Rockin’ The Midwest
By Curt King
It’s flash back time folks. The summer of 1980 to be exact. A time when I was just starting to “swim in the waters” of all things hard rock. I was in the sixth grade and my appetite for rock music was insatiable. One day a local FM channel (KC-103) announced a band called Amulet and proceeded to play a rockin’ cut called Just Like A Woman. I instantly clicked with their sound (esp. the guitar), which was catchy, melodic Hard Rock with a tinge of blues and some power chords. The songs were memorable and easy to get into -perhaps that’s why I liked it so much.
*Click to listen to “Just Like A Women”
Without a doubt, Amulet were top-notch musicians. Musicians whose hometown was none other than Evansville, Indiana. Evansville is in the South-Western most tip of the state. Yes, the state that kinda’ looks like a “boot”. Follow that to the tip of the “boot”, all the way to the bottom left hand corner and that is in fact where we are kickin’ it from for this special post.
*click for a larger view (design Kathy Cannon)
Amulet’s career was pretty short, but Bob Becker (guitars), Clif Hill (vocals), Paul Skelton (bass) and John Becker (drums) certainly made a stir around the Midwest while active. On a more national level, the band was able to garner some major label interest. Overall most reviews tend to be favorable, but unfortunately some of the various “music journalists” out there have been quite critical of them in their past reviews. Often citing a thin production and or copious amounts of borrowed styles/sounds from certain bands.
Forget what those sharp-tongued critics have said, if you are into early releases from: Aerosmith, Kansas, Montrose, ZZ Top, B.O.C., Van Halen, Nazareth, Robin Trower, Heart, Bad Company, Uriah Heep etc. then you most likely will like Amulet’s music as well. Do I think they ripped-off these bands? No. Are they possibly influenced by these band -of course. Was their sound groundbreaking? No. Was it revolutionary or totally original? Nope. But it certainly was well-played, honest, Midwestern music that I thought deserved much more attention! Read on…
In 1980 it was a totally different time in the music industry. There was no such thing as the internet, so it wasn’t very easy to promote your band and or get a recording/management contract —let alone being so far removed from the main music industry hubs of New York or Los Angeles. Even though this put the band in somewhat of a “pickle” -I fully respect them for writing original material and for recording their self-financed album essentially “live” in the studio (with a very small budget I might add). This may be the norm now, but it certainly wasn’t in 1980!