Saturday, November 3, 2007

Granmax - A Ninth Alive (1976)

Omaha, Nebraska was home to 70's hard rock quartet Granmax. Formed in early 1975, the band gained quite a bit of exposure throughout the midwest which culminated in the release of "A Ninth Alive" on Pacific Records in 1976. By the end of the year, the band signed with Panama Records and their debut was reissued to reasonable success in the region. The band tirelessly gigged throughout the midwest for nearly two years, picking up slots on numerous tours before the addition of frontman, Nick Christopher.

Revived and rejuvenated, the band entered the studio in early 1978 to record their sophomore album, "Kiss Heaven Goodbye". With a clearly harder edged sound, the band once again saturated the midwest with promotional gigs and a full tour, but audiences just weren't biting. The band returned to the studio to cut a third album, but things began to unravel during the sessions and Granmax came to a screeching halt before it could be completed. The post breakup activities of the members is unknown.

One listen to this album and you'll be scratching your head wondering why there's so much fervor over Granmax. Most likely it is due to their legendary followup album from 1978, as this release is a rather pedestrian exercise in one dimensional hard rock. Sure the musicianship is tight enough and the production isn't all that horrible, but the songwriting is terribly unoriginal and plodding. The average vocals do virtually nothing to help either. To their credit, there are many ideas that begin so well, only to fall flat by their conclusion. Ranging from hard boogie to folk rock to proto metal, Granmax never quite manage to manifest their ideas into anything memorable. However, since their 2nd album seems to get all of the attention online, it's only fair to offer up this relic for your judgement. Thanks to Alex(?) for this fine vinyl rip!

11 comments:

Danny said...

Hi Ronnie,

Overated record indeed, nothing special. I have the album myself. The second is a lot better.
I would like to ask if you that one too? (I only have it on tape)

Thank you, I've been enjoying your blog a lot and brought back a lot of memories. Also got to know stuff I never knew before or never checked! So thanks again!!

Greetings,

Danny,
Belgium

kingpossum said...

I'm on the other side of the street, preferring A Ninth Alive to the second album. Kiss Heaven Goodbye is overblown to my ears, the kind of anthemic rock parodied by Tenacious D.

I rather like the amateurish, garage-band like nature of A Ninth Alive. Wholeheartedly agree with Ronnie's assessment that most of the ideas never really resolve themselves, but nonetheless I'll take this more straight forward approach over the bluster and pomp of the second disc.

Like just about anyone familiar with this album, I too own a white vinyl copy; I've never even seen a black vinyl copy.

Regards,

Anonymous said...

Great ! Could never find this one in the old lp-days. If my memory serves me right I saw them in a Robert Blake (Baretta) movie.

Anonymous said...

Great Blog on this band - didn't think that many of us were familiar with Gran Max. Needless to say, I had taken a chance on this LP in '76 and my copy is on Panama Records. I had shortly thereafter found a used copy on Pacific Records - both being on white vinyl. I too like that more garage edge than a more polished sound though not to say I wouldn't like that second LP if I only I could find it :(

Bryan said...

I'm not sure if GranMax ever based out of Omaha at some point but they were actually from the Kansas City Missouri area - more specifically Liberty, MO just North of Kansas City. The original trio, was Steve Myers on guitar, and Lewis and Tim McCorkle (bothers) on Drums & Bass. They lived in my neighborhood and I managed the local music store at the time. I was not close friends but I did know them. I don't know what happened to the McCorkle brothers but I heard that Steve Myers now works for Gibson Guitars.

Anonymous said...

Nick Christopher (aka Chaz Nikias)now lives in Phoenix, AZ and continues to write and sing. His new music can be found on MySpace. Search Chaz Nikias.

Anonymous said...

When I worked for KIXZ in Amarillo, Texas USA back in 1978 I recall seeing a Granmax poster in the Program Director's office. Very cool. Wish I had one.

Henken Swensen

jerry said...

Don't know where Omaha came from. The guys were from Liberty Mo. Tim was my room mate for a while in 79 after my divorce from my first wife. We all went to high school together. They played bars, and some arena rock with Pat Traverse and Manfred Mann, among others. I heard Tim was working for an airline in Iowa now, and Steve went to California, and only rumors about what became of Louis.

jerry

arjay said...

Hey folks, arjay here...host of Your Friday Morning Buzz on KKFI-FM in Kansas City. I'll be co-hosting the Local Showcase tonite (1/28)at 9pm CST with Stormin' Norman when we will interview bassist and vocalist Tim McCorkle, and 'Kiss Heaven Goodbye' singer Nick Christopher. 90.1 FM in KC. audio streaming at www.kkfi.org
KKFI 90.1 FM Kansas City Community Radio
Independent...Commercial Free...Listener Supported.

MAR said...

Granmax is doing a Reunion show in Kansas City MO on July 22, 2011 at Crosstown Station. Tickets will be $10 and go on sale on May 22 on the Crosstown Station website. Chaz Nikias aka Nick Christopher, Tim McCorkle and Terry Dunn will all be on stage together once again. Check out Chaz's website at http://chaznikias.com for more information.

Anonymous said...

This "band" was nothing more than a Chris Fritz experiment to see if throwing enough money and promotion at a project could buy success. They were horrible and went nowhere, they were the biggest joke in town to other musicians.

He managed to pull it off to a limited degree with Missouri...until they had to perform live and the charade was exposed.