2.The interest in a new release, and a live one at that, from legendary vocalist John Waite would, you'd imagine, garner a fair bit of attention, surely enough to warrant a record label chancer to put his money where his mouth is and maybe make a little more.
But no, despite the former frontman of The Babys and Bad English being hugely respected as one of the finest vocalists of his generation, quite a few others too as it happens, this new release, 'Live All Access', has been released by Waite's people (the Waiters?), initially on iTunes and as a physical disc from the famed English singer's live shows and official website.
While an eyebrow or two may well be raised at this development, especially knowing some of the flaccid 'rock' flogged to death by desperate labels these days, it is a fist of defiance that I raise in the direction of Waite: thing is, while the majority of 'veteran' rock vocalists in their sixties are peddling substandard product and over-inflated concert tickets for their 'event' freakshows, Waite appears to be tapped in to what is happening in the music industry....if it can still be called an industry.
Instead the industrious and adventurous make, and walk, their own paths, John Waite doing so by way of an initial download-only album that makes a mockery of product from the so-called superstars of this (rock) world. Dollars in the bank can buy you as many wigs and gastric bands as you like.....but they can't buy you a voice: John Waite's voice on this impressive live album will embarrass every Paul Stanley, every Joe Elliott, every past-it preening peacock of a frontman who still has the cheek to put 'singer' next to their name on a record. That Waite has suggested that he release new product every eight months or so further proves that you simply don't have to stop evolving, musically or professionally.
If the attraction of Waite himself - number one singles on the Billboard chart rarely get forgotten - isn't enough to tempt you into this album, then the addition of guitarist Keri Kelli to his band (alongside Tim Hogan on bass, and drummer Rhondo) may well be another masterstroke, the former Alice Cooper/Pretty Boy Floyd guitarist surely drawing attention from fans of a more 'glamorous' sub-genre to the party. Kelli, after joining Waite's band in the summer of last year, thrills on this disc, his solos as simply effective as required, his tackling of some timeless melodic rock riffs impeccable. But, while Kelli (in his forties) may well be the new kid on the block, it's the frontman a couple of decades his senior that really pushes every button required.
"Raw, no overdubs or bullshit" is how Waite has described 'Live All Access' and, man, does the record profit from that admirable stance; there's no Sebastian Bach-style gobbing, then fobbing, off here. John's voice, from opener 'Change' (his first solo hit single) to album closer 'Saturday Night' (from the massive 1984 album, 'No Brakes'), sounds as fantastic as you'd imagine. It breaks from time to time, of course, but it's the finest instrument on the album, the man shaming his contemporaries, you'd wish, into retirement.
Waite has gone on record and said that the decision to record this live album came as a result of trying to capture the energy, bottle the lightning, that came with Keri Kelli's addition to his band's ranks and, while the six stringer's performance is choice, the other real star of this album, second only to Waite's tremendous tonsils, is the setlist. It's a little short at just eight songs - the only hint of a negative surrounding this release - but it sparkles with tunes that prick the senses and caress the memory.
Songs like 'If You Ever Get Lonely' (from the 2011 album 'Rough & Tumble') sound like they've been set regulars for years - convenient really seeing as four songs from that album appear here - while 'Head First' takes you right back to The Babys in their prime, coming from the band's hit album of the same name. 'Mr. Wonderful', from the debut solo record, appears also, alongside an emotion-tickling 'In Dreams', taken from the 1995 album, 'Temple Bar'.
That's right, there's no 'Missing You', the number one single from 1984. Tells you a little more, I guess, about where Waite is today. With half this live album's tracklisting coming from his last studio album, Waite obviously still sees himself as a valid musician in this new century...and long may that continue - no mailing in performances and picking up the pay check for this legend, you'd guess.
Instead of remortgaging your home to see a stadium rock show event featuring a band of decrepit leeches, invest in 'Live All Access' and support a proper rock star who, not only deserves that status, but also deserves your attention for refusing to pander to the masses and, instead, is still making admirable marks in this tired business.
3. Review from Lazyrocker Magazine
Reviewed by Marc 'Lazy Rocker' Schneiders
English rock singer John Waite is truly one of the best classic rock acts around. He had huge success as lead vocalist with his bands The Babys in the late 70's and Bad English in the late 80's and early 90's. And as a solo artist, he scored a #1 hit in the United States with "Missing You" in 1984. John Waite already released 10 solo studio albums. With this album "Live: All Access" the man is releasing his third live album.
On this self-produced affair, that comes out from John's own "No Brakes” label and seems to be available for the time being exclusively at his shows or at his website on CD and online from iTunes, there are 2 things that you notice at first sight: only 8 songs and nothing of the man's greatest hits (maybe except for "Change"). With even half this live album's tracklisting coming from his last studio album "Rough & Tumble" (2011), it is obvious John is not living in the past. And btw "In Real Time" (2010), John's previous live album, already contained most of his well-known classics.
With the first tones of the album you immediately forget what you noticed at first sight. Opener "Change" from John’s debut "Ignition” is quite an energetic way to start this collection followed by the grittier melodic rocker "Better Off Gone”. "Raw, no overdubs or bullshit" is how Waite has described 'Live All Access'. Well, he told the truth! The beautiful ballad "If You Ever Get Lonely” (recently covered by country rockers Love & Theft) captures that "live on stage" feeling very very well.
