All posts by limelightmagazine

FILMING LOCATION SPOTLIGHT – “DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE” (1979)

On the final Friday of every month in 2022, Limelight Magazine spotlights the filming location site(s) we visited for some of our favorite (and not so favorite) films and TV shows. Today we spotlight one of the filming locations for the movie Don’t Go In The House which was directed by Joseph Ellison. The film was released in 1979. The top photo is a screen shot taken from the film while the photo underneath it is what the location looks like when I visited on August 27, 2022. These photos were taken in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey.

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – JOHN PARR’S SELF-TITLED DEBUT

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.

JOHN PARR – JOHN PARR (1984)

A little over five years ago, I wrote about John Parr’s second album Running The Endless Mile. In that piece, I mentioned that my plan had been to write about Parr’s self-titled debut album instead but the player ate the tape before I could hear the whole album.

Wouldn’t you know it, I tracked down a new copy of the album on cassette (at long last) and can finally do the article I had planned on five years ago. The funny thing is as I was preparing to listen to the album, even with the deadline looming, I wasn’t sure if I was quite ready to do the piece. I had considered pushing the article back and just write about a different album. And then Parr’s monster hit “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion)” came on the radio station I have to listen to at work. I took it as a sign to cowboy up and get busy listening and writing.

There were three songs that were released as singles from the John Parr album and the sequencing was such that they are the first three songs on the album as well.

I think anyone that was listening to Top-40 radio in the 1980’s is likely quite familiar with the song “Naughty Naughty”, but before we get to that one I thought the other two singles would be interesting to talk about. Neither “Magical” or “Love Grammar” made much of a dent on the singles chart so it’s not surprising that I can’t recall ever hearing either song.

But they do both prove worthwhile some 38 years after they were originally released. “Magical” was co-written by Meatloaf (who Parr had worked with on the former’s Bad Attitude album. It’s a lively little number drenched in part with sexual imagery and a pretty strong vocal take from John Parr. It took me a couple of listens but I really got into the song’s rocking tempo.

As for “Love Grammar”, I found it to be an interesting yet weird song. It starts off as a ballad but as the song launches into the chorus, Parr almost seems like he’s yelling that part of the track. Keyboards play a big role throughout the album but their presence here is immense. It’s also the first song I can ever remember hearing that used actual rules of grammar as song lyrics (not counting “Weird” Al Yankovic’s song “Word Crimes”). While the song overall was decent, I thought it worked much better when the pacing was more uptempo.

And now we can talk about “Naughty Naughty”. The odd thing is that while I’ve heard this song many times over the past four decades, I thought it was a bit more successful than it actually was. Sure, it was a Top-40 hit, but I never realized that it only hit #23 as a single. Given how much I liked the song then and still get a charge whenever I hear it now, I was surprised to say the least. The song has a great hook to it and a solidly rocking driving beat. Even as I was listening to it for this article, I got a charge when the opening part of the song started playing. It’s just a damn good song that brings me back to a particular time and place when I listen to the track.

The last two songs on the first side of the album proved to be another kind of challenge for me. That’s because the start of both “Treat Me Like An Animal” and “She’s Gonna Love You To Death” started out in kind of a mid-paced groove. And neither song was proving all that intriguing to me. But a funny thing happened along the way. Each track got more upbeat as it progressed and the soundtrack for each one started drawing me back in. It took a little work but I ended up liking each track.

And then you flip over the cassette for Side Two and come to a screeching halt right off the bat. While the song “Revenge” is pretty much a rocking style of song, this one simply never came together for me and it would definitely be a skip track for me on any future plays of the album.

As for the song “Heartbreaker”, I liked a good majority of the song. The main lyrical passages really grab your ear. But I was left utterly cold by the song’s chorus. It falls flat largely due to the way John Parr’s vocals are performed. They seem entirely too soft in comparison to the rest of the song. I should point out that I did love the guitar solo in “Heartbreaker” though.

