Gerry McGhee and Stevie Skreebs of Brighton Rock dropped by the Power Hour with Michael Williams in early ’89 to showcase their new music video, “Hangin’ High N’ Dry”. World premiere! The brand new album Take A Deep Breath was in stores and the band were on tour. The affable group were questioned about such topics as:
Playing football with Steve Harris
Recording Take A Deep Breath with Jack Richardson
Lightening up or getting the sound they wanted?
Brighton Rock double live?
Why Stevie scratched the big VH logo on the hood of his first car25
Cool “Outlaw” T-shirt giveaway
The Boston Bruins
“Live” vs “studio” videos
The unreleased X-rated version of “Hangin’ High N’ Dry”
Instead of the normally scheduled LeBrain Train, tonight you get a real treat. This week is the series premier of Superdekes’ new show Scotch on the Rocks. As Deke’s co-host for this episode, I’m proud to be able to help him launch his new series. Greg Fraser of Storm Force and Brighton Rock will be the guest tonight, and I believe Deke has a few surprises in store. Don’t miss it.
Friday September 24, 7:00 PM E.S.T.at the link below.
STORM FORCE – “Breathe” featuring Serena Pryne (2020 Escape Music video)
Our rock and roll friends Storm Force have released a new video for “Breathe”, and a good one it is!
These days when a band drops a new video, are you often disappointed? Many videos today are low budget slideshows of still photos, or crude animations. This was the trend even before Covid. Unless you’re AC/DC, few go to the trouble of actually filming a concept/performance music video anymore. Storm Force did a good one with “Pretty Vegas”, and now they are back to blow minds with “Breathe”, one of the strongest tunes on the new album Age of Fear.
“Breathe” deserved a proper video, and Storm Force deliver. Lead singer Patrick Gagliardi sings from behind bars, but is it the prison of the mind? He is joined by vocalist extraordinaire Serena Pryne, who has the grit and power of people like the highly respected Sass Jordan. Although the lyrics are open enough to work with many interpretations, the song is about mental health, and having someone there to support you. The video has the right tone and passion for this serious subject. But if you want, you can just enjoy it as a mighty power ballad.
Of course, guitarist Greg Fraser has plenty of experience with music videos. His solo on “Breathe” is cool because you can hear that it is him by the tone and technique. Drummer Brian Hamilton and bassist Mike Berardelli create a really cool groove on this track, and Hamilton looks imposing and fearless in the video.
One must also credit Gagliardi for a collection of increasingly cool hats.
If 2020 is indeed the Age of Fear, then at least Storm Force have brought us the album that we deserve for all our suffering. Released before the pandemic but with some eerily relevant lyrics to our current time, Age of Fear is one of the most kickass discs you are going to hear this year.
Storm Force features the stellar talents of former Brighton Rock guitarist Greg Fraser, powerhouse singer Patrick Gagliardi, drum monster Brian Hamilton, and groovin’ bassist Mike Berardelli. Fans of Brighton Rock (R.I.P.) will recognize the tone and stylings of the six-string magician they call Fraze. That said, Gagliardi’s arena-sized vocals cords are what will draw you in to this band immediately.
Storm Force waste little time cutting to the chase. The single-ready “Because of You” opens with some epic sci-fi keyboards that might have you feeling you’re at the intro to a progressive concept album. But then Fraze hits you with a cool stuttery riff, and Patrick’s in your ears with a classic hard rock voice with grit and range to spare. But you want hooks? Storm Force deliver on “Because of You”, a song that would have been a massive hit in an earlier time.
Without letup it’s the title track “Age of Fear”, ushered in by the mountainous drumming of Brian Hamilton. He and Mike Berardelli are locked in. The riff has a bit of Darkness and the melody has shades of Dio. It’s an uptempo blast through midnight, but even that is just a warmup for the third track “Breathe”. With guest vocals from Serena Pryne, it’s a full-on epic. Keyboard accents lend it appropriate drama. This song is massive, powerful and perfect. In another universe, a hit. Watch for a music video coming soon.
