The Belle Vue, High Wycombe, December 26
Almost a full calendar month since the last Burn gig as Britain's wintry conditions had put paid to a gig scheduled for 2 days earlier. The boys may have felt a bit out of practice but the Belle is always a guarantee of a good gig.
Former Burn drummer Ross Elder was in attendance so that paved the way for a small reunion. First of all the band launched into a powerful set. Garry set the pace and kept it UP with a capital "urgh" right to the end. Johnny was not in the best of voices but turned the reverb up and hid behind that quite successfully. Rob Sas seemed a little distracted when not actually playing but it was only noticed by those who knew him well.
Ross got up and the band revisited Desert Song, a popular Michael Schenker ode to puddings ("er, seems to be an inaccurate statement" - Editor) and it was just as if he hadn't been away. Of course, he wasn't driving tonight so may have been completely off his face with drink but it was a happy moment for everyone.
Garry grabbed the sticks back and launched the band back into some ROCK music with a capital "rr-urgh". However the band was before, this is how it is now and no-one minded.
In the second half, big band pal, Laurie strapped on his sax and blew some cool sounds, mixing it with Rob before the boys hit their stride and rocked out till the end.
Many friends of the band were there and it was a great way to end the year - Garry Randall's first with Burn.
Greenacres Tavern, Hemel Hempstead, November 27
Garry Randall turned up tonight and that was a very good start. The last time Burn were booked here, our Garry misunderstood when Rob said HE wasn't doing it and assumed that meant none of Burn were. As everyone knows, when you ASSUME you make a complete and total bollock of U & Me.
So, with the drummer in place and guitarist Rob Sas feeling mean, moody and magnificent, it only needed the fat bloke to play bass. Johnny turned up, accidentally snubbed an ex girlfriend who had come to see the band after having had a dream about them and he set up his gear quickly. After papering over the snub, all went well and the boys launched into a good set though the size of the audience didn't warrant the mammoth performance they actually delivered.
Johnny confessed to feeling like he was just going through the motions and Rob agreed though he was also showing off to a table of young girls in the centre of the room so that helped. Garry drummed 100% as always so at least the Burn boys and Claire appreciated it.
No surprises tonight, though 24 Carat Purple manager Jon Adlum turned up and discussions took place to get Johnny to dep vocals for his band at a forthcoming gig. Once the fee was mentioned, he had his man. This brings all three of Burn together in a different project.
The Fox & Hounds, Woughton, November 20
The "Fox" is the gig furthest away from anywhere as far as the band is concerned but as it's always a pleasure, never a chore, then the boys just keep coming back. The mat of deep welcome is always laid out and the band, pausing briefly to wipe their feet clean on it, set up and commenced another night of debauched revelry with a most musical twist.
Of course, back in January when they last played here, it was Ross Elder on the drummer stool and now it was a first time, debut type introduction for Garry Randall. He met the debut head on, gave it a firm but brief shake of the hand, nodded a quick "hellee" to the throng of admirer's and then kicked the shit out of his drums for the next two hours.
This action spurned on the bass talents of Johnny Heywood who had no time to even acknowledge the debut side of the gig but instead, reached for the highest highs vocally and the lowest depths bass-ily, blending the two and filling in all the bits between as if he had been doing this all his adult life.
Rob Sas had shaken off the beastly beatitudes of the ghosts of girlfriends past last week and had recovered to play his socks off tonight. This rocking attitude suited him so much that he gave off an attractiveness not noticed before, leaving females swooning and men casting envious looks in his direction. It was as if it was the Rob of 10 years ago, shagging his way across the country in a most musical way. Welcome back, Rob of Old!
A small crowd of enthusiasts enjoyed the band but numbers were down due to a party nearby taking away several regulars. Well, it was their loss tonight!
The Wheatsheaf, Leighton Buzzard, November 13
Garry Randall's father had passed away the day before so this gig was respectfully dedicated to his memory.
For the second gig of the year at The Wheatsheaf, 24 Carat Purple Bass player, Pete was in attendance and with a little judicious planning, a guest spot was arranged. The number in question was Black Night which gave Johnny a chance to mince around without a bass guitar round his neck and vocalise with a fine routine of Cliff Richard hand movements and all the stage presence of pork sausage.
Still, it went down well and who knows where this might lead!
Despite his bereavement, Garry played like a dervish and banished any sad thoughts to the back of his mind and somewhere, his Dad must have been smiling.
