NYC’s wildest rock’n’roll machine BORN LOOSE are back with 5 new songs on a 10″ vinyl record. Opener “Death From Above” confirms that these guys still like it fast, raw and dirty. “Payback” is full of rage, screams and crazy Chuck Berry solos, and “Reverse Cowgirl” is a punk’n’roll bomb reminding me of early TURBONEGRO. B side starts with sleazy gutter punk “Run, Run, Runt, Run’, just before the apocalyptic “Out In The Streets”, the bastard child of The STOOGES and JESUS LIZARD! BORN LOOSE are out to seek and destroy, watch out!
The album artwork by Mort Todd (Cracked Magazine) should be another good reason for you to get this record!/Laurent C.
This is some serious speedball and malt liquor ya’all motherfuckery that takes me back to the teenage years of blasting “Hell Comes To Your House” in the turpentine huffing, suburban garages of our middleclass delinquent friends’, whose parents were smalltown squares and absolutely shocked and appalled by us creepy, Midwestern lost boys who were wearin’ make-up and growing sideburns and renting John Waters movies and corrupting their fine, upstanding young sons and daughters with our bedazzling leather pants and filthy habits.
The long suffering mothers who had to join prayer groups and take prescription pills to cope with our black sunglasses and stacks of smut and sullen attitudes. You remember the thrill of getting drunk and feeling-up enthusiastic bad, bad, gum chewing, scrappy, young backstreet girls, on brown leather couches from the seventies, in wood paneled basements, and somebody’s mom always yelling from the top of the stairs to turn the music down, and drivin’ around in vintage Oldsmobiles, and loitering with your depressed friends in rural cemeteries? That’s the feeling The Sacred bring back. Snotty youth, sneering innocence, fifties rocknroll, struttin’ around at night, under lamplights, under the influence, unafraid and unsupervised.
Old men in plaid suitjackets who bought your Bacardi. Cheap thrills, sneaking into the billiard hall, underage. Blonde bombshells in shiny, hot pink, hot pants, sitting on weathered old scumbag’s laps. Evil Knievel pinball machines that had never once been Windexed. Bowling alley cocktail lounges. Aging waitresses with way too much perfume and dragqueen eyeshadow. Sid Vicious covers Eddie Cochran, Jeff Drake getting high with Danny Sugarman and Steve Jones. Spraypainting your band logo on the underpass. That stripper who took you home when you were too drunk to walk. Sleazy Deadboys scuzziness and primitive high pompadour glam. Seeing your best friend’s names already keyed into the paint of the juvenile detention solitary confinement cell. Strutting around the big city in the A.M. with your childhood punk idol, nearly burning down the bars. Crashing out in filthy squats. Your gorgeous Spanish girlfriend singing “Drive-In Saturday” to you in her beaded black dress. The Sacred are one of the last great, hellraising rocknroll bands of bar brawling badseeds and bewitching lonestar queens.
Along with Dr. Boogie, and the Sweet Things, the Sacred are among the few and the proud, remaining American gutter gangs still flyin’ colors shamelessly for sex and rebellion and a pocket full of pills. Bohemian bandleader, Deane 13, was raised on rebellious trash punk like The Humpers, D-Generation, Hollywood Brats and Hanoi Rocks, and always brings the danger and excitement of after dark, long lost youth to his edgy originals and notoriously reckless live performances. If you like old Alice Cooper, Little Richard, Heartbreakers, and Lords Of The Church, these Catholic school dropouts are sure to arouse filthy instincts in you that you’ll feel guilty about, later. “Lovesick Pills” is all about temptation and excess, dirty feelings, and string ties. “Sick Society” is an old school, star spangled scream, a rebel rousing fuck you to the Man, in the defiant spirit of the MC5‘s “American Ruse”, or Mike Monroe’s “While You Were Looking At Me”. These born to kill greasebags and sultry fox temptresses have come for your children. Sexy, provocative, street fightin’ dandies, lyin’ in wait, like pumas, patiently preparing to pounce on your leopardskin purse. The sound of dragstrip rioters, pitchers of cheap draft beer, impulsive carnality, and sinful urgings. Inappropriate for children due to explicit content and surly frowns. On No Front Teeth records.
