’ve been to and with The Cult turning in one of their best live performances to date enjoy this slice of slick Rock that was taken from the film soundtrack ‘Gone In 60 Seconds’


There’s something gloriously familiar about this second long-player from UK bovver rockers Hard Wax, something that I can’t quite put my finger on, but it’s something that right from the very first spin has me beaming from ear to ear, so it must be something good right?

They say the make of any band is the strength of their tunes…and here on ‘This Is The Sound’ Wax main man Tom Boutwood (ably assisted by Paul Bond on drums, Tom Murphy on lead guitar and Matt Colton on bass) has penned some of the finest Oi! infused terrace anthems you’ll hear anywhere this year. Just like the recently released Michael Monroe album it’s not exactly groundbreaking or genre-bending stuff but sometimes I just need my punk rock music to be just that, straight ahead and no-frills, and right here on ‘This Is The Sound’ what you get for your entry money are ten premium cuts of bovver boy rock ‘n’ roll.

Kicking off with ‘Welcome To Bovver Rock City’ this just shy of two-minute long intro bears all the hallmarks of Hard Wax’s upcoming UK tour partners Giuda, albeit a Giuda fronted by someone who sounds a hell of a lot like Ginge Knievel.  And that right there is the familiar thing I couldn’t quite put my finger on at the top, because at times during ‘This Is The Sound’ it’s just like Mr Knievel has returned from his self-imposed exile and is finally fronting the band he’s always wanted to front. The similarity really is uncanny, but trust me, there’s a whole lot more to this record that the singer sounding a hell of a lot like the ex-Sick Livers/Nicotine Pretty frontman.

Things really kick off in style on ‘Living The Dream’, a proper piece of punk rock argy bargy designed to get your oxblood a-stomping. Elsewhere ‘This is The Sound’, ‘Days Of Glory’ (ooh hello Sailor) and ‘Razor Part Rebels’ (complete with an otherworldly Ace Frehley guitar riff) all steam out the blocks full of cock-sure 70s glam rock swagger and just a few spins later you’ll be singing along like you’ve had this album in your life since your childhood.
When the world outside your window is slowly turning to shit ‘This Is The Sound’ is the perfect pick me up record with tracks like ‘Have A Good Time’ and ‘Not Just a Pin-Up Girl’ guaranteed to make you smile once again, and in ‘Boys Of A Saturday Night’ and ‘Stomp All Over The World’ you have the near perfect soundtrack for a right proper tear up…on the dancefloor of course.

Which just leaves ‘In For a Penny’, a track I went straight to when I first got my copy of ‘This Is The Sound’ simply because I initially thought “wow a Slade cover that’s gonna take some balls”. Well, it’s actually not a cover, although the guitar riff is equal parts Hill and Holder and it’s the kind of glorious call to arms tune that would have seen Hard Wax on Top Of The Pops had it been released back in the 70s.
With a whole raft of great new punk rock records released by UK bands in 2019 (if you think otherwise then you really do need to read RPM more) I’m delighted to say that ‘This Is The Sound’ is right up there with the very best of them.

Now go get your boots on and get down your record shop and get yourself a copy.

Buy this is the sound Here


Author: Johnny Hayward

Was it really twelve months ago today we got the really sad news that friend of the website todd youth had sadly passed away.  A year flys by and there have been plenty of times several of us have talked about his sad passing and the legacy he left behind whether it be introducing some of the magnificent bands he was a member of or telling stories of the brief moments we shared with the guy.  We’ve had a whole year to think about his effect on our little scene and some of our favourite bands have to be the line up he was in alongside Johnny Martin (Now an LA Gun) as part of Jesse Malins St Marks Band.  It has been said that this was the finest line up Jesse has been in since D Generation no doubt about it.

Another band he spent a brief time in was the magnificent hardcore racket that was Bloodclot alongside legend vocalist John Joseph (Cro-Mags), Nick Oliveri (Dwarves) and Joey Castillo (Danzig).  But it all began when Youth was still Todd Schofield a New Jersey boy who ventured over to the LES when it was a tough neighbourhood and not the sanitized high street it is today. He started out in Warzone before graduating to Murphys Law where he stayed until 95. Todd then went on to replace Richard Bacchus in D Generation in ’96 and recorded ‘Through The Darkness’  after D Gen split he formed Chrome Locust with fellow D Gen Michael Wildwood. 