Rob Sas played like a devil and really seemed to be enjoying this venue - a favourite of the bands. Two encores took the band well past their allotted time but no-one cared.
Another rockin' night at the Wheatie!
Oddfellow Arms, Hemel Hempstead, November 5.
Burn returned to the venue where, back in March, new boy Garry Randall made his debut with the band. Questions abounded. Was he any better? Did the band gel as they had before. Would Rob buy a round?
The overwhelming answer was "yes," at least to part of those questions but it was the musical part that counted.
Rob Sas was nursing a two day hangover. How he achieved it he couldn't remember but suspected alcohol was to blame somewhere. However, he played like an inspired man and skated over the top of the rhythm section like a great big skatey thing but using his guitar instead of skates. There was no ice neither.
Drummer Man, the aforesaid Garry Randall, played like a crazy man, driving the band on and on like a great big drivey thing though he preferred his drums to a racing car and certainly didn't use a track. Another three sweat-ridden T shirts were sacrificed in the name of his art.
Bassist but with a hint of singing guy, Johnny Heywood played like a mutha-fukka guy or at least he would have had he come from the rough streets of New York. Instead, let's just say he played jolly well for a man of his size.
Band mate, Aidey ventured up to sing a couple of songs with Burn. The eponymous title track itself got an airing with Johnny adding the harmonies and very fine it all was too. Then they attempted Stargazer and it went a bit squiffy. Still, nothing ventured.....
Great gig, all in all.
The Roundabout, Sandy, October 23.
Happily for the audience at The Roundabout Club, Sandy, Beds, the "Burn-ness" had found it's own way to the gig by means unknown, possibly by bus, possibly by train or even a spell of hitch hiking but whatever, here it was waiting for the boys as they arrived.
What was also waiting for the chaps was an almost impenetrable wall of cars parked across the rear entrance to the venue. Resisting the temptation to just simply jam the larger components such as speaker cabinets down the narrow gaps which seemed barely big enough to get car doors open, the Burn Boys opted to lift them over, though I'm not sure there was 100% non-contact and by that point I'm not sure they cared. In the event of a fire the panic scramble out this particular door would be indeed be worthy of You Tube.
Inside, the boys greeted the "Burn-ness" gladly and even bought him a drink before setting about their musical business, nay - their destiny.
Ah, this was much better though the crowd suffered from the same general disinterest there were a few who got into it totally and were verbal in their appreciation. The singing was praised, the drums were appreciated and the guitar was worshipped and the Burn Band looked and saw that it was good. The muse had returned and the status quo had been regained.
New numbers are now played like old friends so there is discussion on the possibility of actually doing another couple!
Four Horseshoes, Stokenchurch, Oct 22nd.
Usually the Four Horseshoes has been the scene of some rather fab Burn type gigs of late but tonight, something was missing.
It wasn't the musicians - they were all there, all right. Rob Sas with his girlie hair played guitar better than anyone else in the band. He was there, for sure as many testified later.
Johnny Heywood with a belly all paid for was there from the start and more or less made it to the end, too.
Garry Randall had T-shirts to change into and put on a nice dark one for the start of the gig. It had turned into a pretty blue one by the end but he was still there.
No, it seemed the spark of what has become known as "Burn-ness" wasn't there. It may have poked it's head round the door at the start of the opening number, In A Broken Dream, but it didn't hang about for long. Pausing to check that the guitars were in tune, that Johnny was near the notes he was trying to sing and that Garry was holding his sticks correctly, the "Burn-ness" slipped quietly out the back door, possibly stopping for a kebab from the mobile kitchen permanently parked outside the pub and eased off into the night. With the "Burn-ness" gone, it was up to the boys to continue without it. This they did and though it may not have been too obvious to the punters, many of whom could be described as "disinterested", the boys knew it. They had lost their friend, their musical compatriot, their muse.
It can only be hoped that it was heading in the direction of Sandy, Beds for that is where the next Burn gig will take place - in 24 hours time!
Wagon & Horses, Chesham, Oct 9th.
The Self-Righteous Bros with Rob & Johnny used to play regularly at this gig but that was several years ago and times may have changed, Burn's music hasn't!
So the boys went for it in large spades right from the opening bars of the classic, In A Broken Dream. It went well and though the applause began to fade after the first few songs, it was received well by the number of comments made by discerning listeners.
"Christ, you're loud," was popular.
"You could turn it down a bit," was heard too.
"Eh?" was the band's response.
