The Dead Daisies / Graham Bonnet / FM at SWX, Bristol, 15/12/2022

The Dead Daisies / Graham Bonnet / FM
SWX, Bristol
Live Review and Photography by Paul Hutchings

It’s cold, very cold but the centre of Bristol is teeming with shoppers. Scurrying through the winter market, it’s a relief to join the already growing queue of excited fans outside SWX, the Bristol nightclub cum music venue. There’s some rock royalty in the house tonight and the anticipation is high. 

It’s only 7:10pm when British melodic rockers FM hit the stage. A band with enough pedigree to headline this location, it’s something of a shock to see them limited to 30 minutes and the opening slot. They don’t seem to care mind, with broad smiles across the board from start to finish. Formed in 1984, the band are veterans and demonstrate their class with a smooth set that draws from several albums in their extensive discography. 

Vocalist Steve Overland is the focal point, his rich tones filling the air as the band move rapidly through a six-song repertoire that comprises songs from their early releases as well as more recent albums “Atomic Generation”, “Synchronised” and this year’s excellent “Thirteen”. Keyboardist Jem Davies is hidden in the shadows, only occasionally appearing when the light touches him. It’s down to Jim Kirkpatrick to take the other spotlight, his guitar work sublime. There’s limited banter, as you’d expect with a short slot. It is a reminder that the band are a class act, and it shows with a huge round of applause and even cries for “more”.

He was excellent at Steelhouse Festival in July, and hard rock legend Graham Bonnet rolls back the years with a 40-minute show that is heavy on the distant back catalogue.  It’s no fewer than four drawn from Rainbow’s “Down to Earth”, along with a couple from his first stint with Michael Schenker and of course, the obligatory hit ‘Night Games’, where Bonnet poignantly refers to drummer Cozy Powell amongst others. 

A few days short of his 75th birthday, Bonnet still possesses the power in the vocal chords. ‘Eyes of the World’ kicks things off, those familiar with the album singing along. Bonnet has ensured he’s supported by a younger cast, including his partner Beth-Ami Heavenstone. Brazilian guitarist Conrado Pesinato meanwhile gets to play out his Blackmore and Schenker fantasies with aplomb, whilst he also manages to take on the first verse of ‘All Night Long’ after his boss strangely forgets the words, some feat on a song he’s been singing for over four decades. 

“I came here to do my stand-up routine” quips Bonnet, as he quickly recovers and moves forward. He’s got a story for every song, as he moves onto ‘Desert Song’, one of two from the “Assault Attack” album. He’s always been an unlikely looking rock star, renowned in the late 70’s for winding Richie Blackmore up with his flamboyant Hawaiian shirts, but he’s held the same style since the 1960’s, so he isn’t going to change now and with his vocals quality why would he? It’s singalong time with ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ before a thunderous rendition of ‘Lost in Hollywood’ sends him off to his Horlicks with the knowledge of a job well done.

With their latest wonderful album behind them in “Radiance”, the musical collective known as The Dead Daisies are very much a band these days. It’s the arrival of Glenn Hughes that has, in my opinion, seen the band shift through to the upper gears and this incarnation purrs like a top of the range automobile. There’s smoke, more poses that the rock handbook can list, solos and some cover versions. It’s a rock show at its best. 

Hughes isn’t known as the ‘voice of rock’ for nothing and even on the last night of the tour he demonstrates why even in his early seventies he remains peerless. His performance during the band’s massive version of Deep Purple’s ‘Mistreated’ is mesmerising, his ability to hold a note causing the heaving masses in front of the stage to hold its collective breath. He’s also a superb bassist and anchors the rhythm section alongside returning drummer Brian Tichy with ease. Tichy is something else, making his rolls and fills with an ease that is frustratingly brilliant, whilst his drum solo, not something I would normally be thrilled about is incredible, his bouncing sticks hitting the ceiling before dropping back to his hands with the assuredness of an international wicket keeper. 

That engine room is supplemented by David Lowy, the mastermind behind the band. Lowy is content to roll the riffs out in a display of solid confidence, which leaves the floor open for the bare-chested Doug Aldrich to showboat with the ease and flamboyance that you’d expect from the former Whitesnake and Dio man. He shreds for fun, provides many shapes for us photographers and generally makes you wish you looked like him! He’s every inch the rock star, from the open shirt to the blond mane that shows no signs of thinning. 

Musically, it’s a treat after treat with songs predominantly from “Radiance” and “Holy Ground” supplemented by a couple from the band’s earlier records as well as a selection of classic covers. CCR’s ‘Fortunate Son’ remains on the set list from 2021, as does ‘Mistreated’, and the double song encore of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s ‘Midnight Moses’ and a blasting finale of Deep Purple’s ‘Burn’ which sees the audience optimistically trying to keep up with Hughes. They fail but it’s good fun. 

The Dead Daisies are now a real force in the world of hard rock. You get the feeling there are many more miles under the hood of this purebred beast. As we emerged in the frosty evening, it’s almost a given that this time we’ll all be back for another opportunity to see these master craftsmen at work once more.




Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings and Ever Metal. Photography property of Paul Hutchings. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Interview with Bob Catley from Magnum

Magnum Logo

Interview with Bob Catley from Magnum
Cardiff, 7th December, 2022
Interviewed by Simon Black

It’s a bitterly cold December night here in Cardiff and Bob Catley, Magnum frontman for fifty years has a nasty toothache which the weather is not helping with. I offer him some paracetamol but he’s not biting “I hate paracetamol! I’m going to start having my warmup drink soon. I don’t mind having that…!” he says with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. His warmup drink of choice for all these decades has long been a JD and coke and although I do try and tempt him with a miniature of locally distilled Penderyn Welsh whisky, he’s sticking to his guns. For five decades he knows what works and if it isn’t broken don’t fix it id the best strategy – which pretty well sums up what Magnum manages to still deliver so well after all this time. Their most recent album “The Monster Roars” landed at the start of the year and for me at least feels like it’s in their top three of all time, although touring both it and its predecessor has been somewhat of a challenge… So Bob, welcome to Cardiff! Finally!

Cheers! The good old Tramshed! Yes, we’ve been here a few times before…

This show seems to be have been rescheduled forever. Is it nice to finally close the tour?

Yes, we were supposed to do it in April this year and it was rescheduled because of Covid. But then that whole tour was rescheduled from 2020! So, it’s taken us two years to get here. The whole thing was put back three times, so it was actually re-re-re-scheduled! Then, when we were due to play Cardiff, Covid put it back again! It was crap for everybody…

How was the Pandemic for you guys, because that was a terrifying time for everybody?

Me and Tony were lucky, because Tony could bring forward the recording of the new album by a year, so we had twice as long as we normally have to finish the album. We did it in two halves, with half in 2020 and half in 2021 and it was released in 2022. At least we weren’t just doing nothing, so we had more time with less pressure to do it in, which was good in a way but rubbish because we couldn’t do the tours. Everybody had bought a ticket and was asking “What’s happening…?”

It was originally going to be “The Serpent Rings” Tour when I first put it into my diary…

Yes, it was going to be “The Serpent Rings” Tour in 2020 when that album came out – like you do: album, tour, festivals, Christmas – and then Covid got in the way, and just wouldn’t go away, which was crap for everybody. It just ruined everything for all the bands everywhere in this country.

There’s a lot of good venues that have gone too…

Yeah, venues have gone, promoters have gone, a lot of stuff’s gone too, even pubs! It was like a disaster movie, but for real. But we’re here now, and we were in Southampton last night which was another good show rescheduled because of Covid. I think the Bristol one, which we did on Monday was rescheduled out of respect for the Queen’s funeral though. We didn’t think it was the right thing to do to go and play loud music on the Queen’s funeral day! But we’ve done them all now, and we’re here tonight – great! Then we have one more show on Saturday in Wolverhampton at KK’s Steel Mill, and that’s the end of our year.

Congratulations on “The Monster Roars” – it looks like it did quite well around Europe.

Yes, it’s done marvellously in Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. Top 5 in Germany, Number 2 in Sweden and about Number 8 in Switzerland. That’s the normal album chart, not one of these “other” things where you’re number one there but it doesn’t mean anything! Proper album charts!

This feels like a much darker record – starting with that wonderful cover, which is not the usual Rodney Matthews painting style.

The artwork was by an artist who made up a model and that’s the image you got. Now Rodney Matthews wasn’t available, and so Tony went with this idea of the model. We’d got the song title “The Monster Roars” and we thought “We’ve got to call the album that – that’s a great title track” and we needed an image to go with it. We mentioned to Rodney what we would like, and he said “Well, I’m not very good at drawing people and I’m a bit busy at the moment doing other things…” So OK, fine, hopefully we can use you next time, but it was a great idea and it’s all make-up. There was a young lady who made up Martin, who is Tony’s son in law, he was the model and that’s what we ended up with photographing. It’s brilliant! It was really shocking when I first saw it, it was like “Wow!” and it took me some time to get used to it. I thought “Oh, well this is different; OK and Rodney’s not available so this is a great alternative to what we normally have anyway.”

We have done different things without Rodney over the years, as he hasn’t always been available and it hasn’t always been right to use him, if the record label got involved and dictated that we must do it a certain way, but given the choice we would use Rodney all the time… When he’s available…! I think it’s a great album cover and it’s perfect for the lyrics to the song, which is basically about a child’s nightmare. It’s fantasy; it’s not real – but it’s pretty real in your dreams. And it’s all in the lyrics – we haven’t turned into demon worshippers!

It kicks off a moodier and darker feeling album though – did Covid play a part in that in terms of the song-writing?

I don’t think so. You would have to ask Tony about that. I think that those would have been the songs on that album with or without Covid – there’s nothing about Covid in there, which is the obvious things to write about, I suppose, but I don’t think that that was in his head at all. I think he knew what he wanted, and then we get started and get going and the songs are the songs, you know? 