It was after the Chrome Locust album that he then moved onto Danzig and worked with Joey for the first time after turning down the chance to join Foo Fighters and the Hellacopters. Whilst playing with Danzig he got to record the one studio album with Glen that featured his fellow Bloodclot mate on drums former D Gen legend Howie Pyro on bass and of course Danzig on the ‘ I Luciferi’ album as well as the live Danzig album. later in 2007 he left Danzig and became the guitar player for none other than Glen Campbell.

Sometime later when we got to meet him he had formed the awesome Chelsea Smiles with Karl Rosqvist, Johnny Martin,  and  Skye Vaughan-Jayne and also reformed Son Of Sam.  He also almost made it into Gunfire 76 with Wednesday 13 and the inaugural line up of Michael Monroe’s band but Youth split at the 11th hour to play the guitar with one of his heroes Ace Frehley.  youth lasted four years playing with Ace and we spoke once when he played Bristol with the St Marks Social that he had been stranded in the UK as Ace pulled his shows leaving members of his band in the UK without a show. Anyway, it was 2017 when youth hooked up with Bloodclot  (I hope you’re keeping up here folks?) to record the epic ‘Up In Arms’. To be fair to Youth he turned in some epic performances in his time on this planet and along with Chelsea Smiles and Chrome Locust or Bloodclot and Fireburn he certainly left his mark with some amazing records.

Todd was 47 when he passed away and that’s way too young.  We miss you man see you in the next life.


Todd Youth R.I.P


Another East coast Legend who sadly passed away on this same day was the one and only Lou Reed. Lewis Allen Reed was born in Brooklyn March 2nd 1942. He’s somebody who doesn’t need any introduction and was forever pushing the envelope of Rock and Roll from way back when he was part of the whole Warhol scene and originally moved to NYC to be an inhouse writer for Pickwick Records before forming a partnership with Welshman john Cale whom he lived with in the LES and went on to form the Velvet underground.  It was through Warhol that his association with Nico (A German Model) that Reed wrote some songs after initially rejecting the idea of working with her.

In the 70s Reed signed with RCA who also had some notable other significant Glam Rock pioneers on their roster and he went on to form lasting friendships with bowie and Iggy Pop.  It was 72s ‘Transformer’ album that broke through for Reed which happened to be produced by Bowie and his fellow Spider from Mars Mick Ronson.  The single “Walk on the Wild Side” got him noticed as his anthem for the misfits of the world and the so-called weirdos and gender benders of the time but it was Reeds biggest hit managing to evade scrutiny for its playful lyrics of New York nightlife. Ahead of his time?  For sure he was.  He had a rather tempestuous friendship with Bowie and wasn’t afraid to disagree with his friend with his fists.

Reed had some success with ‘Berlin’ but decided to follow it up with an album primarily made up of metallic feedback and almost unlistenable music that was ‘Metal Machine Music’ no doubt an inspiration to many noisemakers further down the line such as ginger Wildheart for his Mutations records and Endless Nameless albums (possibly).

Drugs and booze might have had something to do with Reed’s creative mindset at the time but it wasn’t long before he would indeed clean up his act (as Bowie had previously requested) He got married at the turn of the 1980s and went on to produce some of his finest work in that decade. ‘New York’ ended the decade for Reed and gave him only his second Gold Record.

the 90s saw him work with former VU compadre Cale on the album ‘Songs For Drella’.  He also played Glastonbury was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with his fellow VU bandmates.  He also went on to record a bizarre record with Metallica after playing with the band at MSG in NYC ‘Lulu’ had only sold 13,000 copies in its first week of sales and ever the philosophical musician Reed joked that he’d finally pissed off all his fans and didn’t have any left.

It was in 2013 after suffering for years with hepatitis and diabetes Reed was diagnosed with Liver Cancer and after undergoing a transplant in the May of that year it was in the October Reed said he was bigger and he eventually passed away from liver disease at the age of 71. He was posthumously inducted into the #Hall Of Fame as a solo artist a year after his passing and Reed will forever be associated with the city he loved Lou Reed and New York go hand in hand and many of his songs are about the city and its only right that we remember such a legend on this day. Rest In Peace Mr Lou Reed. #Legend

Legendary Saxon frontman, Biff Byford releases his debut solo album ‘School of Hard Knocks’ on 21st February.
The album features guest appearances by Phil Campbell, Alex Holzwart, Nick Barker, Dave Kemp and Nibbs Carter.
On February 21st 2020, legendary Saxon frontman Biff Byford will step into the spotlight with his first-ever solo album, ‘School of Hard Knocks’.
The North of England is everything you saw in Game of Thrones and more. It is the true heart of England, the region where its soul resides, and Biff Byford has earned the right to be considered its true heavy metal bard.


