9. Waysted – Waysted (MFN 31)
Music For Nations was a bona fide ‘big’ indie label by 1984 when they offered a spot on their roster to Pete Way, recently liberated from his dealings with Chrysalis Records and in need of a home for the not inconsiderable talents of his post-UFO project, Waysted. A misfiring debut album was already behind them, and for MFN the band’s first offering was this spunky little self-titled EP. Waysted purists will probably tell you that the band’s next offering, 1985’s The Good The Bad and the Waysted is actually the band’s high water mark, but for your correspondent this is where it’s at as far as this excellent band are concerned.
Way is still in top form as a songwriter here – Hurts So Good and Rock Steady are easily the equal of anything Way contributed in his final days in UFO, or indeed anything that band had managed to put out post-Way – and in Fin Muir the band had surely stumbled on Rod Stewart’s natural successor as the king of gritty, gravel throated rock and roll vocalising. His cheeky barrow-boy persona fitted the ragged, Stonesy appeal of Way’s songwriting to a tee, and, even though the guitar playing of former Tyger of Pan Tang Neil Shepherd is functional as opposed to pyrotechnic, it fits the stripped-back nature of the material anyway. Unfortunately Way and Muir were just a little too fun loving for their own good – the addition to Waysted ranks within a year of the even more recreationally-focussed Paul Chapman effectively finished the band’s hopes of world domination in a single wave of Carlsberg Special Brew-fuelled hedonism – but this EP will always serve as a reminder of what raw, unfettered genius actually sounds like.
Because Waysted is little more than a glorified twelve inch single you can pick it up for as little as three pounds, though I’ve seen copies change hands for up to around five times that amount in really pristine condition on Discogs.
The average price for MFN 31 on discogs at the moment is AUD: 8.40 EUR 5.15 USD 5.75 GBP 4.50
10. Various Artists – Striktly For Konnoiseurs (MFN 32)
This compilation was actually put out in harness with (then) fortnightly heavy metal bible Kerrang! Magazine, who for years had been banging on about the delights of various obscure US pomp rock and AOR artistes. Most of these albums were at the time unavailable in the UK or were on sale as horrendously-priced Import albums, so this release was actually rather a treat (for me at least when it came out). If nothing else, it proved that the second division of American rock was really no better than it’s British counterpart, despite what the likes of Derek Oliver or Paul Suter would have had us believe.
That said there are some absolute stone cold classics to be found on SFK, and, even though you can hear most of them on Youtube or Spotify these days, it’s still nice to have them all in one nice double vinyl corral; Desmond Child and Rouge’s The Truth Came Out is probably the best of the best, but contributions from Mark Mangold’s American Tears and Bob Kulick’s Balance run them close. And if you’ve ever wondered (and don’t tell me you haven’t) what a cross between Saga and Styx might sound like, here are Zon with the audial proof that such a thing is not only possible, but rather bloody good! The sub-Benatar Caught by Missing Person Teri DeSario is also worth multiple listens, as are tracks from Angel, Starz, Joe Perry and Ram Jam. All in all this is a required purchase if you have a sneaking regard for quality classic Yankee hard rock.
Surprisingly, given it’s near-mythic status back in the day, a serviceable copy of SFK can be found on discogs for as little as three pounds fifty, though a top-quality copy will set you back around eight quid.
The average price on Discogs for Striktly For Konnoiseurs at press time was AUD 9.80 EUR 6.05 USD 6.75 GBP 5.40
11. TKO – In Your Face (MFN 33)
Seattle-based TKO, who featured the not-inconsiderable talents of Kiss auditionee Adam Bomb among their ranks – were widely considered to be amongst the brightest and best of the generation of US hard rock bands which hit just before the hair metal explosion. Their hard, serrated rock harnessed the big choruses of Johnson-era AC/DC to Bomb (real name: Adam Brenner)’s incendiary lead work and the raw-yet accessible vocals of Brad Sinsel in explosive fashion, and to this day it remain’s one of life’s great mysteries that tracks like Run Out of Town weren’t megahits on American radio.
Them’s the breaks of course, and Brenner went on to nearly become the singer in Izzy Stradlin’s proto Guns n’Roses before undertaking on a lengthy solo career that flourishes to this day. That said, he’s never quite reached the heights as consistently as he did with TKO on In Your Face, and this really is a must-have album for any fans of quality American hard rock.
As befits its quasi-legendary status, a good quality copy of In Your Face can fetch as much as nine pounds on discogs… joking aside – a less-well loved copy can be had for around three pounds so there’s no excuse for not having this album in your life!
The average cost of In Your Face on Discogs is AUD 10.40 EUR 6.40 USD 7.15 GBP 5.70
Discogs prices correct as at 17/06/19