Vanilla Fudge to perform at Narrows Center in Fall River, MA

Legendary rock band Vanilla Fudge will perform at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Mass., on Saturday, November 16th. Purchase tickets HERE.

Since the summer of 1967, Vanilla Fudge were architects of a new musical style that included psychedelic, rock, soul music and gospel. They were, and are masters of reinterpreting other artist’s hit songs, and their effect on the soon to explode late 60’s “heavy metal” scene was undeniable.

To be an influence on the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Van Halen certainly secures a place in rock n roll history for the legendary Vanilla Fudge.

Now in their 52nd year, the powerhouse vocals and keyboard flourishes of virtuoso organist Mark Stein, along with the fluid guitar explosions of Vinnie Martell, all anchored by arguably one of the best rhythm sections in the history of rock music, with the legendary Carmine Appice on drums and Pete Bremy on bass (filling in for the retired Tim Bogert), they create a sound so unique that it cannot be imitated. Your spirit will jettison right back to a “happening” in that magical summer of 1967, and this “happening” needs to be felt live to truly be appreciated!

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, Mass. Tickets to this show can be purchased online at www.narrowscenter.org or by calling the box office at 508-324-1926. For those wanting to purchase tickets in person, box office hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12 noon to 5 p.m.

The Cassette Chronicles – Keel’s ‘Keel’

By JAY ROBERTS

The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from this time period through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums. These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.

KEEL – KEEL (1987)

For those of us who consider ourselves passionate fans of music, the truth of the matter is that there is always going to be entirely too much material for us to get to it all in a timely manner. And that’s allowing for the notion that we’ll ever get to it all.

Of course, taking three decades to check out an album is likely pushing the boundaries of the phrase “Better Late Than Never” but such is the case with Keel’s self-titled fourth album. While I have a Facebook friend who is seemingly friends with singer Ron Keel, I can’t begin to even guess whether or not I’ve ever heard a song from the band before now.

Like many metalheads, I’ve of course heard of the band but Keel fell into the category of a band I just never found time for back during metal’s 1980’s golden period. After listening to the Keel album, it would seem they now fall into the category of how did I miss out on them the first time around.

I say that because I was surprisingly taken with this album. Things kick off with a rousing and rocking anthem in “United Nations”. The music is incredibly strong with the guitar work of Bryan Jay and Marc Ferrari being immediately captivating. Ron Keel’s voice quite obviously fit the material but I found myself really listening to his vocals throughout the album, which led me to kicking myself over having ignored the band all these years.

The song “Somebody’s Waiting” was a bit of dip in the quality for me. It’s okay but doesn’t seem to have quite the same energetic feel as most of the other tracks on the album. Seeing how the album was put out in 1987, you can imagine that there was a power ballad type of song included. And with “Calm Before The Storm”, you’d be right in that assumption. I wasn’t quite taken with the song but I did like that the lyrics didn’t suffer from a sugary overload of trite emotional waterworks.

Still, the first side of the album is explosively rocking with the killer “Cherry Lane” and “King of the Rock”. The latter song is a furious blaze of music, with the song’s opening guitar driven intro quickly establishing itself as a song that needs to be not only heard, but played repeatedly…on 11!

The second side of the album opened up a little weaker than I would’ve hoped. “It’s a Jungle Out There” isn’t necessarily a bad song. The fast paced number just kind of felt rushed and everything ran together for me. It didn’t feel as if it truly blended all the elements together.

However, that’s the only down note about the second side of the album. Because wow did Keel kill it with the other songs. I don’t know what it was about the title “I Said The Wrong Thing To The Right Girl” but from the title to the actual song there was just something about the song that really appealed to me. I know that the title may seem a little silly but for me, any residual giggles about the title were blown away by just how good the song was. Another potentially silly sounding title was “If Love Is A Crime (I Wanna Be Convicted)”. I know it sounds kind of like something that would be included on a Ramones album but again the song itself is so strong that the title is just left in the dust when you think of it.

I thought “Don’t Say You Love Me” was a standout track. And thankfully, the song was a balls out rocker. Keel ends the album with literal and figurative fireworks. The song “4th of July” explodes from start to finish. Given that we just had the holiday recently, the way the song concludes with the inclusion of recorded fireworks going off, it was a nice kind of celebratory way to end the album.