Biff takes on not just tales and stories from his heart and soul, but also investigates the Middle Ages and Medieval history amongst other subjects.
It’s been great to break new ground, explore new territories and work with some old friends”, concludes Biff, “and having waited so long to make this album, I have to say, I am delighted with it! It has a whole range of styles, from the ridiculously heavy to ballads, and it is certainly my album.”
Available to pre-order from October 25 on CD, Vinyl, Digital formats and special D2C bundles Here

Salutations from the Geek-o Nation!

Thanks for taking time out from sharing grammatically incorrect memes to read my fifth column for RPM. Last month, after turning a dodgy Black Crowes comic-book into an unsolved murder case, I promised that October’s column would be something of a spooktakular in the run-up to All Hallow’s Eve. A man of my word, I now throw my horns in the direction of a mid-Eighties issue of the World’s most famous horror magazine where both metal and punk were honoured via the Gospel according to the Church of the Cathode Ray.

I wrote previously of the long-lost music magazine, Rock Video (later Hard Rock Video), which was created to cash in on the popularity explosion detonated by MTV. Well, just like how the Star Wars cash cow saw George Lucas characters force their way onto almost every magazine cover in the 1970s (from The House of Hammer to Titbits – I have proof!), the 1980s found the stars of Music Television moonwalk all over magazine front covers, unhindered by the title’s original USP. Fangoria, arguably the greatest horror movie magazine of all time (my favourite, certainly), was one such example that succumbed to the evil powers of punk ‘n’ roll.


Let’s backtrack a little: Fangoria debuted in 1979 with a Godzilla cover and, over its first six issues, also featured Star Trek, Arabian Adventure, and Star Wars (told you!) as cover stars. Yes, it was certainly more of a fantasy-based magazine until issue 7 when they slapped The Shining on the cover, and then followed it up with a now-iconic Zombie Flesh Eaters cover. Subsequently, throughout the Eighties Fango was the go-to tome for all that was happening in horror. A bit like how Kerrang! was essential Wednesday reading for every rock and metal fan… before it went shit. Fangoria never really went shit – it flirted with disaster in the confused Nineties when it put Jurassic Park and other such commercial fodder on the cover – but it did go out of production earlier this decade. Happily, it has been relaunched as a print magazine and balance in the horror movie world has been restored.


Fangoria, this century, has had its share of rock stars grace the cover. Alice Cooper has been on there, Gene Simmons too, and Rob Zombie’s movies (some of them good) have featured several times. Back in the mag’s Eighties halcyon days, however, it was a little more difficult to get a hard rocker to windmill a monster or ghoul off the front cover. Alice Cooper did, via his limited music video skirmish with Jason Voorhees, poison the front page of a volume of The Bloody Best Of Fangoria compendium, but it took a head-biting madman’s visit to Holloway Sanitorium to guarantee a cover proper.


“Rock Video’s Gruesome FX!” screamed the headline on the cover of Fangoria #35 from early 1984. Beneath the words, ‘Bark at the Moon’ era Ozzy Osbourne in full werewolf mode! Beside him, on the magazine’s iconic ‘film strip’ side panel, a shot from the Ramones’ ‘Psycho Therapy’ music video – yes, Fango had been bitten by the MTV bug and, thankfully, the editor had decided that metal- and punk-related music video was the avenue down which it would stagger.

Via a skewed version of the Ozzy story (dead pigeon pulled out of bag at record company meeting; biting the head off what looked like a rubber bird, etc) the cultured Fangoria reader spent little time waiting for darkness as the five-page article – entitled ‘Makeup’s Greatest Hits’ – detailed the cover art of Ozzy’s ‘Bark at the Moon’ album from the previous year, and the accompanying music video for the title track by way of an interview with make-up FX artist, Greg Cannom, who was recommended for the werewolf-centric duties due to his work as a key crew member on Joe Dante’s 1981 love letter to lycanthropes, The Howling. He had also appeared (wearing his own make-up) in Michael Jackson’s Thriller; in fact, the last face that you see in that epic music video’s fade-out is Cannom’s.


