New Jersey ! This State has generated a number of musical stars from Italian origin : Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Jack Ponti…and Joe Lynn Turner born Linquito.
Turner is quickly marked out by a tenor voice in the band Fandango, an honest US band between chromed-FM and soft pop. If the 70’s mean apprenticeship, Joe Lynn accepts an offer nobody can refuse in 1980, an offer from the atrabiliary Ritchie Blackmore, Rainbow’s autocrat leader, the commercial and overwhelming Rainbow from the 80’s. Three high class records see the light of day and a myriad of music hits contributed to the sensitive and particularly talented singer’s glory .
You must remember “I Surrender”, “Spotlight Kid”, “Stone Cold” or “Street of Dreams”. When Blackmore takes the decision to revive the old Purple’s Mark II, Joe Lynn is turning into a solo career and is marking a decisive strike with a seven wonders AOR records of all times : a work of art called “Rescue You” in 1985 ! He is sharing this masterpiece with the biggest US AOR musicians like Bobby Messano, Chuck Burgi or Al Greenwood.
Not quite tired by characterial rockers, Turner is enhancing his CV with Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force and then cannot say no to a prestigious position with the legendary Deep Purple in 1989 and 1990 in shamelessly slipping into the Great Ian Gillan’s shoes. Then more solo albums, some projects without too much tomorrows and an explosive collaboration with Glenn Hughes.
Altogether a hundred times deserved status : the status of a rock legend. No more no less…
If the high class bands (necessarily subjective notion) were numerous in the magical seventies, appearances of radicalism and hybrid musical mixtures in the versus eighties hard rock universe gently got rid of the music masters. To succeed to huge bands like Kansas, Styx, Boston or New England proved to be very perilous.
It is very eloquent about the level of accomplishment made by Prophet, New Jersey sparkling quintet (Soprano stronghold), pomp rock experts in the Dallas years, reams his definitive philosopher’s stone in 1988 with the huge “Cycle of the Moon”, one of the world’s seven pomp/rock wonders, all periods combined.
Reorganized around the two founding members Ken Dubman on guitar and Scott Metaxas on bass, but also Russelll Arcara, their incredible vocalist from “Cycle of the Moon”, and some good italians (we are in the New Jersey !) , this american band will spread the good prophecies : haughty melodies, subtle musical arrangements and a science that only belongs to the greatest.
Free woman who embodies the spirit of the seventies so well, electric Esmeralda with a good heart, princess of the desert with a incandescent charisma, Fabienne Shine, inflamatory muse of the greatests, takes profit of her unbelievable connections (among them Jimmy Page) to take the plunge into the rock n roll world.
Shakin Street has a certain something and is talented. Bertignac and Marienneau are part of it before the Telephone is ringing. Eric Levy, band co-founder and pre-Era, too. Mont-De-Marsan in 1977 (the one and only punk festival made in France), then a Vampire Rock in the face in 1978….
But this is Ross The Boss, tough and always fit rocker, who will have the final word for a very performing Solid As A Rock in 1980. Sandy Pearlman’s management (Blue Öyster Cult mentor) is failing to make adequate impact in spite of Black Sabbath, Journey, Cheap Trick and BÖC support acts.
In precarious balance between two different cultures, Fabienne cannot make her petulant rock n roll band prevail between traditional hard rock and stylish punk, neither in her home country nor in the vast areas of the New World. Anyway, she is back, spruce and unfading glory, now and there, suiting her mood with her eternal leitmotiv “No compromise”.
Full respect !!!
Band from Liege with a strong transalpine tendency, Steelover enjoyed the good reputation of Rudy Lenners as The Scorpions drummer to make a top spot in the belgian hard rock scene which fluctuated between speed metal and melodic hard rock in the mid eighties.
Thanks to Vince Cardillo, an exceptional “cantatore” with a very wide range, Steelover has intelligently made the choice for the second alternative, the melodic one. Their 1984 album, “Glove Me”, brings colourful music with a sharp edge, straight as a die.
After a very long break, Steelover reactivated the continuous casting but without Rudy who finally decided to hang back his sticks up to the wall (remember the homage for the first Golden Age Rock edition). Steelover, supported by two “grognards de la Vieille Garde” Pat Fréson and Nick Gardi, will open the second edition.
With his solid gold fetish singer (Vince), as well as a strong component of youthfulness.