Call me crazy but if I’d heard this album back in 1984, I would’ve been all over the song “Somebody Stole My Thunder”. The intro is a very driving rock sound. As the vocals kick in, the pace slows down a bit before getting a little more fiery for the chorus and packing another great rock punch. I’d call this one of my favorites for sure.

The album closes with the song “Don’t Leave Your Mark On Me”. This track really seemed to be going on a different path than the rest of the songs on the album. It’s got a slightly darker tone to both the music and the lyrical content and as the song plays, Parr’s vocals enliven the song that much more. I’m not quite sure I know what the intent of the song and the lyrics were, even after looking them up online. But what I do know is that the song definitely made its mark on me.

While I wasn’t crazy about the whole package that was the Running The Endless Mile album, John Parr’s self-titled debut album sure seemed to have a lot going for it. It may have run completely under the radar save for the hit single “Naughty Naughty” but there’s plenty of solid music throughout the album and I think fans of 80’s pop rock will find it time well spent if they give this album a spin.

NOTES OF INTEREST: The 1985 UK release of the John Parr album added the “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion)” track to the album. It doesn’t appear on the US release that I have given that the song wasn’t even recorded at the time, so far as I know.

Toto’s Simon Phillips plays drums on two songs while his bandmates Steve Lukather, David Paich and Steve Porcaro all make guest appearances as well.

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – SASS JORDAN’S ‘RACINE’

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.

SASS JORDAN – RACINE (1992)

The second album from Canadian rocker Sass Jordan is where I “discovered” her. Thanks to the album’s lead track “Make You A Believer” getting a concerted radio station push, I heard the song on 94 WHJY out of Providence, RI. I distinctly remember hearing the song and then having the DJs (I’m a bit fuzzy on who they were but I’m pretty sure it was the morning team of Paul and Al) rave about the song afterwards.

Sadly, I don’t remember the album getting any more of a push after the hype about “Make You A Believer” died down but I was as jazzed up about that song as the DJs were and that led me to going out and buying the Racine album. It is that cassette copy I bought that I’m listening to for the purposes of writing this article. (I have the album on CD now as well.)

But what was it about the Racine album that struck such a chord with me that I love it anew each and every time I listen to the album? Well, it’s just got this incredible rocking vibe to it. The songs that rock do so with quite an authenticity to them and the songs that are more geared towards tickling those emotional cues do it without being maudlin or sappy.

As I said, the album opens with “Make You A Believer” and let me tell you when you hear that introductory riff, you still get amped up. Then Jordan’s vocals, which drip with a bluesy edge, cut in and man you just feel like you are sitting in the middle of the song and letting it wash over you. It’s a bar room rocker combined with a southern rock edginess that does indeed make it seem like this song is straight from the 1970s. That’s only further fueled by the backing vocals on the chorus as well.

That song is followed by “If You’re Gonna Love Me” is another hard rocking track that at the very least will leave you with a foot bouncing in time to the music. (Seriously, as I type this, my leg is going up and down as I get into the groove of the song.)

The song “You Don’t Have To Remind Me” was co-written by Jordan, Stevie Salas and Parthenon Huxley. Huxley was part of two off-shoot projects from ELO. The song starts off with a slower intro and first lyrical passage. The chorus is more of an intense delivery before it settles into that more midtempo delivery. I loved the opening two lines of the song a lot: “Wind blows through this room / Like blood from an open wound”. That creates one hell of a visual in my mind. There was a video made for this song and I’m glad that it got at least some kind of “single” release because Jordan’s vocal performance alone is phenomenal.

There’s a rocking boogie feel to “Who Do You Think You Are” that gets me quite pumped up. As for “Windin’ Me Up”, there’s a slower delivery to the start of the song that feels but when Jordan and the band kick the energy level up, you get a killer rocking track and the guitar solo is excellent.

I mentioned above that the slower songs on Racine manage to avoid being maudlin or sappy and the Side One closer “I Want To Believe” is the perfect example of this. As much as I’ve come to be annoyed by a lot of ballads of the era because they don’t age well (and I’m something far short of a romantic), this song which is delivered mainly as a vocal and acoustic guitar soundtrack (there’s more instrumentation later in the song). And it is beautiful. Jordan’s vocals deliver the somewhat philosophical lyrics in about a purely perfect manner as one could hope for. I’ve long thought that this is the kind of ballad that was written and recorded simply for music’s sake rather than as a calculated move to sell more records. And perhaps that is why it still makes its mark on me three decades after its original release.

