BILLY HOPELESS started The BONITOS after The BLACK HALOS‘ split. Unfortunately, the band didn’t go as far ar it should have, but our man in black is not ready to give up, and the songs in his head always need to be incarnated in some way or another. “Gutterball” is Billy’s first solo single, and his old partner Rich Jones (now in the MICHAEL MONROE band) helped him out to record this wild punk rock’n’roll tune. Imagine a mix of The STOOGES, BLACK HALOS, and short-lived glam punk band GUNFIRE 76, the kind of rock’n’roll that is getting too rare nowadays, in Billy’s own words: “I just need to hear some real raw animal punk rock and roll as there’s too many animals that have gotten tamed and too many tame ones trying to act like animals.”
Bones Brigade and Charles Manson on The HIP PRIESTS cover, the British gang continue their Turbo rawk’n’roll crusade with “Wired, Amped, Skulled”, bringing some of the best Scandinavian punk’n’roll to mind. Sweaty and dirty, just how we like it! This split 7″ is out on Little T and A Records. /Laurent C.
My name is Teddy Heavens and I’m bringing you the latest Sleaze/Glam/Punk/Metal and Trash rock and roll news from the Golden State and the streets (and gutters) of Hollywood, California! From the Valleys to the alleys, I’ll find the coolest bands to report on and let you know what’s up from the Rock and Roll capital of the world!
The state of Los Angeles rock and roll:
Whiskey A Go Go
This venue has been having a lot of cool hard rock shows: Wed. 13, LA Guns, Adler, Glitter N Glam nights, Krokus, Faster Pussycat, Tom Keifer, Black Oak Arkansas, Slaughter and the Dogs, Fear, Stryper, etc., with a lot of cool shows coming up. Definitely the place to be for visiting rockers on any given night, and things will be picking up even more since the House Of Blues just shut down.
Loaded-Metal Sanaz shows
Metal Sanaz is putting on some cool heavy metal shows at the Hollywood Blvd. club Loaded. She is a fair promoter and the club is straight up rock and roll, with killer live room and sleaze DJ out front and super cheap drinks. Nice place to get the down and dirty Hollywood rock and roll vibe from back in the day. The place to start or end your evening.
Lucky Strike Jam Nights
Chuck Wright runs the popular Wed. night Lucky Strike jam nights in Hollywood, that is all the rage right now for local Hollywood Rockers. The jam puts local and visiting rock stars of all levels together to jam hard rock and heavy metal cover tunes, and it is pretty amazing how good some of the players are. Place has been getting more and more packed recently and the rock stars are getting bigger and bigger. It’s a lot of fun and a good place to see a lot of your favorite players in one place, check it out when in Hollywood.
Cathouse Festival-Irvine, Ca.
This is the debut of the festival that pays homage to the glory days of the Sunset strip with the glam and hard rock bands that were kicking around in the late 80’s. Bands like LA Guns, Faster Pussycat and Pretty Boy Floyd are all representing at the festival and with any luck the event will be successful so that it can continue and include more bands from the day (signed and unsigned) that tore up the strip, like featured on the Hollywood Rocks Box set. Keep an eye out for the reviews and videos if you were not able to make it!
Frank Dimino-Old Habits Die Hard
Frank is one of my favorite singers, and Angel in the 70’s and 80’s was one of my favorite bands. I got the Angel release, In The Beginning, in the 2000’s and was lucky enough to see Frank and Barry in Angel, play in L.A. around that time. Seeing those guys play all the Angel hits was awesome and a dream come true. I also had the pleasure of seeing Frank perform in Las Vegas with his cover band, also featuring Jimmy Crespo (Aerosmith) and Johnny Lust (Creature), which was awesome, as they played The Tower and other Angel classics. Now Frank has a solo release and it hit me like a ton of bricks, because his voice is just as good as it was back in the day, with the same tone and vibrato that he is know for. Playing those covers and Angel tunes in those bars and casinos in Vegas was Frank’s best move, as it preserved his voice for this very “comeback” release, as well as keeping him lean and mean looking.
The release opens with “Never Again”, which is very much in the vein of classic hard rock Angel tunes. Next up is “Rocking In The City”, a contemporary hard rock song that showcases Dimino’s voice with a closing scream rivaling the best Deep Purple track. “Can’t Stop Loving You” is a Zeppelinesque tune and “The Rains About To Fall” has a big Montrose/Mountain riff showcasing Frank’s influences and songwriting style (honed at the Berkeley School Of Music as a youngster), and the power pop ballad “Even Now” is a direct cousin to the songs from the classic Angel Sinful release, complete with ending from that period.
