Bachman-Turner Overdrive gig draws comparisons to the horror of BTO freak Stephen King

photo by narking/Wikipedia


By Steve Newton

In the book Kingdom of Fear, a collection of essays on the fiction of Stephen King, the top-selling horror author explained how he came up with the the pseudonym he used on novels like The Running Man and Thinner. Once the prolific scaremeister had decided to release a few novels under an alias–just to see how well they would sell without his “brand name”–his publisher called him up and asked him which phony name he had in mind.

King was dumbfounded, but the rock-loving writer had a Richard Stark book on his desk, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive on the stereo. He put the two together and went on to use the Richard Bachman name for five of his novels.

While Steve King’s affinity for hard rock is well know, it hasn’t yet been disclosed if the members of BTO spend long nights under the frightening thrall of novels like The Dead Zone and The Stand. But whether there’s a mutual appreciation there or not, some similarities can be drawn between King’s fiction and BTO’s music. Neither is particularly concerned with intellectual stimulation–and neither wants to be. Both are brutally straight-forward and have a knack for getting under your skin. And both have that honest, matter-of-fact quality that is so fondly embraced by the common man.

That said, there were quite a few not-so-common types in the 86 Street audience last Friday (January 27). Former Eagle Glenn Frey could be seen continually sucking face with an unidentified woman in red, taking time out to come up for air and chat with the likes of Bryan Adams and Bruce Allen. Former Loverboy guitarist Paul Dean, currently basking in the release of his solo album, Hard Core, was also in attendance, as was Adams’ guitarist Keith Scott. The rockers were out in full force to soak up the old classics from BTO’s mid-’70s heyday, and they weren’t disappointed.

The famed lineup of guitarist/vocalist Randy Bachman, bassist/vocalist C.F. Turner, guitarist Blair Thornton, and drummer Rob Bachman put the pedal to the metal on some of their best tunes (“Let it Ride”, “Gimme Your Money Please”) and a few of their weaker ones (“Hey You”, “Four Wheel Drive”). Randy Bachman showed that he’s still able to conjure tasty jazz licks in between the bone-crunching riffs on one of the earlier BTO gems, “Blue Collar”.

But it was during the band’s encore that they hauled out their really great tunes, including “Roll On Down the Highway”, and the deathless “Takin’ Care of Business”. On the latter tune the BTO boys were joined  by Adams, Scott, Dean, and singer Denise McCann, and the whole pack of ’em worked out on the usual medley that Adams leads when he hops on the 86 Street stage: “Good Golly Miss Molly”, “Blue Suede Shoes”, and “Whole Lotta Shakin'”.






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