THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – TUFF’S ‘WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND’

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.

TUFF – WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND (1991)

In the more than three decades since the release of the Tuff debut album What Comes Around Goes Around, I have somehow managed to avoid ever hearing anything from the album. For me, Tuff is another one of those 80’s glam heyday bands that just fell through the cracks for me (and it would appear, many others).

I’d heard of them before but never got around to checking out their music. It wasn’t until their parody song “American Hair Band” that I ever heard the band at all. Funny how I love the one song from the band that isn’t quite meant to be taken seriously.

But with thirty years plus gone by, I figure now is a pretty good time to check out the album to see what I thought of it.

My first impression was that the band started off Side One of the album sounding exactly like you would expect a band to sound like circa 1991. Singer Stevie Rachelle, guitarist Jorge DeSaint, bassist Todd Chase and drummer Michael Lean certainly had the chops to craft the music of the day. But while I loved the rocking uptempo style of the songs “Ruck A Pit Bridge” and “The All New Generation”, I found they were relatively uninteresting to me lyrically. And I really didn’t like the outro of “Ruck A Pit Bridge” where the band cut out the rock and went with a more funky riven sound that just didn’t work for me.

When an album starts off that way, you might find yourself in for a drag of a listen but surprisingly enough, the band really started firing on all cylinders with the power ballad “I Hate Kissing You Good-Bye”. While a lot of ballads from the era don’t age well, it seems Tuff did a better job of crafting a ballad that doesn’t turn your stomach years later.

There’s a thumping groove threaded throughout the rocker “Lonely Lucy” that gives the song a bit of an extra kick in the pants musically. And though the side closing “Ain’t Worth A Dime” starts off a bit slow, it grows into a solid rocker and you can really hear the scornful inflection in Rachelle’s vocal delivery.

The second side of What Comes Around Goes Around is strong from start to finish. The main lyrical passages of “So Many Seasons” tread a more mid-tempo ground in terms of pacing but the chorus and the song’s outro feature much more of a rocking edge to the sound.

The title “Forever Yours” definitely sounds like a ballad. And the lyrics would be the kind you find in a ballad, but the song’s musical soundtrack is actually more of a rocker throughout and had the right combination of melodic hooks that further endears the song to me. Surprisingly enough, I thought of this one as one of the album’s highlights.

But we do get a true power ballad on Side Two in the form of “Wake Me Up”. It’s a great sounding track that finds the band outdoing themselves in terms of performance. However, they can’t get the full credit for this song as the liner notes list Poison’s Bret Michaels as the sole writer of the track. Bret wrote a hell of song and Tuff did it up right as yet again, I have to say that I really enjoyed the song.

The album closes out in rousing fashion with the blazing rocker “Spit Like This” and the heavily anthemic sounding (at least for the song’s shout out chorus) “Good Guys Wear Black”.

Okay, so once again I have completely missed the boat on a great sounding album from the good ol’ days when metal ruled the world. It’s annoying to discover “new” music so long after it came out because it means I could’ve had a lot more time to appreciate it. But appreciate it I do now that I’ve finally heard the album. What Comes Around Goes Around has at long last come full circle for me, and it is just a really fun enjoyable slice of rock and roll that gets to the heart of the kind of music I loved from back in the day right through to this very day!

NOTES OF INTEREST: The “American Hair Band” song was released on 2001 Tuff compilation The History Of Tuff. Not counting live releases or compilations, Tuff had just three all new studio releases to their name.

Ex-Alice Cooper guitarist Kane Roberts and ex-Fifth Angel / House of Lords drummer Ken Mary are listed among the names who sang backing vocals on What Goes Comes Around Goes Around. The album was reissued in 2012 with four re-recorded tracks as well as some new songs. It got a slightly updated title in What Comes Around Goes Around…Again! A second remastered edition came out in 2021 according to the band’s Wikipedia page.

Before Stevie Rachelle joined Tuff, the band was fronted for a year by future Nitro singer Jim Gillette.

DON FELDER TO PERFORM EAGLES CLASSICS AT NARROWS CENTER IN FALL RIVER, MA

By CHRISTOHPER TREACY

Don Felder is excited.

He’s excited to get back to touring, excited to show off his band, and excited to deliver a set chock full of Eagles songs he knows we want to hear.

And those are the topics he was eager to discuss when we spoke with him on a recent call from his California digs. The celebrated former Eagles lead guitarist and co-writer, oft-recognized for his use of a double-neck Gibson EDS-1275, has released two solo albums in the past decade, the most recent being 2019’s star-studded American Rock and Roll. But his 2022 tour dates, including his stop at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA, on Tuesday, March 1, will revolve around his 27-year tenure with the Eagles. [Purchase tickets to the show HERE].

He’s excited for the crowd-pleasing.

“I always do at least two solo songs every night, for those people that want to hear them, and I mix those up from show to show,” he said. “But the majority of the people in my audience are probably over a certain age… some of them know some of my solo material and some don’t. I would rather err on the side of making people really happy and ensure that they’ll enjoy the show because they’re familiar with most of the songs.”

Felder, now 74, admits to being flattered by fans that have clamored for deeper cuts from the Heavy Metal soundtrack and his 1983 solo album Airborne, but he has recently surveyed ticket holders for their top ten setlist choices via a contest on his website. One would assume that his 2022 sets will be based on the results – Eagles, it is.