Frank has many guest stars on this release including Punky Meadows, Oz Fox and Ricky Medlock, but the songs and Frank’s voice are the stars of this release. “Tears Will Fall” is the modern day “Tower”, the track that is closest to Frank’s past, and “Mad As Hell” is another nod to influences Deep Purple/Rainbow, with the Track “Sweet Sensation” bringing the sleaze rock opening riff to the party. “Tonight’s the Night” kicks out a Darkness/Status Quo vibe, adding to the variety that this release has, along with the top notch musicianship of all the players supporting Frank. “The Quest” opens with a Pantera riff, but turns into a keyboard driven fast pace number, featuring Giuffria period sounding keyboards, and the closing “Stones By The River” is the perfect cap to this perfect release, a real 70’s vocal driven number with Punky Meadows (my guess) adding guitar, proving old heroes don’t go away, they just get better and show how it’s done time and time again! This release will be my pick for album of the year, great songs and vocals, and top notch musicianship from all the backing players, can’t wait for the tour to hit Los Angeles.
Spiders N Snakes-Year Of The Snake
These guys are L.A. Glam Rock legends, going strongly for over two decades. Lizzie Gray is a survivor from the Hollywood music scene, who has seen and done it all!!! I want to write a book about this guy someday. He started London, who spawned a lot of big name rock stars, starred in the classic Decline 2 movie (currently now available as a box set trilogy) in the 80’s, and has rocked L.A. with Spiders N Snakes since then. Drummer Tim Yasui is another Hollywood survivor, along with guitarist Chris Sheridan and bassist Phil St. Vincent. This CD release also features guest appearances from some of my favorite players, including Rik Fox (Steeler) and Betsy Bitch (Bitch).
All band members take turns singing lead vocals on various tracks, but the standout song is “Kawasaki City”, with Tim on Lead Vocals, a song about his good times partying it up in Japan. The band also pulls out the Angel version of “Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore” with duel vocals from Tim and Betsy Bitch, with Rik Fox on bass, Bad Ass!!!! I had the pleasure of seeing this line-up perform the song live at Loaded and at the CD release party a few months back.
Overall, “Year of the Snake” is a killer release of hard rock, Glam Pop songs with top notch musicianship. Fun and Raw, the way Hollywood rock and roll should be! Buy it now!!
Billy Idol Live review- The Wiltern in Los Angeles, Ca.
I was lucky enough to get VIP passes for this show from BI bassist Steve McGrath, so I was stoked to have some elbow room and a cool drink to witness one of my favorite artist live. Billy has a top notch band, featuring Steve Stevens, who is able to replicate all of the cool guitar tones and sounds from the 80’s hits (and he is also an impeccable rock and roll dresser). Billy Idol has tons of hits, and he played them all, but the crowd went off for “Eyes Without a Face”, “White Wedding” and “Rebel Yell”. Billy looks good, he’s in perfect shape and has complete control of the stage, never overdoing it, but simply doing the “Billy Idol” thing, which is Elvis 2015!
After reading Billy’s autobiography, I was amazed to find out that he was smacked out on heroin all during the time he was at his biggest in the 80’s and 90’s, but it’s a testament to his talent and survivability that even today he’s still the ultimate punk rock star, looking and sounding better than ever.
Manic Street Preachers Live review- The Ford Theatre in Los Angeles, Ca.
Anytime MSP tour the US I have got to see them, as I am amazed they have not broken big in the US. But that allows me to see them in small up close venues, the 3rd time so far! MSP were touring as a 3 piece to commemorate the “Holy Bible” release, so they played all that record in its Gloomy entire glory, which was cool, but a little too downtrodden for me, so I was glad that they encored with multiple hits from the last two decades. My highlight is always gonna be “Motorcycle Emptiness” and “If You Tolerate This” and “Love’s Sweet Exile”. I love the early Manics stuff and James is such a good and underrated guitar player. When they first came out, I read an interview where they described themselves as a cross of Hanoi Rocks, Guns N Roses and Public Enemy, so of course my interest was peaked, and I have loved them the same through all their releases. I hope this is not the last time I see them live.
The Dictators/Prima Donna live review-Billy O’s in Ventura, Ca.