The subject matter can be anything. He’s a great songwriter, Tony, and I’ve worked with him for fifty years now, which is amazing! I ask him what the song’s about, so I know what I am singing about, then through the recording process he will change the words when I’m singing, as what he’s got in his head doesn’t always come out as good when you actually sing it. He can tell that it doesn’t scan well, will go off and come back having changed it. One song wasn’t working that great this time, compared to all the others this time and he completely changed the whole song, so we ended up with a completely different tune. That can happen as well – you think you’ve got it all and then it’s “No, it’s not working” and they’re all brilliant apart from one.  I mean it was still pretty good but compared to the rest of them it wasn’t coming up to the mark this time. You do have to do that sometimes – you have to pull it apart and start again, and he had the time to do it. 

[I tell Bob how much I love that the sound on those last two records now feels like a true fusion of everything the band have done since reforming this century.] The album drips that classic early 70’s Hard Rock vibe but with a truly modern feel, especially the way that the keyboards sounds are working, the interplay between Tony and Rick Benton. Was that deliberate or did it just evolve naturally?

Rick Benton is a great keyboard player. We’ve had him for a few years now and he works with Tony just great, as he comes up with these great sounds that fit the songs and the mood of the music, or what I’m singing. So yeah, some older sounds that were around – he’s brought them in and we’re like “Oh yeah!”. You know like Oberheim stuff that people used to use – 80’s sounds that we would have used on “Chase The Dragon” or “On A Storyteller’s Night”. Tony’s all “Yeah, try that sound! Use that sound!” and Rick will go and come up with it. He’ll go away and programme it all and then come in and play it, so it’s all demoed before; then we’ll go into the studio and here’s the real thing… and everything changes! 

The song key has to change half the time because of writing it on a guitar, as Tony will do the melody line on the guitar for me to familiar with, but then you find it’s in an ‘in-between’ key of up here or down there, so you have to change the key to get the best out of the vocals. That happens quite often. Changing the key on the keyboards is just a button, but poor Tony has to do all the guitars again! “Right let’s do all the guitars again” so, it’s my fault, because it’s different when you’re singing, as the voice is the most important thing at the time…

I love that your voice is like a lovely, aged whiskey and seems to get better every year…

Well, I know how to do it now… I’ve been doing it all my life. Singers get better with age, they really do. You have more control and emotion, and subtlety, and things that when you first start don’t exist really.

*At this point Bob mimics a more shouty performance of yesteryear which is a far cry from the measured and bluesy timbre of his voice today.* 

I was just like that really, because I was young and excitable and I’ve calmed down a lot over the years, but I do think I’ve got better with maturity. I hope so, I think so, I know so! And that reflects in the songs, in the way I sing them and what Tony gives me. We’re both ‘maturing’, and that’s gonna happen, you know? Although he’s Rockier now than he ever was and he’s a way better Producer now than he ever was… 

I have to agree. The Production on “The Monster Roars” is an absolute pinnacle of the band’s achievements of the years.

He’s great, and he just takes the time to get all these sounds right in the mix – I don’t know how he does it! He’s just a very clever man, and I’m very glad to be working with him for all this time. And he’s done wonders for me and my career. He’s made me better than I ever was, so it’s a growing relationship and it’s great! We just carry on – it is what we do. We’re not looking for anything else really. I mean I do Avantasia on occasion, and Rick will do stuff with people, and Lee will do some stuff with other people in between albums and tours. Meanwhile Tone is back in his studio writing while I’m off going round the world with Avantasia! But it’s good to come back, and he’s always ready to start working again having had a break.

[I ask Bob how working with Avantasia maestro Tobi Sammet compares to Tony Clarkin, given the man’s unique ability to distil the five greatest songs a singer has contributed to into one new track that completely encapsulates that sound perfectly.] It’s a trick he pulls live too, seemingly always able to push the utmost in a performance from everybody involved. What’s that like as a process in comparison?

Well, he will send you an early mix of the song – just enough for you to know what your part is, and we will go and do it over in Wolverhampton and then send it back to Germany, so we don’t have to be in the same place anymore. That’s not possible… I’ve got the lyrics and I will go to the studio with Sheena, the engineer from Magnum and start putting something down, doing a few takes. Then she will put it together afterwards and send it off to him and he can do what he likes with that. He’s got what he wants off of the artist, which goes for all the singers. He will write a song for that singer, for what that singer’s known for, so it’s not alien – there’s no experimentation here. Give ‘em what they want, right? Bang, bang, bang! This is Bob, singing a Magnum-type song; this is Eric Martin singing a Mr Big type song – in that direction, Michael Kiske a bit like Helloween. It’s good that he does that, so it’s familiarity with the singer that you’re talking about, so you feel comfy with it already because it’s what you are used to…

It seems like Tobi has rebooted a few careers with that technique, but in comparison Magnum may never have really stopped> Is it an unbreakable partnership with Tony and you?