Despite this, he’s quick to acknowledge the satisfaction of writing and recording on his own. Truth is, when he joined the Eagles, during the recording of 1974’s On the Border, he’d already learned quite a bit about making records from earlier periods spent working in recording studios. But the band dynamic kept him relegated to a specific space. Nonetheless, Felder either sang or played on many of the group’s best-known songs, and his co-writing credits include “Hotel California” and “Victim of Love.”

“I would write between twelve and fifteen ideas—song beds, I call them—for each Eagles album, and I’d submit those, and they’d pick a couple. That’s really how that team worked, where I provided musical ideas and then we’d develop them. Some of my music that was discarded I got to use later on. I wrote this one song, the working title was “You’re Really High, Aren’t You?” We cut it as a great hard rocking track for The Long Run. But we were just at a point where we already running late. We had to get out of the studio and go on the road, so it never got finished. Eventually, that became “Heavy Metal.”

“I’ve gone back and listened to that stuff and have reworked some more of it,” he continued. “The title song from my album Road to Forever was another one that I’d recorded and submitted to Don (Henley) and Glenn (Frey), and they just didn’t think it was really, you know, Eagles material. So, if they weren’t into it, it just didn’t happen. Now I can go in and record anything I want. I have my own first class, top notch recording studio. And I do that all the time, I go in there with an idea, I fire it up and record some guitar parts and immediately start working on putting together a piece of music. If I like it and I release it, then I hope other people like it too. If I don’t like it, then it goes to digital heaven.”

Felder built his home studio over 40 years ago, prior to the digital recording revolution. It’s safe to say that he’s versed in current technological trends, but he takes pride in having cut his teeth at a time when there were fewer tricks available to artificially sweeten records.  

“Our producer and engineer Bill Szymczyk used to say that if you can’t make a record with the 24 available tracks, you’re in the wrong business. You had to be able to play on time and sing in tune. You know what there was before Pro Tools, right? There were pros. They didn’t need the tools.”

Felder’s current band meets his stringent glove test, and his enthusiasm about delivering an unabashedly Eagles-centric show is unstoppable.

“Everybody plays and sings remarkably well,” he said. “I think they all have scars on their back from me cracking the whip on them to be able to play these songs impeccably… because I want it to be tight. I don’t want to go out and have mistakes, but these guys are on top of it. And so we take pride in how well we present these classic songs because it’s important to me that if I’m going to do a show like this, I have great people with me and we present audiences with a likeable, affable evening. Audiences enjoy these songs so much and feel like they can reach out to touch something they’ve been listening to for the last 40 or 45 years—here it is, live in front of them… and at a very affordable price! It makes me super happy to be able to do that and be back out playing live after this year and a half of just solitary confinement.”

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, MA. Tickets to this can be purchased online at 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.

DON FELDER (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – FIONA’S ‘HEART LIKE A GUN’

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.

FIONA – HEART LIKE A GUN (1989)

In all honesty, when it comes to the third Fiona album Heart Like A Gun, I didn’t remember much about it. I knew it existed of course, but I had never heard it before. I pretty much just remember this album being the one that made her a household name for five minutes or so. Due largely to the song “Everything You Do (You’re Sexing Me)”, the duet she did with Kip Winger. Of course, I don’t remember much about the song either. I know there was a video that if memory serves was considered “steamy” back in the day. But I thought the song was more of a ballad. Then I listened to Heart Like A Gun for the first time and was surprised that the song has much more of a rocker feel to it than I thought.

The song is the second one on the first side of the album so you do get the “hit” song out of the way pretty fast. After that, I had nine songs to dig into that were pretty much all-new to me.

Even though in 1989, with the idea of aiming music towards being as commercially accessible as possible being in full force, I was at least a little taken aback when the album’s opening cut “Little Jeannie (Got The Look Of Love)” struck me as way more of a pop song than a hard rock one. Well, at the beginning of the song anyway. As it progressed, the music had much more of rock edge to it. In the end, I did find that I quite enjoyed the song as a whole.

Whether a song was pure rock or geared towards drawing in a pop audience, I was actually rather intrigued by the first side of Heart Like A Gun. The song “Mariel” is a power ballad that actually emphasized a lot more of the “power” part of that song descriptor. Fiona’s voice really kicks things up a lot during the song. The remaining two tracks are more uptempo in nature with the music’s hard driving rhythms giving “Where The Cowboys Go” (the 2nd single from the album) and “Draw The Line” a nice little burst of crackling energy.

When you move over to Side Two of the cassette, you get immediately hit with two strong rockers in “Here It Comes Again” and “Bringing In The Beast”. Both of these songs double down on that kind of “fully cut loose” rocking fury. Fiona’s voice is incredible here and I really dug the “Here It Comes Again” song a lot. If push comes to shove, I’d say it’s my favorite cut on Heart Like A Gun.

The song “Victoria Cross” seemed to be a bit wanting when I listened to it. The power ballad just didn’t quite hit the mark for me. However, I did enjoy “Look At Me Now” a lot. It starts out a little bit more in a midtempo groove but it grows into a faster paced rocker over the song’s run time.

