Was it really 30 years ago when UK rock band First Strike hit the UK music scene in a blaze of glory?
Many of you may know I started of playing bass guitar and singing backing vocal. Having a strong voice that could hit the high notes with power and clarity was an absolute boon on stage
I had formed my own band which did pretty good actually, only our 3rd gig was at the famous Marquee Club in Wardour Street and soon we were offered the opening slot for Ozzy Osbourne on his ‘No Rest for the Wicked’ tour. With Zak Wilde, Geezer Butler and the late, great Randy Castillo.
Ozzy was great, he invited me into his dressing room on the opening night of the tour to welcome the band, he was sitting there stark naked! He didn’t stand up to greet me thank God!! But always listened to our sound check when he could. Zakk and Randy were cool, really nice guys and full of helpful advice, Zak was always looking to slip away after a show to grab a beer. I had no choice, he would grab me by my collar and just tell me ‘You are coming for a beer man!’ and that was it we were on a bender all night. Sharon had banned any form of alcohol backstage, any crew of band members with booze would be thrown off the tour!
So we would head out on the town after the shows. Geezer kept much to himself and had his own entourage he would hang with, I didn’t speak with him much after the opening night.
One night, at Nottingham Rock City, we finished a blinding set, Ozzy’s set was delayed and finally cancelled due to ill health. It all kicked off big time, the crown went wild and trashed the place, I had stayed behind to see Ozzy’ show and was barricaded backstage as the mob tried to break in, it was like the Alamo. The crew barricaded the hallways from all angles and fought of the angry mob with any piece of equipment they could. finally the cavalry arrived in the form of riot Police, but even they had trouble subduing the angry mob.
It was actually Ozzy who suggested I put down the bass guitar and take up lead vocal after hearing me sing at sound check one day. Maybe he just thought I was a crap bass player, but I prefer to think he spotted the vocal talent that lay within.
Anyway, after the Ozzy tour I was looking for a new challenge, considering I didn’t actually like any of my previous band members! I had become good friends with Mick White, who had just left NWOBHM band Samson after they supported iron Maiden on their ‘Somewhere in Time’ Tour.
Mick had a great voice and real ear formelody and harmonies. his songwriting was moving away from the Samson style and he too was looking for something fresh to get his teeth into.
So First Strike was formed with the Geordie duo of Dee Dowling on guitar/vocal and the extravagant drummer Dave ‘Stan’ Anderson. Later we were joined by the guitar talents of Dave Senczak.
The band was tight and the songs good. We hit the ground running with our first Marquee show supporting Dare, when the roof came off! I remember ending the first set of songs and the roar of the crowd was phenomenal, we all stood on stage looking at each other, frozen in time.
There was no looking back, more Marquee shows,we were the ‘go to’ opening band for the likes of Saraya and Slaughter, Nationwide tours with Uriah Heep and Giant.
With Radio 1 airplay and our video for ‘Girls of the World’ and ‘Nasty’ being aired on ITV. Great reviews in Classic Rock and Kerrang! Magazine.
Jerry Ewing of Classic Rock magazine stating: ‘First Strike: First class material, first class band’
Dave Ling in Raw reports: ‘First Strike have the ability to take on the big boys’
With major record companies now knocking at the door and the world at their feet, the future looked bright for the band. So, what happened? Why are they not the household name they were destined to be? The answer is simply…. Nevermind.
Nirvana realised their album entitled Nevermind, with the worldwide hit ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ and the whole music scene changed overnight, the Seattle grunge sound now dominated and band like First Strike where no longer being signed.
First Strike were gone, but not forgotten, 30 years later Steelheart Records have hunted the band down to sign the rights to this previously unreleased album.
Sounding as fresh today as when they were recorded, full of confidence, ability and charm. Sit back, turn the volume up and listen to what might have been.
As part of the 'Lost UK Jewels Collection', the remastered ‘First Strike - Just Another Night’ features twelve tracks recorded in 1989-1991, Which contains a 16-page colour booklet.
So here it is, the ‘lost’ album. You can hear for the very first time. Yet there achievements in that short time is something to be proud of, and so is the album.