VHS Archives

VHS Archives #117: Fred and Tom from Cinderella 1990

Fall 1990!  Cinderella were in Hamilton Ontario to sign autographs and meet up with Dan Gallagher from the Pepsi Power Hour.  Fred Coury and Tom Keifer chatted with the Dan Man about their new album Heartbreak Station.  Other topics:

  • MC Hammer
  • A side project with Coury, Stephen Pearcy, Tracii Guns, Kyle Kyle and Taime Downe
  • Touring
  • Talking to the fans

Not a long interview but certainly a glimpse of times!

 

VHS Archives #116: Joe Elliott and Rick Allen of Def Leppard in June ’88

On June 10 1988, Def Leppard rolled into Toronto on their massive Hysteria tour.  Michael Williams of MuchMusic was on hand to ask them about Rick’s accident and remarkable recovery.  They also discuss writing with Phil Collen for the first time.

VHS Archives #115: Erica Ehm talks to Bret Michaels about Native Tongue while Richie Kotzen just sits there

1993:  Native Tongue was not doing well on the charts, but MuchMusic dutifully had Bret Michaels and new guitarist Richie Kotzen on hand for an interview with Erica Ehm.  It’s a pretty solid 10 minutes, touching on the following topics:

  • Getting “serious” lyrically
  • Safe sex
  • C.C. leaving the band, Bobby breaking his hand
  • Reasons for being in a band, still
  • The “Stand” video, and the Bill Clinton inauguration
  • Critics
  • Bret writing “country music”?
  • Toning down the image

Richie Kotzen utters one complete sentence the whole time.  This interview is remarkable not because Bret Michaels is always entertaining, but because Richie Kotzen didn’t fit in and it’s painfully obvious.

VHS Archives #114: Alice Cooper – The Trash Hour (1989)

September, 1989:  I raced home from school to watch the Pepsi Power Hour’s big Alice Cooper interview, called the Trash Hour.  Alice picked the songs, but they are edited out for YouTube.  You can see what he picked for yourself, as Alice literally takes out the trash.

Host Laurie Brown had a great rapport with the Coop.  Driving a brand new Trash Truck, Alice is funny and informative on the following subjects:

  • Trash rock
  • New album and signing with Epic
  • Writing 22 songs with Desmond Child
  • Saving the Hollywood sign
  • Cameos in Prince of Darkness and Shocker
  • Horror as comedy, staged violence
  • Band alumni gone solo

The Trash Hour works out to a tidy 15 minutes without the music and ads.  Make sure you catch the ending.  Have a good Sunday!

VHS Archives #113: Eric Martin & Paul Gilbert – July 1991

Happy birthday to Paul Gilbert!

This video is from 30 years ago:  in the MuchMusic studios with Eric Martin and Erica Ehm, talking Mr. Big!  “Thank God for Pat Torpey!” they say as the praise the (late) great drummer.  Lots of ground covered here:

  • Formation of the band
  • The blues and their roots
  • Touring as a “long camping trip”
  • Singing lessons and demonstrations!
  • More carrots, celery and radishes

You’re gonna love this.  Also note, it’s one of my few non-Power Hour recordings.


BONUS:  Today’s appearance on Tim’s Vinyl Confessions’ Mr. Big special

 

VHS Archives #112: Russ Dwarf & Dee Cernile at Phase One

Another short one from the Power 30 with Teresa Roncon.  At Phase One studios, a quick visit with Russ Dwarf (Killer Dwarfs), Dee Cernille (Sven Gali) and Gord Prior (Blu Bones).  At the time Sven were in the middle of touring with Def Leppard, and the Dwarfs were “takin’ ‘er easy for the summer”, but the new album mentioned by Russ never came to be.

You can see what I have been saying all this time, about the Power 30 having shorter content than the superior Power Hour.  Sure, there were technically more minutes of metal per week, but not the kind of extended content that I’ve brought you recently, such as The Axemen Cometh and Waltzing With Helix.