The album’s closing song “When Pink Turns To Blue” rides that midtempo vein from start to finish but I thought it worked perfectly as it gave Fiona’s voice a little bit extra room to convey a more dramatic vocal take without crossing over into melodrama.

As the Heart Like A Gun started playing, I was worried that I was in for an album that tried to make Fiona into some kind of pop princess. But I was rather keen to discover that the album was far more of an entertaining hook-filled rock and roll release instead. Forgive the cliche, but Heart Like A Gun ended up pretty much hitting the bull’s-eye for me and I’m going to enjoy listening to this album a lot more in the future to come.

NOTES OF INTEREST – I checked out the album’s Wikipedia page and besides singing on the “Everything You Do (You’re Sexing Me)” song, Kip Winger played bass on the Heart Like A Gun album as well. He was joined by fellow Winger bandmate Rod Morgenstein on drums. Night Ranger’s Brad Gillis played guitar. However, according to the actual liner notes on the cassette, David Glen Eisley and Dweezil Zappa were among a host of other musicians involved in the creation of the album as well.

The writing credits for the album is an eclectic and impressive group too. According to the album’s Wikipedia page, Mark Mangold, Mike Slamer, Martin Page, Aldo Nova, Foreigner’s Alan Greenwood, Blackhawk’s Van Stephenson and even actress Madeleine Stowe are listed among the co-writers for the album’s ten tracks.

In total, Fiona has released five solo albums. The last one, Unbroken, came out in 2011. She’s also worked as an actress, appearing in an episode of Miami Vice and was the female lead in the movie Hearts Of Fire opposite Bob Dylan.

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FILMING LOCATION SPOTLIGHT – “THE STUFF” (1985)

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 The Stuff, which was directed by Larry Cohen. The film was released in 1985. 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 October 2020. These photos were taken in Kerhonkson, NY.

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – AUTOGRAPH’S ‘LOUD AND CLEAR’

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.

AUTOGRAPH – LOUD AND CLEAR (1987)

When I wrote about the debut Autograph album Sign In Please nearly five years ago to the month, little did I think that I would be writing about another one of the band’s albums. Especially since after the debut album they kind of fell off the map for me and never really had another signature hit. I say this despite the fact that Loud And Clear has been sitting in The Big Box of Cassettes all this time too.

Listening to that first album, I found that for the most part, I just enjoyed the big hit “Turn Up The Radio” and a couple of other tracks that weren’t completely glossed up with the requisite 80’s production sound.

Fast forward to 1987 (making it the 35th anniversary of Loud And Clear‘s release this year) and the band was still plugging away. This third album was a bit of surprise for me. Okay, technically since I’d never heard the album before now, the whole thing was a surprise but the more important part of that statement is that even with an abundance of the same 80’s production style that didn’t quite work for me all the time with Sign In Please turned out to be just fine with this album. Don’t ask me why, I can’t explain it.

The album’s title track opens up Side One and it is pretty much a full-on rocking out experience. I got into the song right from the start and it does a great job of setting you up for the rest of the album.

The first side of the album continues along in a more amped up way for the first four songs. Though the title “Dance All Night” might not seem like it, the way the song came out, this felt like it was intended as a kind of anthemic type of song. The songs “She Never Looked That Good For Me” (a title that would likely not go over well these days) and “Bad Boy” are both solidly uptempo tracks. When listening to “Bad Boy”, I thought that given the song’s title it would be more of an anthem song than “Dance All Night” which I guess goes to show you that pre-judging a song by the title is at least sometimes foolish.

Side One closes out with the song “Everytime I Dream”. Given that this album came out in 1987, I don’t think anyone will be surprised to learn that this was a power ballad. By this point in the decade, it was pretty much a law that a band had to have at least one ballad on an album. In the case of this particular track I don’t think it is all that bad a song overall. I think others might quite enjoy it but it didn’t quite hit home fully with me.

When you get to the second side of Loud And Clear though, there isn’t a slow song to be found. It’s all rockers in a high gear with songs like “Down ‘N Dirty”, “When The Sun Goes Down” and “More Than A Million Times”. I will say that “Just Got Back From Heaven” might cause you to think it was going to be a ballad based solely on the title but it does a darn good job of providing a crackling jolt of rock and roll energy.

However much I liked those four tracks, it was the side opening song “She’s A Tease” that really blew me away! Loud And Clear is just the second Autograph album I’ve ever listened to so it’s not like I have a great back catalog of songs to base this on, but “She’s A Tease” is one of the best songs I’ve heard from the band. I loved the vocals from Steve Plunkett and the band as a whole really rev up the rock on this song. The guitar playing from Steve Lynch is particularly appealing to me on this track.

It’s funny how the album with Autograph’s big hit song didn’t quite thrill me as a whole and then to turn around and discover that an album of theirs that is almost completely under the radar would turn out to be such a big winner with me. Loud And Clear is the kind of album where you get way more than you were probably expecting and I know that I’m going to be very interested in hearing the album more in the future.

NOTES OF INTEREST: The Loud And Clear album went nowhere sales-wise. It rose to only #108 on the album chart. It would be the last album to feature all five original members (Plunkett, Lynch, bassist Randy Rand, drummer Keni Richards and keyboardist Steven Isham). It would also serve as the last album from Autograph until 1997 when they released Missing Pieces.

