Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

Live albums were kind of a trend back in the days of my youth; kind of like greatest hits or “best of” compilation albums, they were ways for record companies to generate some easy money and for the artists to show off what their shows sounded like in an attempt to keep drawing the fans to the venues. Of course the bands in the ’70’s practically lived on the road, so the live album was convenient and practical, too. Pat Travers was definitely a road dog, and the band he assembled under his name were fierce and hungry to rock. Pat shared the guitar spotlight with another Pat, Mr. Pat Thrall, a certified badass of the six strings. On bass, he had Mars Cowling, and the drummer was Tommy Aldridge, formerly of Black Oak Arkansas and soon to be touring the world with Ozzy Osbourne and then Whitesnake. These guys hit it big with an old blues song called Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights) and the rest was history. I saw them on this tour and they were phenomenal. Travers and Thrall were a relentless pair of guitar slingers, and the whole band just jelled together in a big way. I have been lucky to play in bands that have opened for Travers twice and he always puts on a killer show. In addition to the big hit, I always love the ballad Stevie, and the hard hitting rockers It Makes No Difference, Heat In The Street, and Hooked On Music. The album was produced by Travers and Tom Allom, who also worked with Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and Def Leppard.

Written By Braddon S. Williams

On This Day in History

On this date in history, 9/2/1979, Indianapolis radio station WFBQ staged a concert they dubbed “Rockin’ Picnic Jam” at an outdoor park in the downtown area.

The show featured local favorites Roadmaster, The Pat Travers Band, and Heirborne. I believe it was originally planned to become an annual event, but to the best of my knowledge, this was the only one that happened.

Heirborne started the festivities with a good set, but nothing that sticks out in my mind all these years later. Pat Travers followed with an amazing display blues rock power. Travers and the other Pat (Pat Thrall, co-lead guitar) blazed on guitars, while Mars Cowling (bass) and the incredible Tommy Aldridge (drums) held down the bedrock bottom end.

Travers had a big live album out at the time, and everyone there knew the call and response vocal parts to his hit version of “Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights). The Pat Travers Band were so tight and powerful that they would have likely headlined this show anywhere else, but Indianapolis was the domain of the mighty Roadmaster, and they were truly beloved by their faithful following. As a matter of fact, it has always amazed me that Roadmaster never made it to the big time. They were every bit as talented as Foreigner, Boston, Styx, Kansas, REO Speedwagon, and any other band that were huge at that time. Their songs were well written, with great chorus hooks, and incredible vocals courtesy of Steve McNally. Rick Benick was a smokin’ lead guitarist, and Michael Read could rip on the keyboards both as a soloist and creating mansions of sound to provide the canvas to hang those catchy melodies on…they had it all. One thing I remember with fondness from this concert was the sound of the entire crowd chanting “Disco Sucks” like our lives depended on it. Ah…the power of rock…gotta love it!

Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic

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