Fireworks issue 9 AOR Hard Rock Heavy Metal magazine. August September 2002. Check EXCLUSIVE video of the magazine. Free for magazine or vinyl orders of 18+

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Issue 9 (August -September 2002) Crown of Thorns, Jean Beauvoir.

Primal Fear, Honeymoon Suite, WASP, Poison Poison, Dokken, Eric Martin, Rick Wakeman were among the featured interviews and The Gods show at the remarkable Pennington’s in Bradford received a thorough review. Z-Rock Live show did too, plus Loud & Clear, etc.

Reviews of the latest from Blind Guardian, Axel Rudi Pell, Everon and Falconer.

(included a listing of the winners of the previous issue’s Dio competition and I note that one of these was John Tucker, who in due course was to become a member of the Fireworks writing team!)



THE GODS! Now & Then/Frontiers Gods 2002 Festival – Sunday, June 2, 2002. Pennington’s / Bradford, UK


ARTIST PROFILES!Gods 2002 Headline Artist Hardline – Profiled:

Band Line up:
Vocals: Johnny Gioeli
Rhythm Guitar: Joey Gioeli
Lead Guitar: Josh Ramos (The Storm, Two Fires)
Keyboards: Michael Ross
Bass: Bob Burch
Drums: Bobby Rock

Johnny Gioeli Comments:
“I feel like trying to hold back an orgasm….we just can’t wait for that reaction to the first song….we will be showcasing 4 new tracks and playing all the classic tracks like Hot Cherie, Taken Me Down, Hands Of Time, Everything, Rhythm From A Red Car and more…as for any surprises – would I tell you?!!”



Gods 2002 Artist Ten – Profiled:

Band Line up:
Vocals: Gary Hughes
Guitar: Chris Francis
Guitar: John Halliwell
Keyboards: Paul Hodson
Bass: Steve McKenna
Drums: Greg Morgan
Gary Hughes Comments:
“We are thrilled to be a part of this years event, and really excited about filming our first live DVD.
This is probably the greatest line up of bands at any gathering this year and we are proud to have been invited to take part in it. Expect to hear Ten tracks like – Red, We Rule The Night, Fear The Force, The Stranger, The Name Of The Rose & The Robe.”


Gods 2002 Artist Harem Scarem – Profiled:

Band Line up:
Vocals: Harry Hess
Guitar: Pete Lesperance
Bass: Barry Donaghy
Drums: Creighton Doane
Pete Lesperance Comments:
“Looking forward to playing in the U.K. It’s our first time…We’ve heard alot of great things about it and we look forward to being part of a good thing.
Here’s a few songs from our set list: Weight Of The World, Hard To Love, Stuck With You, Outside Your Window, Killing Me and No Justice!”



Gods 2002 Artist Eric Martin – Profiled:

Band Line up:
Vocals/Guitar: Eric Martin
Guitar: Mark Holley
Bass: Mark Chole
Drums: Denise Martin
Eric Martin Comments:
“The boys and girl are looking forward to their first time in Europe as a band. I’ve been dreaming of playing England with EMB since 1983. Now is the time to talk the talk and walk the walk.
I hope we get a good slot in this line up. I’m looking forward to seeing Jeff Scott Soto and Hardline, my old friend from Harem Scarem, and meeting Serafino from Frontiers…and yourself, the man behind the curtain!!
We will play tracks from the new album (I’m Goin Sane, My Disease, Who Am I Supposed To Me, Marie…more…, plus some Mr.Big songs of mine like Dancin’ With My Devils and Rose Alone…a few classics – Wild World, Don’t Stop, Take a Walk and maybe a surprise or two….hey, it’s a surprise!”


