Archive for the Queen Category

What does music mean to you?

Posted in ELO, Jeff Lynne, Queen, rock with tags , , , on October 1, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

‘A good song never lets you down’

Music has been and always will be a big part of my life. My musical tastes have changed a little down the years and I am more eclectic in my tastes now than I was back in my teens and 20’s. One thing that always makes a song got me is the melody is king, although you do need a good lyric to make it that extra bit special. It can lift you up in tough times, although when Freddie Mercury died back in November 1991 I didn’t listen to much music for a few months. To quote the Don McLean song it was ‘the day the music died’ for me as Queen were, and still are, one of the major musical impacts on my listening, along with Jeff Lynne and ELO.

Music therapy can do wonderful things to help people with confidence/learning issues, long term illness as the wonderful work done by the Nordoff Robbins charity and others shows.

Music can be and should be enjoyed by all. There are a lot of musical snobs about and more genres than you can shake a stick at, however if you like a song then that is what counts. I would add though do explore music more, don’t go by radio playlists or the streaming sites playlists – look beyond as there is plenty of amazing and enjoyable music out there and some still to be made in the future…

This blog celebrates ten years & tops 100,000 hits :)

Posted in Books, Family life, Football, Get Ready To Rock!, metal, News, pop, Queen, Stoke City FC, theatre royal hanley on March 11, 2018 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Yes ten years ago this month back in 2008 I started off this blog the Rock N Roll Oatcake to cover music, books, my lifelong support of Stoke City FC and family life. I think over the ten years it has covered these topics, with in recent years a little less on Stoke City and music (this is covered in my music blog the Rockin’ Chair), plus I have finally made a seperate page for memories of the Theatre Royal Hanley as the page on here was getting lost and there are some wonderful memories from people’s time at the theatre to good to be lost.

There have been book reviews and some very good author interviews, which I will repost the best of over the coming months. Plus on the side bar you can see various archive interviews with musicians that didn’t feature on Get Ready To Rock!

Thank you for all your views, comments and hopefully you find something on here of interest. Right, lets get ready for more…

Recommended reading –

Get Ready To Rock!

The Rockin’ Chair (music)

Memories of the Theatre Royal Hanley (finally made a blog for this after hosting a page on this site since 2008)

Keep On Fundraising

Queen Unseen by Peter Hince

Posted in Books, Queen with tags , , , , , , , on August 1, 2017 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Peter Hince, or ‘Ratty’ as his road name was, was roadie to Queen’s Freddie Mercury and John Deacon from the mid-70’s until Queen stopped touring in 1986. Hince is now a photographer, something he became interested in whilst on the road with Queen. His photos are used in the book and show various member of Queen usually at leisure in between shows or recording.

Peter Hince is very honest about being a roadie, so there is a lot of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, plus as he states at the start of the book those after a history of the band would not find it in his book. Instead you get his memories of life on the road, including a lot about the US and fascinating insights into his daily life working with Queen, in particular Freddie Mercury and John Deacon.

You get a little more insight into Freddie Mercury’s character, in particular his wicked sense of humour and the sense of loneliness he seemed to have as he always wanted to be with people. John Deacon we know was the quiet one in Queen and it seems that was true on the road with Freddie and Roger Taylor being the party animals of the band!

The book does jump around time wise and his down to earth writing style may offend the more delicate reader, however if like me you are a big Queen fan this is one of the better books about the band out there. Well worth a read.

CATS IN SPACE new single tribute to Tin Pan Alley

Posted in AOR, ELO, Melodic rock, Music for 2015, Queen with tags , , , , , , on October 23, 2015 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

You can help save Tin Pan Alley by signing the petition here:

Thank you and enjoy this rather good video from Cats In Space, one of my top 10 albums of the year…

CATS IN SPACE‘s new video for the song “Last Man Standing” can be seen below. The song is taken from the exciting album ‘Too Many Gods‘, landing on Earth on October 30, 2015 via Harmony Factory/Cargo Records.

CATS IN SPACE recently released a making of video. In depth interview with the principal songwriters Mick Wilson and Greg Hart featuring how “Mr Heartache” the first single was developed.

CATS IN SPACE is a brand new six piece band who, armed with their exciting brand of ‘Power Pop Rock’, will transport you back to the heady days of the 70s when bands like ELO, Queen, 10cc & Cheap Trick, in particular, ruled the airwaves.  CATS in SPACE featuring band members with a wealth if experience in the music business for over 30 years, both as writers and performers for bands like: The Sweet, Asia, T’Pau, Ian Gillan Band, Mike Oldfield, Airrace & Arena to name a few, you can expect performances if the highest caliber.

