The DeRellas “High Rise Supersize” 7″

While changing vocalist is always risky for a band, The DERELLAS welcome Joey DeRella (their third singer!), and reinforce their glam punk sound on this brand new flashy 7″ vinyl record… “High Rise Supersize” is a catchy poppy snotty glitter punk song in the vein of HANOÏ ROCKS and early MANICS (the guitars and energy naturally bring “Motown Junk” to mind.) Joey’s voice sounds more bubblegum than the previous singers, so it pefectly fits the band’s glammy punk rock’n’roll, and opens a door for a slightly different musical direction for The DERELLAS.
Side B offers us “Got Something To Say”, an angry ’77 punk song, and a really cool cover of The SWEET‘s classic “Fox On The Run” which shows us the more melodic side of Joey’s voice, and again, young James Dean Bradfield comes to mind.
If you wear eyeliner and pink leopard print, then you will love this record, if not, then just give it a try, ’cause it looks as good as it sounds! /Laurent C.
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Suzie Stapleton releases new single “Negative Prophet”

Suzie Stapleton‘s new single “Negative Prophet” is out on Feb 22nd. Since relocating to London in 2015, the Australian alternative artist has been captivating audiences with her electric live performances, midnight vocal, and guitar-driven noir soundsscapes whilst touring with artists such as Mark Lanegan, Mick Harvey, and Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind. “Negative Prophet” is an isolated protest in an oversaturated world where the powerful feed on the powerless. Recorded and produced by Stapleton with the help of guest bassist Fred Lyenn Jacques (Mark Lanegan Band). She has also been working on several collaborations including providing guest vocals on Lydia Lunch & Cypress Grove‘s “Under The Covers” and The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project (Nick Cave, Iggy Pop Debbie Harry +).

Stapleton is touring Australia, Czech Republic, and France in Spring before returning to London to perform with her band – bassist Gavin Jay (Jim Jones Revu & Righteous Mind) and drummer Jim Macaulay (The Stranglers) – on May 11th at The Finsbury Pub. More UK dates including festivals will be announced in the coming weeks.

March 1st The Junk Bar  Brisbane, AUS
March 2nd MoshPit Sydney, AUS
March 3rd  The Yarra Melbourne, AUS
March 10th MONA Hobart, AUS
March 23-24 Zizkovska Noc Festival Prague, CZ
April 13 Nantes, FR
April 14 Brest, FR
April 15 Orleans, FR
Thursday May 11 The Finsbury Pub London, UK

More UK dates inc. Festivals TBA Shortly

Role Models “Dance Moves”

Three albums in three years, so here is the third one! “Evangeline” opens on a darker note than what we used to hear on the two previous albums, but you’ll still find this “American indie rock melancholy” touch in the chorus (think of SOUL ASYLUM or The REPLACEMENTS.) “I Want More”, “Empire State”, and “Feel Like Being Alone” confirms that ROLE MODELS have kept their pop sensibility, and you’ll be happy to know that their rock’n’roll side is also still alive and well (“Reach Me”, or “Manette Street” that brings the best of The WILDHEARTS to mind.) If you’re more into punk rock, then just listen to “Wizard Van”! To me, the best surprise on this new album is actually the last song, “Meteor”, a great new-wavish song with a bass line reminding me of The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH.
You’ll find guest such as Duncan Reid, Kris Rodgers, and Stacy Stray on this new album. If you liked the two first albums, then big chances are you will love this one! /Laurent C.

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Neon Animal “Bring Back Rock’n’Roll From The Dead”

Sadly, the London rock’n’roll scene has been deadly quiet these last years, and only past images of England’s capital remain exciting when its name comes to mind… Nervertheless, it would be sad to live in nostalgia, and that’s what NEON ANIMAL seem to have understood. Fronted by BUBBLEGUM SCREW lead singer Mark Thorn, the band offers us 8 songs of vintage rock’n’roll with a modern sound and big STOOGES/IGGY POP influences in songs like “Spin”, or “From Hero To Zero.” Stiv Bators also comes to mind when listening to “Bring Back Rock’n’Roll From The Dead”, “Bedtime Stories” this one could have been on a LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH album!), or “This Is The End” and its dark 70s mood.
Classy comic strip style artwork and sexy rock’n’roll have never been a bad mix, and this is what you’ll get on this debut release. So, I don’t know if this album will bring back rock’n’roll from the dead, but it could definitely help to make it exciting again! /Laurent C.
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Godfathers “A Big Bad Beautiful Noise”

(-maximum bottle review by General Labor)