Well, we’ve had several line-up changes over the years – people come and go, but me and Tony are still there. I think it’s great. We work really well together and he’s fine and happy with me going off and doing Avantasia. He gets on well with Tobi too. We actually got Tobi over to the Birmingham Symphony Hall to sing the title track of “Lost On The Road To Eternity” on stage – which he had done on the album. I had been on several Avantasia albums by then so Tony said “Get your mate over to do a duo with you and do it the other way around”. Everything I do with Tobi is a duet, not like Magnum where the singer is just me as in Avantasia you are one of two or three singers on stage at the same time. It’s like a Heavy Metal Rock Opera and it’s brilliant. So, we got him up to the Symphony Hall to sing, and he went down fantasticly well. It seems Avantasia are massive everywhere except the UK…

I concur. The only show we ever seem to be able to get this spectacle for is the London Kentish Town forum for one night, with the exception of a support slot at Bloodstock one year…

Yeah, that Bloodstock festival show was some years ago now. It was just down the road from me at Catton Hall, as I live in Tamworth, just round the corner. It’s a pity that Avantasia only play one show in London once every three years, because everywhere else they’re just enormous and playing arenas, which is brilliant. They’re regulars at Wacken too…

Well, when your first ever live show as a band is headlining Wacken in 2008…

Wacken is always great – we did it again just recently. I love Wacken. The backstage area is really nice and posh for a rock and roll festival, the furniture is comfy, the careering is brilliant, and the dressing rooms are really clean and warm. Tony is happy for me to go off and do Avantasia when it’s suitable, but it can’t get in the way of what’s happening in the Magnum camp – that has to come first of course. Magnum is more of a priority, and Tobias knows that. It works great, and I’m looking forward to the next time – whenever that may be. We’ve just done loads of festivals to promote that last album (“A Paranormal Evening With The Moonflower Society”). On the later festivals we had started to do two songs from the new album. Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear) did a track from it, a very heavy track, and I did the (almost) title track ‘The Moonflower Society’ along with the one he wrote for me years ago ‘The Story Ain’t Over’. 

That song came out originally on the “Lost In Space” EP and was very much a part of “The Scarecrow” album cycle – the point where Avantasia stopped being a studio project and evolved into a touring circus with regular album cycles from then on – something that Bob has contributed to since that point…

Yes well, Tobi is a big Magnum fan. He’s probably also a big Helloween fan, and a big Mr Big fan as well, so he tries to get all of his heroes onto the album then onto the stage and the tour with him – which is a great compliment, you know? He’s said to me personally, and on stage as well quite often when he’s introducing me and talking to the audience (which can be a bit embarrassing) saying “Without the next singer’s band and music there probably wouldn’t have been a Tobias Sammet or an Avantasia, so please welcome on stage Bob Catley from Magnum..”… and you can’t get better than that. It’s quite emotional! 

We’re all a bunch of idiots backstage; there’s no egos. But there could be and there is quite a lot in Rock ‘n’ Roll as you know, but it doesn’t exist backstage with Avantasia – everyone’s all on the same level. Some artists sell more records than others, but we’re all in Avantasia and it’s a great camaraderie. As in Magnum! As in our line-up now – we have a great camaraderie and that’s really important for longevity. You’ve got to get on; you’ve got to like each other for goodness’ sake and respect each other. It’s a mutual respect thing, because you are in each other’s shoes for the whole six weeks tour, so you have just got to get on with each individual and be nice people – with each other and the fans, and everybody else. Be a good bloke and behave yourself! We haven’t got room for anything that isn’t that cool, which is how a band should be.

Is touring still fun after all this time?

Oh yeah! Sure, I love it! Fantastic! I even like the tour bus! There’s tour buses and there’s tour buses, but this one is nice! 

It’s nearly 35 years since Wings of Heaven when I first saw you live, and 25 years since I first interviewed you. So how does it feel to be still going strong after 50 years?

I know! Ha ha! I don’t think about it that much – we just kept going! We had a short break when I did some solo records when Hard Rain wasn’t working out for me. That was a low point, but 50 years has gone like that, you know? The 80’s is like last year to me! I’m still in the 80’s! I hate change – I don’t move on very well, you know? The music may move on, but I don’t fundamentally, I am still an 80’s bloke! I’ve still got the hair, although I’m not wearing ripped jeans anymore – I’m a bit too old for that! They were more rips than jeans, but they would look ridiculous on me now! But I am quite juvenile in my approach to everything – I still think I’m about 35 or something instead of twice that age. But it’s done me good, it’s kept me young and it’s brilliant! So yes, I love touring and so does Tony. It’s what we’re there for – record an album, put it out, start rehearsing and off you go on tour, and you just keep that going.  

As long as people still want to see that and hear the music and still find us relevant to what’s going on in the world. There’s a lot of subject matter out there – Tony’s a very great observer. He’s not a preacher or a political, but he’s a great observer and he will wrap it up in poetry and fantasy. Quite down to earth things, but he will make it sound ambiguous by adding a double meaning. It’s all in his head – he’s a great reader of books and he absorbs a lot of stuff. He’s very intelligent – more intelligent than I think many people realise. He’s great and it’s a treasure to savour, and look after, to behold and to keep in your pocket. That’s Magnum – it’s a little treasure! Our fans do tell us that…

Magnum were always the band boosting sales in the nearest pub to the venue after soundcheck, does that still happen?

No, we’re over that now – we haven’t done that for a long time! Tony stopped drinking some years ago, so it’s all his fault! We used to follow him to the pub “Come on, we’re going to the pub”, “Oh, alright then…” not that we needed much arm twisting believe me! That’s how it was in the 70’s and 80’s – everybody was like that: alcohol fuelled. Cigarettes and alcohol! We hadn’t got any money – we were broke, so we ended up poncing drinks the whole time “Cheers, thanks!”. Good days! When we started out you couldn’t get us out of the boozer, but that hasn’t happened for a very long time. We’re far more responsible now, thank God, otherwise we wouldn’t have reached this time in our lives. If we had carried on like that, that’s just going down the wrong way… I mean I like a drink – we all do, especially with Christmas coming up, but in moderation. I like getting a bit merry, but nothing more than that. You can’t mix work with pleasure – it’s one or the other. 

