Teaze are a Canadian Heavy Metal, Rock band formed in 1975 with members Brian Danter, Mark Bradac, Chuck Price and Mike Kozak.
From the impressions I got listening to their greatest hits album, you can hear hints of heavy metal lashings, hard rock and precursors of 80s hair bands.
Their biggest claim to fame was their breakthrough…in another country. Yes although they played their fair share of pub gigs in Canada it was an opportunity chance to play in Japan in which their fanbase grew.
Despite travelling the rest of the world, it seems Japan was their swansong as their couldn’t capture that same reception and their last album ‘Body Shots” would spell the end of Teaze which they went their separate ways thereafter.
Its been years since we last heard from Teaze and the latest we heard was when “Heartless World” was used in 2014’s Málmhaus (aka Metalhead) movie which I highly recommend.
We chatted to Mike Kozak about all things Teaze in this exclusive interview.
Hey Mike, thanks for doing this interview with us, so give a brief history on Teaze such as who were the core members and the name itself?
The band started in 1975 in Windsor, Ontario with Brian Danter on bass and lead vocals, Mark Bradac and Chuck Price on guitars and myself on drums.
There was no real plan other than to play what we liked and try to stay out of the bar scene which was kind of a trap for many promising groups at the time. We gained a following rather quickly and caught the attention of some music industry people in Toronto who put us into a studio with little material where about 17 hours later we had what would be our first release.
Our contract would soon be sold to Aquarius Records and we relocated to Montreal. We were originally (or un-originally) first named “Ontario” which was the name used by one of Brian’s earlier bands. The Teaze name came from our manager’s wife when the record people pushed for a new name. Can’t say that I ever loved the name all that much.
Being that you’re a heavy metal band from Canada, what can you tell us about the scene there when Teaze started?
Well I don’t know that we’re thought of as a real “heavy metal” band by most who know the group.
There are some moments that are certainly that, but overall I would probably just describe us as a ‘hard rock’ group. I know that over the years we’ve been received pretty well by a lot of metal fans, which is cool because there are really no more loyal and dedicated music fans than those to have in your corner.
The scene we came from was dominated by Detroit, Michigan. Our town is just across the river from Detroit and as a result we grew up immersed in Stooges, MC5, Nugent, Alice Cooper and all the other great bands of the day.
The further we moved from home, the more the scene shifted to Canadian groups who operated with more of an eye on radio play, a little less aggressive for the most part, but at the same time producing monsters like Rush, BTO, Moxy and April Wine.
Japan seems to be apart of Teaze’s tour history (and its highlights) so tell about your live shows and their moments?
The Japan experience was just amazing for us. As we slugged it out in Canada, touring and just trying to stand out a bit, something was happening in Japan that we were quite unaware of.
Heavy rock was becoming big there and groups like us seemed to be what they were looking for. Our first album was dealt to a company there and did very well which created enough demand to warrant a tour.
We were really not ready to headline shows at the time with only two albums to our credit but we pushed through and the audiences were absolutely great to us. I think it was the first time we ever experienced the excitement of seeing the audience recognize each song. Just an entirely different level than we was at back home.
Taking a listen to your back catalog (to familiarize myself) I hear hints of Ozzy and early pre cursors of 80s hair metal, thoughts?
I suppose everything you hear comes from something that preceded it. Ozzy, I’m not so sure about in our case just because I can’t remember listening to a whole lot of Sabbath then.
Brian was a big Mark Farner guy, major influence. I know that as a group we gravitated towards Kiss at the time. Powerful, fun and spectacular, who doesn’t want to be like that? And, of course, the 80’s hair bands were an extension of that as well.
One of the standout songs “Gonna Have A Good Time Tonight” and I was wondering for my personal curiosity whether Teaze wrote this song cause I hear variants of it online.
“Gonna Have A Good Time” was suggested to us by the guys at Aquarius Records.
It was originally recorded by a group called “The Easybeats” who I believe were Australian (I apologize if that’s wrong). Vanda/Young wrote it and the Young is related to Malcolm and Angus of AC/DC.
I don’t remember exactly when, but INXS and Jimmy Barnes recorded the best version, to me, of the song. I think the title is actually just “Good Time”. We learned it off a cassette tape copy and just assumed the title was the one we used.
As of today, Billboard, mainstream radio stations are neither longer promoting nor charting rock as much as it did in its heyday, do you find it disheartening?
Disheartening only because it’s the stuff that I love that’s being pushed aside. The whole game has changed so much that it’s virtually unrecognizable to someone like me.
Radio is in survival mode. They’re battling it out with the internet and doing whatever they can to stay relevant. If they don’t see profit in rock, they’ll pass.
But i’m not worried as long as the keep making drums, guitars and garages for kids who have the fire in them. Rock is doing fine. I think you just have to look a little harder to find it these days.
I believe Teaze has some new material out now, tell about that?
I’m not sure where you got that from but no, the band hasn’t been together for decades. Mark (who is very active in writing and recording) and Brian got together and recorded a track not too long ago that’s reminiscent of the “Touch The Wind” Teaze. Really good.
If a video can be called material then the answer is yes. Our song from ’79 ‘Heartless World’ was included in Ragnar Bragason’s film “Metalhead” recently and I approached him about making a video with scenes from the film since, in my mind, the film and song just shared so much from an emotional standpoint. He generously agreed and with JD Oppen editing, we came up with something that Teaze was never fortunate enough to have, an ‘official’ video.
Where will Teaze be in the near future, will you be doing union shows or one off appearances?
There are no plans regarding the band. We’ve talked about doing some sort of reunion for years but it never seems to get off the ground. It would be so much fun to get up on a stage and bang out some of the old tunes but it doesn’t appear to be in the cards. I’ll stop just short of saying ‘never’ because you just never know.
And with that we thank you Mike!