Superlegend Frankie Delmane – Spontaneously Crafted Music!

TEENAGE FRAMES and The CRAZY SQUEEZE are two good reasons for us to have a little talk with Frankie, but his solo album “Street Penetration” has made us even more curious…

Can you tell us how you first got into music? What were the first records you bought? The first band shirt you wore?

“Music was always a part of my household when I was a kid- mainly old rock n roll and country. I didn’t become obsessed with music until I was about 12 years old, and at the time was really into anything on the radio or early days of MTV, and I collected 45s (singles) exclusively- my first being Dolly Parton “9 to 5”, soon followed by ABC “Look Of Love.” First bands that ever made me love rock n roll was Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Rolling Stones– ubiquitous stars of classic rock radio. The first band shirt I think I ever wore was probably a 1976 Jefferson Starship “Spitfire” Tour shirt I stole from the lost and found at my Junior High School. I thought the design was so cool.”

When did you realize that you wanted to play in bands and not just listen to them?

“I recall watching an episode of New Wave Theater that featured a band called Unit 3 and Venus, with an 11 year old girl as lead singer. And then I saw an expose on The Plasmatics showing Wendy O chainsawing TV Sets and smashing shit up, and it hit me that this was something I could do and be a part of and have fun and be creative with, so I immediately started a band- a two piece with a neighbor. We called ourselves The Mental Cases. We used to make cassettes, which I would then play for my fellow students at school, who must have thought I was insane- just me and my friend banging on drums and acoustic guitars, shouting things like “My Baby Eats Dirt” and “Running With The Angel.” From that point onward I was hooked and have never stopped performing, writing, and loving every minute of it, the good and the bad.”

Can you tell us a bit about the TEENAGE FRAMES?

Teenage Frames have been one of the most satisfying disappointments of my musical life. We really felt- at one point were delusional enough- to believe, absolutely, we were gonna be a MAJOR band. Not the biggest, but you know- on the level of Primal Scream or Social Distortion. We certainly believed we had a more interesting take than all of the pop punk junk in the 1990s. We made a valiant attempt at this. Unfortunately, our egos were too distorted at the time to see the whole picture, face our own deficiencies, and comprehend how these things unfold- and then coming to grips with that made the failure more painful. However, it also makes you recognize what is there- even what you may have missed or dismissed initially, and poses the question of where next to go. I love writing with Eric Vegas so much, and recording with Jim and Aaron has just gotten better and stronger, so we’re still a band producing material, working on a new full length LP (our 3rd in 20 years! HA!) that has so far- quite easily- reaffirmed why I stuck with this- I am in the midst of my greatest creative period, and just loving it.”

You then joined The CRAZY SQUEEZE, can you tell us how it all happened?

“Johnny Witmer had already formed The Crazy Squeeze while The Stitches were on a break- or things had slowed down for a minute, gone through a few line up changes, and was possibly looking for a simple, direct player who was reliable and could write and sing and would not be drama or hassle (I can be a little of both, but far less than your average musician).
I was reticent at first because I am a front man- lead singer- main songwriter, action man- and had never, ever played an instrument in a band. I barely could tune a guitar. But Johnny assured me all he needed was me to do very simply stuff so he could wail and flail and do all the fancy guitar mangling, and to sing/write half the songs. It was an easy fit. I slid into his concept quickly- as we are both very centered around 50s rock n roll and R&B and 1970s Pub Rock and Proto Punk and early Punk in general- and we were off and running. It’s always fun playing with those guys, and even more so touring. I think touring in The Crazy Squeeze has been my most favorite part of the band, and some of the greatest experiences of my life. We should be out on tour again soon, with a new LP or single.”

When did you have the idea to write a song each day for a whole year? Was it easy to do when you were on tour in Europe with The CRAZY SQUEEZE?

“I got the idea in December 2014. I had just finished writing and recording over 80 songs that year that had no place to go. I felt if I just kept writing I could use the initial songs for the first 2 months, and by the time they were depleted, another batch would have been written and ready to go. And that’s how it worked in total, though certain weeks I made sure I wrote for THAT day, just to keep the thing somewhat fair and balanced. The entire project was life changing. Certainly from a creative stand point. I had my good friends over at Sex Tape Records- Stacy Ellen Rich and Eric BigArm (from Die Group and Tenement Rats)- post all the videos/songs for me while I was in Europe- I made sure I’d done them before I left. However, the final month was all stuff written to order- that morning to post that night. I am in the middle of doing a similar- albeit less extensive- project, NEW SONGS for 2020. Subscribe to my YouTube Channel and see them everyday!”

Were you thinking some of these songs could end up on vinyl?

“NO! I treated them as demos, nothing more. Raw ideas eventually graduating to better conditions. But I am a sucker for Lo-Fi, 4 track, spontaneously crafted music- so when Bill Xero approached me with his idea for English Disco Records, and his vision for putting out a collection of certain songs on vinyl, I was stunned and over joyed. It’s turned out to be what I hope will be a series of LPs collecting my demos- the sound, style, and presentation- though not entirely Hi-Fi- is as close as I’ll ever come to getting that gritty, raw, immediate energy and thrill of the best 1960s records.”

I remember I watched JOHN COOPER CLARKE’s “What’s In My Bag?” and he actually talked about you. Were you surprised he did?

“Shocked!!! Absolutely shocked. Working at the record store I was at- in that time frame- I gave CDs of my music to every entity I saw that I admired or thought was interesting- and did not care the outcome- if it went in the trash, etc. I am a tireless advocate and champion for my own cause. Tom Petty refused a CD from me once!!! HA! I wasn’t bothered. So John Cooper Clarke was no different. Didn’t give it a second thought. I could not stop giggling once I saw it. It was simply an honor to be mentioned by the man.”

Can you choose 5 albums that are important to you and tell us why you like them?

THE WIPERS– Over The Edge: I spent all of my teenage years in Portland, Oregon. The Wipers were the first ‘local’ punk band I heard that changed my life and influenced me, this LP in particular. Greg Sage was very accessible in those days, so he became my one and only musical mentor. His music will always have a deep place in my soul.

VELVET UNDERGROUND– White Light, White Heat- LP: Though the first LP with Nico may be my favorite, this one simply melted my face off when I first listened to it, LOUDLY, on headphones. It’s punk as fuck. Wild, anarchic, poetic. ANY deconstructed thing you heard bandied about afterwards has a direct line to this. And you do gotta listen to this at FULL BLAST. Let it surge through you. It’s filthy, ragged, unclean, undisciplined, layered audio magic.

NEW YORK DOLLS– LP- At this juncture it’s almost comical to name check this thing, but it truly is one of the most absorbing rock n roll records ever made, and as pure a definition of the style as Chuck Berry‘s guitar licks. It’s also somewhat progressive and unique in what they did with the form, and the lyrics are hilarious and smart. AND they were basically teenagers. Everything about this band was perfect, and the legend should grow bigger every year, they are that worthy still, as much as Warhol or DuChamp or Dali- they put art into rock n roll with out being overly pretentious or condescending or self congratulating- or even fully aware- they’re natural state of being so cool and collected, tight and on point. LOVE them to bits!

BUDDY HOLLY– 20 Greatest Hits (MCA)- I was lost in this record for years, and patterned so much of my songwriting style after this master of the hook. As important and as much as Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard and Charlie Rich and Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra do for me in similar- yet separate ways- it’s Buddy Holly‘s relationship to melody and projection that I feel allows my writing to flourish with strength and purpose.

JAMES BROWN– Live At The Apollo- LP- Just about every rock n roller’s favorite LIVE R&B record- it is THEE record that ill keep giving, an R&B throttle train of rhythm and power and immediate soul. With the best back up band on the planet you hear the frame work of transcendence and grace, and James Brown‘s theatrics- his raw and nasty vocals and funky personality, all wrapped up beautifully in this legendary recording that I can put on any time and it’ll instantly make me wanna dance, sing, get wasted, and write music. So many other records I love don’t give that- cause this sucker is special.

Last great live band or artist you’ve seen?

“Best, most recent shows I’ve witnessed- Bobby Caldwell, Jack Jones, The Hangmen, Robert Forster, The Fleshtones.”

Any new exciting bands in L.A. at the moment?

Savoir Faire & the Voyeuristics, Hot Licks, Tenement Rats, Double E & Bad Business, The Reflectors.”

What are your projects for 2020?

“Continuing my NEW SONGS for 2020- either until I run out of ideas, songs, or energy- or the year itself ends, new TEENAGE FRAMES LP fully recorded, new stuff by THE CRAZY SQUEEZE– either a 45, a full length- or both, writing about music for various blogs or publications, and selling my music to every outlet I can- from film to TV to audiences- this will be a year I exploit myself to the fullest. So come check it out- I am chronically producing content that I hope will be titillating and thrilling to those who encounter it. At least that’s the purpose.

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ACTORS – They Will Come To You!

We thought it would be interesting to send a few questions to Canadian 80s post-punk/dark rock influenced band ACTORS after seeing them at Berlin’s Lido. Bass player Jahmeel Russell tells us more…

How was your European summer tour?

It’s been fantastic. As of this writing we have three more shows to go in Spain before we finish. This tour’s been six weeks all together so we’ve had the chance to play more cities and country’s than the first time we came over.

When I saw you in Berlin, you said that it was your first time there. How many times have you toured in Europe before?

This is ACTORS second time over here. I’ve been over here previously with some other bands.

There was an encore on that night and you weren’t expected it, so you had to play songs that you have already played in the set. Did this happen anywhere else on this tour?

Berlin was the only city we played a song again in for an encore and that’s because we were physically forced back on stage by members of the crowd (Ha Ha). We’ve had encores at pretty much every show on this tour, we just haven’t played them because we play all of our songs in the set. The audiences excitement and energy at all the shows has been killer.

80s influences can be heard in your music, I’m thinking of KILLING JOKE , The CULT, The MISSION, The SISTERS OF MERCY, among others. Some would call it goth rock or dark rock. While dark genres are still quite popular nowadays, full drum/bass/guitar bands are getting rare. Did you have the idea of a dark rock band from the start?

Jason started this by himself but I don’t think there was ever a moment where he thought about doing it live without a band. For me there’s a certain power in live drums and bass that cannot be matched.

Considering the name of the band and the number of videos you have on YouTube, is cinema somthing you’re particularly interested in?

Yes. Cinema’s really important. It’s a source of inspiration and creativity.

Jahmeel, you often wear metal/black metal shirts on stage. For some reason it made me think about when bands I liked as a teenager were wearing band shirts that were different from their own music. For instance, I remember I got into SKINNY PUPPY because Slash was wearing their shirts. Do you get a lot of metal people at ACTORS shows, or people who come to you and talk about it?

We actually do. Speaking from my own experience with music growing up I was always drawn to dark music. I could jump between a Darkthrone and Depeche Mode record quite easily. The genre of music I listen to the most is black metal and I’ve found at most shows I meet fans of the band who are into what we do but are also into black/death metal. I love to talk about this music so it’s always a pleasure to meet fans who are into it.

Did you see Lords of Chaos? What did you think about it?

I did. It was ok but just entertainment, nothing more. For anyone really interested in what happened back then this is not the place to look.

5 of your favourite albums and a few words about them:

GODFLESH – Streetcleaner. 

I got this on tape in the early 90’s. At that point I had heard a lot of the other Earache bands from that time, most of which I am still a fan of but this record really spoke to me the most. That bass tone and Justin Broadrick’s guitar playing were very influential to me. Still one of the heaviest albums ever. 

Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith and Devotion. 

While I would probably say Violator is my favourite album this is the one I find myself listening to the most these days. Condemnation has got to be one of the most beautiful songs ever and my favourite vocal performance from Dave Gahan. 

Bathory – Under the Sign of the Black Mark

This was the first Bathory album I heard when I was a kid and it has stuck with me ever since. The main riff in Call From the Grave still gives me chills. It’s hard to pick just one as the first four albums are all mandatory.

Katharsis -VVorldVVithoutEnd

One of my favourite black metal bands for me this is their peak. I remember buying this CD without hearing a note just because it was on the NOEVDIA label. I was not disappointed. It’s like Under a Funeral Moon x 1000. An utterly chaotic masterpiece. 

Black Cilice – Banished From Time 

Probably my current favourite black metal band. I enjoy all of their releases. The first time I heard them it had the same impact as when I first heard Xasthur in the mid-2000’s. Very raw and produced in such a way that makes it very unique. It’s haunting, aggressive, yet I also find myself falling into a trance listening to it. I have the new album “Transfixion of Spirits” on CD and LP waiting for me when I get home from this tour and I can’t wait to dive in. My most anticipated album of the year along with the new Teitanblood.

You’re a hard working band, so I guess you already have a lot of things planned after the European tour?

We have 10 days off after this tour then we head down to the USA for another run of dates that will take us to the end of October. In November we have two more shows in Vancouver and Seattle respectively and at that point we will have done about 150 dates in support of this record. More tour dates and a new album are already in the works for 2020. 

https://www.actorstheband.com
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Paradise Alley – Cuban Heels and Eyeliner

PARADISE ALLEY are back! Lead vocalist Steve Vincent tells us about the band’s history, the 25th anniversary of their album “Psychotic Playground” and the late 80s/early 90s London glam scene.