Our time is almost over and with an insistent tour manager keen to get Bob ready for the show, I ask him looking back over all these decades, what moments in his career stand out the most after all this time? 

Monsters of Rock, Castle Donnington 1985. That was great, even though we were on first. 

I guess that going on first meant you were less likely to get pelted by bottles filled with unsavoury contents, given that the crowd had probably not finished drinking their original contents…?

Oh yes, people would throw things at the stage if they don’t like you. I had mud slung at me, and a bottle of something smash and explode against the drum riser – I hate to think what it was! But that was a long time ago, though Monsters of Rock was a high. 

Ozzy Osbourne’s USA tour in 1982 as well, just after Randy Rhoads had died in that awful plane crash. We came onto the tour then and Sharon and Ozzy looked after us very well nicely as we were on the same label – Jet Records (Run by Sharon’s father Don Arden). Yeah, we were on the same label, and we were all from Birmingham Ozzy’s hometown, so they took us under their wing. We had just had “Chase The Dragon” in the charts and went off on tour with Ozzy – that’s definitely another stand out moment. He and Sharon were lovely to us. They didn’t know us very well, but we went down really good over there, so we made a lot of converts and we started selling albums after we played in the States. We went back twice as well, because Ozzy had lost his voice and we all had to all come home and then go back again some weeks later to complete it all down the Eastern seaboard and the Southern States. It was great! 

Stand out moments though – being at Hammersmith Odeon on the stage and Tommy Vance coming on the radio and saying “You are now joining 3 million people listening on the Tommy Vance Friday Rock Show”. That’s another moment…

But it’s all highlights for me, what we do. Just playing in front of the audience of Magnum fans on a nightly basis is a standout moment on its own, without all those other things. Just being on tour in front of your audience, and with the band – it can’t get better than that! It’s fantastic – there is nothing better than that. It’s what keeps you going. That’s your life blood…


Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.


Tyrannosaurus Nebulous Logo


Hello everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with UK Classic Hard Rockers, Tyrannosaurus Nebulous. Huge thanks to them for taking part. 

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

My name is Matt, I play guitar and very often lead vocals. Also there’s Paul, guitars; Lee, bass, and Jay drums, lead and backing vocals. We are a four-piece Hard Rock band from Stourbridge in the Black Country. Our sound is crafted around classic 70’s hard rock. With listeners comparing them to a diverse range of classic rock bands such as AC/DC, Alice In Chains, Budgie and Thin Lizzy. The present line up formed in 2014 and released the ‘Deal With My Evil’ EP in 2016. 

How did you come up with your band name?

To the best of my recollection, we were one of those bands that couldn’t agree on a name, that was until our first gig was fast approaching so I threw Nebulous in to the mix, I’d read something somewhere that it meant vague or ill-defined, which I thought fit us as we couldn’t agree a name, turns out it means space cloud or something, we agreed to nebulous but we needed something else to represent the monster riffs, and so Tyrannosaurus Nebulous was born.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We’re from the West Midlands in the UK, Matt and Paul from Stourbridge, Jay from Dudley and Lee from Coseley (but originally from Caerphilly in South Wales).

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

We’ve recently released ‘Deal With My Evil’, which is the first single off our debut album called “Tyrant Lizard King” (released 25th March) The music video for the release is on our YouTube channel. 

Our next single ‘Magnetar’ is also out on the 25th March.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Matt: Musically when I was younger probably the likes of Metallica, ugly kid Joe, Steve Vai, Van Halen, AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, more recently Volbeat, Winery dogs etc. 

Paul: The likes of AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, SRV, Kings X, Whitesnake

Lee: Geddy Lee & Burke Shelley. Both phenomenal bass players and frontmen.

What first got you into music?

Matt: My dad first introduced me to the guitar when I was around ten years old, and of course his vinyl collection.

Paul: my brother Matt and dad both played the guitar, they were always making a noise, sort of had no choice but to join in

Lee: There always seemed to be music playing when I was growing up. My Dad is a big music fan and steered me in the right direction. My first album was Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy and it just went from there. 

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

Matt: I think I would love to jam with Billy Gibbons, swapping solos in ‘La Grange’ for hours probably.

Paul: Robert Plant (obviously local), or if he was still alive SRV.

Lee: Poison the Well, Shai Hulud or Misery Signals would add an interesting ‘beatdown’ element to the band’s sound. Current musician, very leftfield but Tame Impala is a phenomenal musician and that would develop the melodic side of what we do. Also Tom Jones, because he’s a legend and needs a Hard Rock record in his back catalogue. 

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Matt: Mmmm Download or Rock AM Ring.

Paul: Glastonbury (would love to be on stage rather than watching).

Lee: Download or Ghent Festival (amazing city and an amazing festival).

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Matt: Err, a friend request.

