Heavy Pettin’ first stirred into action when vocalist Hamie, guitarists Gordon Bonnar and Punky Mendoza, drummer Gary Moat and bassist Brian Waugh first burst out of Glasgow in 1981. They were vibrant, priapic, anthemic and focused. As they showed on a three-track demo, and on the subsequent debut single for independent label Neat (‘Roll The Dice’__/’Love Xs Love’), they were more than mere Def Leppard slaves. In fact, the Pettin’ had an international sound that owed something to AC/DC, UFO, Thin Lizzy and Foreigner, but also had its own raging momentum.
Not that the band found the road straightforward. But, thanks to a work ethic that took them around the country, plus a valuable session for Radio 1’s prestigious ‘Friday Rock Show’, the band eventually landed a crucial deal with the major label Polydor Records. Moreover, their 1983 debut album (‘Lettin’ Loose’) was co-produced by the creative Mack together with Queen guitarist Brian May. Now, that’s pedigree.
Amazingly, that album has survived more than 20 years of high-speed hi-tech developments intact. While other, more celebrated records have dated badly, ‘Lettin’ Loose’ re-affirms the belief back then that the Pettin’ would follow Leppard to big time stature. What went wrong at the time has little to do with the band, or lack of ambition/talent.
In America, where they should have broken big long before Bon Jovi gave Love A Bad Name, they were held back by the label’s insistence on an anaemic re-mix (as well as a title change to ‘Heavy Pettin’, which caused more confusion than anything else). If the band’s essential, vital British brio had been left as conceived in the first place, who knows what might have been achieved. Still, a slot on the bill for the 1983 Reading Festival, the day that Black Sabbath infamously headlined when fronted by Ian Gillan, did them no harm and touring with Kiss, Ozzy, and Motley Crue helped the quintet’s progress.
Two years later, the Pettin’ return to the studio, this time with producer Mark Dearnley (who’d worked with AC/DC and Krokus). The result? ‘Rock Ain’t Dead’, which surprised many with a slicker yet conversely tougher approach. The lads really had progressed, although ironically if things had gone to plan, this would have been produced by Lance Quinn, of Bon Jovi and Lita Ford fame. However, just hours before the band were due to fly to Philadelphia, to work with Quinn at his Warehouse Studios, the decision was taken by PolyGram (to whom both Heavy Pettin and Bon Jovi were signed in the US) that, instead, he should start work immediately on what was to be Jovi’s second record, ‘7800 Degrees Fahrenheit’.
Perhaps then, it should have been obvious that record company politics were to scupper Pettin in the crucial American market. Despite continuing to show up well in the UK, once again the US was to prove elusive – through no fault of the five musicians. In many respects, this was the point when the writing was scrawled over every available wall space. Regardless of their obvious determination and grassroots support in Britain, it seemed as if Pettin’s realistic chance of significant international success had gone. A third album, ‘The Big Bang’, was released by FM Revolver in 1989. Although it still proved this lot were way ahead of so many others who were selling truckloads of units and getting acclaim from the media; as the 1980s faded into memory, so too did Heavy Pettin’.
Driven by a desire, a passion and a capacity simply to invoke the magic and rapport the band enjoyed, they released Prodigal Songs in 2007. The album was well-received by their loyal fans and the limited pressing sold out making it a highly sought-after collector’s item.
In 2017, original members Hamie, Punky, and Gordon joined by Jez Parry on bass and Michael Ivory on drums performed for the first time in 25 years at Scotland’s Winter Storm. Reinvigorated, Heavy Pettin, now joined by ex-Gun guitarist Dave Aitken due to Punky hanging up his guitar and going into retirement, did several shows in 2018 including a 6 date UK tour, with 3 sold-out gigs in Nottingham, London and Edinburgh, as well as 2 sold-out headline gigs in Milton Keynes and Glasgow.
The 2019 Heavy Pettin’ assault started in North Wales with HRH AOR Festival, then off to Germany’s Headbangers Open Air Festival in July, and Aug/Sept tour including The Golden Age of Rock Festival Belgium, with Dee Snider and Angel, plus a mainland British tour with RockGoddess.
Heavy Pettin’ is currently finishing 2019 recording and mixing a new EP, ‘4 Play’ for mid-February release.
Track Listing :
1. Get Back To You
2. Tell Me Why
3. Who We Are
4. Hard to Hold
All in a CD Jewel Case
Release date: February 14, 2020
Available for Purchase at:
The 2020 touring season starts with The Monsters of Rock Cruise ‘MORCX’ Feb 8th, 2020 (Florida, Belize, & Mexico) and a Premier Launch for the bands EP 4 Play with Sirius FM’s Eddie Trunk and KNAC’s Metal Will on the Worlds largest cruise ship Independence of the Sea before the band return to UK to headline Brofest UK on Feb 28th 2020, Also Heavy Pettin’ Headline laNau in Barcelona June 6th 2020 with many more dates to follow.
Hamie has said “…the demand and support for new HP material has been so overwhelming, we are excited to say we’re now working on brand new HP Album and other projects will also be released later in 2020… and it’s going great!”
