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InterviewsTour Interview

Interview with John Brewster (The Angels)

Australian rock royalty, The Angels announced their rescheduled tour dates for 2022 for both the Darkroom Recharged and Greatest Hits tours.  Rohan had a great chat with John Brewster about what to expect on this long-awaited tour.

Australian rock royalty, The Angels have announced their rescheduled tour dates for 2022 for both the Darkroom Recharged and Greatest Hits tours. Running from May through to December and commencing with shows in the band’s birthplace of Adelaide, performances have been confirmed across Melbourne, NSW, Queensland and Perth. 

This announcement follows rave reviews for their performances on the Red Hot Summer Tour and their set at Bluesfest, which Guitarist John Brewster described as, “one of the most magic things we’ve done in a long time” and was hailed by Bluesfest director Peter Noble as “one of the great Bluesfest shows”.

Darkroom Recharged is a four to the floor rock show in the great tradition of Aussie pubs and clubs.  The re-recorded classic album of the same name was released in 2020 and gifted fans with a new version of the record featuring founding members John and Rick Brewster, singer Dave Gleeson, drummer Nick Norton, and John’s son, Sam, on bass.  The “recharged” double version also featured the full record as a live album, recorded at the Bridge Hotel in Sydney.  

Upon release, Rick Brewster said, “Darkroom has always been a very special album for us, marking the time when we left Alberts and toured America and Europe. It completes the Face to Face/No Exit/Darkroom Trilogy, recorded both in the Studio and Live, with bonus tracks and the occasional progression from the original recordings”. 

John Brewster also explained, “The Angels have a long history that we can be proud of, as we are every member that’s played in the band over the years. These days we continue to write and record new songs, and with Dave Gleeson, Sam Brewster and Nick Norton it’s great to revisit the Darkroom album, one of my favourites.”

The Greatest Hits dates in August and September will thrill audiences with performances of wall-to-wall hits, ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’, ‘No Secrets’, ‘Take A Long Line’, ‘Shadow Boxer’, ‘Marseilles’, ‘Comin’ Down’, ‘After The Rain’, ‘Face The Day’, ‘Fashion and Fame’, ‘Let The Night Roll On’, ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place’, ‘Mr Damage’ … and more.

The Angels have celebrated some major milestones in recent times seeing the 45th  anniversary of their debut single release, ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’, roll around and vocalist Dave Gleeson has also now been performing the band for over 10 years. 

As the book, The 100 Best Australian Albums pointed out, “The Angels can lay claim to being Australia’s longest-lasting band.” They have been on the road consistently since 1974 and it took a global pandemic to slow them down.  Now the band is itching to get back on stage and they’re not mucking around!””

Tickets from the https://theangels.com.au/



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Interview with Dave Gleeson (The Screaming Jets)

We all have some skeletons in the closet, but Nikki Sixx has a whole graveyard hiding in his. The First 21 takes you through one bag of bones at a time in a very candid journey through his life. His honesty is to be commended, and I felt his pain on many occasions, as he unfurled his childhood demons and his life living as Frankie Ferrana Jnr.
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Album ReviewReviews

Wicked Smile – Wait For The Night

A wealth of musical experience, a writhing powerhouse of talented individuals, a collective passion for metal and heavy rock, all culminate into this brutally brilliant debut release that is certain to bring a wicked smile to your dial.

Wait for the Night has been a long time in the making and one can only imagine the volume of songs that were left in the wake of this debut album that did not make it to the final cut, because it is immediately evident that Wicked Smile has been thoroughly ruthless in getting this collection just right. 

With the opener sporting a mighty metal title like Date with the Devil, my malevolent mosh monster within expects big things from the first track.This band realises that we purists are sure to play the collection in sequence and there is only one chance for first impressions, but then the album cover makes clear that there is an OG aspect to this mighty debut album.The whole package harks back to the days of exploring a record in the sequenced order presented, just as the band intended whilst the listener stares at the cover, enjoying every aspect of the experience.As the muffled bass intro rises from the depths and surfaces through to our mortal dimension, a devil indeed rises to the fore. The accompanied by a blistering guitar salute, a malign and maniacal dance ensues, doubtless marking that our date with the demon has begun.With Stevie, Glen, Dave, and Jason in full flight within seconds, the vocal might of Danny Cecati puts vocal perfection to this track and a thoroughly sensational journey begins in earnest.Slashed and ripped by the skilfully delivery of riffage from Stevie and neck sore already from the mosh, my inner metal monster is exhilarated with pain-ridden glee, begging for the band to deliver more.