Paul: The gift of strength, (carrying my gear to the car after a gig).

Lee: I’d love to say a beautiful woman’s knickers but an empty pint glass with a request to refill.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Life’s hard but you just gotta keep on keepin’ on.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Matt: Mr Eddie Van Halen.

Paul: SRV would love to get the chance to see him perform live.

Lee: Burke Shelley or Neil Peart.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Matt: Enjoy playing with other musicians, playing an instrument is great but when you’re in a room or on stage with fellow minded players its next level, I wouldn’t say hate but I’m not a fan of having to be in front of a camera for photos or videos.

Paul: Playing live and writing music.

Lee: Playing live and in the studio is the most enjoyable, I hate the frustration of getting our music out for people to hear. 

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Lee: More investment in original talented upcoming musicians who don’t conform to the plastic world of popular music.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Matt: Impossible question, maybe Van Halen “Van Halen”.

Paul: Yeah impossible, Metallica?

Lee: I have many, today’s is “Happiness” by Dance Gavin Dance.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, or Downloads?

Matt: I guess vinyl, but I sure do miss playing along with cassettes and having to tune my guitar up or down to suit, but then I probably own more CDs?

Paul: grew up with cassettes and CDs, although convenient you can’t hold a download in your hand.

Lee: I consume a lot of music so vinyl, cassettes, CD’s become too much of a faff. Digital for me. I went through my vinyl phase when I was an early teen. I used to love going to record fayres then. You could pick up an Iron Maiden vinyl album for a couple of quid then. Now they’re like £150 plus when you can buy them on CD for a fiver. It’s not about the medium for me, it’s about the music.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Matt: could pick one out, but I do love outdoor gigs.

Paul: O2 Academy.

Lee: Caerphilly Workman’s hall (hometown gig).

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Matt: Probably a sportsman of some kind, Rugby? No I’m too weak, Cyclist?

Paul: Professional pillow tester.

Lee: Record/music store owner.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Matt: Professor Brian cox, Ozzy Osbourne, Jack Black, Jethro, Brian May.

Paul: Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, John Squire, Gandalf, Ludo (the film Labyrinth).

Lee: Jordan Peterson, Ozzy Osbourne, Harry Hill, Gene Simmons, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson (you can’t have one without the other). That would be mental.

What’s next for the band?

The future plans are to continue to challenge ourselves to write and record albums that add to and expand upon the great British hard rock albums of the past and to continue to spread the gospel of rock and roll on bigger and better stages. 

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?


Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit

Matt: Biscake?

Paul: Cake, (it’s not called a Jaffa biscuit).

Lee: Cake, whilst we’re on the subject does anyone know what ‘Scampi’ is?.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Keep rockin’

Tyrannosaurus Nebulous Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Super Duper Alice Cooper

Super Duper Alice Cooper
Directed And Written: Sam Dunn, Reginald Harkema, Scot McFadyen
Produced by: Banger Films
Review by Chris Galea

A film documenting the life, career, trials and tribulations of one of the founding fathers of Rock and Metal is certainly something to look forward to. “Super Duper…” starts by focusing on the upbringing of Vincent Furnier before he adopted the stage name of ‘Alice Cooper’, on his first forays into music, on meeting bassist Dennis Dunaway at school and revealing the origins of the band moniker.

More than half the documentary consists of voices speaking over photos and archive footage both of which are not necessarily directly linked to what is being said. It’s a very strange approach not to mention that it’s also very frustrating that you’re not actually seeing the speaker/s and sometimes it’s not even clear who is speaking.

For many years and seven albums into the band’s existence, Alice Cooper the band and Alice Cooper the frontman were two distinct entities and the film dedicates a hefty focus on the former. It tells about the band being discovered by Frank Zappa, who really got the ball rolling for the band. We get to know about a handful of crucial performances that significantly elevated the band’s status, such as a 1970 festival with John Lennon also on the bill.

Even after those shows, radio stations kept ignoring the band but that all changed when famed producer Bob Ezrin (Kiss, Aerosmith, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd) was roped in and Alice Cooper finally had their first hit single: ‘I’m Eighteen’. Since its inception, the band kept honing the theatricality of their live shows and “Super Duper Alice Cooper” makes this patently clear. Speaking of which, the film mentions some truly bizarre anecdotes about their gigs, one involving a chicken (think of it as Alice Cooper’s version of the infamous story concerning Ozzy and a bat). No less bizarre is footage of a live show involving panties…lots of panties.

The documentary then covers the divorce of Alice Cooper the singer from Alice Cooper the band. Around the same time, Alice/Vince suffered a mental breakdown. Upon emerging from that precarious mental state, one of the first things Alice did was collaborate with songwriter Bernie Taupin, famous for writing the lyrics to almost all of Elton John’s songs (incidentally Elton John is said to be a big Alice Cooper fan). The result of the Cooper/Taupin collaboration was for me Alice Cooper’s magnum opus, the album “From The Inside”, released in 1978 and recorded with the help of a large number of session musicians.

We are also told that Alice Cooper had to deal with a crippling cocaine addiction, from which he eventually recovered and returned to the stage in 1986 after an absence of 4 years. And in fact the documentary clocks off somewhere in the mid-1980s.