When you flip the cassette over to Side Two, the album kicks off with “Goin’ Back Again”, a rollicking rock and roll romp. I don’t know how others react to this song but when I hear it, I can’t help but sing along for some reason, particularly the chorus. (Imagine if I could actually carry a tune properly…)

Jordan kicks on the afterburners with the song “Do What You Want” and the song takes off because of that. But the strange thing for me is I had cause to look up the song lyrics online and realized that besides the title, the lyrics are definitely an argument for being your own individualistic self rather than simply being like everyone else in the crowd. I’ve spent all these years listening to the song and it is only now that I took a deeper dive into this tracks’s full set of lyrics. Putting them inside such an explosive soundtrack may have obscured me from doing so before but it suddenly became an even more important track for me.

“Cry Baby” alternates between a slower, more methodical delivery in the main lyrical passages but then there’s a brief lead into the song’s chorus where the music becomes a full-on rocker that’s for more direct and in-your-face, pacing-wise.

There’s a kind of playful guitar lead playing in the intro to “Where There’s A Will”, and Sass Jordan’s vocals in that intro are pretty much that same kind of playful delivery. But then the song breaks out in full and with the full band playing, the song becomes much harder rocking. The keyboards help flesh out a lot of the music on Racine but I really like what they do for the overall sound on this one a lot.

The album closing “Time Flies” is a flat out great rock and roll song! The music starts off uptempo but with a zesty fire to it. The keyboards are once again a key component of the soundtrack and the overall performance lifts you up and brings you along on the song’s journey. You almost have a sad feeling when the track, and thus the album, ends.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Sass Jordan’s Racine and in those three decades, the greatness of this album has not diminished. It’s got everything you could possibly want in a rock album. Powerful vocals from a fantastic singer, great music and material that is worth its weight in gold. As you’ve read this article, it’s hardly a secret that I am a massive fan of the release. Like I said at the start, each time I listen to Racine, it’s like I get to experience the album anew and each time I am just blown away by just how good it is. Sass Jordan really hit the bulls-eye with Racine and if you haven’t learned that by now, you are missing out on one truly special record. What greater summation can there be than that?

NOTES OF INTEREST: In 1994, Sass Jordan released the Rats album. I have that album and it’s great. Perhaps even more rocking than Racine but it didn’t build on the audience Sass Jordan established with Racine. Because of that, she was dropped by her label and I admittedly lost track of her solo releases. But in 2020, I finally got to pick up a new Sass Jordan release when she put out her first blues album called Rebel Moon Blues.

Stevie Salas played lead and rhythm guitar on the album. He co-wrote three of the songs as well. The Hooters’ Eric Bazilian plays mandolin on Racine.

In 2011, Sass Jordan was a part of the S.U.N. (Something Unto Nothing) project with drummer Brian Tichy (who played on the Rats album). That was one incredible album to say the least. When I met Brian Tichy after a Dead Daisies show, I asked him about the possibility of a 2nd S.U.N. album. Sass was also the guest singer on the best song (“Redeem Me”) on the 2014 self-titled debut album from Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel.

In 2017, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Racine album, Sass Jordan released Racine Revisited which reimagined the songs as if they’d been recorded in the 1970s. Jordan has recorded nine albums under her name including the most recent released Bitches Blues which came out in June 2022.

Sass Jordan is involved in two alcohol ventures: Rebel Moon Whiskey and Kick Ass Sass Wine. She’s also done acting roles and been a judge on Canadian Idol.

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – BILLY IDOL’S ‘CHARMED LIFE’

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.

BILLY IDOL – CHARMED LIFE (1990)

Here’s the thing for me about Billy Idol. I love his big hit singles from the 1980’s and very early 90’s. But I’ve never been so in love with them that I went out and bought any of the albums those songs appeared on. Then last year, I bought his new EP The Roadside and was blown away by how good each of those four songs were.