The now well-known and widely enjoyed Wait For The Night flows forth from the speakers to perfection as the delights of a well-celebrated hard rock heritage ooze from this album, but again the sequencing is a joy to experience as the list of suspected influences swirl through your mind.But there is a welcome realisation that despite there being a familiarity with sound, note, style, and delivery, Wicked Smile has achieved a rock elegance in their music that is all their own. But entwined within that sound is a regular homage to styles that have helped craft the band's own brand.I challenge you to enjoy the beginning of We Fall and not be ripped straight back to 1982 in hearing Goanna usher in Solid Rock with the didgeridoo.But just as Shane Howard explains that out here nothing changes, not in a hurry anyway, the I am reminded of the lads from Like A Storm who have melded metal and didgeridoo in more recent years, and whilst pondering this thought the opening seconds, Wicked Smile have snuck in a soaring, stadium shaking behemoth of a rock anthem into the line-up.Chills accompany the chorus as you realise that one day we will be screaming this song back at them in the likes of Rod Laver Arena, thinking I knew this song when the debut album was first released. Wow.

While you are still in the throes of the former, the pace eases with Sign Of Times but the sheer magnificence of the music journey does not let up one solitary ounce. This ballad of somber reflection is especially fitting after the last two years here on earth, but before long this emotive masterwork takes you in its rock embrace and serenades you into a state of momentary and blissful amnesia. Then, snap…just like that…we are back. This brilliant song is a timely reminder of how musicians the world over, help sooth our journey and mark the moments with their creations. With Wicked Smile as no exception, a song like this can whisk you away and guide you to momentary distraction or provide the timely reminded that we are all in this together. Music is indeed the great unifier.

Just like every track before, Daze Of Delirium is perfectly sequenced to provide the bridge back to riff ridden excitement. The rhythmic powerhouse behind this mammoth sound in Glen Cave and Jason Tyro is utterly relentless and keeps the sound alive, pumping and pulsating the energy through each track. Ostensibly, Killer At Large levels the sound and creates some mid album consistency, but this track is lulling you into a sense of stability before Last Goodbye takes you by surprise. Spoiler alert, and with all due respect, this isn’t Jeff Buckley. As the rhythm and lead attest while pounded to pace by Jason at the kit in intro, this song is straight out of the emotive high energy playbook, and before long Danny has your heart soaring in sensational style. I tried my best at 1 minute 20 but going to have to squeeze a lot harder to get anywhere near those lofty vocal heights. Musically and spiritually.   So red faced and hoarse of throat, I feel calmed as a serenading siren beckons me forth into Loves Got A Hold On You. I have no idea if the band intended me to picture the likes of a beautiful mermaid as bait to loves malicious intent, luring me forward but the lyrics and power of this tracks soon confirm that we are indeed on the same track. Well…sort of, but regardless, it’s all bound to end in tears. What a track.

Don’t Wait For Me. I have no words and neither I should. This I leave to the listener to experience for themselves. With one caveat. I beg of you to listen to the song in album sequence and enjoy the experience. 

Stronger. Could the finale title be more apt? Could the collection be completed any better? Again, I leave this to you the listener, but it is rare indeed that vocally, lyrically, and musically and song compels you to start the entire album all over again.

The Wicked Smile protagonists have all the experience necessary to know that a debut has encapsulated the spirit of the band and their belief while knocking the socks right off the first-time listener, but they have taken this a little further with Wait For The Night by taking the listener by the throat, shaking them from their shoes and demanding the attention this mighty first album so richly deserves. Bravura Wicked Smile. A thoroughly brilliant work that deserves a place of prominence in every music collection.

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Album ReviewReviews

Suzi Quatro – The Devil In Me

If anything good could come from the circumstances the world continues to face in 2021, the new album from Suzi Quatro, The Devil In Me must surely feature at the top of the list.

COVID-19 continues to bring destruction and despair, and without wishing to make light of any of the horrible circumstances people face the world over, how dare this virus conceive of the notion that it could get the better of the queen of rock n roll herself. It was good news indeed, but little surprise to loyal fans, that Suzi Quatro had indeed overcome the horrible effects of COVID and kicked its arse in true rock style.

Due for release on March 26th through SPV/Sledgehammer and available as a CD DigiPak or 2 LP in Gatefold with bonus tracks, (Can I Be Your Girl & Desperado), the cover art of this brilliant collection says it all.  A scorching, smoking, sizzling Suzi Quatro in sensational form, stamping her brilliant brand on page 2021 in the annals of music history.