…Aw, man, it’s apparently, all been forgotten and photo-shopped, whitewashed and revised, now, to fit-in to various updated narratives of convenience, but in the actual push and struggle eighties of my wild, wild youth, our gang was an unlikely alliance of thrash metal dudes in army camo and Slayer shirts from abusive homes; a sweat-shorts wearing, redheaded, Red Hot Chili Peppers, white dude who liked Prince-he heroically intervened on my behalf, while five or six rednecks were beating me to a pulp, in front of the local teen night at the MTV era disco-he and I were like Robin Hood and Little John, for several years after that, and I rallied him to take up bass and join the band; exactly two mohawked hardcores-until one met a chick, went straight, and delved into real estate, or some shit, he vanished promptly after graduation; the other one was a deeply anti-social, talented painter, about ten years older-who lived in a rodent infested basement and made stained glass, we bonded over our common love of Alice Cooper and Johnny Thunders and I gradually lured him in to my longhaired rock-punk band, if only for a year or two; there were only three, or maybe four, death rock chicks, who this whole army of oddballs were all competing for; a Dead Or Alive “want surprises” gay disco kid who owned some cheap drum machines; A Cure bed-headed goth DJ from a nearby town; a mean hearted garage record collector kingpin from a different nearby town; a cologne wearing Duran Duran dude transitioning into INXS, who worked at the record store, in the mall; a bruiser motorcycle riding white trash hellion who had absurdly painted the Mountain Dew logo on the front of his guitar, who initially, served faithfully, as our bodyguard and roadie, he kept burning apartments down by cooking while drunk, and eventually, he became my primary riff-meister; five or six very progressive and open minded, oldschool hip-hop, O.G. rapper/DJ/breakdancer/beatboxing B-Boys from downtown; an aging Blue Cheer stoner who ran a hippie record shop in another nearby town; an extravagantly gorgeous and sensitive and generous and encouraging Smiths fan who broke my stupid heart, and her cousin-a marching band Billy Batson who was somehow (ahem) struck by punknroll lightning and miraculously transformed into a muscle car driving, “Oi Oi” shouting, skinhead Captain Marvel; a white mulleted, Randy Rhoads metal god who we lost to the military when he turned 18; his replacement-another skateboarding, nimble fingered guitar prodigy with a boyish Eddie Van Halen smile who all the girls loved, who also got drafted into my group; some other kind of stunted and awkward guys with real emotional problems we were kinda trying to protect and look out for-peripheral energy suckers, who ended up causing us trouble and creating divisions, later on; and me, in the glasses, whatever I was. Not much of a Scene. Some of my Catholic School “Animal House” beer drinking fratboys-in-training, and the rural town, hick mechanic, pizza delivery drivers, who worked with some of us, at fucking Little Ceasers, where that awful woman, Michelle, always made me change the urinal cakes, as soon as she saw me, in my much loathed hairnet and polyester.

Not much was happening, at all. That’s why I was desperately encouraging all my friends to take up instruments and create a communal space where we could freak, freely. There was nowhere to go, without being hassled by Journey fans in Trans-Ams. I was hated by most of my classmates and considered a disruption at my suburban football highschool. I had spiky, dyed black hair and wore two earrings, sometimes, a little eyeliner, which was, unbelievably, still a big deal, back then. The history teachers were also wrestling coaches, and I knew the bullshit they were shoveling into my peer-group’s heads was all capitalist nonsense about the value of competition and squashing the little guy, and transparently racist, winning is everything, “greed is good”, bullshit propaganda. I consistently challenged their outright falsehoods, and flag-worshipping, golf-shirted, macho-talk, in class, and was therefore, sometimes, well, okay, pretty frequently, made an example of, when I was abruptly jerked from my chair, and manhandled into the classroom closet, or dragged to the principal’s office for a paddling, which they still did, back then. These whistle-wearing, oafish, muscleheads actually encouraged the dumb jock rich kids to knock me down stairwells and elbow me in the face, that kind of stuff happened all the time. Not once, or twenty times, but regularly, for years, hundreds of often unprovoked altercations, seemingly, all because I had a big mouth, and would not wear Izod golf shirts. I’m still kind of pissed-off about all of it.

