Thursday, March 7, 2013

Trixter - Halfway Jam

Magic, Silly Rabbit's and kids, levitation, David Blaine, Cheap Trick, Vegas and Harry Houdini, each of these are associated in some way to "tricks".  Whether it be magicians, cities, or breakfast cereal we all have a curiosity with tricks.  While we were young, we would stare intently, watching someone doing some type of magic trick, and we would sit mesmerized as the magician (or an uncle at a family gathering) did some type of trick whatever it was.  In the summer of 2012 I felt like that child as I stared at a stage in Royalton, MN.  You may ask yourself, why?  What does magic and Royalton, MN have to do with magic?  Well...

Royalton, MN is home to an incredible music festival each summer (Halfway Jam) and as the summer of 2012 was coming to an end, I found myself watching yet another '80's hair metal band.  The band was "Trixter" (which fits into the magic theme nicely) and interestingly like several of the bands I have previously seen and written about, they are from New Jersey.

I would like to believe that from time to time we sit back and think back to the world that was and those bands we seemed to associate with our youth (I'm not the only one right?).  The reference to New Jersey fits into that association (yes I mean that) as so many of the bands of my generation seemed to bubble up to the surface like a long forgotten toxic waste dump (no that is NOT a jab at New Jersey).  During my sentence in the era of the '80's (not a prison sentence, the era of hair), bands from New Jersey were everywhere.  Bands like "Skid Row", "Bon Jovi", (and from the world of punk, "The Misfits", "Danzig") and "Sebastian Bach" began to fill the airwaves but there is another band that grew out of the same state and I would be remiss if I didn't mention them: Trixter.

"Trixter" was formed in Paramus, New Jersey in 1983, with their success on the national stage coming with the release of their self-titled album, "Trixter".  Within the confines of the world of hair, Trixter had relative success with their first single, "Line of Fire" and increased success with the releases of "Give It to Me Good" and "One in a Million".  With the success of their first album (Gold record and 28th on the charts), the band unfortunately fell prey to the "onslaught" of the over-hyped "grunge movement" and the sales of their second album didn't have the same success of the first.

"Trixter" was yet another enigma in my world, it was another passing band that I missed and I really never got into their music.  I knew of their music through the station changing of people would do to my radio but that really was it.  Let's take a step back to the 2012 edition of "Halfway Jam" and the appearance of "Trixter".  I have to be honest, "Halfway Jam" is one of the best places to see bands that you weren't able to see previously.  As "Trixter" took the stage it became blatantly obvious what I had missed.

Much like a whirlwind, I was taken by surprise as I watched the band take the stage.  Its pretty simple to explain their entire show with one word:  Energy.  This band, "Trixter" rather, brought pure energy and really, really surprised me.  I say surprised not because I didn't think they were a "one-hit wonder", but surprised that I never paid attention to them sooner.  In the case of "Trixter" I believe that the "grunge movement" may have really hurt them and it really was a shame.

© 2012
When the band took the stage long forgotten was the long hair, tight jeans and the '80's and despite all of that the talent remained.  The night was creeping in with an attitude that was reminiscent of those late '80's.  Arriving on the stage were four guys that looked like they could have just come from work and were hanging out.

Drummers never get the attention they deserve (just ask one) so its time to shake it up a little.  Mark "Gus" Scott is that very capable drummer, he beat the skins so hard I would have assumed they owed him money.  The backbone of any band is the drummer and Scott didn't disappoint.

© - 2012
Interestingly Scott provided me with an image that had he been in the NFL, John Madden would have commented on the drummer.  I doubt Madden would know much, if anything, about "Trixter", but with steam rising from Scott's head, he would have been a natural.  Scott had a look that would remind you of the drummer from a local band but his talent was nothing like that of a local band.  As he played it was obvious that he is the consummate professional.

With the appearance of PJ Farley to the stage I was immediately taken aback.  Farley doesn't fit what I think a bass player from the era of hair should look like.  At first glance I thought that Farley was going to perform at some reggae concert but went to the wrong venue (just kidding).

© - 2012
Bad reggae jokes aside, Farley was a ball of fire on stage.  He gave a performance befitting the latter part of the "era of hair".  It can be said much like drums being the backbone of the band, bass has a much maligned part in the band.  That statement could be wrong, the bass is often the forgotten member of the band (unless their name is Simmons or Sixx).  That's unfortunate because Farley is really, really great at his job.  Can I really call it a job though?  Farley makes it look like he's having more fun than a fat kid locked in an ice cream factory.

Lead guitar.  Every teenage boy (and many long haired adults for that matter) wanted to be one of two things in a rock band: lead singer or lead guitar.  Judging by the persona of Steve Brown he could have filled either role but he chose guitar.  Smart move.

© - 2012
Look at the picture of Mr. Brown (above), does this look like he doesn't belong playing lead guitar?  Moreover the skills Brown has proves exactly why he should be and IS playing lead guitar.  I wish I had some video of the performance to show you what I saw with Brown on stage.  Whirling dervish might be a good definition of Brown but more importantly, amazing is how I would describe his skill.  Phenomenal job Mr. Brown!

How many of us remember that one person from our youth that as we aged they never did?  I hate that guy (mainly because its not me) but I would bet if we were to talk to the classmates of Pete Loran they would tell you he is that guy.  With the looks of the prototypical lead singer, Loran still looks as if it was 1989 (except he doesn't have the long hair.

© - 2012
I'm not sure how he (Loran) did it, but his vocals haven't changed in the 23 years since that first album.  How does that happen?  What kind of genes does one have to be able to pull that one off?  Loran pulls off the lead singer role but in all honesty, his skill is why he remains as good as he has ever been.  Wow!

The "era of hair" is long since over but music like Trixter still remains.  As I wrote this, I have sat listening to their music on a loop on YouTube so I wouldn't forget a single nuance.  What that did for me was make me a Trixter fan and it gave me an admiration to their music I didn't have previously.  The great thing about the past is that regardless of what we missed (or screwed up), we have a chance to make amends.  Sure the past can haunt us, and sure it can embarrass us for years but we can change, we can amend the past.

What Trixter did was embarrass me into acknowledging I was some type of music snob all of those years ago (no I am not a music snob now).  Certainly one can be forgiven some parts of their past and I would like to think that like the "Trix Rabbit", I can come back still stumbling over the remains of the past and all is well.  It cannot be said however that unlike the Rabbit I won't have pre-pubescent cereal eaters constantly remind me that "Trix are for kids".  Nope not me, I would have hit them with the box but it can be said that I have learned something:  "Stupid old man, Trixter is us all."  Yep that's what I have learned.

No comments:

Post a Comment