The Devil In Me…OH MY GOD.  I had unreasonably high expectations after No Control, but Suzi has still managed to blow those lofty anticipations out of the stratosphere.  With the world of live music put on hold for 2020, Suzi and her son Richard Tuckey decided that the year would not go to waste.  After stumblin’ in to their magnificent musical partnership in the creation of No Control, which really started with an idea and a few demo recordings, the team is back, and in magnificent form.  No Control had many stand-out features that made it an overwhelmingly enjoyable album, but the creative partnership and the organic results, made manifest in the music were the true champions of the collection.  With The Devil In Me we bear witness to a maturing of the sound and creativity, all wrapped in a rollercoaster of an album, oozing honesty, diversity, and absolute musical brilliance.  With tracks like Get Outta Jail and Isolation Blues, I feel that Suzi will forgive me for referring to this album as a child of lockdown, but what we discover are the results of time and dedicated efforts. No tour schedules or other outside interference, interrupting the creative process.  One of the most remarkable elements of this album is how Suzi and Richard have drawn from the well of two lifetimes of musical influence and provided us with a veritable kaleidoscope of styles.  From decades of blues-infused stimulation to Motown magnificence, to the magic of classic rock n roll with all the thrill of your first trip down to Devilgate Drive, our dynamic duo have rolled them into such a monumentally brilliant work that has, quite literally, something for everyone. From the first moment, the opening title track envelopes you in the exciting notion that Suzi is far from finished in thrilling the world with her unique and timeless style.  The Devil In Me surreptitiously eases the listener into the new collection.  It’s only later that you realise how seductive this number is with all its nestled elements of hooky guitar, claps, and harmonica. But subsequently Hey Queenie and then Betty Who? continue the journey so brilliantly and together, after only 3 tracks, they're enough to turn any Mama’s Boy into a Daytona Demon. Little wonder with the contribution of the wonderful Cherie Currie providing guest vocals on Betty Who?

The blending of styles in the haunting You Can’t Dream It, followed by the incredibly emotive My Heart and Soul are your evidence that the skillful writing team can provide the Midas touch to any stylisation, they select as best suited to conveying their musical message.  I’m certain that dry eyes would not have been the case when Rainer first heard My Heart and Soul (Need you home for Christmas). Wow!

The diversity and musical mastery continue as the aural journey unfolds before you, and you will certainly have sufficient songs to accompany each passing mood, along with the categorical realisation that this is the culmination of 57 years of The Wild One leading the pack.  With live performances Paralysed by the spread of COVID 19, it's little wonder that our Starlight Lady, with son Richard, would harness the angst of no live shows, and turn all that is lacking into a limitless well of creative genius.  Now particular mention must be made of the penultimate song, In The Dark.  The lyrics, the mood, and the magical musical journey we are taken on are utterly amazing but coupled with the collection finale, we find that unique genius yet again. If some elements of this album were not for you and you keep a knockin’ for the hard rockin’ American Lady, fear not.  As the stroke of pure genius that is Motor City Riders revs up and struts forth from your speakers, you will need to hang onto your hat because this is Suzi Quatro.  Her entire 57 years rolled into one mighty and monstrous, contemporary rock track that drips heritage with every note.  Harking all the way back to her Detroit roots and with all the elements that have maintained her status as the queen of rock n roll over almost six decades, this is the sort of track that brings chart contenders, crumbling to dust with one clear victor standing tall.  A song that sees seasoned songsmiths take a knee and pay homage to the queen, victorious and continuing her reign. Oh my god…I’m not worthy.  Turn the dial to eleven and hang the hell on, because here comes Suzi Quatro as awesome and magnificent as ever before.

From the very first album in 1973 (Can the Can here in Australia), and through her entire catalog, how beautifully Motor City Riders would nestle into any previous album tracklist.  As the final track on this most recent collection, Motor City Riders completes the album more perfectly than anything I can recall.  I spoke to Suzi in order to ensure the quote was correct. “The Devil In Me is the best album in my career to date!”  It was true. You can see for yourself and hear more to accompany such a profound statement. For a range of reasons, I am inclined to humbly agree with Suzi, but mostly because this is the assessment of the person who has been teaching us what rock n roll is all about for almost sixty years. 

The Devil In Me is a masterwork. The work of a musician who had to down tools from live performances, but still sees our adoring faces in the crowd as inspiration. With Richard, Suzi wrote an album from the confines of our COVID plagued existence and produced something that six decades of experience told her would put a smile on the faces of all she has played to before. This is Suzi Quatro at her very finest, and a benchmark album for so many reasons.  As an essential addition to your music collection or the beginning of one, this album is a must-have for 2021.

Bravura Suzi, Richard, and the entire creative team. Thank you for making 2021 more bearable as we bask in the glory of the musical mastery that Is The Devil In Me.

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Album ReviewReviews

Sabaton – The Great War

Review by Casper

Sabaton has produced a plethora of celebrated songs in their own unique fashion focussed primarily around the history of warfare and is hosts of notable protagonists, but evidently, the band has chosen their 20th anniversary year to deliver their very finest collection in The Great War.

