KEVIN K is back with a double album (number 33!) that he describes as his own “Exile On Main Street”. “Cadallac Man” was written during the Covid lockdown while Kevin was grieving the loss of his beloved father (a World War 2 veteran.) The world has gone mad and the opening song “Dum Days” tells us about it rocking to a guitar riff sounding somewhere between early KISS and The STONES before offering us a chorus full of melody. Kevin has always been great at writing simple powerpop songs about girls and this album is no exception, just listen to “Girl Of My Dreams”, “Village Girl” or “High Over You”. “No Respect” is a typical KEVIN K song but this time with a serious topic since it is about the restrictions during the pandemic while “Every Night I’m Dreaming” sounds a bit like a mix of HANOÏ ROCKS and KISS “Unmasked” era. 1989 was a great year and Kevin celebrates it with a song offering us one of the catchiest choruses on the album and the song “Angelyne” was actually written in 1989 with Kevin’s Brother Alan while they were both playing in ROAD VULTURES. The acoustic THUNDERS/STONES influence can be heard on “I Miss You” and you’ll also find some glam rock boogie beats on “Pendleton”. While Kevin definitely knows how to write feel-good songs, he also knows how to bring melancholy in songs like “Tear Drops Don’t Stop”, “Start Me Down” or “Let Me Down” and you’ll be surprised by the JOHN LENNON influenced “Forgotten Boy”. Of course you’ll also hear traces of IGGY POP in “All Strung Out”, “Ride On”, “Zombie Heat” or in “Wrong Feels Right” and a tribute to the RAMONES (“No Ramones”) that Kevin used to play as a slow song. “A New Life” ends this new album mixing positivity with a need for a new start with melancholy. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of long albums but “Cadallac Man” is now in my exception list. Good job, Mr. K! /Laurent C.
You’re probably familiar with Mr. Ratboy if you’re a regular here and especially if you enjoy General Labor’s rock’n’roll columns. Names like SOUR JAZZ, MOTORCYCLE BOY or PILL BOX must ring a bell too if you like your rock’n’roll dirty and glammy! Now based in Japan, Mr. Ratboy has joined forces with Hiroshi The Golden Arm, the “Japanese Johnny Thunders” and here they are showing us their impeccable taste through 15 covers reflecting their late 70s/early 80s teenage influences.
Brian James‘ “Ain’t That A Shame” is given a wonderful Johnny Thunders treatment just before a jewel version of “It’s No Enough” (The HEARTBREAKERS.) “Russian Roulette” (The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH) has been covered again and again but this stripped down version is one of the best I’ve heard. You’ll also hear good versions of Lou Reed‘s “Rock’n’Roll Heart”, Patti Smith‘s “Dancing Barefoot” or The STRANGLERS‘ “No More Heroes.” The choice in covers sometimes get more adventurous and still interesting with The LITTLE ROOSTERS‘ “Ain’t Proud” or Mitch Ryder‘s “Ain’t Nobody White.” The ROLLING STONES‘ “Some Girls” definitely has its place here as well as The RAMONES “Don’t Come Close” and cult bands like MAGAZINE and The MODERN LOVERS are here too with fabulous versions of “Shot By Both Sides” and “She Cracked.” Australia is also represented with “a Minor Aversion” (The SAINTS) and a fantastic version of “Love Kills” (RADIO BIRDMAN.) The record closes quietly with The ONLY ONES ‘”The Whole Of The Law.” If you must listen to only one cover album this year, then get this one! /Laurent C.