So I’ve once again been surprised by my own musical ignorance. As I listened to each song I kept wondering why this album hadn’t been a bigger thing back in the day. The irony of thinking that while I was one of those millions who ignored the band and album does not escape me.

I will say that while the cassette played well enough for me to be able to write this article, it does seem like it might be ready to give up the ghost. I don’t say this often but I liked the album so much that I’m going to be looking to upgrade to a CD edition as soon as I can because the Keel album is just too good for me to not have in my musical collection anymore.

NOTES OF INTEREST: Guitarists Marc Ferrari and Bryan Jay would leave the band a year after the release of this album. However, they rejoined the band in 1998 and again in 2009 for Keel’s 25th anniversary reunion.

Black ‘N Blue frontman Jaime St. James sang backup vocals on “It’s A Jungle Out There” and “If Love Is A Crime (I Wanna Be Convicted)”

The song “Calm Before The Storm” was co-written by the longtime Dio and Rainbow bassist Jimmy Bain.

The Moody Blues’ Justin Haward to perform in Fall River, MA

Justin Hayward, vocalist, guitarist and composer of The Moody Blues, is performing at the Narrows Center in Fall River, Mass., on October 9, 2019. The concert will feature Hayward playing hits and deep cuts from The Moody Blues catalog and songs from Hayward’s solo career. Michael Dawes, who is also in Hayward’s band, will open the show. Purchase tickets HERE.

Having chalked up over fifty years at the peak of the music and entertainment industry, Justin Hayward’s voice has been heard the world over.  Known principally as the vocalist, lead guitarist and composer for the Moody Blues, his is an enduring talent that has helped to define the times in which he worked. Over the last forty-five years the band has sold 55 million albums and received numerous awards. Commercial success has gone hand in hand with critical acclaim, The Moody Blues are renowned the world over as innovators and trail blazers who have influenced any number of fellow artists.  Justin is honoured with the Moody Blues on the Rock Walk Hall of Fame on Sunset Boulevard and last year the band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Born and brought up in Swindon in the UK, Justin’s interest in music started early when he was five years old and his grandfather bequeathed him his large collection of 78 rpm recordings. “It opened a world of imagination to me,” says Justin.  Having taught himself to play the ukulele, he soon progressed to guitar and by his early teens he was playing in local groups.  Upon leaving school at 17 he answered an advertisement in Melody Maker newspaper and successfully auditioned for UK Rock and Roll hero Marty Wilde. “I got the job playing guitar for Marty – it was a dream come true for me”. Justin credits Marty with encouraging him to become a songwriter; he made several recordings with Marty’s ‘Wilde Three’ and also appeared with them at the London Palladium.  They remain close friends to this day: “Marty is still my hero”.

Having started the ball rolling as a songwriter in his own right with a couple of solo singles, he joined the Moody Blues in the summer of 1966. Hitting his stride immediately with the single “Fly Me High”, he followed it up with the classic hit songs “Nights in White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon” from the seminal album Days of Future Passed. This album went on to become a favourite of the NASA astronauts and was taken aboard the Atlantis shuttle space craft by Chief astronaut “Hoot” Gibson on many missions.

This purple patch showed no sign of abating as Justin created other classic, era and genre-defining hits “Question”, “The Voice”, “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”, “The Story In Your Eyes” and “Your Wildest Dreams”.  These laid the foundation for the incredible success story of the Moody Blues – as well as his solo work – which continues to this day.

When the Moody Blues took a break from touring in 1975, Justin worked on the Blue Jays album, followed by the hit single “Blue Guitar” (recorded with the members of 10cc). Although the Moodies continued to record and tour at the highest level, Justin also found time to create several solo albums: Songwriter, Night Flight, Moving Mountains and The View From the Hill.

In the 1980s, he was made a member of the famous “SODS” (The Society of Distinguished Songwriters) and in 2012 he was elected ‘King SOD’.  He also collaborated in 1989 with Mike Batt and the London Philharmonic Orchestra and recorded the album Classic Blue.

Justin was presented with “The Golden Note” award from ASCAP in 2005, the top honour for a British writer, and he has appeared in Nashville regularly with other songwriters in showcase events. In 2013, The Performing Rights Society in the UK awarded him his second Ivor Novello statue for ‘Outstanding Achievement’.

