CD Young, Wild and Free - (c) 1986 WEA Records; CD Take a Deep Breath - (c) 1988 WEA Records
Brighton Rock (Gerald McGhee - v, Greg Fraser - g, Stevie Skreebs - b, Martin Victor/Johnny Rogers - kb, Mark Cavarzan - d) war eine der unübersichtlich vielen Bands aus Kanada, jedoch eine der wenigen, die es immerhin auf das WEA-Label schaffte. Daß bereits für die erste Platte Michael Wagener als Produzent gewonnen wurde, deutet darauf hin, daß es sich hier um ein bewußt gefördertes Projekt handelt - fünf Schönlinge, die zufällig auch Musik machen. Der vielgelobte Wagener achtet darauf, der Musik möglichst alle Ecken und Kanten zu nehmen. Dennoch ist das Endresultat Young, Wild and Free nahezu unschlagbar, und das liegt am Songwriting. Melodischer Hardrock mit Keyboards wird zelebriert, die Reibeisenstimme von Gerald McGhee erschwert anfangs den Zugang, bewahrt jedoch vor dem Tothören.
Mini LP Brighton Rock - (c) 1985 Flying Fist Records
Daß sich BR auf Balladen verstehen, dürfte klar sein. Ironischerweise ist, wenn es überhaupt einen Schwachpunkt gibt, "Nobody's Hero" ein solcher. Das Spezialgebiet der Band sind aber melancholische Rocker, mal mittelschnell ("Assault Attack", "Jack Is Back"), mal schnell ("Rock 'n' Roll Kid").
Die Nachfolgeplatte Take A Deep Breath produzierte Jack Richardson (Sword etc.), der auf der ersten für die Pre-Production verantwortlich war. Man ist versucht zu sagen, es konnte noch eine Schippe draufgelegt werden. Dieses Teil (die CD hat einen Bonustrack, "Nothing to Lose") kennt absolut keine Schwächen, ein perfekt ausgefeiltes AOR-Stück reiht sich an das andere. Eine schönere Ballade als "Love Slips Away" kann man nicht machen, "Outlaw" ist das neue "Jack Is Back", "Rock 'n' Roll Kid" heißt jetzt "Unleash the Rage". Wie ein roter Faden zieht sich das geniale melancholische Element auch durch diese Platte.
CD Brighton Rock - Love Machine - (c) 1991 WEA Records; 7"/12" Brighton Rock - One More Try - (c) 1988 WEA Records
Danach gab die Band ihren keyboardlastigen Sound auf und wurde etwas "erdiger". Die CD Love Machine erschließt sich nur dem geduldigen Hörer, und das Talent, aus jedem Song ein ausgefeiltes Meisterwerk zu machen, ihm etwas Besonderes zu verleihen, ist nicht mehr in dieser Form vorhanden. Trotz (oder wegen?) der Stiländerung blieb der große Erfolg aus; die Auflösung war eine logische Konsequenz. Gitarrist Greg Fraser hatte später ein kurzes Gastspiel bei Helix (CD It's A Business Doing Pleasure).
A Room for Five
Unglaublich, aber wahr: Mehr als zehn Jahre nach der Auflösung der Band ist das Comeback eindrucksvoll vollzogen. Die 2002 erschienene CD A Room for Five - Live macht da weiter, wo Take a Deep Breath aufhörte (und ein größeres Kompliment kann man nicht machen!). Enthalten sind vier Stücke von YWF, sechs von Take a Deep Breath, vier von Love Machine. Die Gesangsdarbietung ist fast schon verdächtig gut, die Schlußnummer ist "Rock n Roll Kid", womit sich jede Kritik fast schon erübrigt. Im August 2002 gab Gerry McGhee mir Auskunft über Brighton Rocks Vergangenheit und Zukunft, die unter anderem einen Auftritt in Ludwigshafen am 5. Oktober vorsah.
CD Brighton Rock - A Room for Five Live; (c) 2002 Z Records
Q: Gerry, I asked you before but maybe you can give us a more detailed account ... what were your occupations after 1991?
Gerry: We finished touring around the end of 1992. I then moved to Los Angeles and lived down there, joined a band called Off White, wrote a bunch of new songs but unfortunately the guitar player got very sick and I returned home to Canada to spend time with my family and decided to call it a day and move into another end of the music business which is what I am still doing today.
Q: I think BR's music is highly original. I really don't know anything else like it. Would you agree, or were there, in one way or another, role models?
