Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Flash Metal Sucide: The Bomb Party

1986, Abstract Records

Start At the Bottom, Don't Work Your Way Down
Ask any 40-something Brit-rocker with a wild, druggy stare, greasy, stringy hair, or a beat-up, puked-on leather jacket (or all three, seeing as they usually come that way) if they remember what “Grebo” was, and they will grin widely, stroke their scruffy chin, and say, like, “Fookin’ hell! The Bykers, mate!” or “Greee-bo Guru!” or “Toss off, bender!” or something equally British and enthusiastic. Although it’s reign in the pages of the UK pop weeklies of the day (NME, Sounds, Melody Maker ) was brief, “Grebo” was a far-reaching musical phenomenon from the late 1980’s that still resonates among scuzz-freaks and psyche-metal galactic cowboys to this very day. And the music still packs a powerful, debauched punch, too. So, just what was Grebo, and is there any chance at all that you, the young, intrepid flash metal blastronaut, might be a Grebo yourself? And what does any of this have to do with the Bomb Party?

Well, the Bomb Party invented Grebo. They are the Patient Zero of the whole movement. They were dirty, cosmic, all-fucked-up, half-Satanic creeps who played narcotic, goth-dirge flash rock and wrote songs about suicide and murder and Jesus. So did lots of other bands in England back then, but the Bomb Party was the first, and most certainly, the scariest. They sounded like a bunch of fucking DEAD PEOPLE who just clawed their way out of the grave and picked up guitars. Their music sucked all the light out of the sun and spit back blinding black rainbows of murk and misery and spent shotgun shells. They were death n’ rollers way, way ahead of the curve.

I'd Use My Fingers, But My Name's Not Ivan

The Bomb Party formed in Leicester, England, in the mid-80’s in the same way most freakbands in the UK did – they met in art school. Leicester, a large city in the heart of England was not previously known for it’s rock n’ roll exports (well, except for creaky old 50’s revivalists Shawaddywaddy, maybe) and it hasn’t been since (unless you want to count Cornershop), but in 1986, it boasted the Bomb Party, evil spacepigs Gaye Bikers on Acid, and greasy motor-rockers Crazyhead. And since all three were kinda dirty, and loud, and possibly stoned out of their gourds, a movement was born.

“Grebo” is actually the name of an African tribe from Liberia. Loosely translated, it means “monkey leaping people”. How some clever bastard from the NME chose the term to label a bunch of filthy local rock n’ roll bands is one for the ages, but there you go. Despite being from different parts of the country, King hell sleazemaster Zodiac Mindwarp was thrown into the mix, as was serial killing gothmonsters Junior Manson Slags, and beatbox culture-vultures Pop Will Eat Itself, who pretty much signed Grebo’s death warrant early on by including a song called “Oh Grebo I Love You” on their 1986 debut, the Poppycock EP.

The Poppies, being all slap-happy and shit, ultimately strangled all the menace and grue and 70’s drug-disco weirdness right out of Grebo, and just year later, the Brit press was throwing the term at the Wonderstuff, and Mega City 4, and all these skinny indie-rock motherfuckers, rendering it useless. Of course, us Yanks weren’t there, so the Wonderstuff couldn’t hurt us. We just STAYED dirty and greasy, and we kept listening to sleazy, leather-clad guitar-chug like “Drugs”, long after the NME announced that this party was over. The party is NEVER over, man. Rock n’ roll doesn’t know when to go home. And so, Grebo endures. Which brings us to Bomb Party's  finest hour, 1986’s masterpiece of gutbucket sourfuzz, “Drugs”.

Our Love Is Pushing Up Daisies, That Means You Do Not Exist
The Bomb Party had two EP’s out before “Drugs” (“Ray Gun” and “New Messiah”) but they were not widely distributed, and never really reached US shores. “Drugs”, on the other hand, was available just about everywhere in 1986. Much like the real thing. Interestingly, the cover has “DRUGS” written in letters three times the size of the band name, so many people thought that was what the band was actually called. Not only is it a confusing cover, but it’s an ugly one, too – a dead-eyed mannequin stares off into space, resting her head on an obscured Union Jack. A battered, bloody guitar lays across her chest. Ugh. It looks like a dimestore goth record from 1978. Luckily, the actual band photo on the back looked cool – denim, leather, dark shades.

Plus, they had a hot, peroxide-abusing chick, and in the credits, they claimed the album was recorded in “Alaska, Easter 1986”, which seemed so weird, even IN 1986, that you just had to hear what the fuck was going on. Plus, the first song was called “Kill Your Wife”! Nihilism and black leather has always been one of rock n’ roll’s greatest combinations.

