Thirty-one years ago today, marks the anniversary of the release of Tora Tora‘s debut album, Surprise Attack. I had the privilege of seeing these guys back in the day in support of this record. At the time, hair/glam metal ruled the rock music world. There were essentially two camps in the glam metal scene. We had the East Coast hair metal rockers like Bon Jovi, and the West Coast sleaze rock like Motley Crue. Most up and coming bands at the time tried to fit within one of those camps.
After seeing the first hit video, “Walkin’ Shoes” on MTV, I just had to know what the rest of the album sounded like. At the time that I saw/heard “Walkin’ Shoes“, I was 15 years old. Embarrassing to admit now, but at the time the image of the band was as important as the music to me. Seeing that debut video, I liked what I saw. They looked like your average boys next door, but hotter. Most bands at the time overdid it for me with Aquanet and guyliner. Tora Tora‘s image was more genuine and what you see is what you get, and I was hooked.
I rushed down to our local record store and picked up a copy of Surprise Attack. I was absolutely blown away by every single track on the record. At the time, it was a refreshing and unique twist on the rock n roll that I love still to this day. Hailing from Memphis Tennessee, Tora Tora brought a fresh, new Southern influence to rock n’ roll with an infusion of just the right amount of blues.
TORA TORA Live
So, when the opportunity to see them play live in support of Surprise Attack arose, I jumped at the chance. As soon as they went on sale, I rushed to buy the tickets to their show at Toadsplace in New Haven, CT. I remember waiting in line for 9 hours to make sure that I was right up front and center against the stage for the show. Needless to say, I was blown away by the performance. The hard-rocking songs on the album like “28 Days“, “Guilty“, and “Loves a Bitch“, kept up the energy and engagement of the crowd like I had never seen before at any show. My all-time favourite tune on the album quickly became “She’s Good She’s Bad“. It just spoke to me.
There is truly something for everyone on the album. For a more bluesy rock sound, the album offers tunes like, “Hard Times“. It is sure to satisfy any craving. I also cannot write an effective review for Surprise Attack without mentioning the quintessential power rock ballad, “Phantom Rider“. Anthony Corder‘s vocal range and emotionally charged delivery on that song still hits me to this day when I hear it. I can honestly say that there isn’t one week song on the entire record.
TORA TORA – Surprise Attack
Over the past three decades, I have had the privilege of seeing Tora Tora play live numerous times and I can honestly say that they never disappoint. Tora Tora quickly became one of my favourite bands of all time, and I can thank Surprise Attack for introducing me to their music. It has stood the test of time and to this day is one of my favourite records of all time. If you haven’t heard of Tora Tora, I suggest you start with their debut album, Surprise Attack. I assure you, it will not disappoint. In fact, you will probably become hooked on Tora Tora, just like me. Happy anniversary to Tora Tora for the release of Surprise Attack.
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