"Head First" takes you right back to The Babys in their prime, coming from the band's 1979 hit album of the same name. First time I "met" John was when the Bad English ballad "When I See You Smile" got heavy rotation on MTV. However, there are no Bad English songs included on this album as, unfortunately for me, John seems to be not proud of this part of his career at all.
In "Live: All Access” fans are treated to what seems to be live performances culled from Philly Sound, obviously in Philadelphia, PA and Palace Theater in Manchester, NH. With the addition of guitarist Keri Kelli (Alice Cooper/Pretty Boy Floyd) alongside drummer Rhondo and Tim Hogan on bass John's No Brakes Band sounds as tight as never before while John's powerful but also vulnerable voice is crystal clear and still hitting every high note. just listen to the guitar driven "Mr. Wonderful” or the emotion-tickling ballad "In Dreams", taken from the 1993 movie soundtrack "True Romance". Great performances!
The nasty "Evil” from "Rough & Tumble” and uptempo rocker "Saturday Night” with great guitar solo makes you want to hear more. Well, John mentioned, he might be doing more of this kind of releases every eight months or so, if it proves to be a popular purchase. So head over to John Waite’s website or to iTunes and get this release ASAP...!!
John Waite - vocals
Keri Kelli - guitar, backing vocals
Tim Hogan - bass guitar
Rhondo - drums, backing vocals
PHOTO COURTESY OF AMBER STOKOSA
Rock singer John Waite has released a new CD, "Live — All Access,” which includes some of his solo songs, as well as songs he created while he was the singer-bassist for The Babys.
Rock singer John Waite admits to having a growing addiction to the concert stage.
Fans have praised the former singer-bassist for The Babys for his studio work, as well as for Waite’s urgent, on-stage delivery. For Waite, that energetic effort under the spotlights reflects the metaphorical torch he carries for live work.
Waite’s new CD, "Live — All Access,” gives listeners a sonic slice of that in-the-moment atmosphere. Available at iTunes.com and at Waite’s concerts, the CD spotlights solo favorites "Mr. Wonderful” and "Change,” among others.
"After about a month of playing together, we reached another level,” Waite said of his current band during a recent telephone interview. "We started playing in a freestyle way, and I was singing a lot better.”
With guitarist Keri Kelli (Alice Cooper, Slash), bassist Tim Hogan and drummer Rondo in tow, Waite decided to record two concerts in an old church in south Philadelphia, which resulted in part of the "Live — All Access” album.
"I bought three kegs, and we played for about 400 people, and it was incredible,” said Waite, who now lives in Santa Monica, Calif. "Then we recorded a killer show in Manchester, England, and I picked the songs that we played the daylights out of for the live album. It made the album wild, beautiful and not hit-laden.
"The live album reflects what live music is, which is what we wanted it to do,” Waite added in a proud tone. "There’s not a single overdub on it.”
Dates for Waite’s new U.S. tour are being announced in waves at http://www.johnwaitethesinger.com/.
"I’m excited to get out and play,” said Waite. "I want for us to play bigger stages. Hopefully we can pick up a slot, too, to open for someone else to play some really big places.”
For more than 30 years, Waite has enjoyed artistic and commercial success. The sweeping, anthem-like catalog he helped create for The Babys from 1976-80, and his No. 1 hit solo smash from 1984, "Missing You,” are just two chapters in Waite’s busy, complex life.
"With The Babys, it was — it was weird,” Waite said. "I believed in The Babys, but it just wasn’t meant to last.”
Featuring a pre-Journey Jonathan Cain and future Styx bassist Ricky Phillips, The Babys scored respect with songs like "Back on My Feet Again,” "Every Time I Think of You,” "Midnight Rendezvous” and "Head First” before the band quietly, dissolved at the end of 1980. In 1989, Waite, Cain and Phillips joined Journey guitarist Neal Schon to form the short-lived band Bad English, whose hit, "When I See You Smile,” topped the Billboard singles chart for two weeks.
"There’s more life experience in my music now, I think, and it’s about growing up,” Waite said. "I’m not dumbing down my work to try and achieve record sales. I’m not trying to prove anything.”
Waite seemed less confident in 2003, when he was recruited as the bassist for Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Tour. Waite said "yes” to Starr’s invitation, even though he hadn’t touched a bass since 1978.
"That tour was a real nail-biter,” Waite said. "I mean, it’s Ringo Starr of The Beatles. You’re on stage and Ringo is looking over at you. At that moment, you hope you’re playing the right notes.”
"The monitors were bad on that tour — I couldn’t hear — but it was a really fun tour,” he said. "I was looking at Ringo and saying, ‘This guy was in The Beatles. He’s played with bassists like Paul McCartney and Jack Bruce. What am I doing?’
"But now, I just never play bass, ever,” Waite added. "There are so many people out there who play bass better than me — people like former Free bassist Andy Fraser — that I don’t see why I should play. I concentrate on singing. That’s my role — a singer who loves bluegrass and blues music, standing with a microphone in front of a rock-and-roll band