VHS Archives #111: Slash Puppet rock the Power 30 in summer of ’93

Toronto’s Slash Puppet are back in the speakers, with a new “best of” CD called Studs & Gems, featuring classics and unreleased material! To pre-order your copy, contact MIF Entertainment ASAP, as this is a limited edition. Studs & Gems includes favourites like “When the Whip Comes Down”, “Slow Down” and the amazing ballad “Eyes of a Child”, one of the most intensely emotional ballads you’ll ever hear. Studs & Gems also includes the unreleased “Stranger Danger”, a live track previously unheard elsewhere. Finding original copies of their first two releases can be an expensive prospect, so Studs & Gems makes it easy to get some of these unsung classic songs.

For the occasion I’ve dug up this VHS tape of Teresa Roncon of the Power 30 talking to Mif, Dave and Franklin of Slash Puppet. It was summer of ’93 and the band were going the independent route. Teresa questions them on the pros and cons, and their musical influences. Wisdom is offered and bands are praised. Brief, but terrific interview with the band!


Studs & Gems track listing:


When the Whip Comes Down
Rippin’ On a Wishbone
Eyes of a Child
Evil Woman
Hard on Love
Stop Tellin’ Me Lies
Hitch a Ride (On a Train)
Slow Down
Squeeze It In
Overload
Stranger Danger (Live)


VHS Archives #110: Waltzing With Helix (1991)

Not the only version online, but probably the best version for Helix fans! This is longer with more live footage (“The Storm”) and it also includes the opening MuchMusic “A True Story” sketch, depicting the moment that the Much studios got the invite to join the band in Vienna from Helix “roadlife specilist” Kenny Heague. All this version is missing is some of the interview with Sacred Reich, but for Helix fans, this is the one to watch.

“Waltzing With Helix” aired on the Pepsi Power Hour in early 1991. It depicts five days of life in the road with Helix in Hungary and Austria, opening for Sacred Reich and Ian Gillan. Supporting the excellent Back For Another Taste LP, this special includes loads of great live music, and chats with all the hilarious Helix boys.

New in the lineup was American guitarist Denny Balicki, and “Waltzing With Helix” was his introduction to fans nationwide. Drummer Fritz Hinz, bassist Daryl Gray, and singer Brian Vollmer are entertaining fellows to watch as they tour countryside and cathedrals. Late guitarist Paul Hackman gets the honour of interviewing both Ian Gillan and Sacred Reich.

Yes, this includes an Ian Gillan interview and some live footage of his band (including guitarist Steve Morris) playing “Black Night” and “Demon’s Eye”!

Food, culture, turnips, street music, beer, bus breakdowns, laughs, sandwiches and sweaty rock and roll!


On a personal note it’s really heartwarming to see Brian Knight, a kid from our neighbourhood who I went to highschool with, and later went on to roadie with Helix, standing right next to my hero Ian Gillan. What a cool thing to happen. Brian Knight died earlier this year. I still have his original Kenner Star Wars Slave I toy in perfect condition. I paid him $5 for it.


#951: Set Your VCR, It’s 1986 and KISS Meets The Phantom Is On Tonight!

Special thanks to Jennifer Ladano for telling me to write this story down!

RECORD STORE TALES #951: Set Your VCR!
It’s 1986 and KISS Meets The Phantom Is On Tonight!

When thinking back about my earliest rock and roll discoveries, it’s important to recall the order in which I got the albums, or first heard the tunes.  It seems like I had always known “Rock N’ Roll all Nite”, but since my first Kiss albums were Alive! and Hotter Than Hell, those were the songs I knew best.  And I barely knew them!  I got my first Kiss in September of ’85.  But I was learning slowly.  Eventually I’d get Asylum, and gradually tape Kiss albums from my neighbour George.

Something else happened that exposed me to Kiss in a new way, that I sometimes forget about.  It was the first time I saw Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park.

Everybody knew about Kiss Meets the Phantom, but few of us were old enough to have seen it.  When it showed up in the TV guide one week, on some Buffalo station, it seemed like every kid with access to a VCR set it to record.  It was being shown at something like 1:00 in the morning on a Sunday.

Upon waking, I got my sister up early and we raced downstairs to watch.  We did not have time to watch the whole thing that morning.  It was winter, possibly the tail end of Christmas holidays, and we were off to the lake for one day.  We watched some, went to the lake, had lunch at the Embassy, and came home to finish the movie.

I noticed there were far more ads to fast forward through on late night TV than during the day!


