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9 Jun 2017

Masters Of The Airwaves “Masters Of The Airwaves "1974 US prog Glam Rock

Masters Of The Airwaves “Masters Of The Airwaves "1974 US prog Glam Rock

US band MASTERS of the AIRWAVES was formed sometime in 1973, after guitarist Jimmy Berick landed a record contract with Epic Records. He called upon some old musical friends, David Rada (drums) and Randy Schuchart (bass) to form the rhythm section of the band he needed. Both of them were plying their trade in the band Silverhill at the time, and the vocalist of that act, Jonathon Fredrick Boring (vocals), decided to hook up with Berick's band project as well.

With some help in the songwriting department from LA based artist Kim Fowley the band recorded and released their self-titled debut effort in 1974, and one year of intensive touring to support it followed. Boring was fired after the tour finished, as a result of too much drugs, booze and ego. Soon after the band decided to call it quits......

The short-lived Masters of the Airwaves was built around the talents of lead guitarist Jimmy Berick. Berick had been kicking around the Northwest music scene playing in a number of local bands when his unique double-necked, 16 string, steel guitar caught the attention of Epic Records. Signed to a contract in 1973, Berick turned around and recruited singer Jon Flak, who he'd previously worked with in the experimental band Acejet and Heatray. At the time Flak was playing in the Oregon-based blues-rock band Silverhill. Flak jumped at the opportunity, bringing Silverhill drummer David Rada and bassist Randy Rand along with him.
Settling on the hopeful name Masters of the Airwaves, the quartet went into Sausalito's Record Plant studios with producers Jorman Kurban and Michael Sunday (who was responsible for signing Berick to Epic). Released in 1974, "Masters of the Airwaves" featured a set heavy on originals written or co-written by Berick (including two tracks with the infamous Kim Fowley's fingerprints on them). On the surface this was a fairly conventional mixture of mid-1970s AOR with occasional progressive nods,. The album mixed the usual formulaic young-horny-guys-suffering-from-an-overdose-of-lust rock songs ('In It for the Thrill') with a couple of pop-tinged numbers ('Highway To Hell'). Flak was certainly a decent lead singer who seemingly picked up most of his cues from listening to the likes of Paul Rodgers and Robert Plant, though he had a tendency to turn shrill (think John Waite) whenever he pushed himself too hard. About all I can say is that in the lead vocalist department you've certainly heard worse and you've certainly heard better. To his credit, most of Flak's performance grew on you after awhile. The band's rhythm section was more than proficient with bassist Rand turning in some impressive moves (check out his work on 'Light Up the Heavens'). Still, the band's not-so secret weapon and major draw was guitarist Berick whose 'rocked-up' steel guitar made for some unique and entertaining material - imagine the sound of a Hawaiian slat-key guitar fed through the biggest fuzz guitar pedal you've ever heard. It probably doesn't sound all that promising, but the man certainly generated some interesting sounds hat should readily appeal to any Jimmy Page fan out there.....Bad Cat.........

Masters of the Airwaves (1974) was part of that long shower of labels in the 1970s throwing every act they could into the record bins, hoping one in ten might catch on. So here we had a pretentious name with a weird rant on the back cover about spirits, crazed harpies, and aliens among us. The front had a masked figure that much resembled The Flash from DC Comics. Maybe the most curious item on the jacket was that the lead guitarist was credited with playing a 16 string steel guitar. I gave it a shot.

Indeed, almost every song is built around the slide guitar riffing of Jimmy Berick, not in a blues or country style, but more straight ahead rock. The competent rhythm section of Randy Rand (bass) and David Rada (drums) moved the mostly uptempo songs along, and singer Jon Flak was a decent vocalist with a workable high-pitched scream. Flak actually reminds me more of Sebastian Bach from the late 80s band Skid Row. All together, this first and only outing by MotA is a light version of Montrose without the monstrous guitar solos.

To sample this group, I’d try listening to the opening rocker In It For The Thrill, the not particularly religious I Believe In God, and the closing jam Gettin’ Tight. My personal favorite is Back In ’51, a slow burner with a metal feel, as if Tony Iommi decided to prop a slide atop one of his shortened appendages.

Masters of the Airwaves came and went with little fanfare. It was hard to find any information about them other than the typical guys-form-band, band-tours, band-breaks-up story. I’d give it at least a 2 1/2 out of 4 stars, good enough to warrant a second album. I cast my vote with my wallet back in ’74 but that’s how the music biz goes. Record executives must not have thought these guys mastered enough of the airwaves.

A1 In It For The Thrill
A2 I Believe In God
A3 Stay Away From Mirrors
A4 Light Up The Heavens
B1 Anna King Jamaica
B2 Back In '51
B3 Squeeze Me Possitive
B4 Highway To Hell
B5 Gettin' Tight

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..