• twitter
  • facebook
  • instagram
  • pinterest
  • youtube
DailyBoom Your Old School Music Authority

Friday, September 25, 2020

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Run- D.M.C. - 'You Be Illin' (Studio Version)'


"The other day around the way I seen you illin' at a party
Drunk as a skunk you illin' punk and in your left hand was Bacardi
You went up to this fly girl and said "Yo, yo, can I get this dance?"
She smelt your breath and then she left you standin' in your illin'
Stance
You be illin'"


Run-D.M.C. found major crossover success back in 1986 when they joined Aerosmith on a version of "Walk This Way". While that is the song that people most affiliate with them, I really loved just about everything on their Raising Hell album. "You Be Illin'" was the follow-up song and I remember driving a local DJ crazy with requests for it.

Ya know, back in 1986 there was a nightly countdown of songs & dedications were part of the deal. "You Be Illin'" was on that countdown for months, sandwiched between Samantha Fox, Poison and Paul Lekakis. Old Run-D.M.C. still sounds better than so much of the new rap that is currently hitting the charts. Check out this studio version of "You Be Illin'". 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

90's Nostalgia: Nirvana Unplugged


It doesn't seem possible that Kurt Cobain killed himself more than 20 years ago. It really seems like just last year that I was flipping between Nirvana's album and Courtney Love's band, Hole's pretty amazing Live Through This. But it was a really long time ago and WAY back in 1993 MTV first aired Nirvana's Unplugged set. Remember how video clips from it played constantly for about a year? I haven't watched it in a really long time so taking a look at it this morning reminded me of just how cool Cobain really was.

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Divinyls- 'Pleasure And Pain'


"Lover lover why do you push
Why do you push, why do you push
Baby baby, did you forget about me

I've been standing at the back of your life
Back row centre just above the ice"



I was under the (wrong) impression that I didn't like anything at all by Divinyls.  Then I went back and listened to some of their earlier stuff and realized that I actually love some of it. I'm just not a 90's-era I Touch Myself fan. After a bit of a musical journey, I came to understand exactly how much Chrissy Amphlett contributed to the female rock movement.

Once the 90's rolled around Divinyls had totally embraced a pop music sound and image but the 80's were a different story. The band rocked and Amphlett was known for her sexy image. Most of the time she was wearing fishnets and a schoolgirl outfit and her style added to the uniqueness of the band. They eventually split in 1996 after a 16 year career together. 

Amphlett was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and couldn't undergo chemotherapy/radiation because she had Multiple Sclerosis. The singer eventually died in 2013 at the age of 53 but Divinyls music definitely lives on.  "Pleasure And Pain" is my favorite song by them. Check out the video below!


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Samantha Fox - 'Touch Me (I Want Your Body)'

Related image

"Quick as a flash
You disappeared into the night

Did I hurt you, boy?
Didn't I treat you right?
You made me feel so good

Made me feel myself

Now I'm alone
And you're with somebody else"

Way back in 1986 Samantha Fox REALLY shook the music industry. It was a point in time when women were thought to be best at ballads or bubblegum pop tunes. Taking any stage and blatantly singing about sex was not just unheard of but it was also pretty unacceptable. The double standards were still in effect and so if a male rocker mentioned sex it was cool but women still knew better than to go there. At least until a catchy little tune called "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)" landed in DJ's hands.

I'm sure the fact that Sam was hot and a topless model didn't hurt because she looked like a poster child for sex. And this song worked. It went to number 1 all over the world and much of the music-buying public really latched on to this song. She was playful, provocative and in control- something that appealed to men and women alike.

"Touch Me" was also a great club banger so if it wasn't on your radio or MTV you could count on hearing it at the club. It literally was everywhere. Sam enjoyed a few years of success in the U.S. and she had a string of Billboard hits thanks to the impact of "Touch Me".  Check out the video below!




Monday, September 21, 2020

Daily Boom Lost Hit: Queensryche- 'The Killing Words' Live

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Billy Idol - 'Sweet Sixteen'

BILLY IDOL:

"Gave my heart an engagement ring,
She took everything,
Everything I gave her,
Oh sweet sixteen

Built a moon
For a rocking chair,
I never guessed it would
Rock her far from here
Oh, oh, oh."

