This is the debut solo album of PARADISE ALLEY‘s frontman Steve Vincent. Steve is also the host of Steve Vincent’s Mystery City, a great radio show with lots of glam punk and sleaze rock. This album was recorded the DIY way from demos that could have been used for PARADISE ALLEY with the help of a few musician friends from around the world (Steve Conte, Ben Marsden, Andy Christie, Matthias Joannsen, Rhoades D’Ablo, Alex Holmes, Danny McCormack, Miqu December and Matt “JD” Connor”) “Yesterday’s Man” opens the album in a STIV BATORS way before “All I Wanna Do” delivers straight rock’n’roll with a cool catchy chorus. It sounds a bit like a heavier version of The QUIREBOYS. “Last Train To Babylon” is about Steve’s experiences in New York while touring in the US and it has a bit of a THROBS flavour and “Can’t Bring Me Down” is a dark rock’n’roll song about psychological and physical abuse. “Falling” reminds me of late 80s/early 90s British glam bands while “Life Ain’t No Bed Of Roses” brings HANOÏ ROCKS to mind. Miqu (PLASTIC TEARS) shares vocals on “Fortune Wheel”, one of the catchiest songs on the album and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (Again)” is not a power ballad despite its title but a heartbroken heavy rock’n’roll song. The STIV BATORS influence is also obvious in “Sleepwalking” and the record ends with a beautiful heartfelt tribute to PARADISE ALLEY‘s first drummer Richie Hale who passed away in 2012. Sometimes solo albums are just ego trips but “Recovered From My Past” is the kind of solo album in which you’ll find lyrics and music from the heart, a real rock’n’roll therapy! /Laurent C.
Another KISS tribute album? Well this one was made by a true fan for true fans. Lester even took his name from the first name of the band WICKED LESTER… He was also involved in the “”Keep On Shoutin’ – Not Your Average KISS Tribute”, a fundraising project in memory of Rock’n’Roll Photographer Alex Ruffini. Here, Lester has teamed up with a bunch of friends and guests to record these songs during the pandemic and it turned out to be a great idea. The choice of the songs is particularly interesting since they often are some fans’ favourites although they aren’t singles. “Radioactive” or “Got To Choose” (featuring Faz La Rocca of FAZ WALTZ) will make every KISS fan sing along from the first note to the last one! You’ll also hear a really cool punked-up version of “New York Groove” (featuring Irene from VIBORAS) as well as an explosive NEW YORK DOLL-ed version of “Kissin’ Time”. “Cold Gin” also gets a punk rock treatment and “Strutter” almost sounds like a BLONDIE song here, Debbie Harry should have been a guest on this one! “Parasite” is faster than the original version too but still manages to keep the heaviness and loudness of the song while “It’s My Life” alsmost sounds powerpop and “Getaway” sounds like a song from The HELLACOPTERS. One of the most surprising versions is “I Love It Loud”, turning this heavy monster into a punk rock anthem. Well, a good song is a good song! The cherry on top is the Italian version of “Radioactive” (“Radioattiva”) featuring Paul Del Bello (DOBERMANN.) This records will make you want to rock and roll all night and party every day, obviously! /Laurent C.
14 years after their last show, the glamour ghosts of The TRASHCAN DARLINGS are back on vinyl with this 14 song compilation. Despite being Norway’s undisputable kings and queens of glam punk, these flamboyant DARLINGS achieved a cult status in the international sleazy gutter rock scene. You’ll hear some of their best tracks on this record including classics from their “Gore Gore Boys & Splatter Pussies” EP like “I Just Wanna Die (On a Chemical High)”, “(She’s a) Fuck Around” or “Angel Lost”. I presonally can’t count the million times I had these songs on my mind through the years! If you’re a punk rocker then you won’t be able to stay away from “Johnny Is A Drag-queen”, “Psychotic Barbie” or “Me Punk, You Fuck !” If you like more melody then songs like “Please Darling Please” or the heartbroken “Depressed” and “Far From Me” are the ones for you. And again, how could you resist songs like “Rocket Madonna” or “So Whore”?…. Or the mega fantastic “Holiday In My Head”, one of my all-time favourite glam punk songs! I still have the photo version of this album cover as a poster and I still wear my very old TRASHCAN DARLINGS shirt so you can imagine that I could easily have filled a second compilation vinyl but I have to admit that the tracklist on here is excellent! “All The Stories We Could Tell” is the perfect tune to put an end to this record. The songs have been remastered and this record is out on Last Exit Music from Germany. Whether you knew the band or not, you will love this vinyl record if you’re used to reading our website! Time to glam it up! /Laurent C.