In my head, I wanted to get around to investigating the Billy Idol back catalog but still never got around to it. Then a guy who is part of the same music message forum that I am started listing some of his collection that he’s putting up for sale. And there were three Idol albums of interest to me so I’m making plans to purchase them.

But I wasn’t content with just doing that. Just this past weekend, I was visiting my friend’s record shop and saw that he had the Charmed Life album on cassette. It seemed perfect timing for me to pick it up and take a listen to it (for the first time ever) so that I could write an article about it. And that’s how we got to where you are now reading these words.

In looking at the album’s track listing before playing the album, I realized that there is only one real hit single on the album. The song “Cradle Of Love” was just a monster hit for Idol when it came out as a single and you can definitely understand why. It is the opening song on the 2nd side of the album and it has an incredibly infectious feel to the music.

But while that was a great track, let’s go back and focus on the first side of the album for the moment.

The album opens with the song “The Loveless” and it is an intriguing song. At first, while the song’s delivery is still a bit uptempo, it feels like the first verse of the track is a bit restrained or even slightly hushed in tone. But as the song progresses, the song gets a bit more amped up so you get a more pronounced rock and roll vibe. And Idol’s vocals are what you might expect if you have any kind of passing familiarity with him. There’s always this kind of sneering attitude in his delivery that helps give a slightly more edgy feel to his overall performance.

With the song “Pumping On Steel”, there’s once more a kind of slower introductory delivery that gives way to a more full throated rock delivery for the song’s chorus. The slower pace returns when the chorus ends but towards the end of the song, it goes full bore rock and gets right up in your face. I’m not sure I’m all that crazy about the song as a whole, but I do like the music when it is more uptempo in nature.

Other than the relatively brief guitar solo, the song “Prodigal Blues” maintained a steady midtempo pacing from start to finish. The song was the third and final single released from Charmed Life and while it didn’t get any real kind of traction as a single, I found that I actually really enjoyed the kind of sedate delivery of the song. I thought Billy Idol playing this one about as straightforward as you could gave the song a kind of depth that really hit home for me. I definitely really got into this a lot more than I expected to.

I’m not going to fool anyone into thinking I’m some kind of major fan of The Doors. I’m pretty much just the hits kind of fan when it comes to them. I do love that “Riders On The Storm” song but otherwise, I’m good with any of the hits that play on the radio station in my car. So while I do like the “L.A. Woman” song, I’m not all that invested in judging the original versus a cover version. That said, this is a far faster version of the song and I would say that given Idol’s delivery can at least momentarily let you imagine what Jim Morrison might’ve been like if he’d been an 80’s rocker. There’s a lot of energy running through the song so you surely get pumped up by it, even if you aren’t totally sold on the need for the cover to be done in the first place.

The closing track on Side One of Charmed Life, “Trouble With The Sweet Stuff”, didn’t do a whole lot for me. Instead, it just felt like the song droned on and on without really doing much to distinguish itself as all that memorable.

As I said above, “Cradle Of Love” opens up Side Two of the album. The song was also featured in the movie The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane. I actually own the soundtrack for the movie on cassette and it is a case of the soundtrack being far better than the trash movie it came from. I’d honestly forgotten that the song was on the soundtrack. I’d bought it because Queensryche had a song on it and then quickly forgot about the entire album anyway. But as I listened to the song here and now, “Cradle Of Love” still manages to hold up quite nicely. It’s got a quick moving pace, a nice melodic hook and a solid rock groove that is as infectious as I described it before.

As for the rest of Side Two, the song “Mark Of Caine” left me a little confused while “Endless Sleep” had a drawn out feeling to it. While the latter song (which is a cover of a 1957 song by Jody Reynolds) had slower paced delivery, I was left trying to get into it by any means necessary and I just couldn’t do it. So each of these two songs just left me a bit cold.