The venue was busy and several of Rob's cohorts from his local, The Crown in Ley Hill had made the trip especially to hear their boy play. They could have stayed in Ley Hill and still have heard him but that was their choice and Rob was grateful.
There was Ally, band fan from years ago seeing the band for the first time since Ross downed sticks, as well as Rob's three daughters and ex wife.... A full house, then..
The Hope & Anchor, Wokingham, October 8.
Excellent venue this.
Johnny had played here already and found the audience lapped up Burn's brand of classic 70's guitar based rock like it was a creamy saucer of milk. Drinking from the vast well of music that Burn has dug over the last few years quenched even the thirstiest of rock devotee and left him saturated with good feelings.
The Burn Boys admitted this was a tasty gig, alright. Pouring from a huge vat of rock riffs and a barrel load of super sonic sounds, Rob blended his music for all to hear like a master. Decanting clean sounds with subtle overdriven ones, the audience felt drunk by the end of the evening but without the hangover part the following morning.
Bassist Johnny may have been drinking orange squash all night but it was the sweetest nectar of the gods that emanated from his mighty bass and wine golden voice. Although many thought that during Stargazer, he sounded like a man gargling with metholated spirits, just because he failed to reach the high notes doesn't make him a bad chap so, "Here's to you, Johnny," you lush! (Ha ha - a guitarist)
No stranger to beer or two himself, Garry Randall was calling the shots and drinking them too, in a most musical yet percussive way. Not least because it was his birthday. Like a pint of Guinness, he was thick and dark but with a creamy top and held the band tightly together like a wood casket full of aged whiskey, much of it inside Garry's tummy. Wonderful!
There you have it. Burn refreshes many of the parts other bands don't reach and if it doesn't, well then those parts were probably dead anyway.
The Belle Vue, High Wycombe, October 2.
A really wet and miserable night didn't stop the Burn boys from a triumphant return to the Belle tonight.
From the opening salvo to the ceasefire, Burn never let up the barrage from the big guns of Rob's guitar, Johnny's bass and Garry's drums. It would have been quieter on the Western Front in 1916 than it was in the Belle tonight but it was probably much safer and the music was better.
Leading the warring threesome through the trenches was Guitarist/Bombardier Rob Sas, fighting like a man in his fifties. His Fender Stat caused more devastation than a Bren gun aimed at advancing Germans without actually killing anyone and was much more artistic. Rob was in his element tonight as a partisan audience cheered him on as if he had single-handedly liberated Paris and the people could look forward to years free of oppression.
Holding up the rear guard was Gunner/Drummer Garry Randall, gunning like a man in his sixties. His drums caused more damage than the legendary Big Bertha Howitzer guns used by the Germans against British troops although Garry didn't intend causing death - more a pleasant musical offering and the home crowd cheered him on as if he had halted the advance of Tiger tanks at the Battle of the Bulge.
A fighting gig then, on the whole and the boys were very pleased with the result and the reaction. As last time they invited vocalist Neil up to sing Smoke On The Water then followed through with a double encore to leave the venue shell struck.
The General Elliot, Uxbridge, October 1.
A return at The General Elliott.
It had been over a month since the boys last played together and they were a bit concerned that they might be a little out of practice and rough. Well, they needn't have worried about it. They were definitely out of practice and rough!
Guitarist Rob Sas hadn't picked up a guitar in well over a week due to spending it in Spain either on a beach ("Bitch more likely" - Bassist Bloke) or in a bar, neither of which helped his playing. Newer number Heaven & Hell was managed but the difficult Stargazer was left for a better time.
On the vocals front, Johnny Heywood sounded like a man who hadn't sung since the previous weekend and incredibly, that's exactly what he had done - or not as the case may be. Using all his experience, he papered over the dodgy bits with grimaces of a rocky nature and many were convinced he was just displaying "angst".
Garry Randall drummed without due care and attention alerting both the Health & Safety Officers of the pub and the local constabulary but charges were not forthcoming, fortunately.
An interesting version of Radar Love was played and many complimented the band afterwards though the middle section seemed somewhat abstract. Still, it went on long enough to make it seem that it was deliberate.
All in all then, not a classic and the boys knew it but it was fun and sounded ok.
However, at the close of play the landlord reckoned Burn had been the best band to have played there and he seemed sober enough so the band will return in the new year.
The Four Horseshoes, Stokenchurch, August 27
Back to the Four Horseshoes again!