When drummer Steve Pegrum told me that he was planning to release a GHOSTS OF LOVERS CD on his own label Angels in Exile Records, I thought it was the best idea ever! I only knew a couple of songs (thanks YouTube!) before, but it was clear to me that this band had everything, from their intriguing name, to the perfect image for this era (late 80s/early 90s), and songs that stand somewhere between The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH and HANOÏ ROCKS.
The CD artworks perfectly fits with the band’s spirit, dark and glamourous, romantic black and white with a drop of blood/rose red. Opener “Tonight” brings you back to the times when HANOÏ ROCKS was ruling London, catchy glam punk full of energy that you can also hear in songs like “Don’t Be Afraid” or “The Light Of My Sanity”! “Iona” is a song that you can easily imagine on some 80s London DJ setlist, just between a LORDS song, and a DAVID BOWIE one, magic! “Another Time” or “That Girl” were easily memorable, and it just makes you think that they could have been released as singles in those days.
Even though it was 1990, the spirit of the NEW YORK DOLLS was alive and well in The GHOSTS‘ music (just listen to “So Lonely” and “(Requiem For) Candy”), and the BOWIE meets Rocky Horror feel in “Sweet Sensitive Young Thing” reminds me of STAR STAR, another underated shooting star glam band.
In order to complete these 1990/1991 recordings, you’ll find four bonus live raw tracks, and I just hope that more bands from the 80s/90s London glam scene will get the chance to finally have their music on record (it also happened before with SOHO ROSES.) The GHOSTS OF LOVERS had perfect taste, and should have been big. Do yourself a favour and let them haunt you with this CD! /Laurent C
Dark punk rock from Grand Rapids, Michigan, with an original member of DIRTBOMBS (Thomas Jackson Potter), and quite a cool band name, this sounds quite interesting, right? “Cairo Scholars” brings JESUS LIZARD, or even The CRAMPS to mind with some violent, hypnotic, noisy punk rock’n’roll that sounds just as if the band was practicing in your garage. On B side, “Billy The Monster” is a DEVIANTS cover that perfectly fits with CHOKE CHAINS‘ spirit: Creepy, danceable, and chaotic at the same time!
Orange might not be the easiest colour to wear these days, but it looks great on this 7″ vinyl brought to us by Hound Gawd! Records. These two songs will be on the apocalypse setlist, but I really hope I will get to hear more before it happens! /Laurent C.
The music is sadly full of “should have been”, and the late 80s/early 90s London glam scene is no exception. While we could see pictures, and read about tons of great looking bands in fanzines and magazines in those days, it was hard to actually get their music. The GHOSTS OF LOVERS finally have a record out this month on Angel In Exile Records, drummer Steve Pegrum’s record label. We asked him to tell us more about this era and the band… How did you get the idea of releasing the CD? Have you been thinking about it for long?
Ever since the band split, it always struck me that it was a shame that people hadn’t gotten to hear the band really. The two studio recordings were originally planned as demos for us to get an idea of our songs and to see how the songs stood up in the studio. The first recording came out especially well (the one we recorded with Andy Le Vien at RMS Studios in South London) and one track from that – ‘Iona’ – was issued as a 7” Flexi disc with Submerge Fanzine, and years later ‘Tonight’ appeared on a Bubblegum Slut CD that accompanied the ‘zine, but otherwise the tracks had never been widely heard, and I’d always felt that was a shame.
So, several years ago I’d created a MySpace page for The Ghosts, and received a lot of great feedback on the band, and so the idea of putting the songs out somehow started to germinate.When I started Angels in Exile Records in 2011 I had the idea of putting an album out of all The Ghosts material that we’d recorded. It has taken longer than I had originally envisaged, but I am pleased it is now finally completed and I hope people enjoy it.