The songs “Dance All Night” and “She Never Looked That Good For Me” are featured in the Dudley Moore-Kirk Cameron comedy film Like Father Like Son. The band appeared briefly in the film as well.

The video for the album’s title track featured both Ozzy Osbourne and Motley Crue singer Vince Neil.

Autograph is currently active as a four piece band. Bassist Randy Rand is the only original member left in the lineup. Jimi Bell (House of Lords) plays guitar for the band now, which features Simon Daniels on lead vocals and guitar and drummer Marc Wieland.

THE CASSETTE CHRONICLES – SAVATAGE’S ‘HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING’

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.

SAVATAGE – HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING (1987)

As the sixth year of The Cassette Chronicles was ready to kick off, I was trying to think of what album and/or band I wanted to feature in this year’s first article. I could’ve gone any number of ways but in the end, I thought I’d feature the band that I always welcome in the New Year with.

At midnight each year, I always play a Savatage album as the first music of the year. Well, being the old fart that I am, I didn’t really stay up this year so my first music choice of 2022 was delayed until I woke up in the morning.

But no matter how you look at it, I just don’t think you can go wrong with the Savatage album Hall Of The Mountain King. This was the band’s 4th studio album and though it was the first time they would collaborate with producer Paul O’Neill (who co-wrote four of the songs on the album as well), the band hadn’t yet changed their sound to the more symphonic rock/metal style of the second half of their career and when the rise of Trans-Siberian Orchestra happened. Instead, Hall Of The Mountain King fall squarely on the “power metal” side of the ledger and it just doesn’t disappoint in the least.

The first side of the album has four songs which might seem a bit short but each of these tracks is a phenomenal bit of metal. The opening song “24 Hours Ago” is the perfect kind of table setting song. The heavy and attacking musical tempo gels perfectly with a ripping vocal take from Jon Oliva and immediately seeps into your consciousness from start to finish.

Jon Oliva wrote “Beyond The Doors Of The Dark” on his own and after a slightly restrained delivery in the opening portion of the song, it just bursts out into a metallic frenzy. And Oliva sings with a devilish and gleeful evil sound to his vocals on this one. It is a simply killer track.

Both “Legions” and “Strange Wings” are hard-driving metal songs as well. Quickly paced, each track further burnishes the album’s stellar feel. I particularly love the riff that powers “Strange Wings” throughout the song.

One of the other reasons I thought of this album for the first article of the new year is because after more than a few years lost in the merchandising wilderness, Savatage has recently started offering a number of new items for sale through their website. They’ve reissued a couple albums on vinyl and have various T-shirts and other accessories available as well. One thing that I liked (but haven’t bought) was a blanket with the outstanding album cover art for Hall Of The Mountain King on it. As a devoted fan of the band despite their continued hiatus, I can just see myself curling up with that on a cold winter’s night as I listen to the band’s music.

The second side of the album features six songs with two of them being instrumentals. The first of those instrumental pieces is “Prelude To Madness”, which is inspired by the classical music piece “In The Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg. Once I found out about that connection, I actually went out and bought a Grieg compilation to hear that original music. I can’t say that I was overly taken with Grieg’s music but it’s nice to have that little tie-in as a part of my collection.

“Prelude To Madness” serves as a lead-in to the album’s title track, which is a wholly original track and not really tied to Grieg’s work. Between the scene setting musical opening establishing a cinematic vibe and the heavy feel to the rest of the music, listeners will get quite a sensory overload. When you add in the lyrics that seem straight out of a great fantasy novel and Oliva’s killer vocal performance of those lyrics, you can understand why the “Hall Of The Mountain King” song still stands out as one of the band’s best creative endeavors.

“The Price You Pay” is another great sounding heavy rocker but I really sink my teeth into “White Witch” each time I hear it. There’s a brutally precise intensity to the song that never fails to draw me in.

The album’s second instrumental is called “Last Dawn”. Guitarist Criss Oliva wrote the brief piece himself. It runs just 1:15. I like it but even all these years later I can’t decide if it is meant to stand on its own or serve as the lead-in to the album’s closing song “Devastation”.

And believe me, “Devastation” lives up to its title as Savatage quite literally lay waste and bring about the end of the world in this tale of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse setting out on their ride. It’s another killer track that grabs me every single time.

The Hall Of The Mountain King album was not my first exposure to Savatage…at least as far as I can remember. I am pretty sure I heard the song before I ever bought the album. But I know that I got the album AFTER “discovering” Savatage with the Gutter Ballet album. But that doesn’t lessen my love of this album in the slightest. I read online that Metal Hammer magazine ranked Hall Of The Mountain King as the 8th best power metal album of all-time back in 2019. I think you’d be hard-pressed to argue with that assessment (or at least to lower their ranking) because here we are during the 35th anniversary year of the album’s release and Hall Of The Mountain King still resonates as strongly now as it did when I first heard it for myself. It’s one of the many reasons why Savatage remains my favorite band.

NOTES OF INTEREST: The album has received three reissues since 1987. It was reissued in 1997, 2002 and 2011 and each time the reissues contained bonus tracks and those extra tracks were different each time.

