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Hagar, Schon, Aaronson, Shrieve (HSAS)
Through The Fired

Review: 185
Date: 17 Jul 04

 


Rating: 5 Stars

Musicians:
Sammy Hagar – Vocals
Neal Schon – Guitars
Kenny Aaronson - Bass
Michael Shieve - Drums

Tracks Listing:
Top Of The Rock
Missing You
Animation
Valley Of The Kings
Giza
Whiter Shade Of Pale
Hot And Dirty
He Will Understand
My Home Town


 


What a Band! A true eighties super group. What on earth possessed them to get together? I have no idea. Why they disbanded? Not a glimmer either, and they only made one album, which was even stranger as apart from one classic cover they were all original songs - and it was a Live album. (Even being with all the crowd noise cut out.)



So, who have we got here? Well, on lead vocal is one of America's finest ever singer and charismatic front man - plus all round maniac - Sammy Hagar. He is an ex of the greatly lamented Montrose, and the not so lamented Van Halen (or Van Hagar as they became known at the time), plus, of course, of a glittering solo career.

On lead guitar we have one of America's most respected axe man (a real musician’s musician), Neal Schon, ex Journey, ex Santana, and ex an amazing stint with Paul Rogers.

On bass guitar is one of the best showman this dog has ever seen treading the boards. It is the great and incomparable Kenny Aaronson, who also happens to be one of the nicest guys you could hope to meet. Kenny is of ex Foghat, ex Derringer, ex Joan Jett, ex Blue Oyster Cult, and ex Bob Dylan.

Then behind the drum kit is Mr. Michael Shrieve, a solid man in more ways than one. As ex Santana, his drum sound was almost as important to that band as was the guitarist's.

So, after that slightly over the top opening, what's the music like? Do you really think this Dog is that stupid to give it such a big build up, and then dish it? No, of course not. They simply pour Rock & Roll out the speakers. First song up is 'Top Of The Rock', a great name for an opening number and a great number indeed. Schon is at his hard rock best, peeling out the opening riff before falling back into the up-tempo grove with Aaronson and Shrieve, to allow Sammy Hagar to come in over the top. That proves this dog's point that he is one of the best singers to come out of America's Rock and Roll circus, and when Hagar is singing about being on top of the world, I’m a believer. A couple of times Schon is allowed space to come roaring back into the songs, where he absolutely nails a couple of solos whilst Aaronson and Shrieve fill out the sound not leaving space for even an Iron Filling.

'Missing You' continues in similar fashion, leaving the listener stunned like getting a perfect one-two from Lennox Lewis in the opening seconds of your one shot at the Championship.
Surprising for a band on its debut.

We then get three songs all joined together into one epic of immense scale, a tale of ancient time. All is revealed in wondrous expectation by the storytelling powers of Sammy Hagar. The other three lay down really hard and heavy grooves with some more faster than the eye can see, soloing from Neal Schon. But it is the tightness of the whole band that leaves your jaw dropping. Most group of musicians would not attempt an epic of this proportion unless they had been together several years and had several safe studio albums under their collective belts. This quartet, however, pulled it off with great aplomb, trooping straight out onto the stage and laying it down in front of a live audience.

Cover songs are always a bit dodgy, obviously risking the chance of being held up in comparison to the version by the original artist. The more well known the song, the more difficult the challenge. Taking on an all time classic like Procol Harem's 'Whiter Shade of Pale' takes either great bravery or shows suicidal tendencies. Our bunch of intrepid heroes turn in a version that can only be said is as good - if not better - as the original. It starts off with Sammy Hagar's voice only supported by some acoustic guitar…then the band build it to a crashing climax, including one of the best solos Neal Schon has ever laid down on the live stage.

The album closes out with three more hard and fast songs that leave the audience baying for more. I would be very surprised if any of the musicians on this album have been involved with a finer body of work. As I said, I have no idea why this lineup only lasted the one album, but it is a real corker. It will leave behind a fine legacy to a fine band. Presumably the lure of greater financial gains took their toll, but this lot could of conquered the world of Rock & Roll if they had just given themselves a little bit more time.

Pawed by Mott The Dog
Re-chewed by Ella Crew

E-mail: review@mott-the-dog.com


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