While I love Billy Idol's rough and tumble style and his anthems like "Rebel Yell" have to rank among some of my all-time favorite 80's tunes, I loved when he took a minute in 1987 to slow things down. "Sweet Sixteen" is such a delicate song, one that took most Idol fans by surprise. It showed that this hardcore rocker had a soft side that was worth exploring.
This song was actually inspired by a true story. A man named Edward Leedskalnin was dumped by his fiancée Agnes Scuffs the day before they were to be married. He built Coral Castle, a monument complete with furniture made of coral, in Homestead, Florida hoping to win her back, but she still did not want to marry him. His nickname for her was Sweet Sixteen. Here's a nugget for you, if you travel to Coral Castle even now you will see some of the furniture that was created, including the coral rocking chair mentioned in the lyrics of Idol's tribute to it.

Check out the video below for "Sweet Sixteen". Does it take you back?

Friday, September 18, 2020

Exclusive Interview: Nick Van Eede of 'Cutting Crew' Embraces the Future While Reimagining His Past on 'Ransomed Healed Restored Forgiven'


ICYMI

I think that one of the coolest things about music is how it affords each and every one of us the ability to travel through time. You know what I mean, that twenty-second song intro that just for a flash of a moment makes you feel like it really is 1987 all over again. Some songs just stay with you, forever imprinted in your mind, following you through life like comfortable old friends, and no amount of passing time changes your love for them. Nick Van Eede, the co-founder, singer and songwriter of Cutting Crew, has created exactly that kind of gift for millions of people worldwide via "(I Just) Died In Your Arms", a song that shot to number one in 1987 and continues to pop up in pop culture to this day.

I think that most people believe that once you "make it" in the music industry you're sort of set for life if you handle your money properly. The actual truth is that the music business is at best, a harsh place to try and exist. You could be at the top of the charts and playing sold-out shows now and in six months you're back to waiting tables or washing dishes. The only solid guarantee is that every star eventually falls from the sky and then it takes talent, timing, and unshakable determination to get back up again. 

In his thirty-five years since starting Cutting Crew, Nick has experienced the highs of sold-out tours, as well as the unimaginable loss of Kevin MacMichael, the secret ingredient (and brilliant guitarist) that helped to balance the band. Despite the losses, a storyteller can never stay quiet for too long and over the last decade or so he has rebuilt the band with a new Cutting Crew co-conspirator, guitarist Gareth Moulton, who has truly honored the past while leaving his own imprint on the music.

The band was steadily gigging until Covid-19 brought the touring industry to a screeching halt, making this the perfect time for that new release that had already been planned. Ransomed Healed Restored Forgiven puts an incredible symphonic twist on a catalog of already beloved songs. It was a risky move but one that Nick completely embraced. We spoke recently about these reimagined classics and Nick was happy to really dig into the details of how this album came to life.


Nick Van Eede on embracing the idea of a symphonic album:

"It was a wonderful thing! Fifty years ago when my granddad would hear me playing guitar in the lounge he would say, 'your songs seem to work well, if only they had an orchestra' and then many years ago when we first got a publishing deal there was always mention of an orchestra. Over the years, I have performed 3 or 4 of the songs maybe 25 times with an orchestra.  Cutting Crew songs aren't better than anyone else's' and they're no worse than anyone elses', but I do kind of write those big melodies, and the layering of our arrangements just begged for it. I've joked about how I've been waiting for the call to do this and then there really was a call out of the blue from a record label to do it (laughing). Then came the million-dollar question of do you do this with songs that are so precious to millions of people and risk making it not as good. I finally decided to jump and so we jumped off the cliff together!!

It was time-consuming and meticulous work. I wish I could sexy it up and tell you that I flew all over the world to make this album but it didn't happen that way (laughing). You know how everyone is doing things now since the world has changed because of this virus?  People are recording remotely or doing concerts from their house, well this was done pre-Covid but really under the same rules because of how scattered we all are. The string arranger was in Manchester, my guitarist is in the middle of England, I'm in the south of England, the orchestra was in Prague, the engineer was in Slovenia and lastly our drummer, he was in Russia. It was quite a task and there were moments in time when we just said, 'f--k it this is just impossible'- like while trying to tell a Russian drummer that the high hat isn't quite right (laughing), those were the tricky bits. The beautiful thing was working with the string arranger, Pete Whitfield, I must say that it was a pleasure and gift for me.