That awful morning dread, waiting for the school bus filled with hostile preppies, who all totally despised my makeup wearing guts-the bloody noses, repeated pummeling’s, being thrown into a lake, the routine daily humiliations, and the sick, sick adults and administrators who enabled and thoroughly validated the relentless boot-camp torture those suburban country-club rich kids constantly subjected me to. Imagine: “Ducky” from “Pretty In Pink”, but less cute and clever, and nowhere near as smoothly put-together. All I had was a library card that would allow me to escape into books about Houdini, or the Beatles, and Jim Morrison, and music. Sunday, our intimate ritual was to gather together in small groups of freaks and geeks, or just talk, on old-timey rotary land-lines while watching “120 Minutes” in our own little Smashed Hits and N.M.E. magazine pin-up wallpapered boxes. That show transported us culturally deprived, pained little punks and anti-authoritarian weirdos to far more glamorous and exciting, sensual, colorful, free and tolerant realms inhabited by liberating super heroes from misfit galaxies, older rebels, like Iggy and Bowie, who were succeeding in spite of their eccentricities, and that gave us so much courage and inspiration, in spite of all the abuse, and amputations. We could watch Robert Smith and Morrissey and Billy Idol and Dave Gahan and Martin Gore, with awe. They were magic, to me, to us, I know I was not alone, back then. The spirit of wonder and rebellion was still in the hearts and trousers and leather jackets and Epiphones of my former contemporaries…wild possibility was in the air, we saw crazy possibilities, all because of offbeat stars like Cyndi Lauper, Prince, and Richard Butler. Music had not yet been fully weaponized by the Henry Kissinger NWO powers that be. Real, original, outsider voices could still be heard. The Ramones, Bauhaus, Gene Loves Jezebel, Dead Kennedys, Lords Of The New Church. We sponged up all that stuff, from Rick James to Mojo Nixon. From Sisters Of Mercy to Dramarama. U2 had not even started sucking the devil’s dick, yet! I guess you could say, that my own Personal Pistols, were the Godfathers. As an angst-ridden, achingly frustrated and profoundly alienated, bubblegum breathed sixteen year old, with too much hairspray and clownish Bozo makeup, they had the punch and crunch and venom and vigor the wimpier synth-bands all lacked. I can actually HEAR that white-hot fucking solo from “Birth, School, Work, Death”, as I type this. “I’ve been high and I’ve been low and I don’t know where to go” said it ALL, to me. They wore suits, but they were not hypocrite juvenile court judges, or golf-playing school administrators. Peter Coyne, man, he got me. He got it, he understood. This was a role model I could believe in. The Godfathers expressed all the genuine rage and angst I was enduring. Fast forward…25, wait, is it thirty, oddball years or so, and all the same shit sucks even worse, NOW, than it did, in the bad old days. At least in the bad old days, I had my friends in black leather who claimed they felt the same way as me, about the injustice of the world, and we still had all that high-quality, authentic, imaginative, emotion packed GOOD MUSIC to listen to and be revitalized by, it fuelled us, gave us some bottle, gave us some hope, set a good example, “makes you wanna feel, makes ya wanna try, makes you wanna blow the stars from the sky”, as one mop-topped guitar band we loved sang, back then. Ya know?

The intro track of the brand new Godfathers platter is a fully charged, powerhouse spray of inspiring fireworks, reminding me of doing L.S.D. while listening to Love & Rockets, as a misunderstood runaway teen in the middle of a creative awakening-it’s got fuzzy vocals phoned down from the friendly neighborhood spider webs of Mars, blisteringly psychedelic black light poster guitars and smart, simple, streetwise lyrics from a determinedly proud, working class hero perspective. This is what know-nothing sucker NYU grads who write for “Spin” and “Rolling Stone” always pretend that this weeks Oasis spin-off bands are doing, but the Godfathers were the real godfathers of Brit-Pop. These pint-guzzling, graying, hard lads still effortlessly outrock all the smirking copycat Hot-Topic Americans with the white belts and show-biz uncles. The Godfathers bring generations of music history and poetic authority to their regal songs that have one Cuban Beatle boot in the grand Sixties pop tradition and a vomit stained brothel creeper in the post-punk era, with the Steve Jones aggressions and chiming, new wave romantic, noir film sound tracking, of their diverse and impactful song mastery. “Til My Heart Stops Beating” is a thing or majestic beauty like old Echo & The Bunnymen, or Leonard Cohen. Quite dashing and very soulful and uplifting. If radio people weren’t all so drunk on their own stench, those bragging, bought-off paychecks and rule obeying robots, this tune would be on Nirvana rotation, and we’d all be turning it up, as we tooled around in our ruined cars, driving aimlessly around the reservoir and the old Dairy Queen on a sunny spring day.