Rebel Rebel had the pleasure of opening for the seminal NYC punk rock group The Dictators, featuring Ross The Boss and Handsome Dick Manitoba, with legendary producer (Ramones) Daniel Rey on 2nd guitar. Also on the bill were L.A. favorites Prima Donna, who are now a slimmed down 4 piece. PD are a tight music machine onstage, the years of major world touring show in the playing, and interaction with the crowd. You can tell these guys love playing live rock and roll, they will play anywhere at any time! They have a new release out now that you should pick up, called “9 Lives and 45’s“, support this hard working band and share with friends. The Dictators hit the little Billy O stage like it was CBGB’s in the 70”s, and played all the Dictators faves. Handsome Dick is a funny ass cleaver front man, interacting with the crowd and hitting on good looking chicks in the crowd that were digging on him. These guys play a lot of huge festivals in Europe and back east, so it was a treat supporting them and seeing how an OG NYC punk band does it! The highlight of the set was the song “Baby Let’s Twist”, with HDM singing from the middle of the crowd and passing the microphone around to the crowd to sing the chorus. Cool night to remember and I added a Dictators pick and set list to my collection.
Acoustic Saints Live review-Twisted Oak Tavern in Agora Hills, Ca.
This band features Chuck Wright from Quiet Riot and Giuffria on bass and Stan Bush on vocals and guitar, along with a mando/fiddle/guitar player that is off the chain talented. Stan had a solo career in the 80’s and Chuck runs the popular Wed. night Lucky Strike jam nights in Hollywood, that is all the rage right now for local Hollywood Rockers. The AS play classic rock in the acoustic format, with Chuck playing a fretless bass, and the place is always packed out as these guys are top notch players. The set list is always changing, but staples are 70’s hard rock like Eagles and Zeppelin tunes, played with expert musicianship. These guys are a must see when visiting the L.A. area.
Cool bands I’ve been listening to:
Two man bands are now a novelty, usually guitar and drums or synthesizer and vocals, but bass and drums, that’s a new spin on things and RB have the sound down. Hard rock with strong pop melodies played by lead vocalist/bassist and drummer, with a full sound. The bass is heavily effected, but still sounds original and contemporary. Big in Europe already, but fighting to break the US currently, check them out with open ears.
This is the new band from Neal X ex Sigue Sigue Sputnik. He plays surf guitar and sings, much like he did in the last version of SSS. This band is mainly surf/rockabilly sounding with a stand up bassist and horns, but the songs still pack a punch. Neal X has been busy through the years playing with Marc Almond, and his signature sound is in tack-big holly body Gibson guitar with a lot of echo and delay. This band is a cross of The Cramps/Dick Dale/Eddie Cochran and Sigue Sigue Sputnik. They have been playing a lot of gigs in Europe and Spain and I’m praying they come to the states.
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Chicago’s JACK SCRATCH are back with 4 new songs on CD. “Do That For” sounds a bit like a mix of JOEY RAMONE and early KISS, good 70s rock’n’roll with hard rockin’ solos… It’s doing a great job as an opening song!
“If Only For a Moment” could be a hit single in a CHEAP TRICK way with its melodic guitars and addictive chorus, “Hey Wah Nee Hey Ho” slows things down a little before it gets wild again with “Gotta”, a punk’n’roll tune that seems to have been written for live performances.
9 musicians worked on this EP that was recorded both in Chicago (Joyride Sudio) and Seattle, at London Bridge Studios, where classic grunge records by SOUNDGARDEN, ALICE IN CHAINS, PEARL JAM or MOTHER LOVE BONE were recorded!
Only 4 songs, rugit… But no filler!/Laurent C.
German ’77 punk rockers The GEE STRINGS are no newcomers, from their debut 10″ in 1997, or their 2002 “Arrest Me” album (Dead Beat Records) to this brand new 2 song 7″ on No Front Teeth Records, the band has remained true to their love for old-school snotty punk rock’n’roll.
“I Will Get You” displays the more NY influenced bubblegum punk side of the band with the help of The IRRADIATES (killer surf punk from France!) bass/drums duo Macst and Buen, who also played with guitar player Bernadette in SCOTT “DELUXE” DRAKE‘s Euro backing band. You’ll love the song if you like BLONDIE and the RAMONES.
Side B offers us a good cover of The AVENGERS‘ classic “We Are The One” that will make you want to pogo ’77 style and sing along, so yes, this new 7″ should be on your next shopping spree list!/Laurent C.