Members of SUICIDE GENERATION, SICK BAGS and DESPERATE FÜN have united to bing us four songs out of Covid lockdown boredom. As you can guess, this is not a jazz record. “Little Satan” opens in a DEAD BOYS way, young, loud and snotty! Then “Oh Let It Go” brings us some trashy glam à la NEW YORK DOLLS. Speaking of The DOLLS, the JOHNNY THUNDERS influence can be heard in “She Ain’t Here No More” while “Do Ya Feel Like Lovin'” puts an end to this EP with some explosive punk rawk’n’roll. Make London dirty again! /Laurent C.
Razzle was the heartbeat of HANOÏ ROCKS, the perfect drummer for the most flamboyant band. Unfortunately, Razzle is also famous because of is tragic death in a car crash in 1984 while MÖTLEY CRÜE’s Vince Neil was driving. Ari Väntänen already wrote about HANOÏ ROCKS and Michael Monroe so he probably was the right person to write about Razzle. We asked him a few questions about this extremely well documented new book…
When did you start working on the book?
I think it was around the late 2018. I was personally interested to learn about Razzle’s life, and around that time it really started to bug me that most people only remember him as the guy who died while someone more famous was driving. The more I looked into it, the more important it felt to write this book. Razzle was all about life, and his life made a great story.
My original plan was to write the book in English only, but then my Finnish publisher Like heard about it and wanted to make a Finnish version as well. So, I translated my own text to my own language, and the Finnish book came out first in September 2020. Svart put out the English version in January 2022.
You say that there was something Dickensian about Razzle that sparkled your interest as a kid. Can you explain?
I guess there was something larger than life in him, you know, the top hat and the striped suit and all, and at the same time he seemed so streetwise. I guess he had to be, because the more he concentrated on his music, the less money he had, before joining Hanoi. Like Artful Dodger in Oliver Twist, he was a kid inside but had learned early to take care of himself.
Was it easy to choose who you were going to interview and get all the photos and documents?
It would have been difficult without the Facebook group Remembering Razzle. That’s where I found many of his friends, band mates, and relatives. Most of the group members were happy to contribute with stories, photos and stuff. I wanted the book to be like a gathering of people who knew him and wanted to reminisce his life, so the more the merrier. What I found curious was that very few people ever argued with him about anything. I even tried to ask people how can it be, but it seems like Razzle just was really easy to get along with.
Is there anyone you would have liked to interview but couldn’t because they didn’t want to get interviewed, you couldn’t find them or because they are not part of this world anymore?
There were a few people who rather kept their memories personal, which they had every right to do. For example, I would have liked to hear Nasty Suicide’s stories because they were close and even shared a flat in London, but he’s not really into dwelling in the past and politely declined. After the book came out he messaged me that he had read it and liked it, which I was happy about.
I also would have liked to chat with Seppo Vesterinen, Hanoi‘s manager, but never heard back from him. Then I found out he hadn’t been well, and he passed away some time later. It was the same with Shaun Newnham of Thin Red Line and Scott Bushburt of the Fuck Pigs, who also died during the writing process. I never got to talk to them, but they or their families sent me some photos for the book. I did a great interview with Timo Kaltio and was in disbelief when I heard he had suddenly passed away, too.
So many people leaving this world before the book was finished made me think that it was high time to tell this story.
Razzle always looked like he should be famous and it seems like everybody loved him. Was it something that also motivated you to write about him?
Definitely. He was a star and very much down to earth at the same time. He had natural charisma but wasn’t arrogant or looking down on anybody. It’s a good combination and made me feel I wanted to know more about him.
Were you familiar with his previous bands before HANOI when you started working on the book?
I knew the bands’ names and I had The Dark live album The Living End, but I didn’t know much about them. For me personally, writing about the pre-Hanoi years were the most fascinating part of the project. I was already very familiar with the latter part of the story, but what did Razzle do before Hanoi Rocks? What were Thin Red Line, The Fuck Pigs and Demon Preacher like? How did he end up joining The Dark? Who did he play with?
It seems like Razzle played an important role when it comes to keeping HANOI ROCKS together through the dark times…
Yes, he got along with everybody in the band even when some of the other guys had issues with each other. They told me Razzle was the glue that held Hanoi together, and they all love him dearly. Like Michael Monroe says in the book, Razzle saved Hanoi Rocks. He kept the band’s spirits up until the end, and it wasn’t easy for him.
Razzle’s drumming really fit HANOI ROCKS’ music. The stories about recording with Bob Ezrin are very interesting.
Ezrin really made him and the whole band work hard. It seemed like the producer tried to bring out the best in Razzle as a drummer instead of trying to turn him into someone he wasn’t as a musician. His playing had a lot of personality and character and I think Ezrin respected that.
It’s funny that he mentioned he would love to play with HEART although his roots were more punk and early hard rock’n’roll. Can you imagine how HEART would have sounded with him behind the kit?
