andy curran

Curran: Round Three! Spending RSD with the Coney Hatch man!

Any time we talk with Andy Curran, we can count on two things:

  1. Amazing rock and roll tales.
  2. A few scoops!

This time out, we got some exclusive information about some new forthcoming Coney Hatch releases.  Andy told us about one of the new songs to be included as a bonus on the new Coney live album, including the title and subject.  He also dropped some details about a new band he’s working with, and involving a certain guitar player from a certain Canadian trio.  Sounds interesting.

We also discussed some other releases Andy has been involved with:  the Triumph Allied Forces box set, Kim Mitchell’s The Big Fantasize, and the Rush box set featuring next week’s guest Jacob Moon.  Best of all, Andy showed us his El Mocambo bass up close and personal, with a detailed story behind it.  He also told us about a charity idea that he has, and he wants your feedback.  If you want a chance to own some Coney Hatch history, this will be of interest.

Thank you Deke and Andy for an awesome Saturday.  Happy Record Store Day!

 

Double Header Weekend! Andy Curran and Blind Buys on the LeBrain Train

It’s another two-show weekend!  Get ready to rock this Friday and Saturday.

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and Friends

Friday – Episode 69 – Blind Buys

What is the best album that you bought “on spec” — without knowing much of anything about it?  This is a great question for fun discussions.  The subject was suggested by Kevin aka BuriedOnMars, who is one of our favourite guests here on the show.  With him will be Sarca Sim and her own killer list.  Aaron from the KMA will be on board with his best discoveries.

And…for the first time ever…all the way from Scotland…

…Joining this LeBrain Train in his debut appearance is J, the Vinyl Daft Dad, aka Jim Dead.  This talented singer/guitar player/songwriter has been wanting to hang out for over a year, and now we finally get to do it.  Well overdue!  Not only is he a truly great musician, but also a wonderful human.  This show, and these lists, are going to be prodigous!

Friday June 11, 7:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook:  MikeLeBrain and YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.


The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and Deke

Saturday – Episode 70 – Andy Curran, round 3!

I’m sitting here in awe that Andy Curran is coming back to talk to us for a third time.  The Earl of the Eighth Note, the masterful bassist and vocalist from Coney Hatch, is back to take care of some loose ends!  I can’t think of a better way for you to spend a Saturday afternoon than checking out the rock and roll tales of Andy Curran.  Now that we have the Coney Hatch Live at the El Mocambo album in hand, we have so much more to ask.  We also have some special guest questions locked and loaded.  Make no mistake — this will not be a repeat of the first two Curran shows!

I’d like to thank Deke, Andy and Chip for making this possible.  As Deke says, we’re just fans.  But we eat, breath and sleep this stuff.  Andy has some of the best stories.  I can’t wait to hear some more.

As usual, this is a show that you want to make sure that you catch live.  We try to ask as many viewer questions as we can so don’t miss it!

Saturday June 12, 1:00 PM E.S.T. on Facebook:  MikeLeBrain and YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.

 


NEW SHOW ADDED!

REVIEW: Coney Hatch – Live at the El Mocambo (2021 limited edition)

CONEY HATCH – Live at the El Mocambo (2021 limited numbered & autographed edition)

It only took four decades, but like a fine Chardonnay, time made it just parfait.  Coney Hatch’s first live album, recorded back in October 2020 at the legendary El Mocambo is, in a word:  perfect.

First, let’s define “perfect”.  “Perfect” doesn’t mean “exactly like the studio versions”.  Not when we’re talking about live albums.  It means there’s an exciting vibe, great songs, top-notch performances, and a band that sounds like they’re out for blood.  Coney sound as if there was no pressure — but they delivered their best anyway.

