Last Updated : March 2002
Tora Tora is a superb rock band that originated in Memphis. Their first recordings were released as an E.P. called "To Rock to Roll", which included the first song that the band ever wrote, "Wasted Love" and what was the most requested song on the radio for two months, "Phantom Rider". They only made 1000 copies and they sold out of them the first day.
Their first album is called "Surprise Attack" and it came out in 1989. The band tried some new styles of rock as well as several conventional rock songs. "Hard Times" uses a sort of bluesy hard rock song. "Guilty" is an excellent hard rock song to appear on a debut album because as soon as you hear it you immediately want to turn it up to full and rock to it. The album features two ballads, the first of which is "Phantom Rider" which is arguably the best track on the album. It is a brilliant song with an acoustic guitar base, but electric guitars enter half way through the song building it up to the solo which is fantastic. You just have to listen to it to hear how good it is!
The band's second album came out in 1992 and is even better than the first. It is called "Wild America" and starts off with a classic song which brings out the best of Tora Tora. As soon as you hear it you want to jump up and kick-ass! All the tracks on this album are different. Again the band uses a bluesy/jazzy style in "Dead Man's Hand" as with "Hard Times" in their debut album. "Nowhere To Go But Down" is a knew type of rock song than any others I've heard, and it is excellent. It's hard to tell if it's a ballad or a rocker. The band finishes the album with a heavy metal style song which has a typical rock song ending but finishes the album brilliantly.
The band did record a third album, in 1994, entitled "Revolution Day", but before its scheduled release their record company was bought out and Tora Tora were lost in the muddle. The third album reached it's final stages in the recording process but was never released. If anyone can help me get a copy of this album or give me more details, please contact me.
Around 1997/8, two of the members of Tora Tora (Anthony Corder and Patrick Francis) went on to form a band together called "Homemade Flavor". The rest of the line up included Hal McCormack on guitar, Tony Gravier on drums (both ex-Survivor), and Joe "Boogie" on Hammond B-3. They described their music as "a perfect blend of blues, soul, and rock that satisfies any music appetite". The band gigged locally around Memphis, Tennessee but often under the name "Tora Tora". They did some recording in Hal McCormack's home studio and apparently had some interest from a couple of record companies but no news since. The band had a webiste but even that has disappeared now.
Have a listen to this "Wild Attack" mix of Tora Tora songs to get a jist of what they're all about, rock on!
Homemade Flavor are back doing shows in Memphis. They play at the Poplar Lounge every Saturday night, and also have played Neilís on Madison Avenue and The Hard Rock Cafe on Beale Street. They now have a new drummer called Jay Sheffield and Joe Boogie is no longer with the band. I have been told that they are one of the best live bands to go see in Memphis, so go and see them if you can! They play a couple of Tora Tora songs, "As Time Goes By" and "Nowhere to go But Down" but have written a whole load of their own new songs and recorded some tracks in Los Angeles for a new CD which should be released very soon.
Back in September 2001, Tora Tora did a benefit show for their friend at the Blue Monkey in Memphis, which included all four members of the band (Anthony, Patrick,Keith & John). The benefit was a "secret" so the show was not advertised but word just got around town that "Tora Tora" was rehearsing and there was gonna be a show to raise money for Mark. The turn-out was incredible
But sadly they didn't stick around to do any more shows. Keith went back to work at the glue factory that his family owns where the band use to practice and have their parties in when they came home. And John went back to the hunting store that he owns.
The Revolution Day album that was recorded but never released is still collecting dust on the shelf...
Wild America (1992)
An excellent album in which all the songs are brilliant and all are different. Buy it!
1. Wild America :
A brilliant way to start an album. The best Tora Tora song I've heard. Put it on full volume and just rock!
2. Amnesia : 8/10
A decent track with decent lyrics(!) and pretty rocky.
3. Dead Man's Hand : 8/10
Incredibly jazzy and funky and a brilliant attempt at a new type of jazz rock.
4. As Time Goes By : 8/10
A pleasant mellow rock with superb acoustic guitars.
5. Lay Your Money Down : 8/10
A decent song with a different style but it does not have that Tora Tora touch that the rest of the songs have.
6. Shattered : 8/10
Short but sweet - not! Straight into rock mode and kept going all the way through. The third verse, after the solo uses brilliant effects and the base solo is ace.
7. Dirty Secrets : 8/10
Nothing particular glimmers about this but it's a good rockable song. It is made cool and funky by the acoustic guitar solo bits. The solo is a weird, different to any I've heard before, but cool.
8. Faith Healer :
One of Tora Tora's new type of rock song which is not 'rockable' but not mellow. It is enjoyable and has a catchy tune. A brilliant track.
9. Cold Fever :
The intro to this just tells you something big is gonna happen, and it does, and for the full length of the song. I love this one. Let's rock!
10. Nowhere To Go But Down :
An excellent half mellow song. It uses great stereo effects with the guitars at the beginning and really picks up when the drums and electric guitar enter. I don't know what it is about this song, but it's just brilliant. You have to listen to it.
11.City of Kings : 8/10
Heavy and fast, an excellent song to lose all your energy to finish the album, with a magnificent ending. Can you time when the snare drum comes in after the song pauses? It's impossible!
Surprise Attack (1989)
Surprise Attack (1989)
Brilliant debut album but slightly lacking in style and variety. Most of the songs are good songs to rock to but most of them do not stick out in anyway.
1. Love's A Bitch : 8/10
One of those songs you need on maximum blast to appreciate the most and that works the best if you are having girl problems (or bloke problems, of course)!
2. 28 Days : 8/10
Similar to the previous track but faster and more 'rockier'. Decent.
3. Hard Times : 8/10
The jazzy one. Slow, enjoyable and made perfect by Tora Tora's expertise (the organ and jazz guitar after the solo are just ace!).
4. Guilty :
The best rockable track on the album. From beginning to end the momentum keeps going, you never get bored of this song. One excellent track.
5. Phantom Rider :
A fantastic mellow song which has electric guitars as well as acoustic guitars and has an amazing solo. The best. We're not worthy!
6. Walking Shoes : 8/10
Another jazzy type rock song from Tora Tora but faster than "Hard Times". Quite good to groove to. Was released as a single. Here are the lyrics.
7. Riverside Drive : 8/10
An excellent start to jump up and rock to but the song comes a bit repetitive.
8. She's Good She's Bad : 8/10
Another great song with a cool guitar and bass riff during the verse.
9. One For The Road : 8/10
A bit boring and all the same with nothing special about it and the chorus is pretty dismal but the verse is a bit more exciting. The kind of song which can be composed in 2 minutes.
10. Being There : 8/10
A nice melody to end the album although Anthony wines a bit!
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