Singer Ray Gillen (Badlands / Black Sabbath) provides background vocals on the song “Strange Wings”. He’s credited as Ray Gillian in the album’s liner notes. Bob Kinkel played keyboards on the album. He would go on to play a big role in Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Instead of listing what each member of the band played on the album, the liner notes list singer Jon Oliva as “The Grit”, guitarist Criss Oliva as “The Crunch”, drummer Steve ‘Doc’ Wacholz as “The Cannons” and bassist Johnny Lee Middleton as “The Thunder”.

Don Felder, The English Beat, and The Zombies headed to the Narrows Center

If you enjoy great music, JKB Entertainment Group/Limelight Magazine is presenting three upcoming shows at the Narrows Center in Fall River, MA, including former Eagles guitarist Don Felder on March 1st, The English Beat on April 1st and The Zombies on May 1st. Read more about each show below. Tickets can be purchased at narrowscenter.org. [A direct link to purchase tickets to each artist appears at the end of each paragraph about them].

Clockwise from left, Don Felder, Dave Wakeling of The English Beat and The Zombies

DON FELDER [MARCH 1, 2022]

Don Felder is a legendary singer-songwriter, a 1998 inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the Eagles, a New York Times best-selling author, and a true American rock and roll guitar hero. Felder spent 27 years with The Eagles who own the fine distinction of recording the top-selling album of all time – Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975– which has sold over 38 million copies (and counting).  He co-wrote some of the band’s biggest hits, including “Hotel California” and “Victim of Love,” and became a New York Times best selling author with his autobiography Heaven and Hell: My Life in The Eagles (1974-2001). His iconic double necked guitar was featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Play It Loudexhibit in May 2019 – the first major exhibition in an art museum dedicated entirely to the iconic instruments of rock and roll – and is currently on display in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s exhibit of the same name. He was inaugurated into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville in 2016, and the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2017. His most recent solo album American Rock ‘N’ Roll (BMG) was released on April 5, 2019. For this show, Felder will perform the hits he co-penned with the Eagles or performed for 27 years with them. Purchase tickets HERE.

THE ENGLISH BEAT [APRIL 1, 2022]

Founded in 1979 by Dave Wakeling, The English Beat is a band with an energetic mix of musical styles and a sound like no other. Their infectious sound, which crosses fluidly between ska, soul, reggae, punk and rock, has allowed them to endure for four decades and appeal to fans of all ages all over the world. Throughout their career, The English Beat has scored multi-platinum record sales, sold out shows and, most importantly, universal fan approval because they kept “The Beat” alive. The English Beat is still lead by Wakeling with an amazing all-star ska backing band that will play all their signature tunes, such as “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Save It For Later,” “Can’t Get Used to Losing You,” “Hands Off, She’s Mine,” and “I Confess,” as well as some covers and songs from their 2016 album Here We Go Love, the band’s first new release since 1982’s Special Beat Service. Purchase tickets HERE.

THE ZOMBIES [MAY 1, 2022]

The Zombies scored U.S. hits in the mid- and late-1960s with “Time of the Season,” “She’s Not There,” and “Tell Her No.” Their 1968 album Odessey & Oracle is ranked 100 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The band’s live performances, described by Rolling Stone as “absolutely triumphant,” take fans on a journey through time, from their early hits…their 1968 masterpiece Odessey & Oracle…post-Zombies solo favorites such as Argent’s “Hold Your Head Up”…right to today with “Still Got That Hunger.” The Zombies are also cited as being one of the most influential UK pop/rock bands of all time. Billy Joel, Paul Weller, and the band Badly Drawn Boy are just some of the artists that have been influenced by The Zombies. Aside from The Beatles and perhaps The Beach Boys, no mid-’60s rock group wrote melodies as gorgeous as those of The Zombies. Purchase tickets HERE.

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, Mass. Tickets to these shows can be purchased online at 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.

BLUE OYSTER CULT FOUNDING MEMBER ALBERT BOUCHARD BRINGS ‘IMAGINOS’ TO THE NARROWS

Albert Bouchard

Thanks to comedian Will Ferrell, former Blue Öyster Cult drummer Albert Bouchard’s liberal use of cowbell on the band’s FM staple, “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” might be what goes down in the music history books as his defining rock and roll moment. But Blue Öyster Cult is much more than the butt of a joke or a couple of tunes in the classic rock canon, and Bouchard’s imagination stretches well beyond the percussive stroke of genius that propels one of their biggest hits.*  

Hardcore BÖC enthusiasts have long been aware of a collection of scripts and poems written by collaborator/manager Sandy Pearlman over fifty years back, entitled The Soft Doctrines of Imaginos—a secret history of the two World Wars. Think of it like a battling good-and-evil story that merges historical facts and far-flung fiction with gothic imagery, horror, elements of fairytale, and Lovecraft-inspired sci-fi. 

For those that don’t know, Pearlman wrote or co-wrote many BÖC songs and often served as a co-producer on their albums. Blue Öyster Cult had utilized fragments of Pearlman’s Imaginos storyline for songs scattered throughout their first four albums, but they lacked context, so those tracks carried an added layer of mystery that intrigued listeners looking to decipher meaning from the band’s music. The song “Blue Öyster Cult”—which could be considered their defining moment—appears on the Imaginos album, which finally surfaced in 1988.

