They're slowly coming back, and before you know it the sight of a longhaired dude wielding a cranked Les Paul while some shirtless, skinny singer hollers into a mike won't just be a faded memory any more.
That was basically the scene 30 years ago today--on October 5, 1991--when producer-to-the-stars Bob Rock (Metallica, Motley Crue, the Cult, Bon Jovi, David Lee Roth, the Tragically Hip) brought his band Rockhead to a local bar called the Rock Cellar.
I thought they were pretty rockin'.
Here's my review of the gig, which was originally published in the October 10, 1991, issue of the Georgia Straight.
After producing hit records by the likes of Motley Crue, the Cult, and Metallica, Vancouver’s Bob Rock is tying on the gloves and stepping into the ring with Rockhead, his new hard-rock four-piece. The band’s been playing at various local top-40 bars, and if Saturday’s (October 5) performance at the Rock Cellar is any indication, it should be the next big thing out of Lotusland.
You wouldn’t have guessed it from the lame crowd reaction, though; most of the patrons were obviously there to hear cover tunes by the week’s regular act, Ted Moore.
Rockhead—which will release its Vancouver Studios-recorded debut this January—includes Rock’s long-time drummer pal Chris Taylor (they previously collaborated in the Payola$ and Rock & Hyde), bassist Jamie Koch (from the Strolling Clones), and powerhouse vocalist Steve Jack, late of the top-40 act Love Hunter. The group favours blues-based boogie along the lines of the Cult, but Rock’s arrangements feature more than enough snappy hooks and licks to keep things as exciting as mainstream rock usually gets.
If he ever felt restrained in his guitar-playing role in past bands, Rock is making up for it with his latest project: he managed to riff out on most every tune, and guitar tech Laird Doyle was kept busy tuning Rock’s envy-inducing array of instruments. (Rock’s lucrative production work must make his hobby of guitar-collecting fun.)
Lean and hungry looking, lead singer Jack has the ideal raw, whisky-drenched voice to accompany Rockhead’s in-your-face tunes, and he likes to perform in the Jim Morrison tradition, tossing himself wildly about the stage.
The general ho-hum response from the Rock Cellar crowd was similar to the time when Jon Bon Jovi hopped on stage at the now-defunct Embassy to preview tunes from his Slippery When Wet album back in the mid-’80s. Hardly anyone took notice of “Living on a Prayer” or other catchy tunes that would be smothering the airwaves six months later. Expect Bob Rock’s inauspicious local shows to lead to something big as well.