So, if Alice Cooper meant nothing to you beyond the albums, videos and concerts, “Super Duper Alice Cooper” certainly provides a revealing background about the band and showman. Sadly, though, the documentary is conspicuously lacking in any depth whatsoever. It mentions a number of stepping stones in Alice Cooper’s career but there’s very little insight in terms of how, why, who, when….etc. On the other hand, a lot of important events, albums and musicians are wholly overlooked. So, for example, we have nothing about the “Easy Action” album of 1970. And guitarists Glen Buxton and Michael Bruce, two musicians so crucial to the band, are almost completely ignored.

To that add what I mentioned earlier about invisible persons speaking over photo and video montages and in the end the prevailing feeling I got of this film-doc is one of a missed opportunity.

Interesting? Perhaps. But certainly not super duper.

Watch the trailer here:

Alice Cooper’s new album “Detroit Stories” will be released on February 26th, 2021 via earMUSIC.


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Hungry Daze – Back To My Future

Hungry Daze – Back To My Future
Diamonds Prod
Release Date 21/04/20
Running Time: 39:57
Review by Beth Jones

Afternoon music lovers! It’s a sunny Sunday here at EMHQ, so I’ve cracked open a beer to accompany my musings for my latest listening pleasure, Italian heavy metal rockers, Hungry Daze.

Hailing from Turin, Hungry Daze were born from the ashes of Ivory, and after a few changes in the line-up, have released their debut album, “Back To My Future”.

Before I talk about the music, I just wanted to take a moment to pause, and tell you that I am actually reviewing this via a physical copy of the album! A CD! It’s a rarity these days to get physical CD’s to review, so it’s really great to have one for this! I’m an old fashioned kinda gal, and a new CD, for me, is like getting a new book. Yes, ok, Kindles are convenient for storage, but they don’t smell right. Nothing in the world beats the smell of a new book. And the same applies to CD’s!

So, to the music. Hungry Daze are good old fashioned, no nonsense heavy rock, and this album is like a familiar hug. It has all the riffage and solos reverbed to the hilt that you would want from a classic rock sound, and conjures images of their tousled locks, and tassled denim and leather blowing in the wind, in slow motion, on early days MTV. Some would say ultimate cheese, but I prefer to say sweet nostalgia.

The album kicks off with ‘The Right Way’, heading straight in with some classic rock beats, dirty guitars and clean vocals. Interestingly the guitar sound here is quite grungy – almost 90’s style. This song, for me, sits somewhere between Whitesnake, Guns & Roses, and early, but slightly heavier Manic Street Preachers!

Next up is ‘Kiss of Life’, and this sets the pace for the rest of the album. A leg tapper that you could see being a sing-a-along on a festival stage. The guitar cadences and vocal harmonies lend themselves very well to this track, and it’s easy on the ears. Although, saying that, any track on the album could fit into this category!

I think track 7, ‘Tonight is the Night’, is my favourite track on the album. Again, it’s good and bouncy, and has a really nice flow to it. Happy music! I like that.

Production wise, it’s all pretty good here. Everything sits nicely. The guitar solos ring out nice and loud, and the vocals are sharp. Naughty little fade on track 6 though. I do wish bands would stop doing that!

Musically, it’s nothing ground-breaking either. It’s solid, and technically very good, but if you’re looking for new and adventurous, you’re in the wrong place. However, if you appreciate good solid rock, and are looking for a soundtrack to accompany your road trip or meet-up, then this is it.

01. The Right Way
02. Kiss Of Life
03. Rock Paradise
04. Back To My Future
05. Life On Two Wheels
06. Now You can Play
07. Tonight Is The Night
08. Motorcycle Man
09. Wolf’s Den

Roberto Bruccoleri – Vocals
Francesco Yackson Russo – Lead and rhythm guitar
Roberto Tiranti – Bass and backing vocals
Marco Biggi – Drums and percussion


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Magnum – The Serpent Rings

Magnum – The Serpent Rings
Release Date: 17/01/2020
Running Time: 57:06
Review by Paul Monkhouse

Whilst most of their peers have retired or rest on their laurels, Magnum just keep on getting better, with each new album better than the previous one. Musically hitting the same run of success that saw them ascend to headlining arenas in the 1980’s, Messrs. Clarkin and Catley bring a partnership that has been forged through the fire and flame of almost fifty years together and it looks like they have no intention of slowing down. “The Serpent Rings” has all the hallmarks of classic Magnum from the beautiful Rodney Matthews cover onwards and is filled with the magnificently melodic hard rock that their legions of fans have all come to know and love. This certainly isn’t a case of going over old ground for songwriter Tony Clarkin though as he continues to push himself and the band to new heights.

Having been through a major shake-up of the band in the past three years, with new members on keys, drums and bass, rather than derail the band it seems like there’s a new fire and desire to prove themselves. With new bass player Dennis Ward joining the band as recently as Summer 2019, the band hit the studio and the results are some of the best and heaviest work they’ve done. ‘Where Are You Eden?’ is the perfect opening track, its galloping rhythm charges at the listener and to be honest, it sounds absolutely huge. Despite concerns about his voice suffering through the constant touring, Bob Catley is on great form in the studio, the power and nuance in his delivery undiminished. Rick Benton’s keys are also shining through the mix, his playing deft but never overly florid, whilst the new pairing of Ward with drummer Lee Morris, has brought a thunderous heft that provides the perfect bedrock for Clarkin to build on. The guitarist is on top form throughout and the solos on the scorching ‘You Can’t Run Faster Than Bullets’ and the multi coloured hues of ‘House Of Kings’ are blistering.

