What separates Masters Of The Airwaves from your typical early 70’s hard rock album is the unique use of 12 string steel guitar/pedal steel giving the band’s sound an exotic vibe.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Masters Of The Airwaves
ALBUM: Masters Of The Airwaves
SERIAL: KE 33060
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Jon Flak – vocals * Jimmy Berick – 16 string steel guitar, vocals * Randy Rand – bass, acoustic guitar * David Rada – drums, vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 In It For The Thrill * 02 I Believe In God * 03 Stay Away From Mirrors * 04 Light Up The Heavens * 05 Anna King Jamaica * 06 Back in ’51 * 07 Squeeze Me Positive * 08 Highway To Hell * 09 Getting Tight
These guys first came to my attention via Kerry Livgren‘s book ‘Seeds of Change’. In that book, Livgren lists just a few of the hundreds of bands Kansas shared a stage with and lo and behold, Masters Of The Airwaves appears.
Who? My interest was peaked and the hunt for this mystery band and album was on! Unfortunately, this was not an easy record to find and in the pre-Internet days it took several months to locate a copy, but it was well worth the effort.
Very little information is available on the band, so I am really not sure of the how they came together or why they split up. But Autograph fans might be interested to know that Randy Schuchart (i.e Randy Rand) plays bass on the record, although I am clueless as to what happened to the other three members.
What separates Masters Of The Airwaves from your typical early 70’s hard rock album is the unique use of 12 string steel guitar/pedal steel giving the band’s sound an exotic vibe especially on side one’s opening ‘In It For The Thrill’ and ‘Light Up The Heavens’. The album is a unique musical cocktail mixing Derek & The Dominoes, with Led Zeppelin‘s heaviness and the virtuosity of Journey circa their debut.
Vocalist John Flak does his best Robert Plant imitation on ‘Back in ’51’, the most ‘Zofo’ influenced track here and he has a great range overall much like David Byron on the heavier material including the last track ‘Gettin’ Tight’.
Masters Of The Airwaves were unusual, although without the use of pedal steel, I believe they would have been just another major label hard rock band left forever in the dustbins of old record shops and forgotten collections in damp basements. Never on CD, fans of rock n’ roll with that ‘something different’ will want to check this record out.
Back in ’51
Light Up The Heavens
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The catalyst in this band was guitarist – the late Jimmy Berick. Jimmy was part of the Northern California band Trakstod Station that recorded 2 official singles during 1969-1970, but recorded many more. By 1973, he had recorded a successful 8 track demo for Epic Records featuring uncredited musicians. Only two tracks made it to the debut a year later being ‘Anna King Jamaica’ (which was reworked) and ‘Squeeze Me Positive’. The band lineup listed above was completely new. Jimmy passed away in 2015. For more, check out YouTube channel Redding Music History. (Redding as in Northern California, close to Mt Shasta).