If it were possible to go back in time and spend a few days doing something cool apart from watching The Damned at the Hope and Anchor, the Dolls hit up Manhatten. Stop Hanoi Rocks getting on that airplane to the US, I’d head back to old London Town in the early 90s when I used to frequent Soho when it had some character left. I’d head over to the Marquee club and catch some great bands before it all dissolved into dust.

An LP just landed on my doorstep that; if the world was a just and deserving place An LP record that should have been made and one that should have propelled a band from Birmingham into the limelight where they would have shone brightest. ‘Witness To The Crime’ cements the notion I’ve kept for many years that after Hanoi and the Lords had left town and The Dogs D’Amour had burnt their candle from both ends, Thunders was having his last hoorah with his oddballs. The single band left in the underground that coulda, shoulda, woulda was Gunfire Fucking Dance! The first time I saw them supporting at the Marquee I was mesmerised I’d found a band I knew I could love because they had the look and the presence to devastate and above all they had the tunes. They weren’t a Dolls cover band they weren’t hipsters going through the motions or London posers, Gunfire Dance were the real deal. Sure I heard large elements of The Lords and some Hanoi and Bounty Hunters and Thunders and his Heartbreakers, for sure. They were all in this melting pot from the Midlands but they had a danger a frontman that was more Jagger at Hyde Park than Axl on the strip and with the Lords now fucked off there was a hole that needed filling.

Fast forward a few decades and another band that fell by the wayside, they had it all but cest la vie they barely scratched the surface they were too cool and punk for Sounds, not metal for Kerrang! not hip enough for NME and Melody Maker it was a travesty that a band that had songs as good as were on their demo tape they sold at shows or the singles they had pressed but never made it to a full-blown LP. I remember the songs they’ve stayed with me from the shows and I played the cassette tape until it died. Fast forward a time when social media made the world a small place and you could find out the minute details of bands and people you never got to meet or find out what happened to those bands.

There was a CD released that turned out to be like Rockin horse shite ‘Archway Of Thorns’ and in recent years momentum was growing for the songs to be pressed on wax and become the vinyl hipsters they should’ve been. Post-pandemic and that time has arrived (hit the fanfare and drum roll) Ladies and Gentlemen Easy Action have done the decent thing and pulled together twleve of their finest tracks and finally a friggin album from Gunfire Dance.

It’s always been a plan to front-load an album with your best tunes to grab the listener and quite often the record fizzles out after the opening salvo. ‘Witness To The Crime’ begins with an opening hattrick of gargantuan proportions ‘Blue’ is a reckless beast from the vocal chant of ‘BLUE!’ that was like a sonic punch to the nose that would daze you as the thump of Birchy’s bass line is thunderous and when its joined by the runaway train that is his fellow rhythm section tub thumper Ozzie who rides the drums like trying to harness and tame the four horses of the apocalypse whilst Wards guitar scuffs and squeals like a demon being banished from the studio speakers it’s a truly magnificent opener by anyone’s standard. To follow it up with the magnificent ‘Bliss Street’ that oozes cool It’s got a punk rock beating heart but it’s Rock n Roll and the chorus if that’s what it is – is genius. Then, ‘Bird Doggin” is a howling, badass, sleazy run through the backwaters of Rock n Roll with its Steve Jonesesque run up and down the neck of both bass and guitar, it’s fuckin huge! And all these years later I must have played these songs hundreds if not a thousand times I’m still not bored of hearing them and being able to drop the needle on them makes me feel good, finally, Gunfire Dance get the sound and platform they deserve imortalised on wax. It’s never too late to pay tribute to greatness and I know I’m not alone as there are many people out there who witnessed the Crimes of Gunfire Dance but in truth, the only crime was that Gunfire Dance isn’t a household name in rock n Roll Circles and people don’t talk about them looking back on a time when the world needed genuine rock n roll pirates who had the chops. they were there and this record is the evidence.

When I said frontloading a record was a thing this is proof that it wouldn’t have happened to these cats as ‘Easy Come’ is a howling whirlwind of noise and sounds elevated on vinyl – maybe my mind is playing tricks with me but this sounds even more magnificent. The sleeve notes wrap the band up far better than I could even if I do like pouring superlatives on great records (in my opinion) but hell if I don’t who will? Fuck it, I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to say this is easily – head and shoulders the reissue of the year by a country mile it’s not strictly a new record but hell it sounds mighty fresh maybe Ant has cut a deal with old nick and some black magic has been sprinkled over the mix.

I’ve written this review after a few cold ones after a day of watching my football team win and looking for a distraction from the TV and gray Britain’s current cloud of Royal shenanigans so it comes as a perfect shot in the arm or should that be ears?

Side one closes out with the strut of ‘Pretty As Sin’ that indeed has all the wah scuffs I need on my records and some pretty mean floor tom thumping and I love the bridge as it soars along with the guitars that are being rinsed within an inch of its life.

Take a break have a cooldown and take a deep breath because side two literally kicks off with ‘Suit And Tie’ that has the Rat & Brian James treatment. I bet Brian couldn’t believe his luck stumbling across these boys who were firing tunes on all cylinders that had bits and pieces of his DNA running through them, especially the guitar breaks on ‘Suit And Tie’ and those Dolls and Stones “woo Hoos” are fabulous now as they were when I first heard them. Tell me you can sit still whilst ‘Make you Cry’ is grooving in the bands most Lords like number, it’s a heaving beast and I love the chorus with the gang vocals with Ant putting on his finest vocal performance on the record.

The band could slow things down as well if they wanted to it wasn’t always the end of days assault. ‘It Hurts’ is dark and gothic with a booming cathedral-like low end. As we head into the home straight it’s the magnificent ‘Burning Ambition’ declaring they were living on dreams and chasing after the sun. They should have burnt through the atmosphere and landed on the front pages of the shitty music press of the late 80s and early 90s for sure the breakdown is a mental beat and only gets better like a fine wine – dust it off and uncork it it’s vintage.

The most endearing memory I have is watching them tear it up in the marquee and hearing ‘Gimme Back My Heart’ and having the same satisfying warm feeling now as I did back them knowing that if they never break through I know I saw them and I loved them like they were playing Knebworth or Wembley nevermind the Marquee Charing Cross Road. they were special times and I was gutted when I heard of Ants passing and that selfishly I would never get to be in a room with a band who lit up my time in the big smoke like no other band whose performances and music gave me a buzz like I had seeing Hanoi rocks or the Lords or Johnny Thunder before them. it seems fitting that the record bows out with the magnificent brooding ‘Archway Of Thorns’. there was no room for ‘Darling’ Ann’ or their cover of The Kink’s ‘Till The End Of The Day’ oh I get it, they’ll be on the follow-up compilation of recently found live tracks and mop-up package wont it? A boy could dream.

