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HURRICANE – There’s A Storm Brewing
Dave Reynolds
Metal Forces, Issue 18 (1986)

Hurricane (l-r): Robert Sarzo, Kelly Hansen, Tony Cavazo and Jay Schellen

For a band to survive the cutthroat LA metal jungle, they’ve either got to be very, very original or at least have some kind of gimmick that will put them a touch above the competition. So far as Hurricane go, it’s definitely the fact that the band’s music is so damn good that lures you into the deep blue water of record buying. Although some would be inclined to suggest that they do have a gimmick in so much as two of the band’s members are none other than guitarist Robert Sarzo and bassist Tony Cavazo, who are of course the brothers of Rudy Sarzo and Carlos Cavazo of Quiet Riot fame.

Hurricane have most recently put out a superb debut record, a six-track album entitled Take What You Want, on the Greenworld label in the United States and Roadrunner in Europe. The record is so good, in fact, that it just had to merit further investigation on the part of yours truly. So I wound up talking to the other two members of the band, vocalist Kelly Hansen and drummer Jay Schellen, on the hotline from Los Angeles.

Now Hurricane have kept their activities pretty low-key up until now. I knew that they existed and who was in the band, but nothing was happening until Take What You Want appeared. Jay picks up the story: “Well, Robert and Tony have been together a little over two years after being introduced by Kevin DuBrow. As they progressed, they put out the feelers for a lead vocalist and found Kelly. After a while working with John Shearer on drums, they found me; I was working with Lita Ford at the time. We went into the studio and decided to put out a record straight away because we figured we’d reach more people this way, we weren’t playing any concerts and the only advance press we had was because of the brothers’ connection. We did keep pretty low-key about things until the record came out.”

The record’s sound and the musical style seems to be a great amalgam of Y&T and White Sister – the White Sister comparison possibly due to your voice Kelly sounding similar to Dennis Churchill’s, especially on the excellent ‘It’s Only Heaven’. Kelly: “Well thanks a lot, you’ve given us a compliment. I haven’t really heard White Sister, but the Y&T comparison could be down to the production. Our producer Kevin Beamish produced ‘Summertime Girls’ by them and we’re also a vocally oriented band with a hard edge like Y&T. Comparisons are all a matter of opinion though.”

Jay: “Kevin helped a great deal on that record, so that’s why it possibly sounds like Y&T.”

What happened to John Shearer’s (ex-Uriah Heep) involvement in the band? Kelly: “John was instrumental in getting me involved. We were in a group together before and he knew I was looking for something, so we got together. But after a while the chemistry wasn’t right so he left Hurricane, but I wish him luck.”

What were you both doing before Hurricane? Kelly: “Well I’ve been singing for eight years. I’ve been in Top 40 bands and also my own groups doing my own songs, but no name groups to speak of. I’ve mainly been doing session work.” Jay: “I was in Badfinger for a while.”

I know that Robert (Sarzo) has made a career of doing session work with people like D.L. Byron and that Tony (Cavazo) used to be in Snow, Quiet Riot and the awful Dangerface! The Dangerface material has got some hilarious lyrics! Kelly: “Ha! Ha! You know all about that eh? Tony wrote most of the lyrics for Hurricane but we all write songs equally, so if there’s a phrase that comes through then there’s three others around to correct it if need be. Some of the Dangerface stuff was very abstract! Actually, Tony co-wrote ‘Bang Your Head’ with Quiet Riot. I don’t know what the original words were, something about drinking more beer, but Kevin (DuBrow) changed them somewhat!”

How do you think Hurricane fits in with the LA scene right now? Jay: “I think all of us have been in the LA scene for years. Hollywood crowds know of us as individuals and everybody has a positive outlook to us. Hurricane, musically, is a more melodic band than most of the LA bands, and it’s given us an advantage, especially with the radio stations who really like the record. It’s doing really well and everything is going great and we’re getting very positive reactions, which is encouraging to say the least. We’ve got about half a dozen new songs and we do plan on a new record, but there’s still a lot for Take What You Want to do yet!”

Why did you go with Greenworld? Weren’t any majors interested? Kelly: “At the time we did the album we felt the buzz on the band was good, especially from Japan, so instead of trying to do showcases for majors we thought it was a good idea to put it out ourselves. Greenworld have been very supportive… we’d rather be working with a team. We’d rather be a little fish in a big pond than a big fish in a little pond.”

Jay: “We didn’t want to wait around for some guy at a major to help out. We had the means to finance the record along with total artistic freedom. Greenworld have stretched their involvement with us rather than just distributing the record, which I guess is all Roadrunner are doing in Europe. We’ve gotten so much encouragement from the press and fans that it’s just gonna make us even better.”

Interview taken from Metal Forces, Issue 18 (1986)

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