The new album ‘Too Many Gods‘, in typical vintage fashion, will be available in limited 12deluxe gatefold vinyl and also as a replica LP Compact Disc and digital download.

GREG HART – Guitars, Vocals, Synthesizer
PAUL MANZI – Lead vocals
STEEVI BACON – Drums, Percussion
JEFF BROWN – Bass guitar, Vocals
ANDY STEWART – Piano, Synthesizer, Vocoder, Wurlitzer

Special guest players:
MICK WILSON – Guest Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Keys
ANDY SCOTT – Guitar, Vocals
JANEY BOMBSHELL – Backing Vocals
GREG CAMBURN – Saxophone
MIKE MORAN – Orchestra arranger and performer, Piano, Organ

With soaring skyscraper vocal harmonies, hook laden choruses, drenched in guitars, vintage synthesizers and orchestrations, the ‘CATS in SPACE’ pull no punches in delivering their symphonic ‘Power Pop Rock’ and hide no influences along the way.  As the band say, this album is “All killer, no kitty litter!


Albums of the Year 2014

Posted in AOR, Classic albums, Classic rock, ELO, Folk, Folk rock, Get Ready To Rock!, Melodic rock, Modern rock, Music for 2014, News, Pop rock, Power metal, Power pop, Prog metal, Progressive rock, Queen, Singer songwriter with tags , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2014 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Thought I would get in early and whittled the albums down from a shortlist of 24 to fifteen!

Neonfly – Strangers In Paradise (Inner Wound Recordings) The band’s second album has been worth the wait as they have produced a monster! Big sound, big production and big songs, the best melodic metal album released this year.

The Tea Party – The Ocean At The End (Inside Out) It’s been ten years since their last studio outing but it has been worth the wait. Epic soundscapes, hints of the Doors and Led Zeppelin, glorious stuff.

The Dowling Poole – Bleak Strategies (Indie) Willie Dowling and Jon Poole combine talents for one of the best pop rock albums you’ll hear this, or indeed any, year.

Night Ranger – High Road (Frontiers) Since they returned Night Ranger keep on producing good quality music and one of the few big 80’s melodic rock bands who actually produce new music on a regular basis.

Bellowhead – (Island) The band’s first for their new label and although not as instant, it is a ‘grower’ and the better for it. They set such high standards you do wonder how they keep bettering themselves but they do.

The Radio Sun – Wrong Things Right (Melodic Rock Records) Formed from the ashes of Aussie modern pop rockers Supersonic, I defy anyone not to sing-a-long to the immense choruses contained on this album.

H.E.A.T. – Tearing Down The Walls (earMusic) H.E.A.T. really are on the up and deservedly so. This is their best album to date, not one filler. A ‘must have’ for any lover of hard rock/melodic rock.

Flying Colors – Second Nature (Mascot) Second album from the prog rock supergroup sees them going a little more prog on this album, although they still pen damn fine short songs that appeal to those with more pop/alt rock tastes.

Evergrey – (AFM Records) The band nearly called it a day and thank goodness they didn’t. Quite possibly their best album to date.

The Trews – S/t (Indie) Surely this band deserve a break outside of their native Canada? They produce consistently high standards of alt/modern rock with songs made for constant playing and airplay.

Patsy Matheson – Domino Girls (Proper Records) One of the best female singer/songwriters out there and her most varied album to date.

Nightingale – Retribution (Inside Out) New band to me, although this is their seventh album. Dan Sawnko and his cohorts have produced an album with AOR/melodic rock leanings backed by prog metal riffing.

Brother Firetribe – S/t (Spinefarm Records) Good to have them back! OTT 80’s melodic rock/AOR as only they can do and more hooks than a fishing tackle shop!

Audrey Horne – Pure Heavy (Napalm Records) This time they really tap into their love of 80’s hard rock with plenty of wild guitar solos and big choruses.

Smash Fashion (Indie) From pop rock to glam rock stomp, this band’s debut is highly impressive and recommended listening.


Queen – Live at the Rainbow ’74 (Universal) Essential for any Queen fan, simple as that.


Jeff Lynne’s ELO Hyde Park Only waited 28 years to see ELO live, okay it was just Jeff Lynne but he is ELO and long-time ELO band member Richard Tandy was playing to. The gig of the year by a country mile and Jeff Lynne and co. far exceeded my high expectations, made even more special as my son joined me and loved every minute to.

Kansas – Shepherd’s Bush Empire A sad, but fond farewell to vocalist Steve Walsh and lets’ hope the band are back sooner rather than later.