‘Witness to The Crime’ brings the curtain down on a band I hold dear and hopefully gives them a chance to be heard by many new ears who never got to witness the crime and that crime is these boys never made TOTP nor private jets flying them to huge adoring crowds around the globe but hey ho life goes on, buy it play it loud and pass it on – Gunfire Dance – the best fuckin band you never saw or heard until now – thanks Easy Action for such a physical treat they needed this. My advice – just buy it!

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Author: Dom Daley

Due sometime in August or September the long wait is finally over for the Gunfire Dance album on vinyl for the first time. Easily one of the finest bands of their generation Gunfire Dance had it all except for the breaks. ‘Witness To The Crime’ will see some of the band’s finest songs on vinyl LP for the first time through Easy Action Records. It features twelve tracks from the incredible ‘Blue’ through ‘Burning Ambition’ and ‘Suit And Tie’. If there is one album you should pre-order then this is it. Snooze you loose, this is a limited pressing

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Should have been huge! How many times do we hear that said of a band?  We’ve all seen bands we think should have – could have, but there is one in particular band I love who seemed to slip between the cracks and time overtook them and alas that moment was gone.  Darren Birch was a quarter of one of if not the most exciting bands of the UK underground scene who played around the toilet scene in the late ’80s early ’90s – they were Garage punks from Birmingham who, with a pocketful of excellent tunes and a strong image had it all.  In Ant, they had a frontman who had the swagger of a Jagger and the cool spirit of Iggy.  They stormed Londons Marquee Club on numerous occasions and put on a show every time. They were head and shoulders the best band anywhere at the time, yet, they remained unsigned with only a seven inch and twelve-inch singles to their name. It was years later they released a CD that delivered all the tunes they played live and managed to capture that magic onto tape yet their moment had gone and sadly had their frontman.  They lost frontman Ant under tragic circumstances so the chance of a reunion had gone. 
Bass player Birchy has a story to tell and has played with some of the pioneers of the first wave of punk and some – he currently plies his trade in several bands namely the Godfathers and Black Bombers (currently)  if you’re not familiar then you need to change that pronto. But not until you read the words from our little recent chat. Over to you Mr. Birch.
Let’s take it back to the beginning for you.  What made you want to pick up a guitar and why the bass? 
I had my first Bass at fourteen years old. A Jazz copy with an awful high action…The guys I played with in my first band called it the Bow and Arrow.  I loved the Damned as a kid and was inspired by hearing Algy play that intro to ‘Love Song’ and then the sound Paul (Gray) had when he joined the Damned.
Who else was influencing a young kid in Birmingham?
There were others I was drawn to like JJ Burnel and Lemmy they were certainly influences on me at the time. I’d also say around that age I was discovering Bowie and the Spiders era and loved Trevor Bolders playing.  then as I was growing older I was discovering all sorts of players from Dennis Dunaway, Bootsy Collins, Barry Adamson…Even in my Jazzier moments Charles Mingus!!
What about early memories of playing shows?
The earliest shows I was playing was in punk bands.  I’d only been playing about six months and even though the other guys I was playing with were three and four years older than me I guess it was the usual story of ropey PA’s just for vocals in pubs I wasn’t anywhere near old enough to be in – Fun Though.
My first memory of seeing you play was in London with Gunfire Dance.  You were always a band I’d go and see and I found the live shows so exciting? Tell us how the band came into being?
Gunfire Dance was the first 2Proper” band I was in.  Me ‘n Ozzie started the band around 83/84we were influenced by the growing scene of Hanoi, Lords, Thunders…that kind of thing. The line up you all know and love (haha ) with Jeff and Ant (R.I.P)  consolidated around 87/88.
Yeah, We always wanted to be a high energy band… We loved gigs like the Cramps, Lords, Iggy that kind of unpredictability.  I think the band is more appreciated now than back in the late ’80s were certainly more understood…We were never part of that Stones/Face thing that was going on nor were we part of the Glam/Hard Rock scene I think we were out on our own at the time…our influences stretched back to the ’50s, 60’s the whole punk scene maybe bands like Thee Hypnotics were kind of our kindred spirits back then.
What about memories of playing abroad? Did you enjoy touring? 
The tours we did around the UK were always self-financed and self-organised except the tour with Tigertailz (Island paid for that.  We had a publishing deal with them but alas no record deal) we also went out with Bang Tango!!! We certainly had a lot of fun and those Marquee shows were always great (as I recall)
Most people will know of your work with Gunfire Dance.  I remember buying a demo cassette and eventually a 7″ single and 12″ why did it take so long to get a long player out? 
We spoke to loads of managers , labels  etc… But fo rone reason or another it just never happened. We recorded lots of stuff at Island some with Rat (Scabies) and some with Brian (James) but none of it got released until the Evil Boy Records put out ‘Archway Of Thorns’ in 2005.
When we played CBGB with D Generation and The Waldos a guy named Rat Boy (Motorcycle Boy) was playing in Pillbox put us in touch with Jeff Dahl and he released the 7″ on his Ultra Under label in the States then the ‘Killing Time’ 12″ we did that ourselves.  Then we went back to the States for a second time and did New York but the band was falling apart, I guess the combination of doing it without success will do that.
What did you do after the band broke up?
After the band called it a day I didn’t play for a while the “Music Business” had left a bitter taste in my mouth for a while anyway.  I had been DJaying and had a club called ‘Stay Sick’ which lasted a few years – That could get messy.  Then Oz, Ant and myself got together with a friend called Mark Barrows and started Stepping Razors which came about inadvertently by us being asked to tour with Tyla (now that’s another story).  Jeff had left for New York by this time so we got together and it was fun…We were a great band – We cut a demo at the famous Toe-Rag Studio and then got some interest from Island (again) after a great show with Royal Trux but again it fell apart for one reason or another it was around this time I’d also started playing with Alan (Black Bombers) in the Morricone influenced Horse Feathers. Still going to this day we even got as far as recording that album (reviewed Here)
Me and Oz ended up playing with Brian (James) he’d asked us back in the Gunfire Dance days if we’d play in his band doing his solo album (the one on New Rose Records) we would have been The Brian James Gang but Brian suffered the loss of both his parents and then he had the money from Guns N Roses for using his song so he moved to France to raise his Son away from London.  some years later we got a phone call out of the blue it was Brian – he’d moved back to the UK and was now in Brighton and he wanted to do something so we resurrected the Brian James Gang with Jez Miller on guitar and vocals doing some Lords, Early Damned and his solo stuff… my ears still have yet to recover!!
I guess the next time I caught you live was when you were playing with Walter Lure.  Tell us how that all came about?
The Walter thing was when Oz got in touch via myspace we saw he’d been to Europe and released a live CD so we asked if he’d be interested in coming to the UK and we’d put a band together for him.  He said yes and the first show was that 100 Club gig where Walter flew in the day before we had one rehearsal and did the show it was brilliant.  He hadn’t played here for twenty-five years.  I can remember the expectancy and when I see the youtube footage of that gig I feel proud of what we did with one rehearsal!! Ha ha, We ended up doing a few more plus the Rebellion show and supported Jim Jones at their final show at the Forumthen when Walter finally retired from Wall Street we did a full UK tour.
Was there ever a chance to record as The Waldos?
It would have been good to record with Walter but there was never the time……He’s over here soon with Mick Rossi….When we played with Brian the plan was to record an album but it got sidetracked by that Lord’s reformation and never happened…
Onto your recent exploits – Black Bombers and Godfathers.  Firstly tell us how the band came together (Black Bombers)?
It came out of the Blue to be honest. Having not done anything for ages Alan and I got together with a few friends and ended up pulling a few songs together originally it was a four-piece but we struggled to find a direction. Eventually, it went down to a three-piece and when Dave joined on Drums we sort of found our sound.  We wanted to just play Rock and Roll but it had to be adult rock and roll musically and lyrically and try and avoid cliches…cranky…and gnarly – much like us men of a certain age! Haha.
The sound of the recordings is unbelievably good and I always tell people to go listen to the sound of the songs it’s huge. Have you always used the same guitar and amp?  What if any effects do you go through? We did the first 7″ in our rehearsal room, miked everything up and blasted away, even the vocals came straight from the PA ala ‘Funhouse’.  We did it that was not only to keep the cost down but we really liked it.  Recording like they used to back in the day – old bluesmen or something at Chess and that’s pretty much how we’ve done everything since.
In fact ‘Vol 4’ the backing tracks are all first takes we never played a song twice.  We rehearsed them without vocals so we knew them inside out and when it came to recording we just bashed them out. as for gear I have the same Precision that I bought with the Island advance back in Gunfire Dance days and I use no effects at all just crank it up!
You’ve recently found a home with Easy Action who also appreciates and releases some fab music and the packaging is always quality who came up with the artwork and design of the LP?  Dave our drummer is our resident artist, He designs all our covers he does a lot of work for easy action on the Dave Kusworth albums, in fact, he plays on some of them.
 
