Issues with Bob Rock and Sharon Osbourne leave the Quireboys Bitter Sweet & Twisted

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MAY 27, 1993

After Bob Rock hit the big time by producing Motley Crue’s No. 1 album, Dr. Feelgood—and then accomplished the incredible feat of making former thrash-masters Metallica a mainstream rock-radio fave—it seemed the Vancouver producer could do no wrong. And although Rock’s reputation as a producer with both hands on the pulse of today’s popular hard-rock sound is undeniable, not every band that has gone into the studio with him has come out pleased as punch.

The Quireboys (formerly London Quireboys) didn’t get exactly what they wanted when Rock took the controls for their latest release, Bitter Sweet & Twisted, so they had to get Rolling Stones producer Chris Kimsey to come in and finish the job.

“We just thought it could be a bit…a lot better than it was,” says Quireboys vocalist Spike, calling via cellular phone on his way to a gig in Peterborough, Ont. “There was too many things on it for our likin’, you know. We wanted to strip it down a bit more, so we decided to mix the album with someone else. Bob was very busy when we were workin’ with him, and we just wanted to have a different pair of ears on the final thing of it.

“So it’s a shame the way things ended up, really, but there’s no hard feelings. I saw Bob the other week in Sweden, and he’s doin’ good. It was good to see him. He seemed a lot happier bein’ on the road [with Rockhead] and doin’ what he really wants to do, ya know.”

Production problems haven’t been the only hassle the Quireboys have had to face since they exploded onto the music scene in 1990 with what turned out to be a million-seller, A Bit of What You Fancy. During the making of the latest album, they also had a split with SOS Management, the company that got them a recording deal in the first place. It is headed by Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy’s wife.

“She’s very busy with Ozzy,” says Spike, “and she got offered a lot of money to write the book on her life story, and they’re makin’ a film about her life and everything. So she’s doin’ that, and good luck to ’er—we’re still good friends. We’re just sortin’ out all the mess she left us with now,” he adds with a raspy chuckle.

Spike and his mates can afford to laugh a little now, with the album finally out and a new management deal signed with the same team that handles Aussie ear-busters AC/DC.

“Our new management have really…you know, they saved our asses, basically. There was a lot of problems happenin’ during recording, especially towards the end of the album, and they’ve sorted a lot of the mess out. I’m just so glad it’s fuckin’ finished, you know. I mean these songs are like two years old to us now.”

While yours truly wouldn’t say that the new Quireboys album is as strong as their spirited, rock-your-socks-off debut, it does have its moments, as in a slinky version of “Brother Louie” that was covered at Rock’s recommendation. But the Quireboys are first and foremost a live party band—that’s where their rough-hewn blend of the Faces and the Stones hits a real high. Previous performances at 86 Street only hint at how much fun the band could be at a party palace like the Commodore, where it’ll rip things up on Saturday (June 5).

And although the easygoing Spike had to deal with a fair batch of hassles during his previous stay in Vancouver, he doesn’t hold anything against this town.

“I love it,” he claims. “I really do. Brilliant! I could live there. I mean, we gotta lotta friends there and stuff, and I’m really lookin’ forward to comin’ back. I’m gonna be callin’ up a lot of people and goin’ out on the town. Yeah!”

 

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