Gods 2002 Artist Jeff Scott Soto – Profiled:

Band Line up:
Vocals: Jeff Scott Soto
Guitar: Howie Scott Simon
Bass: Gary Scott Schutt
Drums: Alex Scott Papa
Guitarist Howie Simon Comments:
“We’ll be playing a retrospective of Jeff ‘s career so far with almost every band he’s been in represented. A few new things from his upcoming CD out in the fall. And always surprises, surprises…like an acoustic set of Partridge family tunes, A Venom cover song, some German folk music, and of course my SHREDDING kazoo solo where I light the kazoo on fire!
This is gonna be a great festival since I am a huge Harem Scarem fan as well as a Tony Martin fan. I’ve been to other places in Europe but this will be my first time in the UK , and playing with someone as great as Jeff and doing some of my favorite songs will be WAY cool for me personally.
Plus I hope all the hot chicks stand in front of me, so I look cool in the DVD , when we release it.
When you have this many great bands playing, its hard NOT to get totally pumped for a show like this and want to play your absolute best. Although the band talked it over and decided that if Jeff pisses us off in any way, we will be replacing him with Mark Boals….”

LOL! Thanks Howie!
Jeff Scott Soto Comments:
“The guys in the band I had 2 pick carefully as there’s a lot of ground 2 cover from my past endeavours & it can be quite a chore at times. As well, they’re cheap as hell!!!
The set list is gotta remain a surprise 2 some degree, but as well it’s obvious I’ll be selecting from my favorite bands/projects/albums…I mean, it would have 2 be a 4 hour show if I really wanted 2 do everything I dreamed of in 1 set. & Howie’s guitar solo alone….u need about 3 days 4 the guy 2 finally realise he CAN play every Yngwie lick!
I will defiinitely be showcasing some material from the new solo album, but realistically I know no one gives 2 shits about the new stuff yet…they wanna hear what they know so I aim 2 please.
We’r all looking forward to hangovers!!! Honestly, I hope 2 kill 2 birds with 1 stone here….1, to finally add the UK onto my list of a fan base & 2, that I can truly establish myself as a respectable solo artist.
Great bands, great music & everyone speaks the same language….ok, well short of us Americans! I just want everyone 2 rock their brains out & have a killer time as we expect 2 do.”

Gods 2002 Artist Honeymoon Suite – Profiled:


Band Line up:
Vocals: Johnnie Dee
Guitar: Derry Grehan
Bass: Rob Laidlaw
Drums: Bret Carrigan
Keys: Peter Nunn

Derry Grehan Comments:
“The set will be all the hits and a few new ones. I am looking forward to visiting England again after a really long time away and curious to see the reaction. Its quite a buzz to play one show so far away and just go home the next day.
If all goes to plan, we should have Dreamland available for sale at the show as well.”


Gods 2002 Artist Shotgun Symphony – Profiled:

Band Line up:
Vocals: Tracy White
Guitar: Mike Maino
Bass: Ed Avila
Drums: John Hummel
Keys: Charlie Calv
Charlie Calv Comments:
“We’re playing a greatest hits set, as picked by the fans. Eveyone e-mailed in their top five requests and we are doing the top picks. Songs from every album.
Looking forward tp seeing all the fans and playing as great set. We always a great time. We had a great time playing the first one in 93′ and we are happy to be playing our final show at this years 10 year anniversary. We wouldn’t have it any other way. These are some of the most dedicated melodic rock fans!”


Gods 2002 Artist Bailey’s Comet – Profiled:

Band Line up:
Vocals: Tony Martin
Guitar: Dez Bailey
Guitar: John Hardman
Bass: James Mallender
Drums: Danny Needham
Dez Bailey Comments:
“We’ll be playing some Sabbath, Tony’s solo album, Blue Murder and of cause songs from our Judgement Day album.
Looking forward to a curry,Tony’s house warming party (pants optional). The world cup. The headline festival in Belgium (June 22nd), more beer and lots of sex (just the usual then)
We are proud to be part of what will surely be the best ever Gods festival. Not only do we get the chance to play and meet the fans but we get to see one of the Bailey’s favourite vocalist Eric Martin. We have been asked to play the Gods a few times and have always had to pull the gig for reasons out of our control. I’m sure the fans won’t be disappointed as we have a set that will blow the cheese off a stail helmet from a hundred yards.It’s true tasty British rock with a cool Celtic dressing delivered with a balls to the wall don’t give a shit attitude. Loads of guitars and loads of hooks to hum along too so get down to the front and get your mugs(and gobs) on our DVD and make some noise. We are hoping to release a live album/DVD to coincide with a major tour we have been offered later in the year with one of the giants of rock so keep tuning in to melodicrock for further Baileys Comet news.
See you at the Gods metal heads keep the faith!”