Actual ads from the actual tape of the actual night.

My sister recalls liking Kiss Meets the Phantom; my memories are quite different.  I was bored to tears any time Kiss wasn’t on screen, and you had to wait through, like, an hour (with ads) for Kiss to arrive at the bloody park!  I didn’t know who this Anthony Zerbe fellow was, but at age 13 I considered him possibly the worst actor I had ever seen.

It was my first time seeing Peter Criss on video and not just still photos, and I was surprised at his voice.  I told everyone, “Peter Criss sounds like Aquaman.”  I had the show right, but the character wrong.  Michael Bell did the voice of Peter Criss in Kiss Meets the Phantom, and Wonder Twin Zan in the cartoon Superfriends.  Legend has it that this was because Peter didn’t show up to loop his lines in post-production.  Whatever the case, it led to a different urban legends:  that Peter Criss had given up rock and roll, and taken up a lucrative career as a cartoon voice actor!

I thought Gene’s distorted voice was tiresome after a while, and Paul seemed the coolest.  My sister liked that Kiss were like superheroes with powers.  On the other hand, I didn’t like that.  If Paul Stanley couldn’t shoot a laser beam out of his eye in real life, I didn’t understand why he would in this movie.  They were still Kiss, still playing the same Kiss songs, but also super-powered.  My rigid brain couldn’t reconcile the two.

As for the music, the movie contains several songs that I heard for the very first time that day.  “Beth” (acoustic, no less), “Shout It Out Loud”, “God of Thunder” and “I Stole Your Love”.  (“Rip and Destroy” doesn’t count.)  Now, because I didn’t know these songs, and there were no captions, I had to guess at the titles.  “Shout It Out Loud” was the easy one.  But these were the live versions taken from Alive II, fast and reckless.  Not to mention we were hearing it on a TV with mono speaker; state of the art for the time, but not for proper music listening.  So that’s why, for that day at least, I thought “God of Thunder” was “Not a Doctor”, and “I Stole Your Love” was something that sounded like “I Ho-Jo-Ho”.

The process of discovering Kiss was so memorable because it’s so fun.  The superhero character aspect appealed to my sister and there’s no denying that it had something to do with why I loved Kiss too.  But hearing the songs and albums for the first time can only happen once.  And I can clearly remember a tinge of sadness when I finally acquired Rock and Roll Over, the last original Kiss album I needed to finish my collection.  I was starkly aware that I was having this experience for the last time:  hearing a classic Kiss album, guessing who was singing the songs by the title alone, and discovering hidden favourites.  As I learned when Crazy Nights came out, hearing a new Kiss album was simply not the same as discovering the classics!

Kiss Meets the Phantom was a struggle to sit through then, but fortunately I saw it at an age when Kiss still seemed larger than life.  Objectively, it is a pretty terrible film, best enjoyed as a trainwreck.  The best parts are the concert scenes, which was the closest I got to seeing Kiss live at age 13.  It was my first exposure to some really important songs even if I wondered why Gene was singing about being “Not a Doctor”!

VHS Archives #109: Rik Emmett – The Axemen Cometh (1988)

Another true treasure from the VHS Archives.  When the Pepsi Power Hour ran this guitar-centric special in early 1988, my best friend Bob and I watched it religiously.  We drank up, though didn’t fully understand, every word from Rik Emmett.  The former Triumph guitarist was (and is) one of our favourites.  His knowledge is encyclopedic.  Laurie quizzes Rik on a number of the top rated electric guitar players of the time.

Rik demonstrates his favourite passages, and discusses with host Laurie Brown the following axemen in order:

  • Tony Iommi
  • Jimmy Page
  • Joe Satriani
  • Steve Vai
  • Kirk Hammett
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Angus Young
  • Eddie Van Halen
  • Yngwie J. Malmsteen
  • and, of course, Rik Emmett

Other topics to stay tuned for in this wide-ranging discussion:

  • Lefties (like Rik)
  • The 1988 Zeppelin reunion (Atlantic 40th Anniversary)
  • Two-handed tapping
  • A bold and accurate prediction about Steve Vai
  • The brown sound
  • Dwiddly-dwiddly
  • His “signatures”
  • Good “hair production”