But by the time of its release, Imaginos had gone through multiple unplanned revisions. Originally begun seven years prior in 1981, the recording and release of the ambitious concept album were fraught with complications.

Blue Oyster’s Cult’s Imaginos was released in 1988 after being in limbo for years.

In the first place, it was Bouchard who’d championed the idea of developing a rock opera around Pearlman’s storyline, but he’d been officially fired from BÖC in 1981. He then planned to release the project under his name, having inked a solo deal with CBS/Columbia. But by 1984 it was clear that the label was no longer interested. Given that they owned the existing recordings, Imaginos was then reconfigured—without Bouchard’s input—as a Blue Öyster Cult album, which eventually saw the light of day four years later. In the interim, BÖC had disbanded and reformed. By that time, Aldo Nova, Joe Satriani, and The Doors’ Robby Kreiger had all played on the album and Bouchard’s lead vocals had been completely removed.

Even after all the revisions, and despite a fair amount of critical accolades, Imaginos didn’t sell particularly well. But BÖC fans knew that it had been planned as a trilogy and, in the nearly thirty-five years since its release, they’ve continually clamored for the rest of the story to materialize.

Albert Bouchard’s Re-Imaginos was released in November 2020.

Now Bouchard is seeing it all the way through. He recorded a mostly acoustic version of Imaginos, entitled Re-Imaginos, and released it in November 2020. Then, in October of 2021, Imaginos II: Bombs Over Germany was released, featuring Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom from BÖC. Bouchard has since begun writing the third installment—the working title is Imaginos III: Mutant Reformation—which he hopes to release in 2023. And on Saturday, January 15 at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, he will perform Imaginos for the first time, in its entirety, along with selections from Imaginos II and some BÖC favorites. Paul Bielatowicz, of Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy will open the show with an abridged version of his Nosferatu score. Purchase tickets HERE.

To say it’s been a journey doesn’t really capture the winding path that Bouchard has walked to get to this point. He recently spoke with us at length from his Manhattan apartment about the process of coming full circle with this creative labor of love. 

Limelight Magazine: What about this story holds so much fascination for you?

Albert Bouchard: It’s just a classic story. Maybe it’s a bit like Homer’s The Odyssey. It focuses on this person who travels through space and time and certain things happen to him and other things he makes happen and… all that kind of stuff. The original Imaginos is his origin story. And then the second episode, this last one I just put together, is where all the bad stuff starts happening. It’s the dark Empire Strikes Back part of the story.

LM: Was Star Wars inspiring?

AB: I first started visualizing the story as a whole when I was watching Star Wars, so, yes, definitely. I was also reading a book by Joseph Campbell… something about the gods and how these various myths just seem to continue playing out and how, as stories and reflections of our own experiences, they just never get old. Rather, they just keep getting retold but dressed in slightly different clothing. When I talked to Sandy about it back then he said that’s exactly right, that Campbell truly understood the value of myths in our culture. So, at that point, we started thinking beyond just this song and that song and began looking at the larger picture and how to deliver this story, musically, as a bigger piece.

LM: Was expanding it into a trilogy something that you’d discussed with Sandy from the beginning, further elaborating on his original writings, or was that an idea that came later?

AB: From what I remember, that aspect of it didn’t come together until towards the end of the time I was with BÖC. But Sandy’s original writing was epic, so it was never a story that could be easily condensed.

I’ve always found with doing this stuff that you can’t hold anything that sacred. You might find a better twist of a word or phrase that improves a song, so it’s best not to get too attached to doing something a certain way. Because when you’re talking about songs, you’re talking about rhythm and melody at the same time as you’re talking about the actual words, and you have to balance all of that out. Sandy’s writing didn’t always loan itself well to song structures because he was wordy. Wordy songs can get tricky. Originally, “The Siege and Investiture of Baron von Frankenstein’s Castle at Weisseria” was very long with lots of additional parts. Some of it was very good, but some of it was… just embarrassing. So I kept working on it. I thought the first version I did was pretty good—had a lot of nice little guitar licks in there— but Sandy said he didn’t like it. So then I redid it, and this time it was really awful. But at least I’d gotten the words to better sync with the music. That made it clearer to Sandy said we should break it into two songs, so it became “Siege and Investiture…” and “The Girl That Love Made Blind,” so that rather than forcing it to work as a suite, one was more of a ballad and the other was a heavier, angrier piece. Just scarier. More menacing.

LM: Do you think Sandy Pearlman would be happy with what you’ve done with Re-Imaginos, Bombs Over Germany, and the third installation that you’re working on? Is this true to the form he thought the story would take?

AB: I think he’d be okay with it, yes. I remember somebody in the press saying, when the original Imaginos came out, “Sandy Perlman is doing all the interviews… who wants to interview the manager?,” not grasping his contribution to the band. But he was our fifth Beatle, you know? Especially in the beginning, he was there all the time. And always with ideas and suggestions for how to make things better. And, of course, this story was his original idea.

