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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » MSG (Michael Schenker Group) - 1980 The Michael Schenker Group
MSG (Michael Schenker Group) - 1980 The Michael Schenker Group

ARTIST: MSG (Michael Schenker Group)
ALBUM: The Michael Schenker Group
LABEL: Chrysalis
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: CD Reissue: 2009, EMI, 50999 2 67648 2 5 (with bonus tracks)


LINEUP: Michael Schenker - guitar * Gary Barden - lead vocals * Don Airey - keyboards * Mo Foster - bass * Simon Phillips - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Armed And Ready * 02 Cry For The Nations * 03 Victim Of Illusion * 04 Bijou Pleasurette * 05 Feels Like A Good Thing * 06 Into The Arena * 07 Looking Out From Nowhere * 08 Tales Of Mystery * 09 Lost Horizons


Michael Schenker's storied solo career has had more than its share of ups and downs compounded by the demon alcohol and bizarre behavior that while often entertaining, has done little to help his reputation as a serioiusly loose nut. I personally waited outside a venue in in the late '90s for a UFO show only to find out with a hundred other shivering punters Schenker had left the band earlier that afternoon, concert cancelled and I remember thinking on the long and agitated drive home if the man were not such a brilliant and influential guitar player, who would put up with his bullshit? Everyone probably, and let's face it, few have made a white Gibson Flying V sound as melodically lethal and even fewer hard rock debuts have come as close to perfection as the opening salvo in his own Michael Schenker Group.

The Songs
Production chores courtesy of Roger Glover; Schenker's pick of former Fraser Nash (who?) vocalist Gary Barden has to be the most lucid decision the spikey-haired wunderkind ever made and augmented by Don Airey on keys, Mo Foster on four string and journeyman drummer Simon Phillips; the results are ambitious and truly spectacular. 'Armed And Ready' blasts-off with a chorus that never lets up and before the dust settles 'Cry For The Nations' explodes with blinding melodic intensity and razor-sharp soloing from the master. Classical instrumental 'Bijou Pleasurette' takes on Rainbow at their own game while the rumbling pop of 'Feels Like A Good Thing' breaks it up before dipping into epic hard rock on 'Tales Of Mystery' and the album's gothic cornerstone 'Lost Horizons'; this is an album with riff after riff staying power and over three decades later sounds as fresh, exciting and kick-ass as ever.

In Summary
Touring naturally followed, wowing crowds in the UK, Europe and later in the U.S. supporting Molly Hatchet. 1981's Ron Nevison produced 'MSG' did not disappoint, but replacing Barden with Graham Bonnet for 'Assault Attack' was a mistake in my opinion. Despite a clutch of good songs, the record lacked the creative spark that made the first two albums so very, very special and after some nasty and frankly weird on-stage shenanigans, Bonnet was out and Barden was back in the game for 1983's rock solid 'Built To Destroy'.

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#1 | rkbluez on January 22 2012 11:21:48
Great album...probably my favorite solo albums by Schenker..."Into The Arena" was a great instrumental track...yeah this one's a real classic.
#2 | englandashes on January 22 2012 17:18:54
Don Airey lives in a small village in Bedfordshire, in fact my work colleague regulary see's him in the local shop. He does a charity concert in the village every couple of years, where Danny Bowes and Graham Bonnet have appeared in the past.
#3 | reyno-roxx on January 23 2012 18:31:08
One of the best of that year. Always thought MSG were a great band throughout the 80s, including the McAuley period. Had to get all the reissues when they came out in the past couple of years.
#4 | vinyldinosaurus on January 24 2012 16:49:24
I learned recently that Schenker came very close to recruiting Geddy Lee and Neil Peart from Rush to play bass and drums on what would have become this album. There are also demos out there of Schenker with Billy Sheehan and Denni Carmassi around the same time period...
#5 | richardb on January 25 2012 21:03:18
Agree with all the above a fantastic album.

Just reading your review Eric, makes me want to hunt down my old (and very battered vinyl copy). Here's hoping it's lurking someone in the house and that the missus hasn't consigned it to the charity shop..

Richard B
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