If you’re in the mood to time warp back to the 80s and thrash your head to some classic heavy metal, you’ll be in Heaven when we introduce you to what we have in store! Hailing from Sydney, Heaven formed in 1980 and they always brought down the house with their distinct brand of heavy metal. The band recorded three albums and toured throughout the United States during the 1980s. The group’s original style was similar to that of AC/DC but in later years went in a more commercial heavy metal direction along the lines of Judas Priest. Some trivia off the bat is that when AC/DC singer Bon Scott died in London, some unsubstantiated reports suggested that the iconic band was considering Heaven’s frontman and vocalist Allan Fryer as a replacement! Brian Johnson had been given the nod by Bon in life, so Allan was able to forge his own legend along with the rest of his crew.
The band was originally formed in Adelaide under the name Fat Lip, which featured Scottish-born Allan Fryer, bassist Laurie Marlow, and drummer Joe Turtur. Fryer left Fat Lip and returned to Adelaide but he was never called upon to audition. Once back in Sydney, Fat Lip now consisted of Fryer and Marlow, Aldo Civitico (ex-Scandal) on drums and guitarist Bradford Kelly, originally from the band Swanee. Civitico dropped out just before the band signed its record deal, and Turtur joined the band. John Haese was also added as rhythm guitarist.
Shortly afterward, Fat Lip came to the attention of Michael Browning, a Sydney music industry figure who had managed AC/DC in the 1970s and had just started a new record label called Deluxe, to which he had signed INXS. Fat Lip began recording an album for Deluxe, but changed its name to Heaven during the sessions. The frequent intertwining stories between Heaven and AC/DC paint a clear picture, one that is obvious to see as soon as you let Heaven’s incredible music blast out of your speakers. Picture AC/DC, but more thrashy and intense! Heaven’s first album with Deluxe, Twilight of Mischief, was preceded in late 1981 by a single, “Fantasy”. A second single, “In the Beginning” became the album’s title track when it was released by CBS in the US under that name. “Fantasy” in particular would encounter a whole new lease on life since being remixed by Country Boy AKA CB. Introducing a splash of inspiration from the Beastie Boys into this track, the remix takes the original in a new and exciting direction – but both versions are unquestionably excellent and would help propel Heaven’s rise to fame both back in the past and in modern times!
This iconic sound, along with the spicy remixes that it inspired, would go on to endure in the hearts and ears of many a listener – Heaven are a cult classic and they are firmly on the musical map. They had aimed high, and had made it.
John Haese left Heaven after “In The Beginning” was released and he was replaced by Mick Cocks, formerly of Rose Tattoo. After a successful Australian tour supporting Iron Maiden, the band then went to the United States and also found some success there, particularly on the West Coast and toured with Judas Priest, Mötley Crüe, Black Sabbath and Kiss. They recorded a second album for RCA during 1983 called Where Angels Fear to Tread. The album was supported by a single, “Rock School” that received heavy airplay on MTV, and featured guest contributions from Ronnie James Dio, Lita Ford and Glenn Hughes. After this, Cocks and Turtur left Heaven.
In 1984, Fryer recruited drummer Tommy Dimitroff (in replace of original drummer Ronnie Zade) and returned to America to reform Heaven, this time with ex-Talas guitarist Mitch Perry and New York City musician Mark Cunningham who had most recently been in a band called Cathedral. Dennis Feldman, formerly of Ram-Jam and The Michael Schenker group also joined the new Heaven line-up on bass and the group recorded the album. Columbia A&R man, Mason Munoz, signed the band and recruited Paul O’Neill to produce and co-write the album Knocking on Heaven’s Door. The album’s title track was a heavy metal cover of the Bob Dylan song. However prior to completion, Munoz was replaced by a new A&R representative and Columbia brought in another mixer. After this, Fryer moved to Texas and forged ahead keeping the Heaven name alive with local talent such as Guitarist Perry Parris, Scott Howe, John Paul Dutton, Rodger “bam-bam” Weiss, Bryan Cameron and Timi Heiser. Nye Jones, Scott Cothren and Steve Dainhart recorded Time For Terror. The players from Austin Texas also recorded on the Mötley Crüe Tribute CD Home Sweet Home and was the number one voted song on the CD. The song was written by Allan Fryer and Tommy Lee and dedicated to Vince Neils’ daughter, Skylar Neil who died from cancer. All the CD proceeds went to the Skylar Neil Memorial Fund.
On 4 June 2015 it was announced that Heaven’s vocalist, Allan Fryer, had died after a long battle with cancer. He was survived by his daughter, Kallan and four grandchildren.
The legacy of the band endures, entertaining new ears many years after members have left or passed away. Rumour has it that Guns N Roses themselves were influenced by Heaven. Fans of Heaven have a lot more listening to do before they themselves ascend to Heaven – because someone who listens to music this rockin’ couldn’t have committed a sin in their life! 😉