Public Service Broadcasting – Guilfest A new discovery to me and they put on a memorable show, both musically and visually.

Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer – Guilfest In an ideal world Mr B and his brand of chap hop would be on the music GCSE syllabus. Jolly good show for (nearly) all ages.

Foreigner acoustic – Shepherd’s Bush Empire Even in acoustic mode Foreigner are one of the best live rock bands around today.

Bellowhead – Royal Albert Hall Celebrating their 10th anniversary in style with a set list that covered all their output. A phenomenal live act and one well worth seeing regardless of you musical preferences.

Ones to watch… so many good, new bands appearing and long may this continue. Three to watch are Neonfly, surely destined to move up the popularity levels based on their latest album and regular touring; Smash Fashion highly impressed by their debut and UK dates next spring; MT (Many Things) insanely catchy quirky pop rock and their relentless live shows should see success come their way.

1,000th post :)

Posted in AOR, Authors, Books, Classic rock, cricket, crime writers, Folk, Folk rock, Football, Fundraising, Get Ready To Rock!, Heavy metal, Melodic rock, Modern rock, Politics, Pop rock, Power metal, Power pop, Prog metal, Progressive rock, Queen, Running, Stoke City, Stoke City FC, theatre royal hanley with tags , , , , , , , on March 20, 2014 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Blimey that soon crept up as it’s this blog’s 1,000th post. They recommend bloggers target their audience, I like to think of mine as broad minded bunch as I use a scatter gun approach to topics on here, be it Stoke City, running, books, the Theatre Royal Hanley, promoting new music or little news stories that catch my eye.

I would like to use this post to thank all the readers of my blog and those who have contributed be it by answering interview questions or commenting.

Extra special thank you’s to:

My family (even my mum has been known to read this blog occasionally!)

Stoke City FC

This blogs top comments person Scott McNeish (top man bar his misguided supporting of Liverpool). The Arsenal fan who gave me grief over the Pulis years at Stoke has gone strangely quiet. Perhaps he’s off dusting down the Arsenal trophy cabinet in expectation it may host the FA Cup come May time.

Theatre Royal Hanley – gone but not forgotten, have some great memories of my time working as a front of house volunteer there

Bill Leslie and Dave Hunter who inspired me into this blogging lark back in March 2008

The bands and musicians whose music provides a soundtrack to life. Without music the world would be a duller place (well some bands can clear right off like One Direction for starters…)

Thank you all and please do continue contribute and comment 🙂

Dedicated to fellow Stoke City supporter and author Stephen Foster who sadly passed away in 2011


My musical Best of 2011…

Posted in AOR, Classic albums, Classic rock, Folk rock, Get Ready To Rock!, Heavy metal, Melodic rock, Modern rock, Pop rock, Power metal, Prog metal, Progressive rock, Queen on November 24, 2011 by The Rock 'N' Roll Oatcake

Another good year for music and again a delight to discover new bands/artists as well as discovering some established names. Not in any order…

Night Ranger ‘Somewhere in California’ Frontiers – they have certainly rediscovered their mojo and then some!

Foo Fighters ‘Wasting Light’ a fine return to form with the emphasis on the heavier side of the band’s sound.

White Widdow ‘Serenade’ AOR Heaven – more pomp for your pennies! Plenty of glorious harmonies and keyboards as the band surpass their debut and then some.

Shy ‘Shy’ Escape Music – a fitting tribute to Steve Harris who sadly passed away shortly after this album was released. Quite possibly their best album.

Mr. Big ‘What if…’ Frontiers hopefully we’ll get another album out of them but if not this is a great way to sign out.

Newman ‘Under Southern Skies’ AOR Heaven – for top notch AOR/melodic rock look no further. Steve Newman never fails to deliver the goods.

The Answer ‘Revival’ Spinefarm – they have upped their game and produced an album to match their mighty debut.

House Of Lords ‘Big Money’ Frontiers – another fine effort and contains a couple of cracking hard rock tunes.

Eden’s Curse ‘Trinity’ AFM Records builds on their earlier albums and with Michael Eden now out of the band be interesting to see where they go from here…

Glyder ‘Backroads To Byzantium’ SPV – new line-up including a new vocalist sees the band stretch their musical wings to good results.

Credo ‘Against Reason’ F2 Music – quite possibly their best album to date. Lovers of bands like IQ, Fish, Pallas et all would do well to get this CD pronto.

Within Temptation ‘The Unforgiving’ Roadrunner melodic rock meets symphonic metal as the band really find their commercial angle. Some fans might not like it but given airplay the band can become bigger than Evanesence!