Can you tell us a bit about the beginnings of PARADISE ALLEY?

I had left my band in Scotland, Indian Angel and moved to London at the start of 1992 where I replaced Paul Blitz (ex-Soho Roses) in Scarlet Tears. It was not the happiest of unions and I never really fitted in as they kept telling me not to copy what Paul had sang on the recordings, to do my own thing but make it sound like the recordings. To say that messed with my brain is an understatement, hahaha. Anyway, I had arranged a gig in Oxford which went pretty well but the audience kept shouting for us to play Indian Angel songs and I think there were a few bruised egos. I had an idea of what I wanted a band to be and already had the name Paradise Alley after seeing it in a TV listing so started advertising for band members in Sounds and Melody Maker. At around the same time one of the guys from Scarlet Tears called to suggest I leave and seemed really taken aback when I announced that I was leaving to start my own thing anyway. Again, I don’t think they knew what they wanted really.

Well, one of the first people that replied to my ad was Richie Hale who I knew from a few of the clubs and we hit it off straight away and worked on putting the band together from there. There was lots of coming and going of people in the first six months but eventually I settled on a line up and we recorded our first demos. That line-up I was joined by Johnny Idle and Darryl Wilks on guitars, Rich Emborg on Bass and Adam King on drums. That was end of ’92 and stayed together until the following Summer. That’s when we had Damian Cullen join on drums.

You’ve just celebrated the 25th anniversary of your album “Psychotic Playground.” Can you tell us about the recording sessions? Did you release any demo cassettes before?

Well we had recorded a three track demo in early 93 which we started circulating to get gigs and that included a Hanoi song, Shakes that was meant for a tribute album (the tribute album never materialised). Anway, we recorded the album in the Fall of 93 and it was a pretty crazy time. Damian and I were crashing at Johnny’s flat at the time and they were pretty insane times with lots of partying and not a lot of sleep, hahahahaha. When we were recording, three of us had day jobs so we recorded through the night and would literally go straight to work from the studio. I have no idea how we kept it all together but let’s just say we had some stimulation to keep us going. So when it came time to do the 25th anniversary edition it seemed right to combine the demo and the album as one release.

Was the London glam/sleaze scene still active at this time?

Yes, it most definitely was. Kill City Dragons were still around, Gunfire Dance were regular visitors from Birmingham, the Dogs were still around with Darrel Bath in the line-up. There was us, Waterbratz, Dogsbody, Last Great Dreamers, Pleasure Victims…there were still plenty of us with a love of Cuban heels and eye liner put it that way, hahahahaha. And there were still a good few clubs to keep us entertained too.

Many of the early 90s London glam bands never got the chance to release any records, and you were lucky if you could find anything else than a few pictures and a demo cassette when living outside of the UK. Do you remember any of them that should have deserved more attention?

I think we ALL deserved more attention than we got but we didn’t have the money from the record labels to wine and dine the magazines. I remember sitting with Ray Zell one night and him telling me we were all screwed from the point of view of media attention because when the call came in from someone like Bon Jovi it was an all-expenses paid trip to the States with backstage access, free booze, women, etc. all any of us could offer was a meet up at The Ship in Wardour Street and a wet Tuesday night at the Marquee – it was a no-brainer from the point of view of the journalists, they always went for the more glamourous options.

Did you play many shows? What were your favourite clubs to play? What bands did you play with? What are your best live memories?

We played all over, not just London but there was a bit healthier club and pub scene then so it was worth piling into the back of a transit van with your gear and heading off round the UK. We played some amazing shows through the years, the early ones at places like Newcastle Trillians, The Wag in London, The Anchor in Chesterfield all hold some amazing live memories for me from those days.

We played with most of the bands on the scene back then, lots with the Pleasure Victims and I am still mates with Jez to this day (although he plays Drums now in the Men that cannot be blamed for anything). Played with the Gunfires too, they were the torchbearers for me, they just had “it”. Favourite clubs to play were the Marquee in Charing X Road, the Wag, Trillians in Newcastle, CBGBs is one of my fondest memories and the Coconut Teaszer in LA.

What were your favourite places (clubs, bars, shops…) to hang out in London those days?

The best bars back then were The George, The Ship and The Intrepid Fox and it was like an invisible triangle in Soho that we followed between all three. Club wise there was the Hellfire, Gossips and the St Moritz, all were great places to hang out and sadly all gone now apart from the St Moritz although they don’t have much going on there anymore. Shop-wise you still had Kensington Market which was great to even just hang out in and plan what you were going to buy when you had some spare cash (I admit I am a shopaholic when it comes to clothing, hahaha) but even Carnaby Street was still pretty cool at the end of the Eighties, early nineties, it was so sad to watch all of that change so dramatically.

Can you tell us about your second album “Heartbreakers & Homewreckers”?

Well at the end of the Psychotic Playground Tour we played a showcase at The Marquee for a few major labels but the band literally split up on stage. Our bass player was arrested the night before for aggravated assault so spent the gig in a prison cell and we played with a stand-in bassist. Johnny and Damian announced they were calling it quits so it got pretty tense during the gig, hahaha. There was no way I was ready to call it quits so I put together a new line-up basically with friends of friends. They were all influenced a bit more by Classic Rock stuff and flashier stuff like Steve Vai but we did click from a song writing point of view so we kept going. Like the first album it started off self-financed but then we had a friend of the band help us out and then the producer offered us extra studio time in exchange for representing the band to the record labels once it was finished. I think rather naively we accepted although it is a pretty good album but label-wise no one was biting with that type of music by the mid-nineties so we just stagnated.

It did become more apparent as we recorded it however that we were all pulling in different directions and by the time it was finished there was me in one camp and the rest of the band in the other. We struggled on gigging for a while but it wasn’t a happy time and we ended up playing just gigs local to where the band were living around Berkshire, just West of London. We became a bit of a glorified covers band by the end of it sitting on an unreleased album and I was miserable. Delinquent in the States heard the album and contacted me saying they wanted to sign us and take us to America so after a lot of negotiating on my part, we signed the deal. At that point the rest of the band quit as it wasn’t there thing anymore, musically or otherwise. They hate the album now and have said some pretty unkind things about me and the band but hey, that’s up to them, they weren’t complaining when they were having sex with lots of pretty girls because they were in the band but that’s life I guess.

Did you get any opportunities to tour outside of the UK?

Well when I brought over The 69 Eyes from Finland for their first ever UK shows back in ’96, the plan had been for us to then go over to Finland and tour with them but the rest of the guys in Paradise Alley did not get on with them and so it sadly never happened. We have talked about doing Scandinavian shows and other European shows but we’ll see what the future holds I guess. We did almost tour Japan in the nineties as we were on the verge of a deal there and some dates were pencilled in but for one reason or another it never happened. We did tour the States twice, first time starting off in New York, including CBGBs then down the Mid-west to the South in Alabama and Georgia. That was in 1998 when the second album came out and then we went back and played around Los Angeles in 2000.

Have you ever thought about releasing your albums on vinyl?

Actually, when we first started planning the debut album it was meant to be a vinyl release but that was definitely on the way out in the early nineties and we figured we would probably be shooting ourselves in the foot by doing that so opted for CD. I would love to see them on vinyl but it’s so expensive to do and the second album line-up do not want Heartbreakers re-released in any format whatsoever, something about us trading off on their genius or something, hahaha. So sadly that will not be happening, people will just have to content themselves with the digital version of Heartbreakers and the CD of Psychotic Playground (at least until that sells out).

Do you sometimes miss the good old days of cheap collage flyers and paper fanzines?

I miss those days so much, there was something about making the flyers, trying to be as eye catching as possible, fly posting, going out and talking to people that was so cool and the old paper fanzines were incredibly cool and were generally very, very supportive of us and all the bands in the scene.

Any bands/albums you have liked recently?

I guess I am pretty old school in that there is not a lot of the new stuff that is grabbing my attention. I do like the latest Plastic Tears album, not just because we’ve been friends for a long time, haha, I just genuinely think it is a really good album. I am a fan of Trench Dogs too and their album is a regular visitor to my CD player, very cool looking band too. A lot of the new stuff is more influenced by “Hair Metal” which has never really been my thing as I am more of a Hanoi/Ramones/Stones fan so it’s not that it is technically bad, it’s just not my thing.

Can you tell us about the 2019 version of PARADISE ALLEY?

Well, other than Taj Sagoo who was in the last properly functioning line-up of the band when we toured the States, it’s completely fresh. We have Ben Alexander on bass who has been a friend of ours for a good few years now and he was completely the first choice when we decided to put the band back together. He has fitted in so well and he brings so much to the band with backing vocals and song writing as well as his bass playing. We have a lead guitarist that we are working with right now and we should be making an official announcement on him very soon but again he’s bringing a lot to the table with ideas and enthusiasm which is great to have, otherwise after doing something as long as we have, you start to become a bit jaded. Drummer-wise we are still auditioning but we are holding out for the right person as so far no one has actually been into the same type of music and they all want to be paid a regular wage which in this day and age is incredibly unrealistic, lol.

We are working towards a new album and playing as much as possible and not just in the UK. We’ve already been invited to Europe and the States and we want to spread the word as much as possible. We know we are a cult underground band, we have no illusions of being signed to Universal and making millions, but as long as we can get out there, make people happy and ourselves happy playing rock’n’roll then I reckon we are winning. We aren’t reinventing the wheel, we are a low-slung guitar toting rock’n’roll band, just like we always have been.

http://www.paradisealley.co.uk

 

Whatever Became Of A Streetcar Named Disaster? – Interview With Underground Cult Hero Max O’ Donnal By Darkstar General

The Seldom Told Secret History Of Power Pop Greats Saints In Vain, Bang Bang Sattelite, A Streetcar Named Disaster, Ill-Starred, China Stars, and Gutter Saints!

“Hello Hooray Let the show begin
I’ve been ready
Hello Hooray Let the lights grow Dim
I’ve been ready
Ready as this audience that’s coming here to dream
Loving every second, every moment, every scream
I’ve been waiting so long to sing my song
And I’ve been waiting so long for this thing to come
Yeah I’ve been thinking so long I was the only one
Roll out Roll out with your American dream and its recruits
I’ve been ready
Roll out Roll out with your circus freaks and hula hoops
I’ve been ready…” (-Alice Cooper)

“On the road to rock ‘n’ roll
Everybody carries a good luck charm
Said to spook the highway wind
Blowing off old Parchman farm
On the road to rock ‘n’ roll
They’ll try to hook you by the eye
There’s a mirror in your soul
You should turn it to the sky
On the road to rock ‘n’ roll
The lonely sing a soulful song
Leave a little light in the wilderness
For somebody to come upon…” (-Joe Strummer)

“Libraries gave us power
Then work came and made us free
What price now for a shallow piece of dignity
I wish I had a bottle
Right here in my dirty face to wear the scars
To show from where I came
We don’t talk about love we only want to get drunk
And we are not allowed to spend
As we are told that this is the end” (-Manic Street Preachers)

“Max was my idol when I was a teenager and into my 20’s. I wanted to be like him, to think like him and most of all, write like him. He’ s only a couple of years older than me but there was a clear mentor thing going on from the first time I ever talked to him.
I’ve ripped off Max’s songs just as many times as those of Ian Hunter, Jonathan Daniel, Rick Springfield or anybody. Not because I wanted to steal from him, but because those songs he wrote were as integral to me learning how to write as any of my other influences. They just became part of the language I use when I write.
He probably doesn’t know it or care, but he’ll always be a big influence on whatever I do. When I met him I was a young, extremely sheltered and naive embryo. Max and Frank were so much more worldly wise (or better at faking it than I was), and I thought everything they did and said and drank and wore was just the coolest. It was a formative time for me and those jerks did the forming. All that was over 20 years ago (!), and I’m still out there chasing the next song. If it weren’t for Max I wouldn’t even know how to do that.”
(-CHARLES MATTHEWS)

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO FUN?

By now, anyone who ever loved the Beat, Flamin’ Groovies, the Plimsouls, Buzzcocks, the Shoes, or 20/20 is already bananas for America’s best current day power-pop sensations, Seattle’s own Cheap Cassettes, while all the black-haired, silken scarf draped, winklepicker clad, makeup wearing glam brats drink their whiskey to the soulful sounds of NYC’s sleazy young starlets, the Sweet Things, but today, I wanna take you back in time to the late eighties, and early nineties, before Dr. Boogie, or the Cute Lepers, the Star Spangles, the Soda Pop Kids, the Loyalties, Red Invasion, the Briefs, and Exploding Hearts, before American Heartbreak, even back past Charles Matthews (Cheap Cassettes) and Lorne Behrman’s (Sweet Things) own wildly influential, stylish glamour pop rebellion, DIMESTORE HALOES.

