triumph

VHS Archives #119: Rik Emmett of Triumph’s Solo MuchMusic Debut

The final of my three epic Rik Emmett interviews in the VHS Archives.

August 1990:  It was the Magic Summer Tour and the Perfect Gentlemen were opening for New Kids On the Block at the CNE in Toronto.  That was the big news.  With all that teenage hype looming outside the big glass MuchMusic windows in the form of young girls, in walked Rik Emmett with his first solo material since leaving Triumph in 1988.  Nobody knew what to expect!

Interviewer Steve Anthony is his usual goofy self and loosens Rik up with a few joke questions about New Kids, Perfect Gentlemen and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, before diving into the big ones.

Topics discussed:

  • What artistic expression was he not able to fulfil in Triumph but now can as a solo artist?
  • The new album Absolutely and the response from Triumph fans and the music industry.
  • The writing process.
  • Hair production.
  • The Judas Priest trial.
  • His (awesome) new six piece band.
  • Being a guitar player vs singer/songwriter.
  • The new song and video “Big Lie”.

That’s it for my Rik Emmett treasure from the Archives, I hope you enjoyed them.

 

VHS ARCHIVES #25: RIK EMMETT OF TRIUMPH – THE HOLY GRAIL OF VIDEOS – POWER HOUR 1987 LIVE PERFORMANCE
VHS ARCHIVES #109: RIK EMMETT – THE AXEMEN COMETH (1988)

#964.5: The Lists – 2021 Year in Review – Part Two

Here We Go Again:  End of Year Lists 2021

2021:  the year of the hamster wheel.  It sure felt like we were spinning our tires all year!  Sometimes inching a little forward in the mud, only to slide right back.  What a year.  But we did get some great music out of it.

Here at LeBrain HQ, if you go strictly by the numbers, there were two bands that dominated the year, both oldies acts from the 1980s:  Coney Hatch and Iron Maiden!  They (or members thereof) appear numerous times in the lists you’re about to read.  Not so “oldies” after all eh?  Five appearances for Iron Maiden, and a whopping seven for Coney and its members!

Even I was surprised by the lists this year!  All my favourite things, and the stats of 2021, are curated below.


Top 11 Albums of 2021

11. PolychuckShadows Exposed EP
10. Suicide StarIsolation
9. Max the AxeOktoberfest Cheer EP
8. Mammoth WVHMammoth WVH
7. Danko JonesPower Trio
6. AcceptToo Mean to Die
5. Smith/KotzenSmith/Kotzen
4. Iron MaidenSenjutsu
3. Lee AaronRadio On
2. Coney HatchLive at the El Mocambo
1. StyxCrash of the Crown

Top Five Box Sets of 2021

5. KissDestroyer
4. WhitsnakeRestless Heart
3. Def LeppardCD Collection Vol 3
2. TriumphAllied Forces
1. MetallicaMetallica 

My Favourite Movies of 2021

5. Black Widow
4. Eternals
3. Free Guy
2. The Suicide Squad
1. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

(placeholder) Spider-Man: No Way Home – you have to assume it’ll be my new #1 when I see it!


Top 11 Interviews / Unboxings of 2021 (by YouTube views)

11. Robert Lawson interview
10. Sean Kelly interview
9. Suicide Star interview
8. Coney Hatch live LP unboxing
7. Andy Curran round three
6. Andy Curran part one
5. Paul Laine interview
4. Mike Fraser interview
3. Martin Popoff interview
2. Andy Curran + Mike Fraser interview
1. Iron Maiden Super7 figure blind box unboxing

Top Five List Shows / Deep Dives 2021 (by YouTube Views)

5. Top Concept Albums
4. 5150 Deep Dive with Tee Bone
3. Desert Island Discs
2. Top Maiden Art
1. Top Five King’s X with Martin Popoff

Top Reviews of 2021 by Hits

5. GUNS N’ ROSES“ABSUЯD”
4. STYXCrash of the Crown
3. PAUL STANLEY’S SOUL STATION – Now and Then
2. IRON MAIDEN – Senjutsu 
1.  – Off the Soundboard – Tokyo 2001


What’s in store for 2022?

