BRIGHTON ROCK – Brighton Rock (1985 Flying Fist EP)
I first turned onto this band in the 10th grade. MuchMusic kept playing the video for “We Came to Rock”. It had a pop rock vibe to it, but the singer erased any accusations of being pop. The screams! The unholy screams! Yeah! That was definitely hard rock territory!
The singer’s name is Gerald McGhee and the band is Brighton Rock. There’s a connection to the Record Store Tales, which is that later on McGhee started a music distribution company called Isotope Records and we used them as a supplier once in a while. My boss told me that Gerry still had the hair. (According to M.E.A.T Magazine he was also one of two Canadian singers to audition for Motley Crue in 1992, the other being Sebastian Bach.)
The selling feature of this band for me was the incredible voice of McGhee. I’d never heard screaming like this before! I remember my highschool classmates couldn’t handle it, the screams were too much for them. But it’s not gratuitous; McGhee throws in screams strategically at key points to blow you to the wall.
Not that McGhee is the only talent in Brighton Rock. Also notable is guitarist Greg Fraser, who ended up in Helix in 1993, and today fronts the Frase Gang with Brighton Rock bassist Stevie Skreebs.
Before they released their excellent debut album Young, Wild and Free, Brighton Rock completed a four song EP, which is what we’re talking about today. It’s no Young, Wild and Free, but we’ll be talking about that album (and Take A Deep Breath) in the weeks to come. The EP Brighton Rock is a less-honed taster, but something I’d sought to own for a long time. It’s never been released on CD, and contains one song (“The Fools Waltz”) that isn’t on any Brighton Rock album. Bob had this on cassette when we were kids, but I finally recently picked up a sealed vinyl on eBay for dirt cheap.
Brighton Rock and their debut album contain the same opening song: “Young, Wild and Free”. This early version is musically identical but lacks the oomph. Michael Wagener produced the album, and no doubt helped by his incredible work with Accept, got way more intense screams out of McGhee. The EP however is produced by somebody named Steve Vaughan (with one track by Jack Richardson).
The second track is “Assault Attack”, which as the title implies is a combat zone of hooky guitars and thunderous toms. Miles away from the ballady stuff like “One More Try” that the band would later become known for. Song three is “Barricade”, which has a really cool and tricky sounding guitar solo by Greg Fraser. It’s a heavy rocker., but the closing song “The Fools Waltz” eases up on the pace a tad. It would be a stretch to call it a ballad. It’s more like a Canadian radio rock song.
Of note: the Brighton Rock EP is the only release with original keyboardist Martin Victor.