Justin records in Italy and France of which he says, “Spending time making music in a beautiful place with your friends is every songwriter’s dream”. Justin undertook extensive solo tours in 2016, 2017 and 2018; and in 2019 Justin will again head out on the road bringing his wonderful music to his fans in North America.

As well as live shows, Justin has released several solo recordings; an album of new songs Spirits Of The Western Sky – for Eagle Rock – was released in 2013 followed by several solo tours, and in 2014 a “live in concert” DVD Spirits…Live was made available, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Video chart. 2016 saw the release of All The Way(Eagle Rock Entertainment), a compilation from Justin’s solo career. All The Way includes Justin’s solo songs, a recording with The London Philharmonic Orchestra, solo live performances and unique versions of classic Moody Blues tracks and the brand new song “The Wind Of Heaven.”

In January 2018, the news broke that The Moody Blues were finally to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This recognition comes not before time but means a great deal to the band.  At the time Justin commented, “I’m extremely grateful to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, first for creating the supreme temple to all that has brought endless joy into my life since I was a small boy, and now, after all these years, for including us.

It’s a privilege to be celebrated in the same building, on the same street even, as my own heroes – Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers – and now, at last, with us, my heroine Nina Simone.

But all the thanks must go to The Moody Blues fans for giving us a wonderful, wonderful life in music – our induction has now validated the music they so love, and I’m so, so pleased, for us all. Yippee!”

Whilst the acceptance into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a truly global endorsement, it is of course the music that matters. 2018 saw the 50th anniversary of the Days Of Future Passed album.  The band marked this with some North American dates and the release of the concert recording Days Of Future Passed Live.

“I have spent most of my life, so far, on the road”, says Justin. “Playing live and creating a small piece of magic in a room is like a drug to me, one that I never want to give up”. His is a talent that has helped soundtrack more than a generation and created a legacy that remains undimmed.

Hayward is a talent that has helped soundtrack more than a generation and created a legacy that remains undimmed.

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street. Tickets to his show can be purchase online HERE or by calling the box office at 508-324-1926. For those wanting to purchase tickets in person, box office hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12 noon to 5 p.m.

The Cassette Chronicles – Def Leppard’s ‘Pyromania’

By JAY ROBERTS

The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from this time period through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums. These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.

DEF LEPPARD – PYROMANIA (1983)

As I set to writing this article I was trying to come up with some new kind of angle that hasn’t been covered ad nauseum over the 36 years since Def Leppard first released Pyromania. But whether it is talking about the big hit songs from this album that launched the band into the stratosphere of rock royalty or the painstakingingly intense recording of the album as spearheaded by Mutt Lange, there’s not a whole heck of a lot that hasn’t been written about the album.

Yes, Pyromania is the album that truly launched the band’s career. Their two previous albums are really good. There’s no doubt about that. But in comparison to this album and then the even more massive success of Hysteria, both On Through The Night and High ‘n’ Dry somehow come off as relatively overlooked. For all the talk about how intense the collaboration with Lange was for this album, you can’t fault the finished product. There’s ten songs on the album and even though three songs are recognized as all-time rock classics, there is not a single bad track on the album (Okay, to be honest, I hate the outro on the album closing “Billy’s Got A Gun”). To this day, how can you not get a little shot of electricity when you hear “Photograph”, “Rock of Ages” or “Foolin'”?

But I love songs like “Stagefright” and “Die Hard The Hunter” as well. And the opening salvo of “Rock! Rock! (Til You Drop)” still gets me all keyed up to listen to the album in full.

See what I mean? It’s nice to read that stuff, but I’m not exactly saying anything that hasn’t been written before.

So instead, I thought I’d just go into a little bit of my own experience with the album instead. Pyromania was one of the first albums I ended up with as I took my initial foray into what has become a passionate love of rock and metal.

I can’t remember exactly how I came to possess my cassette copy of the album, but I am pretty sure that my parents bought it for me. Which is quite amusing when you consider that they wouldn’t buy me REO Speedwagon’s Hi Infidelity or Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry albums when I asked for them because of the cover art. But if you take a look at the cover art for Pyromania, you might wonder why that was an okay piece for them to buy me.