When I was working on the first record back in the early 80s, Sandy and I were very excited. We felt as if we were doing something that hadn’t been done in rock music. The music itself seemed almost indescribable, and we had the gut feeling that it was quite good. I had a lot of great players on it who could do just about anything I asked them. So it was very intoxicating. And at the time we thought, okay, so we’ll put this out, and if it hits, I have my solo contract, we can keep going. So, we began writing songs for part two right away, but there were schedules to work around. Blue Öyster Cult and Foghat were using the same studio, so I had to take time off recording the original tracks because I couldn’t get in there and everyone had other projects they were contributing to… we couldn’t just do it all at once. During those breaks, Sandy and I worked on writing for part two and conceptualizing part three, but no songs got written for the third part at that time.

LM: Would you credit Sandy with setting the sort of ominous, mysterious tone that runs through so much of BÖC’s output?

AB: Yes, I would. He didn’t like to fill in all the blanks. So there would always be plenty of space for you to imagine what we’re talking about. He loved that. He never wanted to be nailed down to any specific meaning on any specific thing. He just enjoyed having a sort of poetic attitude about what BÖC was doing, what each song meant, what each song might suggest. He was trying to create something different. I’ll say this—we were heavily influenced by the original Alice Cooper band. But not so much their theatricality, even though that was great, but more their musical style. Initially, it was very hard to pin down what they were. I think people kind of bemoan Alice Cooper’s show now because he’s kind of taken on that heavy metal mantle with the four guitar attack, but the original Alice Cooper would do some very unusual stuff. It was as if they felt like they could do anything and get away with it, and we admired that.

LM: So, What made this the right time to get this done?

AB: This has always been something I wanted to do, but in 1987, I began working in a public school. I would play on weekends or sometimes tour with a band during vacations, but I decided to put my time into that career. I’d planned to retire at 70 to get in a good ten years of rock and roll. I’m going to be 75 in a couple of months, so time is limited for me to do the things that I want to do. And this is one of the main things that I wanted to do. In 2015, Sandy had an accident and he was in a coma. The music writer Robert Duncan was checking in on him at the hospital and sending out email updates about his prognosis. I wrote back to Robert and said I want to go and see him because I had all these things I wanted to talk to him about, one of them being about finishing this trilogy idea. We had songs that we’d started to write and never finished. I wanted his input. Fans were saying I should do my own version, asking if it’ll ever get finished, and I would always say I’d have to have Sandy Pearlman help me because it was his idea. I couldn’t just go and do it without him. I wouldn’t even think of it, really, just out of respect for my friend. He eventually came out of the coma, I went to the hospital and told him that he had to get better because I wanted to complete the trilogy. And then, in the end, he didn’t make it. He never really regained his faculties. He was conscious and could hear what people were saying. He could communicate by moving his left index finger or that kind of thing, but he really couldn’t have a conversation. He could just acknowledge if he understood or not.

LM: It must have been challenging to deal with what happened to the original Imaginos album since this was your solo project with Sandy, and then it was released as a BÖC album that you’d lost creative control over. There are a lot of stories about various betrayals on the parts of both the band and the label. How did you feel at the time?

AB: Well, you know, emotions can cloud our perception of things. So when the record finally came out, I was very unhappy. I felt like the mixes weren’t good. What I’d heard when we cut the basic tracks was so much better, but it was six years since I’d cut those tracks and it’d been worked on, on and off, for those six years. Everything was on tape at that time, and every time you play the tape, it deteriorates a little. So there was that problem. They replaced my vocals, which I wasn’t thrilled about, but I have to admit that the vocals were largely an improvement. Donald Roeser’s—you know, Buck Dharma—versions of my vocals were excellent. Much better than I could do. For the most part. Eric Bloom did a great job… at least as good as I did, if not better. And Joseph Cerisano, thank God they used some of his stuff. I heard this rumor that Columbia didn’t like the vocals and that’s why they weren’t behind the record. But you’ve got to figure it was Al Teller and Donnie Lenner running the show at that point… anybody who knows what was going on at Columbia in those days knows those guys didn’t have a clue. Al Teller was an accountant and Donnie was his buddy. So, what does that tell you? Clive Davis was gone. Bruce Lundvall was gone. All the people with ears for music were all gone. And the people that’d signed me to the solo deal were all gone. All we had were these accountant guys, and they had no interest in music. Then they brought in Tommy Mottola to keep it from becoming a total disaster. At the time, I was extremely angry with the record company, that they wouldn’t put it out as my record, that they would only put it out as Blue Öyster Cult, you know, and Blue Öyster Cult… they did the best they could do under the circumstances.

LM: Have you been able to reconcile all that upset?

AB: For the most part, yes. What was even more mind-blowing was that the label led me to believe that, since my solo project had been folded into a Blue Öyster Cult project, I would be back in the band when they toured Greece in 1987, just before Imaginos came out. And then the band informed me that they had never agreed to that and that they’d hired other people for those gigs. They said they had no idea the label had made any such promises to me. I was really angry about that, too, but they didn’t know anything about the conversation I’d had, so I couldn’t blame them.

That was the same year I’d gotten the job at the school, but working in a school hadn’t changed me yet. Becoming a teacher is a very solitary kind of thing, in a way, because it’s just you and the kids in your classroom, and nobody’s going to help you. You have to just sort it out on your own. On the other hand, working in education, you’re always examining your practice. And you invite other teachers to give you feedback. The amount of meetings that get scheduled is extremely annoying, but over time, it changed me for the better. I became able to separate my ego and look at the process rather than the product. I think that has made me a better person—much more responsible and much more patient. As a teacher, you have to be extremely patient, and you have to be able to present things in more than one way. And believe it or not, this has helped me deal with what happened back then.