“Ember Rain” gives us the first true ballad. The ringing acoustics and storytelling guitar solos recall some of the best of late 80s Whitesnake. Listen to the bass roll, and how the sparingly and effectively the drum fills are used. After a ballad, it’s best to chase it with a heavy headbanger. “Ride Like Hell” is a vicious road tune that Axl Rose wishes he wrote. The chorus nails it home, and the solos are eloquent.
“Dirty Vegas” was the first Storm Force video and you can hear why. With a title like “Dirty Vegas” you can count on a party tune. With bite, and a chorus that goes on for days. Music like this is what we need right now.
Storm Force know you need a comedown after a track like “Dirty Vegas” so an upbeat acoustic-based tune called “More Than You Know” is there to sooth your aching rock hangover. But it’s only temporary as “Marshall Law” has come to bust the door down! It takes a real singer to deliver on a track like this and Gagliardi is world-class. Truly one of the hottest on the scene today and one listen to “Marshall Law” is all it should take to convince you.
These guys know how to pace an album, and a piano ballad called “Different Roads” occupies the all-important second-to-last track. The vocals on this one are on a whole ‘nother level! Gagliardi can do so much with his voice that I could probably convince you that he is actually two singers. For penultimate tracks, “Different Roads” is one of those ballads that could close a record in its own right, but actually sets you up for one more knock to the skull. “Ringside”, like its title suggests, is not a ballad. It’s a high velocity adventure in heavy metal histrionics. And that closes the album with a slam!…
…Unless you’re one of the lucky who owns a Japanese CD (or an iTunes download). The bonus track on those formats is “Weight of the World”, a song certainly equal to the others on the album. A solid rocker, “Weight of the World” might express how some of us feel right now. “The weight of the world is tearing out the heart of me.” Ever felt that way?
Expertly constructed songs. Thoughtful lyrics. World class production by Darius Szczepaniak. Veteran performances by artists at the top of their craft. An album we desperately needed in 2020. Get Age of Fear.
If you missed it, check out our live interview with Storm Force from September 4 2020 starting at the 0:16:50 mark. Thanks to Superdekes for helping setting that up.
Thanks to Greg Fraser, Patrick Gagliardi, and surprise guest Brian Hamilton of Storm Force for joining Deke and I Friday night! It was a free-form chat tackling subjects such as:
The album Age of Fear
Memorable impact gigs
Secrets to singing
Touring and touring and touring
Brighton Rock and Gerry McGhee
And much much more!
In addition I did a CD reveal for this week’s mail. New music from Amazon and Buried On Mars! The only thing better than new discs is new discs from friends. These ones mean something to me, so check it out if you want to know what I’ll be spinning this weekend.
For the CD reveals, start at 0:04:15 of the stream.
For Storm Force, skip to 0:16:50of the stream.
Thanks again to Greg, Pat, Brian and Superdekes for setting this chat up. It was the first but won’t be the last.
Deke and I are beyond psyched to welcome Greg Fraser and Patrick Gagliardi of STORM FORCE to the show tonight!
If you didn’t already know, Storm Force released their debut album Age of Fear in January. Nine months later it remains one of the best records of the year. If you haven’t heard it yet, you will want to after our chat with Patrick and Greg. It’s been praised by reviewers from Canada, the US, Australia and Sweden as a must-hear for fans of melodic hard rock “the way you remember it”.
Tune in at 7:00 PM E.S.T. at the location of your preference below.
When I was 15, I saw a band on TV called Brighton Rock. The song was called “We Came to Rock” and it was cool. Pop rock, not quite metal, but slick. Then I heard the outro! The singer was screaming like nobody I ever heard in my life! Who were these guys? I made sure I taped the video next time I saw it.
Brighton Rock were perhaps one of the best Canadian shoulda-been bands, with a singer who had serious ability, backed by musicians to match. Today, that incredible voice has been silenced.
I’ll tell you, Motley Crue should have snagged this guy when they had the chance. What a sound that could have been. Brighton Rock made three studio albums, an EP, a live CD and a number of singles and other miscellaneous tracks. They covered “Creatures of the Night” on Mitch Lafon’s A World With Heroes Kiss tribute, and did it justice by going completely different from the original. In 2019, Brighton Rock released what turned out to be their final song “End of Time”, a heavy rocker that now serves as an excellent capstone.