It’s such a life-affirming, courageously righteous hit song. It reminds me of my own foolish devotion to loved ones, lost loved ones, spontaneity, sunglasses, cruising around the town in ancient blue Oldsmobiles, and the indomitable power of genuine rocknroll. This Peter Coyne fellow abides and abides in his own truth and never sweats the bullshit and lies, like some of us weaker spirits. Trends and gadgets, products, and garbage come and go, and Peter is still standing strong. The hard won voice of bloody knuckled experience, still surprisingly vital and alive in middle age. I have said that Alex Mitchell from Circus Of Power is the only artist I can think of besides Morrissey who rocks significantly harder in his fifties, than he did in his twenties. I have to amend that, now, to also include the powerhouse modern-day Godfathers crew. Peter still has a pop heart, just like I do, but loves the slashing, thrashing adrenaline of the raunchy rocknroll dizzied pogo-pit. “You Don’t Love Me” is upbeat Smithereens, or Deadbeat Poets-style pop-genius that is as likely to appeal to fans of Paul Revere & The Raiders, or Badfinger, or Psychedelic Furs, or Birdland, or Manic Street Preachers-it is timeless, radio-ready, and custom made for accompanying sulking sad sack nostalgia yearnings, or boys are back in town, back porch beer guzzling. People of all ages can appreciate the Godfathers, because they ain’t fakin’ it, like so many others, like nearly all the rest. They still have The Power. I always wonder to myself is my long missing first loves and dwindling pack of former Adam & The Ant and the Alarm enthusiasts are still somewhere listening to any of the same songs I am, and then, I stalk summa them on social-media and see them talking about sports and acquisitions and quoting rightwing radio bigots, and buddying up to our hometown bullies. It kind of makes me question if I ever knew them at all. I know I am the same old reliable, last of the last of the last of the last, in the bulletbelt and mascara, still clinging to the old ideals and the old copy machine, D.I.Y. cassette and vinyl culture, pre cell-phones, pre Starbucks. Nothing’s changed, ultimately. No such thing as was. I’m still perceived as a bad influence and as a disruption and I still refuse to wear those Izod golf shirts.

“If you USED to be punk….!” Peter Coyne is still punk to the core-from his first cigarette, to his last dyin’ day, he is a bona fide rocknroll hero, like John Lennon or Johnny Rotten. He don’t fuck around with the partisan political dog and pony show, unreality tv stuff, he stands firmly with The People, all the time, every time, no questions asked. He’s a real king of the mountain Jetboy, through and through. I respect that so much. I guess that is why I am writing this. I want you to listen to his music, not only because I think you will find it entertaining, it has a good beat and you can dance to it, but because I am hoping it will catch a spark inside you and remind you of who you once said you were, and make you want to live up to that. At least, that is the effect it has on me. It makes me almost kind of want to care, again. Love is the answer and Peter Coyne knows that for sure. The pigs could not break him, the industry could not bend him, no one could kill his fire. Here he is, still writing sensational, surefire tunes about love and hate to accelerate my adolescent summer hijinks and escapades and I am fucking 47. “Poor Boy’s Son” is a proletariat protest song about the rigors of low wage drudgery and the pointless futility of being shamelessly exploited until you are sucked dry to enrich some selfish fat cat bastard who does not give a fuck whether you live or die. When your knees and lower back are ruined from warehouse labor, big-box merchandising, dish-dogging, or house painting, all the office-casual khaki wearers who never laid carpet, or carried shingles up ladders in the hot sun even one single day in their lives, will all still have the audacity to call you lazy, because you suck at math, or maybe weren’t as book-smart, or as good at taking tests, as they were. What a sham. Peter’s been on massive stages and on TV for decades, but he never abandoned his working class roots. He and his tight band-Tim James, Darren Birch, Steve Crittal, and Mauro Venegas, are still WORKERS. They are ALWAYS working. “One Good Reason” is the tune I would open up my radio-show with, tonight, if anybody would let a dangerous Dr. Johnny Fever malcontent like me, anywhere near a microphone. It’s melodic like Cheap Trick, but has a gritty Izzy Stradlin or Tom Petty, highway drivin’ through the cornfields ambience to it. Steve Crittall, Paul Robert Gray, and THE GODFATHERS did a fantastic job producing this record, because every song has an atmosphere all it’s own, but they all hang together perfectly as a collection. This is the right way to make records. “Miss America” is a dynamite social-commentary about the deadly daughters of blood-horny pervert, Uncle Sam, and all his tiny tyrant, figureheads, bribe-taking lawmakers, and petty enforcers with their small hands, long nightsticks, gigantic 4X4 white trucks and big bombs. All those rabid, soulless, blonde-haired millionaire harpies hired to spew Honky Death SpellTM propaganda for Fox “news”. He acknowledges the twisted, hypnotic, car-wreck allure of all those twerking, texting, gossiping, celebrity feuding, Botoxed coke whores of unreality tv we decline and fall Murkkans can’t take our screen-sore, tired eyes, off of. It’s kind of like a Stiv Bators song. Good stuff. Again, with the glorious guitar playing! Whoever that is playing the dreamy coda at the end of that tune, my compliments to you.

