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Bad Axe - 1976 Bad Axe

ALBUM: Bad Axe
LABEL: Earth Breeze
YEAR: 1976


LINEUP: Stacy Moreland - vocals * Dave Carruth - guitars * Dana Strum - bass * Steve Ward - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Cities Of Rage * 02 Stray * 03 Do What We Please * 04 What Did I Do * 05 Set Me Free * 06 Vacation * 07 Blues L.A * 08 Foggy Morning * 09 Road To Makin' It * 10 Take Your Time

If you were around the hard rock scene of Los Angeles during the mid-late 70's, then you may have run across this lot - called Bad Axe, put together by the duo of Dana Strum (Slaughter, Vinnie Vincent Invasion) and Dave Carruth (Bitch and Betsy). The band were in the same league as rivals Quiet Riot and other L.A hotshot bands of the day. Bad Axe were vying for attention in a scene that would in a few years literally 'take off'. The band released a limited edition of their debut LP back in 1976, but it was a demo only, of which one hundred copies out of the initial batch were pressed onto orange vinyl. Bad Axe's demo LP has been described as a 'crushing set of hard rock'. It owes its existence to many hard rockers from the earlier side of the 1975 divide - rather than those looking forward into the next five years. Carruth's guitar still smells 'fuzzbox' to me, it's obvious the band haven't yet discovered the finesse of guitar pedal effects just yet.

The Songs
Firing out of the can first is 'Cities Of Rage', the production is pretty patchy, the sound effects and sirens all try to depict some apocalyptic landscape, it kinda works, but its pretty manic and messy too. Sort of reminded of that first Virgin Steele LP. 'Stray' works itself up through a series of stop/start passages before lurching into a metal gallop typical of the mid 70's era. 'Do What We Please' sounds like a cross between a biker anthem and a stoner tune, it contains a bunch of silly lyrics about some truly bad motherf***ers.. lol! Carruth breaks out some raw guitars for 'What Did I Do', this one features some dexterity from bassman Dana Strum (perhaps he should've been named Dana Pick?). 'Set Me Free' is more HM fun with a blues groove, the whole thing living in the land of overdrive. You get the picture.. Venturing down doom boulevard is 'Vacation' with a nod to Mr Iommi as he drives past in his Rolls Royce! 'Blues L.A' instead moves into that experimental space rock void occupied by a young Frank Marino at the time - this space rocker is full of phaser-play on Mr Carruth's guitar. 'Foggy Morning' is another trippy piece, loud and proud, and as an arrangement, you could compare this to a zig-zag, rather than a straight piece of road. 'Road To Makin' It' is pretty straight-forward rock when compared to this sonic mess, while the closer 'Take Your Time' has a bluesy riff over what is a tightly played tune.

In Summary
'Bad Axe' as an album is a real pot pourri. You can forgive the boys because it was 1976 after all, it was a scarcely released demo, and the guys weren't so far out of school. So given that, this album is an achievement. In future years this LP would become as rare as hens teeth. Apparently, there were no masters available, but a label called Hexamon Records took it upon themselves to remaster the original LP in 2004, and it came out smelling of roses, the quality much better than the original. Still very hard to track down, you should be able to find it on a blogsite somewhere. Of course, Strum would go onto bigger and better things. Interestingly enough, he was solely responsible for hooking up Randy Rhoads with Ozzy Osbourne, and though he was touted for the Ozzy solo gig back in 1980, the job eventually fell to Bob Daisley, due in no small part to the intervention of Jet Records boss Don Arden who saw Strum as a threat to his business dealings with Ozzy. During this timeframe, Bad Axe were still a going concern, as were Quiet Riot, and Strum was not popular with his own bandmates nor with Kevin Dubrow. However as time would tell, Bad Axe disappeared out the back door, Dubrow went onto a career which saw highs ('Metal Health') and lows (his cocaine fuelled death), Strum went on to Slaughter and Vinnie Vincent, while Ozzy found Reality TV. The world is indeed a strange place..

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#1 | jeffduran on July 21 2008 19:44:11
Strum is now Vince Neil's personal assistant along with the occasional Slaughter gig here and there. He would of had to been around 20 here if it's 1976.
#2 | rostoned on July 21 2008 20:15:37
Poor Dana...for a moment his dream of being a wealthy ROCK STAR was there (see Slaughter debut). Now bag bringer of that royally drunk fat ignorant pig called Vince. Sad.
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