Growing up in Sweden in the 1980’s the only way to find new hard rock music was going down to the local music store and checking out the latest vinyl additions. Radio and TV did not play hard rock at all (except for one radio show every Saturday called Rockbox). There was hardly any newspapers or magazines covering this, by many deemed as a decadent and repulsive genre. It only fueled my interest in this music that challenged the normal order of things. There was one magazine called Okej which challenged the ignorance policy. There you could see the latest pictures of Blackie Lawless with his skull with all the fake blood and the decadent Mötley Crue.
Anyway, I went to visit one of my guitar playing friends one weekend and he pulled out a vinyl album he just bought by looking at the cover. When he played the vinyl it just blew me away. Those screaming vocals supported by soaring twin guitars combined with melodies and hooks to die for. The album was Steel the Light by Q5! I had just gotten my first CD player way back in 1988 when I turned 15 and the search to find this gem on CD went on for almost a year. I finally found a 2 on 1 release on Music for Nations which also included the more commercially oriented follow up When the Mirror Cracks. Although very different this album also caught on to me and there are some really great songs on that too.
None of my other friends knew this band and it felt like I had a secret of my own! Everyone I played it for was amazed how good the album sounded and were left wondering why they hadn’t heard it before. I would still rank the title track as one of the top 3 best hard rock songs of the 1980’s. The entire album is littered with excellent hard rock tunes that combine heaviness with a melodic feel in a way that you rarely hear from any band. Highlights like “Missing in Action”, “Lonely Lady”, the aggressive “Pull the Trigger” and the heartfelt “Come and Gone” must be considered classics today.
For a couple of years, I had no idea that the band had broken up (remember this was in a time when there was no internet and no news coverage) until the previous friend played a new CD for me that he had bought on sale in a local record shop. The band was Nightshade and on the cover, there were the words ”formerly known as Q5”. It turned out to be a really great album although it never reached quite the same highs as the first two. I also learned a new name – the ”new” guy was Jeffrey McCormack keeping the beat on Dead of Night which of course was the name of this first effort by Nightshade. There was going to be two more albums in the 20 years to come. All quite hard to find and it took some detective work to learn about them.
Still, I am very excited to talk to Jeffrey who played on an album that meant so much to me growing up and of course since a couple of years back he is behind the drum kit of the mighty Q5 who just released one heck of an album! I am eager to know more about his background, the Nightshade album, the new Q5 album and the future plans for the band. If you listen to my interview with this nice gentleman you get answers to these questions and a couple of more.
Mikael “The Lionsheart” Svensson
Decibel Geek‘s Q5 – New World Order album review
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