Gerry later went on to found Precision Records, the plant that pressed up my sister’s album Masked. Its reputation in the industry is excellent. Before that, his distributor Isotope Records supplied me at the Record Store with new product to sell. I never had the chance to meet him personally, but I’ve heard only good things. We occasionally spoke on social media, and he was happy to answer one of my vinyl-related questions for an article I was working on.
Rest in peace, Gerry. This one is hitting me very hard. Playing Young, Wild and Free now, I will remember you as “The Rock and Roll Kid”. Scream on Gerry.
Up to bat: Erica Ehm (MuchMusic)
Pitcher: Duane Ward (Toronto Blue Jays)
Catcher: Gerald McGhee (Brighton Rock)
Umpire: Greg Fraser (Brighton Rock)
In 1991 Brighton Rock released their third album Love Machine, featuring backing vocals by Duane Ward of the Toronto Blue Jays! Erica Ehm got to play ball and ask questions of all of them. Questions about:
The first great album of 2020 is upon us. Brighton Rock guitarist extraordinaire Greg Fraser has returned to the recording studio and emerged with Storm Force, a hot new band born out of the roots of the 80s.
I am hesitant to do a full-on “review” of Storm Force just yet. Why? It’s simple really. Some albums sound as if purposesly concocted for certain environments. I sense that Storm Force is going to sound bloody perfect this summer in the car with the windows down. In fact, I cannot wait to do it that way. I think this album demands it. Just like certain hard rock classics of the past just sound better on a warm afternoon on the highway.
Though the band has no weak links, it’s important to single out the strength of vocalist Patrick Gagliardi. (Check out Superdekes’ interview with Patrick by clicking here.) His power and range is reminiscent of singers such as Jack Russell and Axl Rose. There’s grit, soul and there are vocal acrobatics aplenty. Whether he’s singing a ballad or screaming a road-burner, Patrick is on point!
It cannot go unsaid that Greg Fraser has pulled some killer riffs out of the bag. These are classic hard rock riffs, and would have been at home on any Brighton Rock record from 1987-1991. Not to mention his lead work is still fantastic. Frase has a recognizable style and you can hear it on Age of Fear.
You won’t find a weak track inside, and they run the entire range that a hard rock album should. Closer “Ringside” is burning hot metal, but “Marshall Law” has a vibe akin to Lizzy’s “Jailbreak”. For a commercial “rock single”, check out “Because of You” which pushes all the buttons. “Different Roads” features piano like a classic Aeroballad from 1987. Hard to pick a favourite among these great tunes.
This blue Scotch tape has seen a lot of use over the years. It was my first blank tape, 120 minutes. This cassette was well loved. Back in ’83, it contained open-air recordings of songs like “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and “The Mighty Quinn”. At some point in history (early 1991) I must have recorded over it. Let’s have a listen.
I have a feeling I know what it is now. Sounds like something I recorded for a girl! It would have been for my long distance crush Tammy.
This tape was never anything more than a cheap cassette, and it sounds awfully horrendous today. The contents, however, are still identifiable. The reason I never sent it to her was that it didn’t pass the sound quality test when I played it back. That was the shitty thing about cassettes. You could pour hours into making something, and then abandon the entire project.
I’m writing this in real time as I listen. If I’m right about my original intentions with this cassette, then I know that I’m going to find a specific song buried somewhere in the track list. Let’s find out.
1. Tesla – “Love Song”
The acoustic intro to the song made a perfect run-in for this lovey-dovey tape. I’ll spare the identity of the poor girl who this was made for, but she knows! This Tesla ballad is still utterly perfect. Off to a good start.
2. Kiss – “Shout It Out Loud”
Whew, I sure am glad it’s not all ballads. This track took me by surprise. I’m glad I used a classic Kiss rocker as the second track, instead of pandering for romance with “Reason to Live”. Good for me!
3. Cheap Trick – “The Flame”
I read a lot of hate for this song today. In the 80s, it was my favourite Cheap Trick and it’s still in my top five. It may be a ballad but like the Tesla one, it’s utterly perfect. This tape is now clearly made for a girl. I’d never do 2/3 ballads for my opening trio otherwise.