Anyway, I still have that very cassette but for some reason I do not have the original case or the liner notes card that came with it. Instead, for years it has been stored in holder that was originally for blank cassettes (which were usually used to tape songs off the radio of course!). The liner card was flipped inside out and the track listing was written in hand in blue ink. And the album still plays wonderfully. I’d have to check because I think I did finally upgrade to a CD version of the album but I still love that cassette.

I’ve seen the band in concert twice, once in 1993 and then again in 2000. My sister was a big fan of Def Leppard at one point and I took her to that 2000 show. Rock fandom didn’t quite stick with her though as she’s more of a country music fan these days.

One of the coolest memories I have that is associated with the days of Pyromania is opening gifts that Christmas. My parents had managed to buy me not only an album cover art T-shirt but they had found a Def Leppard Union Jack painter’s cap. Let me tell you, I was pretty stoked when I opened that particular package.

Over the years, there has been an ebb and flow to my fandom for the band. I hated the Slang, Yeah! and Songs from the Sparkle Lounge releases, but I also loved Euphoria and truly raved about the 2015 Def Leppard album. But when I find the band has really hit on all the high marks that define their career, they are a vastly underrated rock act. Yes, I know that they seem to shy away from even being called a rock band, but that’s what they are and that is why I remain pretty devoted to their music.

Hysteria may be the band’s highest benchmark in terms of commercial success (more than 25 million albums sold). But for me and I’m guessing many others, that success wouldn’t have been possible without the breakthrough the band experienced as they worked on what would become Pyromania. It is an album that never fails to entertain me and stands up strong against whatever you might want to throw at it.

NOTES OF INTEREST: English musician Thomas Dolby, best known for the hit pop song “She Blinded Me With Science” played keyboards on the Pyromania album. He’s credited under the pseudonym Booker T. Boffin.

Producer Mutt Lange provided backing vocals on the album and did the spoken word intro on the song “Rock Of Ages”.

Despite being fired from the band before the completion of recording Pyromania, guitarist Pete Willis played the rhythm guitar tracks for all ten songs on the album.

The Cassette Chronicles – Beau Nasty’s ‘Dirty, But Well Dressed’

The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from this time period through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums. These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.

BEAU NASTY – DIRTY, BUT WELL DRESSED (1989)

Even those who consider themselves hardcore fans of the 80’s metal years are likely to have some band that either they have never heard of before. Perhaps there’s a chance they’ve heard the name but memories of the music have been obscured by the passage of time.

The latter might just be the most fitting explanation for the band Beau Nasty. I’m sure most people reading this article are probably scratching their head saying, “Who?”.

Don’t worry though, you are in good company. I am pretty sure that I’ve heard the band’s name before but I can’t really guarantee that. And as for any memories of hearing the music off this sole album they released, nope!

The band is pretty darn obscure to say the least. I looked them up on line and there wasn’t really much to find. There’s not even a Wikipedia page for them.

Of course, after listening to Dirty, But Well Dressed, I can’t say that I’m all that surprised by the lack of information available. The album was released at the pinnacle of metal’s golden years. And despite the band seeming to check every box on the list of what a metal album should have in 1989, the material just really didn’t catch on with seemingly anyone. Of course, the silly album cover with the band posed in Renaissance-era costumes probably didn’t help matters with those people who scoured the shelves for new material to check out.

With the passage of time and new ears to listen though, I was surprised to find that there were some interesting songs to be heard after all. When I first listened to the album, my initial impression of singer Mark Anthony Fretz was that vocally he kind of sounded like a version of Dean Davidson from Britny Fox. Whether it was intentional or just how he sang anyway, the scratchy or raspy vocals gave a bluesy dimension to his performance at times.

The first side of the album kicks off with a song called “Shake It”. It’s not the most original title but there’s a fast paced gritty feel to the song that made me like it in spite of myself. You can check out the video the band made for the song on Youtube. Of course that strong start then gave way to a couple of mediocre rockers in “Goodbye Rosie” and “Gimme Lovin’. Not album killer tracks, but definitely felt like album filler to me.

Of course, those look like pure gold compared to the dreck that was the power ballad “Paradise In The Sand”, a song so dreadfully inane that if the TV show How I Met Your Mother had tried to use it for one of their “Robin Sparkles” episodes, the network’s standards and practices offices would’ve demanded they cut it from the show so they didn’t get arrested for crimes against humanity. Okay, perhaps that’s a bit of an oversell on my part but the song was awful.