But you know what song was damn good? It’s the “Love Unchained” track that got the album back on track. It’s got a lively feel with a great rocking sound and I think Billy Idol really delivers the goods vocally on this one. I also loved “The Right Way”. Idol’s vocals are pushed a up a bit in the mix during the main lyrical verses. And when the song’s chorus kicks in, the music blows up into a much harder edge rock style that had me really sitting up and taking notice. It’s a killer track for me!

The album closes with “License To Thrill”, which was a bit hit and miss for me. In the early going, the song’s slower pace didn’t really lend itself well to me. But towards the end of the song, there is a section where the music gets all riled up and goes for the throat. It’s there where I really enjoyed what was going on. It might not be a complete winning number for me but that particular section of “License To Thrill” did at least make me willing to listen to it again.

It has been 32 years since the original release of Charmed Life and it took all those years before I got around to listening to the album for the first time. But while there are definitely tracks that didn’t quite make the grade for me, there are any number of songs that ended up surprising me with how much I did end up enjoying them. And anytime I can find a new appreciation for an album I’m only just now getting around to, that’s going to be considered a good thing.

NOTES OF INTEREST: The Charmed Life album peaked at #11 on the charts. Billy Idol is credited with designing the album’s cover. The album has been certified platinum.

The “Cradle Of Love” song was Idol’s last big hit in the US, peaking at #2 on the singles chart. The video for the song won a MTV Video Music Award. It was directed by David Fincher who would go on to direct a number of feature films including Seven, Alien 3, Fight Club, Panic Room and The Social Network.

Idol’s longtime collaborator, guitarist Steve Stevens, does not appear on Charmed Life. The album does feature guest appearances from bassist Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne) and drummer Mike Baird (Hall & Oates, The Pointer Sisters, Richard Marx).

FILMING LOCATION SPOTLIGHT – “ROSEMARY’S BABY” (1968)

On the final Friday of every month in 2022, Limelight Magazine spotlights the filming location site(s) we visited for some of our favorite (and not so favorite) films and TV shows. Today we spotlight one of the filming locations for the movie Rosemary’s Baby,” which was directed by Roman Polanski. The film was released in 1968. The top photo is a screen shot taken from the film while the photo underneath it is what the location looks like when I visited on August 14, 2022. These photos were taken in New York City.

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – LEATHER’S ‘SHOCK WAVES’

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.

LEATHER – SHOCK WAVES (1989)

It’s funny how things work out sometimes. In 1989, I considered myself a fan of the band Chastain. But while I liked the band’s best known songs, I had a little trouble getting into the full albums as a whole. I loved the playing and of course I’d love the vocals from Leather Leone.

But there was somewhat of a disconnect that held me back from fully enjoying the albums start to finish. It wasn’t until years later when the albums got reissued (and remastered) that I FINALLY came to fully love the Chastain albums of the 80’s.

But in 1989, when Leather Leone’s first solo album Shock Waves came out, I was hooked from the start. This might be a little surprising because while it was called a solo album, it featured a lot of the people involved with making the Chastain albums. Guitarist David T. Chastain wrote or co-wrote a bunch of the songs (as well as produced the album) and at least a couple of guys from Chastain played on the album. But for whatever reason, Shock Waves really struck a chord with me.

When the explosive notes from the album opening All Your Neon came out of the speakers, I was hooked and went on one heck of a wild ride. The music for the song is outstanding, both heavy and with a subtle hook that grabs you. And the balls out vocal from Leather is incredible.

On Side One of the album it was one blow the doors off track after another. The album’s title track is just relentless. Not just musically which saw bassist David Harbour and drummer John Luke Hebert shine quite nicely but the vocal track was immensely satisfying as well.

My favorite song on the Shock Waves without a doubt is “The Battlefield Of Life”. It starts off slow, setting itself up with a well produced intro. Leather’s vocal delivery of the first couple of lyrical lines are in line with that intro. But then it is like a bomb is set off and the music ramps up with a massive burst of energy. And once again, Leather’s vocals set the song apart somehow. When the song comes in for a landing, the pace slows back down and the vocal falls back into a more restrained dramatic presentation as the song comes to a close. I should point out that guitarist Michael Harris had some great playing on this song. Even as my ears keyed to Leather’s vocals, I kept finding myself drawn to each fast moving note of his playing too.

