In 2017, Memphis rockers TORA TORA were approached by Frontiers Music Srl about recording a proper new studio album and they enthusiastically jumped at the opportunity. The resulting LP, "Bastards Of Beale", set for release on February 22, brings back the magic of the band's blues-rooted hard rock sound that gained them a loyal following upon their debut in the late '80s. Always a far cry from their more polished mainstream peers and more spiritually connected to blue collar hard rock, the band's return picks up where they left off, while not sounding even the slightest bit dated.
The first single from "Bastards Of Beale", a song called "Rose Of Jericho", can be streamed below.
"The first draft of this song was titled 'Rock 'N' Roll Ain't Dead Yet'," says vocalist Anthony Corder. "It began with the idea of us tapping into our passion of writing together again, and getting to create new tunes, but it also opened a floodgate of memories, of our experiences with our fans. It is about finding the things that make you happy and passionate, what drives you... music, art, friends, family, inspiration, partying... even when you feel like you may lose touch with them sometimes, they are still present."
Guitarist Keith Douglas stated about the band getting back together and recording a proper studio album: "The last studio album we did was 'Revolution Day' which was recorded in '94. It's hard to believe that was almost 25 years ago! Music in general was in kind of a weird place at that point and our fit within our label was questionable, so we just kind of stepped away to do other things for a while. We played one show together in 2001 for a special occasion, but it was 2008 before we started playing together again semi-regularly. We had always talked about trying to do a new project and just happened to come into contact with Frontiers at the right time to make that happen. So why not now?"
"The band recorded the new album at Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis, Tennessee," continues Corder. "Sam is, of course, recognized for his work with Sun Studios and Elvis, arguably being responsible for creating rock and roll. But after Sun Studios, he moved right down the street to create Sam Phillips Recording. He wanted to be on the cutting edge of technology with recording, while having room to expand. This building has hosted too many icons to name, but a few would be Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Dylan and Robert Plant. While we were there, William Bell (Stax) was visiting. We were really inspired while recording there."
TORA TORA started in 1985 in the garage of then high school students Antony Corder, Keith Douglas, John Patterson and Patrick Francis. They beat out sixty other groups in a local Battle Of The Bands contest and received some free studio time at Ardent Studios. They cut one track before using the prize money they had won to record an entire independent EP called "To Rock To Roll". Ardent was so impressed with the recordings that they offered to help shop the demo and gave them even more free recording time. TORA TORA eventually singed with A&M. That debut album made the Billboard Top 100 and hovered on the brink of breaking wide open as songs such as "Walking Shoes", "Riverside Drive" and "Phantom Rider" became local anthems. They followed up with "Wild America", which produced two more singles. A third album, "Revolution Day", was recorded but never released due to label restructuring. Due to the onset of the grunge era, TORA TORA, much like many other bands of their genre, called it quits in 1994.
In 2008, all four original members reunited for some performances. One was a sold-out performance at Newby's, a local club in Memphis, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of receiving their major label recording contract. The second appearance occurred during Rocklahoma 2008 before the band played another reunion show at The New Daisy Theatre on March 7, 2009 in Memphis.
Since the reunion, TORA TORA has issued three albums of previously unreleased material — "Before & After", "Bombs Away: The Unreleased Surprise Attack Recordings" and "Miss B. Haven': The Unreleased Wild America Recordings". But fans were clamoring for new music from the band, and that is just what they will get with the release of "Bastards Of Beale".
"Bastards Of Beale" track listing:
01. Sons Of Zebedee
02. Giants Fall
04. Silence The Sirens
05. Son Of A Prodigal Son
06. Lights Up The River
07. Let Us Be One
08. All Good Things
09. Rose Of Jericho
11. Bastards Of Beale
TORA TORA is:
Anthony Corder: Vocals, Background Vocals, Acoustic Guitars
Keith Douglas: Lead And Rhythm Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
Patrick Francis: Bass
John Patterson: Drums, Percussion