It always seemed inevitable that Sabaton would eventually tackle an entire time period or conflict for a concept album and, as Joakim Brodén explained to me recently, the subject such as The Battle of Passchendaele in The Price of a Mile and Cliffs of Gallipoli eleven years ago for their 2008 offering The Art of War.

Listen in to Joakim explaining more here

Despite the band’s history of successfully melding heavy metal music and factual historical events and our lofty expectations for this concept collection, Sabaton has managed to achieve new levels of brilliance with this heaving behemoth of an album, worthy of the august title, The Great War.

The collection itself is available for pre-order in three formats, namely Standard Edition consisting of the songs in sequence, The Soundtrack Edition sans vocals and lyrics altogether and The Historical Edition.

The Historical Edition complete with short narrations is the pick of the three for me although it makes perfect sense to buy all three in their box set, The Great Box edition.   The narrations afford this album an additional dimension of appeal for the Sabaton faithful and history buffs alike.  To supplement the brilliant lyrics that Sabaton have always managed to create, bursting with historical accuracies and period terminology, the narrations bless us with more historical context to supplement the individual songs already vast appeal.

The first track has narrator giving an account of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria being assassinated on June 28, 1914, beginning the chain of events culminating into WWI.  It is narrated so very well that the additional appeal is immediately evident and as The Future Of Warfare unfolds the realisation arrives that melodically, historically, musically and lyrically, Sabaton have tackled The Great War with a truly great collection.  Nothing short of a masterwork.

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom brilliantly summarises the period and circumstances surrounding Thomas Edward Lawrence who through exploits becoming the stuff of legend, became known as Lawrence of Arabia.  This track again is demonstrative of Sabaton’s ability to match such legendary subject matter with suitably soaring musical accompaniment. 

Sabaton continues their bewilderingly brilliant ability to keep history alive through thoroughly magnificent metal music and 82nd All The Way describes the very beginnings of the 82nd Division.  The ‘All American’ division which remains to this day as the 82nd Airborne and the heroics of one its most distinguished servicemen and recipient of the Medal of Honor, Sgt Alvin Cullum York. 

Besides the magnificent accompanying music, it is brilliant to hear ‘Death From Above’, represented in the lyrics…a more contemporary motto for the 82nd which accompanies their older moniker All The Way represented in the title.  Again Sabaton has the detail and factual accounts so well represented in their songs. 

Attack Of The Dead Men musically and lyrically describes what must stand as one of the most horrific sights of The Great War in events during the attack at Osowiec Fortress in 1915.  Blinded, blodied, gasping and staggering from the chlorine gas bombardment were the remnants of the Russian 226th Infantry Regiment.  The German troops watched in horror as those who should have already been dead, continued what mast have been their sole remaining purpose with what life was left in continuing their attack.  German troops apparently panicked and retreated from the Attack Of The Dead Men.   Although far from a celebration of the horrors of warfare, Sabaton manage to provide such amazing music to this tale as the troops, and the gas seem to march relentlessly thought the music.  As is the case with The Red Baron in that musically Sabaton have injected all the urgency and fury one presumes of a dogfight between any of the Aces, let alone against Manfred von Richthofen. 

Fields Of Verdun has already been released to resounding acclaim and was presumably released as a single because it sets the scene of the entire collection to utter perfection. The longest battle in history lasting over 300 days and claiming an average of 70,000 lives every month.  Sitting as track nine in sequence on the album this provides the collection with an additional dimension of sombre reflection.

In Flanders Fields afford a special reverence and honour to complete this musical account of WW1.  A simple choral version of the song derived from the famous John McCrae poem that is widely regarded as the most solemn account of the war to end all wars.

All considered, the mastery of Sabaton, the magnificent production work of Jonas Kjellgren at Black Lounge studios, the mastering by Maor Appelbaum and the brilliant artwork by Peter Sallaí represents the tried and tested cast of Sabaton success, but their work on The Great War takes all of that to a whole new level.

As is the case with a genuine masterwork, I fail to feel that my words do any justice in representing the magnitude and sheer brilliance that has been achieved by Sabaton in this collection.  All the angst of warfare written into every drum beat, bass blast, soaring guitar solo, and every vocal utterance.  The temptation to describe the events represented measured with the urgency to pay homage to the blisteringly brilliant music that accompanies the superb lyrics is a struggle indeed.  But so much more awaits you on this incredible album.  Musically, vocally, lyrically and historically, l can only offer a humble reflection that you must, simply must own this monumentally superb album. 

Sabaton will release The Great war, via Nuclear Blast Records. 


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