Cannom was faced with two major problems: one, Ozzy’s werewolf make-up was needed in just one week and, two, Sharon Osbourne (who now has a pretend face that deserves to be on a Fangoria cover) was sure that nobody could keep her old man to sit still in a chair for five hours to have make-up appliances stuck all over his face and body. Cannom, of course, overcame both issues, backed by a team that included a young Kevin Yagher. Yagher provided make-up FX for some of the Eighties’ most celebrated movies (three Elm Street flicks, a Friday the 13th sequel, Child’s Play, and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure to name but several) and, heavy metal horror movie fans, played the guitarist offed by Sammi Curr at the high school Halloween party in Trick or Treat, after having designed the Skeezix monster for the film’s scene with the naked girl and melting ears – you know what I’m writing about! Yagher was part of Cannom’s U.S. team (he made Ozzy’s teeth and finger extensions) working on both the ‘Bark at the Moon’ album cover and music video featuring, you may be surprised to learn, two different Ozzy werewolf designs.


Says it all about the power of MTV in the early Eighties, but Cannom viewed the album cover shoot as a test for the upcoming video shoot, where his U.K. team (based at Shepperton Studios for the album cover shoot, and on location at the aforementioned Holloway Sanitorium for the music video) had much more time to work on the FX. Still, though, as iconic as the Ozzy werewolf look has become, Cannom was disappointed that the make-up was not shown more in the video’s final cut. That disappointment was surely tempered by his recruitment to the ‘Shooting Shark’ music video by Blue Öyster Cult, alongside Rick Lazzarini…


Lazzarini features in the article due to his work with The Tubes. The band found him as a promising fifteen-year-old wannabe make-up artist and, aged seventeen, he went on to tour with KISS as a pyrotechnician. He actually helped invent a formula for the stage blood to be spat out by Gene Simmons. “He wanted something that would be healthy if you swallowed it,” Lazzarini informed Fangoria via a sentence that obviously went right over my youthful head. “We wound up using a mixture of egg whites, some flour to thicken it, and red food coloring, ” he continued. “It had to be warmed a bit too because [Gene] didn’t want to take it cold.” Some Demon, eh?!


Simmons didn’t make the cover then, though, did he? No, but the Ramones did. Mark Shostrom (Videodrome, From Beyond) and Anthony Showe (Elm Street 2, Chopping Mall) designed and executed the effects in the music video for ‘Psycho Therapy’, the track pulled from 1983’s ‘Subterranean Jungle’ album for potential MTV acclaim. Not actually being able to meet the legendary band on the video’s three-day shoot – the band were used for the first two days, with the third used for pick-ups and effects – Shostrom and Showe created a monstrous character called the Teenage Dope Fiend – the TDF – that, when about to have a lobotomy in the psycho ward, would have its head split open and its ‘alter ego’ emerge.


This effect, straight out of a typical Eighties horror flick, didn’t go down well with people at both the record label, Warner Brothers (owners of Sire Records), and MTV. The effect was subsequently accomplished “dry” without “unpleasant gore, slime, or other viscous substances.” Even though the video was shot bloodless, people still walked out of the screening room when the video was first shown to the MTV hierarchy.

Shostrom expected special make-up FX to become an increasing part of the rock video phenomenon because, “just by the nature of the music” the possibilities for visuals and make-up of all kinds were great. YouTube Jani Lane’s smile in the ‘Cherry Pie’ video and tell me that this guy wasn’t some kind of Eighties Nostradamus!


With a full-page ad for a poster of Greg Hildebrandt’s ‘Dance of Death’ artwork, and the back cover devoted to Rock Video magazine – “Be Part of the Rock Video Explosion!” – Fangoria #35 blurred the lines between rock and horror and this twelve-year-old kid couldn’t have been happier. Well, until Trick or Treat, Hard Rock Zombies, Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare, Blood Tracks, and Black Roses hit the video shops at least…


As ever, thanks for reading. I shall return in November with an article dedicated to a sequel to one of the best worst movies ever that you probably don’t even know exists! Death to False Metal!