Today we’re gonna explore the history of STREETCAR NAMED DISASTER, Chaz Halo’s cool as fuck Manic Street Preachers influenced band, PRE Dimestore Haloes. That group made a really cool, D.I.Y. only, cassette release in the early nineties that was deeply appreciated by loads of old bubbleglam and power pop stompers who formed bands, started labels and magazines, and probably, directly or indirectly, influenced many of the best underground glitter gangs who rose outta the gutter over the course of these last twenty five years. Chaz Halo, Bill LaPlant, Frank and Max O’Donnal co-starred in BANG BANG SATTELITE who evolved into STREETCAR NAMED DISASTER. Because their album never saw an official release on an actual cd or record label, they never got the recognition they deserved beyond the greater Boston area, or the readership of a couple of old fanzines, so I decided to track down songwriter, Max O’Donnal to get the inside story about his colorful music history. I haven’t seen him in many years, but I always felt somehow related to that character, to all those old dudes, in spite of some sibling rivalries we may have had, over which one of us really loved CANDY the most, or whatever.

So allow me to reminisce for a moment, here. Max and Frank got me into Mott The Hoople. They wrote for my adolescent fanzines-sparkling pieces about Mott and Alice. They were twin towers of irreverent comic genius, self deprecating humor, catchy classic tunes, descriptive lyrics, Alfred E. Neuman ties, cool shoes, cold bottles of Thunderbird wine, and they were loyal, sincere, good humored, reliable pals. Diamond gents. Sometimes, I was closer to Max, sometimes I was closer with Frank, but I knew I could call them in any state of usually inebriated, tearful disrepair and always ended up guffawing with hysterical gusto about our common childhood dilemmas, as they could always effectively and efficiently pinpoint the rip-snorting comedy in all of our shared pains and frustrations, girl problems, band problems, employment problems, drinking problems, janitorial and telemarketing problems, and I always knew they would fix me, if they only could. Caring, generous, remarkable, empathetic, talented dudes.

Max was a heavenly songwriter like Tony James or Mick Jones. A punk rock Eric Carmen. Their Rodney Dangerfield one liners and effortlessly romantic Ian Hunter, Sharks Versus Jets, cinematic sensibility always made me smile and ya know I am not a big smiler. They seemed to excel at drive-in sized movie screen, panoramic magnificence on a budget. Their complete unknown suburban bands were always extraordinarily cool, with some tremendous songwriting and dashing style and insolent, sneering personality. We had plenty in common, me and those boys-we did not really know our dads, we were raised for a lot of our lives by small-town grandmothers, we were mocked and tortured by douchebag jocks and popular rich kids for being rocknroll weirdos at school, at least I was, and we took refuge in old magazines and movies and record albums and cassettes. They taught me a lot-particularly about seventies pop and skinny tied bubblegum anthems, which I desperately needed to know. I vaguely recall owning a rock trivia game in a pink box and Frank always winning, whenever they visited my old pad to plot and drink and listen to our Dave Kusworth and Nikki Sudden records underneath the big Waterboys poster. We endeavored to forge a band together inspired by our common love for Candy, Generation X, Hanoi Rocks, and the Stiv Bators “Disconnected” record, but I was in perpetual crisis back then, and we just were unable to make it happen. I was drinking a lot and won’t bore you with the gory details, believe it or not, this is the heavily redacted version, but they went on to form some of the coolest bands I ever heard, that not nearly enough people were ever that hip to. I first met them a long, long, long time ago, it’s all a bit hazy, now, but they were both really supercool and turned me on to so much fabulous music. I mean, I got “New Art Riot” the day it came out, but was not that into it. They were really responsible for nagging me into spending quality time with “Stay Beautiful” which totally found me drinking in an unguarded moment and spoke to me in the language of dandies and dissidents. My famous old friend the music journalist has joked that the Manic Street Preachers were the last new band I was really into, and he is not wrong.

At some point in the blurred crusade, I luckily met these similarly cursed O’Donnal brothers from a small-town like forty five minutes from Boston, and we would spend hundreds and hundreds of long distance bill hours on the phone together, exchanging ideas, comparing notes about our favorite comic books and monster movies, cracking wise about all the seventies bands we read about in old Rockscenes and Creems, designing band logos for our stickers and t shirts, and planning our glammy next rock group. I was thankful I never had to spoon feed them, or send them home to study my MC5 and Deadboys and Lords Of the New Church records. They already knew all about punk rock and vintage power pop, even like, obscure stuff, like Silverhead and Hollwood Brats and Tygers of Pan Tang and Thin Lizzy and lotsa shit I was not that hip to, in spite of all my many years of wearying record store jobs. This was pre-internet, when we really had to dig for any of it. They were both extremely smart and funny. I thought I knew a lot about rocknroll, until I met these geezers. They dressed like the Dogs D’Amour, string ties and polka dots, they played bass and drums. I wanted to use my own homegrown guitarists in our new band, but they were, by now, sadly always marked absent-everybody got distracted by a big city bevy of bombshells at local divebars Manray, the Rat, or the Middle East, besides, the O’Donnals had a guitarist in the suburbs, already. I remember going to visit them, but absolutely could not stand being unable to drink or smoke at their grandma’s place, it sounds crazy now, but back then, I simply could not go even one, let alone, two or three days, without drinking and smoking. Birds fly. We continued talking on the phone for hundreds of hours about the imaginary rock group we were making together, shared such a lot of laughs and laughs. Sadly, that’s about as far as it got, for me, anyways, though I always kept on trying to form more cursed, poisoned, and condemned drunk rocker bands, and failing profoundly, again and again, but I always carried those cats in my heart and missed their humor, working class dignity, kindness, compassion, and camaraderie, we were kindred spirits.

They wrote fantastic songs of intimacy and inspiration about fireworks and backporches and milkshakes and railroad tracks. Always figured they’d find their own Kyle Vincent/Robin Zander guy and get rich and famous, but it was not to be. I think it was the Replacements and Dramarama who made some of us misguided record store laboring dreamers believe underage boozer custodians in dresses and cowboy boots could get signed to major label recording contracts based on our ramshackle and infrequent house shows with temporary drummers by writing heartfelt lyrics about teenage rebellion and the various femme fatales we loved. Some of us confused being pretty good songwriters with having any faint potential at someday, someway, eeking out an honest living with a sloppy, mad dash, glam gang. We saw bands like Birdland and Hello Disaster and the Love Reaction and the Beat Angels who were all, at least, almost, sort of doing it. The London Quireboys and Dogs D’Amour had done it. The Beasts Of Bourbon‘s “Low Road” played around the clock in my basement hideout. We all felt a lot of solidarity with Manic Street Preachers. The O’Donnals did end up making some really impeccable and magical and promising and memorable music, not with me, but with the very talented and cool looking, glitter punk/rockabilly heart throb, Chaz Halo, I’m always mildly embarrassed to remember being really unreasonably envious of that cat’s mysterious power to achieve all that eluded me so punishingly in my booze sodden twenties. Let the permanent record show that I had totally underestimated that dude’s sincerity and talent and wish we had hungout more, and salute him heartily for his songwriting, style, stamina, and longevity. I probably just hated him for having perfect Chris Isaak hair. I hated everybody, back then. Everytime you see his picture, you wanna get a cool Clash haircut and some Murray’s pomade, admit it, am I right? We were longtime pen-pals from way back, there was always a spark of recognition between us, but we kinda maybe competed a little bit in the early daze, perhaps primarily, for Frank and Max’s attentions. We were both scrappy Midwesterners, we both had fanzines, we were both writer/lyricist frontmen with many of the same influences, and while we both took turns conspiring to break into the record biz with Max and Frank, plotting world domination, as they say, there were some silly tensions, some misunderstandings, and outright slagging on my part, but I apologized profusely to him upon sobering up, ten or sixteen years ago, and like to think he understands, I think he gets me. We are alike in many ways. We gradually became distant friends bound by a common empathy, and I also corresponded quite a bit with his dearly departed drummer, Jimmy Reject-another sensitive, rebellious, like minded, much missed, fellow traveler, and I came to see what all the fuss was about, and remain a fan of his very smart and lyrical, glistening pop hits, very much in the same spirit as Candy, Beat Angels, Max and Frank, all the great bands from our long lost youth.

Check out his new band, Cheap Cassettes from Seattle. They are very good. https://www.facebook.com/cheapcassettes Like I already said, they are probably the best American contemporary pop-rock group, alongside my other contemporary faves, Dr. Boogie, and the Sweet Things, who also feature a very charming and likeable former Dimestore Halo, Lorne Behrman. One thing I always admired about those guys from A Streetcar Named Disaster is how they all kept on creating music with ridiculously limited resources and always sortof persevered and kept working and remained true to themselves, even when the world would not listen. I still have gratitude, warm memories, and sentimental attachment to all those creative and funny and similarly Clash obsessed characters from the long gone past, here in my convalescent, arthritic, elderly years, it was unforgettable fun when we were the scruffy alleycats going to shows and wearing all the things that nobody wears, in our bullet-proof twenties. I still listen to all their old music, our paths have not crossed in years, but I always smile when I remember. The very prolific and insightful and witty and brilliantly talented and clever O’Donnals went on to create even more high quality original music with some other bands, like Ill-Starred and Gutter Saints, later on, and I tried following their various groups progress from afar, via the internet, but I wanted to know more about them and I have every faith that you do, too, so we’re takin’ a demolition joyride through the memory gutter. I fondly remember seeing them play with Chaz at some suburban bowling alley when they were called A Streetcar Named Disaster, way before the ascent of Dimestore Haloes. Chaz was very commanding as a Stiv or Lux-like frontman and the O’Donnals looked every bit as dapper as the Heartbreakers Rath and Thunders and Nolan and Lure, and while rummaging through some old boxes I found in my mom’s attic, I remembered how important they all were to myself and our once tiny, tiny circle of outcast, wayward NY Dolls and Manic Street Preachers kids, a luckless lot of bubblegum chewing goths, death rock queens, damaged hick glamour brats, shamelessly aggressive metal-heads, cable access kingpins, doomed poets, needy temptresses, melancholy wallflowers, young Wayne Kramer lookalike guitarists on their way to med-school, chain smoking powerhouse intellectual writer/bassists with awesome detective hair, cowpunk sax players, and forlorn, fanzine makers. Max was always a songwriter’s songwriter. Frank was a suburban Jerry Nolan with a dark, scathing wit like Don Rickles. So I belabored Max with a bunch of questions about our wild wild youth….If you were there, this is my rocknroll love letter to you.

DARKSTAR GENERAL: Describe the early years, Saturday morning, the seventies, radio, toys, early passions, locale, family life, school, did you guys have a bunk bed, what cereals did you prefer, movies, music, when did you finally get cable, how were you impacted by MTV?

MAX O’DONNAL: I’ll likely use the word “we” a lot, as opposed to “I”, which refers to my brother Frank in most instances.
Saturday mornings usually consisted of Sid & Marty Krofft shows like H.R. Pufnstuf, Land Of The Lost, Far Out Space Nuts & my favorite, Sigmund & The Sea Monsters. That was in Massachusetts. We briefly moved to California, for around a year or so in 1st grade, & at that time, Shazam was the shit. Also, the Planet Of The Apes prime time tv show started, & that’s always been huge with us.No bunk beds, cereal was standard Frosted Flakes, Capn’ Crunch, etc. Quisp was around at the time & we loved that, & for some reason, Cheerios absolutely doused with massive amounts of sugar. My Grandmother raised us, & sugar was not a negative at all with her. She had some old school weird food combinations that she introduced us to & it usually included lots of sugar. Bananas or bread cut up, in milk with sugar added was something we had quite a bit. Always a bowl of sugar on the table. No wonder I’ve been hopelessly addicted to Mountain Dew since I was like 15.
TV before school was mostly Danger Mouse, Mighty Mouse, & a fantastic cartoon called The Mighty Heroes, which featured Diaper Man, a baby that shot formula at villains from his bottle. Also, in Massachusetts, we had The Willy Whistle show, which was a clown named Willy Whistle that didn’t talk, just used facial expressions & a whistle to communicate between cartoons. Re-runs of The Beatles cartoons were part of that show too. Afternoons after school would be the Hanna Barbara stuff like Banana Splits, The Three Musketeers & Gulliver’s Travels. Then like Magilla Gorilla, Grape Ape, SnagglePuss, etc. Later on, the Luke & Laura/Cassadine era General Hospital was a big thing.
Prime Time stuff was Starsky & Hutch, Star Trek, Space 1999, Happy Days, Barney Miller, Welcome Back Kotter, Laverne & Shirley, Emergency, etc.
We had all the toys, action figures, Kirk, Spock, Johnny Gage, Roy DeSoto, Fonzie with the poseable thumb, Emergency Fire Helmets, Engine 51!
I remember getting these cheap knock off Star Trek wannabes called Beam Guns. Just a step above water pistols, but the fact they said Beam on them, I thought they could really Beam us somewhere. We got home & I went upstairs to my room, ripped it out of the package, held it over my head & pulled the trigger thinking it’d beam me somewhere else like on the show. My disappointment was great.
The first music we got into, before radio or anything, was actually The Beatles. Saturday afternoons were reserved for Creature Double Feature on Channel 56. Godzilla, Creature From The Black Lagoon, Rodan, I Was A Teenage Werewolf, etc. Horror movies have been an obsession all our lives. I remember getting & reading Famous Monsters from the drug store while waiting for my Grandmother getting her hair done.