Honestly, I can’t! More punk and rock’n’roll, I guess. Or maybe he would have rehearsed a lot to adapt to their style, like he did when he joined The Dark and Hanoi Rocks. I know he liked Heart a lot, but maybe talking about joining them was his way of saying he wanted to make it big as a musician, like a mainstream big time. Having said that, I have no doubt he would have joined Heart if he had a chance!
Razzle seemed to be very open minded when it comes to music; We also learn that he loved The BIRTHDAY PARTY and a lot of different styles…
Yes, he was and did. Besides the obvious punk and rock’n’roll stuff like The Damned, Johnny Thunders, New York Dolls and Alice Cooper, he liked heavier bands like Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Van Halen and Anvil, and listened to Frank Zappa and The Birthday Party as well.
Have you managed to get more information about this Rebel Yell flyer no one seems to remember?
No! It’s the weirdest thing. Usually, some people online at least claim they know what these things were about, but not in this case. For those who don’t know, there is a mystery gig fIyer about a band called Rebel Yell featuring Razzle of Hanoi Rocks playing a show in London. If someone reading this was in Rebel Yell in London in 1984, please come clean!
Have you ever thought about what Razzle could be doing now if he was still alive?
Pure speculation, of course, but to me he seemed like someone who might have become a family man. I’m 100% sure he would live in some warm and sunny place. He really hated cold!
At the end of the book, we get to think that this story could really be a movie. What did you think of the Razzle scenes in The Dirt?
Yeah, I agree, with all its comedy and tragedy Razzle’s life would make a great movie.
The Dirt… Depends how you look at it. I think Max Milner did a good job portraying the character that was written in the movie script. HOWEVER, I don’t think the character captured who Razzle really was. I believe the real Razzle seemed more friendly, funny and gentle.
But I guess it didn’t really matter who Razzle actually was in the context of that movie. He was just a casualty. That was one of the reasons why I wanted to write this book. I wanted to show the world what he really was like. Full of life and living life to the full, a fun-loving guy who was and still is loved by many.
Not trying to spoil anything, but Cyndi Lauper is mentioned a couple of times in the book. Do you know if they actually met?
I don’t know if they did, but they may have, as Hanoi was on CBS like Lauper.
You wrote a book about HANOÏ ROCKS, the authorized Michael Monroe biography and this book about Razzle. Do you plan on writing on the other band members or related musicians too? Any idea if the Michael Monroe biography will be available in English some day?
I have no plans to do so, but I probably wouldn’t say no if someone asked me to, if I just had the time. I know of a couple of people in the London rock scene in the 80’s who are currently working on their memoirs, so there might more stories on the way without me being involved. And I heard Sami Yaffa’s (& Tommi Liimatta’s) book will be available in English this spring. Yes, I do believe the Monroe book will be out in English some day!
STAR STAR has morphed into SCREAM IDOL, a scary montster for a new degeneration. We’ve asked Johnnie Holliday (vocals/guitar) a few questions about this new incarnation and the STAR STAR days…
You were one of the first bands I interviewed for Veglam back in 2002. I remember thinking it was so cool to be able to talk to you by email since “The Love Drag Years” is one of my favourite albums. A lot has changed since those days for the music world and especially rock’n’roll. How have things changed for you and your music?
-I like much less of the music I hear at clubs now…and…being that I’m the only guitar player now… we only do songs that can be played with the guitar hung very low. We’ve become so comfortable as a trio that I can’t even imagine playing with another guitar player again. Musically we’re closer to what we sounded like when Mickey Mess and I started Star Star. Long before the Love Drag Years of course.
Can you tell us about the name change, going from Star Star to Scream Idol, will you ever play under the name Star Star again?
-We feel too far removed from the band that was Star Star to continue using that name. We felt like a different band for a while now. I’m not saying that we’ve matured or that we’ve cleaned up or anything crazy like that… but, we definitely feel a rush breaking out as a new band man! Will we ever play under the Star Star name again… hmmm…. kinda’ like if I’ll ever fuck an ex-girlfriend again.
You have re-recorded a few songs from your first album “Go Go Girls In Love”, can you tell us why you have chosen to do so? Did you ever think about a re-release of the album?
-When we did that album I had just started singing and we were in this high lifestyle that didn’t allow us to focus. We’ve always felt that those songs never had a fair chance. So we re-did them….. not that I can sing much better now, but, at least I’m a little sober now….ok, maybe not….but, anyway, yeah, we re-did them the way we sound now..
How do you record music in 2021?Do you have your own home studio?
-We carefully set up our recording situation. We basically bought the gear that we use in the studios. We also built a vocal isolation booth that’s also a guitar booth and a laundry room. Technically speaking…we run Universal Audio and Avalon pre’s through UA and Apogee converters.
Can you tell us why you’ve chosen to cover The PARTRIDGE FAMILY’s “I Woke Up In Love This Morning”?