With a new Mini album or is it an EP? just released what next for the band? Yeah we just put out ‘Vol 4’ a 10″ mini album its been having some great reviews and we did a short run of shows to support it with the likes of Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind, The Folk Devils and a few more throughout the year (any promoters get in touch)  Also we’ve started putting some new songs together that will make a new album.
You’re also a member of Godfathers and recently released a live album, the sound of the band is exceptional and the band sounds like its having a ball really attacking the back catalogue. A lot of those old songs sound amazing and really fresh.  Tell us how and why you got involved with Peter and Godfathers?
I’ve been involved about three years now.  I stood in for a few festivals originally then Peter said they were going to record a new album and asked if I’d be involved and it’s as simple as that really. We made ‘A Big Bad Beautiful Noise’ which I think is a really good album and it stands up to any of the early 80’s Godfathers albums.
Before we finish up I wanted to ask why ‘Archway’ has never had a vinyl pressing.  Any chance of one?
 I would like to do a vinyl version of Archway of thorns…..Maybe get a band page up first see if there is enough interest…
Songs like ‘Blue’ sound timeless, how did the songwriting work in the band? The songs would come together in rehearsals really…’Blue’ for instance was just written around the bass line and some chords I threw together…Jeff put his thing over the top and Ant wrote the lyrics…We were all quite individual musicians and everyone played their part.
Is there anything still on the cutting room floor or did ‘Archway Of Thorns’ have the lot? 
There are some songs that we never recorded…..A few on YouTube clips…I have some live tapes from the Marquee with songs on that we never did in a studio…
Good Quality?
Not Bad.  The tapes I have were recorded by our driver on a minidisc player…There are a couple from Edward’s in Brum too.
You ought to celebrate the band and release the album on vinyl.
Jeff is coming over and doing a couple of Electrajet gigs in November…Oz is gonna play drums. ..Black Bombers gonna support. …That’s probably as near as you’ll get to a reunion…. Ha…
and that’s where we’ll end for now.  Thanks, Birchy for your time and effort.  I loved gunfire Dance still do and they shouldn’t be forgotten they should be championed as should his contribution to music whether it be through Walter Lure when he tours or as part of The Godfathers or with his own band Black Bombers if you’ve never heard any of them then be prepared for a treat  all mightily fine bands that deserve people time oh and if you would like to see ‘Archway Of Thorns’ on vinyl where it belongs then the campaign starts here.

Further adventures in Rock and Roll featuring Darren Birch can be found below

Horse Feathers Review Here

Black Bombers Review Here

Godfathers Review Here

It’s Friday night and when bands as cool as Continental Lovers and Sister Morphine are dewn tewn (that’s the Newportonian way of pronouncing “down town” just in case you thought it was a double typo) then there’s only one place RPM Online is going to be, especially when its FREE entry.

The unknown entity on tonight’s bill for yours truly is opener UPB. This three-piece relatively “unknown punk band” (think about it) are all local lads and apparently, they are also a band who avoid political subject matter within their songs. Then again that might just be singer/guitarist Matt yanking our collective chain, because what I can gather from watching their nine song set, is that all the songs drawn from their ‘Ranthology’ album (played in full here along with non-album track ‘Pirates’) are all pretty much politically charged or at least contain some poignant social commentary, albeit with UPB this all comes wrapped up with some instantly hummable melodies. Opener ‘The Thrill’, complete with its Sweeney intro being a perfect example.

Matt has more than a hint of Pete Shelley about him, so even when the band’s message is as blunt as ‘Fuck Off Boris’ there’s still a great hook to get stuck in your head, then when he switches into Jake Burns mode he has the aforementioned ‘Pirates’, a truly great tune, with which to weave his magic.

The best thing about UPB is that in the 30 odd minutes spent in their company here tonight I didn’t actually feel like I was on a night out in Zooport, nah I was in Blackpool (in my head at least) watching another great band at the annual Rebellion Festival and all that was missing was the sticky floor of the Empress Ballroom. As the band’s T-shirts proudly declare ‘Punks Not Dad’, and as long as there are bands like UPB out there it never will be.

That’s because it’s impossible to keep great music down folks, as the long overdue reunion of low-slung rock ‘n’ rollers Sister Morphine has proven. Yes, it might be over three decades since they were last out and about taking no prisoners whilst sharing stages with the likes of Gunfire Dance, Red Dogs and Last Of The Teenage Idols, but what’s thirty years when you’ve just released one of the surprise packages of the year in the shape of your debut album ‘Ghosts Of Heartbreak City’?