Like “The Battlefield Of Life”, the song “In A Dream” starts off with a bit more of a dramatic presentation before a more uptempo pace takes over. But I liked the way the song switched its pace to meet the demands of the song at any given point. And Leather lets loose a fantastic scream in this song that is a pointed observation of real world issues.

When I flipped the cassette over to Side Two, the album starts up with the song “Something In This Life” flipped the script a bit. Most of the song had a heavier and slower feel to it, but then punctuated that with faster moving bits that kept you on your toes.

I can’t quite put my finger on the why but I will say that for whatever reason, I love the “Diamonds Are For Real” track a lot too. Fast paced and gripping, it’s just a song that makes you stand up and take notice.

The album’s final three tracks are all mostly slower in tempo but none of them suffers any kind of letdown in intensity for it.

The sense of drama is first and foremost for the “It’s Still In Your Eyes”…”On and on the world goes…but I remember yesterday…” I LOVE that particular lyrical passage in the song. Leather’s vocals on this song are so particularly on point that even though the track is almost exclusively slower paced, I couldn’t get enough of this one.

“Catastrophic Heaven” has a pretty expressive guitar solo and I love the way the song turns itself up to 11 when Leather’s vocal heads into the song’s brief chorus. There’s a spoken word part to the song that was pretty intriguing as well. The album closes out with “No Place Like Home”, a track that has an epic stomp feel to it.

For the longest time, I only owned this album on cassette. And yet even as the years passed, I would play it all the time and it remains a treasured favorite album of mine. I know it might be seen as something less than a full and true solo album for Leather Leone because of the heavy involvement of David T. Chastain, but for me Shock Waves was the album that set me up for a lifetime musical fandom for Leather (aside from those Chastain songs I liked of course). I love the way she sings and with Shock Waves listeners will get to hear her in full bloom!

NOTES OF INTEREST – The Shock Waves album has been reissued at least twice that I remember including a special edition marking its 30th anniversary.

Former Cannibal Corpse guitarist Pat O’Brien co-wrote “All Your Neon” and “Something In This Life” with Leather Leone. Manilla Road’s Mark Shelton wrote the album’s title track.

In 2018, Leather released her 2nd solo album II and I not only got to review that album for another site, I did an interview with her as well. She is working on a new solo album at this time with the album’s title at least tentatively set as We Are The Chosen.

Original magazine advertisement for Leather’s Shock Waves.

VANILLA FUDGE AND MICHAEL SCHENKER ANNIVERSARY TOURS COMING TO FALL RIVER, MA

JKB Entertainment Group, the publisher of Limelight Magazine, has booked two classic rock shows at the Narrows Center in Fall River, MA, this fall. On October 6, Vanilla Fudge returns to celebrate their 55th anniversary while Michael Schenker will celebrate his 50th anniversary as a touring artist on October 19. There is no opening acts for each show. Purchase tickets to Vanilla Fudge by clicking HERE. Purchase tickets to Michael Schenker Group by clicking HERE.

ABOUT VANILLA FUDGE

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 55th year, the powerhouse vocals and keyboard flourishes of virtuoso organist Mark Stein, along with the fluid guitar explosions of Vinnie Martell, all anchored by one of the best rhythm sections in the history of rock music, with the legendary Carmine Appice on drums and Pete Bremy on bass, 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!

ABOUT MICHAEL SCHENKER

Michael Schenker Group (MSG) is a legendary name. After two phenomenal records under the guise of Michael Schenker Fest, a true guitar hero is returning to his roots. By forming Michael Schenker Group (MSG) back in 1979, Michael Schenker laid the foundations for one of hard rock’s most glorious solo careers. And while nobody expected anything less from a former guitarist for Scorpions and UFO, it’s close to impossible mentioning everything Michael has built over the past 50 years, or the countless people he influenced or played with. This, truly, is the stuff that hard rocking myths are made of.