“Defibrillator” is a bit like hearing the Jesus & Mary Chain covering “White Light/White Heat”…it’s just remarkably excellent. If you like rocknroll music that has bruised but unbeaten soul, you gotta get this album, “A Big Bad Beautiful Noise”, it is, hands down, my album of the year! It is such a spectacular achievement when a die hard rocknroll hearted geezer like the esteemed and venerable Mister Coyne is able to successfully assemble a fully devoted, crackerjack team of worthy soldiers willing to be merry, for tonight we ride, and tomorrow is a good day to die, who fearlessly storm the barricades, unintimidated by vats of hot boiling oil, being spilt from above. They flawlessly segue from delicate, butterfly winged pop tunes like the La’s, to pounding, tough as nails, Stooges hardcore bluespunk. They make it look so easy, too. A couple of you know, that when I was seventeen and eighteen, I used to publish a dodgy fanzine in my own handwritten scrawl because I couldn’t type, full of collages of photos cadged from Penthouse and Kerrang! and Creem and Hit-Parader, and I frequently wrote about punk and glitter gangs like the Godfathers and Birmingham’s glorious polka dot shots, Gunfire Dance. So it was not much of a surprise to see my old compadre and pen-pal Darren Birch join forces with Coyne & cohorts. He had already played alongside Brian James, and I have long seen him as the son of Tregunna or Yaffa, so it was a natural fit. I am proud he never quit, he’s still at it, playing thundering, emotional rocknroll, even with the aches and pains of no longer being 21. I loved their old bands-Sid Presley Experience, Gunfire Dance, Black Bombers, all prior Godfathers lineups, but in my opinion, right now, they are IN THEIR PRIME. Honestly, these tough as leather old dudes are a ferocious force to be reckoned with. If I had a band, and they asked me to open up for them, I would have to say no. I may be poor, but I am not dumb. The Godfathers remain the flaming embodiment of still surviving, street fightin’ integrity and songwriting greatness from the authentic hard knocks ragged school of rocknroll coolness. A glutton for punishment, I do admittedly still dream about corralling some hoodlums of my own and putting together a discreet punk band, ya know, a humble, basement version of all my old heroes, to more properly document all the songs I’ve written over the years, even though everyone in this dumb world keeps screaming at me that, it’s too late. The Godfathers are a rock group that will always give you hope, and that will never let you down. They keep on showing us what is possible. THEY ARE DOING IT. Why can’t we do our own amateur hour version? We might as well, we’re gonna die, either way, why not die with our winklepickers on, like glam outlaws?

“She’s Mine” showcases Peter’s Ian McCulloch like croon, it’s like a lazy Sunday-ish deep track from some long lost Doors record, minus the carousel keyboards. It’s a beautiful, tender, summer of love song. Makes me wonder why so few can tap in to that divine, soulful, childish purity, anymore. ‘Makes you wanna take your sweetheart to the woods to look for deer and throw pebbles in the shimmering creek, and wear dandelion necklaces and drink cold Thunderbird from the bottle. “She’s mine ’til we’re both outta time”….I guess the thing I love best about The Godfathers, besides their enormous catalog of intensely listenable songs, is how Peter Coyne just IS. He don’t give a flying fuck about what the critics and posers and liars and heiresses and politicians and puppet show/showbiz kids say. He does not change who he is according to seasons, commercials, opinions, hoaxes, what the in-laws or the neighbors say, he is blissfully oblivious to big-media, and it’s empty promises, and multi-platform marketing campaigns. Like Jimi Hendrix, he just shrugs, “it ain’t me”. I don’t know how he acquired that iron man constitution and unshakeable conviction, but he knows who he is, who he loves, what he stands for, and he never strays from that. That is The Cool. He stands with the outcasts and underdogs, the downtrodden, and the dispossessed. He has guts, stamina, sincerity, a nonstop work ethic, and amazingly…a band of really talented, empathetic, like minded, virtuosos who tour relentlessly and somehow manage to look like immaculately dapper dandies under all the harsh lights amidst the slam dancing pits of sweaty, enthusiastic, beer spilling punters who still flock to their shows for cathartic and synergetic displays of primal, “Feedbackin'”. “Let’s Get Higher” is a life-long dropout’s brass-knuckled battle-cry, the kind of thing that Primal Scream would write, if they were only a bit more cerebral. Peter Coyne has a streak of sixties Sly Stone shaman, in him, he’s a gutter punk in a sharp suit, who never obeys orders or follows bandwagons, but he remains here….for you and me, too. “You & Me Against The World” is the name of the acid drenched, gospel tinged, album closer to a record you never want to end. It’s a real sapphire-another absolutely stunning masterpiece, reminiscent of Pink Floyd or Arthur Lee’s Love, it’s a dreamy, heartfelt tune that will steal your dirty hearts away. This is the sort of magical, quicksilver pageantry one can conjure if they ain’t afraid to die, have planets of soul power, and an ace band of dedicated rockers. I always loved the Godfathers, but this, their current, phoenix from the flames incarnation is undeniably as bold as love. When Peter Coyne sings, “it’s you and me against the world”, I understood he means his wife, and band, or brother, or others, but I also knew, immediately, he was talking to me. To Us. I & I. The rocknroll people. VIVE LE GODFATHERS. “A Big Bad Beautiful Noise” is an unparalleled monument to ageless and soulful, mean it, maaaan, rocknroll motherfuckery. Life is fleeting. Have no fear. Do your thing, now. Do it with mercy and grace. BE like the Godfathers.
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The Ghosts Of Lovers “S/T”