-The first time I heard that song I thought it was the best chorus ever written..and the singer David Cassidy had the coolest hair on TV. It doesn’t have many chords and I could look cool playing it…and we thought we could bring a fresh feeling to it.
You also covered The SISTERS OF MERCY’s “Vision Thing” live. Have you ever thought of recording it?
-Oh yeah man! We’ve already recorded it. Actually we’ve recorded a Sisters Of Mercy medley that we’ve been playing live. It’s gonna’ be released as a dance Maxi Single along with some club remixes later this year.
STAR STAR was a great mix of rock’n’roll, glam and punk. “Soul Sucker” says “Not a punk, not a rocker…”, is this how you feel in the rock’n’roll world today?
-Music has lost its spirit as it conforms to the guidelines of social and streaming platforms. It has strayed from the culture that influenced generations. The music industry has also been cultivating a mindset so that bands will endeavor to sound like other bands. Do you know where that leads? Check out this years Grammy nominees… that’s where it leads. Generic music without attitude or style! It makes clubs less cool, less chicks, less colorful personalities, more straights, less fun, less artistic spiritual freedom. I feel heartbroken by artists condoning censorship…I feel sad for this generation that is discovering the world through regulated mediums… I feel pissed at punks and rockers that parrot establishment narratives. Other than that I don’t like to talk about what our lyrics mean
I’ve read that you were also a club owner in Greece and I remember seeing some cool flyers about glam/goth/punk nights. Can you tell us more about that?
You didn’t see flyers for that club. It was strictly word of mouth. It was a simple metal door on a street in the center of Athens that led to a staircase going down to the club. We only opened on Saturdays and it was always packed. It was also like 70% dance floor. It was a dark wave, goth, industrial, fetish club so we made sure the atmosphere was comfortable for the regulars. The flyers you did see were for parties that we host at clubs in various cities. We do DJ sets, get drunk and meet chicks… sometimes we’ll arrange fashion or music promotions. Those “Trash City Nights” events always attract very interesting crowds. They are nights of madness
Speaking of Greece. How come you’ve chosen to move there?
I had an uncle that was like a father to me. He became sick and I wanted to spend the time he had left close to him. Weeds, Jay and I decided to do it together and make a new start in Europe. Obviously after Jay’s suicide and my accident it wasn’t such a great new beginning…. but we turned it around man.
These last two years have been difficult for many musicians but have you played live with the SCREAM IDOL line-up before Covid?
We’ve played many shows together as Star Star. Jack was our first drummer when we first got to Europe. We parted ways for a while, then reunited when he got back from Brazil… and Scream Idol was born
I learned in your great interview with Suits and The Platform Boots that you lived in Hollywood. Do you think that New York was better for STAR STAR?
Probably not. We struggled with bad habits everywhere we went. I preferred the scene in LA. Going back to NY was more to straighten up and start fresh, and not so much a musical decision.
Last but not least. It happened more than once when pronouncing your name in France that people thought I was talking about French singer Johnny Hallyday who was over famous here!: )… Ever heard of him?
Yes, of course I was asked that question a lot when I did a French press tour. I listened to a bunch of his stuff. Pretty good songs but not enough guitars!
SCREAM IDOL is the new incarnation of STAR STAR, The fabulous late 80s glam rock’n’roll band that should have been huge in a perfect world. Singer/guitar player Johnnie Holiday has been living in Greece for a long time now keeping the STAR STAR name and music alive through the years but some change was needed and although SCREAM IDOL has STAR STAR‘s glittery blood running through its veins, this is also the start of something new. This is still rock’n’roll with a glam edge but with a more modern approach and sound. “Movie Mary” opens with a new and refreshed version of “Pizza Pattie”, a song that was released on the first STAR STAR album “Go Go Girls In Love” but didn’t have the production it deserved. “Teenage Doom Disciple” heads more into the glam industrial territory bringing The NEWLYDEADS to mind while “Kick It Down” and “Soul Sucker” both mix heavy rock guitars with a glitter pop sensiblity. You’ll get to hear more new versions from “Go Go Girls In Love”: “Kid City Act III”, revamped as a 70s gam song that could have been recorded in Blade Runner, “Sarah Soda” called “Sara Soda Act IV”, a poppy glam punk song as well as the title song “Go Go Girls In Love Act I” and “Baby Boom Act IV” and its ever catchy vibe. Speaking of catchy, just listen to the PALTRIDGE FAMILY cover “I Woke Up In Love This Morning”, this one won’t leave my mind… The album ends on a gothy dancefloor note with “1000 Years To Deep” and “Movie Mary” both reminding of the best of MARILYN MANSON (that is to say his post-human glam album “Mechanical Animals”.) “Movie Mary” manages to mix an underrated past to a brilliant present and can appeal to early STAR STAR fans as well as a new generation in search of decadent and danceable music. This is exactly what I needed to listen to these days! /Laurent C.