I feared the worst.
So, the postman dropped another missive from Stowmarket through the letterbox and it was with some trepidation I played the tape.
From the opening chords of "Bad Blood" all those fears exploded. Davis' powerful guitar and Underwood's massive drum sound blew everything away. "Rain Fall Down" by contrast is a thoughtful acoustic number demonstrating that Davis can play properly. "Dreams Are Never Dreamt Alone" bursts through any restful feeling that "Rain" might have imparted with a wailing, heavy number. Great soling from Davis. "River" wraps the tape up with a grinding, descending, bluesey riff. Again, superb guitar from Davis and strong vocals from Taylor.
It's worth noting that "Bad Blood" and "River" are Bernie Tormé compositions and stand out as great songs. The band are also planning to work with Ray Fenwick, another Gillan stalwart.
If I sound excited, please forgive me: this is most emphatically "My Kind Of Music". Loud, raucous and begging to be belted out in a dark club, muddy field or stadium. The musicianship is of the highest order, as expected. I'm also beginning to tune into the singer who is as distinctive and rangeful as Glenn Hughes, but with Bad Company overtones when he stretches.
Accompanying the tape was an biography of each band member illustrated with cuttings from their collections. Obviously, Simper and Underwood go back a long way, as does Pete Taylor with the Pirates. However, given Gary Davis' apparent inexperience it's clear he has been a megastar in the making since Northstar hit the headlines in the local press. Great sound, great licks.
So really, the next question is: when are the warm-up gigs!