4. Warrant – “Thin Disguise”
Here I go again with the rarities! She loved Warrant but there is no way she had this song unless she had the cassette single for “Cherry Pie”. I did — I collected that stuff even back then. Turns out the B-side “Thin Disguise” is one of the best Warrant tracks, even today. It’s an acoustic/electric killer. Jani wrote some incredible songs in his time. This is one.
5. Warrant – “I Saw Red (Acoustic version)”
Another rarity, this time from the “I Saw Red” cassette single. I think this simple acoustic track (just Jani and a guitar) is better than the bombastic A-side version. Even then, I was trying to impress a girl with my music collection — how comical is that?
6. Kiss – “Reason to Live”
Ahh shit, there it is! That is hilarious.
7. Cinderella – “Nobody’s Fool”
OK, I’m getting a little sick of the power ballads now. The cool thing is, I know for a fact that I taped this off a cassette that she gave me for Christmas called Rulers of Rock. I wanted to show that I appreciated the gift by including this song. Kind of like when your favourite aunt gave you a sweater and you had to wear it when she was over to visit.
Enough with the ballads though. Let’s get a rocker next. Let’s hope for a rocker.
8. Kim Mitchell – “Easy to Tame”
Well, it’s not a ballad, but it ain’t a rocker either. Kim Mitchell was a good way into a girl’s heart in the late 80s and early 90s. Everybody loved “Patio Lanterns”. “Easy to Tame” was kind of like it’s cooler, lesser known cousin.
9. Paul Stanley – “Hold Me, Touch Me (Think Of Me When We’re Apart)”
Jesus fuck! I went full ballad. This was probably my favourite ballad of all time back then. Stanley’s guitar solo is flawlessly written and executed. And I got three Kiss songs right there on side one.
10. Kiss – “I’ll Be Back”
Four! Four Kiss songs! What a wild inclusion, too. This is a brief, very quick, Beatles tune done a-cappella for Kiss eXposed on VHS. I dubbed this from the video for a “soundtrack tape” that I made, and then recorded it here tape to tape. Just a filler between two other songs, but fuck…that’s cool.
11. Killer Dwarfs – “Doesn’t Matter”
At least this ballad has balls. We played this song a lot the previous summer. Bob had the cassette for Dirty Weapons, and he loved this song. A couple years later it was still good enough to include on their next album Method to the Madness. It’s still great.
12. Triumph – “Let the Light (Shine on Me)”
I’m getting steadily more and more disgusted with myself as the ballads play on. This one was recorded from the 7″ single, but at this point I don’t care and I just want the side to be over so I can flip the tape.
13. Quiet Riot – “Don’t Wanna Let You Go”
I’ll let myself off with a warning here, because this electric song is still pretty great. Truthfully, I included it hoping she’d like it, as Quiet Riot wasn’t really her thing. I was feeling nostalgic for the early 80s, the simplicity and quality of the Metal Health era. You didn’t need a ballad to have a hit then, and indeed “Don’t Wanna Let You Go” isn’t a single. Even in this shitty tape, Carlos’ guitar sound incredible.
14. Slaughter – “Fly to the Angels (Acoustic version)”
I put this on because she loved Slaughter but didn’t have a CD player, and this was a CD bonus track.
I need a break from all the balladeering, but I have a feeling the mush will be just as relentless. On the whole of side 1, there was only one track that you could call a rocker!
1. Judas Priest – “Out in the Cold”
Here it is! Yes, I sure do remember making this tape. The main motivation was — get this — to trick her into liking Judas Priest.
She hated Priest. Meanwhile, we were in the Painkiller era and I was riding a Priest high. I planned to write this song on the cover as:
1. Exciter – “Out in the Cold”
I used an alias (disregarding the thrash band with the same name because I know she wouldn’t recognize it) because I wanted her to hear this awesome Priest song with no preconceived notions. I wanted her to love it. I never found out since the cassette sounds so terribly bad and I never sent it, but this proves that I remembered my intentions correctly.
This sheds a new light on all the balladry. I was trying to really lull her in. I figured I needed a tape with nothing but the best soft songs in the world to really get her with the mighty Priest. It’s all coming back to me now.