Missing link between The Variations (a frenchie Aerosmith, Led Zep with sinister looks and hangovers) and Trust (undisputed monarch of the all times blue white red hard rock), Océan marks his territory with “God’s Clown” in 1977, or an interesting fusion between a stallion Led Zeppelin and a scary King Crimson.
Océan will especially incarnate the pioneering role similar to a big brother in front of the maddening hexagonal hard rock wave from the eighties with Warning, Blasphème, H Bomb, Attentat Rock, Sortilège, Satan Jokers or Vulcain.
If Robert Belmonte, the magnificent screamer from the good old days, will contemplate his work from the skies, Georges Bodossian, riffer sniper, will pound up straight to make us understand Océan’s pivotal role in the french loud decibel exoplanet.
Michel Leclercq’s After The Waiting. One more regional musician ! Michel Leclercq was of course Danger guitarist, one of the firsts and bests hard rock bands from the beginning of the eighties.
Danger musicians had a british musical education which can be also sound like US FM rock, had not the visibility it deserves for three main reasons : a crooked record company, a lead vocalist they looked for in vain as well as the lack of real management (a Liege typical disease).
If Danger gives up his seat to FN Guns, Shyness and Steelover, in the shade of the Liege rolling mills, our friend Michel, eternal Jeff Beck, Peter Green, Robben Ford fan, refocuses on a bluesman career with some well-chosen projects.
After many long years, his solo album is finally released : “After The Waiting” stands as a bluesy rock candy with a pleasant west coast sweetness.
This sophisticated and well-inspired musician will show you his moment of self-pleasure to the GARF with some special guests.
With the addition of Alcatrazz, it will still be mind evasion during this beautiful day destined to melodic hard rock and pomp rock.
One band : one man. Or I would say a key figure : Graham Bonnet ! The Marbles lead vocalist in the 60’s. Ritchie Blackmore is a fan. Our dear Graham with the playboy/holiday maker’s look is part of the 79 Rainbow line up from naughty Ritchie for a Down To Earth with a nasty rod ! It just clicks. Graham becomes everything the boss had and more with his new project Alcatrazz, is eating up a huge amount of guitarists (Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vaï, Danny Johnson,…) between bad guy and Stalin’s purges’ follower.
But this Alcatrazz is so attractive and has the gift of the gab. It is extremely performing hard rock between pomp and chrome plated hard rock made by leading authority musicians like Jimmy Waldo and Gary Shea (yes, from New England !). To the breaker’s yard for too long between projects with not too much future, Graham Bonnet recently took out his plaything from the formalin to rise up again like a phoenix with Joe Stump (a guitar genius from Boston’s Berklee College) and those good buddies from New England, Jimmy Waldo & Gary Shea who joined recently.
Still too drunk to live ?
And the surprise is….New England !!! Boston native (New England flagship erudite city), New England can be categorized as one of the biggest wastes in american rock.
Forty years ago, their first eponymous release was on top with high graduated orchestrations, voices that make the icebergs melt and immense musicality that Bach would be proud of. The song Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya kicked down the doorsteps of the Billboard Top 30. New England was hot on Queen, Journey, Foreigner’s heels…who had to be worried stiff. Some overinflated egos and some record companies turpitudes made this gifty association led by John Fannon going off the rails.
Back sporadically but always in a state of grace in the forefront , the quartet will celebrate his very first european visit in a great manner and will also celebrate the birthday of his immortal masterpiece first album with an intact line-up (Fannon-Waldo-Gardner-Shea).
New England, we must bear in mind, this is Boston to the bone, less syrup, more under the spell of the obscures.
Born in the basement in the middle of the punk revolution, Diamond Head, while practice makes perfect, is being seriously considered as one of the most serious underdogs of that famous NWOBHM (New Wave Of British heavy Metal).
The 1980 cult album, “Lightning to the Nations” A.K.A. “The White Album”, will put Lars Ulrich’s mind at ease (next Metallica leader), his number one fan. Since then, Diamond Head is living on the royalties earned by his benefactor (four songs covered, one of them is the amazing Am I Evil) and elaborates old school hard rock new treasures, against all odds.
Guitarist Brian Tatler’s band will be the first headliner on the 2020 edition and will centre his one hour and half performance on stage on the famous white album as well as songs from the convincing latest records.