Forgotten Bands of the 1970s: Moxy

Forgotten Bands of the 1970s: Moxy

Every decade produces many great acts that are overlooked, or known only in certain places. One of those bands in the 70s was Moxy, a hard rock band popular in its native Ontario as well as the midwest, but especially in Texas. Out in Seattle, they were pretty much unknown, so much so that I never heard of them until the 90s. Once my friends on the Uriah Heep email list introduced me, however, I quickly picked up all four of their albums.

moxy.jpgThe first three with lead singer Buzz Sherman are the essential Moxy albums (he was replaced on the fourth album with Mike Reno, who would shortly discover fame and fortune with Loverboy). Ridin’ High, their third album, is often considered their masterpiece, but it was their self-titled first album from 1975 that was my introduction, and I find it nearly as good.

The opener, Fantasy, opens in big, bold dramatic fashion (gongs, even!) before settling into a slow-building anthem of lost love that climaxes with its guitar solo. Sail On Sail Away follows a similar pattern but starts quiet with just acoustic guitars before morphing into some very heavy boogie rock not unlike Status Quo or Foghat at their best.

The third track, Can’t You See I’m a Star, was a big regional hit (quite unfortunately, it never received any airplay in Seattle) and features a ripping guest guitar solo from the legendary Tommy Bolin, who’d just left James Gang and was about to join Deep Purple. The bludgeoning riff would’ve fit right in on a Soundgarden or Disturbed album. Like most of the remaining songs, it’s a much faster pace than the first two songs. In hindsight, one of these faster tracks might have better served the band as an opener.

moxy band.jpg

The next several tracks are uptempo, riff-laden boogie rockers, many of which feature solos from Tommy Bolin. It’s no wonder AC/DC was chosen as their opening act when Moxy headlined their first tour! MoonriderTime to Move On, and Still I Wonder all move the album at a blistering pace before the slow blues burner, Train, allows Sherman and lead guitarist Earl Johnson to show off their chops. The album’s closer, Out of the Darkness (Into the Fire) returns to the pace of the opener, with a sledgehammer riff that reminds me more of the doom metal of Black Sabbath’s first three albums.

Buzz was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in 1983 after rejoining Moxy, and the band fell apart. The reunited around 1999, eventually recording their excellent fifth album “V” around 2000 and a the live album “Raw” in 2002. Earl Johnson still has the band together with all-new members who released “Still Riding High” (re-recordings) and a live album in 2015. For more information, check out their website at moxyofficial.


The Princess Problem, Episode 5

In which our intrepid adventurer discovers the dangers of love…

Read Episode 4 here


Related imageWhat smoldering dark eyes my princess has! Long lashes batted invitingly at me and only me. So what if they batted with an angry fire unmatched in passion by any woman save Rosa? They batted for me.

And so what if those eyes belonged to the face of the same heavily cowled figure who had tried to kill me as Rosa and I had magically departed from Solvang? Those long lashes batted for me.

And so what if Rosa fingered her dainty wand while those long lashes batted for me? Well, that did matter. It was only later that I realized what a mistake it was to ignore Rosa’s body language.

“Halt!” cried the princess. With practiced precision, her troops collided with each other. She leaned out her window and stared at me. I had little choice but to stare back, her long neck and shoulders bare save for a twinkling silver necklace filled with scintillating sapphires. Her gold-trimmed pink-and-white dress flowed towards an impossibly thin waist, the fabric sparkling as if woven with the stars themselves. Radiant blond hair cascaded in impossibly thick curls over her shoulders and down her back, held in place by the daintiest of tiaras. No man could deny she was the perfect picture of evil personified.

“I know you,” she slowly purred, eyes narrowing. A white gloved hand stroked her delicate chin as she examined me from head to toe.

I smiled and bowed with a flourishing sweep of my arm. “At your service, your highness.”

Did I not know fear, you ask, as I faced the very assassin who had attempted to kill me? No, not this fearless warrior, even though it had doubtless been her who had poisoned my boss. No, not I, for I was in love.

As I rose, recognition alighted my love’s smoldering dark eyes.

“Why, you’re… Guards! Take this man and his, uh, witch to the castle!”

Rosa’s jaw bounced up and down several times as the princess’ troops surrounded us, clamping meaty fists on our arms. With no time to raise her dainty wand, no sudden croaking ensued, and the two of us joined the parade.

On to Episode 6!