Mercifully, the album’s title track close out Side One with a smoking energetic rocker that had me saying out loud as I listened, “I am really liking this one”. While that’s not going to win me any fine writing awards, it isn’t often that I talk to myself out loud while listening to an album for this series, so I look at that as a positive achievement on the band’s part.

Side two dug deep into that bluesy feel with the opening “Love To The Bone”. The song has a slow drawl to the opening sequence before a more driving rock tempo takes over and you are confronted with just a very cool song.

The song “Gemini” had kind of a ballad feel to it but there was more of a musical urgency to the song’s delivery. It gave the song some mildly interesting moments. Based solely on the title of the song, I thought “Piece of the Action” sounded like something that could’ve been on an early L.A. Guns release. However, the pain I felt and that you may feel if you choose to check out the album, returns in full force when another enforced ballad bleats through the speakers on “Make A Wish”. The best thing I can say about it is that it wasn’t worse than “Paradise In The Sand” (Spoiler alert: It was about equal in terms of the overly sappy quotient for this song).

The album closes with a cover of “Love Potion #9”. It is vastly “rocked” up in comparison the original song but it doesn’t do much to make this version any better.

It’s been a while since I’ve written a more downwardly slanted article about one of my albums. While Dirty, But Well Dressed has a few tracks that made things bearable, I can’t really come close to truly recommending that this one go on anyone’s must-listen to list.

NOTES OF INTEREST: As noted, this album was the only one the band produced. They formed in 1988 but had split by 1990.

While Beau Hill served as the album’s executive producer, I was more interested to find that Paul Winger is listed as a producer. Paul is the brother of Kip Winger. Both Beau Hill and Paul Winger, along with brother Nate Winger also helped provide backing vocals on the album as well.

Drummer Mike Terrana would go on from Beau Nasty to play in such heavier acts like Rage, Gamma Ray and Masterplan amongst his many credits.

The Cassette Chronicles – Queensryche’s ‘Operation Mindcrime’

By JAY ROBERTS

The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from this time period through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums. These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.

QUEENSRYCHE – Operation: mindcrime (1988)

I love stories. I’ve always been interested in reading or hearing stories, especially when a long thoroughly conceived tale is to be had. TV’s Babylon 5 was described as a five year novel for television, there’s the entire Star Wars movie franchise and in my mild-mannered guise as a reviewer for the noted Mystery Scene magazine, I get the chance to read and review a number of stories. So you can imagine that the notion of a concept album where all the songs are geared towards telling one single story would be right up my alley.

There’s been many examples of great concept albums over the years, with metal being a primary source of this for my own personal enjoyment. Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son of a Seventh Son and W.A.S.P.’s The Crimson Idol being two album that immediately come to mind.

But for what started my love of conceptual rock and metal albums, it really begins and ends with Queensryche’s Operation: mindcrime. It’s been nearly 31 years now, and I still get goosebumps whenever I play the album. And I’m kind of obsessed with it as well.

Before I get to that, let’s go back a bit further in time. The fandom I have for Queensryche (even a bit tattered as it is given all the controversies surrounding the splitting of the band a few years back), can first be traced to before I was a metal fan. I had a much older uncle on my father’s side. He lived in Vermont and was married to a woman that had an adult son that was in the armed services. The son was home on a weekend that my family was visiting the state for a summer vacation. After everyone else had gone to bed, he put on an album that I’d never heard before. I was yet to experience the birth of my metal fandom so I didn’t think much of it at first. But once my metal nature came to the forefront, I thought back and it turned out he had been playing the Queensryche EP that night.

But let’s get back to Operation: mindcrime, shall we? Spoken word intros, set pieces, actors performing roles of the characters “Nikki”, “Dr. X” and “Sister Mary” in the stories combined with some incredible metal music, how could you not like this album?

I was about 17 or so when the album came out and I remember that I received the cassette (which I still have and was listening to for the purposes of this article) as a Christmas present from my parents. (A far cry from when my mother wouldn’t buy me metal albums for gifts, no?) Anyway, I remember everything about that first listen in the mid-morning of Christmas Day. The way my bed was situated in the room I shared with my younger brother at the time, the shelf on the bookcase where my stereo of the moment sat and reading along to the lyrics sheet as Queensryche rocked their way through a dark and somewhat apocalyptic tale of conspiracy, corruption, death and destruction and murder and mayhem. For me, it was the best present I could’ve received.

