ROCK LEGENDS AXE RETURN TO THE STAGE:
November 5, 2007
Rock and Roll is alive and well and living in Texas with the return of ’80s rock legends Axe. Known for such classic rock anthems as “Rock and Roll Party In The Streets” and “Battles”, Axe has reformed and are now prepared to take the rock world by storm. The band recently performed several special engagements and the reaction has been none less than fervid! When Axe this Summer opened for Queensryche at Sunken Garden Amphitheater in San Antonio to an attendance of over 5,000, and reportedly the audience literally went wild. Six weeks later, Axe was back in San Antonio headling at Hemisfair Park to a capacity crowd. And again, the band showed its magic and held the audience in their hands.
Andy Laudano of Harder Beat Magazine (Dallas/Ft. Worth) said the following of Axe’s performance at The Rockyard on August 15, 2007, “Easily one of the best hard rock acts of the early ’80s, Axe had the ability to combine great songwriting with strong melodies, powerful guitars and tasteful keyboards. Recently, Bob Harris (vocals/keyboards) and Brad Banhagel (guitar/vocals) put the band back together with the blessing of founder Bobby Barth. The current line-up also includes Chris Lewis (drums), Dave Landis (guitar), Alex Salinas (keyboards) and newest member, Tommy Luna (bass). Anyone who wasn’t there for Axe’s recent show in Ft. Worth, really missed out. This band sounds fantastic! Highlights included ‘Battles’, ‘Forever’, ‘Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire’, ‘Sting Of The Rain’ and the classic ‘Rock and Roll Party In The Streets’.
Pete with Nikita Productions says of the band â€¦”Having produced and promoted Axe on two explosive concerts this year at Sunken Garden and Hemisfair Park, I can easily say that his is one of the greatest national bands to work with. With their combined vocals and musical talents, the band rocks viciously, throwing in some of their ballads that really touch the soul. Great guys, great sound!”
Axe was formed in 1978 from the ashes of a mid-western band called Babyface and began recording their first album Axe in 1979. The band’s debut album garnered rave reviews from the music press, and in support of the release, Axe started a tour that lasted until 1984! Their second album, Living On The Edge, followed in 1980, and once again, the reaction was positive. In 1981, Axe changed labels and recorded Offering for ATCO Atlantic which featured the hit “Rock and Roll Party In the Streets”. The song reached #59 on the Billboard charts and was one of the most-played-songs in 1982 – it became a nationwide rock anthem. After 19 months of touring with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, the Scorpions, ZZ Top, Kiss, Cheap Trick, Def Leopard, Queensryche and Motley Crue, among others, it was time to record the fourth Axe album – Nemesis. Continued success meant more touring. Unfortunately, around this time, band leader Bobby Barth was seriously injured in a car crash which also tragically took the life of guitar player, Michael Osborne. This accident led to Barth disbanding Axe and later joining Blackfoot. After his stint with Blackfoot, Barth took his talents to Australia to join Angry Anderson (Rose Tattoo), hitting the Top 5 on the Australian charts.
In 1995, Bobby Barth decided to reform the band due to label interests in Europe. It was at that time that Bob Harris joined the band. The band went on to record two original albums and two Greatest Hits albums (MTM Records) and tours of Europe. After the third tour in Europe, Barth and Harris decided to take a break and pursue other projects.
Today, the line up of Axe is Bob Harris (lead vocals/keys), Brad Banhagel (lead vocals/guitar), David Landes (guitar/vocals) who has performed with Simon Wright and Greg T. Walker, Chris “Drumzilla” Lewis (drums) who has performed with Glenn Hughes and Howard Leese of Heart, Tommy Luna (Bass), and Alex Salinas (keys).
To his credit, Bob Harris has performed with some of the greatest artists in the music industry. Covering vocals and keyboards for Frank Zappa , he proved his ability as an outstanding musician and writer. Lending his writing skill and vocal talent to the later recordings, Harris would help define the lasting style and sound that is Axe.
Guitarist/singer Brad Banhagel is an intricate part of the current Axe line-up and conjures visions of classic guitarists as Steve Marriot, Tommy Bolin, Bobby Barth and Jimmy Page. Brad himself has shared the stage and performed with Greg T. Walker (Blackfoot) and Simon Wright (UFO, AC/DC, Dio), and has also worked with Pat Travers, Blackfoot, Thin Lizzy, Quiet Riot, Ratt, Rick Derringer and Warrant. “… Brad is also a very talented singer, guitarist and song writer who deserves to be center stage and I’m sure that that day will come sooner than he thinks.” Rock legend Pat Travers
“When Bob Harris and Brad Banhagel approached me about putting Axe back on the road, I had mixed feelings,” original band leader Bobby Barth recently commented. “It made me re-examine all the years, all the tragedies and triumphs the band has endured. Most American fans of Axe are not aware that the band stopped the day that Michael Osborne was killed. Soon after, Axe was back in both Europe and Japan, releasing another four CDs and touring several times. A lot of the strength that I needed to continue on came from my friendship with Bob Harris and what I consider to be one of the greatest rock voices in the world. We went on over the years to write and produce several records together, both for Axe and for many others. We wrote and produced, what is without a doubt, songs and CD’s that are far superior to anything we recorded in the earlier days of Axe. Those songs, and that later band, were never given a chance here in America, and that is a shame. So it is with that in mind that I give my blessing and lend whatever support to I can to their endeavor, I have their promise to remain true to the music, and you never know when I might show up.”
With the added buzz that Bobby Barth may appear at selected shows, this could prove to be the hottest incarnation of Bobby’s vision of Axe yet!
For more information on Axe and current tour schedule check out the official band websites:
Courtesy of www.ant-bee.com