March 22-28, 1983
A Double Shot of Local Talent
WBAB Son of Homegrown
WBAB Broken Records
WAPP Rockin’ Apple
By: BILL McILVAINE
The time is rapidly approaching when the best Long Island rock (which also includes New Jersey and a little bit of New York) can be judged with the best of the music business. Billy Joel, the Stray Cats and Zebra might seem like isolated incidents, and Twisted Sister and the Good Rats are of course, still well-kept secrets outside of these parts. As everyone knows, what every piece of talent in these parts needs is exposure, and a road map out of the morass that is the local music scene here. I’m sure the radio stations and the artists involved don’t believe that exposure on these compilations alone will reap them rewards, but there’s safety in numbers. The only danger is that each record might cancel the other out.
There is the temptation to view the two records as carbon copies of each other. Twisted Sister, the Southern Cross Band, Mazarin and Equinox are represented on both disks (Mazarin, oddly, by the same selection, “The Only One”), and both lean in the direction of commercial hard rock. WBAB’s concentrates on a lot of the heavy favorites, while WAPP’s is more eclectic.
Twisted Sister gets both shows off to rousing starts. “Can’t Stop Rock and Roll” is a slice of typical TS anthemic heavy metal on Homegrown. “Shoot ‘Em Down” on Rockin’ Apple, is rougher, rawer, and more Kiss-like; it’s also quite foot-stompingly irresistible. WBAB’s other heaviest-of-the-heavies is Cintron’s “Get Away,” a gutsy power-chorder that also showcases George Clinton’s smoothly confident vocals and the band’s tight harmonies. WAPP counters with DC Star’s “Is it You,” which features this group’s patente Zeppelin-like beat and instrument thrash.
The heaviness continues with Strange Brew (Homegrown), whose “Doomsday” is a somewhat ELP-inspired rocker, but with slicker instrumental textures and a “progressive” rhythmic underpinning similar to Saga. Equinox is in the same bag; their “Better for You, Better for Me” on Homegrown is melodic, synthesizer-laced upbeat rock, perhaps a tad more melodic than their “Do What You Gotta Do” on Rockin’ Apple. Each song has the Equinox stamp of strong, harmonic vocals and well-developed ensemble playing. An impressive outfit.
The Southern Cross Band (New York’s last Southern Band?) is also represented twice, by “Lady Killer” on Homegrown and by “Outlaw Josey Wales” on Rockin’. Though the traditional Southern rock sound is slowly sinking in the West, I think I prefer “Outlaw” anyway. The band shows not only it’s chops on the extended solo, but a knack for creating a good Wild West atmosphere that works well in the context of the song. “Lady Killer,” despite its Allman-like roots, hews closer to mainstream rock.
Mazarin’s “The Only One” still sounds good; it has an oddly Doors-like feel too, similar to the mainstream touches of “Touch Me” rather than the psycho-rock of yore.
WAPP is to be commended for getting an album together in barely nine months of existence. Rockin’ Apple boasts some excellent, varied songs by lesser-knowns like Visitor, Humans from Earth, John Bongiovi and Mike Corbin. Visitor’s “Uptown” is very heavy, very slick and very close to Journey’s brand of rock. “Runaway,” by John Bongiovi, is hell-bent rock & roll, heavy on both guitar and synthesizer, and which is being played by Doubleday stations in several other cities. Humans from Earth (four humans from New Jersey), take the lower road of minor-key new wave, reminiscent of the Bongos in its mesh of acoustic and electric guitars. Mike Corbin has a new wave/R&B background, and his “She Got Free” is infectious, spirited Springsteen Graham Parker-style rock.
Local audiences are probably already familiar with some of the other offerings on Homegrown: the Roustabouts’ blistering “Iron Curtain Rock and Roll,” Crosswinds’ heavy-duty “Prisoner,” Vixen’s party-minded “Go Crazy” and Rat Race Choir’s lush-textured and larnyx-stretching “Struck by Lightning.” WBAB gets special commendation for going out on a limb to include the hilarious girl-group spoot, “Forbidden Beach” by Between the Sheets, sadly the group with possibly the least chance for commercial success as it stands now, but worthy of mention. “It was like a scene from Swept Away except that we were speaking English,” is a line to be cherished forever.
WBAB also goes out of the way to congratulate itself for helping to break Zebra (“For the Record”), but perhaps can be indulged this time; it’s the latest cut on the record, so you can lift the needle when its time is due. Besides, “Forbidden Beach” more than makes up for it.
April 17, 1984
By: LISA ROBINSON
At Trax tonight is Visitor, who have recorded the Yoko Ono penned song, Loneliness. Visitor is Frank Annunziata, Joe Tomek, John O’Reilly, Renee Losano, and Orville Davis, and they are currently preparing a video for Loneliness.
April 17, 1984
By: Patricia O’Haire
Utopia may be the headliner tonight at the Ritz (119 E. 11th St.: 254-2800), but locals following the music scene will be checking out the opening act, a good-looking, strong-sounding group named Visitor. They’ve been keeping themselves in the Record Plant Studio of late, finishing up an album, but now they’re ready to be heard in public and are touring with Utopia. The show tonight starts at 11:30; tickets are $13.50 “and worth every penny of it,” according to the person who answers the phone at the Ritz.