Our Grandmother would visit her sister & we’d have to go, but there was nothing for us to do, so we’d go up to our cousins’ room & root through her records. Mostly 45’s of the day, like Billy Joel‘s It’s Still Rock N Roll To Me, or Juice Newton & shit, but she DID have Meet The Beatles.
We just decided after awhile we wanted to hear more Beatles stuff. We were around 13, & for pretty much the next year & a half, all we did was buy & listen to Beatles records. The only other record we had was a compilation album called Fonzie’s Favorites, which was amazing. Great Balls Of Fire, Tears On My Pillow, Splish Splash, Silhouettes,etc. & of course, Rock Around The Clock. That record & That steady year or so of The Beatles soaked in & our young minds were locked on that, probably our now old minds still are. We never had much time for anything without big hooks.
Going to the movies, the first one I remember was going to seethe Star Trek movie, Star Wars, then like E.T. with my 7th grade class. Then stuff like Friday The 13th 3 in 3D, Jaws 3 in 3D, Grease,& for some reason, 1941 with John Belushi. We saw that one at least 3 times. These weren’t appropriate movies for our age, but our grandmother didn’t seem to care, she knew the guy that ran one of the theatres in town, & it was in walking distance from our house, so she’d just call him up & let him know we were coming. I guess she settled up with him later. Small town, everyone knew everyone or more likely, was related somehow. Dana Gould was from the town next door, & worked at this theatre.
MTV changed everything. We had a friend that had a girlfriend whose family had cable. None of us did, so we’d tag along with him to her house everyday while her parents were at work to watch MTV while they fooled around upstairs. You couldn’t explain the impact it had correctly to someone that wasn’t there. MTV, I mean.

DARKSTAR GENERAL: What made you first start playing instruments? Did you go to roller-skating rinks? I ask, because I remember you liking Queen and that’s what they played at the roller-skating rink where I came from. I got beat up there by some guy named Paul, fists of fury, they just kept pummeling me, right right left left, left right left, ha. I remember you lads liking heavy metal, new wave, rockabilly, goth, bubblegum, seventies arena rock, old glam, how did you access music and information about your fave bands back then, where you lived? What were your earliest bands called, who was in them, and where are they now? How did you first get hipped to London based bands like Hanoi Rocks and Lords Of The New Church?

MAX O’DONNAL: I suppose we were around 15 when we started playing. I started on bass because of Nikki Sixx. Too Fast For Love was just out, & there were ads for it in Hit Parader that said it included the hits Live Wire, Piece Of Your Action & Take Me To The Top. They looked great, & we wanted to hear them, but that record wasn’t in any stores in Milford, Mass. So Frank called one of local stations, WBCN or WAAF, & requested Live Wire. Just to hear what they sounded like. There was also a blurb in Circus magazine with a little picture, the one on the inside of TFFL, that said they looked like KISS & sounded like Van Halen. So we sat there & listened with the tape deck ready to record. The song came on eventually, & we were pretty sure it was them when the riff started, so we pressed record, but had to wait until we actually heard the words Live Wire to be sure.
Not long after, Hit Parader used to have a one page spread called Roots, which gave the back story to member of whatever band.
They did one on Nikki Sixx, & besides liking the music, I connected with the fact he was raised by his Grandmother, his father didn’t give a shit about him, & while he wasn’t born in California, he lived there. I had too, & was actually born there. I picked bass & wanted to be that guy instead of the picked on loser I was to everyone else. If he could, I might be able to. Any band he mentioned as an influence, I went & got their records. And actually wound up loving most of them more than Motley, like Sweet & The Dolls. Of course, in those days, we lived & died by Circus & Hit Parader. Creem to a lesser degree because the snarkiness got a bit old when it came to bands we liked. You could get those at Store 24, Cumberland Farms,(Cumbies to the locals), K Mart, & the local paraphernalia/rock poster/knock off Zeppelin & Ozzy concert baseball jerseys store in Milford called Joke & Smoke. They sold some dime store joke stuff, but leaned WAY more towards the smoke stuff.
Kerrang came later, & that was pretty much the ONLY access we had to music/bands. Kerrang was definitely the first place we saw Hanoi & The Lords featured. We got a subscription for that mag.
Yeah, we were in walking distance of the Skate Palace in Milford, where of course, every kid hung out to try to get boyfriends or girlfriends.
I’m not gonna say shit like hook up or try to get laid because it was just a little more old fashioned & innocent, for me anyway. I suppose that was the Happy Days influence. Pizza, Milkshakes& Holding Hands were part of it.

DARKSTAR GENERAL: I recall you cats penning really fabulous fanzine tributes to Alice Cooper and the Stray Cats. Do you still write music reviews online or anything?

MAX O’DONNAL: Neither of us write that kind of stuff anymore. It was fun to do with likeminded, good people like you. It was more a communal thing for me I think.

DARKSTAR GENERAL: How were you influenced by SNL, SCTV, Mad magazine, Kids In The Hall and other pop trash? What are some of your guilty pleasures? Do you remember Cracked? Foom?

MAX O’DONNAL: We did like Cracked & Mad when we were kids, not in like teenage years. Music & girls were pretty much it for quite awhile there.
TV humore was MUCH bigger with us, SNL & especially Kids In The Hall. Those are still shows we quote from all the time. especially obscure stuff that most would never remember. Even my kids have heard me say stuff over the years, & if I can find it online, I’ll show them where it came from.
Favorite obscure SNL character: George Clooney as Cameron Hormel in the skit Tales Of Malfeasance In Railroad Hiring Practices. https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/tales-of-fraud/2870381
Favorite Kids In The Hall Skit: Girl Drink Drunk

DARKSTAR GENERAL: How did you first meet Chaz? Wasn’t he in Creem magazine? He lived in your grandma’s basement? Being Ma based, did you feel any connection at all to the Boston punk scene? Ever have a ska phase? Saints In Vain, I remember featured a good guitarist named Bill, what happened to him, did Chaz play much guitar back then?

MAX O’DONNAL: He was in Creem, he’s from Michigan, & Creem was a Michigan based magazine, & I believe his band at the time knew where a writer lived & dropped a demo in his mailbox? Something like that. They were teenagers at the time, & they got their picture & a review. This would’ve been 1988? The writer mentioned The Raspberries in the review, & that caught my attention. I was in Massachusetts, yeah,& I can’t remember if I got in touch with hime directly or if my friend Glenn did. Glenn loves the same stuff as us & he became good friends with him too. I knew I wanted to be in a band with him, but we just talked on the phone & wrote letter & such, just kind of supporting each others bands. Kindred spirits & all. Over the course of a couple years, he did wind up moving to Massachusetts & living in my Grandmothers basement. Frank & I lived there, too, & there were 2 apartments upstairs she rented out, & our eventual guitar player, Norman Kee, lived in one of them. We rehearsed in the basement, too, so it was pretty self contained for awhile there. That would have been Transylvania Saints. Norman was ridiculously cool. He looked like a cross between Billy Duffy& Robin Zander, dressed like one of the English Stones wannabes we saw in Kerrang at the time, & had a pink SG. He taught us a lot about rock n roll.
No, I didn’t pay attention to the punk bands in Boston. At that time, I viewed Boston as collegy, artsy, namby pamby. I was more into Dogs D’Amour, Faster Pussycat. No Ska at all, I can’t relate.Transylvania Saints became Saints In Vain, then Chaz left to go back to Michigan, & we went to a more Throbs/Lords Of The New Church thing with that lineup. We were more like the Dogs D’Amour with Chaz. Bill LaPlant was the guitarist in Saints In Vain, & he was sloppy but great. Fit perfectly, & really went for the Brian James Lords era sound. He teaches now & goes by the name Billy Lightning when he plays now. He’s in a few projects last I knew. Chaz only played guitar at 2 shows from what I remember. At one of those shows, at Narcissus in Boston, we’d borrowed a black beauty Les Paul from a guy that played guitar with us briefly so Chaz could play some, & we wound up forgetting all about it & leaving it behind at the club. Somebody hit the jackpot that night with that freebie.
He, Frank & I did a thing a few years ago called The China Stars. I had some songs I liked, some old some newer, & Frank & I recorded our stuff here in South Carolina, & he added guitars & his vocals in Seattle. The studio here in SC sucked, & I hate my voice on it, but he sounds great.

DARKSTAR GENERAL: I know you were mentored and encouraged a bit by Johnathan Daniel way back when, for your formidable songwriting ability-how did you first get in contact with him pre-internet? Didn’t he give you some advice about hairspray? What was your local record store? When did you first discover Candy? Were you already into the Babys? Raspberries? Tell me how Candy affected you as a kid.

MAX O’DONNAL: Our local record chain was Strawberries. In Milford, we just had K Mart, Two Guys, that kind of store with a record section. A used record shop/Comic Store opened later which was cool, but Strawberries in Framingham was the big deal. Saw KISS on the Creatures Of The Night tour do an in store there. Everybody asking who Vinny Vincent was because nobody knew Ace was out. Weirdly, Strawberries wound up moving their warehouse operations from somewhere in NY to Milford, of all places. We all wound up getting jobs there, & in fact, that’s where we met Norman. I was in the Returns department,& he had moved from NY with the company to run one of the departments upstairs. 2 bizarre moments from those days. Morris Levy owned the Strawberries chain, & as most know, was a mobster. He sued John Lennon for using a line in a Chuck Berry song he owned the publishing on, & settled with him to record 3 songs he owned on Rock & Roll. He was in the process of selling the chain, & was in Milford at the warehouse looking at diferent areas as they unpacked, & was in Normans section. Now, Norman didn’t know who Levy was, so he came over & started yeslling at him to not touch anything & get the hell out of his department, thinking it was just some guy poking around. Now who did Levy sell the company to? A wealthy RCA executive in Southern California who flew in to Milford to speak directly after taking charge. His name was Jose Menendez. You’ll recall his name as he & his wife were murdered by their sons Erik & Lyle to inherit the family fortune.
I loved “Whatever Happened To Fun” , such a great record, & they really should have been a huge band, probably only long enough to get kids to spend millions on lunch boxes, poster sets & bubble gum cards, but that really was the point anyway. The songs weren’t simply disposable fun for teenagers of the day, they were perfect pop songs with lyrics, for a guy that young to write, that are still & will always be relevant. Innocent to a fault maybe, but at least I could completely relate to every word. Jonathan always talked about getting rich, that was the goal, & eventually he did it as a mogul. But he meant what he wrote. He put up a front like all of us in bands do to a degree, maybe even a very large degree, but he loved music & bands & all the peripheral rock star stuff that starts pure & innocent when we’re kids. We all learn with age how the machine really works, at least enough to realize we’re never going to be what we wanted. Not even close. He was just smart enough to get on the other side of it & not let it leave a permanent boot mark on his face, which is what happens to most of the rest of us.
Yes, we already like the Babys & The Raspberries. The Jimmy Ienner/Wally Bryson inclusion on Whatever Happened To Fun was one of the things we loved about it. We got it at that used record shop that opened in Milford I mentioned earlier. 2 copies were there. The one we bought skipped, so we went back to get the other ones as well, & of course, it skipped to. I did some tape trading back in those days with a kid form Connecticut I met at a KISS convention. They used to put them on in hotels in Massachusetts & Rhode Island all the time in the mid to late 80’s. Bootleg concert tapes videos, demos, used records, of all bands from that era, not just KISS, were readily available. He had a little cassette tape set up, mostly KISS & Poison, but he also had a Candy show from Madame Wongs in LA. I got the idea to call that club & ask if there was anyone there who knew how I could get in touch with Jonathan Daniel from Candy. As it happens, he booked bands for them, & I got him that way. We talked a bunch of times on the phone & sent letters sometimes. The hairspray thing you mentioned was something he closed a letter with once. “Remember, the bigger the hair, the bigger the paycheck”. A couple other endings I remember were “Stay Forever Young”, which was a lyric from Electric Nights, & “Runnin’ With The Boss Sound”. we were both big Gen. X guys.

I sent him demos of the bands I had at the time. He was very tolerant, the quality was for shit, & we weren’t the best players or singers, but he could surely see what a big influence he was on my songwriting, so he always shot straight & made suggestions. He told me if we could rent studio time in NY he’d produce us. This was Bang Bang Satellite, which Chaz moved back to Massachusetts to be in. But we, as my grandmother used to say, didn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. I wanted my stuff to be as catchy as his & the lyrics to not be typical or obvious, also like his. Of course, we also loved a lot of the same writers, Ian Hunter being a MAJOR one.

DARKSTAR GENERAL: What were some of the most memorable live rock shows you ever saw?

