Tora Tora: Memphis Rocks Tonight

If I were to write my own metal magazine version of "Almost Famous," Tora Tora would figure large in the main act. They were one of the first "next generation" hard rock bands that I really liked, and when I was sent to Memphis to join them on the set of their first video in 1989 we quickly became friends. They were as excited to have a rock journalist who was into them as I was about being in on a local secret that I felt was going to be big.

Over the course of two trips to Memphis I got to visit the famous Ardent Studios, join the band for another shoot in one of the most run-down areas of Tennessee, sit with them on the banks of the Mississippi River, and try frog legs with them in a Hollywood, Mississippi restaurant that we drove through swampland to get to. To this day those experiences mark the best sense I have of what I consider the authentic South.

Tora Tora's first album "Surprise Attack" was a hit (it eventually went gold) and they left home for some extensive touring. We saw each other in Hollywood, California when they were in town, and when their second album "Wild America" came out in 1992. But a planned third album got lost in a corporate shuffle and as the guys neared their 30s they settled down with families and more conventional jobs.

I was happy as hell when I heard that the four of them had gotten together for Rocklahoma 2008, an annual five-day festival in Pryor, Oklahoma that draws about 30,000 fans a day. And when I found out that they were playing tonight at the New Daisy Theater, one of the old haunts of four old friends who decided it might be fun to hook up and rock again as old farts, I was seriously tempted to try to get myself out there somehow. Then the daddy and husband in me reminded me it wasn't quite realistic. But for those who do make it into the sold-out show, Memphis will be surely rocking tonight.

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