It's not a perfect science because especially the rocking songs like "Any Color", have some great string parts but you can't really layer too much. I grew up playing classical guitar and if you came to my house now I wouldn't be playing rock music, I'd be playing you classical music because I know my composers and I'm pretty deep into them  I love it and sometimes I'm humbled by it you know, I listen to Mahler's "Adagio" and think, well that's it, there's no point in writing another note (laughing). When Pete, our string arrangerwould send me huge manuscripts of notes I'd thank him and remind him that I'm not very good at reading music (laughing), then ask him to send the audio along as well. Only then I would get involved, which he liked. He told me so many acts in the past have hired him and they'd get what they get, so he was happy that I wanted to be involved."



Nick on reimagining Cutting Crew songs after the works of specific composers:

"I have recently worked with quite an acclaimed classical composer in this tiny little village in Sussex where I live. His name is Nigel Crouch and he has always loved "I've Been In Love Before". He insisted that the composer that was the best match was Sibelius and told me to listen to the last movement of Symphony #5. I checked it out and pointed Pete to that and so now on that song you can hear some movements a' la Sibelius.

"The Broadcast" was a risky one to makeover. When the song was first imagined I had this transistor radio and I would never listen to the pop stations. Instead, I'd go right up to the end of the dial on short wave and you'd just get these strange sounds. It would be like propaganda from North Korea or Arabic music and that was my little world at the time. I really wanted to get the feeling of when I was a teen in rural Sussex and so Pete and I both agreed that the style of music was like that of a British composer named Ralph Vaughan Williams. I was at first worried that the song might feel a bit too Broadway but hey, we're reimagining these songs and they're supposed to sound different, right?.

"(I Just) Died In Your Arms", the Reprise, has to be one of the most emotional recordings that I've ever had to do, just me and the orchestra. I think it was done in two takes, just did it and cut the takes together. Those words now as a 62-year-old man mean something completely different to me then when I originally wrote them as a 26-year-old guy. I've lost my father, I've lost my brother, I've lost Kevin my original guitarist and best pal, I have a daughter too- so many things have changed. I've always been good at writing fairly oblique lyrics and something that you can read whatever you want to in it but doing that one as an older guy meant a lot of tears. There were a lot of tissues on the floor (laughing). That song was in the style of Edward Elgar who is probably my favorite British composer. We got his trademark cellos to move around and sound very foreboding yet beautiful at the same time. That will go down as one of the most memorable moments in my entire career.

"Berlin In Winter" is now one of our biggest songs to play live and it stems from a story that you just can't make up. In 1989 when the wall fell, Cutting Crew was on tour and I remember watching the television with Kevin and seeing these amazing images and beautiful human moments. Three days later we were actually playing in Berlin. We had a hit record on their charts and a sold-out tour but only about twenty-five people came to the gig (laughing), quite rightly too. I think we did about six songs and had people onstage with us and then we went down to the wall together and had an incredible time. That has always been one of the abiding memories in my life and this song is an imaginary song about a guy who was sequestered by the Communists to build the wall, lived through all of the atrocities of it and then was there as an old man to see it fall. It's hard to write a story because you have to have a beginning, a middle, and an ending in only three verses, so I'm very proud of that one.

I knew it had to be Russian sounding for this recording,  Pete said  'that's Shostakovitch and I was thinking more Tchaikovsky, something with a haunting, descending cello line and again a quite cold and daunting sound, but definitely a Russian influence.

That time in Berlin, it was a blur and pure joy but no anger. There could have been people coming through from the east, pointing at the policemen or saying 'f--k you' or whatever, but instead it was a beautiful embracing evening. I have a memory of being with a big roadie friend of mine who had a hammer and dinged off a piece of the wall for me and I've still got that here somewhere. It has really stuck with me and I've played in Berlin 20 times at least since then. It's one of my favorite cities in the world. It shows those scars but it has done it very well. It's a special place and they've kept the wall intact in some places so that you can see it. It's just a little wall, not this gigantic thing, but of course, if they tried to cross it back then they would have been shot.

So if I make another million pounds I'd love to buy an apartment there. I'd love to live there as an older guy. Let it be said too that new Germany is a wonderful place. They've never ever tried to sweep it under the carpet, everywhere you go there are memorials to the history of the country. I think I work more there than anywhere else and I love it."



