GETTING MORE TALE #773: Rock Candy + Internet = Kick Axe!
Like many things, it started with a story.
I have liked the music of Kick Axe since I first heard them back in 1984. “On the Road to Rock” was a Power Hour (not yet the Pepsi Power Hour) staple. I knew the video off by heart. A Vices button was among the first handful I owned. I think it was a birthday gift from my best friend Bob. As it turns out, I never got the album, or any Kick Axe for that matter, until now. So how did it turn out that I’m doing this Kick Axe review series?
In July, I scored two Kick Axe remastered CDs by Rock Candy records. This occurred at the best Record Store in town, Encore, who had both Vices and Welcome to the Club in stock. I had been looking for these in Toronto (“Taranna”) for years. No luck. The Encore visit was my first time finding them in store. Vices has a bonus track. I always intended to get the Rock Candy version for that reason. Aaron and I found Kick Axe vinyl in Taranna before, but I was holding out. The bonus track made the Rock Candy reissue my preferred version.
II. ROCK CANDY
Another thing about Rock Candy: the liner notes are, shall we say, goddamn essential. Featuring original interviews, untold stories, and assorted documented details, you will absolutely learn something from the liner notes in a Rock Candy CD. One thing I learned before even opening the booklet was that the third Kick Axe album was also available from Rock Candy. Already having the first two, it seemed dumb not to get the third. Especially since the liner notes said that Rock the World was, in some regards, their strongest album. As I read the notes, I recalled they did two songs for The Transformers soundtrack under the name Spectre General. The notes confirmed that Spectre General was Kick Axe, not some side project.
Thanks to Rock Candy, light was shed on early Kick Axe history previously unknown to me. I discovered they had an early 7″ single called “Weekend Ride”, with a singer earlier than George Criston. They also had a live track on a compilation called Playboy Street Rock. When Bob and I were kids, we used to be fascinated by the early history of bands. Like finding out White Lion had an album before Pride, or that Iron Maiden had something called The Soundhouse Tapes before their first album. I wanted to get the early Kick Axe stuff I just found out existed!
III. AMAZON and DISCOGS
If I knew about those early Kick Axe songs as a kid, it would have taken me decades to find them. Today, I had most of them within a week.
Amazon had Rock the World in stock, and it was at the house two days later. Discogs had “Weekend Ride”, The Transformers, and Playboy Street Rock from different sellers. I hesitated on Transformers but pulled the trigger on the other two. I would have preferred a remastered Transformers CD with bonus tracks. They were way too rich for me. I couldn’t get one for much less than $50. Even the reissued vinyl without the bonus tracks was pricey. Ultimately, I settled on an original CD, which was still not cheap.
“Weekend Ride” and Playboy Street Rock arrived within a few days. Wonders of the modern world. What would have taken years before happened in under a week.
IV. KICK AXE
Fortunately, it turns out that I quite like my Kick Axe purchases. So much so, that I was inspired to do a Kick Axe review series.
Kick Axe have a fourth album (Kick Axe IV) from a Criston-less reunion. I’m undecided if I’ll go that far, but in the mean time you can look forward to learning more about Canada’s own metal proponents. I’m delighted to discover a band that could really sing, and play like big leaguers. I hope you’ll enjoy them too.