The album’s production, the songwriting and the performances from singer Geoff Tate, guitarists Chris DeGarmo and Michael Wilton, bassist Eddie Jackson and drummer Scott Rockenfield fueled the story and provided this lover of stories with a tale that I just can’t ever seem to get enough of.

I mentioned that I’m kind of obsessed with the album. Hell, for a long time I identified Queensryche as my favorite band. I would listen to Operation: mindcrime as often as possible. I own it on LP, cassette and I have both the original CD release and the 2003 reissued edition as well, plus the version that came with their Revolution Calling box set. Hell, as a member of their official fan club, I was even able to buy a cassette tape that they were selling that contained an update from “Dr. X” himself on the state of the campaign. I still have that too. I still have the bumper stickers that came when you joined the fan club, for goodness sake! I even had a separate jean jacket that was dedicated solely to Queensryche with an Operation: mindcrime backpatch as the focal point along with the band’s name done on the shoulder blades of the jacket by my mother.

When the band announced that they were going to perform the entire album on their tour for the Empire album, I knew that I HAD to be there! And I was…TWICE! It is still one of the greatest concerts I’ve ever seen. They were simply on fire at this point in their career. When they released the live album Operation: Livecrime I bought both the cassette and CD editions because I just HAD to have them both!

I’ve imagined a movie for the story (writing the screenplay would be the ideal for me) and as a Dungeons & Dragons player, my friend Fred and I even started coming up with a game setting where the Operation: mindcrime setting was a reality, we were in the middle of it and Geoff Tate was actually revealed to be an elf! Remember, I did cop to this particular obsession!

Most of my articles in The Cassette Chronicles contain some bit of review analysis about what I did and did not like about the album. But a song by song breakdown isn’t really necessary for this album. From “I Remember Now” to “Eyes of A Stranger”, I love it all! Every bit of music and lyrics serves the story and heightens my appreciation even to this day. I can’t walk away now…nor would I want to.

Of course, due to a bitter split between Geoff Tate and the rest of the band, the lineup that recorded the album no longer exists and it is a case of where I believe there will never be any possibility of a reunion. But that doesn’t sour the greatness Queensryche achieved in their heyday.

Simply put, this is my story and I am sticking with it: Operation: mindcrime is my all-time favorite album ever…period…end of discussion!

NOTES OF INTEREST: Geoff Tate has been performing the entire album on tour as part of the 30th anniversary of the release. He’ll be playing the The Vault Music Hall & Pub on June 23rd and 24th (just a few days after this article goes live) in New Bedford, MA. He’s announced plans to perform the Queensryche album Empire in its entirety during his tour for 2020.

Queensryche recorded a sequel album in 2006, Operation: mindcrime II. Ronnie James Dio performed the role of “Dr. X” on that album. The live release Mindcrime at the Moore is the only live recording of Dio performing the role on the song “The Chase”.

The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward to perform in Fall River, MA

Justin Hayward, vocalist, guitarist and composer of The Moody Blues, is performing at the Narrows Center in Fall River, Mass., on October 9, 2019. The concert will feature Hayward playing hits and deep cuts from The Moody Blues catalog and songs from Hayward’s solo career. Michael Dawes, who is also in Hayward’s band, will open the show. Purchase tickets HERE.

Having chalked up over fifty years at the peak of the music and entertainment industry, Justin Hayward’s voice has been heard the world over.  Known principally as the vocalist, lead guitarist and composer for the Moody Blues, his is an enduring talent that has helped to define the times in which he worked. Over the last forty-five years the band has sold 55 million albums and received numerous awards. Commercial success has gone hand in hand with critical acclaim, The Moody Blues are renowned the world over as innovators and trail blazers who have influenced any number of fellow artists.  Justin is honoured with the Moody Blues on the Rock Walk Hall of Fame on Sunset Boulevard and last year the band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Born and brought up in Swindon in the UK, Justin’s interest in music started early when he was five years old and his grandfather bequeathed him his large collection of 78 rpm recordings. “It opened a world of imagination to me,” says Justin.  Having taught himself to play the ukulele, he soon progressed to guitar and by his early teens he was playing in local groups.  Upon leaving school at 17 he answered an advertisement in Melody Maker newspaper and successfully auditioned for UK Rock and Roll hero Marty Wilde. “I got the job playing guitar for Marty – it was a dream come true for me”. Justin credits Marty with encouraging him to become a songwriter; he made several recordings with Marty’s ‘Wilde Three’ and also appeared with them at the London Palladium.  They remain close friends to this day: “Marty is still my hero”.