Nick on the legacy of "(I Just) Died In Your Arms":

"I knew it was special because that was reinforced by anyone that heard the really scratchy first demo. I was 25 then and had been writing quite well for about 7 years, so I had other things to compare it with. The longevity of it absolutely staggers me. Ten years after I thought well that was a good run (laughing), twenty years after it was an even better run. It may be 20 million people's worst song in the world but that doesn't take away from the other 200 million people that really like it. I've always just really embraced the song and it's a number one record that has really outlasted a lot of other number one records. I always refer to the song as 'she' and I say that she's my passport, she's like a lover, she's an accidental dinner conversation, she's my bank manager (laughing), so I'm quite happy to have her in my life.

When it came time to do this album I wanted to do this song near the end because I needed to know how we were going to make this album work first. I felt that touching this song was really risky and somehow it just came together. I don't really smoke but I had about ten cigarettes that day and a lot of Johnnie Walker as well to get the vocal right."

Nick on his writing process:

"Well, this is important, I never, ever sit down and tell myself I'm going to write a song about something in particular, like my daughter's blue hair (laughing). It just doesn't work that way. I do have the ability to write very obliquely though and that leaves my lyrics open to interpretation in a myriad of ways.

It has to hit a very high bar that I set for myself. I won't put anything out there in writing that I view as just a filler song. I'm always proud of my albums and while you don't have to like every song, they've hit my bar and that is always in the back of my mind. At the same time, when you give birth to something you must never share it too soon. Just let it roll and if it starts sounding a little like "Hey Jude", as an example, don't worry, it might not end up sounding anything like "Hey Jude". Don't get scared, it's just not there yet, and don't kill it too soon.

I really have to sit there and find that muse though. I usually write on the keyboards because I love them becauseI don't play them very well, so I have all sorts of happy accidents because I don't know what the f--k I'm doing (laughing). It's also all very phonetic and I've been brave enough to at times just make sounds that kind of hit with the music. Once you're really off and running then the actual lyrics just seem to pour out and you can be done with it even in an hour because you found what has rooted you to the song.

Also, I'll warn you, if during the course of this conversation you say something to me that I absolutely love it'll be written down and transferred to my ten-meter long piece of wallpaper that I sometimes stick up in my studio.  It has my little catchphrases, titles and sayings that I really like and so while creating something I can look up and see all of these possibilities. It's my responsibility as a songwriter to keep track of possibilities."



Nick on striking gold twice with guitarists' Kevin MacMichael and Gareth Moulton:

"When I found Kevin all those years ago it was like a good marriage because everything was easy, no egos when wrote together. He was my editor and very good at taking my straightforward jolly lyrics and making them darker. He would put some negativity in there (laughing) and it's what was needed. When I spoke at his funeral I think I judged the mood right and told that story, adding that if Kevin had his way that song would have been called "(I Just) Lived In Your Arms".  So to find Gareth Moulton after having already found a Kevin was just astonishing. He has to tip his hat to what Kevin did while at the same time being himself and he has done that masterfully. Gareth does all of the sensational guitar playing on the album. He's my best friend and to find somebody like that is so special."

Nick on embracing whatever comes next:

"We have had 22 gigs canceled so far this year, including one in Trinidad, plus Switzerland, Japan, and everything else. There is still a show scheduled for Budapest and one in Tel Aviv but there are no flights. Also, if I go then when I come home I'll have to quarantine for fourteen days, so playing requires real thought. That said, we're very clever humans and so I imagine we'll figure it all out in the end. Things are going to be different and I'm ready to embrace it. I love doing the unplugged things and so maybe Gareth and I will just be dueting for a while and telling the stories behind the songs. When we do the rock shows he always tells me to stop talking (laughing), but I enjoy telling the stories too.

In spite of all of the awful things, there are so many beautiful young people coming through in this world and I'm totally encouraged by them. They'll lead the way towards whatever is next for us all in this crazy world."

Get your own copy of Ransomed Healed Restored Forgiven at Cutting Crew's official site.  Check out their Facebook & Twitter for gig updates and behind-the-scenes fun.