Gods 2002 Artist Pulse – Profiled:

Band Line up:
Vocals: Ritchie Broadley
Guitar: Vince O`Regan
Bass: Andy Mills
Keys: Paul Hodson (courtesy of Ten)
Drums: Lynch Radinsky
Quote from Vince O`Regan:
“We are very pleased to be playing our second Gods show. This will be the first gig with our new singer and we believe that it is the start of an exciting phase of the Pulse story.
New boy, Ritchie Broadley, has been touring as the singer for top tribute band, Aerosmith UK, for the past four years. Prior to that, Ritchie was the singer, guitarist and songwriter for melodic rockers, Raising Cain, who supoprted the likes of Tyketto, GLenn Hughes, Magnum and a host of others. Itw as after witnessing one of Aerosmith UK`s shows, where Ritchie perfectly mirrored the actions of one of rock`s most enigmatic and entertaining frontmen, that Pulse knew they`d found their new singer.
Expect to hear album favourites such as “Inspiration,”After Midnight” and “Talk About Love” as well as a couple of new tracks being showcased for the first time!”



Z-2002 – Manchester Ritz Sunday 5th May, 2002
BANDS: SONS OF ANGELS, ARABIA, BRIGHTON ROCK, SILENT RAGE, VON GROOVE, HUMANIMAL, BONFIRE, WESTWORLD. 

SONS OF ANGELS

Two familiar faces front the ranks amongst these Scandinavian retournees. Street Legal main-man, Bjorn Boge is a hired hand on bass here, at the moment, and being relieved of his lead vocal duties today means that he’s got more time to perfect his stage presence classes further (remember Gods 2000?). Frontman Solli, has been seen in more than one place of late with also being the current vocalist in 21 Guns but sadly, no covers of ‘Knee Deep’, ‘Little Sister’ or ‘Jungleland’ look to be on the bill tonight.

They actually start off with ‘No Sorrow’ as it happens, Solli taking to the boards in full biker attire, leather jacket, shades, n’ all. A particular bizzare opening track for a live set this song is, given its slow deep grinding arrangement, but it is followed by a song bang at the other end of the tempo spectrum. ‘Burning Up My Childhood’ is probably one of the new album’s golden cuts, along with ‘Love You Too Much’ and ‘Fire’, both of which get the go-over today. One, which to all acts of scandal, doesn’t is stunning power ballad ‘Gimme Lovin’.

We do of course expect, and get, a selection from their first record including old nuggets ‘Fight’ and ‘Cowgirl’, but which time Solli’s donning a Stetson. I’d think however, the best dressed man on the boards has to be their guitarist who comes on in suit, tie, short hair n’ shades looking like some wealthy business tycoon. Great comeback set from the Norwegians, and I think a higher slot on the bill would have been nice considering this and other things, but the day at least starts on a high note – that’s what counts.

8/10


ARABIA

These US newcomers were supposed to have been at last years’s Z2001-Part 2 in Wigan, but when the said event almost bit the dust, they were one of the acts who failed to make the truncated final bill. My sadness at being unable to attend last August was shortened substantially by my second, this time successful, attempt to witness one of Z’s hottest new properties.

A year since their debut disc ‘1001 Nights’ hit the streets, they’ve built up quite a following, and their similarity to scene legends House Of Lords is to their credit. Where this comparison comes from is crystal clear, whether it’s on Cd or stage that you’ve first lent them your lobes, – it’s all due to frontman John Blaze’s roof-ripping roaring vocal talents. Dubbed the vocal find of 2001 by several magazines, I understand, this chap’s performance makes the band, the band it is.