This latter song, along with the epic title track, shows all the facets that make the songwriter/guitarist/producer just so great as each add layer upon layer of sound that only someone like fellow Brummie Jeff Lynne would dare to do. This was never going to be just a run of the mill, straight down the line, rock record and although it packs a powerful punch, there’s still so much to capture both the ear and the imagination. ‘The Great Unknown’ dances on a sea of stars and ‘Man’ has a pugnacious and knowingly bold riff that drives a typically brave skyscraping chorus that reaches to the heavens and then breaks down into a brief section that is reminiscent of 10cc before the solo comes in. The album reaches its end with the thoughtful and thought provoking ‘Crimson On The White Sand’, one of many songs on the album that manages to tell a tale that weaves between the deepest imagination and the harsh glare of a spotlight on a vital and pressing global subject.

There are rockers and there are ballads, all done in the unique Magnum style and ‘The Serpent Rings’ can certainly stand shoulder to shoulder with such classics as ‘Chase the Dragon’ and ‘A Storytellers Night’. Masters of their own destiny, Magnum, steered by the seemingly tireless Clarkin, are still one of the very best bands in the UK and the hallmark for quality. In an ideal world they should be as huge as Queen and this album shows why. Long may they continue!


01. Where Are You Eden?
02. You Can’t Run Faster Than Bullets
03. Madman Or Messiah
04. The Archway Of Tears
05. Not Forgiven
06. The Serpent Rings
07. House Of Kings
08. The Great Unknown
09. Man
10. The Last One On Earth
11. Crimson On The White Sand


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Volster – Perfect Storm

Perfect Storm Cover Art

Volster – Perfect Storm
Rock of Angels Records
Release Date: 20/04/2018
Running Time: 52:16
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King

If there was ever a case of don’t judge a book by its cover (or in this instance by its name) then its Volster. When I was first assigned this to review, I must admit my heart sank a teeny tiny bit. I was certain that they were going to be a black metal band with a name like that, and although I know reviewing means stepping out of your comfort zone occasionally, I wasn’t in the mood for a black metal band.

So, imagine my surprise, and joy, when track number one “King of the Hill” came through the speakers!

No more of a black metal band than I am the Queen of Sheba, Volster are, in fact, a melodic, hard rock band from Sweden, and features ex members of Masquerade and House of Heavy.

The band was started by guitarist Ulf Anderson and bass player Henrik Lundberg, who were both members of the band Masquerade in the late 80’s and early 90’s. They met up in 1996 to record a four song demo, called Volster, but nothing much more happened.
In 2013 (17 years later!!) they decided to pick up where they left off and plans were made to start a band, performing the songs from the demo and also writing new ones. They kept the name Volster.

Says Henrik Lundberg: “brought up with music from the 70’s and 80’s the roots are deep. So, it is no surprise our music is built from these glorious decades even if we also involve some more modern flavours. The main ingredient is the melody, what else makes a great song other than the great vocals and interesting riffs, of course. With member having been active in the music business for decades, now is the time to make all our music dreams come true, playing the music we love. Volster is melodic hard rock as it’s supposed to be.

And I couldn’t agree more. I always preferred the heavy side to US glam rock with bands such as Skid Row and Motley Crue, but Volster offer a bit more. Throw in a bit of Aerosmith and a touch of Ozzy and you are the way to getting what this band is about.

As previously mentioned, the album kicks off with the infectious “King of the Hill” and it doesn’t let up until it finishes with the heavy “Ends With Me”. The album is full of stomping rhythms and heavy riffs, which mixed with clean and clear vocals, makes for an awesome hard hitting rock album.

Although this is the debut full length album for the band, they are by no means the new kids on the block. A wealth of experience to draw on and a passion to make the music they want to, how they want to, means they are at an advantage to other bands releasing their debut album.

Produced by themselves, the album is also co-produced and mixed by Max Norman (Ozzy Osbourne, Lynch Mob, Armored Saint, Lizzy Borden, Megadeth and Y&T) and mastered by Thomas ‘Plec’ Johansson (Soilwork, Onslaught, Armageddon, Degradead, Dynazty) at The Panic Room Mastering.

“Breathless” is probably my favourite track on the album but there are plenty of others that I also enjoyed. The songs are well written and fantastically executed. These guys are great musicians on top of everything else, with their sound firmly stuck in the classic hard rock era.

This is a must have album for every modern hard rock fan and I certainly will be keeping my eye holes and ear balls open for anything new they do!

01. King Of The Hill
02. Heaven Or Hell
03. Perfect Storm
04. Breathless
05. Still In Love
06. Babylon
07. Hero
08. Games Of War
09. Easier Said Than Done
10. I Don’t Care
11. Drifting Away
12. Ends With Me


Volster Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.