Pat Travers - lead guitar, lead vocals; Joey Jelf - rhythm guitar, backing vocals; Don Harris - keyboards, vocals; Peter "Mars" Cowling - bass; Sandy Gennaro - drums
Pat Travers has been playing blistering blues/rock guitar on the international music scene for three decades. Although he has never attained the success of Stevie Ray Vaughan or Eric Clapton, he has had a very accomplished career supported by a base of incredibly loyal fans and critics. This recording is classic Travers, taken a few years after he had his biggest radio success with "Boom, Boom Out Goes The Lights." And while Travers only had a few big radio hits in the late 1970s, he had been touring for eight years when this recording was made for the King Biscuit Flower Hour, and his popularity was at its peak.
Travers first emerged in 1976 (in between the eras of Robin Trower and Stevie Ray Vaughan) and was considered one of the hottest axemen on the scene, especially during the early '80s. This show was recorded while Travers was promoting his eighth LP for PolyGram, Black Pearl. Travers offers up a high energy set that also includes "The Fifth," "Rockin'," "Snortin' Whiskey (And Drinkin' Cocaine)," "I La La La Love You" (from the Valley Girls soundtrack) and his signature closer, "Boom, Boom Out Goes The Lights." Another highlight is "Amgwanna Kick Booty" and Travers' crankin' remake of the "Who'll Take The Fall," also from Black Pearl.
This show was recorded with a new band that Travers had assembled during the recording of Black Pearl, and they would prove to be the backing band that had the most impact on his audiences. Travers emerged out of the competitive Toronto club scene when Canada was just beginning its onslaught of international talent when acts like Rush, Bryan Adams, Lover Boy, Red Rider, and Triumph were all coming into prominence. "I just picked up an electric guitar when I was 14 and started playing," says Travers. "That was when I got into my first band, a high school band. Then I played in bar bands for about five years, up in Canada."
"I played with a guy named Ronnie Hawkins, who used to have what became the Band as his original back up group. I worked with Ronnie for about a year and then I moved to London. I made a demo, got a record deal, found a manager, got a bass player and went through six or seven drummers in about five years."
Travers got hooked on rock 'n' roll at the same time as millions of others did. "I guess the first time I saw The Beatles and The Rolling Stones on the Ed Sullivan Show, I decided this is what I wanted to do. It was the excitement. That whole thing of being special appealed to me. I wanted to be respected as a musician." But a turning point came in March, 1968, when Travers stood near the stage at an electrifying performance of the Jimi Hendrix Experience. At the show, Travers fought the crowd to grab a piece of Hendrix's smashed Stratocaster, which he threw out to the audience after performing "Wild Thing." Travers never got a piece of the guitar, but in the process, he did get an instant addiction to making live rock 'n' roll. This show remains a great example of how exciting his early '80s show could be. There was never a lack of talent, and there was certainly never a loss of energy.