MAX O’DONNAL: First show we went to as 15 year olds was Judas Priest with Iron Maiden opening. During the song Iron Maiden, of course, they have the giant zombie mascot lumber out on the stage while they play, dry ice, smoke bombs….it ruined us for life. You don’t ever really get over it after your first big rock show. KISS on the Creatures Of The Night was next, they were still in make up with a tank as a stage set with the drum riser on the moving tank turret that shot smoke at the crowd as it spun from side to side. Gene did the blood thing….again, ruined us forever. We also saw Cheap Trick & Twisted Sister in New Hamphire, Aerosmith at their first shows back together with Joe Perry. They actually rehearsed at that time 20 minutes from our house, at the same place my wedding reception was years later. Glen Ellen Country Club. Perry is from our area, same town my wife is from, Hopedale. My mother in law baby sat him before. I did get to see Hanoi Rocks at the Paradise in Boston a few weeks before Razzle got killed. We saw the Dogs D’Amour at the Channel, Ian Hunter & Mick Ronson, too. I saw Del Amitri at some little club in Rhode Island I cant remember the name of. Oh yeah, 2 that prove what a couple of gaybos Fran & I are.
When Dirty Dancing was a hit movie, Eric Carmen had a hit song on the soundtrack album, Hungry Eyes. Awful song, he didn’t write it, & I have no idea why he was picked to sing someone elses song, since he had legitimate hits of his ow, but it wound up working out great for us.
The powers that be put together a money grab concert tour featuring some of the artists on the album, & he was included. We were the only 2 males I saw the whole night…all moms & daughters looking at us sideways. And rightfully so. He came out with the opening riff to The Raspberries Go All The Way, & at that point, Frank & I were easily the biggest girls in the arena. He also played Tonight, Ecstacy, & of course, his solo hit All By Myself.
Probably around 91, Rick Springfield started touring around for no particular reason, he didn’t have a deal or a new record or anything, but he had a show at Lupos is Providence. Frank & I drove in around lunch time to see poke around outside the club & see if we could see or hear anything. We stood at the front door in time enough to hear him sound check Kristina off Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet. We were giddy.
When it was obvious the sound check was over, we decided to go find a bar or something to hang out in until show time, so we walked around the side of the club, & a door was wide open, & we looked in & there he was, just sitting there at the bar looking out at us.
We signaled to him, & he came out & shot the shit with us a few minutes. I don’t remember a word, I’m sure I asked about songs in the set or something, but he was super nice.
He went back inside, & again, 2 gaybos floating on air down the streets of Providence.

DARKSTAR GENERAL: As a prolific writer of vivid and memorable pop tunes, who are some of your biggest musical influences? I recall us bonding early on over our mutual appreciation for quality pop compositions that weren’t always considered hip or cool, stuff like Rick Springfield, Def Leppard, 38 Special. Was high school absolute hell where you lived, or were you able to fit in somewhat? Any baseball stories? Did you ever go to summer camp? Did you ever go to college?

MAX O’DONNAL: I loved Def Leppard, High & Dry & Pyromania are great fucking records. 38 Special too. They had the best singles & videos. Jeff Carlisi is still one of the best guitarists I ever heard. GREAT melodic solos, as memorable as the songs themselves, which is not easy to do once, nore or less always. Gary Richrath from REO was the same way, just great. Love them, too. Fran adores the Bay City Rollers, as did Jonathan, coincidentally. Cheap Trick is probably my all time favorite band, there’s just nothing they can’t do, & better than anyone else, including selling out. I suppose the most obscure band I really likes was called the Elvis Brothers. They had 2 recors on Potrait in the 80’s, the first one, Moving Up, has a few really great pop songs, but is pretty average overall, but the second was called Adventure Time, & I love that one to death, top to bottom.

I didn’t go to college myself, but my now wife was a freshman when we started dating, & I hung out there a lot with her, including some classes. Close enough I guess. We did Summer Camp a couple times in Boy Scouts, but we were only in there because our grandmother made us. I remember one night one of the counsellors told a goofy ghost story that scared the shit out of me, & I woke up later screaming & running around outside in the middle of the tent area. Woke everyone up, they had to take me & Frank to the counsellors cabin to calm down…like something out of some fucking Nickelodean show.
High School was hell, we we NOT popular & didn’t fit in ANYWHERE. We didn’t smoke or do drugs, but we had the denim jackets & nanny goat wannabe longish hair, so the jocks hated us, & the stoners didn’t accept us either. For some reason, any kid that moved to Milford from out of state gravitated to us, which did NOT help at all, as they were immediately disliked by the school for being outsiders, whereas they had many years to come up with reasons to hate us. I remember a new kid from Minnesota sitting next to me on the bus one day & immediately, cigarette butts start flying our way, & I didn’t have that particular issue before. You adapt & I guess the good thing about being on the shit end of the stick is knowing you’re not the asshole because you get such a clear picture of how assholes behave every day. Of course, I did in fact turn out to be an asshole in many other ways. I’ve been told as much over the years by enough people. No offense taken, of course. We don’t decide that, you gotta accept the popular vote.
I love baseball, since I was a little kid. Sucked at it, though. There were no men in our lives to actually, physically teach us how to play, so we just hit wiffle balls & played catch in the back yard, then got signed up to play on teams. That was a disaster. I remember a coach told me I was going to play at third base, & I freaked out, because they usually stuck us in the outfield because the ball was rarely hit there. I begged him not to, but he was actually understanding & said he’d go with me. He stood right behind me with his hands on my shoulders pep talking the whole tim. First kid up hits s line drive right at me. I never even moved my glove. Got me right in the mouth. I had to go to the hospital& get stitches. My grandmother was great taking us to games, though. We’d drive to Franklin & take the T into Fenway. Saw great Red sox teams. Even saw Ted Williams make a shoestring catch in the outfield during an old timers game. This is me in my Red Sox get up in the backyard, 79.

DARKSTAR GENERAL: We all moaned about how plastic and manufactured and assembly lined things were back in the Material Girl/Greed Is Good/Reagan/Thatcher eighties, but doesn’t it seem like Duran Duran and Nik Kershaw and Adam Ant had way more soul than anything on the radio, now? Are you like me, I miss Culture Club, Dexy’s, the Replacements, all that stuff, now. What do you miss about our wasted youth and if you were able to connect to any music post early 90’s Brit Pop, what was it? I did not get grunge, at all. Did you like any of the grungers?

MAX O’DONNAL: I realize now that music is an industry & always has been. It took a long time to get that for me, so I was doomed from the start. I’m not a salesman, or an entrepreneur, or a small business person. I fucking hate all that with every fiber of my being. I don’t know that Marc Bolan was forming a business plan, I don’t believe Paul Westerberg was forming a business model. I think Adam & The Ants or Culture Club were simply doing what they wanted to do & it worked. Sometimes creativity plus good music equals success. Right place, right time to some degree. Most times, though, no chance. The road is fucking littered with the bodies of guys 10 times more talented than the shit people eat up & are brainwashed to like. Advertisement & push equals success. Sex appeal was always an advantage for bands in my youth, but it’s absolutely necessary now, & that will always drastically weaken music because the delivery system is more important than the song. Which is usually written/manufactured to appeal to a studied, money spending public not caring that the writer is not the artist, because the artist is there to look good, dance & lip synch, they have no real musical or writing ability to speak of. I miss the innocence, just doing it because you love it & want to do it more than anything. The hot smell of the amps, the hum, the smell of guitar strings on your hands after playing a set, the skipping beat of your heart when the lights are out between songs, the anticipation in general.
I hated grunge, still do. I don’t get it, but I was aged out of popular music at that point. Even though a lot of people my age liked stuff like Nirvana, Soundgarden, etc, I already had “my music”, I wasn’t open for business for new musical trends.
Even though those bands obviously listened to Zeppelin, Sabbath, etc, it appealed to me as much as rap. Meaning not at all.
I don’t even listen to newer bands. I just listen to what I love. I just hear, no matter how good they may be, retreads of bands I already love.
Why waste time listening to someone that was influenced by Ray Davies when I can just listen to the Kinks?

DARKSTAR GENERAL: How were you inspired by Dogs D’Amour? Were you into the Crybabys? Ian Hunter’s Dirty Laundry?

MAX O’DONNAL: The Dogs were huge for us. We copied them blatantly in Transylvania Saints. We even played I Don’t Want You To Go.
We had all the ep’s, unreleased songs & b-sides, all of it. Tyla was just so great on both sides of a song, catchy music & great lyrics.
At the time, for that kind of Stones/Faces/Dolls kind of thing, he was the best, they were the best at it.
A lot of bands went on that bandwagon, I suppose G N R, LA Guns & Faster Pussycat having the range of success they did from GNR headining arenas to LA Guns & Faster Pussycat opening up for like, AC/DC & KISS, in them made that type of thing more visible than it had been for awhile.
But Tyla was miles better than those bands, so of course, the USA never got it, even to the degree of minor success the LA bands got.
He had the same influence on me that Ian Hunter had with lyrics like Ballad Of Mott or Saturday Gigs., the loveable loser thing, stumbling through it all with no regard for anything in particular.

DARKSTAR GENERAL: How were you affected by Manic Street Preachers and where is Richie now?

MAX O’DONNAL: They were as big an influence as the Dogs years earlier. After Chaz went back to Michigan, we did Saints In Vain for a few years with a different singer, doing a more Throbs/Lords Of The New Church thing. After awhile, including a brief stint with you in Murder Stars, we just got tired of what we were doing, which wasn’t working anyway, & this was also around the time we went to NY to see Jonathan’s new band, The Loveless.
They had short hair, poppier punkier songs & suits. It was a culture shock after Electric Angels, who we also hugely influenced by.
I remember going back to Massachusetts & writing new songs that were way more like that, & one day I just went upstairs & cut my hair off.
Frank came home one day with the Stay Beautiful ep, & me, him & Bill just fell in love.
We saw them at either the Middle East at TT’s in Boston. Again, being the gaybos we were/are, we got there early, & there were some booths near the bar where they were sitting there eating. We just watched them from across the room like goofy ass copy cat stalkers. I don’t know if they did this on all dates, I don’t think they did a lot in the US at that time, the 1st record was just out, but in the mens room, they had Manic Street Preachers logo urinal mats IN the urinals. Bill had no shame & took one. We hung it up in the rehearsal room. I came up with the name Bang Bang Satellite, just changing up the song title from Sigue Sigue Sputnik‘s Boom Boom Satellite.
Candy was also called Bang Bang before they switched to Candy, too. The Jonathan influence rears it’s head some more.
We had a singer named John Magri for a few months & did some shows, & I’d kept in touch with Chaz & we played our newer stuff for each other.
I really don’t remember how we got to it, but I always wanted him to come back, & he knew I’d throw out whatever singer I had at any given time if he wanted the gig. And he wound up moving back, & Bang Bang Satellite proper began.
I suspect Richie is dead, if not initially, than surely now.

DARKSTAR GENERAL: I feel like I’ve just known you all my life-refresh my memory, how did we first meet? You might know I used to drink some, my memory aint what..was I talking about?

MAX O’DONNAL: There was some girl from what I remember that knew or knew of both of us somehow & we got your number. I called you up & we arranged for us to come over to Cambridge to meet up at your place. You were living with a couple girls, & we were all done up with our wannabe Hanoi Rocks outfits, & were just out of the car when you came running out in what I recall as purple leather pants, flowing blouse & matching flowing jet black hair. You threw your arms up &, while I don’t remember exactly what you said, it had to do with how we and you looked.
We all enjoyed the occasional cocktail in them days, so I don’t remember details, just looking at lyrics we’d both had & listening to records.
I know at some point we walked to a store, like a corner store or something, probably so you could get cigarettes? I just remember you said it wasn’t too far, but, it kinda was. For me anyway. Those fucking boots were ok to wear in pictures & onstage, but walking around Boston in them was a different story. We decided to play together, you came up with Murder Stars, & we got you to Milford for exactly 1 rehearsal. We had learned M-Style, & played it ok, but you really didn’t want to be doing that. I don’t think we knew what to do with each other. We were used to me writing songs, learning them, rehearsing them, playing them out, & at some point making shitty quality 4 track demos of some of them. That was the cycle we got into for a few years, & we figured to plug you in to that. You had a different idea of being creative & writing that was foreign to us, & it just petered out after that rehearsal.

DARKSTAR GENERAL: Describe the obstacles and challenges you faced as a working class kid from a smalltown recording and booking shows and scouting out likeminded collaborators? Do you still face any of those same problems in our old age?

