Getting older

I just double-clicked on the Jake E. Lee guitar-fueled album, Badlands by his group of the same name. (Lee was guitar player for Ozzy on Bark at the Moon) This is still a great blues-metal album that I can listen to over ten years later and it’s as fresh as it was then.

To my surprise, Ray Gillen died in 1993. I had no idea.

The best thing about digital music is being able to pull something like this out so easily. I’ve listened to CDs I’ve had for packed away for a long time because I took my entire collection and put it into WMA format.

Another band I loved back in the 80’s-90’s was KIX. They were a local phenomenon before they had their first national hit with “Don’t Close Your Eyes”. Still one of the best live shows I’ve ever had the chance to see at least thrice. God I loved that band. They were a fantastic party act. Even cooler, Steve Whiteman and drummer Jimmy Chalfant have been playing with a new band that retains the same sound. It’s still very local (MD, DE, PA), but you can buy the CDs online so if you were a fan, check them out.

The CD is available with some samples here…

I also pulled out Thunder’s first disc tonight. What a great record. I never thought they were able to duplicate the greatness of that one, but it’s amazing how long their career has gone in the UK, Europe and Japan with absolutely no US releases or success since the second record. Makes me wonder if The Darkness will suffer a similar fate.


Hey! I didn’t know that KIX territory extended up into PA. I still play their first album (from 1981) all the time. I saw them play Hammerjacks in Baltimore on New Year’s once — you’re right, they were fantastic live. Steve Whiteman could really whoop up a crowd. “I got the itch, I got it…”

Were you familiar with Crack the Sky in the 80s, Dave? They were the other local phenom in MD back then.

That name is famililar. I never saw them though. The band my brother was in opened for KIX one time in Sunbury, PA. KIX played a lot in central PA though. Harrisburg, York and Lancaster were definitely part of their territory in those early years. The first album, Cool Kids… these were really big when I was in school.

I’m considering going to York to see Funny Money next month. I’ll bet it’s still a great show with Whiteman. It’s still a shame they never found bigger success. They were so much better than many bands that did.


Whoa, dude – I love Crack The Sky (I’m originally from Delaware). I think my former guitar teacher was going to join KIX at some point, but sadly, he did not, and thus missed out on a brief moment of '80s fame.

I like Crack the Sky, and I’m from Michigan.

Hey, I’m not saying Crack the Sky belong to Maryland or anything. IIRC they were actually from a town in West Virginia, in that little strip of it that sticks up near Pittsburgh. But for some strange reason they were flippin’ HUGE in the Baltimore area in the 70s and 80s, with as much radio airplay as any national act. (Sparky, could you get 98 Rock and WGRX in Delaware? WHFS?) If you Google Crack the Sky you’ll find more than one story from a Marylander of going out of state to college and being stunned to find no one had even heard of Crack the Sky — it would be as if they’d never heard of Aerosmith or something.

“Will you stand by me against the cold night, or are you afraid of the ice…ICE…ICE…ICE! doo duh doo duh doo duh doo duh”

Apparently the lead guy eventually went crazy while on a macrobiotic diet and wrote a concept album about the Canadian Mounties, and became suicidally depressed when it wasn’t a smash…I’ve gotta get a copy of that.

Don’t know…I only listened to WMMR and WYSP out of Philly.