Very few guitarists can be cited as a primary influence for the likes of James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Dave Mustaine, Dimebag Darrell, Slash or Kerry King. However, to understand Michael Schenker means to understand one primary thing: he’s not here to be worshipped or adored, he’s not here to get rich, he’s here to play. And he’s doing it with the same swagger, verve and dizzying artistry as always.

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, Mass. Tickets to this show can by visiting the Narrows website 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.

Copyright by Matthias Rethmann / Tour-Files / Fotograf Münster

FILMING LOCATION SPOTLIGHT – “THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY” (1981)

On the final Friday of every month in 2022, Limelight Magazine spotlights the filming location site(s) we visited for some of our favorite (and not so favorite) films and TV shows. Today we spotlight some of the filming locations for the movie The House By The Cemetery, which was directed by Lucio Fulci. The film was released in 1981. The top photo is a screen shot taken from the film while the photo underneath it is what the location looks like when I visited in June 2021. These photos were taken in Scituate, Lincoln, and Concord, MA.

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – KROKUS’ ‘CHANGE OF ADDRESS’

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.

KROKUS – CHANGE OF ADDRESS (1986)

As I planned to write about this ninth studio release from Krokus, I had to head off to research some stuff online. I have to say that I was pretty surprised to find out that just two albums after Headhunter, the band ended up releasing what is considered one of the worst albums of their career. I read that online and I found myself intrigued to discover if that was totally true, a little true or completely false.

As always, the truth does seem to fall somewhere in the middle. At least for me. Krokus has said that the record label put them and their music under incredible pressure during the recording of Change Of Address. I can see some of that in terms of how commercially oriented the material turned out. But that’s not always a sign that it was all bad.

On the first side of the album, “Now (All Through The Night)” and “Hot Shot City” got things going. The first track started off with a bit more of a mid-tempo pacing but once the song got to the first chorus, Krokus kicked things into a higher gear and I thought the track turned out okay. “Hot Shot City” was a much faster rocker track that wasn’t bad either.

Next up was Krokus covering the Alice Cooper classic “School’s Out”. While you could make the argument that a cover of a track that was just 14 years old at the time it was re-done by Krokus wasn’t really necessary, at least they did a pretty good job with it. Seriously, I think singer Marc Storace’s voice is uniquely qualified to pull off the vocal performance and the Krokus version got me just as pumped up as the original version.

Now, if you want to talk BAD music well you can start with “Let This Love Begin”. I know that longtime readers will know about my hindsight disdain for ballads, but in this case I think I’m on solid ground. This is simply putrid. It’s not just that it is a shameless attempt at power ballad glory and sales, it is also because it is so wretchedly banal that even the biggest supporter of power ballads would have a hard time saying they liked it with a straight face. I would love to know how they managed to record the track without vomiting.

Now for all the complaints about the album’s musical style from critics, fans and the band, I would have to say that the side closing “Burning Up The Night” is actually a fantastic song. Yes, it is pure pop-oriented metal with a great hook and a draw-you-in chorus. But again I ask why is that always considered a bad thing? I loved this song and quickly found myself humming along to the chorus.

Flipping the cassette over to Side Two, the opening song “Say Goodbye” has a pretty good sound to it. The track starts off with a heavier thump to it, even with a more mid-to-uptemp pace than a full-on rocking style. But the song lyrics are telling a story that seems to have a darker take on things. The chorus has a big backing vocal sound giving it a bigger canvas to draw you in. But I was definitely intrigued by the lyrical content so for me, the song worked rather nicely.

That sense of intrigue continued with “World On Fire”. The song is over six minutes long (which seems long by 1986 standards) and it feels like Krokus is world building something throughout the song. The song doesn’t fully break into a full on rocker except for a few flourishes but I was quite keyed into this track from start to finish.

“Hard Luck Hero” is a hard rocking track that sounds like it should’ve been a single. I could see how it might’ve been used over the end credits of a 1980’s action movie as well. It’s a straightforward kind of track but I enjoyed it a lot.

The album closing “Long Way From Home” was an uptempo track for the most part but again, this song felt like Krokus was doing a bit of world building with the lyrics that were reflective in nature.

