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Articles Home » 1985 Articles » Kick Axe - 1985 Welcome To The Club
Kick Axe - 1985 Welcome To The Club

ARTIST: Kick Axe
ALBUM: Welcome To The Club
LABEL: Pasha
SERIAL: FZ 40095
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 2001, Sony, Rewind, 55013 * 2013, Wounded Bird, WOU-4009 * 2016, Rock Candy Records, CANDY337


LINEUP: George Criston - lead vocals * Larry Gillstrom - guitars, backing vocals * Raymond Harvey - guitars, backing vocals * Victor Langen - bass, keyboards, backing vocals * Brian Gillstrom - drums, backing vocals

Additional Musicians: George McFoster - banjo * Randy Bishop, Spencer Proffer - percussion, keyboards * Rik Emmett, Alfie Zappacosta, Lee Aaron, John Albani, Andy Curran, Sheron Alton, Cindy Valentine, Brian Allen, Ava Cherry, Paris, Bob Segarini, Cameron Hawkins - backing vocals (10)

TRACK LISTING: 01 Welcome To The Club * 02 Feels Good Don't Stop * 03 Comin' After You * 04 Make Your Move * 05 Never Let Go * 06 Hellraisers * 07 Can't Take It With You * 08 Too Loud - Too Old * 09 Feel The Power * 10 With A Little Help From My Friends


After what was deemed a useful start to their musical career, Canadians Kick Axe returned in 1985 for album number two. Still signed with Pasha Records, 'Welcome To The Club' is notable for its less heavier sound, the album introduces a significant increase in keyboard use, and five songwriting co-writes with Pasha staffer Randy Bishop, who was also a recording artist for the label. This album is probably not the most definitive Kick Axe signature sound, as the material here veers toward the melodic hard rock side of the highway. From my perspective, that's not a bad thing, but the musical difference between 'Vices' and 'Welcome To The Club' is like night and day.

The Songs
The title-track displays that change in sound more or less immediately. I liked the change, with the guitar melody stolen from the Jon Butcher Axis. Second up, 'Feels Good, Don't Stop' is a funky affair, like a lighter version of Extreme. This was the first Randy Bishop co-write, and the difference kicks in. 'Coming After You' and 'Make You Move' are both reasonable affairs without truly convincing anybody, while the band deliver their first ballad with 'Never Let Go'. Kind of ponderous, and one can only say 'I've heard better'. Much better is 'Hellraisers' which returns the band to hard rockin' territory. The stompin' metal that was apparent on 'Vices' is back on 'Can't Take It With You'. Along with the next two tracks 'Too Old - Too Loud' and 'Feel The Power', Kick Axe are crankin' it up toward the back end of the album. For something different, a cover of The Beatles 'With A Little Help From My Friends' is given a rendition, along with a selection of who's who in the Canadian hard rock industry. It's pretty good actually, and there is a video for it too.

In Summary
The very clever front cover was designed by Hugh Syme (Ian Thomas Band) whose work is on covers elsewhere such as Rush, Saga and Wrabit among others. As a point of interest, you can hear a baby's cry on certain tracks. Much like the track 'Pop Goes The What..' on Danny Danzi's 'Somewhere In Time' album. Notwithstanding, there is a backdrop of said baby on the album's back cover. It must belong to one of the band members, though not having read the Rock Candy essay/liner notes, I am none the wiser. Fortunately, there would be a round three for Kick Axe, but not so with Pasha Records. There would be a bit of controversy that would surround the band and their parent company CBS. More to follow..

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#1 | gdazegod on February 21 2017 02:08:46
Kick Axe (and Friends) - 1985 With A Little Help From My Friends
YouTube Video:
#2 | Nick C on February 22 2017 09:44:42
Probably my fave KA album...but again I switch it off just before With a Little Help From My Friends comes on, much like The Chain off Rock the World I can't be doing with it, I'm a miserable old bore. Strangely I never picked up on Vices or this when Sony Rewind released them. A few years later I picked up the Brazilian MNF versions of these two.
I did have a Kick Axe live tape somewhere from around this time, certainly pre Rock the World, I'll have to dig it out and check.
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