  • The Book of Boba Fett
  • Jethro Tull – The Zealot Gene
  • Marillion – An Hour Before Its Dark
  • Guns N’ Roses – Hard Skool EP
  • new Sven Gali
  • Scorpions – Rock Believer
  • new Coney Hatch live with two new studio cuts
  • new Journey?
  • new Def Leppard?
  • Bryan Adams – So Happy it Hurts
  • Liam Gallgher – C’Mon You Know
  • Thor: Love and Thunder
  • Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  • Disney+: Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, She-Hulk, What…If? season 2, Secret Invasion, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special
  • The Mandalorian season 3
  • New albums from Ghost, Rammstein, Ozzy Osbourne, King Diamond, Weezer and more

 


TONIGHT.

Friday December 31, 9:00 PM E.S.T. on YouTubeFacebook and also Facebook!

VIDEO: Christmas 2021 Village Tour – Judas Priest – 50 Heavy Metal Years of Music Unboxing

Enjoy a tour of the best Christmas Village I’ve seen yet — complete with carnage and baby Yoda. Or, skip ahead to watch the unboxing at 3:43!

Yes — it has arrived. Judas Priest’s 50 Heavy Metal Years of Music. 42 CDs of music. Limited to 3000 copies. And in 2022 we will be reviewing this monstrosity front to back.


TRIUMPH AND DEFINITIVE AUTHENTIC ARE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE OPENING OF THE TRIUMPH VAULT – A CELEBRATION OF CANADA’S OWN ROCK & ROLL MACHINE!

Fans of classic Canadian rockers Triumph are in for a special treat – the launch of the ‘Triumph Vault’ website on Tuesday, December 14th, 2021.

By accessing triumphvault.com, fans will be able to discover artifacts from the band’s career beginning with a celebration of Triumph’s classic 1981 album, ‘Allied Forces.’

This inaugural collection will feature a selection of newly discovered artifacts personally curated by Mike, Gil and Rik in collaboration with Definitive Authentic. Several pieces are partnered with new audio commentary directly from the band.

New collections will be added to the Vault regularly for fans which will unlock over 45 years of Triumph’s illustrious rock & roll history through rare photos, audiograms, video, behind the scenes content, and exclusive collectables.

Commemorating the launch, the Triumph Vault will offer signed and numbered limited-edition memorabilia that have never been made available until now. And as part of the celebration and in keeping with the iconic ‘Allied Forces’ cover, fans who sign up for updates via the site are automatically entered to win a Dean Flying V guitar with a personal note from the band!

“We’re super excited to have our loyal fans experience the launch of the Triumph vault. Finally, after years of touring and recording, we’re able to unearth and display rare elements and artifacts from Triumph’s history. We can now share with our fans what we’ve been stowing away for years at Metalworks Studios.” –Gil Moore

The Triumph line-up – Rik Emmett, Gil Moore, and Mike Levine – rocked the world, and in the process, gave us countless classic hard rock anthems (“Fight the Good Fight,” “Hold On,” “Magic Power,” “I Live for the Weekend,” “Lay It On the Line,” and of course, “Rock & Roll Machine,” and albums (Just a Game, Progressions of Power, Allied Forces, Never Surrender, Thunder Seven, etc.).

Originally formed in 1975 and hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, the trio was always proud of their Great White North roots. And seemingly ever since their inception, Triumph was on the cutting edge of technology when it came to their live show – particularly lighting, sound, and effects. Sophisticated lasers, pyrotechnics and moving lighting rigs, all computer-controlled – Triumph was one of the first arena rock bands to incorporate all of these elements into their shows.

Triumph’s headlining tours were legendary, and the band was featured on many memorable stadium/outdoor shows – including the US Festival, the World Series of Rock, the American Rock Festival and Texxas Jam, Day on the Green, to name but a few. And earlier this year, the band was the focus of a documentary, ‘Triumph: Rock & Roll Machine,’ directed by Banger Films’ Sam Dunn and Marc Ricciardelli.

And now, Triumph fans will be able to celebrate the history of the band – with the launch of triumphvault.com.