MAX O’DONNAL: I suppose I was lucky, because I never had to go into Boston looking, I had guys locally I got to be in bands, & Bill was great, & I got lucky again with Chaz moving out from Michigan twice. Turn over wasn’t that big a deal in those bands. It helps that my brother plays drums with me, always has, & just to say, he’s a GREAT fucking drummer. Better than a metronome, & trust me, there’s TONS of drummers that can’t keep fucking time. He always played for the song, not throwing is extraneous shit to fulfill some asswipey musiciany need for individual attention. Anyone that played with us has always sung his praises, to a man. Rightfully so.
I wasn’t really looking for collaborators, I wanted to be the songwriter, & I thought I was pretty good at it, & the guys who were good with that lasted with me the longest. The only collaborator I had was Chaz, & eventually that’s why we couldn’t co-exist in a band together. We were both guys that put bands together, not join bands, & those types can only exist together for a short time. Shows weren’t that tough on the very local scene, outside Boston proper. There were places in Worcester or even in Milford & Mendon that were a stones throw from us that once you played there, you knew the guys that ran the place & got booked whenever you wanted. I viewed it as experience needed so when we got to Boston, we knew what we were doing. Yeah, it was easy & lazy too, to a degree, but I knew Boston gigs would not be easy to come by, & I wanted to not just be a 1 gig & out band, not impressing on the gig & looking like a bunch of suburban posers. Which we actually were. But we didn’t want to come off like that. But we did.
We did The Rat & TT’s once each, & I thought they went well enough, but we weren’t together too long after that anyway.

DARKSTAR GENERAL: Please talk in detail about forming underground sensations Bang Bang Sattellite, releasing your Xeroxed demo cassettes, do you still have any copies? I remember you were starting to really come into your stride around that time, what was your creative collaborative process with Chaz like? Did you guys gig out much?

MAX O’DONNAL: All that’s pretty much in the previous answer, & no, I don’t have anything from those days except a flyer we used to mail out if someone left their information on a fan sign up list we used to have at shows. I think we only wrote one song together, called Yesterday’s Cards, where he wrote the majority of the song & I wrote one of the verses. It was pretty much one of mine or one of his. The set was actually pretty even, he may have had like, 1 more song than me at a given time, but I recall it as pretty much half & half.

DARKSTAR GENERAL: What was the difference between Bang Bang Satellite and Streetcar Named Disaster? Did Streetcar play different songs, was it a different concept entirely, or just a name change? I was so jealous of that band name! What were some highlights of those projects and that whole era in time? Chaz went on to form the critically acclaimed Dimestore Haloes, did you ever see that band live and what are some of your favorite Chaz songs?

MAX O’DONNAL: For me, it was probably more poppy/rock n rolly to me. Less straight up wannabe punk. We had a girl named Andrea that played sax with us on a few songs, & I was thinking more kinda’ Mott than The Damned. We had a song with sax called Too Fast To Live, Too Young To Die, ‘Aint What It Used To Be where we ended the song by going into that fast bit at the end of Paradise City that she just let loose on. She played on 2 or 3 on stage, nothing overwhelming, but I loved it & I don’t remember Chaz being happy with it. We were heading in different directions. The next bands we did show that pretty obviously. When he left he did his band & I did illstarred. I’m not that familiar with the Haloes, but his new band The Cheap Cassettes are fantastic. He’s doing his best stuff ever.

DARKSTAR GENERAL: Please talk to me about Ill-Starred- I thought that was another really promising, quintessential American pop band ala Gin Blossoms and Beat Angels. I still have my HEXED cassette. It’s blue, what are some of the reasons why you never got discovered? What happened with that band? Me and Chaz both agree you were composing some whizbang perfect pop!

MAX O’DONNAL: I put up an ad in a local music store, remember that! I don’t remember what bands I put down except the Replacements. John Walenski answered it because of that, although he prefers the earlier punkier stuff & I prefer Don’t Tell A Soul & All Shook Down. He sings & plays like an angel, & he liked the songs I was coming up with & didn’t really write, so it was perfect. He’s a good lookin’ fell’ too, & the girls loved him, so that was a plus too. I thought I was writing my best stuff, & I found the guy that could really pull it off. I could write even poppier stuff because he was SO good. Gin Blossoms were big at the time, & we did have that kind of thing going. John could play straight up chords like anyone else I’d played with previously, but he could do the jangley stuff too, which opened things up for me as a writer. I could never have had songs like Wonder Drug, ‘Aint Enough To Last A Lifetime & Hexed in any other band I’d been in. Doug Hopkins was the main writer in Gin Blossoms, he was the guitarist, * he got the boot before the record came out for generally being an unstable drunk, & lo & behold, 2 of the 3 singles off the record were his, & went to 25 on the Billboard charts. The record company made him sign over most of his royalties before the band hit for a lump sum of 15K, & he enede up blowing his brains out in a motel room. We ended all our shows with a song he wrote off their Up & Crumbling ep called Keli Richards. Even as just a 3 piece, we sounded good doing that.

kind of stuff.

We did look for another guitarist a few times. We had one named Tim Kane for awhile, & he wrote good stuff, too. He was from Vermont & had recorded with his band The Vacancies up there, & we did a few of his songs, but eventually, I decided he was too rough sounding. He played a hollow body, & those things are hard to control. His songs benefitted from the slop/feedback of that kind of guitar, but my stuff was problematic. Too much unnecessary noise bleeding into songs. He turned out to be able to play his songs fine, but had trouble with the rest, so I wanted to move on. John wanted to keep him, so we disagreed there, but eventually, we went to record a demo, & when Tim did his parts, it was very obvious it wasn’t working. John agreed with letting him go after we listened to the mix with him in it. We ended up just taking his parts off, & the stuff sounded great.

We did a few years of shows, nothing in Boston, just real local stuff, & recorded. We had a good set, we did a couple recordings. Amnesia was a different session, & Hexed was a different session, & the rest was from our first session. There was a band called Huck that did really well in Boston, & the main guy was Scott Ruscitti, who’d been in Childhood when they won the BCN Rock N Rumble, & John was a big fan of theirs. They liked us, we’d opened for them a couple times, & they got friendly. They had a couple girls that handled their bookings & all that, & they were taking us on, too. We sat with them & they had a plan all mapped out on getting into Boston proper. However, Huck lost their bass player, & John decided he’d rather play bass in that band, so he left. That pretty much killed me, as we had just actually found a rhythm guitarist who fit perfectly, Glenn Jackson from a band called Blue Veronica.
He was backstage hanging out at a show we were on in Worcester, he was friends with one of the other bands, & he came up to me & started shooting the shit, said he really liked us. There were like a hundred band names written on the wall, & we started talking about that, & Id noticed Blue Veronica among them, & Id seen them & really liked them, especially the guitarist. I told him that & he just looked at me like I was joking with him, & said he played guitar in Blue Veronica, but they were no more. He rehearsed with us once, & I had no clue John was leaving.
He quit like a week later. We had a show booked for a Veterans Benefit, just a short set with a lot of different bands. We played that show with Glenn on guitar & me “vocalizing”. Glenn said to call him if we found another singer, but soon after, we had to give up our rehearsal space because we couldn’t pay for it anymore. That was that.

https://www.reverbnation.com/widget_code/html_widget/artist_4171841?widget_id=55&pwc%5Bsong_ids%5D=28799993&context_type=song&pwc%5Bsize%5D=small

DARKSTAR GENERAL: Were there any other bands you guys were in while I was in the wilderness, I’m unaware of? I kept trying to form new bands or at least throw people together in the recording studio, but it always crashed and burned. I had ex girlfriends advising me to sell my songs to better looking guys: Build me up, buttercup! Right?! Who says that? For me, it seemed like you really did have to live in NYC and be related to rich people in showbiz. Or have a lot of money. What were your experiences with having bands, dedicating years to writing songs, being shunned by the music business? Do you ever get over it? My kid broke my switchblade comb the other day-I thought it was some kind of exquisitely saddening kozmic metaphor.

MAX O’DONNAL: Nothing worth speaking of, really. The China Stars thing was the last thing I did that I’d care to talk about. It’s like an addiction, the band thing.
I’ve done it a few times in the last say, 15 years, just to do it, because it’s the devil I know. It’s only fun for a very short time, & soon enough I’m thinking why the fuck am I doing this, nothing will come out of it, & the time it takes to just drag equipment around, find rehearsal spaces, the time all the peripheral stuff takes is just fucking interminable. I still get songs in my head all the time, & I think they should come out, but the process is too long & time consuming, & the end result is time & money spent for nothing in particular. I have a job, wife, 3 kids, there’s just a time to stop & now is it. I’m 50, & no, I’ll never get over it.
I feel like a ghost. I don’t really know who I am, I know I won’t ever get that figured out, either. I love my family, I enjoy the little things in life, but there’s always gonna’ be a big fuckin’ hole, & you don’t get over it, you just learn how to stay on top of it as much as you can, because you’re gonna’ have days when it kicks the shit out of you. There’s a Dennis Lehane book called Shutter Island. they nade a movie out of it too. I feel like the main character in that story. No spoilers, but if you watch it or read it, you’ll understand. Anybody that’s ultimately failed in bands would.

DARKSTAR GENERAL: Tell me all about Gutter Saints, the secret origins, who was in that group, where was it based, what are you doing with music currently, where you perform nowadays, and where can sleazy punks of all ages find your music? Was there ever a full length? What is Frank up to nowadays and why haven’t you guys published any books?

MAX O’DONNAL: Gutter Saints was a 3 piece, me, Frank & a guy down here in South Carolina named Rusty Herbert. He went by the stage name, Reverend J J Dirt, I went by Mad Max, & Frank was Brother Frank. Rusty’s from Philadelphia, so we’re all North Eastern douche bags that wound up in the south. He was a guitar player in some metal band in the late 80’s into the 90’s that opened for bands like Overkill & Type O Negative at clubs like L’ Amours & The Trocodero. He quit playing like 20 years ago & moved down here, like us, because his In-Laws moved here first & for various family reasons, relocated. He was friends with a local 80’s hairband cover group that needed a singer quick for booked shows, so he asked to do it, never having sung before, & they let him. He was in for a bit, then they got their old singer back & he got the boot. He sounded like Kevin Dubrow with a little Alice Cooper & Ted Nugent thrown in, & had a mutual love of Too Fast For Love & Twisted Sister, so we became fast friends. I also loved that he mentioned CC DeVille when ever we were in the studio talking to the engineers about guitar sound. I don’t care what anyone says, I rate Look What The Cat Dragged In in the same musical canon as Never Mind The Bollocks. Great fucking record.
We did a whole Alice Cooper/Twisted Sister/WASP/Motley stage deal with chain link fences with zombie dummies that spit dry ice chained to them, a giant skull with lighted up eyes covering the bass drum, logo back drop, even a couple costumed mascots. We did a song called Samurai Frankenstein, & we had a great guy, Steven Jones, come out in a karate uniform & Frankenstein mask to cut Rusty’s throat with a fake knife/blood. We ended our sets with a song called Nuclear Meltdown, with spinning flashing police lights, dry ice, & Steven came out on stage at the end in a Hazmat suit.
We rehearsed & did a couple dinky demos for over a year before we did any shows. We didn’t want to half ass the show.
The bands down here are boring, & we wanted to do right by the bands we grew up on.
Rysty’s wife also manages a place that does a yearly Halloween Hayride, outdorr thing, & had access to a ton of great props, & this is all, of course, weekend stuff as we work regular jobs, so it took awhile to get up & running.
We did like 6 shows or so between 2016 & 2017, & recorded an album from start to finish in a weekend. It’s available on Bandcamp.
It was ultimately too much for me to keep doing.
I’m 50, & hadn’t done shows in around 15 years? It knocked the shit out of me.
And we needed more hands to do the show right, there was always something going wrong with intro tapes, dry ice malfunctions, too much set up time, we bit off more than we could chew at this late date in our lives.
We never drew much, only ever played to a handful of guys in other bands that liked us & their girlfriends, & whoever was in the bar.
I’m not doing anything, or planning anything.
The time & money needed to do a band isn’t worth the nothing that results from it.
Not anymore.
I don’t have the time or inclination to write like as an author.
My attention span is song length, not chapter length. I kind of wish it was, but the same challenges are there for authors as musicians getting attention for their stuff. It’s be a lateral move in futility.

BBQT – All That Glitters…

“Let’s Go!”, BBQT’s debut album on No Front Teeth Records is a fine mix of 70s glitter rock and 77 punk rock’n’roll. We asked Gabbie Bam Bam a few questions about the band and the album. Once again, it seems like all that glitters rocks!

When did you start BBQT?

I started BBQT in 2010.

What have you released so far?

I have released 4 records under BBQT. Three seven inches (Astrogirl, Baby Carrot, and No Front Teeth records respectively)

When did you fall in love with glitter?

I fell in love with glitter when I rediscovered Gary Glitter and Marc Bolan and T. Rex. I say rediscovered because I have always known of their radio hits when I was younger of course but started really getting into both of them a couple years after that.

It seems like you’ve been touring a lot in the US, have you noticed any growing interest for hand clapping/feet stamping rock’n’roll lately?

I have noticed rock n roll coming back again (sounds weird right?). A few years back I feel like rock n roll had a cheesy or corny reputation so people didn’t really attach themselves to it like they do now.

What were your favourite places to play on the last tours?

I really loved playing New York on this last tour. Always a fun time! In the past I’ve loved playing Oakland (great response there) and Cincinnati from the past tours I’ve done.

Your music sounds very 70s, can you tell us about the recording of “Let’s Go!”? Did you use analog?