Four albums, 15 tracks, over an hour of tunes.  Live at the El Mocambo represents the entire career of Coney Hatch, including all your favourites like “Stand Up”, “Devil’s Deck”, “Monkey Bars”, and “Hey Operator”.  A couple great tunes from Coney Hatch Four (like “Marseilles”) prove that the Hatch lost nothing when they reunited a few years back.  While everyone will have their own highlights, “Wrong Side of Town” absolutely smokes.  The album is paced perfectly with more contemplative tunes like “She’s Gone” balanced out by bangers like “Boys Club”.  Lots of songs about “girls gone bad”, according to Carl.

Andy Curran discusses Live at the El Mocambo

The on-stage banter by Andy Curran and Carl Dixon is warm and humorous.  It’s clear that they appreciate where they are in their careers now, fortunate to have this amazing second run.  In the back, drummer Dave “Thumper” Ketchum gives us an idea of how he earned that nickname.  But let’s not forget the newest member, guitarist Sean Kelly, who proves why he is one of the most in-demand players you’re likely to hear these days.  His ripping licks on this record are hair raising.

Another strength is that these guys have lost nothing in terms of vocal abilities.  It’s all there.  How Carl hits the notes he does, is actually unknown to modern science.  Andy Curran has just as much expression as ever, the ying the Carl’s yang.  When the band sing together on a big chorus, it’s arena-ready.

The first 100 copies came signed by all four members, and with a Coney Hatch can cooler!  If that’s not an invitation to get your buzz on with this great album, I don’t know what is.  It’s done in true bootleg style:  plain white cover, with logo stamped on the front, and plain white labels on the records.  The track listing is on a separate insert.   The non-limited version is available for you to purchase so get on that right now!

5/5 stars

 

Andy Curran + Mike Fraser = Epic Four Hour LeBrain Train!

That. Was. Epic!

0:32:00 Andy Curran (Coney Hatch/Soho 69/Caramel/Leisureworld) joined us with a flawless connection!  We picked up where we left off last week.  We also got a couple exclusives from Andy!  Stories you won’t read on the internet.  Stuff like:  auditioning for Doro Pesch in the mid 80s.  A project with Adrian Smith that never came to fruition.  Playing tennis with Steve Harris.  Working as A&R with Rush.  A wealth of information!

1:49:30 – Get ready to have your minds blown.  Mike Fraser joined the show, and we got to sit and watch as he and Andy bantered back and forth — old friends reunited.  This was truly a special moment to watch.  From there we questioned Mike on the new Lee Aaron, and his work with Thunder, Dio, Satriani, Malmsteen, Black ‘N Blue, Power Station, The Wild!, Jackyl, the Crue, Metallica and AC/DC among many.  This was Mike’s second appearance with us and we still had so much ground to cover!

I hope you enjoyed this supersized show.  Four hours of rock and roll for you!

NEXT WEEK:

List shows return with Desert Island Discs!  Featuring:  Harrison Kopp, Uncle Meat, John Snow, Rob Daniels and a bonus list from Holen.   Don’t miss it!

April 30:  T-Bone is back to talk Van Halen’s 5150 with myself and the Meat Man.

May 7:  Paul Laine with your co-host John Snow!

May 28:  Dave Lizmi of the Four Horsemen!

All aboard!

Double Header! Andy Curran and Mike Fraser – Back on the LeBrain Train

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and Superdekes

Episode 60 – Andy Curran and Mike Fraser double header

It’s the first ever double interview show on the LeBrain Train this Friday night!  Warm up your coffees.

First up, we have Andy Curran back from last week to finish up our chat!  The focus will be on the latter part of his career that we didn’t get to.  Caramel, Leisureworld and beyond.  Andy will be on at 7:00 PM E.S.T.

Second, it is the return of engineering wizard Mike Fraser!  Although we quizzed him for a couple hours last time, we only scratched the surface.  We didn’t get into Dio, The Wild, Satriani or Chickenfoot.  Expect lots more great musical memories with Mike this Friday at 8:30 PM E.S.T.

Friday April 16 on Facebook:  MikeLeBrain and YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.