Not the most obvious of rock & roll gigs but this venue is still a good one and a regular for the band. This is a good thing as the general feeling amongst muso's known to Burn is that pub's may well have had their day. With more and more folk choosing to stay at home and drink cheap alcohol, pub's have been trying to win back punters with a variety of regular entertainments from karaoke to quizzes and from strippers to comedy.
Which category tonight's entertainment fell into is open to conjecture but the Burn boys didn't worry about being incorrectly labelled. No sir-ree, they came to rock and with drummer Garry Randall playing like a demon, how could they fail?
Garry's hands had given him trouble recently but not tonight and he flailed round the kit like a man half his age. He admitted his wrists felt good and he could do all he wanted, rhythmically speaking. Driving the band along like a dervish it's no wonder the boy needs 3 t-shirts to change into every gig.
Volume is a slight problem at this venue but try telling that to Rob Sas and his Mighty Marshall Stack of joy. Tempo's might have raced a little and temperatures may have risen a bit but the Sas fellow gave it his all and was thanked by the grateful people of Stokenchurch.
That left bassist Johnny who did a bit of singing in between the guitar solo's. Friday's are often the poorer vocal performances as he usually doesn't bother with any warm ups like what a real singer would do. However, tonight he blagged it well and many said nice things about it. Still more said nothing but hey, no news is good news so it must have been be ok!
After The Critic's last review, it was mentioned that some metaphors had been mixed in the description of Burn's Belle Vue gig. Well, everyone's a critic, right and as far as the band's concerned it's in one ear and out the other like water off a duck's back.
The Belle Vue, High Wycombe, July 31
Garry's debut at the Burn favourite venue, The Belle Vue, was eagerly anticipated. There were questions to be answered.
Could the new line up cut it?
Would the fans accept any other drummer in Burn?
Would he throw a tart attack?
The answer became quickly apparent as the mighty Burn boys kicked off. Yes, yes and no in that order.
Garry admitted to suffering a few "Phil Collins" hand problems which made some of the more complicated drum rudiments a little taxing but this simpler style found favour in the eyes of the other two. Garry always gives 100% and this in turn spurns Rob on to greater heights or greater depths depending on the metaphor chosen. In fact, he drummed like a marksman hitting the bull's eye with a royal flush allowing the dominoes to fall like a house of cards.
Rob always enjoys this particular venue as it allows him to show off more and be appreciated for it, so he did and he was!
As for the nuts and bolts of the set - A form of Catch The Rainbow was attempted but this was a number which had developed over years of playing and to try and recreate it in one night was a bold move. It had merit but needs a lot more playing. Stargazer suffered a disagreement about where the breaks occurred and was the subject of a post mortem later that night. Smoke On The Water started like the original but over-enthusiasm led to an rapid increase of velocity and the number degenerated into a Knees Up Mother Brown barn dance. Ska band, Bad Manners will be incorporating this version into their seminal 80's classic, The Can-Can, such was the pace.
But this is being overly critical as the gig was a great triumph - no, not a 60's classic car but a genuinely great gig and one that should have been purchased at Harrods in a green bag, should they ever take to selling rock gigs.
They say that pub's in general are on the way out due to lack of interest by punters but tonight showed there is still life in the circuit yet!
July Greenacres, Hemel Hempstead, July 24
A new venue - that rarest of things!
Johnny admitted he may have actually been here 20 years ago but wasn't sure if he played or observed. Still, the band set up and launched headlong into rock oblivion.
Sadly, few cared as the turn out was not all that great. Rob confessed to "loving it" and not only tonight but all the shows since Garry joined. Johnny disagreed and said he hated it since Garry joined and a fight ensued. That's what Burn is all about - love, hate and violence, often in the same song. Garry pitched in with his own opinion that "he hated the other two completely" and so the equilibrium was restored.
Musically, and there was a bit of that on show tonight, Johnny sang well and Garry drummed one of his best shows. Rob was dynamic and there were many who commented on it at the end (many of the few, that is).
Heaven & Hell was played again and seemed to gel quite well despite it's complicated arrangements and weirdo time changes. Still, Stargazer remains the song giving the boys the most difficult of tasks. "Nothing that the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra couldn't help us with," laughed a laughing Rob Sas, referencing the Rainbow original track
It was good to get the newer numbers up to speed as the band's favourite gig, The Belle Vue, takes place next week.
The General Elliot, Uxbridge, July 16
The first time Burn had played The General Elliott but it was well known to Rob & Johnny as a duo type of venue. Recently, they had started taking full blown bands and The Self-Righteous Bros had already played there and found the audience enjoyed louder, harder edged bands.