VHS Archives #115: Sebastian Bach & Gil Moore get political at the 1993 Juno Awards

Celine Dion was the host.  Sebastian Bach (Skid Row) and Gil Moore (Triumph) were up to present an award.

For context:

On February 24 1993, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, with a record low 21% approval rating, announced he was resigning.  Bach and Moore were at the Junos a month later, on March 21.  Watch what Sebastian does.

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”

REVIEW: Triumph – Allied Forces (40th Anniversary Box Set)

TRIUMPH – Allied Forces 40th Anniversary Box Set (Originally 1981, 2021 Round Hill Records RSD set)

Triumph is under-celebrated.  That’s a fact.  To the unknowing, they were “the other Canadian power trio with the high voice”.  To the Allied Forces, they were Rik, Mike and Gil:  Triumph!  And really incomparable to Rush except in superficial ways.  Finally, some of their back catalogue has received the treatment it deserves and that is Allied Forces, for its 40th anniversary.  Overseen by Andy Curran,* this vinyl box set (no CD) features some exclusive music and a wealth of goodies packed within.  The usual content like booklets and reprints, but also a little surprise awaits you inside.  Released for Record Store Day back in May, limited quantities were later made available for the schmucks like us who couldn’t snag one in time.


Allied Forces itself is pressed on a picture disc.  The brilliant yellow A-side shows bullet belts and a Spitfire.  Vibrant imagery that only serves to enhance the tunes you’re about to hear.  Opening with “Fool For Your Love”, the beautiful picture disc sounds great with low surface noise.  Rik Emmett goes deep with some wicked slide guitars, on a good time rocker sung by Gil Moore.  In the luxurious liner notes, Rik explains that there are four tracks of guitar layered.  Indeed, Canada’s greatest guitarist sounds nice and thick with a delectable crunch.  With a nice tasty riff to bite down on, this opener stands as one of Triumph’s most enjoyable pure rockers.

The iconic #8 single “Magic Power” introduces Rik’s acoustic contemplative side.  Triumph succeeded in marrying all their facets on Allied Forces, and “Magic Power” is a fine example of this.  It has a quaint folksy vibe, but when the electric guitar kicks in, it becomes a pop rock classic.  With lyrics about drawing a “magic power” from music on the radio, what could be fitting?  Mike Levine’s big Hammond B3 is the ultimate accoutrement.

“Air Raid” is an interlude, a sonic experiment honed at the band’s new home studio, Metalworks.  It serves as a war-like intro to “Allied Forces”, one of Triumph’s heaviest.  A rallying cry for the live setting.  According to Uncle Rikky, it’s Triumph letting out their Deep Purple side, and you can certainly hear “Speed King” and “Highway Star” in its DNA.  Gil Moore rips it up on drums and vocals.  Triumph at their most Purple, and powerful.  But to end the side properly, they go for a good-time party rocker in “Hot Time (In This City Tonight)”.  Of course in the live setting, this enabled Triumph to honour their host city every night.  Just change the words to “Hot time in Cleveland tonight,” as we’ll see!  With a hot boogie behind him, Rik Emmett sings some ongodly high notes and wails away a fresh solo laden with wicked licks.

Flipping the record over, Side B depicts a triumphant B-17 bomber dropping its massive payload.  A strong graphic statement.  “Fight the Good Fight” is the clear album centerpiece.  Built upon Rik’s 12-string depth, it boasts many strengths.  Gil Moore’s complex beat and Mike Levine’s keyboards accent the song and build upon its heart.  Emmett’s solo is a sub-composition until itself, as they often are with him.  It has peaks, valleys and hooks of its own.  Adding to the true weight of “Fight the Good Fight”, the liner notes add the wrinkle that the song was inspired by a battle with cancer.

“Ordinary Man” is one likely to split opinions.  Fans of the progressive side will love the choir and acoustic arrangement.  Rawkers will say, “bah, pombous prog bullshit!”  Gil expresses regret that they didn’t play it live; it certainly would have been a challenge.  Queen-like vocals and guitar layers would be hard to perform by a power trio.  Speaking of power, that kicks in around the three-minute mark.  That’s when the riffing starts; full-on metal mode.