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Hot on the heels of an expansive reissue set to commemorate the 30th anniversary of band’s multi-platinum selling ‘Sonic Temple’ album The Cult have long since sold out Cardiff University’s Great Hall, with this ten date run of shows across England, Wales and Scotland celebrating all things Sonic and Temple-like proving to be their most popular in many a year.

Myself having never been that big a fan of said opus (I much prefer the three albums that directly preceded it) I did initially dither a bit over whether to actually pick a ticket up for this one whilst in the weeks running up to the show itself I was half toying with the idea of passing it on to my RPM compadre Hotshot Hooper as he’d only recently discovered the delights of band’s largely superb back catalogue.

A few memory jogging spins of the aforementioned 5 CD ‘Sonic Temple’ box set though and suddenly I’m driving through stop/start Friday night traffic and seemingly endless sheets of rain (there’s a gag in there but I’m not doing it…yet) now actually half looking forward to seeing Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy back in the place they’d almost half flattened six years earlier on the opening night of their then UK tour celebrating the ‘Electric’ album.

Unfortunately due to my journey into Cardiff taking almost twice as long as usual I only get to catch the last two songs of tonight’s openers The Last Internationale with the band sounding a hell of lot feistier than the last time I saw them live just down the M4 at the Newport Centre (plying their wares for a much more sedate Robert Plant audience), and by the time I’ve finally taken up my prime viewing spot a few rows from the front of the stage singer/bassist Delila Paz is already in the crowd and loving every second of their chance to play Wales once again.  With new music to promote and upcoming dates across Europe with Rival Sons, what I did get to hear of The Last Internationale tonight sounded bluesy in a Buck & Evans kind of way yet still positively huge. So, if you’re off to one of these shows make sure you get in early doors and check them out. It’s not for me though.

After the longest intro tape known to humanity seamlessly segues into Grant Fitzpatrick’s gigantic bass rumble intro to ‘Sun King’ it feels like the audience in the Great Hall has suddenly trebled in size as the crowd slowly starts to wake up and dance along to the opening track of the night, but as Mr Astbury (who once again tonight looks and sounds back at his very best) states right from the off “it’s time to ease into things baby, let’s not rush it”.

‘Wild Flower’ quickly follows and unlike with the Love and Electric tours that have gone, it’s interesting to note that The Cult have chosen not to play ‘Sonic Temple’ in sequence or in fact as it would go on to prove in its totality, with the final trio of tracks from the album (‘Soldier Blue’, ‘Wake Up Time For Freedom’ and ‘Medicine Train’) all missing from the set list tonight.

Of the seven ‘Temple’ tracks aired during the first half of the set ‘Sweet Soul Sister’ complete with Damon Fox’s sublime Jon Lord-like keyboard intro and thunderous drumming from John Tempesta truly soars in all its stadium rock majesty whilst ‘Soul Asylum’ is still The Cult’s very own ‘Kashmir’, however aside from the new wave of classic rock brigade in attendance all trying to be teenagers once again, things (just like during the Love tour) don’t really shift through the gears until we hit the ‘Beyond Good & Evil’ pairing of ‘Rise’ and ‘American Gothic’ give us a glimpse of 21st century Cult at their very finest.

I never thought I’d be saying this after tonight’s drive, but the arrival of ‘Rain’ is welcomed with open arms (boom boom) as it finally gets all the old goths out of the shadows and going suitably bananas whilst ‘Phoenix’ complete with Stooges teaser intro courtesy of an on fire Billy Duffy sends the atmosphere off the scale. This leaves just enough time for ‘Spiritwalker’, Fire Woman’ and ‘Love Removal Machine’ all in quick succession and all those brand new £30 tour shirts in the crowd will certainly be in need of an immediate wash first thing in the morning.

Returning for an encore that sees ‘Horse Nation’ dedicated to the both long since departed and still very missed Nigel Preston and Swansea Circles club, its left to the ultimate goth anthem of ‘She Sells Sanctuary’ to close things out, and the delight on the faces of both Astbury and Duffy as the lights go up is there for everyone to see. Something that makes nights like these feel so much more special.

What lies ahead next for The Cult though I wonder? I doubt a Ceremony 30th anniversary tour is going to be high on many people’s must-see lists, so will 2020 see new music from the band, and a long overdue follow up to 2016’s Hidden City?

Whatever happens, It’ll always be CFFC.

Author: Johnny Hayward

Review of Sonic Temple 30 Here