Andy Curran…Part One

Apologies in advance for the technical issues on this week’s program. We did our best, and fortunately Andy has agree to come back next week and talk about the latter half of his career!

This week we discussed:

  • The new forthcoming album Coney Hatch Live at the El Mocambo
  • A second live album in the can
  • The first three Coney studio albums:  self-titled, Outa Hand and Friction
  • Road and studio stories
  • Andy’s first two “solo” albums, Andy Curran and Soho 69 – Scatterbrain

And next week we’ll be back to discuss Caramel, Leisureworld, Four and beyond.

I really want to thank Andy for his patience this week.  Hopefully we can get a better stream next week.  When it worked it kicked ass!

Tune into the stream at 0:36:45 for Andy’s arrival and interview.

Thanks for watching, and thanks for your patience everyone!

 

C’mon C’mon, the Legendary Andy Curran is on the LeBrain Train!

The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike and Superdekes

Episode 59 – The Earl of the 8th Note – Andy Curran

His name is on so many albums in our collections, from Coney Hatch to Soho 69 to Caramel and beyond, to writing with Kim Mitchell and helping to put together Rush and Max Webster box sets.  His bass is literally made of the floor of the El Mocambo club, and now Coney Hatch have their first official live album recorded in that same club.

We come at Andy from two perspectives.  Deke has questions he has been burning to ask for 40 years.  Mike is the new fan whose first Coney Hatch purchase was pre-ordering the live album in late 2020.  That groundbreaking concert was live streamed during the Covid pandemic and then prepared for the imminent CD and vinyl release of Live at the El Mocambo.

Please give a huge welcome for Andy Curran on the LeBrain Train!

7:00 PM E.S.T.
Facebook:  MikeLeBrain  YouTube:  Mike LeBrain

 

#890.5: Easter in the Age of Covid, 2.0

It didn’t come as a surprise when the province of Ontario went back into the “grey zone” again last week.  But sad to say, when I asked myself “How will this change my daily routine?,” I had to admit that it wouldn’t.  Easter wasn’t that different from last year.  I did some live streaming, I did some listening, I did some writing.

Actually I did a lot of listening and writing.  Andy Curran (Coney Hatch, Soho 69, Caramel) will be on the show this Friday April 9.  The guy is fount of rock knowledge so this will be quite a tour-de-force, and I have been doing my research.  I’ve been listening to Coney Hatch and solo Andy, on repeat.  I have three Rock Candy remasters here with valuable liner notes and bonus tracks.  I’ve been reading.  Deke will be in seventh heaven getting to talk to one of his heroes.  It’s going to be a lot of fun, and that’s one reason I do this.  It’s fun.

Friday afternoon I went over to my parents’ house to pick up some mail.  Mail theft became a serious issue last year so now I have my mail delivered elsewhere to be collected.  In the mail were two Star Trek movies that I haven’t seen in a long time.  Two years ago, I made the mistake of donating all my Star Trek DVDs while doing a big purge.  I said “No big deal, I’ll just buy a Blu-ray set.”  But none of the Blu-ray sets had the features I wanted from the DVDs.  I have been slowly buying them back, and this weekend I got to star Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

It has been literal years since seeing The Voyage Home, or “the one with the whales”.  Perhaps a decade.  What a perfect film, at least as perfect as any movie with time travel conundrums can be.  I smiled and chuckled the whole way through.

As for Khan, I know I streamed it somewhere fairly recently, but it has been just as many years since I watched the extended director’s cut.  It only adds up to a few minutes here and there, but it was all fresh and new to me.  The restored scenes help clarify the identity of young Peter Preston, who dies in the first attack.  “He stayed at his post, when the trainees ran!” mourned Mr. Scott.  A restored line reveals Peter Preston is Scott’s nephew.  “My sister’s youngest,” he says.  “Crazy to get to space.”  Lines such as this add value to the already perfect film.  Others do not.  Additional exposition was probably cut because it wasn’t necessary.  I did like one in which Kirk explains to Spock who David Marcus is.  “That young man is my son”, says Kirk.  The only reply necessary from Spock:  “Fascinating.”

