Thirty years ago tomorrow—on February 18, 1984the Payola$ played the PNE Gardens with opening act Darkroom. At the time the bandwhich also included guitarist Bob Rock, bassist Alex Boynton, drummer Chris Taylor, and keyboardist Christopher Livingstonwas basking in the success of its latest album, Hammer on a Drum.

That disc was produced with one of my all-time fave guitarists, Mick Ronson, and boasted four singles in “Where Is This Love?”, “I’ll Find Another” (Who Can Do It Right)”, “Christmas is Coming”, and “Never Said I Loved You” (a duet with Rough Trade’s Carole Pope).

Universal Music Canada has just announced that Bachman-Turner Overdrive—or BTO as we liked to call 'em back in the day—will release a remastered, 40th anniversary edition of its best-selling album, Not Fragile, on March 18.

That rocks.

You may recall that Not Fragile—which has sold more than three and a half million copies worldwide—boasted the awesome radio hits "Roll On Down the Highway" and "You Aint' Seen Nothing Yet".

But I always liked the tracks that you didn't hear so much on the radio, like the instrumental "Freewheelin'" (early pressings of the album listed that track as "Dedicated to Duane"), "Blue Moanin'", and "Second Hand".

A coupla weeks ago I posted a blog about interviewing Tim Curry in Stanley Park back in 1990, when he was in town filming the TV miniseries Stephen King's IT.

At the time I was working as the Vancouver correspondent for New York-based horror mag Fangoria, and it was quite a kick to chat with the guy who played Dr. Frank N. Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Nobody complained about me posting a story from 24 years ago, so here's another one from the Fango files that actually dates back to '88.

The Hard Rock Casino Vancouver has just announced that it's bringing the Steve Miller Band to town on April 12, which is good news for anyone with a hankering for old-school guitar-rock.

According to the most recent setlist available, Miller is concentrating on the two albums that pretty well ruled rock radio back in the day: Fly Like an Eagle (1976) and Book of Dreams ('77).

The tunes he's been playing from those discs include "Jungle Love", "Take the Money and Run", "Dance, Dance, Dance", "Wild Mountain Honey", "Fly Like an Eagle", "Jet Airliner", "Rock 'n Me", "Swingtown", and "Serenade".

Aaron Paul is famous for saying "bitch" an awful lot in Breaking Bad, but Kurtwood Smith was totally bitchin' it up 27 years ago in Paul Verhoeven's original RoboCop.

Smith played the wimpy looking but nasty-as-hell villain Clarence Boddicker with great gusto; he virtually stole the show from Peter Weller's titular crimefighter.

Local horror freaks may want to scoop up their tix to the upcoming Fan Expo sooner than later, because the lineup of celebrity guests at the event—which runs from April 18 to 20 at the Vancouver Convention Centre—includes a number of fright-film faves.

First off, you’ve got Robert Englund, the man behind Freddy Krueger’s gnarly face in the Nightmare on Elm Street films. Yeah, we know those flicks have sucked for a long time, but back in the day they were a hoot.

Australian roots-jam singer-songwriter John Butler is quite the groove monster on his new album, Flesh & Blood, but he got a lot of help on one of the funkier numbers from his bassist Byron Luiters.

As Butler explained on the line from New York the other day—on a tour that brings him to the Commodore for two sold-out shows—Luiters came up with the “very deep groove” on the track “Livin’ in the City”.

The Joe Satriani show at the Vogue last year was one of my fave gigs of 2013, no surprise since Satch has been consistently blowing me away ever since I first heard Surfing With the Alien back in the Eighties.

Similarly minded guitar freaks who don't already own all of Satriani's albums—or who are rich enough to afford doubles—should know that today Sony's Legacy Recordings announced the release, on April 22, of Joe Satriani: The Complete Studio Recordings.

Here's some of the promotional bumph:

The spirit of '76 will never falter because that’s the year Thin Lizzy put out two LPs instead of just one.

Albums listed in alphabetical order according to title, otherwise Jailbreak would be right there at the top.

I've included three song titles to help you remember how awesome the music was, and one clip to bring it all back home.

You shouldn't need any other music today.


A Day at the Races: Queen (“Tie Your Mother Down”, “Somebody to Love”, “Long Away”)

Agents of Fortune: Blue Oyster Cult (“[Don't Fear] the Reaper”, “Sinful Love”, “The Revenge of Vera Gemini”)

Here's a cool animated video that was posted on YouTube yesterday by PBS Digital Studios.

It features a snippet of Jimi Hendrix's final interview, conducted by music journalist and press agent Keith Altham exactly one week before the guitar legend's drug-related death.

I like the part at the beginning where, after being asked about how he's doing money-wise, Jimi talks about the way he'd like to live--in a house that is basically a big swimming pool, so he could swim from one room to another.

Jimi just seemed like a big kid, didn't he? A big, sweet, talented-as-fuck kid.