There are people here tonight who have travelled pretty much the width of the UK to witness the band’s second gig back together, and as the five-piece launch into their furious opener ‘Holy City Zoo’, it’s only the hints of grey in the hair of the band members that’s really the difference from how I remember them live first time around. Tight and brimming with cock sure attitude, this is incendiary stuff for sure, and as frontman Gaz Tidey (née James) quickly observes, if when his careers advisor told him as a 13-year-old that if he didn’t buck up his ideas he’d end up down the pit, then perhaps The Pit (as in tonight’s venue) wasn’t such a bad place to be after all. Thus, providing the almost near perfect intro to the band’s finest three minutes to date, ‘Nothing Dirty in the Truth’.

Unlike with the band’s first show back where due to the multi band line up it meant the band shared a backline and had only a vocal PA to help drive home their tunes, tonight, playing through a proper in house rig the guitars of Lloyd and (in particular) Nick cut though the humidity with razor-like precision whilst the mesmerising bass lines of ‘Hollywood’ Mike and the rock-solid drums of Denley Slade shake McCanns to its very foundations.

There are a few additional cuts included here tonight too, and these come in the shape of ‘Cry The Rain’ and ‘Days Of Wine & Roses’ which whilst these tracks do perhaps lean more towards the late ‘80s/early ‘90s flowery shirt scene of which the Morphine monster were very much a part of, that’s certainly no bad thing in my book, as it’s great to hear the latter track live once again after all these years, and it still sound so pertinent.

Look, I’ll admit I could be accused of nepotism here as I’ve long been friends with all the members of Sister Morphine, but they would also expect me to write the truth if they weren’t actually up to the mark. So, it’s with somewhat great relief that after Ben Hughes gave the band’s album a rave review on RPM just a few months back, I can echo his positivity when it comes to the band’s live show. Don’t believe me? Then just ask the punters that travelled from far and wide to be here tonight. It’s great to have the guys back it really is.

It’s great to have Continental Lovers frontman Joe Maddox back in Wales tonight too, because the man is not only like a brilliant ray of powerpop joy whenever he plays in our locale but as he reveals tonight, he’s also of Welsh heritage, with his father being born just down the road in Penarth.

The last time I bumped into Joe was when he was fronting The DeRellas at Rebellion Festival pre-pandemic and a lot has happened in the world since then, not least he’s gone and got himself a rather spiffing new outfit in the shape of Continental Lovers, and it’s a band you’re all going to love once you’ve heard them.

Taking to the stage to the intro tape of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll (Pt 2)’ opener ‘Tattered Star’ is a song that immediately takes you to a place somewhere between Joe’s old bands The Breakdowns and The DeRellas, then latest single ‘Paraffin Lips’ truly sets the touchpaper before ‘Tape Deck’ explodes in all our faces. BANG!

There’s an added edge and indeed image that bassist Keri K Sinn helps bring to the Lovers, being equal parts Noel Fielding and Johnny Thunders, he appears the perfect foil for his rhythmic partner in crime Rokket R Rik (a proper whacker of the drums not a tickler that’s for sure) over which Maddox and fellow six stringer Ben Webster can strut and pout like they are headlining their fifth sold out night at MSG not some basement bar in Newport.

The band’s debut single ‘Really Doesn’t Matter’ is a particular stand out for yours truly as is their exceptional cover of Stiv Bator’s ‘Make Up Your Mind’, a track which Joe states is likely to be the band’s next single. There are also times tonight where I detect subtle hints of both Phil Lynott and Tom Petty within Maddox’s songwriting and ‘Wedding Song’, which pops up mid set, is the most striking example of this. Of the rest of the set ‘St. Joan’, ‘Can’t Get Her Outta My Head’ and ‘Dale Arden’ all trash their way straight to our punk rock hearts before a double whammy of New York Dolls’ ‘Jetboy’ and Cheap Trick’s ‘He’s a Whore’ provide the perfect finale by which to send us all out into the cooling summer rain and our journeys home.

Make sure you check out Continental Lovers at Rebellion 2023, they play the After Dark Stage in the Arena on the Saturday at 11:45, the band have asked if you can, to please bring balloons. It’s going to be a one hell of a party folks!

Author: Johnny Hayward

Sacre farkin’ bleu, Brother and sisters, What a glorious album cover this is. Certainly grabbed my attention and made me want to investigate further. Cum Together? tell me more… RIGHT NOW! Bordeaux, France’s HEARTBEEPS have emerged from the ashes of TV KILLERS (Estrus Records / Dead Beat Records), for a punked-up orgy of noise with current and ex-members of Swindlers, Wild Zeros and Holeshots, and this their debut “Cum Together” LP is a fuckin’ hoot, 100 mph of joyful, reckless punk rock. Like a whirlwind of clashing guitars, and drums. It’s frantic garage-based punk rock n roll. Straight out of the bag marked The Saints, Pagans, DMZ, MC5, Radio Birdman, Dead Moon and more than a dash of Cavemen and of course those early Damned records.

From the opening few bars, you get the impression that Heartbeeps are here for a good time not a long time and with their amps dialled in to 11 there isn’t time to fuck about its crash bang wallop and hey ho let’s go!

It’s the kind of music that got Elvis and Jerry Lee into trouble back in the day. Hip-shaking sweaty rock n roll and from the lead track ‘Criminals’ you know just what’s going down. ‘Sick In Your Head’ is a runaway train heading for the buffers but who ever cared about that? Guitars being rinsed for all they’re worth and you can feel the exhaustion from the drummer’s snare as it rings out. Great opener and a signal of intent.

That’s pretty much the MO of ‘Cum Together’ it’s a rush of blood to the head crash, Bang Wallop! To be fair the minute I saw that artwork I knew I had to hear what was committed to wax because those faces tell a thousand stories and all of them great. ‘Aint No Crime’ is a more measured, slower beast but with a cool riff and a solo that could cut through steel. Hold still kids because you should buckle up for we’re off again running red lights with ‘Nightmare’ and thats wiped out with the grooving ‘Never Stop’ that had me thinking of Garage Rock royalty – Gunfire Dance, from the hip-shaking tambourine through the howling good time vocals this is top notch.

There is the belligerent and snotty ‘I Don’t Care’ but you could pick out any of the songs for praise because this is an absolute Banger of a record from start to finish. ‘Sake Blast’ rings out the chords in true Brian James style before signing the record off with the wonderfully titled ‘Trust No One And Fuck Everybody’, drop the mic and burn the studio to the ground it’s only fair right?