Uriah Heep ‘Into The Wild’ Frontiers a real classic Heep album that melds their 70’s sound with a modern commercial edge.

Neal Morse ‘Testimony 2’ Inside Out  – never a duff album from this highly talented musician. Highly accessible prog rock.

Airrace ‘Back To The Light’ Frontiers  – it may have been twenty five or so years since their debut but this album rocks! One of the finest melodic rock albums released this year.

Robin George’s LovePower & Peace Angel Air  – its been a long time coming but well worth the wait as Robin George and his musical pals produce a varied and enjoyable album. All this and it is for various children’s charities as well.

Neonfly ‘Outshine The Sun’ Rising Records  – debut of 2011 without a doubt. Not since hearing the mighty Power Quest first time around has a melodic/power metal band grabbed my attention.

Power Quest ‘Blood Alliance’ – the Quest goes on and sadly with vocalist Chitty Sompala who left shortly after this album was released. If anything slightly heavier than their recent couple of albums.

Pagan’s Mind ‘Heavenly Ecstasy’ SPV –only discovered this band with this album and boy what have I been missing? Immense power metal with some damn fine melodies.

Arena ‘Seventh Degree Of Seperation’ Veglas Music  – new vocalist Paul Mani and John Jowitt back on bass, Arena have produced one of their most accessible albums to date.

Sacred Heart ‘Propaganda’ Indiethey keep improving with each album. Lots to enjoy on here.

Doogie White ‘As Yet Untitled’ Metal Mind Productions – fans of his Rainbow album will love this and check out the classic Rainbow intro by Tony Carey.

Grand Illusion ‘Prince Of Paupers’ AOR Heaven  the Kings of Harmonies are back. Not quite as instant as previous releases but stick with it.

Evergrey ‘Glorious Collusion’ SPV – how this band are not bigger is a mystery. More commercial edge on this release.

Royal Hunt ‘Show Me How To Live’ Frontiers  – DC Cooper is back on vocals and the keyboards are set to stun! One of their strongest releases for some time. Now how about a concept album next…

Cold ‘Superfiction’ Eleven Seven – impressive modern rock and novel use of electronics/programming to beef up the sound.

Magnum ‘The Visitation’ SPV  – Magnum continue their fine form of late with another ‘must have’ album for their fans.

Intense ‘Shape Of Rage’ Pure Legend Records – classic metal riffery and some of the finest metal songs you will hear this year.

Journey ‘Eclipse’ Frontiers – only just got a copy! Certainly their heaviest album for a long time but misses a real stand out ballad.

Mentioned in dispatches…

Queensryche ‘ Loud & Proud/Roadrunner – this band never stop exploring musical avenues and much better than most reviews would have you believe.

Voyager ‘The Meaning Of I’ Sensory Records – back to form and includes a fitting tribute song to Pete Steele.

Pendragon ‘Believe’ – Nick Barrett & co. never fail to deliver, although I don’t like this as much as the past two releases.

Fullforce ‘One’ – classic power metal, nothing more, nothing less and very enjoyable.

Jimi Jamison & Bobby Kimball Frontiers – a great pairing and they are given some great songs to perform.

Styx ‘Regeneration Volumes 1 & 2’ Ear Music/Edsel – re-recordings with one new song.


Dream Theater could have been so much better, it is good but not good enough by their own high standards.

Megadeth a lot was expected of the return of Dave Ellefson to the band but the album whilst a solid one, lacks a classic tune or two.


Queen re-issues Island/Universal

John Waite ‘Rover’s Return’ BGO Records

Paul Sabu ‘Call Of The Wild’ Z Records

Damian Wilson ‘I Thought The World Was Listening 1997-2011’ – a stunning two CD round-up of his solo career to date.


Night Ranger Islington Academy – been waiting many a year to see Night Ranger and they were superb. Now can we have Survivor and Boston over next?

Big Country Shepherd’s Bush Empire – Mike Peters is a perfect fit for Big Country and the whole band seem to have a balst on stage.

Power Quest + Neon Fly The Purple Turtle – sadly the only time I saw Chitty Sompala fronting the mighty PQ but at least I discovered the delights of Neonfly.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra Hammersmith Apollo – simply stunning, from the music through to the stage show. Really hope they come back soon and be nice to see the Christmas show on UK soil.

Yes Hammersmith Apollo – Benoit David looks comfortable on stage and fingers crossed this line-up can record another new album & tour again very soon.

Black Stone Cherry Wembley Arena – you must see this band live – they exude so much energy and good time music.