Words by Rob Garry
All photos by Tam Schilling (@tamcamimages)
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I remember back in early 1992 when the news hit via my then bible Hot Metal (remember printed media kids?) that Vince Neil was kicked out/left Motley Crue. Devastated would be an understatement. Now in a strange twist of fate, that very issue came with a sampler cassette of bands to watch, and one song blew me away. The song was Outlaw by a hot Los Angeles band called The Scream. The singer was John Corabi.
I must admit I had never heard of opening act Brooke Supple but was suitably impressed. A strong vocalist and a great acoustic player to boot. Stop Record Rewind proved the adage that a breakup is worth it if you get a good song out of it. And closing with the Allanah Myles track Black Velvet set up perfectly what was to follow.
Brooke Supple – photos by @tamcamimages
Two things were immediately clear from the get-go this evening – John loves an â€œinappropriateâ€ joke (by 2022 standards at least), and he can REALLY sing. Opening with Love (I Donâ€™t Need it Anymore) from his criminally underrated band Union, the power of his voice is simply breathtaking. A hilarious story illustrating the fanaticism that goes with a certain band (Kiss fans are fucking nuts!) accompanied a version of Hard Luck Woman that would make the Catman proud.
What did take me by surprise was exactly HOW engaging and charming he was when just telling his tales. Yes, he may be the rock star, but more than anything, he is a guy that just lives and breathes music, and on occasion may even be a fanboy. This last point proved with yet another fantastic tale of meeting his childhood idol Steven Tyler, complete with impressions, while being reprimanded by an authoritative Sixx and Lee. And he will do anything for his fans, although he did draw the line at male appendages. Fair call. It is also great to hear firsthand the creative process around certain songs he has been involved in, and a straight from the horseâ€™s mouth account of how an obscure Aerosmith tune came about. Bone to Bone Coney (Island White Fish Boy)â€¦look it up.
Of course, like everyone else there, I was REALLY wanting to hear what he would do from the ‘Motley Crue’ album. I have never understood why Nikki Sixx disowns the self-titled album era of the bandâ€™s history and Johnâ€™s contributions to it. An overwhelming majority of fans all agree it is one of, if not THE strongest effort in their entire catalogue (sidenote: if you put this album BELOW ‘Generation Swine’, give yourself an uppercut!) Having not looked at the setlist from his other shows (I need to stop doing that!) I wanted to be surprised. Misunderstood and Loveshine, obvious choices and sounded fantastic. What I was not expecting was a phenomenal version of my favourite Crue track Hooliganâ€™s Holiday. Amazing.
Also, donâ€™t you just love drunk â€œfansâ€? You know, the ones that cut an artist off mid sentence and try to make it about them? Just for the record to THAT dude, I am pretty certain Mr Corabi does not give a flying fuck that Queensland just won the Origin. Me neither for that matter.
Corabiâ€™s time in Motley Crue, while the major highlight in his career so far, it is only a ridiculously small part of his story. Tonight proved that. His body of work speaks for itself. To see him have an entire room spellbound with just an acoustic guitar and a voice is a truly magical thing. And something those other guys couldnâ€™t do in a million years.
John Corabi – photos by @tamcamimages
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With thanks to Silverback Touring