Heartbeeps have smashed out a rip-snorting Garage Punk and Roll Banger and shame on you if you don’t let this light up your life. Ok, Turn it up and let’s take it from the top one more time 1-2-3-4 Go!

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Author: Dom Daley

Back in the mists of time, sometime around 1994, I was gifted a second-hand t shirt (sleeves cut off, obviously). On the front was a cartoon dog and a cat with a baseball bat, in neon pink writing the band logo of some obscure, local glam band who had long since split up. That band were called Sister Morphine and on the back of that very same t shirt was the immortal phrase ‘SUCK MY JUBE!’. To this day I still have no idea what that means, and until recently what Sister Morphine actually sounded like, but I loved that t shirt and wore it to death. Turns out the singer of that very same band would be my boss/editor/sender of cool music during my time as a reviewer for the legendary Uber Rock website.

South Wales based Sister Morphine were regulars on the club circuit back in the late 80’s/early 90’s, supporting the likes of Last Of The Teenage Idols and Gunfire Dance. But sadly, the stars didn’t align and the band went their separate ways. Who would’ve guessed that Gaz Tidey, guitarists Jamesy & Jonesy, bassist Mike DeSouza and drummer Denley Slade would get the band back together during lockdown and record the debut album that they threatened to make back in those halcyon days of hairspray, fags and thunderbird wine.

So, while you and I were baking banana bread, drinking beer at 10am and watching Tiger King on Netflix, Sister Morphine were scouring their lofts for lost rehearsal tapes, to find the best versions of their beloved songs from a lifetime ago, to see if they really could resurrect Sister Morphine from the graveyard of empty bottles and claim their rightful place as the kings of Glunk Rock 2023!

But why should you care about lost songs recorded by a bunch of 50-somethings, written a lifetime ago? Well, it turns out Sister Morphine can knock out a few tunes, and bloody good ones at that! I must say I was pleasantly surprised when I heard the first single and title track ‘Ghosts Of Heartbreak City’. Who knew Mr. Tidey had such a sleazy vocal delivery that would stand up after all these years. With a voice that sits somewhere between Ricky Warwick and Zodiac Mindwarp, he takes the catchy melody by the scruff of the neck, over a tune that could be an AI generated mash up of The Dogs D’amour and The Quireboys. It’s a 70’s glam rock boogie of a tune and the perfect introduction to the party going on down at Heartbreak City!

Recorded at RedRock studios in Blackwood and produced by Lyndon Price of Welsh metal legends Wild Pussy, ‘Ghosts Of Heartbreak City’ is a 15-song blast of high-octane rock n’ roll that features regulars from their live sets, lost tracks from the archives and four brand new songs for you to devour.

Opener ‘Holy City Zoo’ has already been likened to Motorhead by those in the know, and references Bowie, Duran and Roxy Music. It’s a 2 minute & 22 second statement of intent, job done.

You want punky, low slung rock n’ roll with more attitude than Rocky on steroids? Then look no further than second track ‘Do You Wanna Get Wasted?’. Now that’s a song title any angst-filled youth of today can get on board with, right?  Good job it sounds like Zodiac Mindwarp jamming with Backyard Babies and Johnny Thunders then, innit!

The Scandinavian punk rock vibes continue on the likes of second single ‘Nothing Dirty In The Truth’ where the rousing verses and killer chorus showcase a band who really mean it. Elsewhere, ‘Black Hearts & Bruised Egos’ channels Circus Of Power and early Alice Cooper garage rock vibes to great effect.

What’s not to like here? I’m loving this album. Maybe it’s the nostalgia, or maybe I’m biased, but I’ll tell you one thing for certain, Sister Morphine have some killer tunes going on.

Lifting a page out of Tyla’s songbook, ‘Cry The Rain’ is a big tune about love gone bad, set to a Faces-lite rock n’ roll boogie, with some rousing backing vocals. Sava a place in your heart for this one. The hook-laden ‘8 Tracks & Zodiacs’ is another of the new songs, and a potential single for sure. A song about a girl, it has catchy 90’s brit rock vibes that sit well and is a serious earworm.

The strengths of this album lie in the songwriting, the diversity and the production. It’s all pretty high-octane stuff, but they do throw in a curve ball towards the end with the countrified blues of ‘Living With Snakes’. Acoustics, slide guitar and harmonica go a long way to show Sister Morphine ain’t one trick ponies. 

While ‘Ghosts Of Heartbreak City’ has one foot planted firmly in the past, it brings a classic sound smack up to date for 2023 with a great production. Full of rock n’ roll nostalgia and clever tongue-in-cheek lyricism, we get sleazy punk rock, 70’s boogie rock and countrified goodness all wrapped up in one cool little package.

If Sister Morphine’s only ambition was to realize their dream of releasing a debut album that could stand tall with the artists of their era, then they have easily succeeded. But I feel they have surpassed those ambitions by taking the music to places their teenage selves could never imagine. ‘Ghosts Of Heartbreak City’ is a pretty unique album, in that it has been recorded by a bunch of 50 somethings, yet it has the energy and sonics of a band half their age. And you know what? I’ll be happy to file that shiny new CD in the rack, somewhere between Shotgun Messiah and Skid Row, where it should have sat for the last 30 years.

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Author: Ben Hughes

We’d like to begin the rundown of what we enjoyed in 2022 by dishing up some of the best live shows we attended as a team. We read some books, saw some videos, listened to countless new albums, played some wonderful reissues. If you notice we haven’t covered some of your favourite bands then why not drop us a line and join the team? 2023 is already stacking up with new albums and tours already booked and if you think you can add to RPM Online then get in touch rpmonlinetcb@yahoo.co.uk

So without delay here are some of the writer’s favs for 2022…

Ben Hughes –

Best Live Shows

  1. The Interrupters/The Skints/Bar Stool Preachers – O2 Academy, Leeds
  2. Starcrawler – The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge
  3. Viagra Boys – Sheffield University
  4. Sierra Ferrell – The Cluny, Newcastle
  5. The Black Skies – The Crescent, York
  6. Ginger Wildheart & Jon Poole – The Parish, Huddersfield
  7. The Mission – The Crescent, York
  8. The Warner E Hodges Band/Ryan Hamilton – The Crescent, York
  9. Ryan Hamilton/Emily Capell – Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds
  10. Chrissie Hynde Band – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds     

Best Reissues

  1. Demolition 23 – ‘Demolition 23’
  2. Silver Sun – ‘Silver Sun’ & ‘Neo Wave’
  3. Jesse Malin – ‘Glitter In The Gutter’   

Best Box Set

Jellyfish – ‘When These Memories Fade’

Kenny Kendricks

Best Live Shows 

Eric Martin – The Patriot, Crumlin

Zac & the New Men – The Patriot, Crumlin 

Saxon/Diamond Head – St David’s Hall, Cardiff

Green Lung – Steelhouse Festival 

Michael Schenker Group – Steelhouse Festival 

Valhalla Awaits – Steelhouse Festival 

Geoff Tate – Patti Pavilion, Swansea

Mother Vulture – Planet Rockstock

Phil Campbell & the Bastard Sons – Planet Rockstock 

Best Books

Dave Grohl – The Storyteller 

Rob Halford – Biblical 

Bono – Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story 

Best New Act 

Mother Vulture 

Best Reissue 

Motörhead – Iron Fist 40th Anniversary 

Diamond Head – Lightning to the Nations 

Best Box Set 

Slade – All the World’s a Stage

Biggest Disappointment 

Still no sign of a Tony Martin era Black Sabbath box set….