The guy on guitar knows how to churn out some top chords too, though I can’t help but wonder what all his constant grimacing through the 50-minute set’s all about, did you forget the toilet before you started, mate? Good to set the East Coast still reeling out acts like these on its production line. A worthy return for next year’s do.

8/10


BRIGHTON ROCK

One of Canada’s top four melodic rock acts, all of whom will be playing over here this year, Toronto’s Brighton Rock are one of quite a large batch of old faves signed to the label in the last year. Yes, so they’ve aged a bit, since last seen about a decade back and only one of them still retains a poodle perm. It’s the music that matters though, as always and the quintet’s blues fuelled bombast has stood the test of time flawlessly.

Apart from their new live album on Z, a future studio release is said to be on the way, and I think we get one or two apparently ‘new’ numbers tonight. Quite a lot of their most avid followers are in attendance today, as the volume of applause demonstrates, and I’d think there’s still enough cement to add some more bricks to their wall of support. Their set tonight is a perfect example of putting paid to that detestable cynicism about old bands losing form on a later life return.

8/10


SILENT RAGE

Some more old friends from the eighties follow soon after and rarely have I become a fan of a band so quickly as I have of LA’s Silent Rage. Still with the same line-up they left off with on ’89’s ‘Don’t Touch Me There’, they explode on to the same rippling response that Brighton Rock have just garnered. Their set is a heavy blend of material from all three albums including new corker ‘Still Alive’ with recent Z sampler CD fave ‘Unchained’ being my finest four minutes of the hour.

‘Rebel With A Cause’ and ‘Running On Love’ are still the anthems they’ve been from conception – stadium rock meltdown of the first degree, and raise the same smiles and studded fists as before, on being heard once again. The primary characteristic you notice with this band is their triple lead vocal rota which continuously alternates from song to song, between guitarists Jesse and Mark and bassist EJ – usually you’d expect this to be one damn good way of making a band’s members fall out.

You also notice the growing trend in the wearing of Hawaiian tops by melodic rock musicians onstage, these days which actually does credit in that it reduces the ridicule pinned on hard rock by the small-minded majority of mickey-takers for being all ‘leather n’ denim’. Silent Rage come on, play and go, leaving us feeling just like they themselves claim to be – rebels with a cause.

10/10


VON GROOVE

A slight reshuffling of the schedules means that Von Groove get on a set earlier – the cause being Humanimal’s drummer Thomas Broman flying in late, so the two bands have traded slots. Von Groove decide to be their own technicians in tuning up the equipment prior to starting but everything is to adequate adjustments in only a matter of minutes.

Starting rather unexpectedly with ‘Can’t Find My Groove’, they then tear into ‘Oxygen’ from the ‘Seventh Day’ album from hereon in, Toronto’s finest are in business. They quite predictably stir up the same deafening response as their UK/European debut here a year earlier did, albeit only being allocated an hour on the stage this time round by those devastated by the cancellation of the autumn 2001 UK tour now have their compensation on a plate. There are one or two standout moments through the set – one being the amusing aborted attempt at ‘Lily’ after one or two of the members miss their count-in, thus postponing the tune to a later place in the set, the other is the emotional acoustic run of ‘Heaven Knows Your Name’ which Mike Shotton dedicates to the victims of the September 11th bombing, still fresh in everyone’s minds, eight months on.

Other old faves are not forgotten today either and ‘Chameleon’, ‘Drivin Off The Edge’ and countless others get a regular roasting, not least from that human riff-machine himself, Mladen, as usual on no less than absolutely top of top form tonight. ‘Lily’ gets another try, this time without mishap before it’s time for the song that everyone comes to a Von Groove show for, ‘Once Is Not Enough’, still the belter it’s been since it was first heard over a decade ago. With the stunning quality provided courtesy of both their PA and their powerful musicianship, once certainly is NOT enough, and I have my doubts to whether twice is, either.