In the penultimate position, Rik’s classical instrumental (a Triumph institution) is “Petite Etude”, which also boasts some jazzy chords if you listen carefully.  Finally Rik ushers in the album closer “Say Goodbye” with more of that juicy slide guitar.  A pop rocker in the truest sense, and a Rik construction.  Mike and Gil seem a little cool on it in the liner notes.  It might not seem like the kind of song that fits on Allied Forces, but it does close the album on a really bright note, which is not a bad thing.  Mike’s Hammond B3 returns to add some integrity.

And that’s Allied Forces, a great album with no weak songs.  A solid 4.5/5 on a bad day.  But this box set has so much more to go.


“Magic Power” (Live in Ottawa 1982) is an exclusive 7″ single.  The A-side is the live version of the Triumph classic, unavailable elsewhere.  With the Triumph logo emblazoned on the right, a female mechanic services a World War II-era warplane on the sleeve.  As for the track, it’s a brilliantly energetic performance although you sure do miss that Hammond B3.  Still you can’t beat it for the electricity in the air.

The B-side was a bit of a mystery until we did a little digging.  “Allied Forces 2021” is not a re-recorded version by Triumph.  It is a new version by former Triumph guitarist Phil X, reportedly for an upcoming tribute album that’s in the works.  Phil’s version is way heavier, but he sings it pretty good and the solo work is absolutely wicked.  It doesn’t seem to say anywhere in the box that this version is by Phil X, but the RSD site credits the Bon Jovi guitarist properly.  It’s certainly far heavier than anything coming out of Jon’s camp these days.

A nice little bonus single here, and a nod to Phil X who helped keep Triumph going in the early 90s.


Live In Cleveland – 1981 will be the serious bonus here for many fans.  Although this concert was released on CD in 1996 as King Biscuit Flower Hour (In Concert), this is its first vinyl release and remastered at Metalworks.  By the time Triumph hit Cleveland, they were on their fifth studio album and had plenty of great material to play; all now classics.  Only a few tracks from Allied Forces had worked themselves into the set, the bulk of which is still made up of earlier material and long instrumental stretches.

From the previous album Progressions of Power, “Tear the Roof Off Tonight” opens on a Zeppelin-y party rock note.  Before you can say “Rock and Roll”, they’re into the second track “American Girls” from 1979’s Just A Game.  A nice tasty riff with bite, and two Gil Moore tunes in a row, the drummer working extra hard.  Dig that break into “The Star-Spangled Banner” right before the incendiary solo.

Rik’s up with the first epic of the night, “Lay It On the Line”, 12-string majesty ringing clear and true.

“Same old story, all over again.  Turn a lover into just another friend.  I wanna love you, I wanna make you mine…won’t you lay it on the line.”

Then Rik misses the mark and there are a couple extra power chords before he picks up the vocal where he left off.  Things that only happen on true untampered live recordings.  This passionate version of “Lay It On the Line” has some of Rik’s most incredible singing ever captured.  Period.

First new song of the night is “Allied Forces”, Gil going in extra hard on the lead vocals.  Rik screamin’ in the back.  Triumph were frickin’ hot in 1981.  “Allied Forces” is a work-out before Triumph lets loose some more serious epic material.  “Fight the Good Fight”, impressive itself, is followed by “Blinding Light Show / Moonchild”.  This is just a solid 15 minutes of compositional and instrumental brilliance.  Not to mention a lead vocal tour-de-force from Rik.  Serious drum thunder from Moore on “Moonchild”, and Mike Levine relentlessly laying down a melodic rhythm the whole time.

Gil demonstrations his ability to scat out a wicked song intro on “Rock ‘N’ Roll Machine”.  It ain’t easy to front a band from behind the drum kit but here he does a song intro to rival Paul Stanley.  They blast through that tune, complete with Rik’s signature solo, and then “I Live For the Weekend”.  It’s Triumph at their most Van Halen, boogying and soloing with the big boys.  Then it’s “Nature’s Child”, a drum solo, and an instrumental jam.  They exit on “Rocky Mountain Way” and “Hot Time (In Cleveland Tonight)”, two live standards.