Having started the ball rolling as a songwriter in his own right with a couple of solo singles, he joined the Moody Blues in the summer of 1966. Hitting his stride immediately with the single “Fly Me High”, he followed it up with the classic hit songs “Nights in White Satin” and “Tuesday Afternoon” from the seminal album Days of Future Passed. This album went on to become a favourite of the NASA astronauts and was taken aboard the Atlantis shuttle space craft by Chief astronaut “Hoot” Gibson on many missions.

This purple patch showed no sign of abating as Justin created other classic, era and genre-defining hits “Question”, “The Voice”, “I Know You’re Out There Somewhere”, “The Story In Your Eyes” and “Your Wildest Dreams”.  These laid the foundation for the incredible success story of the Moody Blues – as well as his solo work – which continues to this day.

When the Moody Blues took a break from touring in 1975, Justin worked on the Blue Jays album, followed by the hit single “Blue Guitar” (recorded with the members of 10cc). Although the Moodies continued to record and tour at the highest level, Justin also found time to create several solo albums: Songwriter, Night Flight, Moving Mountains and The View From the Hill.

In the 1980s, he was made a member of the famous “SODS” (The Society of Distinguished Songwriters) and in 2012 he was elected ‘King SOD’.  He also collaborated in 1989 with Mike Batt and the London Philharmonic Orchestra and recorded the album Classic Blue.

Justin was presented with “The Golden Note” award from ASCAP in 2005, the top honour for a British writer, and he has appeared in Nashville regularly with other songwriters in showcase events. In 2013, The Performing Rights Society in the UK awarded him his second Ivor Novello statue for ‘Outstanding Achievement’.

Justin records in Italy and France of which he says, “Spending time making music in a beautiful place with your friends is every songwriter’s dream”. Justin undertook extensive solo tours in 2016, 2017 and 2018; and in 2019 Justin will again head out on the road bringing his wonderful music to his fans in North America.

As well as live shows, Justin has released several solo recordings; an album of new songs Spirits Of The Western Sky – for Eagle Rock – was released in 2013 followed by several solo tours, and in 2014 a “live in concert” DVD Spirits…Live was made available, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Video chart. 2016 saw the release of All The Way (Eagle Rock Entertainment), a compilation from Justin’s solo career. All The Way includes Justin’s solo songs, a recording with The London Philharmonic Orchestra, solo live performances and unique versions of classic Moody Blues tracks and the brand new song “The Wind Of Heaven.”

In January 2018, the news broke that The Moody Blues were finally to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This recognition comes not before time but means a great deal to the band.  At the time Justin commented, “I’m extremely grateful to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, first for creating the supreme temple to all that has brought endless joy into my life since I was a small boy, and now, after all these years, for including us.

It’s a privilege to be celebrated in the same building, on the same street even, as my own heroes – Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers – and now, at last, with us, my heroine Nina Simone.

But all the thanks must go to The Moody Blues fans for giving us a wonderful, wonderful life in music – our induction has now validated the music they so love, and I’m so, so pleased, for us all. Yippee!”

Whilst the acceptance into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a truly global endorsement, it is of course the music that matters. 2018 saw the 50th anniversary of the Days Of Future Passed album.  The band marked this with some North American dates and the release of the concert recording Days Of Future Passed Live.

“I have spent most of my life, so far, on the road”, says Justin. “Playing live and creating a small piece of magic in a room is like a drug to me, one that I never want to give up”. His is a talent that has helped soundtrack more than a generation and created a legacy that remains undimmed.

Hayward is a talent that has helped soundtrack more than a generation and created a legacy that remains undimmed.

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street. Tickets to his show can be purchase online HERE or by calling the box office at 508-324-1926. For those wanting to purchase tickets in person, box office hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12 noon to 5 p.m.

Music and entertainment coverage since October 2006!