I remember Sam Millar from Bigfoot. The Hard Rock band from Wigan floored me when I saw them at the SOS Festival in Bury many years ago (the Festival moved to Oldham but still remains wonderful and lovely (hello Lynne, hello Mark).
I was an early supporter of Bigfoot and was delighted when they announced and invited me to their 2nd album launch and the place was packed. Singing supremo Jeff Scott Soto even announced them, after all, he was involved in the management.
Signed by the excellent Frontiers Records, big in Rock and in possession of an excellent album, Bigfoot were on the cusp of something special. As The Rockpit said;
‘If you love your up-tempo melodic Hard Rock, with a shot of blues, a couple of wonderful ballads and the sound of two great guitarists working beautifully together (they nail that twin guitar sound especially on ‘Yours’) then thsis an album to remember and savour for a long time to come.’
And then a lineup change. A singer change. A focal point change. And things were not the same, rooms were still full of fans but the momentum had gone, the expectation wasn’t there any more.
Sam Millar was one of the Bigfoot guitarists. And songwriter. After the band split, we kept in touch and he’s been funnelling his piecemeal pieces of music to me ever since – his ep ‘Radio Gouda’ and songs that make up his new album More Cheese Please. It’s been an absolute joy.
And that music is certainly different to the Hard Rock Bigfoot fare. No, this is softer, more 80’s and probably a little AOR. And if it’s done well, there’s nothing wrong with that.
This is done very well.
From the moment that ‘The Killing Floor’ arrives, this has hi tops on, ‘Dynasty’ on the telly and bouffed hair, unmistakably 80’s and not at all applogetic; that a sax hangs around just seals the deal.
And then ‘Fooling Yourself’ breaks out a synth bass and bubbling backing for 80’s chart ‘Deja Vu’ is simply marvellous.
Sam goes to the West Coast too, sipping a mojito whilst looking at the surf and listening to the sumptuous soulful backing vocals of ‘Something I’ll Regret’, whilst the bass has a party all of its own among the short six string solo and bopping of ‘Dancing On My Own’.
Glam For Sam
Of course there’s a bit of Glam! Well, quite a lot really, from The Sweet-riffing ‘Forget You’ with the big bouncy drums and saccharine chorus, but there’s something else here too and I couldn’t place it until seeing Sam live at his album launch recently.
That sunny, supercharged, sweet sweet chorus of Ginger Wildheart. The chief Wildhearter has a sunny sound which has energy to spare, so apparent amid the energy and bongos of ‘Chadonnay’, with its Queenly guitar. This album is great, but don’t take my word for it; actually do…
‘Let’s be completely honest, there’s no sleaze and very little rock contained herein, but it doesn’t matter because summer is coming and this purest collection of radio ready, infectious pop joy will have you yearning for more innocent times while you roll up the sleeves of your jacket and keep the party going by playing it all over again!’
And if you are, hopefully radio stations will too. Sam Millar could have quietly walked away from the music business after Bigfoot didn’t make it, but he walked his own path and followed his own musical muse. And I love it, it just happens to be wearing feathers, stack heels and a headband, that’s all – I think I like it all the more…