Music Reviews – Rock Formats Music Meeting (6.27.97)





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By: Michael D. Vogel

© June 27, 1997. Michael D. Vogel.  All Rights Reserved. 

Published in:       

The Album Network magazine – June 27, 1997



Song: “Higher Power”

From The Release: Greatest Hits 

Label: Epic 

Members: Tom Scholz – Guitar, Bass, Drums & Vocals; Brad Delp – Vocals; Fran Cosmo – Backing Vocals; Curly Smith – Harmonica

Producer: Tom Scholz

Origin: Boston, MA


What You Should Know: The formula to be one of Rock Radio’s most prolific acts would be a balance between heavy guitars, solid bass and a pulsating drum track that would knock you out of your chair. Boston plays the kind of loud, lean unpretentious guitar rock that’s best heard in a large arena, probably one where the beer is good and cheap. On their new Greatest Hits package are all the favorites, along with the new studio cut, “Higher Power,” which flirts with a murky and experimental ambiance. The CD-Pro features three different versions, including a John Kalodner mix that should light up your phones. If that doesn’t fill your appetite, check them out at an arena near you this summer! For references, call the programmers at KYYS/Kansas City, KS., WFBQ, Indianapolis, IN, or KCAL/Riverside, CA.  ^m^


Song: “Virtuality”

From The Release: Test For Echo 

Label: Anthem/Atlantic/AG 

Members: Geddy Lee – Vocals, Bass & Synthesizers; Alex Lifeson – Guitar & Mandola; Neil Peart – Drums, Cymbals & Hammer Dulcimer          

Producer: Peter Collins & Rush

Origin: Toronto, Canada


What You Should Know: In the beginning, there was rhythm, a primordial ooze that emanated from the earth itself – and judging by Rush’s determinedly organic excursions, the Canadian trio has gotten back to that ooze. “Virtuality” finds the group intent on denuding itself of any extraneous frills in order to let the basic sounds of the guitar, bass and percussions do the talking. Rolling with a locomotive zing over a rugged guitar, Geddy Lee truly gets busy. Firing off beguiling lyrics that also reveal sadness and regret. Play this one loud, but be warned: the steady stream of imaginative lines requires constant use of the rewind button. Early before-the-box believers on “Virtuality,” the fourth single from Test For Echo, include KSJO/San Jose, CA. and KEGL/Dallas, TX! ^m^


Song: “American Pie”

From The Release: Revolution 

Label: CMC International 

Members: Mark Slaughter – Vocals, Guitar & Keys; Tim Kelly – Guitar & Vocals;  Dana Strum – Bass & Vocals; Blas Elias – Drums, Percussion & Vocals

Producer: Dana Strum & Mark Slaughter

Origin: Las Vegas, NV.


What You Should Know: The longtime darlings of early 90’s power rock are as prolific as ever. “American Pie” is a deliberate throwback to a more primal flower-power rock sound that should be welcome at Rock Radio in the age of alternative wannabes. Using T. Rex as a reference, the guitars are gritty and greasy with raw production elements and energy levels that keep this track crackling long after the song has ended. Slaughter is still able to serve up tasty, easily digestible hooks, smartly wistful lyrics and keening harmonies that put the group into an almost dreamy and atmospheric state. Combining modern production with lyrical techno-shenanigans, help to turn melodies from chastely pretty to quirky and vibrant ear candy. Go ahead, band-a-gong, and get it on (the radio)! ^m^

Pat Benatar

Song: “Strawberry Wine (Life Is Sweet)”

From The Release: Innamorta

Label: CMC International 

Members: Pat Benatar – Vocals; Neil Giraldo – Guitar; Mick Mahan – Bass; Ray Brinker – Drums; Allison Cornell – Keys

Producer: Neil Giraldo

Origin: Los Angeles, CA. via Long Island, NY.


What You Should Know: Long before Melissa Etheridge and Alanis Morissette, radio rocked to the sounds of Pat Benatar. The latest CD in a career that’s thrived since her humble beginnings at New York City’s “Catch A Rising Star”, Innamorta reflects the high standards of Benatar and her guitarist/producer/husband Neil Giraldo. For “Strawberry Wine (Life Is Sweet),” the mixing of emotions and moods into a radio elixir are first rate. Such creative arrangements are an outstanding testimony to her longevity at radio. Fresh off the success of tours with other rock notables Steve Miller and REO Speedwagon, Benatar is poised to expose her sultry style and commanding vocals to a whole new generation of post-pop/alternative grungers! ^m^

Glenn Tipton

Song: “Extinct”

From The Release: Baptizm Of Fire

Label: Atlantic/AG 

Members: Glenn Tipton – Vocals & Guitar

Guest Musicians: Billy Sheehan – Bass; Cozy Powell – Drums

Producer: Glenn Tipton & Mark Dodson

Origin: Birmingham, England


What You Should Know: Longtime Judas Priest member Glenn Tipton has an articulacy on the guitar, a diction only he possesses. You need not be familiar with the song to be able to crank up the volume and rock along on the first listen. This is why, although Tipton is a hard rock guitarist’s guitarist, he’s also a popular player who’s appreciated by musicians and non-musicians alike. But like all rock guitarists, he’s dependant on his material. Using speed and outrageous chops to astound, Tipton plays the silence as much as the music. It’s because of that, the slightest bends and vocal articulations are easily heard and understood. Nobody delivers the sound and raw emotion on the electric guitar like this guy! With sedentary layers that take time to reveal themselves (in rock terms: texture and deep grooves). Glenn Tipton showcases why he’s a thinking man’s player. And you thought loud, screaming guitars where “Extinct.” In the immortal words of Spinal Tap – “this one goes to 11!”  ^m^

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Song: “Bring It On”

From The Release: Twenty

Label: CMC International 

Members: Johnny Van Zant – Vocals; Gary Rossington – Guitar; Rickey Medlocke – Guitar; Hughe Thomasson – Guitar; Leon Wilkeson – Bass; Owen Hale – Drums & Percussions; Billy Powell – Keys; Dale Krantz Rossington – Backing Vocals

Producer: Josh Leo

Origin: Jacksonville, FL


What You Should Know: In an era where arty noisiness has ruled the airwaves, it’s refreshing to hear a record whose strengths lie in its simplicity. Lynyrd Skynyrd plays rock & roll – period! This isn’t to say that the music doesn’t have different layers of subtle, original musicianship. A vague, hypnotic malevolence, lurking behind a tightly constructed rockin’ tune, is the central theme for this song. With a hint of Southern-country guitar twang excursions and a moody keyboard into a jaunty, jangly, rockin’ beat, Skynyrd creates a psychedelic, wildly swirling riff that lightens into a pretty harmony. Plain and simple – it’s a down-home-brewed, stompin’ tune that rushes toward its conclusion like a barely-in-control muscle car.  ^m^


© June 27, 1997. Michael D. Vogel.  All Rights Reserved.  This originally appeared on the Vogelism blog at, authored by Michael D. Vogel. This article may be shared or reprinted as long as this entire copyright message, including the source location of this article, accompanies it.


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