Garry was on fire tonight. At times he played like a real drummer might and occasionally he did things that only a man being paid would have known. Some might say "professional" but then Rob was quick to remind people that just because you get paid, doesn't make you a professional. (Actually, umm, it does!- Ed)
Finally, Heaven & Hell by Black Sabbath was attempted. Rob had a crib sheet, Johnny quaked in his boots at the thought of a song in such a high key but lo and behold, it was perfect! One of the highlights of a great set. Other recent additions, Stargazer and Lady Starstruck are fitting in well and overall, to quote Dickens, this was a bloody good gig. Rob fully enjoyed himself at the top of his game and Johnny fully enjoyed himself at the top of his register.
Best quote of the night came from long term big pals of the band, Dave and Bob who maintained that the band "had lost nothing"! This either meant they had the contents of their pockets still full at the end of the night or else the band was good as ever.
Either way is fine.
Offley Bike Show July 10
A charity bash which Burn was playing for the first time! It was a blistering hot day right at the height of summer and as the sun shone, the beer flowed and the music wafted over all like the elixir of the Godz.
Rob Sas stood like an Adonis, guitar in hand whilst innocent maidens gazed in awe at his manly physique. His outer beauty was matched only by his inner goodness of soul and his joyful musical offerings. Like a mighty sword of righteousness, he wielded his Stratocaster and brought forth happiness and a warm, moist feeling to all who heard.
Bassist Johnny appeared as the War God Apollo might have - if he'd played a Fender Bass Guitar and sung 70's guitar based rock songs. Rarely has mortal man been subjected to such terror and pleasure simultaneously at the same time as when he drew back the strings and let forth a mighty sound. Many listened and were afraid but still begged him to continue. Many more had a beer.
Like the God of Thunder himself, Garry used not Thor's hammer but a nice glitter drum kit but it had the same effect. This was not apocalypse but more a re-birth, except that he wasn't dead in the first place. Like the peal of an electrical storm he scared many of the congregation with his roar but didn't leave them wet.
That said, Johnny bottled Heaven & Hell again due to vocal inadequacies but promised it for next week! Over all, it was a fairly relaxed gig which was well received but on such a warm afternoon it was more appropriate for some more laid back blues. Still, maybe a later slot next year would suit.
The three Godz left on winged chariots of fire and the people were sad at their loss and wept.
Biker Dayz, Chinnor, July 3
Biker Dayz 2010! A favourite gig of the band's but this year was even better as Burn were on the top evening slot although the Good Old Boys followed Burn around midnight, the 9-30 slot was the best one. Still early days for the new line up, there was a confidence tonight as the band was on familiar ground and several friendly faces turned up to see how they were doing, such as Sue & Colin and out of the blue, ex Burn drummer Ross Elder who actually paid to get in!
It was good to see him but there was no time for too many pleasantries as Stormbringer kicked off the night. Johnny fluffed the high notes and generally was under par for the night vocally but the bass locked in with Garry's drums and Rob soared over the top. The two new Rainbow songs Starstruck & Stargazer were played fairly well but the latter seems a bit hit or miss still. A general disagreement on the breaks caused a little confusion but this is bound to be cleaned up sooner than later. Still no sign of Heaven & Hell, the new track that was causing most trepidation!
Once again, a good gig but not a classic. At the end as the band cleared away for The Good Old Boys, the promoter was happy but not happy enough to be available to pay the band and Johnny left sans dosh relying on his trusted friend Rob Sas to collect the moolah on his behalf.
"See ya next week, mate," he laughed.
The Roundabout, Sandy, June 19
Last time the band played the Roundabout, Paul Malyon was on drums. Tonight, however, the mighty Garry Randall resumed his seat in his rightful place and despite a small audience, Burn set about winning some punters over. The World Cup fever was on but after England's disastrous second match the night before, the Club's mood was sombre.
This was a reasonable gig but not a classic. Garry appears not to worry about trifling matters such as the size of the audience and always gives 100% anyway. This in turn sets Rob's mood up for the evening and he responds with a similar vibe. Johnny reckons he can only play one way so it doesn't matter what the others are doing as far as he is concerned. Of course, he is the lead singer and thus, the World should revolve around him anyway.
In the audience was Dani Sas, no relation to Rob, at least not after she got a little the worse for drink last time at the Roundabout and stormed off into the night believing she was in Aylesbury. Actually, Sandy in Bedfordshire is some 40 miles further away as the crow flies so the resulting taxi fare was unexpectedly higher than anticipated. However, the lovely Dani was back in the good books and her exemplary behaviour this time made Daddy Rob a very relieved man!