Can you tell us a bit about the history of the band? How did you meet, How did you choose your band name, etc.
Well, myself and Bass player friend Stuart Emmerton were looking to put a serious Rock and Roll band together in 1989, and we started with the traditional Melody Maker Classified Ads approach, and through this we met Guy Bourseau and Steve Perry. Instantly, from the very first jams in the studio I thought musically it was sounding really strong, but we had trouble finding the right vocalist. We carried on and met Kev MacDonald, and as soon as we heard him sing it felt right. Following a slight line up change, Kevin Sargeant came in on Bass and the ‘classic’ Ghosts of Lovers line up was set. We always used to meet at The Ship in Wardour Street and it became a key hangout for the band, invariably before going on to The Astoria or somewhere.
Guy, Kev MacDonald and I all lived in South London at the time so we would often hang out at Guy’s flat in Clapham, and that was where a lot of the songs were written. I always remember going round there one time and Guy was really happy, as he’d just come up with the music for Iona. He had a really warm sounding Marshall, and when he played it to me it just sounded immense and I couldn’t wait to play Drums to it.
Like a lot of bands, we struggled to find a name that felt right for us, and went through a few names, we even briefly considered calling ourselves The Diamond Dogs (all being huge Bowie fans). Then, there were some lyrics for a song that either Kev Macdonald or Kevin Sargeant had that was called ‘The Ghosts of Lovers’ and the name stuck. (Sadly we never recorded the song, although there is a rehearsal tape of it somewhere). I wasn’t entirely sure about it at first, but as time passes I think it fits the aesthetic of the band well.
There was a good scene in London in this style in at that time. What bands have you shared stages and drinks with? What were your favourite clubs?
Yes, there was a very good scene back then – it had been building since the early ‘80s with bands like Lords of The New Church, Dogs D’Amour, Marionette, Babysitters etc, then for me, seeing Hanoi Rocks in ‘83 really electrified things. (It was after a Hanoi show that I went to Melanddi in Carnaby Street and bought the blue leopardskin drape that I wore a lot, and can be seen wearing later on in The Ghosts photo session in 1990).
You then had the whole Guns n’ Roses infusion a little later, and the next wave of bands like Faster Pussycat, and the whole scene seemed to re-ignite. I had run a club myself since ‘84 called The Taste Experience, and by ‘89 wanted to try something new, so put together a club called ‘Station to Station’ that was very Glam/Goth/Punk and which encapsulated a lot of my ideas about music. I started it at Gossips, then it moved to Samanthas near Piccadilly, then at The Soho Theatre Club before doing a two year run at the St Moritz Club in Wardour Street. Station to Station became a key hang out for The Ghosts and every week various members, if not all, would come to the club. They really were some euphoric nights, and it felt wonderful playing Ziggy, Iggy, T-Rex, Only Ones, Lou Reed etc to a packed dance floor.
I was especially pleased that a lot of Japanese girls used to come to the club, as they really loved the mixture of music I played, and I remember two exceptionally glamorous and beautiful Japanese girls whom used to come to the club every week for two months or so, and were here on an extended vacation and they told me that the club had made their visit and that the music I had played was the best that they’d ever heard at a club. That made me very proud and I’m happy they had enjoyed it so much.
My personal favourite clubs included The Friday Rock club at The Astoria – many a legendary night was had there. I also loved Full Tilt at The Electric Ballroom, which played a good mix of alternative sounds. Then there was The Kit Kat which was brilliant – several times I remember going there and seeing Stiv Bators, the same goes for Alice in Wonderland at Gossips too. Then there was also Buttz & Spikes (also at Gossips), St Moritz Club (still run by the legendary ‘Sweetie’). The Pleasure Dive in Westbourne Park which played lots of Flesh For Lulu, Sisters & T-Rex, then there was Loose Lips and a short lived club called The Cathouse in Stockwell. That era really was special and its staggering how much was going on then. Portobello Road was still cool then with some great stalls, shops & bars, and we all loved going to Kensington Market to get our clothes. Johnson’s was the best and I still treasure clothes I have gotten there.