Contribution to Music

Judas Priest getting recognition from the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame 

Johnny Hayward

GIGS OF 2022

  1. Brett Anderson & Charles Hazlewood with Paraorchestra – Cardiff Millennium Centre  & Cock Sparrer – London Roundhouse
  2. Gary Numan – Cardiff University
  3. Rebellion 2022 – Blackpool Winter Gardens
  4. Midnight/Night Demon – Bristol Exchange
  5. Killing Joke – Cardiff Tramshed
  6. Supersuckers/The Hip Priests/Deathtraps – Newport Le Pub
  7. Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert – Wembley Stadium
  8. Jesse Malin – Newport Le Pub
  9. The Atom Age/Pizzatramp – Newport Le Pub
  10. Scene Killers/Deathtraps/System Reset – Newport McCanns 

MUSIC BOOKS of 2022

  1. Denim & Leather: The Rise and Fall of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal – Michael Hann
  2. Stunt Rocker: The Many Faces of Andy Ellison – Andy Ellison
  3. The Road Bends – Sami Yaffa

BEST NEW ACT

Continental Lovers

Best Reissues of 2022

  1. Demolition 23 – ‘Demolition 23’
  2. Silver Sun – ‘Silver Sun’ & ‘Neo Wave’
  3. Diamond Head – ‘Lightning To The Nations’ 

Best Box Sets of 2022

KISS – ‘Creatures Of The Night (40th Anniversary – Super Deluxe Box Set)’

David Bowie – ‘Divine Symmetry’

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

The world of rock seemingly forgetting Phil Anselmo’s love of Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc from just a few years ago. The Lickerish Quartet calling it a day and ‘Under The Midnight Sun’ by The Cult…I simply expect more from that band.

CONTRIBUTION to MUSIC – Michael Monroe

Michael Monroe, who turned 60 earlier this year and assembled one of the best gig line ups anywhere on the planet in 2022 to help celebrate the special occasion. He also features in my albums and reissues of year lists and having been a part of my life for about 40 years now I take my hat off to the man who (thankfully) lives to fast to die young.

Dominic Daley

The Best Reissues

Demolition 23 – ‘Demolition 23’ (Wicked Cool Records)

Gunfire Dance – ‘Witness To the Crime’ (Easy Action Records)

Manic Street Preachers – ‘Know Your Enemy’

The Joneses – Discography 1

A Bombs – ‘And Constantly Rotating’ (Beluga Records)

Silversun – neo wave & self title

The Boys – ‘To Hell With The Boys’

Black Sabbath – ‘Mob Rules’ & ‘Heaven and Hell’

Best Box Set

The Libertines – ‘Up The Bracket’

Joe Strummer – ‘002’

Celtic Frost – ‘Dance Macabre’

Best Books –

Sami Yaffa – ‘The Road Bends’

Michael Hann – ‘Denim And Leather’

Peter Doherty – ‘The Likely Lad’

Best Live

The Damned – Hammersmith Odeon

The Libertines / Trampolene / Dead Freight – Cardiff University

Midnight – Bristol Exchange

Rebellion & R Fest – Gary Numan

Jesse Malin – Newport Le Pub

Supersuckers, Hip Priests, Deathtraps – Le Pub

The Mission – Cardiff Tramshed

The Wonderstuff – Cardiff Tramshed

The Interrupters, Bar Stool Preachers – Bristol Marble factory

Soul Asylum , – Bristol Fleece

Contribution to music –

Michael Monroe – turning 60 and like John said Monroe also reissued Demolition 23, reissued Hanoi Rocks ‘Oriental Beat’ (Early 2023) He also played what would have been the show of the year and is still going super stong with tours already booked for 2023 there is no slowing down and the quality never dips.

Biggest Disappointment – pressing plants taking forever delaying releases whilst repressing a bazzillion adele and Fleetwood Mac albums that sit in warehouses. The Tories for brexshit and the escalation in mail prices for imports and causing the world and his wife to have to go on strike to fight for a decent standard of living.

Venues charging bands for merch.

Martin Chamarette

Gig of the year

The Damned Hammersmith Odeon

Dan Kasm

Best Live

Ash – Free All Angels anniversary tour, Manchester Ritz

Psychedelic Furs – Made Of Rain tour, 

Liverpool Academy

Salt The Snail – Snailmania,

Birkenhead Future Yard

Pavement – Reunion cash in jaunt, 

Roundhouse Camden

Bambara – Love On My Mind tour, 

Birkenhead Future Yard 

Best Books

Corporate Rock Sucks – Jim Rutland “I’m always a little bit out of step being a paperback fan but I’m afraid I could not wait to imbibe in the killer content of this weighty tome.

Best New act

For me the ones to watch out for are Edinburgh’s Swim School. Savage Alt Rock guitar chops mixed up with sublime dreamscapes to get lost in. 

Biggest disappointment – 

It’s been a year for splits, fractures and generally making fans pick sides through the power of social media and not letting sleeping dogs lie. Hoping for 2023 that the room will be read and certain parties will not fan the flames any further and move on. 

Nev Brooks

TOP  GIGS

1)GARY NUMAN -CARDIFF UNIVERSITY

2)KILLING JOKE- TRAMSHED CARDIFF

3)THE CURE- CARDIFF C.I.A.

3)PRIMAL SCREAM-SCREAMADELICA (CARDIFF CASTLE)

5)JESSE MALIN- NEWPORT LePUB

6)JOHN CALE & SPECIAL GUESTS- CARDIFF MILLENIUM CENTRE

7)COWBOY JUNKIES- ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL LONDON

8)LADY BLACKBIRD- BRISTOL TRINITY

9)RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS- LONDON STADIUM

10)KILLING JOKE C.I.A CARDIFF

RE-ISSUE OF THE YEAR

DEMOLITION 23- DEMOLITION 23

BOX SET

PRINCE- PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION LIVE

So there you have some of the events and music that has been a big part of some of the writers on RPM Online throughout 2022. A big thanks from RPMHQ for all their efforts.


