Don’t know if you’ve noticed but lately Tyneside’s metal bands are warming up ready to hoy the whole kit and caboodle into the pot, taking everything with them and leaving nowt and no one behind. Are you ready for the Great North East Metal Raid?
They first plugged in around the 1970s and never in a million years did they think they would still be dancing with the devil 50 years later. So a quick update on where they are now and what they are doing is in order.
Firing off instant messages and communicating directly to followers on social media is used to full effect by the Tyneside Metal Raiders with a message from Raven loud and clear…‘The album has to be all killer no filler, no messin’ around with 19 minute epics, its smash yer face in with an ice pick. The title sums up everything we do. We wanted to tear it up, which is what Raven are all about’.
After releasing three singles ‘Back for Good, Fire on the Horizon’ and the epic, ‘Edge of the World’, Tygers of Pan Tang officially release their ten track album ‘Bloodlines’ on 5th May 2023.
‘A week after its release we’ll be celebrating Bloodlines at the Nordic Noise Festival on 12th May in Copenhagen with our record company who are of course, based in … Copenhagen. They have promised us that the drinks are on them’.
After six albums and countless UK & European tours, battle hardened Satan reached out to the United States again this year.
‘After kicking off the Hell’s Decibels tour at the legendary Whiskey a Go-Go on the Sunset Strip in April, Satan had a blast touring the USA with Night Demon and Haunt. You guys were a pleasure to work with, brothers forever and a piece of my heart will be with you until the end of time’.
Contact for sales, tours, photos & info:
Mythra are one of the original New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands. They recorded their legendary ‘Death & Destiny EP’ in 1979.
‘The new album ‘Temples of Madness’ is out now and has been available in Brazil and USA for a week or so. We’ve started to sell them through our on line shop and business is pretty brisk’.
Having taken voluntary redundancy from the BBC after 25 years, Sue’s last job was as TV Development Producer, she is now semi-retired and working freelance.
But during the 90s Sue was involved with the North East music scene working at Generator and managing bands in Newcastle.
I guess I’m a bit of a career chameleon.
Originally born in Liverpool, the family then moved to Manchester where her father was a Graphic Artist.
I picked up my creative side from him. At school there was a group of us reading the music press, I went from listening to poppier sounds of Cat Stevens to serious stuff like Led Zeppelin.
When I completed my A levels punk was just on the cusp and we went to see bands like Buzzcocks and The Adverts at sweaty clubs like Eric’s. I was really into the whole punk thing listening to the Pistols and The Clash.
After University I started work as a Graduate Town Planner with North Tyneside Council. I didn’t have long term plans to stay in the North East but I loved the vibe of Newcastle. Now I’m an honorary Geordie!
My patch was North Shields, Whitley Bay and Tynemouth, things have changed dramatically down the riverfront area, it was fascinating working there.
I also worked at Sunderland Civic Centre and Newcastle on the planning team – this is a weird way of starting to talk about the North East music industry. But I wanted to make a difference in terms of helping communities, living in a better environment, helping people make a better life, and hopefully did that through music.
When I left planning, I started work at Newcastle University in the Centre for Urban and Regional Development, a research unit rather than teaching. Northern Arts funded a project there called Cultural Industries Research Unit, helping communities through the arts.
My colleague James Cornford and I were asked to look at a new project and we chose popular music. Sheffield had been flying the flag providing rehearsal space and studios so we thought we could give that a go as James had been in bands and I loved music.
Plus, I had already written a published article around culture in the North East and done a lot of research around the subject. We spoke to a few hundred musicians and people who ran recording studios and record labels – small or large.
We found there wasn’t enough venues or rehearsal space for bands, they couldn’t get out on tour it would cost an arm and a leg and there weren’t any showcase gigs. Investment was needed to support DIY musicians – they needed a leg up.
We put the findings together and put forward a plan called Sound of the City. This was three events across Tyneside, hundreds of people attended which created more ideas. One was for an umbrella organisation to pull it all together, a one stop shop for support, advice and help – that’s how Generator came about.
The name was perfect because the aim was to generate a profile of the North East music scene which had been non- existent up till then – apart from big names like Sting and Mark Knopfler.
As well as Generator Management Committee meetings, Dave Cross and I met several times weekly to do behind the scenes work at the Riverside live music venue. What came from our meetings was a need for showcase gigs and working with promoters to develop a venue in their area, we covered the North East and Cumbria.
Generator was there to help musicians kick start their career, we wanted to be central in supporting emerging talent and artists, or just be creative and have better facilities to enjoy what they were doing.
