Ampage - Champaigne and Caviar 1987
Mark Mason - vocals and screams
Craig Beck - guitars and tribal chants
Ladden Pierce - bass and backing yells
Mark London - drums and backing vocals
Bill Vaughn - bass
Happinin Harry - backing vocals
Max Wolf - mouth harp (7)
Produced by Mitch Mitchel (Hendrix)
Executive producer D.T. Richards.
During the eighties a small label named Azra/Iron Works (and their various imprints) released tons of albums, ranging from glam to heavy metal and everything in between - sometimes in insanely limited pressings. Ampage was one of the unknown bands to pass through the quirky label, releasing one self-titled record before vanishing into thin air.
The band plays a straight-up brand of hard rock not unlike that of early Motley Crue or Riot, which isn't surprising considering Ampage called Hollywood Blvd home. In fact the song "Hollywood" refers to their hometown with lyrics such as "drinking at the Rainbow Bar & Grill". It was a great way to pay tribute to their roots and a cool opening track. Next up is a faithful remake of one of hard rocks staples, T. Rex's "20th century Boy", and the band managed to capture the feel and urgency of the original. "Autobahn" kicks off with the same sounds that grace the start of Motley Crue's "Kickstart My Heart", a song that came out at least a year later. "Too Young" is arguably the best song on this release, it has great pop-sensibilities with a hypnotizing riff and killer vocals.
In fact vocalist Mark Mason has a great rock voice, like a gruff cross between Vince Neil and Kevin DuBrow. Despite being released in 1988 this album sounds more like 1984 when the Sunset Strip had more backbone than hairspray. Perhaps Ampage were just a few years too late to hit the big time, because even though there is some filler here there is also some great simplistic hard rock. I have to give the band extra credits for the album cover which features a woman that looks like Christy Canyon minus the double-D's. You might be able to find this one cheap in some used vinyl store - but you better hurry, according to the group "D-Day" will soon be upon us - "Countdown to Armageddon, in the year 2011".
Reviewed by Skid for Sleaze Roxx, February 2005.
Ampage Iron Horse 1997
Released 1997 (Higher Source Records/Avispa)
02. Downtown Playground
04. Bullet To Gatwick
05. I Needed Someone
08. American Red, White And Blues
09. Beast Inside
10. Mona Lisa
11. Gimme Some Truth
Mark Mason - lead vocals, bass and acoustic guitar
Louren Molinare - guitar, acoustic guitar and vocals
Jason Carroll - guitar and vocals
Mike Kroeger - drums
Tom Mullaney - keyboards and vocals
Earl Slick - guitar (11)
Ron Young - backing vocals
Pam Cox - backing vocals
Jeff Conaway - backing vocals
Produced, engineered and mixed by Duane Baron and Jeff Klaven.
Not long ago I reviewed a late-80s album by a little-known band called Ampage, not knowing if anyone would remember them or not (or even care). However I enjoy spinning obscure 80s rock from time to time and to my surprise vocalist Mark Mason saw the review and informed me that he had recorded a couple more albums under the Ampage moniker.
Of course I was curious to hear the newer material, wondering how the band had changed in the ten plus years between the debut and 1997's Iron Horse. With a new group of musicians, including former Little Caesar guitarist Louren Molinare, Mason managed to snag famed producer Duane Baron in an effort to reinvent himself. And reinvent himself he has done successfully, maturing from glam influenced hard rock to blues-based roots rock.
Mellow one moment and straight-ahead rock the next, Iron Horse gracefully slides from one sound to another - occasionally within a single song itself, like on "Downtown Play Ground". "Bullet To Gatwick" and the W.A.S.P.-like "Beast Inside" are the tunes that have the most in common with the days gone by. But as a whole this sounds like an album by a musician who simply felt like experimenting, refusing to be pigeonholed within a single genre. For kicks try singing along to the tongue-twisting chorus of "Bamboozaler" (I finally gave up), or better yet try to stop yourself from singing along to the exceptional "Mona Lisa" which treads into Dogs D'amour territory.
As icing on the cake you have the mid-tempo "Heaven" (co-written by Tommy Shaw) and an appearance by Earl Slick on a great cover of John Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth". If I had to choose one band to compare this Ampage album to I would lean towards the London Quireboys, it has that same sort of 70s roots feel.
Reviewed by Skid for Sleaze Roxx, April 2005.
Ampage Falling Higher 2001
01 Falling Higher - Mason
02 Plastic People - Mason/Molinare
03 Rain - Mason/Shaw
04 Coming Home - Mason/Molinare
05 If I Knew Then - Allen/Mason
06 Rollin' Stollin' - Mason /Rick Allen
07 So What - Mason (Rick Allen , John Easdale and KJohn Taylor Co-Lead Vocals)
08 Been There - Mason
09 The Pusherman - Axton
10 Time Flies - Mason
Produced By -- Duane Baron.
Production/Engineering/Mixing -- Rick Allen (Track 06).
Main Band -- Mark Mason (Lead/Backing Vocals/Bass/Guitar/Keyboards), Mark London (Drums), Louren Molinare (Guitar).
Track 01/05 -- Rick Allen (Drums).
Track 06 -- Rick Allen (Drums/Percussion).
Track 07 -- Rick Allen (Drums/Percussion/Vocals/Backing Vocals).
Track 08 -- Rick Allen (Drums/Percussion).
Track 07 -- Mark Mason/Rick Allen/John Taylor/John Easdale.
