The Rock Pretty compilation. Very simple concept really. Four UK bands, two songs each, hopefully some of 'em rock, and hopefully some of 'em are pretty. Big shots on the record at the time were Marionette, because of Ray Zell, Kerrang, etc...then you've got The Babysitters, who were pretty much Marionette with a better sense of humor...and The Grip and the excellently-named Napalm Hearts were competent enough....but it's Aunt May who steal this record. And to this day I still have no idea who the fuck Aunt May were or are. This is the only record I've ever seen 'em on, and internet searches of the band or members return nothing. Yet their two songs on Rock Pretty are gloriously terrible and unbelievably addicting at the same time. I mean, I know these songs are terrible, but if they're so terrible how come the adult me remembered every word of both songs the teenage me listened to 20 years earlier? Aunt May, you've tortured me for decades now. I don't know where the band members - Aunt May, Marcus Sparticus, Lee Van Starz and Lance the Creature - are now, but hopefully they're somewhere in the UK living the good life off the massive royalties they made from Rock Pretty. More likely they're dead or driving a bus. Rock pretty glam fiends.
The Grip "Two Hearts"
The Babysitters "Rock en Roll Chicken"
Marionette "Gettin' Sticky"
Aunt May "Flesh of the Devil"
Napalm Hearts "Little Miss Teazer"
Marionette "You Better Believe It"
Babysitters "The Beard Song"
Napalm Hearts "Suzy (was a Live Wire)"
Aunt May "Respect the Dead"
The Grip "Tension"
Found these old demo tapes the other day at a friend's house and was immediately reminded how much I loved this band when they were around. Back in 1989 and '90, when the majority of bands in Hollywood were still trying to be the next Motley Crue, Poison, etc...Winter Kills were looking to bands like Lions & Ghosts for inspiration. The guitar player, Josh Schwartz, I believe went on to be in both Further and Beachwood Sparks. Unless its a different Josh Schwartz. The bigger question, looking back at the band photos now is, is singer Tom Sanford in some way related to Legs Diamond singer Rick Sanford ? You can't deny there is a resemblance. But who really cares about that other than me? I know, no one. On to the music...
Winter Kills 1989 Demo
Flowers in Hell
Rain's Curtain Call
That's right, actual recordings of Smack's last stand in Hollywood - March 2nd, 1990 at the Green Door and March 30th, 1990 at the Meadowlark Country Club in Huntington Beach (?). I wasn't at either of these shows, I did see them around the same time at the Scream club in downtown LA, or whatever it was called by that time. I can't remember who gave me these either...I think a female friend of friend recorded them, and was nice enough to give me copies because something had happened to my recorder at the Scream show and I didn't get the recording. These tapes have just been digitized for the first time, and to my knowledge they may be the only recordings of the Smack LA shows. Audience recordings they may be, but I think you'll be pleasantly shocked and surprised at how good they sound. Then again, if you're reading this, you're just happy they exist and want me to stop rambling so you can download them, right? Fine. Smack ruled. RIP Claude. Long Live Smack.
Demolition Gore Galore were the brainchild of one Walter (aka Walta) Adams, the original bass player for Faster Pussycat. In addition to Adams, DGG consisted of (at one time or another) Mick Cripps of LA Guns, the one and only Kery Doll, Bobby Bones and Kayle. It's clear from the first listen that Adams and his Faster Pussycat bandmates had a love for Johnny Thunders in common, but that's where the similar influences end. DGG, even with their ridiculous over-the-top name, were closer to the Velvet Underground and Nikki Sudden than G&R and Aerosmith. Anyways, they didn't leave us much to remember them by...just a couple privately pressed records including 1986's "Bulimia Babe" EP and 1987's far more scarce 1-sided "Endorphin Pain" 7" limited to just 100 copies. And luckily for you I have both. And now you can too.
Long Blonde Bomb
Girls Just Care About Gore
It starts the way hundreds of hard rock records started in the 80's...take three power chords, Animal-esque (from Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem of course) drum fills, followed by a falsetto scream, and we're off "Road Runnin" with Axtion. By the way, do you think there was a band argument over whether to use an "X" or a proper "C" in the name? And which one of the guys really wanted to use triple X's, call the band aXXXtion, and pull some porn stars? Cuz you know one of 'em wanted to. My bet is either the drummer or bass player. But I digress. If anyone was wondering what the majority of indie or private hard rock releases coming out of the hair mecca that was Los Angeles in 1985 were like, look no further than Axtion's "Look Out for the Night". Besides the aforementioned intro, we 're gonna need a song with our band name in it..."Spread the Axtion"....check! We're gonna need something to try to get the more metal crowd, something fast and metal sounding...."Fury of the Tempest"...check! What about a song with extended acoustic intro so I can show these people that I'm not just "widdly-widdly solo" guy but that I really listen to Andres Segovia records?..."Look Out for the Night"....check! And finally, we gotta leave these kids with a positive message so they too know its okay for a grown man to use hairspray and wear makeup..."Stand Up! (for What You Believe In)"...check and mate! No matter how much I make fun of it, I won't deny that its an enjoyable listen from a particular moment in rock time. Thanks to Vince at The Music's Over for letting me borrow the wax to digitize so all of you could enjoy it.
