greg fraser

#1001: 50 (Or, Reading a Post in Real Time)

RECORD STORE TALES #1001: 50

Well, it happened.  After two and a half years of no illnesses whatsoever, this boy finally got sick a couple days before his 50th birthday.  Not Covid, thank fuck.  Just the cold that seems to be going around “like wildfire” according to our pharmacist.  Sunday night it hit like a ton of bricks and I was in bed by 5:30.  Monday I was coughing with a sore throat and spent the entire day in bed, a couple hours here and there aside.  Tuesday I was well enough to go back to work.  Dead tired though.

And so, this 50th birthday that was supposed to be a simple movie night with the parents is now a night at home by ourselves.  Can’t bring this cold into their house.  Additionally, because I didn’t go into work on Monday, I cancelled my planned day off on Friday.  Just not enough time left in the week to get everything done.  We were supposed to do a 50th birthday celebration at the lake but that won’t be happening.

As miserable as I felt, it’s nice to get the birthday messages.  Because I can, I’ll boast a bit about the celebrity birthday wishes.  I’m always a little shellshocked when guys like this wish me a happy birthday:

  • Brent Jensen, the author and podcaster who always makes my skin vibrate
  • Mike Fraser, world-class producer and mixer extraordinaire
  • Brent Doerner, Helix guitarist
  • Greg Fraser, Brighton Rock and Storm Force axe-slinger
  • Michael Willerding, former drummer for Russian Blue and Feel
  • Rik Fox, original W.A.S.P. bassist who messaged all the way from Facebook jail

Even though I feel like I need an extended

[cut]


That is the exact moment while writing this post on a snack break that my cell phone rang.

Same old, same old, same old.  The mall called.  My beautiful wife had a seizure.  This time, she fell flat on her face and cut her lip.  She looks absolutely brutal right now.  It hurts my heart.

Had to leave work early.  I’m exhausted.  She’s pretty sore.

Let’s focus on the good.  Trying to focus on the good.

OK, the good:

  • Happy birthday wishes from all my friends and relatives
  • Surprise birthday pizza and pasta from our pharmacist, Vu
  • Surprise birthday parcel from Thor, aka Thunder Blackmore (it’s just cool getting a text message that says “You have a parcel from Thor”)
  • Jen is safe

I was going to do a big unboxing of Thor’s parcel but I am dead tired now.  I need rest.  And what says “you’re 50 years old now” better than a nap?

It can only get better from here.  Happy 50th, to me.

Killer Scotch on the Rocks debut with Greg Fraser, Andy Curran and Sean Kelly

Congratulations Deke on an historic first episode of Scotch on the Rocks!

All you need to know is Andy Curran and Sean Kelly both dropped by for an episode that you could have called “This Is Your Life Greg Fraser”.  The Storm Force guitarist dropped tons of knowledge and great stories.  Musicians:  watch this episode.

 

Scotch on the Rocks: Series premiere with Greg Fraser

SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS

Episode 1 – Greg Fraser (Storm Force)

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.

LeBrain Train Update: In Case You Missed It

Hey all!  Just a quick update in case you missed it.  Friday’s show was four hours long so if you missed the flurry of details at the end, that’s OK.  This isn’t really an announcement; just an outline of what I’d like to do.

I’ve said since the beginning that I will keep going live every week to bring friends together and entertain you on a Friday night when you’re stuck at home doing nothing.  While the fourth Covid wave is officially happening now (thanks Delta!), most of you no longer seem to be stuck at home on Friday nights anymore.  I’ve been trying to find a time to wrap up the weekly show.  We’ve been doing this steadily every week since March of 2020 and a break would be nice.  However we’ll keep going as long as it’s necessary and I’m able.  I don’t decide; Covid does.

Viewership has started to drop compared to the peak in May 2021, so it’s obvious that some of you have got your lives back.  Others still need this Friday ritual.  Currently I’m looking at or around October 1 to do a finale.  We shall see; a lot can change between now and then.  When I’m no longer going live every week anymore, I’d still like to do it once a month.

And interviews are still happening!  We’ve already confirmed the first one of the fall which is Greg Fraser of Storm Force, back again to tell us what they have cooking.  This is very special to us because Greg was the very first interview that Deke and I did a year ago.  We’ve come full circle and Greg will be back on September 24 at 7:00 PM.  Once again thanks to Deke for lining this up.



In sum:

Hang on because we still have plenty of fun lined up for the foreseeable future.  But circumstances are changing and nothing lasts forever, not even Covid, so with any luck you can expect a LeBrain Train series finale in the fall.  If not…keep on keepin’ on, because I will.

The Best of 2021

REVIEW: Storm Force – “Breathe” featuring Serena Pryne (2020 music video)

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.

5/5 stars

REVIEW: Storm Force – Age of Fear (2020 Japanese import)

STORM FORCE – Age of Fear (2020 Japanese import)

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.

5/5 stars

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.

 

Storm Force! Greg, Pat and Brian join Deke and LeBrain in the Age of Fear!

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
  • Canadian Rock
  • New music
  • Secrets to singing
  • Thunder Bay
  • 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 0:16:50 of 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.

Storm Force Friday! Greg Fraser and Patrick Gagliardi join us tonight!

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.

Facebook:  Michael Ladano or Facebook:  MikeLeBrain.  YouTube:  Mike LeBrain.

 

VHS Archives #96: Brighton Rock play ball with Erica Ehm and Duane Ward (1991)

This video is for the one and only Buried on Mars!

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:

  • Duane’s “theme song” by Billy Joel
  • How Brighton Rock hooked up with Ward
  • What they do when they hang out
  • The first video “Hollywood Shuffle”
  • Life after the Jays

Let’s play ball!

Just Listening to…Storm Force – Age of Fear (2020)

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.

Full review to come summer 2020.  Check out the official Storm Force Facebook to get the CD (signed or unsigned).