The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world


Opening Night of The "America Rocks" Tour

Featuring Jack Russell’s Great White, Faster Pussycat, Bulletboys, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Lillian Axe
The Avalon, Santa Clara, California
June 15, 2012


By Robert Kitay



The America Rocks Tour is a nice five band bill of ‘80’s bands playing for a very reasonable ticket price of $25. The first band to play was Lillian Axe. This was only my second time seeing Lillian Axe and they put on a great show. They were the heaviest band of the night and were really tight. Unfortunately, only about half the crowd had arrived by the time they went on stage, but those that were down on the floor were rocking out and they got a good reception from those early arrivals.


Lillian Axe


The second band to play was Pretty Boy Floyd, although as it turns out they didn’t play for long. They opened up with their biggest hit,“Leather Boyz with Electric Toyz,” and sounded great. They showed good energy, so it was more than a little strange when the entire band, except for a very confused bass player, left the stage after one song. The bass player stood in his place, waiting for something to happen. He chatted with the crowd for a while, and after several minutes said “Did my band break up and they forgot to tell me?” Several more minutes went by with still no sign of the band. After a while the bass player said “I’m sorry. This is really embarrassing.” And that was it for Pretty Boy Floyd - one song. No further announcement was made. I heard from an inside source something about the drummer not being able to hear his monitor (which didn’t seem to be a problem with any of the other bands, all of which used the same drum set and monitors) and also that there was some kind of drama from one band member kicking over another band member’s beer. But, however you cut it, this was very unprofessional of the band and completely inexcusable.


Pretty Boy Floyd


The third band was the Bulletboys. The first thing I noted from the Bulletboys was that they really cranked up the volume. Their set was LOUD! They also showed a lot of energy while they played their version of straight ahead hard rock to an appreciative crowd. This was my third time seeing the Bulletboys and probably the best. The band was tight and put on a solid show. Want to see the setlist – check out the photo.




The next band was Faster Pussycat. Taime Downe and company put on a relatively solid, but somewhat uninspired performance. Taime is an interesting front man to watch. He doesn’t move around extensively on stage, but he has a way about him where it’s hard to take your eyes off him. Even the act of holding and smoking a cigarette is just different than the way everyone else does it. When he sang “House of Pain” he came to the very front of the stage and sat down almost crowding the group of people in the front row. Taime Downe is definitely one of a kind, but as far as Faster Pussycat shows go, this one was rather middle of the road. An enjoyable set certainly, but I’ve certainly seen Faster Pussycat put on a better performance.




Faster Pussycat

The final band of the evening was Jack Russell’s Great White. As you may know, there are currently two versions of Great White. Due to Jack Russell’s ongoing illnesses and battles with drugs and alcohol, Jack Russell was essentially not allowed to return to Great White following his recovery from a life threatening perforated bowel surgery. As a result, Jack Russell decided to form his own version of the band and bill it as Jack Russell’s Great White, as opposed to the version containing Mark Kendall, Audie Desbrow, and Michael Lardie. Jack Russell’s Great White consists of Matthew Johnson (previously in Great White) on guitar, Robby Lochner (Fight) on guitar, Dario Seixas (Firehouse) on bass, Derrick Pontier on drums, and of course Jack Russell on vocals.






I have seen Jack Russell in Great White a couple times over the last few years, and clearly he has been struggling with his health. A few years ago he was performing with broken ribs and his entire performance was terrible. The more recent concert in which I saw Great White, Jack’s voice was much better but Jack was having trouble walking due to a hip replacement surgery and he ended up sitting on a stool for a good portion of the show. During this show, Jack’s voice was for the most part fine, although not quite as strong as in the days of old. Although he never used a stool, he clearly was having trouble standing for long periods and he walked with a very noticeable limp. Any time there was a period of time without vocals, he would slip backstage until needed again. His band, however, was very good and at times quite entertaining.







At one point in the show Dario Seixas picked out a little girl from the audience (I’m guessing 6 years old) and put his bass in front of her while he hide behind her playing his bass. This was certainly a crowd favorite. Matthew Johnson also sung a very bluesy “Save Me” while Jack remained backstage. Clearly, Jack is still struggling with his health, but his voice sounded good and he still had that Jack Russell sound that the other version of Great White hasn’t yet been able to replicate. Overall a decent performance.



Well, there is. America Rocks was definitely an evening of drama, hard hitting rock and roll, and curiosities. You certainly get your money’s worth for the almost 6 hours of great ‘80s rock and roll. I’d suggest checking it out.




Review posted 28 June 2012