Be-Bop Deluxe-"Axe Victim"-1974
Nice cover, huh? Cool but misleading, as Be Bop Deluxe weren`t Heavy Metal; more an amalgam of the various Blues Rock and Glam element that were popular in mid `70s` England. But unlike other bands of that ilk, Be Bop Deluxe had the high flying guitar antics of Bill Nelson, who was sort of the Yngwie of his day. Their first album, 1974's "Axe Victim", was my introduction to the band, albeit 10 years later! [I had read that Randy Rhoads was a fan of Nelson`s playing; hey, if Randy liked it, it HAD to be good!]
In addition to Nelson on guitar & vocals, the band featured Ian Parkin (guitar), Rob Bryan (bass) and Nicholas Chatterton-Dew (drums). They had previously released a single, "Teenage Archangel"/"Jets at Dawn," which the band sold at gigs just before they were signed to EMI records. So why am I putting them here? Because a lot of prominent Hard Rock players like Rhoads have cited Be Bop Deluxe as an influence, and I like `em; good enough? They had some great tunes, as well; "Axe Victim", the feedback laden intro to "Love Is Swift Arrows", and the 2 guitar extravaganzas, "Jets At Dawn" and "No Trains To Heaven". Nelson`s great tone, melodic feel and fill-every-space-solos remind me of early Michael Schenker. But Nelson`s pioneering use of various sound effects and aural experimentation had an impact on future artists, whether this fact is acknowledged or not! Nelson broke the band up after the recording of 1974's Axe Victim, after EMI expressed "dissatisfaction with the abilities of the other members." The next album, "Life In The Air Age", is the only other LP by the band that I`ve heard with, but it carries on in the style that Nelson started with on "Axe Victim". He carried on `til 1978; by then, he had grow tired of the mantle of "guitar hero", and opted for greener, and more experimental, pastures. There`s a link to Bill`s website on my Link Exchange page featuring tons of info and merchandise [so now you don`t have any excuses NOT to purchase "Axe Victim", right?]
One of the great lost LA Metal bands of the early `80s`! Why Tsunami never made it big is beyond me, `cause they had all the ingredients for success! Back then, El Lay was THE Metal scene; this is before all those goofy hair bands took over and came to represent the scene. Bands like Sound Barrier [another unknown classic band whom I`ll be writing about in these pages very soon!], Warlord, Steeler, Alcatrazz, EARLY Ratt, among others. What set this band apart? Well, vocalist Doug Denton, bassist Max Load [!?] and drummer Scott Sherman were from Southern California, but their twin secret weapons, guitarists Tatsuya Miyazaki and Tomotaka Yamamoto, hailed from Japan. And these guys SMOKED! Like many of their countrymen [like Akira Takasaki of Loudness for example], these 2 came from the Gary Moore/Ritchie Blackmore/Randy Rhoads/Eddie Van Halen school of Rock guitar; hell, they could play loop-de-loops around most of the competition! But the songs were killer, also. I first heard Tsunami waaayyy back in November `83, on a local Metal radio show [remember those?]; the tune was "Call Off The Dogs", a real cruncher! I was totally blown away! A few months later, I heard another tune, "Fire Water", a definite party anthem, with pounding riffs and great Metallic solos. I didn`t hear the rest of the album `til October 2000, when I finally found a used vinyl LP in excellent condition! Thus, I was finally able to get the full treatment; "The Runaround", which is one of the best Metal ballads I`ve ever heard, "Teaser", "Revenge", "Fade To Black", "You`ll Never Lay A Finger On Me", "Face Of Death", "Ninja", and "Masters Of The Night". Yeah, LA Metal done right!! I`ve heard that this was re-released on CD a few years back, so be on the lookout for this one! Highly, Highly, Highly recommended!! [I have NO idea what happened to the band after this one album, and have been unable to find any info about them; what I`ve just written is ALL I know, so if anyone can provide me with additional information, don`t hesitate to E-mail me.] **UPDATE** On March 31st, I received the following E-mail from Kosh Shioya [also known as KO], current lead guitarist for Tsunami:
Yes, TSUNAMI the heavy metal band of the 80's from San Jose CA is back in the studio for our third attempt. My name is KO. I originally took Tomotaka Yamamoto's place way back in 84' after he had left the band. Around 86' Doug Denton and our mgr Cliff Davis left the band and the whole thing fell apart. We had made our 2nd attempt in 89/90 I took over lead vocals and we were signed to a German label, Intercord Records. We played all over the San Francisco area opening for acts like Metallica, MSG, Dokken, Pat Travers, Riot, Y&T, etc, anticapating going on tour. I hate to admit it but excess got the best of us and the band fell apart in 90' right at the time the 2nd recording "Tough Under Fire" was released.
We are in the studio again after all these years. We are still very HEAVY! Influenced by band like Godsmack, Alice in Chains, STP, Disturbed, Static X, Sound Garden, Tool, Stained and yes, OZZY and Sabbath. Tsunami is: KO - Lead Vocals and all Guitars, Maximus (Max Load) - Vocals and Bass Guitar, Steve Tsutsumi - Acoustic Drums and V Drums. Our new recording will have 13 new songs. Titles such as: Life is Pain, Going Down and Father of Lies. The CD will be called Ancient of Days. We look forward to finishing up in the studio and playing some live shows. And by the way we still throw in the classics, Call off the Dogs and unplugged version of the Runaround. I just registered our web site still in the works www.TsunamiRocks.com. Keep in touch,