So I had fun.  I made lots of time to play some music.  I listened to Paul Stanley’s Soul Station, and I’m trying to find a way to be objective about reviewing it.  I like it a lot.  But if anybody else with a better voice put out a similar record, would I give it the time of day?  Unlikely.  So there is a certain hypocrisy there that I must address before I attempt to review it.  But I will.  I genuinely like the album.  But I like it on the same level that I like the Peter Criss solo albums:  as a reasonable facsimile of the real article.  A forgery through the lens of somebody I already like and am familiar with.  Easier to digest.

Tonight:  Easter dinner courtesy of Golf’s Steakhouse, via the generosity of my mom who always spoiled us.  Friday night’s live stream was Easter themed, and viewers were shocked at how spoiled we were as kids.  We got great Easter gifts while other kids got a chocolate bunny.  My sister and I didn’t question it, we just went with it!

Thanks mom for dinner tonight.  I ordered a porterhouse.  It’ll be here in 10 minutes.

Happy Easter my friends.

 

REVIEW: Kim Mitchell – Greatest Hits (1995)

KIM MITCHELL – Greatest Hits (1995 Alert)

Five studio albums, one live and an EP to boot:  Definitely enough music to justify your first solo Greatest Hits.  For added value, Kim included a bunch of new and unreleased music.  With 15 songs and over an hour of music, Kim Mitchell’s Greatest Hits is an easy buy for fans and collectors.  For new fans it’s not quite ideal, for reasons we’ll get in to.

Long time fans will remember that Kim’s prior band Max Webster issued a greatest hits called Diamonds Diamonds with two new songs.  This album follows suit with two brand new tracks recorded for this set.  “No More Walking Away”, co-written by Pye Dubois, is an electric ballad with stunning guitar tones.  This is in the same lane as some of Kim’s previous ballads from Rockland or Aural Fixations; very much a “later Kim” sound.  Long time fans will love hearing Peter Fredette on backing vocals.  The other new song, “Rainbow”, is a straight-on hard rocker.  With Andy Curran on lyrical duties, “Rainbow” is just good time Kim rock as you have grown to expect it.  It goes without saying that his guitar playing is tremendous.  The chorus goes all the way to the clouds.  “I’m bringin’ you back your rainbow,” sings Kim and you better believe it.

In addition to the new songs, this time Kim also included two re-recordings.  This is unfortunately where first-time buyers are going to be let down.  One of Kim’s biggest career hits was undoubtedly 1986’s “Patio Lanterns” from Shakin’ Like a Human Being.  This compilation includes a new arrangement, which is actually quite cool.  It’s twangy and has lots of guitar play.  But that’s not the version that old folks remember from highschool — not even close.  The tempo they used to dance to is gone.  This version, excellent as it is, unfortunately is only for people who already own the original.  The other re-recording is the less sacred “Lager & Ale”, originally from Akimbo Alogo.  The vocal line is slightly modified, but this one shouldn’t upset too many people.  The Akimbo original remains the best version.

What else is to be found on this disc?  We have the opening and closing bits called “Transcendental Soda” and “Hare Soda”, which are simply snippets from the live intro to “Go For Soda”.  Nothing too special, but elsewhere you’ll find some cool stuff.  “Expedition Sailor” is credited as “The Other Version” which is a remix from the music video, long unavailable to regular folks like us.  This fine ballad was a decent hit back in 1989-90 so it’s nice to own that elusive video mix.

That’s it for the special stuff listed on the back, but there are two hidden surprises within.  Between “Rainbow” and “All We Are” (the live version from I Am A Wild Party) you will find 30 seconds of a demo.  This is a demo for “All We Are”, and the tape could even date back to the Max Webster days since that’s when he wrote the tune.  That’s gold.  What a cool way to introduce “All We Are”.  The other surprise is evident by the track times.  Hit single “Rocklandwonderland” is missing the fade out, and runs out to its actual end.  It just ends — the guys just stop playing.  Really cool unlisted bonuses here.