Currently Booming: Mojo Moomey's Exclusive Interview with Stryper's Michael Sweet

 

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Shannon- 'Give Me Tonight'



Walking sadly through the park
I hear crying in the darkness
And though I act like I cannot hear
The situation is very clear
A girl who's trying to tell her guy
The time has come that they say goodbye

I was always a disco kid. My first 45 single was Disco Duck, followed by Chic's "Le Freak" and Regina Ward's "Ring My Bell".  My dad would let me choose the last song that he played on his stereo every night and for years it was disco, until Pat Benatar came along, anyway.  Disco died a pretty fast death but in 1983 along came Shannon to remind us all that dance music was still cool. 

"Let the Music Play" has the coolest syth and drum machine beat and it drives the song all the way through. Decades later, this is considered one of the first freestyle songs ever made. What I know for sure is that when it comes on now, 32-years after first hitting the charts, everyone still gets up to dance. It's legendary. "Give Me Tonight", the follow up single might actually be a tiny bit better. It only reached number 46 on Billboard's Hot 100 but in the clubs it was just as popular as Shannon's breakout smash.

As for Shannon, well, she's still out there doing her thing. She is still performing those songs that made her a household name and a whole new generation of freestyle fans have embraced her. More often than not Shannon is seen performing in a Freestyle Explosion show that features a whole roster of popular 80's acts like Expose`The Cover GirlsNu Shooz and more. 

Check out "Give Me Tonight" one of the songs that helped to put Shannon on the map!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Foreigner's Double Vision: Then & Now Reunites Original Band Members Mick Jones, Rick Wills, Ian McDonald & Al Greenwood with Current Lineup for an Unforgettable Night in Atlantic City

(Foreigner Original Band & Current Lineup
All Photos: Cate Meighan)

Since Covid-19 has brought 2020 gigs to a screeching halt we are flashing back to some of the best of the best content here at DailyBOOM.


When Mick Jones, Ian McDonald, and Lou Gramm first joined forces in New York City back in 1976 to form Foreigner, they never in a million years would have predicted that four decades later their music would still live on in regular radio rotation across the world. Health issues, growing pains, lineup changes, and internal strife have all played a part in the bands' evolution and temporary disintegration, but the music has always been much more powerful than all of those things combined. The music has weathered every storm that the band has faced, always waiting for them on the other side, ready to be played once the temporary diversions have been settled.

Foreigner's catalog is an overabundance of riches for any musician fortunate enough to be able to do it any sort of justice and no one understands this better than the band's original lineup, Mick Jones (lead guitar), Lou Gramm (vocals), Ian McDonald (guitar/sax), Dennis Elliott (drums), Rick Wills (bass) and Al Greenwood (keyboard). After the success of a handful of reunion shows last year, Jones, McDonald, Wills and Greenwood have once again decided to share the stage and recapture a bit of that rock and roll spotlight. 

Gramm had originally been scheduled to join them but had to bow out a few days beforehand on doctors' orders, after a temporary illness flared up.

 The Hard Rock in Atlantic City was one of only four shows slated for this year's Double Vision: Then & Now reunion and what transpired on stage really was a perfect balance of the original Foreigner members, with the current lineup. So far, this is the only rock band that has managed to successfully meld two different lineups and the end result is an incredible gift for everyone in attendance.

The first part of the show featured Foreigner's current powerhouse lineup led by Kelly Hansen on vocals. He absolutely shows off his range on hits like "Cold As Ice" and "Head Games" before sucking the crowd in with an emotional intensity on "Waiting for a Girl Like You" and "That Was Yesterday". Hansen often seems to get lost in the shuffle of frontmen, but he is truly one of the best around and there's no doubt that he leaves everything that he has got on the stage night after night.

Kelly Hansen

While Hansen is leading the way, the rest of the current lineup is an incredibly skilled group of musicians, all with decades of success before even venturing to set foot on a Foreigner stage. It's unimaginable to think that anyone could ever step in for Mick Jones, yet Bruce Watson did such a phenomenal job during a medical emergency years ago that he has never left. Watson has earned his spot by being versatile enough to either play lead guitar with his own unique flair or to accentuate the magic that Jones weaves, as his right-hand man.




Bruce Watson




Bruce Watson & Kelly Hansen





Jeff Pilson (interview herespent years 'breaking the chains' with Dokken before joining Foreigner and he's still an animal onstage. One minute he is literally headbanging right in front of you and the next he is already at the opposite end of the stage rocking out. His bass playing is a standout, even on the ballads and his background vocals really add to the texture of the band. Pilson also functions as a music director and has a lot to do with all of those seamless transitions that you barely notice happening on stage.