2. Frehley’s Comet – “It’s Over Now”
I didn’t think she would know this one, but I hoped she’d like it. I was a big proponent of the second Frehley disc, appropriately called Second Sighting. I always thought this song should have been a huge, huge hit. I was hoping she would agree. Unusually for a Frehley song (but wiser from a commercial ballad point of view), it has both lead vocals and lead guitar by Tod Howarth.
3. Frozen Ghost – “Promises”
This one takes me completely by surprises. It’s a great song, but I didn’t have it back then. My sister did — I must have poached it from her collection for this tape. Bob played this a lot in the car over the last couple summers, so our whole gang would remember it fondly. She would have been in the car when we were rocking Frozen Ghost. Lead singer Arnold Lanni later went on to become quite a successful producer. Guitarist Phil X made it even bigger, now touring the world with Bon Jovi!
4. Lee Aaron – “Only Human”
I don’t think this is one of Lee’s finer moments, but I thought she’d like it, so on it went.
5. Winger – “Miles Away”
Putrid. Just awful. Fast forwarding.
6. AC/DC – “Moneytalks”
Holy shit! Finally a rock song. AC/DC were huge in ’90-’91. I couldn’t have gone wrong with AC/DC. Then why the fuck didn’t I include more? “Who Made Who”. “You Shook Me All Night Long”. Everybody likes those songs. Holy shitballs.
7. Motley Crue – “Home Sweet Home”
Tammy had Dr. Feelgood before I did, but I don’t know if she would have Theater of Pain back then. There was no such thing as a Motley greatest hits (can you imagine such a world?) so I thought this would be nice for her to have.
8. Van Halen – “Dreams”
OK, probably not a ballad. Very keyboard-heavy. Very easy to enjoy, and Van Hagar were still cool as fuck.
9. Van Halen – “Dancing in the Streets”
Some folks that are not necessarily Van Halen fans really like their version of “Dancing in the Streets”. It’s probably better than Bowie/Jagger, at least. I’m pleased with myself for including both Sammy and Dave on this tape, and one after the other no less!
10. REZ – “Shadows”
Woah! Deep cut. This was a tape, of a tape, of a tape, of a tape. You can imagine what it sounds like today. Bob and I loved this song by the Christian rock band REZ, formerly Resurrection Band. You can see that I snuck in a few unfamiliar songs like this, hoping she’d get into them. This one is pretty easy to like. Total shock to find it here.
11. Kiss – “Hard Luck Woman”
Kiss Count: five.
12. Brighton Rock – “One More Try”
This also comes as a surprise. Then I think to myself that my music collection wasn’t very large back then and I would have to pull a few obscure ones out. If I remember the details clearly, Tammy had MTV and so didn’t necessarily hear as much Canadian content like Brighton Rock.
13. AC/DC – “You Shook Me All Night Long”
Ah, good. What’s interesting to me about this is that at this point of the tape, the right channel is completely inaudible. So all I get is Angus (no Malcolm), Brian, and maybe half of Phil Rudd.
To my surprise, that is the last song. Usually I snuck something short and goofy at the end of a tape. “You Shook Me All Night Long” does make a good final song….
I didn’t erase the tape to the end! There is something left at the tail. Older contents; older than 1991.
It’s “On the Road to Rock” by Kick Axe! It is a mystery how that song got on this tape in the first place, as I didn’t own it back then and don’t even own it now. I must have recorded it off someone. Who, I have no idea. Perhaps my next door neighbour George had it. It was him or Bob, but I’ll never know for sure. George is gone now and Bob wouldn’t remember.
Knowing when I made this tape, and all the motivations behind it doesn’t forgive it for being a piece of shit. I did a shitty job here folks! Too many ballads, not enough variety. It’s a real slog to listen to without a fast forward button. At least half of those ballads could be axed, and replaced with something else that I had in my collection at that time.
Usually when you make a tape for someone, you give it away and never hear it again. In this case I had the rare chance to play back a mix tape that I made 28 years ago and never sent. It’s just as bad as I feared though not without some surprises and the odd cool inclusion.
That blue Scotch tape, an ancient C-120, goes back to at least 1983 making it 36 years old at minimum. 120 minute tapes are never any good, and this one was always particularly cheap. Now that I’ve satisfied my curiosity, I will never play this tape again.