Some tempo's have increased since the new line up started but these will be addressed in time and little variations are still being ironed out. Stargazer is now a regular in the set but Heaven & Hell has been put on the back burner as it's proving trickier than expected to get together. The band promises it soon! It must be ready for the hot bed that will be the Belle Vue at the end of July.
The Royal Oak, Bracknell, June 13
Johnny Heywood isn't a man to say "no" to a gig so when he agreed to play that afternoon in West Hyde, he forgot he was due onstage at 6pm in Bracknell. The afternoon gig was only scheduled to finish at 6! A little grovelling and pleading with the generous landlords of both venues allowed a 30 minute bracket in both directions so at 5-30, he threw all his gear into the mighty Kia Mobile of Deep Joy whilst waving a "thank you, goodnight" to the departing Hyde audience and 35 minutes later was chucking the same gear back onto a stage at The Royal Oak. A new venue to the Burn boys and definitely one to return to. This is a rock gig with a capital "Rrrrrr" and the band was keen to do well.
The fourth gig with Garry on drums and there was a great energy about the music tonight. There are still places where the boys sound unsure but many more where the band sounds on top form. Numbers which have been played for years have found a freshness and the different arrangements of ones which Rob & Johnny would do in their sleep have to be played with much more care and concentration. All is good in the Burn camp.
"Yes, there is a lot of work still to be done - it'll take quite a few gigs to get the tightness we had before but then, we had 15 years with Ross to get that," laughed off a laughing Rob Sas. "It doesn't happen easily." Johnny agreed and added, "Yes, I might even have to change a few notes on the bass as Garry insists on playing songs differently to what I expect. Something to do with being an individual he says but I reckon it's cos he can't do it my way. I'm not even sure I have the notes on my bass that I need to play it his way. It's scary."
The rain brought any punters in from the beer garden and everyone liked the band so "job done!" Stargazer got it's second outing and is proving to be a very difficult beast to tame. Strange timings almost undid the band and Johnny confessed to finding it "the hardest song I've ever sung." Overall it wasn't bad and a few more plays will sort that out.
A nice early finish was good but the rain soaking the boys got loading up wasn't but they departed into the night, happy and moist.
Four Horseshoes, Stokenchurch, June 11
After more than two months off Burn duties the boys reconvened at the Four Horseshoes, Stokenchurch. Last time the band had played here there had been treacherous snow and ice on the ground but this time the sun was shining and it was hot, hot, hot.
With Rob & Garry used to playing certain Deep Purple songs with 24 Carat Purple in a different way, it seemed easier for Johnny to learn those ways and keep it all consistent. To that end, The Mule was introduced which featured Garry's drum solo and Black Night got a revamped ending. Sadly, this latter tune lacked a keyboard run and will have to be looked at again! However, Rock Candy by Montrose and Queen's Tie Your Mother Down did get a good airing and Garry busked his way through Radar Love, never having played it before. The main new one was Stargazer - a mighty Rainbow track of epic proportions featuring a full size orchestra filling out the sounds and fleshing out the keyboard parts. Of course, Burn needs only a bass and Rob Sas's 6 strings to recreate this giant piece of music and many remarked that it was better than the original!
Well, actually they didn't and this particular track may need a bit of work before it happens. Johnny announced that it was a "bastard" to sing and "you can hear on the original recording that Ronnie Dio has pieced the vocal together." Maybe he had, but subsequent live recordings prove the late and very great Dio could sing this track like no other. Conceding this, Johnny agreed to practice a bit more.
Burn sounded pretty good but it's clear that it's early days for this line up and much better is to come.
The Wheatsheaf, Leighton Buzzard, April 3
A rare consecutive nights' gigging. We thought the glory days were over!
Garry was back in the percussion chair and nursing the mother of all hangover's. Perhaps it was something that he had eaten but no amount of drinking during the day would cure it and so here he was ready to rock and sweat it all out. He made up for a lack of finesse by getting stuck in and motoring the band along like he was playing his last ever gig.
Rob mused that what the band does is actually quite difficult till you get used to playing the way Burn does but Johnny wasn't so sure. "It's what you are, I suppose. I can only play one way - flat out". The mighty '57 Precision sounded so good that a young Hungarian bass player engaged Johnny at the break to question him as to how such a mighty sound can be replicated. Of course, Johnny explained that it's all in the fingers but few were convinced.