Unfortunately, I only first heard about GUNFIRE DANCE in the 00s when my friend Franckie sent me a few songs of their demos and then later reviewed their collection CD “Archway Of Thorns” (2007.) GUNFIRE DANCE are one of these 80s bands who didn’t end up signing a record deal despite their great songs and wonderful image. These decadent dandies from Birmingham recorded with Brian James (The DAMNED, The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH) and shared stages with the best bands in that genre at the time (The DOGS D’AMOUR, The THROBS, D GENERATION, Thee HYPNOTICS…) but it seems like it wasn’t even enough to make it so they kinda became one of the best kept glam rock’n’roll secrets…
Easy Action Records had the good idea to finally release these songs on vinyl, one more reason to enjoy the dirty rock’n’roll of “Blue” and “Pretty As Sin”, the JOHNNY THUNDERS influenced “Bliss Street” and “Burnin’ Ambition”. You’ll also hear a bit of STOOGES in “Bird Doggin'” as well as in “Break It Up” and some chaotic HANOÏ ROCKS in the fabulous “Suit And Tie” and in the powerpop tainted “Gimme Back My Heart”. The band even had his CLASH moments with “Make You Cry” but their real force was to mix all of these influences in style in order to create their own identity. Our friend J.D Monroe was the best person to write the sleevenote of “Witness To The Crime” and he says “They had a seductive mystique about them, a proud, almost regal sense of noble tradition and rocknroll coolness matched by few others” and JEFF DAHL once said “Gunfire Dance were everything righteous, sexy and dangerous that rock’n’roll was all about!!! God bless Ant” and I couldn’t agree more with these quotes. Well, t’s never too late, so this is the right time to get your hands on this record! /Laurent C.
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.
If you’re like me, you probably loved power-pop angels, CANDY, way back in the early Rick Springfield part of the 80’s and always carried a special place in your heart for that band, so when they reformed as Electric Angels in the metal years, you were undoubtedly delighted their songwriting had just gotten better and better. They were way, way better than all those Headbanger’s Ball assembly line corporate-metal blouse bands. “TRUE LOVE & FAIRY TALES” really was like the swan song for my breakup with a hot blonde bombshell Skid Row chick circa 87 or 88, she was a Midwestern preacher’s daughter, basically, so her very uptight and conservative and deeply superstitious, evangelical family thought me and this other chick I dated were scary, black clad, witchy goths, so they actually stirred up alot of needlessly nutty, church-lady, witch-hunt hysteria and slanderous gossip and gave us a lot of non stop hassles and smalltown grief. Meanwhile, the blonde chick moved on to some famous heavy metal dudes, before disappearing into Mexico years later. I had a blast with that chick riding around in her car listening to Peter Murphy and Bang Tango and Cinderella cassettes, spending all our money on Cold Duck champagne and rooms at the Diehlman’s Motel and Davis Plaza Motor Lodge! She was like a centerfold come true, we had a chemistry, I really liked her. I got her into Electric Angels and London Quireboys, and a lot of other stuff, forbidden by her P.M.R.C. parents. She mostly loved Skid Row and the Throbs. Even after she ditched me for a more famous guy, like they all do when you are a white trash nobody, trailer park Ramone in your late teens, I listened to that Electric Angels cassette like ten zillion more times back in my late adolescence, and it doubtlessly impacted my own songwriting.
God Bless The Electric Angels! Thank You! Good Night & Good Luck!
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!
If you’ve been following the glam trash glitter bubblegum and power pop subculture this zine celebrates for a long enough time, you might remember the O’Donnal Brothers, of Bang Bang Satellite fame, who always write catchy, memorable, and deeply heartfelt songs about smalltown melancholy and day job disappointments, modern heartbreak, and existential despair. If you’re a fan of moody, broken dreams pop songs ala Big Star, Badfinger, Beat Angels, or Gin Blossoms, you will undoubtedly appreciate their latest three hit songs. Their new guitarist is really golden, totally brings that poppy Ryan Roxie or Michael Brooks feel their melodic pop songs require. It’s a miracle whenever hardscrabble, blue collar people are able to find their way into a recording studio in this horrible pay to play world, nowadays. I am pleased to hear new music from these long enduring cult figures and at their usual standard of high-excellence. If you are hip to any of their old bands, like Ill-starred, Bang Bang Sattelite, A Streetcar Named Disaster or China Stars, you’re sure to love the latest tunes, from these weary old underground heroes. God bless ’em, if you’re into vintage glam or power pop, tell all your friends about STAR PARK. /Pepsi Sheen.
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.