The recording for Let’s Go was pretty organic. I wrote a bunch of demos for songs and decided to record with Matthew Melton who at the time was recording in the style that I like with his bands. I had also heard the stuff he recorded for other like minded/sounding musicians/bands. I pretty much walked in with a bunch of songs, met a drummer last minute and got down to it. The record was recorded in sessions over a year and a half and recorded on tape. Any over dubs were done digitally. I’m very pleased to have recorded this way and I can’t wait for the next one!

Your songs are short (except for the Gary Glitteresque instrumental “Tuff ‘N Up”.) Can “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus!” apply to BBQT?

I try to keep it simple and effective.

5 albums you couldn’t live without?

Its always evolving really. I’d have to say,
Blitz: Voice of a Generation
Suzi Quatro: S/T
Selena: Amor Prohibido
Gary Glitter: Glitter
GG Allin: Always Was, Is and Always Shall be

Any other bands from Austin we should check out?

Yes! Cheap Fur, Trouble Boys, Vertical Vice, Institute, and Muther.

Any plan for coming to Europe yet?

Definitely plottin’ for next year!

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Doll Hazard – Continuing the great rock’n’roll tradition!

In this day and age, you can easily write, record and release music when members live on different continents. Chris Damien Doll (Norway) and Sandy Hazard (Canada) have joined forces in order to write some sleazy hard rock’n’roll songs and give birth to DOLL HAZARD. They answered a few questions…

 One member in Norway, and the other one in Canada, how did you manage to make this album? How much time did it take?

Chris: It really didn’t take much longer than making any other album. The technology is here and it’s easy to send files back and forth. We’ve been toying with the idea of doing something together forever, but technology hasn’t really been there before. We started talking seriously about it maybe 2 years ago and wrote all the songs in 2 months in the spring of 2016.

Sandy: Technology made it really easy for collaboration. There were times either Chris or I had an idea for a guitar riff overlay or vocal melody. We’d just record it and dump it on the cloud drive and say, hey man…when you wake up, I added a cool riff to that new song you sent me. Everything was so instantaneous due to technology. It really kept the creativity flowing without disruptions.

Did you have any precise idea about the musical direction/image before starting to work on the songs?

Chris: That’s what we started discussing first. We both wanted to make a sleazy rock’n’roll album, rather than any of the other styles of music we have been associated with in the past, but we didn’t want it to be too close to our main bands either. It took awhile for me to work out how to do that, but once the musical direction was there, it all seemed to flow really quickly. The image was never discussed, that kinda goes with the territory with us.

Sandy: I kind of thought with our collaborative influences over the past few decades that we’d come together to create a cool sound. It would be a given that our current bands would seep into the fabric of the record, but they are more like a hybrid with additional influences. We knew we wanted it to be down and dirty and in your face which I think we exceeded in spades.

How did you decide on who was going to sing this or that song?

Chris: We decided we’d roughly write half the album each and that we’d both sing lead vocals, so for the most part, we ended up singing the parts we wrote the lyrics for. As a lot of things with this process it happened organically and wasn’t really discussed. We have our own way of singing and writing and it just felt natural that the one who wrote the words would also sing them.

Sandy: Ya’, I think it was natural to sing whatever you brought to the table. Sometimes it’s hard getting the vibe across as to how you want something sung. You know how it should sound in your head, but getting that across to another person can be a challenge. We really didn’t discuss that much from what I recall. I thought it would be cool to share lead vocals on at least one song “Transatlantic Meltdown” as we thought it would cool to have that in there. Chris wrote the lyrics for the second verse after I told him what the song’s vibe/direction was about. I think the only other tune was the opening track Cat’s Got Your Tongue. Chris had music for it and asked if I wanted a go at the lyrics/melody. He really liked what I came up with and it was kind of a given that I’d sing that tune.

You both have your own bands, SUiCiDE BOMBERS and DIRTBAG REPUBLIC, do you feel that some of these DOLL HAZARD songs could have been written or played by your respective bands too?

Chris: Some maybe, but most not. There are so many projects and supergroups with all the talent in the world, who fall flat on their faces because they save all their worthwhile ideas for their main bands. We knew that if we were to write a great album, we had to focus completely on that for the time it took to write it, and only bring our a-game, and that’s what we did. With that being said, there aren’t many of these songs that would have ended up sounding like they do on the record if we didn’t both work on them.

Sandy: I think maybe Rock n Roll Prostitute and You’re in my Head could be on a Dirtbag Republic record, but honestly Chris and I contributed a lot of additional ideas to each other’s songs. He came up with lots of guitar melodies in my tunes and I contributed some guitar melodies and vocal harmonies for his tunes. He got me to dial back my drumming to make it more stock and straight forward and I pushed Chris to do more guitar work and vocal harmonies. He’s pretty bare bones and I’m more big production wise. Valentine Cards would have had way more harmonies if I had gotten my way….but Chris met me halfway. Same goes for some ideas I added to his songs where Chris was unsure. For instance the vocal overlay at the end of Sci-Fi Child was an off the cuff thing I did, but I thought it added a lot of power to close out the song. Chris wasn’t sure about that at first, then he came to like it…I think, or just gave in….ha ha ha. I got kind of stuck finishing Walk on Water and Chris came up with this killer lead guitar break that fit just perfectly and just really kicked it into another gear.

Do you have any live projects? Or will it stay a record-only band?

Sandy: Highly doubtful, maybe if we lived closer, but being 4385 miles apart kind of puts the kibosh on anything like live shows. Chris and I are also both working on new stuff for Suicide Bombers and Dirtbag Republic, so that’ll be next on the agenda. If somebody offered us a bunch of cash to put something together, I wouldn’t rule it out…but given the economy in music these days it’s highly unlikely.

Since 10 songs is the perfect format for a vinyl record, do you have any plan on releasing a vinyl version?

Chris: We’d love to, but we’d have to get a deal for that. There’s no way we can carry the cost ourselves unfortunately.

Sandy: We spared no expense in making this a killer album, so if any record companies want to do a vinyl release, get in touch with us at http://www.dollhazard.com We will promote the shit out of it. I would love to see this get a vinyl release.


What are your favourite songs on the album?

Chris: I think we both really like the whole album and I can say for myself that it changes all the time. I really like Fire & Gasoline which I think is just a great kick in the face tune. No Valentine Cards is another fave, with a great melody, lyrics and arrangement. Cats Got Your Tongue is way cool, as is Rock N Roll Prostitute. Hell, I could go on… I like all of them.

Sandy: The album as a whole i’m so proud of. I love them all, but I’d say Fire & Gasoline for it’s non stop onslaught…Rock n’ Roll Prostitute for it’s message of despair for musicians…ha ha…Doghouse for it coming out so killer when at times it was frustrating for me personally and Cat’s for a great collaborative effort to kick the album off like a firecracker….Full disclosure, this may change week to week…ha ha

If I’m not wrong, you guys met along time ago on Glitzinet, right? Can you tell about it to people who have never heard of Glitzine and Glitzinet? Do you think that a place like this could still work nowadays in this Facebook groups era?

Chris: Glitzine was a web-site dedicated to Glam. It had a very strong following in the 90’s when glam was underground. There were shitloads of cool bands who pushed the envelope and did various forms of Glam Punk and Bubblegum, as well as more traditional Hard Rock based glam bands. The site had one of these old fashioned forums where people hung out and discussed music, a lot of the bands hung out there too. It was a great place and one of the only places you got information and news about the scene during the grunge era. I think Sandy and I struck up a friendship there while he was in the Mcrackins and I was in Trashcan Darlings and we have stayed in touch ever since.

I’m not sure if these type of forums are popular anymore. Glitzine kinda died with the whole glam punk scene and it seems most other old fashioned forums are gone too. At the moment it’s Facebook, who knows what will be next.

Sandy: Ya’ that’s right. I think I found Glitz in the early 2000’s and would send Mcrackins albums for them to review. Chris posted something about his band at the time Trashcan Darlings and I was intrigued so I looked them up on YouTube and found the song “Peggy Sue Is Dead” and “I Just Wanna Die (On A Chemical High)” and fell in the love with the band instantly. I think we struck up a conversation on there and when I posted some tunes from the new Mcrackins album, Chris said he really dug the stuff. We gradually became great friends over the years…sharing war stories, sending each other demos that we are working on and pooling our resources together to help each other out doing promo and magazine send outs etc. Cool thing about Glitz was I got to meet 4 different people on there when I toured Europe in 2007, which was awesome.

Some strong glam punk influences can be heard on your album. Unfortunately, the style has been dying out these last years? Any recent bands you like in that style?

Chris: When I think of Glamour Punk, I think of Ramones-type songs, Mickey Mouse voices and extreme over the top image. Great bands like Heart Throb Mob, Queeny Blast Pop, The Glamour Punks and I can’t say I have discovered any new bands, as brilliant as those, playing that kinda music lately. The last CD I bought in that style was probably the Glamour Punks CD released a few years ago. But I do listen to sleazy rock’n’roll bands with a kinda unwashed, almost punk edge. The LoveShocks from Germany is a good new band I’d recommend.

Sandy: I get really annoyed when people say there are no good new bands these days and are stuck in the 80’s/90’s and listen to same old thing ad nauseum. I have always been a fan first of music and that hasn’t stopped. I like bands with a bit more grit to them, but they need to have great melody to keep me interested. Some great sleazy bands/artists I’ve come across in the past few years are Wyldlife – Grittier version of the Biters and just killer song writers, Hunters – Fantastic new band from Finland who have a dirty Hanoï Rocks vibe. Double Crush Syndrome – Killer German band who are like a cross between early Mötley and Sweet. Hard Luck Street – Strange Gentle’s (Trashcan Darlings) new band…heavy Hanoï vibe with great catchy songs. Dr.Boogie, The Tip and WATTS all three are down and dirty Stonesy/Aerosmith groove styled bands with very hooky tunes.

There’s also some obvious 80s Sunset Strip influences as well in some songs. It seems like the style is only connected to nostalgia or parody in 2017. Do you want to show that these influences can still work without sounding too cliché or too dated?

Chris: We are just continuing the great tradition of Rock’n’Roll. Building on our influences and infusing them with our other influences and ideas. It’s always been from the heart for both of us. No nostalgia or parody in sight. To me it does seem a little like that whole parody thing has passed already. Most of the bands I know that are currently playing Hard Rock, seem to mean what they’re doing and don’t hide behind any ironic distance. I like that.

Sandy: I fucking hate those parody bands. They are basically a one trick pony, but people do like them so I guess there is a market for that thing. I honestly cringe when I see a great new band like Wayward Sons having to open for Steel Panther. I think when you’ve been around as long as Chris and I, those influences are bound to show up in your songs. A songwriter can make that genre sound dated and stale, especially if you write shit cliche lyrics. If I hear something that has shit lyrics I shut it down no matter how great the music is. It tells me the writer has no ideas of their own and took the easy way out. I think I lasted 4 songs when I heard that new Steven Pearcy album and shut it down due to the crap lyrics.

I think we have shown you can insert your influences tastefully into a modern day song and make it sound relevant and not cliche.

The intro/verse guitar riff in “Walk On Water” reminds me a lot of ZODIAC MINDWARP. You probably remember that the band was often laughed at back in the days, but their mix of hard rock/glam/punk/new wave was kinda ahead of its time when you think about it now. They were a bit in the same position as SIGUE SIGUE SPUTNIK in the media/popular opinion, and I know you’re a big fan, Chris! Do you think that these opened some doors and “history proved them right”?

Chris: I should have known that a Love Missile F1-11 Martin Degville shirt on the album cover wouldn’t get past you, Laur hahaha. I’m a big fan of both bands, but not sure I’d compare them. The similarities were that they both created this whole world of mystique around them. Kinda like you stepped into a different universe. As groups like Kiss had done before them. Zodiac Mindwarp, to me, was pretty much a straight ahead rock’n’roll band who got immense mileage out of Judas Priest’s Living After Midnight riff, so there weren’t really any doors to be opened there, although Tattooed Beat Messiah is a record everyone should own at least one copy of. Sigue Sigue Sputnik took it all a lot further and they were probably first, or immediately after PIL, with a lot of the stuff we see stars do today. Like branching out their brand to other products. Their image was also something that hadn’t been done before and their brand of Electronic Rock’n’Roll hasn’t been done before, or since, either and they were the first to do what U2 copied with their ZooTV tour much later. They are one of my all time favorite bands and I know I learnt a lot from Tony James. He’s such an inspiration. Lady Gaga’s been watching Martin Degville closely…. Who knows? Great band, buy Flaunt It!

Sandy: Sigue Sigue Sputnik was one of those unheard risk albums I bought when it first came out in the 80s. I should have never taken that risk. Chris has tried to get me to revisit them and I attempted with the bravest of face…but I could not get into them at all. They still sound like a bad 50’s band with a drunk guy at the bar inserting random samples into their songs. They looked really cool, but the music did not match at all what I was expecting/hoping. I’m sorry Chris…ha ha ha

Do you have any material that you haven’t used for the album? Can you imagine working on new songs?