Gerry: We all had bands and singers we grew up idolizing, but I always felt our music was a mix of American influences and European influences from Aerosmith and Van Halen to Black Sabbath, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple.
Q: Where does the band name come from - was it the Graham Greene novel, the Boulting film or the Queen song?
Gerry: It was suggested to us by Warner Music. We were called Heart Attack at first. I didn't mind it being a big Queen fan, the company line was that it was from the book though.
Q: What was working with two famous producers, Michael Wagener and Jack Richardson, like? Any memories?
Gerry: They were both very talented producers and we learned a lot from them both. Michael was a complete maniac and a true rocker, he put together many now classic albums, and Jack is a legend, I learned a lot about writing lyrics from Jack, and his arrangements were vital in all three BR CDs.
Q: There's a song on each album with "outlaw/slasher" lyrics. How did your fascination with this kind of subject come about?
Gerry: I was always intrigued by the dark side of the human race, what made someone snap to the point of being able to take another person's life, The Ripper and Ramieraz were the extreme of this, plus live it allowed me to kind of take on another personality during the show.
Q: There is a certain atmosphere in your early songs - something in between melancholy and romaticism which is really hard to describe and absolutely unique. Would you agree, and how come there's such an element in the songs? How does it get "composed"?
Gerry: I think there was a lot of anger and love in those albums, one extreme to another, almost like good guy - bad guy, but it also reflected that we were young and wild and living the lifestyle, sex, drugs and rock and roll, it was the way of the times. Greg would do the music with the guys, lay down some melodies, and I would go off on my own and write the lyrics, and then we'd bring the two sides together as a band.
Q: When Phil Ashcroft said that in his opinion Love Machine has dated better your reply was along the lines of, "the first two albums could have been like LM already, but the management interfered". To be honest, it took me years to get accustomed to LM, and I consider the first two (the "candy" ones) to be the classics. How much vintage BR can be found in those two?
Gerry: When I said that Love Machine was better, I meant that it was raw compared to the other records. I think that the songs on the first two may have been the best we wrote but the CDs were not a true reflection of us live, Love Machine came very close to that. This was in no way the producers' fault, we were a metal band with some pop songs and a very dark side, but the label and other factors wanted to market us as a long haired pop band. They wanted us on radio, we wanted to tour and build the way Iron Maiden and Judas Priest had done it.
Q: What exactly made you throw in the towel after Love Machine?
Gerry: It was evident that Warner was not willing to go the extra mile for us, and our contract did not allow us to seek other labels in other countries where we had interest, so the writing was on the wall.
Q: What kind of music will be on the next studio album? Will it be Young, Wild & Free II [I would hope!], Love Machine II, or something totally different?
Gerry: I am not really sure, will still have to get together and see what we come up with. We are older and I hope a lot wiser now. I would not see it being Love Machine II, we never did that before, but I am sure it will ROCK!
Q: Do you commit yourself to anything else in your spare time (if you have any), e.g. family, politics, social issues, whatever?
Gerry: I spend nearly all my off work time with my wife and two daughters. I spent alot of years on the road and have now become a home body. I play around with my classic car collection and also play a lot of sports, football, hockey, baseball. I am very concerned with the state of the world and the right for all people to be free and choose their own destiny.
Q: What's your relationship to other Canadian big names - Helix, Coney Hatch, Honeymoon Suite etc.? The fact that Greg played on a Helix album seems to show that it's one big family.
Gerry: [Vocalist] Brian [Vollmer] from Helix is a good friend, and we talk and do business weekly. Also Andy [Curran] and Carl [Dixon] from Coney [Hatch] are good buddies, they are working on some really good music on their own now, so watch out for it!
Q: I have the impression that you belong to the rare breed of modest rock stars who don't take themselves too seriously. Is that correct?
Gerry: I have never believed the hype, I know who I am and consider myself very lucky and blessed to have the career that I did. I have nothing but great memories, and I am no different from anyone else in the world. I just got lucky and got to live my boyhood dream and play music for many years and meet a lot of great people from all over the world, and the fact that people enjoyed the music we made was a great honor for us and still is.
Natürlich war der Auftritt des heimlichen Headliners vom allerfeinsten - danach konnte sich abmühen, wer wollte; es blieb eine undankbare Aufgabe.
Well then, Frontiers or MTM, I'm sure we all could cope with a new studio album ...!
http://www.brightonrock.ca (Official homepage)
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