When drummer Steve Pegrum told me that he was planning to release a GHOSTS OF LOVERS CD on his own label Angels in Exile Records, I thought it was the best idea ever! I only knew a couple of songs (thanks YouTube!) before, but it was clear to me that this band had everything, from their intriguing name, to the perfect image for this era (late 80s/early 90s), and songs that stand somewhere between The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH and HANOÏ ROCKS.
The CD artworks perfectly fits with the band’s spirit, dark and glamourous, romantic black and white with a drop of blood/rose red. Opener “Tonight” brings you back to the times when HANOÏ ROCKS was ruling London, catchy glam punk full of energy that you can also hear in songs like “Don’t Be Afraid” or “The Light Of My Sanity”! “Iona” is a song that you can easily imagine on some 80s London DJ setlist, just between a LORDS song, and a DAVID BOWIE one, magic! “Another Time” or “That Girl” were easily memorable, and it just makes you think that they could have been released as singles in those days.
Even though it was 1990, the spirit of the NEW YORK DOLLS was alive and well in The GHOSTS‘ music (just listen to “So Lonely” and “(Requiem For) Candy”), and the BOWIE meets Rocky Horror feel in “Sweet Sensitive Young Thing” reminds me of STAR STAR, another underated shooting star glam band.
In order to complete these 1990/1991 recordings, you’ll find four bonus live raw tracks, and I just hope that more bands from the 80s/90s London glam scene will get the chance to finally have their music on record (it also happened before with SOHO ROSES.)
The GHOSTS OF LOVERS had perfect taste, and should have been big. Do yourself a favour and let them haunt you with this CD! /Laurent C

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The Ghosts Of Lovers – Ghost Stories

The music is sadly full of “should have been”, and the late 80s/early 90s London glam scene is no exception. While we could see pictures, and read about tons of great looking bands in fanzines and magazines in those days, it was hard to actually get their music. The GHOSTS OF LOVERS finally have a record out this month on Angel In Exile Records, drummer Steve Pegrum’s record label. We asked him to tell us more about this era and the band…
How did you get the idea of releasing the CD? Have you been thinking about it for long?

Ever since the band split, it always struck me that it was a shame that people hadn’t gotten to hear the band really. The two studio recordings were originally planned as demos for us to get an idea of our songs and to see how the songs stood up in the studio. The first recording came out especially well (the one we recorded with Andy Le Vien at RMS Studios in South London) and one track from that – ‘Iona’ – was issued as a 7” Flexi disc with Submerge Fanzine, and years later ‘Tonight’ appeared on a Bubblegum Slut CD that accompanied the ‘zine, but otherwise the tracks had never been widely heard, and I’d always felt that was a shame.
So, several years ago I’d created a MySpace page for The Ghosts, and received a lot of great feedback on the band, and so the idea of putting the songs out somehow started to germinate.When I started Angels in Exile Records in 2011 I had the idea of putting an album out of all The Ghosts material that we’d recorded. It has taken longer than I had originally envisaged, but I am pleased it is now finally completed and I hope people enjoy it.

Can you tell us a bit about the history of the band? How did you meet, How did you choose your band name, etc.

Well, myself and Bass player friend Stuart Emmerton were looking to put a serious Rock and Roll band together in 1989, and we started with the traditional Melody Maker Classified Ads approach, and through this we met Guy Bourseau and Steve Perry. Instantly, from the very first jams in the studio I thought musically it was sounding really strong, but we had trouble finding the right vocalist. We carried on and met Kev MacDonald, and as soon as we heard him sing it felt right. Following a slight line up change, Kevin Sargeant came in on Bass and the ‘classic’ Ghosts of Lovers line up was set. We always used to meet at The Ship in Wardour Street and it became a key hangout for the band, invariably before going on to The Astoria or somewhere.
Guy, Kev MacDonald and I all lived in South London at the time so we would often hang out at Guy’s flat in Clapham, and that was where a lot of the songs were written. I always remember going round there one time and Guy was really happy, as he’d just come up with the music for Iona. He had a really warm sounding Marshall, and when he played it to me it just sounded immense and I couldn’t wait to play Drums to it.

Like a lot of bands, we struggled to find a name that felt right for us, and went through a few names, we even briefly considered calling ourselves The Diamond Dogs (all being huge Bowie fans). Then, there were some lyrics for a song that either Kev Macdonald or Kevin Sargeant had that was called ‘The Ghosts of Lovers’ and the name stuck. (Sadly we never recorded the song, although there is a rehearsal tape of it somewhere). I wasn’t entirely sure about it at first, but as time passes I think it fits the aesthetic of the band well.

There was a good scene in London in this style in at that time. What bands have you shared stages and drinks with? What were your favourite clubs?