The first event billed as Generator Live Music Explosion was at the Riverside in Newcastle on Saturday 25th January 1992 included Candleman Summer from South Shields, The Hangarounds from Gateshead, Procession from Teesside, Greedsville and This Is This from Newcastle.
The event went on all day generating a lot of press, many thanks to all the sponsors who came onboard donating time, money and facilities.
All of the bands were original not tributes, and although some didn’t get record deals the members went on to do other stuff. Dave Denholm from This Is This ended up in Lindisfarne.
Around 1992 Greedsville fell in my lap (interview with guitarist Chris Jackson on 22 Feb 2023). I loved them, very creative in their outfits especially Pete Turner the singer. One outfit was a Chinese mandarin hat and shoes with curly toes.
They had their own way of doing things and were always good on publicity and presentation getting a review in Kerrang and local mag Paint it Red. They also had the idea of slotting their cd album into tiger print bags and sending them to press and media.
By now we had been working on Generator a few years and were based in the Black Swan Arts Centre on Westgate Road. We’d publish regular newsletters promoting bands and events including tips for how to plaster your name across the media, developing a press strategy, even make sure you arrive on time for an interview on radio or TV. Basically, how to get on in the music industry.
Bands would submit demo tapes and we’d choose from them what bands to have on the showcase gig, and we were becoming more ambitious adding art, design, films and music seminars.
The more events we put on the more interest we created with label scouts popping into gigs to see what we had. Rather than a regular weekly gig, we spread out the dates of gigs to make them an event.
Northern Exposure was held 11th-19th June 1994 including Profundo Rosso, Crisis Children, Blyth Power and the wonderfully named Delicate Vomit.
The MPS and Musicians Union were involved in the seminars dealing with publicity, royalties and copyright.
We became good at publicity. North East music journalist Ian Penman who sadly is no longer with us, worked for Sounds and other music papers and magazines, he gave us good advice about publicity and how it needed to be spot on.
Generator were really ramping it up and had demonstrated that we were capable of delivering stuff. In 1998 the peak was Sound City, around then Jim Mawdsley came onboard.
When we became a funded organisation, Wayne C. McDonald joined Jim Mawdsley and I on the professional team. A week later we were awarded £250,000 from the National Lottery.
Generator’s successful National Lottery bid was given massive national profile on BBC One TV’s National Lottery Show when Sue and her Generator colleague, Wayne C McDonald, appeared live in front of 16 million people. Their cause was championed by none other than The Spice Girls.
Wayne thought I was joking when I told him we were going to be live on stage – and thought we were just going to be sitting in the audience. When it came to the crunch, we were called on stage and he hadn’t prepared a speech – so he performed a completely improvised rap which everyone loved!
We had spent three years talking to BBC Radio One about bringing an event to Newcastle. We worked with the Council to put a document together which included main stage, a number of venues and a Fringe festival, the BBC accepted it.
After my work at the University on the Cultural Industries project, I got some part time work as a researcher at the BBC which I combined with the Generator work.
Looking back, it was around 1999 when I left Generator, I had just run out of steam. After Sound City I went on to work on various music festivals in Newcastle attracting bigger, signed names and by the 2000’s I was at Evolution sponsored by Orange telecommunications.
Iggy Pop was on a bill, we had Amy Winehouse, Paloma Faith, Maximo Park and one year we had Public Enemy on. I remember for their rider we were sent to KFC for forty boxes of chicken – we weren’t very popular with the rest of the customers.
We ended up with expensive headliners with Generator running alongside with showcase gigs for North East bands and arranging music seminars. Evolution went on for years but our riverfront site on the Tyne was earmarked for redevelopment and we decided to take a break which became permanent. We had a great time seeing the audiences enjoying the event.
Generator still exists today, it embraced the new digital agenda and pushed it really hard. It’s helped create long lasting partnerships and connections across the music sector.
It’s now the UK’s leading music development agency and a beacon for those looking for help with their musical ventures. Something we’re really proud of because it’s made a huge impact on musicians in the region and shone a light on the North East through showcases and events.
It’s been involved in national initiatives, helping influence arts and government policy. Has it been important? You bet.
More information about the work of Generator at the official website:
Gateshead born Mal has been working the entertainment biz for nearly six decades and still has a great passion and enthusiasm for music.
From being a teenager watching bands in the famous Newcastle venue Club a’Gogo, to becoming a seasoned performer on the North East working men’s club circuit, and today, promoting bands and events in Skegness.