Hell Razer, I'll never forgive you for starting my teenage obsession with finding demos and live tapes from glam bands who had yet to get a record deal or release a proper record. Where once this tape thrilled a teenage me, who'd ordered it from the back pages of either Kerrang or Metal Forces magazine, it now serves as evidence as to why not every band gets a record deal or release a record. Because they're terrible. The UK had their fair share of great glam, Pet Hate and Wrathchild, even Tiger Tailz come to mind. But Hell Razer, I'm afraid you belong at the other end of the stackheeled spectrum. I know "Shout Hey!" sounds like a great glam anthem, but it's really just poor grammar. But what about "Space Girl (Intergalactic Love)"? That's gotta be filled with glammy goodness, right? Not a chance in the hands of these hacks. But for some reason, its still fun as hell to listen to and puts a smile on the face, even if its a sardonic one.
At least back in the mid-80's they did, when this five song picture disc was released. "No One Tells Me No" and "Wrong End of the Rainbow" still hold up after all these years. "We Live to Rock" not so much. "Can't Stand Your Love" and "Guess I Don't Mind" were filler back then and time hasn't done anything to change that fact. Still an important document of the time and place that was the Sunset Strip back in the 80's. Best part of the whole thing...their drummer's name was Dane Rage. I wonder if he went into gay porn after the band broke up, he already had the name for it.
We Live to Rock
No One Tells Me No
Wrong End of the Rainbow
Can't Stand Your Love
Guess I Don't Mind
Its not the best quality, but believe it or not its from a first gen demo tape I've had since the 80's. Maybe that's why they never got a record deal, because their demos sounded like shit and no one could hear how good the songs actually were. The original Damn Yankees featured Sten on vocals, who later left to form the Love Razors. This demo comes from the second lineup, with the bass player (Michael? Anyone?) moving over to lead vocals. Unfortunately there's next to no information on Damn Yankees on the web (except the Nuge's version), and time and medication has blurred my memory too much to remember the other member's names. I think Josh was the drummer. Maybe Jason Nesmith on guitar or bass. How about a little help out there? I know there were other people at those shows at Madame Wong's and the Troubadour, I saw you there. So here it is, without further useless information, the 4 song Damn Yankees demo tape.
Bigger Than Life
Racing with the Moon
Premonition were a local Santa Clarita Valley band of the late 70's/early 80's who self-released one single on their own label in 1980 featuring the songs "Glitter Girl" and "So What". Honestly, this thing is so obscure that the only reason I even have it is that the guitar player, Paul Hirschmann, was my guitar teacher from the ages of 10 to 12. I still remember the day he came over for my lesson and excitedly gave me two copies of this single, hot off the presses, and told me they pressed 100 of them. The A-side, their most famous song from their local gigs, was a classic-rock-cum-glam-rocker called "Glitter Girl" while the B-side was Hirschmann's moment to shine on the instrumental jazz-rock-psych riff-a-thon called "So What". This is the true sound of Los Angeles' north valley area circa 1980.
As far as I'm concerned, SIN don't get nearly the respect they deserve. Among all the terrible Hollywood bands who couldn't play, SIN were our version of Angel. I hear you screaming "What about White Sister?", to which I reply...they were Giuffria, not Angel. Big Difference. Anyways, SIN released one single in 1983, this beautiful shaped picture disc which should be worth a ton considering the 80's rock crap which passes for "rare" on Ebay these days. But sadly no one cares. Even though SIN had Rik Fox of Steeler fame and looked cool as hell, no one cared then either. It doesn't matter, as one day this record will have its due. After SIN burned out I'm pretty sure they morphed into the horribly-named Jag Wire. And guess what? No one cared.
...used to stand for "The Sleazy Rock Manager", but these days you can just go with the Sleaze Rock Man I reckon. As a companion to my blog "The Hair Up There", where I post rare records and demos of the most obscure 80's hair metal I have, I present "Walk the Strip", featuring scans of original band flyers from Hollywood's 80's hairday...I mean heyday. Growing up in LA, my friends and I used to walk the Sunset Strip every weekend, the hallowed sidewalks between the Whiskey and the Roxy (but not as far as Gazarri's, that's where the Warrant fans hung out). You couldn't walk two feet without a band member shoving a flyer in your hand, and luckily for you, one of my friends saved some great ones. In addition I'll be adding scans of band ads from local rags such as BAM magazine and L.A. Rocker fanzine. Click on the flyers for high-res versions to print out. Enjoy your walk down the Sunset Strip...
As for "The Hair Up There", I only post records that I believe to be so obscure they're not commercially available. If you are the legal copyright holder and wish to have the content removed, please contact me and I'll remove it immediately if that's your wish.