Sunday, April 20, 2008

Asia, Hot Springs & Vermillion, SD

Asia was a hard rocking outfit from Rapid City in the late 1970s-early 80s. Yes, they had a minor hit on the radio, but they aren't the Asia you are probably thinking of. That Asia came from the United Kingdom and caused this Asia to eventually disappear.

At the time, the South Dakota version of Asia was well-known in the area. They recorded two albums, "Asia" in 1979 and "Armed To The Teeth" in 1980. Their song, "The Road of Kings," from the first album had some national radio airplay. Rapid City DJ John Derrek was a good friend of the band and played "Paladin" from the second album a lot on local radio.

Lead Guitarist Mike Coates did the "Armed To The Teeth" cover artwork pictured here, as well as writing all the songs on both albums.

The first time I saw Asia was August 21, 1981 at the Hot Springs City Auditorium. Here's Mike on guitar and Doug Johnson on drums. Yes, Mike did the artwork on the backdrop as well. He apparently was very into the Conan the Barbarian style of art.

Here's Michael English on bass and lead/harmony vocals.

Larry Galbraith provided rhythm guitar and high lead/harmony vocals.

Asia came to the infamous Old Style Saloon basement in Vermillion on Feb. 4, 1982. My birthday was the next day and they gave me the autographed copy of "Armed To The Teeth" pictured above that night.

Here's Michael, Doug and Mike rocking out. They did covers of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, along with lots of original stuff.

What did I say in an earlier post about bands with lighted signs and Marshall amps? Love 'em!

Even though I spent a lot of time talking with Mike at various shows, his looks always intimidated me.

If you've looked at my earlier posts about local South Dakota bands from this time period, you will notice that according to Ivory, the Tracterz, and Asia, at least one member of the band must have shiny pants.

Things were going along well for the boys from Rapid City when out of nowhere up pops this supergroup from England with lots more money behind them. The choose the name Asia and immediately have worldwide radio hits. Our local heroes attempt a lawsuit to protect their name, which has been serving them well for many years. According to what they told me at the time, a settlement was reached where they would give up the name, but would get a recording contract in exchange.

So, South Dakota's Asia became Solomon Kane. Larry Galbraith was replaced with a girl singer, who's name I believe was Deb. Here are Mike and Michael in Solomon Kane performing at the Redwater Revival in Beulah, Wyoming on August 7, 1982.

That was the last time I heard of the band, but in that year's time period from when I first saw them I can remember catching 10 shows all across the state, including an opening slot for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Their home club was on Jackson Boulevard in Rapid City and was called "The Barbarian." I saw them there with my best friend from high school Rob.

Michael English appeared in a nationally touring jazz/funk band called Midwest Coast for a period of time after the breakup of Asia/Solomon Kane.


Matt said...

Hey Chad - saw your comment over on my blog. Have you heard of a Bismarck musician named Richard Pearson from the early to mid 80s? He had a song called "Melinda" and a few other ones as well.

I was also going to ask you - what type of camera do you use at concerts? I'm in the market for a new one with video capability.

Chad Coppess said...

Nope, sorry, never heard of Richard Pearson.

I'll email you some thoughts about cameras.

Thanks for reading!

Laurie said...

Wow...this is great.. I had forgotten about them. I used to work with Larry in the 80's...we would all show up where they were playing...those were the days. Larry still works in the same place I see him from time to time. He's a great guy great voice too.

Chad Coppess said...

Thanks Laurie, yep Larry's voice was a great part of the Asia sound.

Ellie English said...

Hi again Chad,
This is Michael English from ASIA. Thanks for posting these pictures, I had never seen them before. My daughter (a fine drummer) was so surprised to see me in my Big Hair days. Keep up the great work and thanks for the wonderful memories.

Chad Coppess said...

Hi Michael! Great to hear from you. I've often wondered where you guys are now. You certainly did have some big hair. Last time I remember seeing you was with Midwest Coast in Spearfish. Thanks for stopping by. Chad

Unknown said...

Hi there, i tried to find your email contact in the blog with no success so i ask if you please can contact me through this email ( concerning these ASIA photos. I wait for your answer asap. Thanks in advance!