Y&T

VHS Archives #2: Hear N’ Aid Special – Pepsi Power Hour (1986)

The one VHS tape I’m working on currently spans a period of recordings from about July 1986 to September 1987. This Hear N’ Aid special features a MuchMusic interview conducted by J.D. (John) Roberts. There’s lots of exclusive information in this valuable video, including a tidbit on bands who refused to be in the same project as Spinal Tap!

#407: Summertime

SHIRTS

RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#407: Summertime

I’ve always been a summer guy.  I was born in July.  I don’t like the snow.  My spirits are stronger and moods happier in the summer.  Summer holidays were glorious days to be spent at the cottage.  The beach, swimming, new music, no school…plus my birthday.  My whole year revolved around July and August!

Working at the Record Store in the summer was fun.  The sun pouring through the windows, opening the door and letting the breeze in…it was wonderful.  Not to mention that, as a single male, I didn’t mind female customers coming in dressed for summer.

Of course summer wasn’t all peaches and cream.  It meant the return of the infamous “No Shirts, No Shoes, No Service” sign and its enforcement thereof.   I hated having to kick people out for coming in with no shirt, but it had to be done.

Me: “Hey, do you mind putting on a shirt in the store?”

Him: “Why, are you serving food here?”

No, it’s just that I don’t want to have to watch the bead of sweat dripping off your nipple ring.

T-Rev made a different sign.  His said:

Because highschool is free,
And Jerry Springer does not work here,
Shoes and Shirts must be worn in store.

But I don’t know if he ever hung it up.  I hope he did.

People with no shoes were just as bad, particularly the Barefoot DJ who tried to fight us for his human rights to walk around with no shoes on.  All I know is that I had standing orders to kick him out, human rights be damned.  You can do whatever you want out there, but inside the store where insurance companies tell us what to do, you gotta obey the rules!  (If a CD case fell off the shelf and broke, and he stepped on a piece and cut his foot, he could sue.  And CD cases fell of the shelf and shattered every day.)

Because we had these big glass windows, sometimes the heat in the summer would get to be too much.  It was like a greenhouse.  There was always a constant battle over the air conditioning level, and it seemed we could never arrive at a compromise that made everyone comfortable.  My final summer at the store (2005), it was so hot inside that I tended to leave the big overhead counter lights off.  It made it harder for me to inspect incoming CDs for quality, but it also kept me from sweating all over them.

Summer album releases were memorable.  Metallica’s Load (June 4 1996) was the soundtrack to that summer for me.  In store, in car, it didn’t matter.  Load saw a lot of store play.  I’m quite fond of Load, and I’m sure the fact that it was Metallica that could be played in-store had a lot to do with that.  The same summer, Kiss were out there on their reunion tour, and I had their You Wanted the Best live compilation (June 25 1996) to keep me company at work.

I expect summer 2015 to rock just as much.  I don’t know what my album for the summer will be this year, but Van Halen’s Tokyo Dome Live in Concert is a contender.  I’ve already shorn my mane to cope with the summer heat.

Still, when it comes to summertime, I truthfully think Sammy Hagar said it best:

“We made it through the cold
And that freezin’ snow is gettin’ old, hey!

Woo! Summer nights and my radio
(Ah-ah) Well that’s all we need, baby. Don’tcha know?
We celebrate when the gang’s all here
(Ah-ah) Ah, hot summer nights, that’s my time of the year-ow!”

Have a great summer everyone!

REVIEW: Hear N’ Aid – Stars (1986)

HEAR N’ AID – Stars (1986 LP, Japanese CD)

It is hard to believe that this monumental album, a piece of rock history, was only issued on CD in Japan! Finding a domestic LP or cassette isn’t hard (I’ve owned it on all three formats including CD) so hunt your record shops.  I know Wendy Dio has a CD/DVD reissue lined up, hopefully including the full album, single edit, and the video and interviews.  If you’re reading this Wendy…

At the time, all funds went to starving people in Africa, hence the name Hear N’ Aid.  The inspiration was something fairly obvious:  No heavy metal people outside of Geddy Lee was involved in the numerous famine relief projects of the time!  (Geddy sang a lead on the excellent “Tears Are Not Enough” (1985) by Northern Lights, but nobody metal could be seen in “Do They Know It’s Christmas” or “We Are the World”.)

“Oh, you knoooow that we’ll be there!”

Showing the world that heavy metal bands and fans aren’t a bunch of assholes, Jimmy Bain and Vivian Campbell of Dio came up with the concept for Hear N’ Aid.

The main track, “Stars”, by Hear N’ Aid is a tour-de-force. Written by Bain, Campbell and Dio, this is essentially an epic extended track with a soft intro and heavy verses, and tons of guests. They assembled virtually every major metal singer who was willing and available to take part. That means you will hear Quiet Riot singers Kevin DuBrow and Paul Shortino (still with Ruff Cutt at the time) singing together for the first and only time in history! Rob Halford, Don Dokken, Eric Bloom, Geoff Tate, Dave Meniketti, and Dio himself all take lead vocal slots too.

When the guitar solo kicks in, prepared to be blown away. With Iron Maiden guitarists Dave Murray and Adrian Smith playing backing harmonies, you will hear the monstrous talents of George Lynch, Yngwie Malmsteen, Vivian Campbell, Craig Goldy, Neal Schon, Buck Dharma, Carloz Cavazo, Brad Gillis and Eddie Ojeda all taking a few bars. No charity track had ever attempted to assemble not just singers, but guitar players, on one track before.

All this is backed by drummers, bassists and keyboard players from Dio and Quiet Riot. There are more backing singers than I can name, but most notably, Derek Smalls and David St. Hubbins from Spinal Tap. Of course.

The rest of the album is filled out by songs donated by bands who couldn’t take part in the song, but still wanted to help the starvation situation in Africa. Therefore you will get a live “Heaven’s On Fire” from Kiss, from their Animalize Live Uncensored home video. This is the only place that the audio track was released on. There is an unreleased live “Distant Early Warning” by Rush, and rare ones by Scorpions and Accept as well.

Tracklist:
1.Hear ‘n Aid – “Stars”
2.Accept – “Up to the Limit” (live)
3.Motörhead – “On the Road” (live)
4.Rush – “Distant Early Warning” (live)
5.Kiss – “Heaven’s on Fire” (live)
6.Jimi Hendrix – “Can You See Me”
7.Dio – “Hungry for Heaven” (live)
8.Y&T – “Go for the Throat”
9.Scorpions – “The Zoo” (live)

5/5 stars