In an age of when oversized two-chord aggression and
auto-tuned talent-free anthems pass for popular
music, the Canadian rock veteran collective known as
Fraze Gang are taking the hard road to reach the brass
ring. Rather than kiss up to the latest trends in order to
make an impression and a buck, the quartet has chosen
good old-fashioned hard work and a genuine passion for
making music to carry their new album, quite simply
dubbed Fraze Gang 2.
Fraze Gang's roots go back 30 years, when vocalist/
guitarist Greg Fraser and bassist Stevie Skreebs
launched Brighton Rock; a popular draw on the hair
band scene in Canada through the late 80s and into the
90s. The band split up in 1991, but Fraser and Skreebs
were anything but idle; saving their energy until the time
felt right to unleash some new music. Recruiting
drummer Phil Epp, the trio laid down 13 tracks for what
would become Fraze Gang's self-titled debut in 2008 on
Bongo Beat. And while it didn’t break the bank, the 13
song arena rock record established Fraze Gang as a fullon
no-nonsense band with old school 80s values.
Fraze Gang 2 is a follow-up that’s considerably heavier
than what some people are expecting. From the Judas
Priest-flavoured opener Saint Or Sinner to the brazen
Brighton Rock-ishness of White Lightning to the AC/DC
vibe of Tough Enough, the album is a both a nostalgic
trip and a bold reminder of what real rock is all about.
“We still have that vinyl approach to our music, where
we have 10 songs coming out and the first five are
Side 1, the other five are Side 2,” says Greg Fraser.
Fraze Gang’s grittier attitude is due in part to the addition
of guitarist Derek McGowan as a full time band
member. Initially conscripted to fill out the band's sound
for live gigs, McGowan was brought on board full time to
bring the same energy and clout to the band's studio
work. The results are readily apparent on Fraze Gang 2
from the first track in.
“Having that second guitar in the studio gives the songs
more of that live feel compared to if it was me doing all
the guitar parts on my own,” Greg agrees.
An additional bullet in Fraze Gang’s belt is having
producer Beau Hill behind the mixing desk for the new
album. Known for his extensive work with 80s artists
such as Ratt, Kix, Europe and Winger, Hill is a perfect
match for what Fraze Gang were trying to accomplish.
The fact that he’s known for wanting to help up-andcoming
artists rather than just restricting his services to
million-selling signed acts is the icing on the cake.
“When we first got Brighton Rock together and working
with producers and engineers, we’d always be excited
going in,” says Greg, “but the recordings just didn’t have
that big Scorpions / Judas Priest sound we wanted. Beau
Hill knows how to get a great live sound where you can
still hear everything. Nothing gets buried in the mix,
and that’s not easy to do. When he sent us the mixes
for the new album we were blown away.”
Now a solid four-piece, Fraze Gang is officially back in
action and in for the long haul. The band is the the #1
priority, and the focus is on the future rather than the
glories of the past.