As for the rest, it’s the hits!  All singles (though some only for radio), except for “Lemon Wedge” which was a hit with the fans.  Though it doesn’t suit everybody’s needs, Greatest Hits still plays well and scratches some of those big Kim itches.

4/5 stars

REVIEW: Kim Mitchell – Aural Fixations (1992)

ontario-bands-weekWelcome back to Ontario Bands Week, presented by BoppinsBlog,  Keeps Me Alive, Stick It In Your Ear, 1001 Albums in 10 Years, and mikeladano.com.  

SARNIA.

scan_20170128KIM MITCHELL – Aural Fixations (1992 Alert)

Over the course of his solo career, Kim Mitchell kept on givin’ ‘er even though some albums are cloudy in the collective memory today.  Aural Fixations made less of a hullabaloo than Rockland, and many of its tracks are forgotten by the Canuck masses.  Public amnesia does happen to deserving songs sometimes, and there are a few on Aural Fixations that merit dusting off.

Kim really made a niche of good time summer party songs:  “Rock N’ Roll Duty”, “I Am A Wild Party”, “Lager and Ale”.  “World’s Such a Wonder” assumed that duty on Aural Fixations.  His picking is impeccable, but fans in the know noticed something was “off”.  The quirky poetry of Pye Dubois was gone; he and Kim had a falling out during Rockland.  Others such as Moe Berg (The Pursuit of Happiness – review at Boppin’s Blog) and Andy Curran (Coney Hatch – review at Stick It In Your Ear) filled the lyrical void instead.  This meant that one of the qualities that made Kim special, Pye’s unique wording, was gone.  Also departed was bassist/singer Peter Fredette.  Peter still provided backing vocals for this album.  That said, most in the Great White North probably did not notice or care.

“Big Smoke” is a bluesy grind, good stuff for guitar enthusiasts.  A couple upbeat tracks got radio play, such as “Hullabaloo” and “Find the Will”.  Both sound like what we had come to expect from Kim Mitchell:  rock and roll guitars, big hooks, and choruses built for shoutin’ along to.  The most outstanding one of the bunch is “Hullabaloo”, a real Canadian good time summer song.

“There’s a lot weekend doin’ on this hullabaloo,
Honey’s on the beaches, Monday back in old ‘T.O.’,
Showin’ off her sunburn.”

The song is perfect from the ground up. Verses, bridges and choruses all line up for one quintessential Kim Mitchell classic. “Take a walk on that wild guitar, it’s such a wild guitar…”

Aural Fixation also shifted towards lighter sounds, perhaps a bit too far.  “Pure as Gold” is the best of the softies, a quiet, slow smouldering bluesy ballad.  “Some Folks” steers right into the pasture, a keyboardy country ballad that could have been left in the barn.  The twangy “America” isn’t as bad.  It carved out another hit video, following in the footsteps “Easy to Tame” (1986).  Other tracks just simmer without ever really cooking:  “There’s a Story”, “Flames”, “Dreamer”.  The musicianship is above reproach, but the songs don’t all meet expectations.  “Dog and a Bone” has the rock, but the chorus lacks impact.

One of the most interesting tracks is the final one, an instrumental called “Honey Forget Those Blues”. A total of six guitar players are credited on it, creating a massive guitar harmony part. It sounds like a guitar orchestra playing the blues and it’s brilliant. Its cheeky creativity hearkens back to the glory days of Max Webster. It is in fact Kim’s first instrumental song as a solo artist.

Aural Fixations has those sparks of brilliance that makes you wish it consistent throughout.  “Hullabaloo”, “World’s Such a Wonder”, “Find the Will” and “Honey Forget Those Blues” could all be on a hypothetical Kim Mitchell “box set”.  Is that enough to add this album to your collection?

2.5/5 stars