Other Guests -- John Taylor (Duran Duran)/John Easdale (Dramarama)/Gary Busey/Jeff Conway.
An album by Ampage led by Mark Mason's friend Rick Allen ( Def Leppard) . Rick played drums, percussion and sang lead and backing vocals on this album. He also contributed to the production. On the song 'So What' Rick got his first ever credit as a lead vocalist sharing the vocals with Mark and members of Dramarama/Duran Duran.
Rick played drums with Ampage (billed as The Mark Mason Project) at two club shows in Los Angeles during May/June 2000. The band featured Rick on drums, Mark Mason on vocals and former Dramarama guitarist Mark Englert. Many of the songs on this album were later included on the 2007 album 'Future Days Gone By'. The album was only a very limited release. It did not go into full distribution but may well be available again in the future.
Mark Mason Quote 2010
"There is a great song called ''so what" that is on the falling higher album that features me, rick, John from Dramarama and John taylor from duran duran all sharing the lead vocals."
Ampage Future Days Gone By 2007
FUTURE DAYS GONE BY
Released 2007 (Mason Music)
01. Lost & Learned
05. Plastic People
06. Gimme Some Truth
08. Coming Home
09. American Red White & Blues
10. If I Knew Then
11. Downtown Playground
12. The Pusherman
14. I Needed Someone
15. The Beast Inside
Mark Mason - lead vocals, bass and acoustic guitar
Loren Molinare - guitar
Jason Carroll - guitar
Michael Kroeger - drums
Tom Mullaney - keyboards
Mark Englert - guitar (1,12)
Michael Monarch - guitar (12)
Rick Dufay - guitar (12)
Earl Slick - guitar (6)
Michael Sheffington - guitar (12)
Dogboy - drums (4,5,8)
Rick Allen - drums (10)
Randy Meers - drums (12)
Dave Swendig - keyboards and piano (1)
Ron Young - backing vocals (13,14)
Jeff Conaway - backing vocals (4,7,11,13,14)
Pamela Mason - backing vocals (4,7,11,13,14)
Gary Busey - street preacher intro (4)
Produced by Duane Baron, Jeff Klaven, Mark Mason, Susan Herndon, Rick Allen and Dan McOnomy.
Mark Mason has evolved from a strung-out Sunset Strip rocker to a more mellowed crooner - life will do that to people. He hasn't turned his back on rock however, instead he now travels down a similar road as the London Quireboys. When you've gone through as much (and forgotten as much) as Mark has there is no doubt that one would become introspective, yet he never preaches, he just plays from the heart.
Future Days Gone By is a star-studded album, including current and former members of Little Caesar, Aerosmith, Def Leppard and Cats In Boots. Even actor Gary Busey makes an appearance ranting as only he can at the beginning of "D-Day", a rerecorded version of one of the standout tracks on Ampage's 1988 debut. Squeezing the best out of everyone is famed producer Duane Baron, who helps make this disc a sharp and smooth listen.
The lone new track presented here, "Lost & Learned", is a semi-acoustic number that may go down as one of Mark's best compositions. The rest of the material is gathered from Ampage's Iron Horse and Falling Higher albums, the later of which never got an official release. "Words", "Gimme Some Truth", "The Beast Inside" and the two tracks co-written by Tommy Shaw, "Heaven" and the mellow "Rain" are the stand-out songs here. The only song I personally feel should have been included on this release is the beautiful ballad "Mona Lisa" which appeared on 1997's Iron Horse, but for some reason it is absent.
Love or hate his new musical direction you have to admire Mark Mason for turning his life around and getting back in the saddle. He may never reach the heights that every musician dreams about, but I think at this stage of his career he is satisfied to bring smiles to a few curious listeners. Fans of the Dogs D'amour/Tyla and the London Quireboys/Spike should love this album.
www.ampage.com - www.cdbaby.com
Reviewed by Skid for Sleaze Roxx, November 2007.
Ampage Ironman Sam 2009
Ironman Sam 8:04
Album Notes - This song was written and recorded by Ampage lead singer Mark Mason to celebrate competing in the 2009 Ironman World Championship in Kona Hawaii.
photo by Bruce Mulder
lead vocals,bass, guitar- Mark Mason
lead guiter- Mark Inglert , Steve Jones ( Sex Pistols)
backing vocals- Pamela Mason
drums- Rick Allen
music and lyrics- Mark Mason & Rick Allen
engineered, mixed, mastered- Duane Baron
Ampage Bridge of Souls - 2016
Produced and engineered by Mark Mason and Duane Baron
Recorded at Mason Ranch in 2015
Guitar and Lead Vocals - Mark Mason
Bass and Vocals - Bill Stokem
Guitar and Vocals - Mark Pearce
Drums and Vocals - Michael Kroeger
1) Plain White Rapper - Mason
2) Don't Fear The Reaper - Donald " Buck Dharma" Roeser
3) Shotgun Suicide - Mason
4) 100 Years All New People - Mason
5) Get Through - Pearce
6) Excuse Me - Mason
7) Bring It - Mason/Allen from the Disney Movie Brink
8) Too Young - Mason
9) Never Know - Pearce
10) D-Day 2047 - Mason
Album Notes - This album is dedicated to my friend, co-founding member and drummer of Ampage Michael Kroeger who sadly passed away from Leukemia just weeks after recording his drums and vocals on this album.This was his final masterpiece!