Thinking of this era, it was truly ‘immersive’ and was a full on lifestyle. As well as the music, clothes etc other mediums such as films were very important to us too – I remember staying up all night with Guy and Kev and talking about films that were important to us like ‘Christiane F’, ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Betty Blue’, ‘Apocalypse Now’ and many more.
Music is still the key medium though in which to evoke a certain core feeling, and whenever I hear ‘Dance With Me’ by The Lords, I can smell the hairspray, smell the smoke, picture a crowded dance floor of people in leather and lace and feel the sensual rhythm of such a great song as it immediately transports me to that era…fantastic!
The image of The GHOSTS OF LOVERS was kind of dark glam, not too far from The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH. Were you also getting interest from the goth rock scene?
I think that’s a fair assessment of the band, as we did all love The Lords of the New Church – we all had seen them live many times, and Steve and I were at their infamous last stand at the Astoria when Stiv sacked all the members onstage. We also had liked some bands such as Bauhaus and Flesh For Lulu whom were considered Goth, but I felt shared a similar Glam pulse beat. Certainly Station to Station had quite a large Goth attendance, and a lot of people in the scene did like The Ghosts. I’d say though that equally in the glam scene people seemed to understand where we coming from, with our love of everything from the New York Dolls, Stooges, MC5, Only Ones, Bowie, T-Rex, Hanoi Rocks et al. Thinking about it now, a key artist that again we all loved and whom we found very inspirational for a number of reasons was Alice Cooper – he epitomised dark glam for us – I especially loved the Love it To Death and Killer albums.
How come you guys didn’t get a record label deal? Bad luck, or a too short existence? Did you ever think about releasing a record by yourselves in those days (though it sure wasn’t as easy as it is now)?
I think there were so many reasons for why things didn’t take off for the band at the time really. The primary one is that we spent a lot of our time putting the band together, writing songs, working on the set, etc that the time spent playing live was very brief and so just as we were starting to push forward it all fell apart. There wasn’t really time to push for a deal with the demos. We had originally intended to possibly re-record Tonight and Don’t Be Afraid, and the only song everybody agreed on to release was Iona – a friend of mine called Tina ran a fanzine called Submerge, and she offered to put The Ghosts in the magazine and to insert a flexi with it, so we put Iona on a 7” one sided flexi for the magazine. Little did we know that would be the only official release by the band for a long time!
Can you think of any other bands of that scene and era that also should have deserved more recognition?
Mmm, Well I used to go to a lot of shows in that era as there was so much happening, and there were certain bands that stood out. I liked Gunfire Dance a lot (and indeed put them on at Station to Station when it was at Gossips). They totally got the NY Dolls / Heartbreakers aesthetic, were great guys and I enjoyed their company. Sister Midnight were also really cool and I enjoyed them too. I remember a great set by Feline Groove at the Marquee and I’m sure there were more that my brain can’t recall just yet!
Guitar player Guy Bourseau unfortunately left this world too soon, have some of the other members played in other bands after The GHOSTS OF LOVERS?
Yes, sadly Guy passed in ‘98. He was slightly older than the rest of us and had played in several bands in France before moving to England (notably including The Stalkers & Teenage Head). I was always impressed he’d seen the two Mont de Marsan Punk festivals as they were held not too far from his hometown of Peau. He knew a lot of musicians, and was well respected and was such a fantastic player and spirit.