LM: There was some debt to the label, too, right?

AB: Yes. I was three-quarters of a million dollars in debt to Columbia, which is why the band thought by not letting me back in they were doing me a favor… I wouldn’t have gotten any royalties for years, you know? We’ve talked about it since then. BÖC basically absorbed my debt for the solo recordings. I guess you could say that ‘Reaper’ started paying for Imaginos. So how can I complain about that?

LM: When you think about performing this work, is it daunting? Who’s in the band you’ve assembled?

AB: Not daunting to me, no, I could go into a club tomorrow and play the whole thing! I’ve set up a group of six, including myself. I’m going to be playing mostly acoustic guitar… or maybe an electric guitar that sounds like an acoustic. It’s a hybrid of the two guitars that are the backbone of all the Imaginos songs. It was just a concept in my mind, but I explained it to my luthier and he said he could do it, so we’ll see. Supposedly, I’m getting it this week. But the main, lead guitar player is going to be Mike Fornatele, who I met at a party hosted by May Pang, John Lennon’s ex-girlfriend. She has three parties every year and he’s always there, so that’s how we originally met. Then I did a gig with him and my brother backing up Mark Lindsay from Paul Revere and the Raiders. My brother, Joe Bouchard, is playing keyboards, trumpet, and flute. Cyzon Griffin will be on drums, this amazingly talented 26-year-old guy that I met when he was busking in Central Park. He reminds me of Larnell Lewis from Snarky Puppy. David Hirschberg, who’s on all the new Imaginos material, will play bass. And then we have Dana McCoy, who played ukulele and keyboards and sang on some of these songs, and hopefully, she’ll be joining us. We’ve been rehearsing!

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River. Tickets are $38 advance and $43 day of show. 

*Actually, the cowbell was producer David Lucas’s idea, but it was Bouchard who decided to use a timpani mallet to beat the bell, thus producing an unusual tone on the final track.   

PAULA POUNDSTONE TO BRING LAUGHTER TO THE NARROWS CENTER

FALL RIVER — Armed with nothing but a stool, a microphone and a can of Diet Pepsi, comedian Paula Poundstone is coming to the Narrows Center in Fall River, MA, on Saturday, January 22, 2022. Purchase tickets HERE.

Poundstone began nurturing her stand up comedy talent in 1979 as part of the Boston comedy scene. Since then, her ability to create humor on the spot has become the stuff of a legend. Little wonder people leave her shows debating whether the random people she talked to were “plants”—which, of course they never are, and complaining that their cheeks hurt from laughter.

Poundstone’s spontaneity and razor-sharp wit have made her one of the most popular panelists on NPR’s hilarious weekly news quiz show, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, and her commentaries can be heard on NPR’s Morning Edition and read on the Huffington Post.  Her first book, There’s Nothing In This Book That I Meant To Say, (with a foreword by Mary Tyler Moore) was published by Random House in 2007. Her second book, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness, was published last year. The book debuted at #1 on Amazon best sellers lists in Humor in Hardcover, Audible, Kindle and CD within its first ten days of release and is now out in paperback. The audio book, read by Paula, was one of five finalists for the 2018 Audio Book of the Year.

Poundstone’s guest appearances include The Late Show with Stephen ColbertStar Talk with Neil deGrasse TysonLate Night with Carson DalyNerdist with Chris Hardwick, and she was a clue in a New York Times crossword puzzle. She’s filed commentaries for CBS Sunday Morning and Morning Edition and All Things Considered for NPR. She voices the character “Paulette” in Cartoon Network’s new animated series Summer Camp Island. An avid Disney movie fan, Paula had a dream come true when she was cast to voice the character “Forgetter Paula” in Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out, winner of the 2017 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

Poundstone has had numerous HBO specials and starred in her own series on HBO and ABC. Her second special for HBO, Paula Poundstone goes to Harvard, marked the first time the elite university allowed its name to be used in the title of a television show.

Poundstone was the first woman, in its then 73rd year, to perform standup comedy at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. She won an American Comedy Award for Best Female Standup Comic and is recognized in innumerable lists, documentaries, and literary compendiums noting influential standup comedians of our time.

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River. Tickets are $48 advance and $53 day of show. Tickets can be purchased  HERE.

FILMING LOCATION SPOTLIGHT – 2021 RECAP

On the fourth Friday of every month throughout 2021, Limelight Magazine spotlighted the filming location site(s) we visited for some of our favorite (and not so favorite) films and TV shows. Here is a recap of all the locations we featured this year. Click on the name of the movie or TV show to see each of them.

  1. Coma (1978)
  2. Escape From Alcatraz (1979)
  3. Benson (TV Show)
  4. I Spit On Your Grave (1978)
  5. A Quiet Place (2018)
  6. The Wonder Years (TV Show)
  7. House of Dark Shadows (1970)
  8. Let’s Scare Jessica To Death (1971)
  9. A Good Son (1993)
  10. Halloween (1978)
  11. Dallas (TV Show)

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