After receiving the inevitable Fashionably late singles we had to reconvene the Singles Club and pull the virtual dust sheet off the Jukebox and spin the black circles before we shut down for the year. It’s lean but its an oh so talented bunch of bangers. Check out this lot…

IDLES – ‘WHITE PRIVILEGE’ (Partisan) Lifted from the album “Five Years of Brutalism” out from the 9th December 2022 on Partisan Records. you can pick it up here: https://idles.lnk.to/FYOB A pretty vital and exciting performance from Idles is added to the debut album. A proper intense banger. #fuckthetories

Sister Morphine – ‘Ghost Of Heartbreak City’ (Self Release) The highly anticipated release (16th of December if you’re asking) sees Sister Morphine Axl dance through your devices and out of your speakers – a couple of decades later than it should have been released but who cares? Like a fine wine it’s been left to mature over time and now is the right time to unleash this bad boy.

Hot on the (Cuban) heels of the Gunfire Dance debut vinyl album seeing the light of day or the debut vinyl press of Demolition 23, Sister Morphine have gone one step further by going into a studio to record their old tunes (and some new tunes), to give them a modern and fresh feel and what we have here is the lead track off that album, literally hot off the press – ‘Ghost Of Heartbreak City’ is a barnstormer a real shot of energy. It’s a good time wedged into the modern world complete with howling good time guitars, rollicking piano and some great gang vocals on the chorus. Clinging onto the ethos that Rock and Roll is indeed timeless and the fact that this band went on their hiatus in the early 90s, cryogenically preserved Rock n Roll will warm your heart on a cold South Walian night. Rock ‘n’ Roll never sounded so good and up for it – Get on it kids and keep your eye peeled for the full makonkee. We’ll keep you posted on all things Sister Morphine because you deserve it. Facebook

Neil Leyton – ‘(I Got A Call From) Michael Maker’ (Self Release) My heart beats faster when I get news from someone I love listening to is making a record and one of those artists happens to be a guy called Neil Leyton some will be familiar others not so. Let me tell you if you happen to be in the dark about his past then I suggest you catch up after you put this on your playlist and work backward. The man has talent oozing from every pore and has written dozens of excellent songs and you can add this to that list. It’ll burrow into your ear and cling to your brain making everything feel right and proper for the four minutes it’s ringing out into the world. Neil Leyton releasing Rock and Roll music makes me so happy – it’s been long overdue. Available from Monday 11th December Here / Neil Leyton discography Here

Status Quo – ‘It’s Christmas time’ (earMUSIC) A Strictly Limited Collector’s Single of their festive anthem ‘It’s Christmas Time’. The song has been freshly remastered this year and will be released on earMUSIC on 16 December 2022. ‘It’s Christmas Time’ will be available in two strictly limited physical formats: Dark Green 10” Vinyl Single featuring two tracks, and a five song “Freestyle” Maxi-CD.
 
As well as the evergreen ‘It’s Christmas Time’ this release will also feature brand new 2022 studio versions of the band’s timeless classics ‘Caroline’, ‘Paper Plane’ & ‘Rockin’ All Over The World’. ‘It’s Christmas Time’ was originally released in 2008 and was written by the late great Rick Parfitt and Wayne Morris.

Black Star Riders – ‘Riding Out the Storm’ (Earache Records) Following the announcement of new guitarist Sam Wood, Black Star Riders, the Anglo American rockers featuring Ricky Warwick (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Robert Crane (Bass Guitar) and drummer Zak St. John, are excited to release their new single ‘Riding Out The Storm’, which is accompanied by a video, directed and produced by famed video maker Tony Aguilera (Jerry Cantrell, Killer Be Killed, Orianthi) in Los Angeles. 

NEW ALBUM WRONG SIDE OF PARADISE  OUT 20TH JANUARY 2023 ON EARACHE RECORDS and

10th ANNIVERSARY UK TOUR IN FEBRUARY 2023 Tickets are on sale now from www.mytickets.co.uk.

Scumbag Millionaire – ‘Strike Me Down’ (Suburban Records) Swedish action punk band Scumbag Millionaire releases ‘Strike Me Down’ Ho HO Ho what a banger! A Christmas Cracker if you like. From the rumbling bassline to the howling distorted vocals these guys are delivering the goods big time. Get on it kids this is a blast! Taken from the B Sides and oddities album set for release early in 2023 entitled ‘Barely Alive!’ Get on it only available on wax! Website

Brian Ray – ‘On My Way To You’ b/w ‘The Story of Bonnie And Clyde’ (feat. Orianthi) Brian Ray is back with a brand new single.  Fresh off of a tour as guitarist/bassist with Paul McCartney, Brian is returning to releasing solo music with this single.  The b-side, The Story of Bonnie And Clyde, is a duet with Orianthi.  In addition to his solo career, Brian has also worked with Etta James, Smokey Robinson, Willy DeVille, and many more.  These experiences give him a unique style, which is evident in this new release. orcd.co/onmywaytoyou

Lucifer Star Machine – ‘I Wanted Everything’ (The Sign Records) The second single from Lucifer Star Machine’s forthcoming 5th studio album. A song about whether you’re living life to the fullest or you’re looking back at lost opportunities. Raw twin guitars and melodic vocals in perfect balance. Punk rock with a huge pop sensibility and great potential for radio plays. The single release is followed by tour dates in Germany, Czech Republic and the UK.

Neverland Ranch Davidians – ‘Rat Patrol’ (Heavy Medication Records) The first single from the debut album by L.A.’s Neverland Ranch Davidians, the missing link between The Blues Explosion, Suicide and Stax Records.

With a fevered local following, a slew of memorable shows with cult bands including Last of the Teenage Idols, Gunfire Dance, and Red Dogs, in much-missed U.K. venues like Cardiff Bogiez, Doncaster Jug, and Birmingham’s Edwards No. 8, and a deal agreed with South Bank Studio (who released the debut Manic Street Preachers single, ‘Suicide Alley’) for a four-track 12-inch single, South Wales lowslung rock ‘n’ rollers, SISTER MORPHINE, appeared to be about to climb onto the next rung on the ladder to success. As a song once told us, however, it’s a long way to the top (if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll) and, after operating from 1989 to 1991, the planets failed to align and the band members went their separate ways… until now!