Jeff Pilson

I think every great band needs a solid multi-instrumentalist and Tom Gimbel (interview here)  is probably THE most versatile musician currently touring. In any given song he might be playing rhythm guitar ("Head Games", "Juke Box Hero"), keyboard ("Cold As Ice", "Waiting For A Girl Like You"), or if you're really lucky you'll get to hear him on flute ("Starrider"). Hands down, Gimbel's shining moment is when he cracks out his saxophone to make "Urgent" the soaring, iconic piece that it is. 


Tom Gimbel

Michael Bluestein, on keyboards, is not only fantastic at his craft, but he is also quite an entertainer. Even from the back of the stage he always catches my eye with the way he pumps up and engages the audience. Chris Frazier has been the man behind the kit for the last eight years and he is the driving force that pushes this great band through songs like "Juke Box Hero". If drums really are the solid foundation for any band then Foreigner certainly is sitting in very solid, capable hands.

If you watch the interplay on stage with the current lineup you realize that these guys aren't lying when they say that they really are friends. There are so many little moments exchanged between them that are probably just as sentimental as the actual playing is.

 In Atlantic City, Mick Jones took to the stage right before "Urgent" and this audience (clearly raised on Foreigner) went crazy when he started playing that infamous guitar solo that begins the song.

Mick Jones

Tom Gimbel & Mick Jones

After an extra-inspired version of "Juke Box Hero" Mick introduced the rest of the original members and one by one Greenwood, Wills, and McDonald all took their place on stage. Hansen continued on lead vocals and Watson pitched in on guitar as the guys who actually played on those original recordings launched into several songs from their very first album. Less than a minute into "Feels Like the First Time" it was obvious that this stage (mostly) full of 70ish-year-old men could still rock their asses off. 

Mick Jones & Rick Wills

Rick Wills
Rick Wills on bass,  seemed to be having the time of his life, with a smile that just couldn't be contained and it was cool to see (and hear) Al Greenwood make those melodic keys dance.  Their set, which included "Blue Morning Blue Day" and "Long Long Way From Home", really made me want them to just keep playing.

Al Greenwood

Multi-instrumentalists always intrigue me because they just have so much going on.  Ian McDonald seems to go through a mental checklist while meticulously getting himself together before playing and it's cool to see him have a bit of a sax solo, complete with a bit of theatrical flair, during "Long, Long Way from Home".

The split setlist for the Double Vision: Then & Now shows is exactly as you would hope that it would be. It allows each incarnation of the band to play to their strongest current abilities and then everyone wins.  The sold-out audience in Atlantic City was certainly appreciative and perhaps even more importantly, every single guy playing seemed to be having one of the best nights of their musical career.  There was no better way to wrap up such a rare evening than by bringing all twelve musicians back onstage to perform "I Want To Know What Love Is" and "Hot Blooded"

Jones, Hansen, Wills, Gimbel & McDonald

Jones, Hansen, Wills, Gimbel & McDonald

Kelly Hansen

Bruce Watson

Jeff Pilson

Tom Gimbel & Kelly Hansen

Jones, Pilson, Greenwood, Bluestein, Wills, McDonald, Frazer, Gimbel

Foreigner Original Band & Current Lineup

Setlist

Current Lineup

Double Vision
Head Games
Cold as Ice
Waiting for a Girl Like You
Headknocker
That Was Yesterday
Urgent (Introduction of Mick Jones)
Juke Box Hero

Original Band

Feels Like the First Time
Blue Morning, Blue Day
Long, Long Way from Home
Dirty White Boy

Both Bands Together

I want to Know What Love Is
Hot Blooded



Daily Boom Lost Hit: Scandal ft. Patty Smyth- 'The Warrior'

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Exclusive Interview: Ron Keel on Turning a Difficult Season in His Life Into a Musical Treasure with 'Fight Like a Band'

The Ron Keel Band- Official Photo

Since Covid-19 has brought 2020 gigs to a screeching halt we are flashing back to some of the best of the best content here at DailyBOOM.

ICYMI

When I say "metal cowboy" the first name that springs to mind for veteran rock fans is singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Ron Keel.  Not only has he been a constant on the rock scene with bands like Steeler, Alcatrazz and of course, Keel, but he has sold millions of records and had two albums produced by Gene Simmons. While his resume is impressive it's not complete yet. 