Rob had his own share of admirers wanting desperately to know what strings he used, what picks he preferred and which colostomy bag is best. He did his best to answer truthfully though he was not an expert in all those subjects. (Insert gag of your own here....).
Rob was loudly threatened with personal bodily harm by his fiancÚ Tracey if the band didnt play Summer of 69... Rob refused to play it but was eventually forced to by his band mates who feared for their own safety!
Many regulars thought the band was not as tight and lacked the finesse of the Elder line-up but others thought the power and dynamism made up for it.
It's early days yet though and it's looking good for the future.
The Beech Tree, High Wycombe, April 2
Paul Dinnage depped on drums tonight as Garry was once again tarting around with other musical projects but he would be back the following night. No complaints about Paul as he sounded very confident despite admitting to some nerves and "just got stuck in". Keeping the set to more regular numbers helped as Burn has a tendency to go off on a musical journey during certain songs and can lead to severe disorientation if not used to such flights of fancy.
Rob admitted to really enjoying the gig. "Playing with these new guys really has kicked our butts. Not to criticise Ross but it gees things up when someone plays a song that we've been doing forever and gives it a different feel. I'm enjoying playing very much at the moment."
Johnny agreed but added, "I always play the same old shit anyway regardless of what the bongo player is doing but I must admit that it does spice things up considerably."
Several regular attendees enjoyed the show but the same question kept on being asked. "Why did Ross jump ship to play with Abakus?"
Answers ranged from "money" to "just wanted a change" to "he hated us" before settling on "musical differences." This is a tried and tested answer which covers all situations and is very often completely true. Perhaps Ross just wanted to play some different music regardless of quality. (Editor's note - that last jibe does not represent the opinions of this website.)
Tomorrow - the best gig around. The Wheatsheaf!!
The Roundabout, Sandy, March 24
No Garry Randall on drums for this one tonight. He had already tarted himself out to some other band so it was a welcome return to the pigskins to Paul Mallyon who had depped a few times over the years. Paul brings a wonderful style, skill and enthusiasm to anyone he plays with and doesn't ever worry about a little thing like "how does the song go"? It goes whatever way he plays it and we thank him for it, too.
Some Purple numbers fell by the wayside due to complexity but in their place a more rounded set emerged which included Hotel California, Come Together and You Can't Always Get What You Want. Nice!
It was more of a Club type gig but very enjoyable too though the evening ended on a bad tempered note for guitarist Rob Sas who's un-named sibling (we mustn't mention her name or Dani won't like it) stormed off and would not return despite frantic attempts/orders/begging by aforesaid Pater. Alcohol may have had a small hand in this decision as it emerged that she thought she was in Aylesbury and could easily get home by walking, by bus or at worst, a taxi. Sadly, she was in fact, in Sandy, Bedfordshire - some fifty miles further out. This led to a larger taxi bill than expected but it wasn't our Rob's problem who promptly red carded his daughter from any future gigs involving him!
Oddfellow Arms, Apsley, March 12
Garry Randall. Look at him sideways wearing his bandana and you'd swear he was Ian Paice. Listen to him with eyes closed and you'd swear he was Ian Paice. Look at his bank account and you'd realise he certainly wasn't Ian Paice but that's ok because Burn doesn't judge a man by his bag of swag. Tonight was Garry's first gig (unrehearsed) with the band and all were up for it. What better rocking venue to choose than the Oddfellow Arms in Apsley?
Having worked with Rob in 24 Carat Purple, the two had built up a firm understanding and only Johnny needed to slip in undetected. However, over the years Burn had worked out it's own arrangements of songs especially Deep Purple tunes and now it was Johnny who was working on a wing and a prayer as he heard how 24 Carat play them. Different endings, slightly changed verse lengths were in evidence but nothing that need concern the average punter. Mostly, Burn played like a band that had rehearsed and only the wise knew this was a ridiculous possibility.
Garry brought an enthusiasm and energy which gave Johnny & Rob a good kick up the proverbials. Now they were playing the same songs but with a different edge and Rob confessed to loving it.
"Yes, I'm loving it," he confessed. "Garry plays in a different way to Ross, of course but he's not afraid to take chances and switch things about. It's very exciting."
"All my little bass/drums nuances have changed now and I'll have to learn Garry's way of playing. It may take a few gigs to get as tight as we need but it's going to be good," gushed Johnny.