As I listened to that last song, it struck me that the Change Of Address album feels like two different albums. The first side feels like the band’s complaints about pressure from the record label forced them to write pure pop-oriented material. Even though it turned out that I liked most of the songs on that first side, as I listened to Side Two which sounds mostly like the band wrote material that appealed more to their own tastes, there is a marked difference in the tone of the songs from side to side, even allowing for the more accessible sounding “Hard Luck Hero”.

But whether pure commercial metal or the possibly deeper sounding material, I found that I enjoyed Change Of Address for what it was. Hey, it may not make anyone but me happy but I would have no problems listening to this album over and over again, though I’ll skip that ballad track!

NOTES OF INTEREST – Guitar legend Allan Holdsworth provided the solo on the album closing track “Long Way From Home”.

The track listing provided on the outside and inside of the Change Of Address liner notes is out of sync with the running order that actually appears on the album itself. I found it more than a little annoying.

The band must’ve really hated this album because even though they were promoting the album on tour with Judas Priest, they reportedly barely ever played any of the songs in concert.

When I wrote about the band’s Headhunter album back in 2018, I noted that Krokus was heading off on a farewell tour in 2019. They had a planned November 2020 date in Massachusetts that a buddy of mine and I got tickets for but the show never happened due to the pandemic.

THE HAXANS BRING THEIR “HAUNTED HOUSE PARTY” TOUR TO ALCHEMY IN PROVIDENCE, RI, ON OCT. 22

JKB Entertainment Group/Limelight Magazine is excited to announce that its Halloween show will take place at Alchemy in Providence, RI, on Saturday, October 22, 2022. It will feature a headlining performance from The Haxans (featuring Ash Costello of New Years Day and Piggy D of Rob Zombie and Wednesday 13). In keeping with the Halloween festivities, guitar virtuoso Paul Bielatowicz, of Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy, will open the show by performing the first two acts of his soundtrack to the classic 1922 “Nosferatu” film. Everyone is encouraged to arrive in costume to this all ages show. Purchase tickets HERE.

ABOUT THE HAXANS

The Haxans are Ashley Costello, subcultural style icon and leader of Warped Tour screamo stars New Years Day, a seeming heir-apparent to the glory days of My Chemical Romance and AFI, and Matt Montgomery, better known by his alias Piggy D., bassist for over a decade with multiplatinum shock rocker Rob Zombie, guitarist with horror punks Wednesday 13, and sometime visual and musical collaborator with rock icon Alice Cooper.

A Goth-pop duo, decked out in creep kitsch high fashion, and named after a silent film from the twenties about a 15th century German guide to hunting witches, The Haxans sound exactly like everything those images conjure. It’s the psycho-saccharine music of a fiendish creep’s fever dream…Classic art-house cinema, b-movie horror, spooky decadence, vintage American myth, and black roses dripping with blood are all tossed in The Haxans cauldron, like so many ingredients from a well-worn book of spells.

The Haxans isn’t a side project. It’s the irrepressible, irresistible, and inevitable exorcism of the party-centric Halloween costume shop kicking around inside the brains and bodies of the group’s two coconspirators.

ABOUT PAUL BIELATOWICZ

Paul Bielatowicz is best known for his virtuoso guitar work with some of the biggest names in progressive rock.  He’s played, recorded and toured with Carl Palmer (ELP), Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard, Transatlantic), YES, Todd Rundgren, John Lodge and The Alan Parsons Project.

In 2014, he released his debut solo album Preludes & Etudes, featuring solo electric guitar arrangements of virtuoso classical showpieces. When COVID 19 halted all touring, Paul spent the best part of two years working in the studio, writing and recording music for three albums… one of those projects is this soundtrack to the classic 1922 Nosferatu film. 

The Nosferatu Live show brings together a variety of musical styles and instruments (guitars, keyboards, analog synths, vocals… even a Theremin) in an exciting theatrical production that breathes new life into the undead classic!

Alchemy is located at 171 Chestnut Street in Providence, RI.