The Ron Keel Band released their first album, "Fight Like a Band" back in February to rave reviews. The eclectic mix of metal, southern rock and a bit of country may make the music tricky to categorize but the quality of the music will keep you listening on loop for quite a while. I had a chance to catch up with Ron earlier this week and his stories behind the making of "Fight Like A Band" make its success that much sweeter. Check it out below.

Ron Keel Promo Shot

Ron Keel on his current band: 

"The Ron Keel Band formed four years ago when we were all hired to be the house band for a major midwest entertainment complex. It was a $70 million dollar business with a pawn shop, a radio station, and a concert venue. As the house band, we would travel around the country representing that brand and we would back up major acts like Paul Stanley and Jack Blades from Night Ranger. The money was fantastic and I was able to put together my dream team. We had one hell of a ride for about a year with the tour bus, the crew, even the pyro (laughing). Then it imploded and we were left with nothing. They pulled the rug out from under us, pulled the plug and we were left with nothing but each other. 

The band was so strong and the chemistry was so great that we decided to stick together and rebrand it as The Ron Keel Band and just keep going. Within weeks of that decision, my wife was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Most peoples' lives have been touched by cancer and so everyone knows that it's a life changer, you're going to war and you've got to be ready to fight. So I had to be there with her through chemotherapy, radiation and seven surgeries. Everyone always asks how she's doing and Renee is great, we had a happy ending to this story but it was hard. The band was my support group and they stuck with me even though we were looking at a year of not many gigs." 

Ron on digging in and creating new music:

"We decided since we couldn't tour that we would get together and write. The songs on "Fight Like a Band" are what came out of that time of hanging tough and hanging together. We were able to create songs that I believe are my best work. I know that I'm supposed to say that with every album you know it's the, 'my kid is the most good looking kid' thing (laughing). In this case, though, it's really true (still laughing), it's my baby and I'm so proud of the end result. I still listen to it every day in my truck because I make music for myself so that I can listen to it and enjoy it. I put it all in perspective a long time ago. I've sold 3 million records and so if you love music as much as I do then come along for the ride.

We spent a long time on the arrangements and how the guitars work together and a bunch of other things that you do to prepare for a session, but I had never sung the vocals on that lead track before with the band. The whole first verse is about fighting like a girl and it was all about my wife getting that diagnosis and deciding to fight and so there I was in the studio just losing it, an emotional wreck while trying to sing that verse. Once I got through that then the rest was fine but it was really an emotional experience singing that song for the first time in the studio. The second verse goes on to tell the story of my life back in the 80's so it's all very autobiographical and personal.

"Good Songs Bad Times" was the first song that we wrote and I don't know how you'd classify it (laughing). It's not country and it's not southern rock, it's just good. These days you kind of have to label stuff so that people know what they're getting but with this new record, I can't tell you exactly what it is other than hard rocking, hard-partying good old rock and roll. I grew up in a time when the term rock-and-roll encompassed everything. I listened to Black Sabbath and The Eagles and both were the same, they were rock-and-roll."

Ron Keel Promo Shot

Ron on how his audience has grown:

"I love that we've got 25-year-olds in the audience just eating it up and loving what the new band is doing without knowing my history or what I did before they were even born. They get to go back and visit where I've been and then they can go along for the ride to wherever we're headed. The old fans have been very tolerant as well. Those people that have followed me since the '80s, that have been around for all the twists and turns that my career has taken and that are still there, just enjoying the music, I'm so grateful for them. 

This record really resonates in the heart of all kinds of people. Rock fans, southern rock fans, and even country fans will enjoy it. It's hard and heavy arena rock, but it is also cowboy rock with screaming vocals, screaming guitars and those thunderous drums. It has a little bit of the wild, wild midwest in there too. We had absolutely no preconceived notions of what the album would be or what it would sound like or the direction that the songs would take. We just got together and wrote the best songs that we possibly could. Some of the songs are very reminiscent of the commercial rock that I was known for in the '80s.

There are always predominant themes in my lyrics and one is the struggle to survive and the right to be who you are and to express yourself. "Fight Like A Band" is really about the struggle to survive and then the struggle to succeed. We're all in the same boat. We all want to be happy and there are so many songs on this record that embody that." 