After The Ghosts of Lovers split, Guy and myself had gotten on so well, both musically and as friends, that we wanted to carry on playing the music we loved – ie raw rock ‘ roll, and we met up with a Bassist called Billy Ingram and formed a band called The Hearts of Darkness. This lasted on and off for a few years between ‘92 – ‘96. We must have met, jammed with and auditioned every singer in London into Johnny Thunders, Ian Hunter etc at that time! I remember a great jam we had with Peter Perret when he was looking for a new band, and Guy played the most sublime solo on Another Girl Another Planet – such a shame we didn’t record it! We also played with Alistair from The Lords briefly, as well as many others but never felt a connection with a singer that lasted and the band eventually split late ‘96. Guy did briefly play with a band called The Italian Continentals before leaving London to go back to France for his final days.
Steve Perry jammed with us several times and we still stay in touch to this day, and Kevin MacDonald has carried on singing – I remember one band he was in was called Mister Moses I think. Kevin Sargeant was always a fan of the Oriental Beat and now lives in Japan, and its sadly been several years since we’ve seen each other.
For myself, after The Ghosts of Lovers and then The Hearts of Darkness split, I had a break from music for a while, spending a lot of time travelling, before re-connecting with long term Guitarist friend Kevin de Groot whom got me playing again in several projects. I then joined re-generated ‘70s Punks The Machines before playing in Hollywood Doll and then The Vampire Junkies Featuring Texas Terri. There are several songs I co wrote either with Guy or with Guy and Billy dating back to the Hearts of Darkness days that I still want to record, so we shall see. (We used to play Souls on Fire and Sea of Madness in Hearts of Darkness and fine tuned the arrangements of these songs so again it would be good to record them I must say.)
You never thought about some kind of reunion gig(s)?
Well, Guy really was at the heart of The Ghosts, and its hard to imagine the band without him. I would love to celebrate what he/we did though, and I know Guy would love as many people as possible to hear the music that he was so crucial in creating, so I won’t say ‘never’. The Ghosts were a very special band to me, so if anything ever were to happen it would have to be done right. If one day we all get together in the same room, who knows, anything is possible.
Can you tell us about Angels in Exile Records?
Angels in Exile Records is the Label that I started back in 2011. I originally came up with the name Angles in Exile back in the ‘90s as it was the title of a song I was writing when we were doing The Hearts of Darkness, and I thought it was the perfect name so when I started a web design business in the early 2000’s, I carried on the name. Since 2010 I’ve done less on the design side, as I have always wanted to run a Label and put out releases that I myself would want to buy. The Label isn’t aiming to put out just archive releases as I will put out contemporary artists that I like too, but I do like to make sure any bands that I love that either haven’t been heard or never had their material released can get a chance to do so if it is something that fits within the aesthetic remit of the Label.
Since vinyl is coming back, have you thought about a vinyl release of The GHOSTS OF LOVERS too?
That’s a good question…Like a lot of us, I still love vinyl and am definitely considering the possibility of a vinyl release. If the CD sells well and there is the interest, I might start with a 7” EP perhaps, and then maybe do a vinyl issue of the album, we shall see.
12 new songs from French darkwave solo artist SINDROME. “Pavillon Noir” sets the mood of this new album right from the start, 80s synth in different shades of black, from robotic dancefloor tunes (“Detox”, “Discocaïne”) to apocalyptic industrial ones (“Errance”, “Sens Le Pire”, “1R2DSFAC.”) SINDROME displays his love for the holy 80s without sounding purely retro-nostalgic, and still manages to surprise us with his visual and musical references (MICHAEL JACKSON, MICHEL POLNAREFF, ALBATOR, RATT…), you’ll even find a tribute to PRINCE in “Minneapolis.”
If you had to compare these new songs with his previous works, we can say that you’ll find more vocal melodies on this record (“Kaléidoscope Noir” and its strong French new wave touch,”Une Dernière Fois”, “Mode Alarme”, or “Démons”), which can only be a good thing since pop melodies can unfortunately rarely be found in the new synthwave scene. As on the previous album, you’ll find cool hard rock guitars by SINDROME‘s longtime friend and FROZEN DEAD KITTENS guitarist Greg Bergen (“Astéroïdes”), so don’t be afraid of the dark.. /Laurent C.