Big Dutch Productions
This is the debut album from a band who were actually formed as long ago as 1983. They managed to secure some good tours and even signed a record deal in the Eighties, but by 1990 they had broken up and that was the end of it, at least until September 2013 when they reformed for a one-off gig. That has led to them supporting Aerosmith, Foreigner, UFO and Scorpions along the way and touring the UK with FM and Romeo’s Daughter. They have also performed at major festivals such as Hard Rock Hell AOR, Download, London Calling, Ramblin’ Man, Steelhouse, Rockingham and the Frontiers Rock Festival in Milan. They have now finally released their debut album, but what should be a totally joyous occasion has been dampened somewhat due to founding member, bass player and close friend Paul Boyd losing his battle with cancer in 2017. Paul appears on the album and the band is respectfully dedicating its release to his memory.
As soon as I heard this I was taken back to the Nineties, and particularly to a magazine called Frontiers. Unlike the other fanzines around at the time these guys had gone glossy and it was much more like a “proper” magazine. One of the real delights was the cover CD that came with each issue which introduced me to bands I would have never have heard of otherwise (this was pre-internet and the media hated melodic rock nearly as much as they hated prog). As soon as I started playing this I had to turn to my library as this was reminding just so much of bands like The Loveless and Be Sharp, both of whom featured on the second cover CD before the now-famous Frontiers label had emerged. NHA is melodic rockers with strong hints of Bad Company, some Foreigner, a tad of classic Journey, the melodic side of UFO and possibly even some later Whitesnake. What it doesn’t sound like at all is a band releasing their debut in 2018, but if this had come out thirty years or more ago then I am sure that we would have been hearing a great deal about it.
It is great that the guys finally seem to be getting some real recognition, and we can only hope that it keeps going in the way that it has to date. As it is, this is a melodic hard rock album that has that edge that removes it from AOR yet will still be appreciated by fans of that slightly softer genre. Strong harmonies, hooks, and a great production, this is well worth looking out for.
8/10 – Kev Rowland
A STATEMENT FROM PHIL MOGG
Phil Mogg has confirmed that next year’s 50th-anniversary tour with UFO will be his last as the frontman of the long-running hard rock band. Consequently, it seems almost certain that at that point they will cease to exist. UFO were formed in London in 1969 and Mogg is their only ever-present member, performing on all of the group’s 22 studio albums.
“This decision has been a long time coming, I’ve considered stepping down at the end of UFO’s previous two tours,” Mogg explains. “I don’t want to call this a farewell tour as I hate that word, but next year’s gigs will represent my final tap-dancing appearances with the band.
“2019 marks UFO’s 50th anniversary, so the timing feels right,” he continues. “There will be a final tour of the UK and we will also play some shows in selected other cities that the band has a strong connection with. But outside of the UK this won’t be a long tour. Being out on the road isn’t always tremendously luxurious and although the playing is as great as it ever was, the stuff that surrounds it becomes very tiresome. I always told myself that when I reached that stage I would step down, and that’s what I’m going to do. This is the right time for me to quit.”
Mogg turned 70 back in April and although his voice remains strong, he admits that age played its part in his conclusion.
“I’m a big reader of obituaries, and my finger always goes down to: ‘I wonder how old they were…’,” he chuckles. “The last few years have been tough, losing Lemmy was awful and I was sad that Jimmy Bain passed on a cruise ship. That distressed me quite a lot.”
While many veteran bands in such a position simply cease playing live and continue to record, UFO will no longer be releasing new music. Last year’s covers collection ‘The Salentino Cuts’ is set to become a signing-off point, though Mogg insists that however unlikely the prospect might seem – the singer is a lone strand of consistency throughout a 50-year history – he would have no problem with UFO continuing with a replacement.
The band’s current line-up – completed by keyboard player/second guitarist Paul Raymond, guitarist Vinnie Moore, drummer Andy Parker and bassist Rob De Luca – have of course been informed of Mogg’s decision.
“I’ve told the guys that this is how it is,” he says. “They know it’s my time to go and they know that they can do whatever they want to do without me but I don’t want to play live or make records any more, though having said that I might go on and do an album of my own. I’ll have to see how I feel about that.”
Of course UFO have either split up, retired or gone on hiatus several times before but Mogg is keen to make the distinction that next year’s dates don’t just mark the end of his touring commitments with UFO – for Phil, there will be no further concerts of any kind.
“For me, this is the end of my stint with UFO,” he clarifies. “This is a line in the sand. I’m suggesting we call the tour ‘Last Orders’, though I also like ‘The Bar Is Closing’. I’m also tempted to name it ‘The Drinks Are On Parker’,” he chuckles, referring to long-suffering sticksman Andy Parker.
You’ll have gathered that Mogg is not about to slash his wrists anytime soon. Of course, he is sad that the finishing line is now within sight but has had sufficient time to live with and process such a massive personal decision.
“Maybe the best word to use is ‘bittersweet’,” he concludes. “But my time has arrived and all that remains is to make sure that we have a good tour.”