I thought he’d have a few stories to tell – he did – so we spent a couple of hours chewing the fat in The Centurion bar in Newcastle Central Station.
First time I heard loud music was in the YMCA in Gateshead, bands like The Sect were playing. It was the ‘60s with the mods and rockers, that was the sounds that influenced me. We were brought up on the best music, we were privileged to be born then.
Going to the Club a’Gogo was the best time of yer life. I saw everybody there – Long John Baldry, the Stones, Eric Burdon, and I was there when Hendrix played.
I’d seen loads of guitar players by then but you knew you were watching someone special. Nobody knew he was gonna be a world legend when he walked on stage.
The Gogo was fantastic, the DJ was Bryan Ferry who went onto Roxy Music fame. Zoot Money was massive when he played, but the biggest pull was Geno Washington & the Ram Jam band, never sold records but always rammed.
I remember when The Animals went to number one with House of the Rising Sun in 1964. They came back from London to the Central Station, got off the train and came to the Gogo. I remember like it was yesterday.
I’ve been involved in music since I was 15. I joined a band called Jacko and got to know all the North East groups working the clubs, the Brass Alleys, the Becketts, John Miles, and my pal Brian Johnson in Geordie.
When I finished with Jacko, I went with a band called Chevy who had Andy Taylor on guitar – later he joined Duran Duran. There was Davey Black from Goldie he lived just over the road.
In fact, Andy had just come back from playing in Germany when he asked me to join on vocals ‘Do ya fancy going on the road with us?’
Andy was a great player, a rock player, so Duran Duran weren’t exactly his style but he told me ‘It’s £50 a week and they have a recording contract’. ‘Good on yer lad’ I said.
Andy rang me up one night ‘We’re playing Newcastle City Hall tonight supporting Hazel O’Connor on the Broken Glass tour do ya fancy comin’ along?’… ‘Wey aye!’
Through the Geordie days I kept in touch with Brian and when he got the gig with AC/DC I went on the Black in Back tour with him.
How it all started was one night when I was singing in Chevy and playing Peterlee Social Club, guitarist Andy Taylor said ‘we’re going to Newcastle Mayfair to see AC/DC tonight’.
This line up was with Bon Scott on the Highway to Hell tour. Well I was blown away by them and told Brian Johnson ‘Ya gotta see this band’.
He was in Geordie Mark 2 at the time who were doing the clubs and using the same PA as us. One night Chevy were doing Lobley Hill Social Club when Brian came to see us and he got up on stage and done Whole Lotta Rosie – next week he was in AC/DC!
He went off to the Bahamas, recorded the album then straight onto the Back in Black tour where I travelled with the band on the UK leg. I remember being in Birmingham and Robert Plant came backstage, it was great, a real honour to meet your hero.
I remember going to Donnington festival, then the States as the band went into Jimi Hendrix’ studio in New York to record vocals for the album For Those About to Rock.
The lads in the band were great, no big stars, they were playing 60,000 stadiums, absolutely massive over there. I was in a bar with Malcolm Young in New York, he told me ‘We knew when Brian walked in, he was the man for the job, we knew he was the kid we wanted’.
Brian didn’t think he was in the band after the audition. But Malcolm phoned ‘You need to come back we’re doing an album’. Brian replied ‘Am I in the band then’! Brian was tailor made for that job.
I managed a rock band called Sergeant and got them on a national tour supporting Accept. What happened was I knew Colin Rowell from music TV show The Tube filmed in Newcastle. He had singer Tony Liddle on one week ‘Can you do anything with these Mal?’
So, I went with Brian Johnson to see the band play at the Gosforth Assembly Rooms. I liked what I saw so rang John Jackson, an agent I knew in London, and he gave them that UK support tour.
We also put them in Linx Studio in Newcastle, another Brian Johnson connection as he owned the studio. We recorded them and I thought they were tremendous. Tony Liddle was great I thought boy can this kid sing.
Tony was the new breed of rock singer in the North East, you had great frontmen Davey Ditchburn, Terry Slesser, John Miles, all them that had come through, but Tony was a bit younger.
He was also a good songwriter, obviously there is Lindisfarne as your big songwriters from the North East. I remember seeing them and they were new, fresh a different style, Alan Hull was an amazing talent.
Anyway, we took the demo tape to London and the first person to listen to it was Peter Mensch, Def Leppard manager.
We were in his house and asked him ‘What do ya think of these’? Bearing in mind he had just signed Metallica. ‘They’re alright Mal, hang on to the singer’. In the end RCA were looking at giving them a singles deal.