Yes, there was a very good scene back then – it had been building since the early ‘80s with bands like Lords of The New Church, Dogs D’Amour, Marionette, Babysitters etc, then for me, seeing Hanoi Rocks in ‘83 really electrified things. (It was after a Hanoi show that I went to Melanddi in Carnaby Street and bought the blue leopardskin drape that I wore a lot, and can be seen wearing later on in The Ghosts photo session in 1990).
You then had the whole Guns n’ Roses infusion a little later, and the next wave of bands like Faster Pussycat, and the whole scene seemed to re-ignite. I had run a club myself since ‘84 called The Taste Experience, and by ‘89 wanted to try something new, so put together a club called ‘Station to Station’ that was very Glam/Goth/Punk and which encapsulated a lot of my ideas about music. I started it at Gossips, then it moved to Samanthas near Piccadilly, then at The Soho Theatre Club before doing a two year run at the St Moritz Club in Wardour Street. Station to Station became a key hang out for The Ghosts and every week various members, if not all, would come to the club. They really were some euphoric nights, and it felt wonderful playing Ziggy, Iggy, T-Rex, Only Ones, Lou Reed etc to a packed dance floor.

gol4I was especially pleased that a lot of Japanese girls used to come to the club, as they really loved the mixture of music I played, and I remember two exceptionally glamorous and beautiful Japanese girls whom used to come to the club every week for two months or so, and were here on an extended vacation and they told me that the club had made their visit and that the music I had played was the best that they’d ever heard at a club. That made me very proud and I’m happy they had enjoyed it so much.

My personal favourite clubs included The Friday Rock club at The Astoria – many a legendary night was had there. I also loved Full Tilt at The Electric Ballroom, which played a good mix of alternative sounds. Then there was The Kit Kat which was brilliant – several times I remember going there and seeing Stiv Bators, the same goes for Alice in Wonderland at Gossips too. Then there was also Buttz & Spikes (also at Gossips), St Moritz Club (still run by the legendary ‘Sweetie’). The Pleasure Dive in Westbourne Park which played lots of Flesh For Lulu, Sisters & T-Rex, then there was Loose Lips and a short lived club called The Cathouse in Stockwell. That era really was special and its staggering how much was going on then. Portobello Road was still cool then with some great stalls, shops & bars, and we all loved going to Kensington Market to get our clothes. Johnson’s was the best and I still treasure clothes I have gotten there.

Thinking of this era, it was truly ‘immersive’ and was a full on lifestyle. As well as the music, clothes etc other mediums such as films were very important to us too – I remember staying up all night with Guy and Kev and talking about films that were important to us like ‘Christiane F’, ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Betty Blue’, ‘Apocalypse Now’ and many more.

Music is still the key medium though in which to evoke a certain core feeling, and whenever I hear ‘Dance With Me’ by The Lords, I can smell the hairspray, smell the smoke, picture a crowded dance floor of people in leather and lace and feel the sensual rhythm of such a great song as it immediately transports me to that era…fantastic!


The image of The GHOSTS OF LOVERS was kind of dark glam, not too far from The LORDS OF THE NEW CHURCH. Were you also getting interest from the goth rock scene?

I think that’s a fair assessment of the band, as we did all love The Lords of the New Church – we all had seen them live many times, and Steve and I were at their infamous last stand at the Astoria when Stiv sacked all the members onstage. We also had liked some bands such as Bauhaus and Flesh For Lulu whom were considered Goth, but I felt shared a similar Glam pulse beat.
gol2Certainly Station to Station had quite a large Goth attendance, and a lot of people in the scene did like The Ghosts. I’d say though that equally in the glam scene people seemed to understand where we coming from, with our love of everything from the New York Dolls, Stooges, MC5, Only Ones, Bowie, T-Rex, Hanoi Rocks et al. Thinking about it now, a key artist that again we all loved and whom we found very inspirational for a number of reasons was Alice Cooper – he epitomised dark glam for us – I especially loved the Love it To Death and Killer albums.

How come you guys didn’t get a record label deal? Bad luck, or a too short existence? Did you ever think about releasing a record by yourselves in those days (though it sure wasn’t as easy as it is now)?

I think there were so many reasons for why things didn’t take off for the band at the time really. The primary one is that we spent a lot of our time putting the band together, writing songs, working on the set, etc that the time spent playing live was very brief and so just as we were starting to push forward it all fell apart. There wasn’t really time to push for a deal with the demos. We had originally intended to possibly re-record Tonight and Don’t Be Afraid, and the only song everybody agreed on to release was Iona – a friend of mine called Tina ran a fanzine called Submerge, and she offered to put The Ghosts in the magazine and to insert a flexi with it, so we put Iona on a 7” one sided flexi for the magazine. Little did we know that would be the only official release by the band for a long time!