Things got weird for everyone during the pandemic, so much so that the rediscovery of a bunch of three-decade-old audio cassettes didn’t seem that much of a big deal; but for the former members of Sister Morphine this find provided the catalyst for a most unlikely of reunions. The tapes contained long-lost songs – some only existing in rough rehearsal form – that the band members (guitarists, Jamesy and Jonesy – later of experimental collective, The Friday Night Sound System; drummer, Denley Slade – who has shared stages with everyone from Blondie’s Clem Burke to Cherie Currie of The Runaways, via Jetboy, The Quireboys, and Dan Baird, as a member of Sal and Last Great Dreamers; vocalist, Gaz Tidey – a founder of the Uber Rock website and co-author of ‘Til the Death of Rock and Roll’, the tie-in novel for The Loyalties album of the same name; and bassist, Mike DeSouza – now working in the film industry with credits including The Mummy, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Men In Black: International on his IMDB profile) barely remembered.

An agreement was quickly put into place that the band would reunite to record the best ever versions of these songs, and that the recording would take place at RedRock Studios and be produced by Lyndon Price, a former member of Welsh metal legends, Wild Pussy; the first band that Sister Morphine ever supported! The planning, however, had to be done over a messaging app as the country was awash with regional lockdowns. The frustration felt at having to rein in the excitement resulted in not one, but three brand new songs being written over the same messaging app, ready to be fleshed out once the band members could hit the rehearsal room. Then, those three new songs quickly became four and a fifteen-track album tracklisting was fashioned, consisting of those four new songs alongside five never-before-heard songs from the tape archive, and six “classics” from the band’s vintage live setlist.

Those new songs (the high octane garage rock of album opener, ‘Holy City Zoo’, and ‘Nothing Dirty in the Truth’; the melodious melancholy of ‘90s hit that never was, ‘8-Tracks & Zodiacs’; the ‘70s glam stomp of title track, ‘Ghosts of Heartbreak City’) blend perfectly with the vintage tunes (including the punk ‘n’ roll banger that is ‘Red-Eye Juice’ and the horns-heavy ‘Seven Long Years’) with those previously unheard songs (including the irony-smeared ‘Do You Wanna Get Wasted?’ and the outlaw country tearjerker with a twist, ‘Get Back Home’) no doubt having you ask yourself why they were hidden away for so long.

Those fifteen gutter-dirty, lowslung rock ‘n’ roll songs now exist as the band’s long-threatened debut album, ‘Ghosts of Heartbreak City’; set to be released on digital platforms and digipak CD on 14th February, 2023 via Big Egg Records. Yes, there is going to be another St. Valentine’s Day Massacre!

‘Ghosts of Heartbreak City’ tracklisting:

1.) ‘Holy City Zoo’

2.) ‘Do You Wanna Get Wasted?’

3.) ‘Ghosts of Heartbreak City’

4.) ‘Cry the Rain’

5.) ‘Nothing Dirty in the Truth’

6.) ‘Waiting on Salvation’

7.) ‘8-Tracks & Zodiacs’

8.) ‘Red-Eye Juice’

9.) ‘Ain’t No Love Song’

10.) ‘Living With Snakes’

11.) ‘Sea of Love’

12.) ‘Black Hearts & Bruised Egos’

13.) ‘Days of Wine & Roses’

14.) ‘Get Back Home’

15.) ‘Seven Long Years’

For Fans Of: Dead Boys; New York Dolls; D Generation; Heartbreakers; Faces; The Dogs D’Amour; Radio Birdman; Hanoi Rocks; The Clash; The Damned; Gluecifer; Alice Cooper Group

It’s been a while in the making but it’s finally here, Steve Vincent has assembled a cast of reprobate Rockers to assist in pulling this together and apart from writing and playing a lot of the instruments himself, he’s accentuated a lot of the tracks by drafting in the likes of Danny McCormack from the Wildhearts and Steve Conte from Michael Monroe band as well as Miqu December from Plastic Tears who also has a writing credit on a track he duets on (‘Fallen Wheel’).

Hailing back to a time when Grunge killed off glam and all strands associated rightly or wrongly struggled with the association people like Steve survived and moved on but never lost the passion and love for Rock n Roll. In a time (the early 90s) when London was alive with real rockers and genuine great bands like Gunfire Dance, Kill City Dragons, Cheap and Nasty to name a few who stood a fighting chance but never quite fitted in with the punk rock crowd nor the glam rock dandies it was a more gritty mid 80’s feel going on, Steve kept going with his band Paradise Alley who were also out of step with what was considered Glam and what would have cut it as punk.

The band limped on in various states playing towns and cities from America and beyond but burrowing away at home writing and recording Steve kept his powder dry and long after Grunge ate itself, Steve appears like a genie from a bottle (of thunderbird wine no doubt) and delivers a solo record that deserves being championed from these here pages as I wonder how or why it’s taken so long to get all this music out there. Steve does a sterling job on the harmonica he blows on up-tempo opener ‘Yesterdays Man’ with its layers of sound from the picked guitar and Danny McCormack throb on the bass. That sleazy Hanoi Rocks inspired swagger of ‘All I Wanna Do’ has Steve wheezing on that harmonica again for a barroom sing-a-long with some decent guitar licks courtesy of Mattias Johansson and some most welcome joanna tinkling courtesy of Matt Connor adding to a feel-good rocker. The late night come down flip side of ‘All I Wanna Do’ is ‘Last Train To Babylon’ with a laid-back tempo and groove with some tasty guitar playing courtesy of former New York Doll Steve Conte which seems apt as the New Yorker adds some real Noo Yawk flavour to the mix about the city that never sleeps.

Steve swaps his pixie boots for a pair of two-inch creepers and puts his foot to the floor for ‘Can’t Bring Me Down’ as the lyrics take a darker turn so does the groove – it shows a side that isn’t just good times and parties but real issues and a riff to boot on this well-constructed darker song.

Once dubbed as the “happy song”, ‘Falling’ is a standard rocker wearing a big smile and it shows – you certainly feel it. ‘Fortune wheel’ is co-written with Miqu from Plastic Tears and works well. Left to ferment from the 90’s it reached its vintage and this toe-tapper leads the charge into the home straight.

The penultimate song ‘Sleepwalking’ is a self-confessed homage to Stiv Bator who I’m sure would have approved of the songs meaning and story he’d also have enjoyed the meandering guitar work that underpins the riff that oozes glam punk not some powder puff Sunset Strip Glam Rock but a gritty authentic Punk Rock slice of Glam grafted from mid 80s wardour street to the here and now, excellent stuff.

To close off the album is the gentle and considered acoustic ballad that is ‘Lost Boys And Fallen Angels’ dedicated and inspired by a former bandmate who lost his life a decade ago and to people everywhere who’ve lost someone with a PMA and kind soul that’s never coming back – it’s a fine and fitting end to a really impressive album showing that Steve Vincent has many strings to his bow and an ability to write and record some excellent rock and roll. Long live real Glam Punk Rock n Roll and keep on keeping on Steve – this is a record that deserves to be heard and hopefully just the start.

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Author: Dom Daley