But one day Tony walked in and told us he’s leaving the band. ‘I’m joining The Strangeways’. A Scottish band who already had a deal with plenty money behind them. That broke Sergeant up.
We gave it our best shot, they had supported Nazareth in Scotland, been on a UK tour with Accept including a sold-out show at Hammersmith Odeon and we put them in front of record companies.
When I came back from America with AC/DC, video jukebox’s had just kicked off so I went into that business. I got the franchise for a company selling a video jukebox to pubs.
I worked with a guy for years called Percy Sheeran, whose family have the fairground in South Shields, he was doing the fruit machines and I was doing the music. A great team.
Then we started Arcadia Leisure selling PA’s and sound equipment from the Team Valley in Gateshead. After that closed down Percy’s brother Walter opened bars, leisure centres and arcades in Skegness, he asked me to come down, ‘Nah I like the Toon too much’ I said. But I’m still with him to this day!
The music scene is good down there, I’m booking bands all the time, I’m putting on festivals in the summer. We’ve got some local bands from Lincoln playing, Butlins is next door with rock festivals and alternative nights – always rammed.
I’ve got four or five bands from the North travelling down this year, so I still keep in touch with North East musicians. Lorraine Crosby has been down a few times. We’ve been friends around 30 years since she was in Foxy, Lorraine’s a great kid, she done the Meatloaf single as well.
Soon I’ve got an event lined up for the scooter boys – a mod rally at the end of April. There are loads happening.
I enjoy reading your blogs but a guy who doesn’t get a mention is Greg Burman. During the ‘60s the Greg Burman Soul band played at the Gogo, he also built amps for all the bands coming through like Lindisfarne, and made stuff for Thin Lizzy and Status Quo.
He was based in Newcastle’s Handyside Arcade which sadly isn’t there now. I dealt with him in the ‘70s, a lovely fella, what a gentleman. It’ll be a great story if you can talk to him.
The Roksnaps feature on this blog has photographs sent in by concert goers who captured the atmosphere of gigs at Newcastle City Hall and the Mayfair.
Among the many bands pictured were Whitesnake, Motorhead, Scorpions and North East band, Fist.
Whitley Bay’s Tygers of Pan Tang were snapped by John Edward Spence who told me “I used to go to loads of gigs at the Newcastle City Hall and Mayfair. I was lucky enough to see the bands associated with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal – just loved the music around then”.
John’s pics are from 1980/81 with Jess Cox on vocals who was eventually replaced by Welsh frontman Jon Deverill, and a second guitarist John Sykes joined Thin Lizzy and was replaced by former Penetration guitarist Fred Purser.
The original Tygers engine room of guitarist Robb Weir, bassist Rocky Laws and Brian Dick on drums completed the line-up.
In 1982 the five piece band recorded one of their most successful albums, The Cage. On the subsequent tour I remember catching them live on their home patch at a packed Newcastle Mayfair on Friday 3rd September 1982.
Recently the Tygers management issued a plea “40 years ago this month The Cage tour began at Newcastle’s Mayfair Ballroom. At the time it was the bands most successful outing and we visited the best venues in the country including Manchester Apollo and Hammersmith Odeon.
Support came from our old mate Kev Riddles’ Tytan. It’s a pity we have no photos from The Cage tour, unless of course anyone out there has any?”
“We realise it was 40 years ago but if you can help with the request for any pic’s – maybe they’re in the loft or in a box at the back of the garage – there’s got to be some out there”.
If you can help please don’t hesitate to get in touch. All emails will be passed onto the Tygers management or contact the official website:
“I grew up loving history, and eventually got a PhD in the discipline. I spent about two decades in academia, and was a college professor for over a decade. All that time, my childhood love for rock music remained strong”.
In 2020, Greg released the authorized autobiography of Grammy winning record producer Ted Templeman (Van Halen, Van Morrison, Doobie Brothers, Little Feat). His latest book is ‘Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal’.
Van Halen toured the UK in 1978 opening for Black Sabbath did you come across any stories from that tour?
“I write about the VH/Sabbath UK tour a lot in Van Halen Rising. One of the main reasons I wrote the book and looked at Van Halen’s ‘pre-fame’ years was I wanted to know – how did Van Halen become a band good enough to blow Black Sabbath off the stage?
Those questions couldn’t be answered by focusing on 1981 or 1982. It had to be focusing on earlier years”.
What inspired you to write Van Halen Rising?
“I grew up a big Van Halen fan, and by the time I became a historian, I was struck by how little info was available about their early beginnings. There hadn’t been a book that had looked at those years”.