Many in the audience asked about the change in percussion but there were no criticisms of the new boy nor the band. It's a new chapter all right so let's see where it all goes.
The Beech Tree, High Wycombe, February 5
A new venue but one that was close enough to the Burn stronghold of High Wycombe to allow several regulars to attend. Sadly, it was not well attended by everyone else but the band started with a spark and played a high level set.
Devils Slide was particularly tight and well received and Rock Candy was powerful but Tie Your Mother Down became a train-wreck-recovery-job. Oh well, surely there will be plenty of gigs to get this one right.
Rob enjoyed himself and played well, looking forward to a week in Spain with Tracey and Johnny hit notes that he couldn't hit when he was half the age he is now but Ross seemed a little distant and never really hit the dizzy heights he usually manages with ease.
Sadly, it seemed he had already made up his mind that this was to be the last Burn gig he would play. This seemed out of sorts with the way the band has been playing recently but he wouldn't be swayed. A chance to play with Top Rock Band Abakus was deemed too great to refuse and as opportunities like this come along only twice in a lifetime then who can blame him for grabbing it with both hands?
A clearly shell shocked Johnny Heywood spoke to the Critic after several bottles of wine. "Yes, it's true but I see this as a chance to get better as I never rated him as much of a drummer anyway. I'd always wanted to use my little Sony drum machine."
Rob Sas may have been full of tranquilisers but he spoke anyway. "Well, I liked his drumming but I never liked the bloke personally so good riddance is all I have to slur."
No sour grapes there then. Who can replace the mighty Elder?
The Four Horseshoes, Stokenchurch, January 29
There was disagreement amongst the members of Rock band, Burn about whether this venue had been played before. Leading the affirmatives was drummer, Ross Elder.
"We played here years ago but in a different part of the bar," he claimed. Neither leading guitarist Rob Sas, nor top bassist/vocalist Johnny Heywood could recall the event. "Shite, never been here before. It must have been with some other bunch of tossers," reasoned Rob, a very reasonable man.
Whatever, there was snow falling from the skies and it was very cold outside but all the heat was pouring out of the Mighty Burn as they delivered their act. Several nubile females gyrated to the music and it had been a while since such a sight had been seen and it did the old men's hearts much good.
Johnny stressed himself over a lack of functioning microphones. The main SM58 had seemingly packed up, the spare was missing but he had a third, cheaper mike on standby which turned out to need a high impedance lead. This lead had sadly been left in Johnny's studio so the fourth & final option was a special adapter allowing the mike to work with an ordinary lead. To his horror, Johnny discovered it was in bits and parts were missing! No go there. Then he tried the original mike again and it worked! Operator error or a loose wire - the jury is out.
No-one knew nor cared and the band's gig was very well received. The three new numbers went very well and are feeling better now they are "played in." Yes, this is a good time to be in Burn agreed all.
Fox & Hounds, Wroghton, January 23
The first gig of the new year and what a cracker it was!
Johnny may have arrived at the venue low on fuel but he was full of the Spirit of Rock and dispensed his talent evenly throughout the congregation who had gathered to worship at the Church of Burn. His mighty voice soared out like a giant soaring thing and all who heard it quaked at it's might. From another World came his rumbling bass guitar, more powerful than a stampeding herd of water buffaloes but more musical, too.
Rob Sas & guitar-based-70's-rock go hand in glove like two peas in a pod but as sharp as a pencil. He had called upon his band mates to learn The Devils Slide - a dangerous and blasphemous tune possibly written in blood by Satan himself, or Joe Satriani, one or t'other and this was performed as if the band was being chased by a marauding pack of hell-hounds. There was no let up till the tune finished and although all had survived, there were a few who wondered why there was no singing in this instrumental piece of Satanic Worship.
Ross Elder, a warrior of percussive tendencies, beat upon his kit like the clanging sounds of doom though with considerably more swing and better time keeping. He laughed off new musical pieces like Tie Your Mother Down, a debauched ode to revelry, and Rock Candy which celebrates youth, vigour and strong Christian principles abeit with a more pagan, sacrificial virgin appreciation.
So there you have it. Three new songs at a Burn gig. At this rate, Burn will go on forever with no line up change. Burn got into conversation with the revellers and a fellow bassist, Roland from a Deep purple Tribute band wondered how such a full sound emanated from Johnny's fingers. The secret was revealed - "turn it up!"
Then they disappeared into the night like ghostly vampires or just some guys going home after a gig but the promise was made - they will return! Especially if they get paid.