10/10


HUMANIMAL

With all four men safely in the house, it’s time to see what this much-hyped Swedish/US Supergroup can offer us. Having enjoyed their debut CD, high, or higher things are anticipated. And delivered. This who’s who of the Swedish melodic rock scene, having been together for a year at the time of writing, have already visited us once with last year’s Z2001-Pt 2 package. Pontus Norgren, Marcel Jacob and Thomas Broman have already climbed their way to the top of Sweden’s hard rock roster over the last decade plus, with bands like Great King Rat, Talisman, Amaze Me, Electric Boys and Human Clay whilst Jeff Scott Soto can also add singing with US faves Takara and guitar god Yngwie Malmsteen to his accolades.

Tonight though, it’s stuff off the ‘Humanimal’ platter that matters and an impressive majority are already acquainted with the disc. This band’s material comes under no real category within melodic rock circles apart from its similarity to Talisman. Anything involving Mr. Soto stays in quite a self-contained area, but it still stands out about a decade from most of the sort of hard rock you’d mostly be familiar with. Quite deep, brooding and soulful, it only bears very vague resemblances at moments to the product of the other acts apart from Talisman, that the four lads have been a part of in the past.

They suffer a Von Groove-esque mishap when kicking into the song ‘Turn Away’, (which I think one or two of them did, rather red-faced) but eventually get it off the ground and going. The party piece comes at the end of their set with a STUNNING rendition of Journey’s ‘Edge Of The Blade’ – well, if we’re not likely to see Neal Schon and co on these shores in the too distant future, this will more than do in the meantime. The ultimate melodic rock hybrid of the season are out in full bloom. Fab stuff lads.

9/10


BONFIRE

A late, but very welcome addition to the Z-2002 listings comes in the shape of these Teutonic titans who’ve not withered one second in the fifteen years or so they’ve spent as a working unit. An eleventh hour replacement for Burning Rain (who’ve had to give it the heave-ho due to a busy recording schedule).

Last year’s rather striking ‘Strike Ten’ has been re-issued on Z, landing it a proper release in the UK. Stuff from this, and classic early albums ‘Fireworks’ and ‘Point Blank’ is what they’re mostly about tonight, with plenty from their intermediate releases scattered amongst the pack. Quite an alarming little amount of pogoing at the front there indicates the enthusiasm of the fans and believe me, opportunities to see bands like these are not exactly on your doorstep on a daily basis, so everyone is advisedly making the most of proceedings.

Whilst the drum solo is on, vocalist Klaus Leismann does a lap of honour round the room, shaking hands and thanking their followers for making the effort to attend, That’s not to say the band don’t make one themselves because they deserve us more than we deserve them with splendid work from all five lads today, Leismann’s Holder-esque shrieking still providing this bonfire with it’s fuel by the gallon. One of hard rock’s greatest survival stories, still as strong as ever.

10/10


WESTWORLD

Probably one of the larger appeals of tonight’s headlining act is having a member of Danger Danger (namely Mr Bruno Ravel, esqire) aboard the ship, the other being their highly cheerful brand of new-age melodic rock. They’ve only been together for four years and only have two albums worth of their own material to go at, but New Jersey Supergroup Westworld give it their all, all the same.

Having heard both of these sizzlin’ spinners, I anticipate their set tonight in a high light. Opener ‘I Belong’ is probably my favourite song of theirs so far, and others such as ‘Uneasy’, ‘Get A Life’ and ‘Ivory Towers’ make the albums all the more tempting to the uneducated. I have to confess to not being too familiar with TNT’s material but I’m guessing I’ve heard one or two tracks from Tony’s legendary Norwegian act – also now on Z – tonight. The odd Danger Danger song would have also been nice – BRUNO – but there isn’t room for everything.

I have a further and much more bitter pill to swallow in having to leave the venue, a few minutes from the end of the show due to fitting with the infuriatingly insufficient late night train services from Manchester back to Sheffield -well it’s a long walk home otherwise. I’m trusting that the band will have played their other essential cut ‘Illusions’ in my absence, and next time I see these guys, I will make sure I’m able to stop for the full set. As for what I’ve caught of you tonight though lads, I can hardly fault one bit. Smashin’.

9/10