“If I wanted to learn the details of how The Detours became the Who, I could read that story in any number of books, if I wanted to learn the details of how the New Yardbirds became Led Zeppelin, a group that stormed the globe and released some of the best albums in rock history, I could read that story in any number of books”.
“But if I wanted to learn about how Van Halen, a band that recorded one of the most successful debuts in rock history, wowed stadium crowds in 1978, and became giants, I couldn’t read that story anywhere”.
Where and when did you first hear Van Halen ?
“I was 14 in 1984 and for me once I heard ‘Jump’ that was it. Then I was able to see Van Halen on the ‘1984’ album tour – a guy in my homeroom class had scalped a ticket.
I paid 50 bucks for it in ’84, but was just so desperate to go. And that was it. I became a big fan”.
“So, I saw Van Halen on a Monday night, April 2, 1984. That night, the band was just so larger than life. I’d seen a couple of concerts but the stage was so much bigger, the lights were brighter, it was louder and it was so much more energetic and just a spectacle”.
“Roth jumping off the drum riser and the other thing I remember he stood on the edge of the stage and said “F— the rest of the concert. Let’s go to the bar across the street and get drunk”.
“He was just doing whatever he wanted and I thought it was amazing. And of course Eddie’s guitar playing. You left with your ears ringing and you were so overwhelmed by the whole sensation of the band”.
Researching for the bookdid you come across any funny or surprising stories ?
“So many, but one comes to mind. There was a huge backyard party in November 1974 in Pasadena. The kids who threw the party went to high school with the Van Halen brothers and they just loved the band”.
“Their parents went off to Mexico so they threw this massive party at their home that Van Halen played at. There were hundreds of kids in attendance. It ended up that the riot police from one of the sheriff’s departments broke up the party!”
‘Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal’out now.
For more information contact Greg at the official website:
Music can spring unexpected surprises when it pulls you in and holds your breath.
It was the early ‘80s when I hired out albums from the local library and sampled songs from bands I’d only read about in Sounds music weekly. There were stacks of misses but big hitters like the first time hearing the sublime poetic lyrics of Leonard Cohen.
‘When I left they were sleeping, I hope you run into them soon. Don’t turn on the lights you can read their address by the moon’.
Or Pete Murphy spitting out white hot haunting claustrophobic tunes from post punk band Bauhaus ‘Yin and yang lumber punch, go taste a tart, then eat my lunch. And force my slender, thin and lean, in this solemn place of fill-wetting dreams’.
Live gig’s also brought surprises, I remember in November 1981 self-proclaimed UK Metal Gods Judas Priest were at Newcastle City Hall primed to deliver the goods.
Before the big boys played with their bigger toys the support band are usually given 40 minutes to say their piece, unfortunately some crumble in front of the headliners crowd, but word shot around ‘the openers are supposed to be canny’.
It was a cold night outside as winter closed in and in the warmth of the ‘Haal’ the lights went down and a few shouts went out.
From the balcony I looked down to see the short, stocky blond haired vocalist plant himself at the front of the stage. Udo Dirkschneider. The leader of the pack.
Sounding like they’ve brought the Panza division with them, the twin guitar attack of German metallers Accept announced their arrival in Newcastle and rock ‘n’ rolled thunder till the end. In the wings Priest looked on, sharpened their set and Rob Halford screamed for vengeance.
‘80s live music show The Tube had something and someone new and fresh every week. Big Country, The Alarm, The Cult, they all made a big, beautiful noise, and a surprise on the programme was Pat Benatar – the little American lady with a huge, huge voice.
On one show a duo delivered power from what at first looked like an unlikely source. A young skinny lad with floppy hair stood ready, at a game of football he would have been the last picked, then on walked someone who could of been a school dinner lady.
The stage was bare – with no drums, no Marshall stacks, no guitars, I was prepared for disappointment. I didn’t catch their name, with only a keyboard and microphone set up – how loud could a synth pop duo go ?
A clunky pop sound fired up, then the voice, and what a voice. Making one of her first TV appearances was Alison Moyet who went on to sell millions of albums, a bucket load of top ten UK hits, a host of singer and songwriter awards, Live Aid, and more, and more, you get the picture – not bad for a dinner lady.
I’ve got a Dolly Parton greatest hits cd on the shelf which I pick out now and then, but recently I’ve been listening to more country & western. Yep the whole pluckin’ banjo hillbilly heartbreak songs – my neighbour even looks like Willie Nelson – here’s to music springing more surprises.