Live In Cleveland is not the definitive live Triumph album.  That will remain to be Stages, which had a better song/solo ratio.  This is however the heaviest live Triumph album and its rawness and unpolished veridity make it the perfect one to accompany this box set.  Listen to the whole thing in one sitting, is my recommendation.


There is a treasure trove of relevant Triumph goodies included inside.  Box sets sold in Canada included an exclusive replica poster for Triumph live at Maple Leaf Gardens, New Year’s Eve 1981.  For a show at the Gardens, it’s pretty ballsy for them to use a picture of Rik Emmett wearing a Habs shirt.  This box set is loaded with Rik in the Habs shirt!

Deke and I also received a Rik Emmett 2021 guitar pick taped to the front shrinkwrap of our sets.  Picks are the kind of added bonus we really appreciate.  Something material.  The included replica backstage pass is also cool, as it looks better than just a piece of paper.

There are lots of paper goods inside too including:  a massive 24″ x 36″ poster, three lyric sheets, three sketches, the booklet and Allied Forces replica tour book.  Plenty of photos and text to sift through.  There are interviews with Rik, Mike and Gil, and a song-by-song breakdown.  Everything about the making of Allied Forces from to the music to the iconic cover.

Hopefully the powers that be continue to honour Triumph’s history as it deserves to be.  Allied Forces is a triumph indeed but it’s ridiculous that it was released in such limited numbers.  Let all the fans have a chance to get one.

5/5 stars

Personal note:  This box set was released June 12 2021, for Record Store Day.  Deke and I tried mightily but were interviewing Andy Curran at the exact moment the box was released.  Having failed to buy the box, Curran advised us not to pay inflated second-hand market prices to get it.  “Something special is planned,” he hinted.  A few weeks ago, the remainder of stock was made available via Rock Paper Merch.  A kind viewer left a comment here with the link to buy, and both Deke and I managed to get one.  Thank you Andy, and thank you viewer!  It goes great with my official Triumph hockey jersey.

A Very Animated Four Hours: An Epic LeBrain Train List Show

Going into this show, I didn’t know what to expect.  I’m not a big animation guy, as you’ll see.  But this was one of the most fun shows we’ve ever done in the umpteen months of this show!  The discussions were funny, insightful, and passionate.  The picks were diverse with some consensus on key animated films.  There was a little bit of CanCon and a little bit of Kiss.  And a lot of fun.

Thank you to our awesome panel this week:

I also did a an unboxing of the brand new RSD Triumph Allied Forces 40th anniversary box set (Canadian edition).  You gotta see this puppy.  Check that out right at the start of the broadcast.  After which, the lists commence!

Thanks for watching everyone, this was a blast from beginning to end!

 

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!

 

REVIEW: Triumph – “Spellbound” (1984 special promo 12″)

TRIUMPH – “Spellbound” (1984 MCA 12″ radio promo disc)

1984’s Thunder Seven was a big one in Canada, with “Spellbound” and “Follow Your Heart” both hitting the top 100 singles chart.  Triumph singles rarely offered up much in the way of non-album material, but the odd curiosity could be found.  This Triumph single for “Spellbound” was acquired by a friend, from Jerry’s Records in Pittsburgh back in 2013.

On the A-side, the standard 5:12 single version of “Spellbound” without edits.  You can really hear why this was a hit in 1984.  Triumph had learned to marry keyboard and guitar riffs for a bigger radio-ready sound.  With Gil Moore on lead vocals, “Spellbound” had huge chorus.  The track was also made into a cool video.

The B-side was specially designed for radio airplay.  Each track on Thunder Seven is given a brief special intro by the three band members.  You could look at this as an interview disc.  It’s nine minutes in length and not without value.  By listening we learn that “Spellbound”, for example, changed much from conception to release.  It was once titled “White Lies” before it was rewritten.  “Time Canon” was made up of 18 parts over 66 tracks.  Amazing stuff.  Their Canadian accents are adorable.

An excellent purchase for Triumph fans who have it all and need a little more.

4/5 stars