Ron on his extensive love of music:

"When I first heard the term heavy metal, as it pertains to music, I thought it sounded cool and I wanted to do that. It sounded so exciting and wild to me. The music that I was listening to at the time was Van Halen, Led Zepplin, Sabbath and the other first generation of metal bands. They really struck a note with me and I wanted to hear the music louder, faster and stronger. I love the excitement and electricity of metal and arena rock in general. 

As I matured I needed to explore different musical landscapes. I grew up playing the blues, jazz and even classical music. I was classically trained and listening to all of those British bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. I just love music. I'm never going to write a jazz album or a classical piece, that's not me (laughing), I'm a regular guy. I'm making music for the common man and the common woman. Songs that mean something and make you feel something, and also entertain you. This is entertainment and it's supposed to be fun. You want to make them feel something but you also need to take them away from the daily grind. Music can be an escape and for a lot of us, it's a sanctuary." 

Ron on what keeps him making music after all of these years:

"The same burning desire that I had when I was 2 years old, or when I was 17 years old, I'm the same guy. I'm a little more mature, a little smarter and I've got a lot more experience, but that drive to succeed has always been there. It's what I'm all about. The business has changed completely, it's not the 80's and we're not selling millions of records anymore. It's much more difficult to sell music because people think that it's free. They wouldn't even consider spending a dollar on a song so it's a really tough business to make a living in.  What drives me is the desire to succeed, not the desire to sing and play because I can always do that, I can go right downstairs and grab my guitars and sing and play. I always will do that, but success is the thing. Success for me right now is having a record like this one out, being able to touch the media and the fans, and then still travel the world. I still believe, even at this age, that the best is yet to come. I've got to believe that. I know that father time wins every day and one of these days he's going to catch my ass, but not today.  I know that there is more time behind me than there is in front of me at this stage of the game, but I'm happy, healthy, I've got a great band and we've got great opportunities in front of us."

Check out Ron's official site for updates on everything he's doing, plus info on upcoming gigs. Also, keep an eye on The Ron Keel Band's official site for updates on new music & tour dates.

Daily Boom Lost Hit: A'Me Lorain- 'Whole Wide World'

For Sale - A'Me Lorain Whole Wide World UK  7" vinyl single (7 inch record) - See this and 250,000 other rare & vintage vinyl records, singles, LPs & CDs at http://eil.com

"I always love a little mystery
But now the tensions killing me
No place left for words to hide
I never thought it could be quite so tough
Lips once sealed are splitting up
There ain't no secrets to outshine, father time."

I can remember walking into a Listening Booth store in the middle of my local mall and flipping through their one rack of 12" dance mixes of freestyle/house music and finding a copy of A'Me Lorain's "Whole Wide World". I bought that and a copy of Lisette Melendez's "Together Forever" and felt like I hit the music lottery. Back in 1990, in the middle of suburban Pennsylvania, club music was a novelty rather than a standard. I was 90 minutes from Philly, two hours from NYC and basically just far enough out for stores not to carry a whole lot of dance stuff. 

I was still glued to Dance Party USA and my friends from the series so I knew what was popping in the clubs. I found a way to get my hands on Judy Torres and Coro even if I had to order it. But A'Me Lorain was an unexpected find and I played this record into the ground. 

Daily Boom 80's Throwback: Men At Work - 'Overkill'



"Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear

Ghosts appear and fade away

Alone between the sheets
Only brings exasperation

It's time to walk the streets
Smell the desperation

At least there are pretty lights
And though there's little variation

It nullifies the night from overkill."


I know that when I first say Men At Work you're probably going to think of "Down Under", the song that everyone most associates them with. And for good reason, because it's a great song with a hook that borders on brilliant. Of course, it was a hit and it's one of those songs that you know right off the bat. That's where the brilliance comes in to play. Just about every song by the group has a melody that is kind of a mash-up of synth and reggae, with the exception of one song, "Overkill".

While I appreciate the humor and fun of most of the earlier songs, Men At Work's "Overkill" from their second album, Cargo, in 1983 proved that the guys could be serious, if not straight up melancholy. I really love this side of the band and it shows lead singer Colin Hay to be a bit deeper then I would have at first believed. While I love a fun song, I equally appreciate the "Overkill" type songs hidden between cheerier tracks on any album. Check out the video below!