Can you think of any other bands of that scene and era that also should have deserved more recognition?

Mmm, Well I used to go to a lot of shows in that era as there was so much happening, and there were certain bands that stood out. I liked Gunfire Dance a lot (and indeed put them on at Station to Station when it was at Gossips). They totally got the NY Dolls / Heartbreakers aesthetic, were great guys and I enjoyed their company. Sister Midnight were also really cool and I enjoyed them too. I remember a great set by Feline Groove at the Marquee and I’m sure there were more that my brain can’t recall just yet!

Guitar player Guy Bourseau unfortunately left this world too soon, have some of the other members played in other bands after The GHOSTS OF LOVERS?

Yes, sadly Guy passed in ‘98. He was slightly older than the rest of us and had played in several bands in France before moving to England (notably including The Stalkers & Teenage Head). I was always impressed he’d seen the two Mont de Marsan Punk festivals as they were held not too far from his hometown of Peau. He knew a lot of musicians, and was well respected and was such a fantastic player and spirit.

After The Ghosts of Lovers split, Guy and myself had gotten on so well, both musically and as friends, that we wanted to carry on playing the music we loved – ie raw rock ‘ roll, and we met up with a Bassist called Billy Ingram and formed a band called The Hearts of Darkness. This lasted on and off for a few years between ‘92 – ‘96. We must have met, jammed with and auditioned every singer in London into Johnny Thunders, Ian Hunter etc at that time! I remember a great jam we had with Peter Perret when he was looking for a new band, and Guy played the most sublime solo on Another Girl Another Planet – such a shame we didn’t record it! We also played with Alistair from The Lords briefly, as well as many others but never felt a connection with a singer that lasted and the band eventually split late ‘96. Guy did briefly play with a band called The Italian Continentals before leaving London to go back to France for his final days.

Steve Perry jammed with us several times and we still stay in touch to this day, and Kevin MacDonald has carried on singing – I remember one band he was in was called Mister Moses I think. Kevin Sargeant was always a fan of the Oriental Beat and now lives in Japan, and its sadly been several years since we’ve seen each other.

For myself, after The Ghosts of Lovers and then The Hearts of Darkness split, I had a break from music for a while, spending a lot of time travelling, before re-connecting with long term Guitarist friend Kevin de Groot whom got me playing again in several projects. I then joined re-generated ‘70s Punks The Machines before playing in Hollywood Doll and then The Vampire Junkies Featuring Texas Terri. There are several songs I co wrote either with Guy or with Guy and Billy dating back to the Hearts of Darkness days that I still want to record, so we shall see. (We used to play Souls on Fire and Sea of Madness in Hearts of Darkness and fine tuned the arrangements of these songs so again it would be good to record them I must say.)

You never thought about some kind of reunion gig(s)?

Well, Guy really was at the heart of The Ghosts, and its hard to imagine the band without him. I would love to celebrate what he/we did though, and I know Guy would love as many people as possible to hear the music that he was so crucial in creating, so I won’t say ‘never’. The Ghosts were a very special band to me, so if anything ever were to happen it would have to be done right. If one day we all get together in the same room, who knows, anything is possible.

Can you tell us about Angels in Exile Records?

Angels in Exile Records is the Label that I started back in 2011. I originally came up with the name Angles in Exile back in the ‘90s as it was the title of a song I was writing when we were doing The Hearts of Darkness, and I thought it was the perfect name so when I started a web design business in the early 2000’s, I carried on the name. Since 2010 I’ve done less on the design side, as I have always wanted to run a Label and put out releases that I myself would want to buy. The Label isn’t aiming to put out just archive releases as I will put out contemporary artists that I like too, but I do like to make sure any bands that I love that either haven’t been heard or never had their material released can get a chance to do so if it is something that fits within the aesthetic remit of the Label.

Since vinyl is coming back, have you thought about a vinyl release of The GHOSTS OF LOVERS too?

That’s a good question…Like a lot of us, I still love vinyl and am definitely considering the possibility of a vinyl release. If the CD sells well and there is the interest, I might start with a 7” EP perhaps, and then maybe do a vinyl issue of the album, we shall see.

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The Fiascos “Built For Speed/Olivia” 7″

This is quite an interesting line-up: Members of BRIJITTE WEST, KITTY HUDSON, RACHEL STAMP, SHAM 69… getting together to offer us high quality punk rock’n’roll.
Only two songs on here: “Built For Speed”, that sounds a bit as if SOCIAL DISTORTION were born in the UK, and “Olivia” which has a cool powerpop vibe with a bit of WILDHEARTS elegantly thrown in.
Apparently, the band started to tour after 6 rehearsals, and recorded half an album in 55 minutes, so good chances are we will hear more from them very soon!
We’ll definitely keep an eye on these London cats!/Laurent C.

Filthy Punk Rock n Roll

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