Chris: We have one song we didn’t use, but that’s about it. The rest all turned out like we wanted and we knew we had to use them. It’s a little early to think about new songs. At the moment we are busy promoting this album, while working on songs for our main bands next records. I also have the new Ronny Pøbel album and tour starting this month, so there’s more than enough to keep us occupied, but never say never.

Sandy: Ya’ I think that was one of the first songs I sent you “Lianna”, but it didn’t make it as I think it was a bit too pop punk. I may do that down the line as I loved what Chris came up with vocally and added to the music. My current plans are tweaking a pool of new Dirtbag Republic songs for an album in 2019. My goal this year is to hopefully do a few shows and focus on getting the live thing happening. Chris and I are going to attempt to do some videos for Doll Hazard record and hope to get those rolling soon. As Chris said, we are pretty busy with our other bands, but something may happen down the road…and my door is always left a jar for Mr.Doll.

Thanks very much for reviewing our album Laur and helping to support indie Rock n’ Roll!

You can get our album here – http://www.dollhazard.com/buy-cd.html

Join our Facebook page here – https://www.facebook.com/dollhazardband

You can check out Chris’s band here – https://www.facebook.com/SUiCiDEBOMBERSMUSiC/
You can check out Sandy’s band here – https://www.facebook.com/dirtbagrepublic/

Glam Skanks – Spreading Sparkle!

After opening for ADAM ANT, L.A. glitter rock’n’roll band GLAM SKANKS are now touring in Europe. They answered a few questions about the band, glam rock, and Los Angeles in 2017. Don’t miss them if they are playing anywhere near you!

Can you give us a bit of history? How did you meet and get the idea to start GLAM SKANKS?

Sure! V Volume and Ali Cat met by posting almost the same add on Craigslist ! We both wanted to start an all female rock n roll band and turned out we had the same influences from the 70’s Rock n Roll scene. We met at V’s dads studio and jammed on some covers. We then played our first show starting out as a cover band! We are both inspired by over the top stage shows and outfits so we wanted to incorporate that in our band as well ! We later met Cassie and Millie through mutual friends. They share the same dreams as us and we all love music with such a passion so it works well !

You’ve just opened for ADAM ANT on his last tour. How did that happen? How was it?

Yes! We actually opened up for him on his last three tours! It’s been a wild ride for sure. Riding in a van packed with people, driving through EVERY kind of weather, meeting every kind of person, playing theatres and arenas! It’s been amazing! We definitely gained a bigger following by playing with Adam. They seem to respond to us very well! And we absolutely love Adam and his band and crew. We have learned so much from them and consider them family !

Opening for ADAM ANT means playing in big venues, did you feel comfortable from the start on these big stages? How do you feel about getting back to smaller clubs on your upcoming European tour?

We were definitely nervous at first but knew we were ready for big stages. We are a very energetic band so we loved having the freedom of getting to strut around on a big stage. But we did come from playing in small bars so we are super comfortable with that. We are excited to go back to playing smaller clubs. There is a certain energy in a rock n roll bar that you can’t get in a theatre. We love the sweaty, grimy underground feel of a hole in the wall club !

Your Euro tour has just started, how is it goin’ so far?

It’s going great! Each show has been wildly fun with a passionate audience! And the hospitality and friendliness of all the promoters and people we have been staying with has been unforgettable ! We are so grateful to all the open arms! We are most importantly greatful for Ludo at Adrenaline Fix Music for putting our tour together! He has worked hard and has made our album on Vinyl which you can now buy on Adrenalin Fix Music website ! 🙂
We did have our first bump in the road .. we were in the snow in France and Veronica Volume and her huge muscles ripped the van door off! We sat in a Burger King for a few hours and waited for someone to fix it !


Most people in Europe (and especially in non-English speaking countries) probably won’t care about the meaning of your band name, but how do people usually react to it in the US?

Yes it’s funny, people in the states are shocked but usually love it! We originally used the name temporarily and just thought it was funny but we noticed people were really taken away by it, which is a good thing because you know they can never forget it !

Los Angeles is mostly famous for its 80s Sunset Strip glam metal scene, but people sometimes forget that in the early 70s, Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco started it all in the US when it comes to glam/glitter rock. How did you first get into this style/music?

Ya exactly ! Sometime people see us and immediately thing of 80’s hair metal but that’s not what we are at all! We are very influenced by the likes of David Bowie, Queen, Alice Cooper, TRex. I’m not sure how we got into it .. I think it comes from Ali and V’s fathers, they loved all of that kind of music and educated us! We were drawn to the raw feel of the music and the outlandish stage performance and show! We think it is all important for a good band and makes it a full package .

Glam aesthetics and references have never really disappeared since they can be found in the work of people like PEACHES, MARILYN MANSON, or LADY GAGA to an extent, but more surprisingly, glam and glitter rock music has also made its come back these last years with bands like GIUDA or BITERS among others, do you see it as a kind of revival that could appeal to younger generations?

Yes, I think kids are always looking for that rebellious shock factor in music. That’s what stands out to us as well ! Putting on a show that makes you go “woah did that just happen?” All of those artists that you mentioned have that. They smack you in the face with their music, show and outfits and make you want to be apart of the madness! We just do what we think is cool and what we would like to see!, and we hope we can influence kids and especially young girls to want to do the same!

What’s your favourite…

BOWIE album?

The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust”

IGGY POP/STOOGES album?

Raw Power”

T.REX song?

“Jeepster”

NEW YORK DOLLS song?

Lookin for a Kiss”

JOAN JETT song?

Playin with Fire”

SUZIE QUATRO song?

Wild One”

There’s been a lot going on lately about sexual harassment on social networks. You recently posted something on Facebook about some guy that sent you a pic of his “private parts.” As a female band, have you ever dealt with such behaviours before?

Ya unfortunately, we get the occasional creepy dudes that won’t leave us alone at shows or get offended when we don’t accept their drink offer. It’s misogyny at its finest! We would like to be treated as profession musicians not just pieces of meat wearing fishnets. The clothes aren’t an invitation they are an artistic expression .

How is the L.A. scene these days? Any bands we should check out?

The scene is kind of over saturated with too many bands that sound the same or don’t really have an image. We are kinda over bands getting away with not have to sound good or have good songs and still be popular because it’s a “trend”, you almost don’t need to even be good musicians anymore to be known, it’s pretty sad . But on a brighter note there is a side that is soo inspiring and you can find super raw artistic talent playing at warehouses or small clubs in LA! Some bands that stand out to us right now are The Vista Kicks ( great rock n roll songs with super soulful vocals) Lauren Ruthward (a wild child with true passion in her vocals) & The Lemon Twigs ( they tour in Europe all the time so you may have heard of them but they are like The Beatles of our generation.. when it comes to songwriting )

What are the best places to buy cool glam/glitter clothes in L.A. in 2017?

Hmmm we all get our clothes different places or sometimes even craft up our own clothes !
We love to go to Vintage stores such as Iguana, JetRag, and American Vintage. We also like to find clothes on our travels !

The movie Velvet Goldmine suggests that Oscar Wilde was the first glam rocker, what do you think about that?

LOVE that movie!!!
It makes sense because he’s an artist. Glam Rock is performance art rock with some glitter thrown on top ! It is a very poetic and romantic lifestyle and that’s what Oscar Wilde is . He told stories and was a walking talking piece of art. It all coincides with each other!

Have you started working on a new album? Are you going to play any new songs on your upcoming Euro tour?

Yes we have started writing new songs and working on some new jams. We are very excited to go back into the studio and be in the creative process again. We aren’t sure if we will release an EP first or just come out with a whole album!! What do you all think? 😉

https://www.glamskanks.com/
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Gypsy Roller – Tinsel Town Vaudeville Glamour

GYPSY ROLLER is bringing back glitter rock with their new album. Gil Soliz tells us about the band and his unconditional love for glam rock.

Can you introduce GYPSY ROLLER?

Gypsy Roller is a music Band that I officially started around 2009 & has an eclectic rotating cast of members from each album. Starting with my first official release on Sunthunder Records “Champagne & Rock n Roll, We Got You Covered ( featuring Gen Genocide)” & Self Titled Gypsy Roller released by Alive And Kickin’ Records. I’m literally “ Rollin’ With It for each Recording Adventure.

Have you played in other bands before?

Yes, most of my musical career started in The Great Pacific Northwest in Portland Oregon. The Pin Ups , The Fringe , The Strand & Champagne Cowboys. The Champagne Cowboys was probably the most respected & popular band I fronted there & we ran those streets with the best of them . With other acts such as The Nice Boys, The Out Crowd, The Makers & The Viles. Some even claim we were ahead of the pack for a couple of years ?


Your album is out on French record label Alive and Kickin’ Records. How did that happen?

Matt Lehem has an ear for up & coming Glam Rocker Bands such as…… Plastic Tears, Smash Fashion, The Tip, Cream Circus, The Cry, Hammered Satin & The Sweet Things . And Gypsy Roller just happened to catch his attention with our Single “ Rock n Roll Stroller “. Can’t blame him though for that track is Hook City !

Your album production sounds very 70s glitter, how did you manage to get this sound?

That’s because Allen Davis is a Genius Music Producer ! The guy has a killer ear & common sense for a Classic “ Pop “ Sound. He musically Co-wrote all of those tracks on that Alive And Kickin’ self titled “ Gypsy Roller “ Release. Our first track we recorded together for that album was “ Goodbye To Sorrows “ & it’s like a Phil Spector / Tony Visconti Wet Dream Extravaganza ! Once we laid that track down I knew immediately that there was an album there somewhere . I think it’s a complimentary mix of my street sensibility & his slick production skills !

A band like GIUDA brought back the glam rock sound to a wider audience without being too “retro/vintage”, do you think GYPSY ROLLER’s approach to the style is quite similar?

Hmmmm ……. hard to say ?
I personally am not a huge fan of Giuda. However Allen recently went to there live show in San Francisco & said they were very tight & together on stage. Their esthetic is not my cup of tea. Soccer Polo Shirts, rolled up jeans & doc marten boots is very attractive I guess to your average college kid. But not to me. I gather our sound doesn’t represent that sort of thing very much & has a tad more touch of tinsel town vaudeville Glamour to it, yet I’m okay with that & personally prefer to be on that side of the fence of the Glitter Scene. To each is own I guess ?

You’re also a glam rock/glitter DJ, can you tell us about it?

Yes of course, basically I take pride in creating a most magical illusion to all my guests of The midnight hours. That suits each venues, such as Glitz At The Ritz, Continental Glam & my latest creative creation ….. Glitter Stiletto ! For it’s my duty to educate & entertain ! Frankly I have just as much fun Spinning my private record collection as to fronting a Live Band on stage .

Most underrated glam rock records to you?

David Werner’s “Whizz Kidd”, Brett Smiley’s “Breathlessly Brett” & Alastair Riddlell’s “Space Waltz”, The Stilettos & Magic Tramps.

How did you first get into glam and glitter?

It all goes back to my first Bowie Records which turned me onto Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, New York Dolls & The New York Max’s Kansas City Underground Scene & Beyond ! Seriously though the Ziggy Stardust circle is not a bad place to begin or to explore.
Considering my first high school Vinyl Records were Mick Ronson’s “Slaughter On Tenth Ave”, Lou Reed’s “Metal Machine Music “ which when the manager almost didn’t sell me the record because he thought it would warp my mind ??? Johnny Thunders‘ “So Alone”. You could say I was in pretty good company & influence.

Do you like reading books about rock’n’roll/biographies? Last one you’ve read?

Everything I know about Rock n Roll begins by spending endless hours alone in the bedroom with books ! And last one was by Patti Smith “ Just Kids. “

In “Blood and Glitter”, Mick Rock says “Glam was about make-up, mirrors and androgyny. It was narcissistic, obsessive, decadent and subversive. It was bohemian, but also strangely futuristic. It was Oscar Wilde meets A Clockwork Orange. It was a mutant bastard offspring of glitter. But while glitter was sparkling distraction, glam was anarchy in drag. It was sexy, glamorous, on the edge. It was the moment hippie finally died. It was absolutely rock’n’roll. But it was also fashion, art, theatre, lifestyle. It was gay, straight, multisexual…”
What do you think about this description? Isn’t it weird that glam rock had so much influence (and still has to this day) on music, fashion, etc. whereas it was such a short-lived movement (a bit like punk, actually)?

Basically Photographe wise Mick Rock is the gate keeper to all that is pleasing to the eye of Glam & Rock N Roll !!! He is my photographic guru ! He in captures everything that is Glitter Rock n Roll & Sexy!
Mick Rock’s photos & Album Covers play a very important part on opening a door of all of the true dandies of the underworld. Those album covers made it cool & acceptable for a guy to wear makeup & dress up ! For it let’s one know that it’s a great alternative to attract females, other than being a school jock or successful business man. It’s definitely the holy grail of fashion of The androgynous ones . Basically his photos are timeless & always inspires me when I’m looking for new artistic ideas !

Are you going to tour to promote the album?

Currently as we speak it is being discussed about us playing live in France & other Countries outside of France .
Please crawl out your window & get your copy of Gypsy Roller !

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https://gypsyroller.bandcamp.com/