Musically, the band’s closest cousins were the Gun Club, the Cramps, Beasts of Bourbon, and Tex and the Horseheads – the Bomb Party played grungy, stripped-down death rock with sub-rockabilly riffs and goth-gloom cool. And they were strange, too – “Don’t Die Keith” is such an off-kilter, primal gut-stomp of a funeral song, the mind boggles as to just who Keith was, and why they thought he was gonna die. Over a pummeling bass riff, Jesus snarls, “Dying is dangerous, you can’t trust your buriers/They’ll steal your gold teeth and piss on your soul, Keith”.  It’s the creepiest intervention you’ll ever hear.

A lot of the songs on Drugs seem to be about the Bomb Party’s friends, whether real or imagined – there’s the lonely, suicidal Susie of “Susie’s Party” (“Susie had a party and no one came/ Ever since, she’s never been the same”), mad strangler Johnny, of “Johnny Took Her Breath Away” (“Johnny took her breath away/With an electrical cable”), the less than zero “Johnny Nero” (“Johnny Nero is a twat”), and even the infamous “Kill Your Wife” (“Get a knife/Kill your wife/Get a crowbar/Kill your grandpa”) is dedicated to Denis. I’m sure Denis was thrilled by that.

The whole album is just one long murder ballad, really, with bad-cowboy guitar slinging, crazy, hopping-mad whiskey howls, and midnight moans of pain and ecstasy. It still sounds as lethally doped-to-the-tits now as it did in ’86, and the really sadistic death rockers, like “Zombie Head” and “Our Love is Pushing Up Daisies”, are just pure evil. “Drugs” is authentically NASTY rock n’ roll, the kind of stuff you could base an interstate killing spree or a murder-suicide pact on. It is one of the most depraved rock records of the 1980’s.

Suffice to say, it’s a must-have.

I've Been Around And I've Tasted Dirt, And That's The Color Of My Shirt
Despite it’s gruesome slasher-rock sound and it’s anti-social lyrical tendencies, “Drugs” was a critical and commercial success for the Bomb Party, and they went on to play at several high-profile Euro rock festivals, as well as release two more albums, “Liberace Rising” and “The Last Supper”, before quietly imploding in the early 90’s, along with most of the former Grebo Gurus.

PWEI went on to become the Brit Beastie Boys. Zodiac Mindwarp, in case you haven’t noticed, is still the king of rock n’ roll. At least one of the Crazyhead dudes is in Zod’s touring band; another one of ‘em might drive the van. The Bykers are certified cult-rock gods (at least around here) and have splintered off into a zillion different flavors of freak. The Junior Manson Slags turned into noisy cyberdelic man-machines Creaming Jesus, and then I think they built a rocket and shot off into space. And the hairy, scary Bomb Party? Are they back in the graveyard, feeding the worms and writing death ballads from beyond? Are they strung out on the streets of Leicester, selling old Junior Manson Slags bootlegs for smack money? Did they sell out to the Man, and make a million dollars?

Naw, nothin’ like that. Drummer Mark Thompson went on to form grebo supergroup G.R.O.W.T.H. with members of GBOA and the Janitors. They released an album, “For Lack of Horses They Straddled Dogs” in 1994, but broke up soon after. Nowadays, he paints backgrounds for raves, among other art-y things. Bass player Sarah Corrina is in weirdo-cowpunks the Mekons, guitarist Steve Gerrard is a well-known UK club DJ, and vocalist Andy “Jesus” Mosquera is a painter. All of which is nice enough for them, but leaves us with very little in the way of blood and gore to remember ‘em by. So let us just drop the needle back down on “Drugs” one more time, and remember those glorious days when filth was in, and death was only the beginning.
“Well one man’s fish is another man’s crab, I loved you for real baby, when you were dead on the slab…”


- Sleazegrinder, still Grebo after all these years

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Modus Operandi

Frankie Latina Motion Picture

Horizon Movies

Starring Randy Russell, Michael Suttle, Barry Pouterman, Nichole John, Mike Bordacht, & Danny Trejo

Fifteen minutes into this movie, and I'm feeling obscure, foreign, distant, possibly followed, or even stalked. Better yet, its probably just impartial to the storyboard's logistics and consistency of an upcoming director judging from his badass cover. Any moment now, I predict to catch up to the film's main objective and synopsis, aside from an array of abstract, lo budget cinematography, pop culture art splattered and synched aside one boss soundtrack. Twenty two minutes into Modus Operandi and finally some awareness is brought to light. One dodgy, secret agent's sour deal leads to another deal gone terribly awry, and before I can blink an entire circus cast and crew of gangsters and strippers are assasinating each other over two briefcases . Unknowingly, I am swept away on Carribean cruise cinema liner, knowing not where it came from let alone ends. I'm thinking, with the amount of teeny, tiny bathing suits, burnt buns, scantily clad beach bods and cleavage running about, either Frankie Latina has a lot of pretty, pretty folks he calls friends, or I've just checked into the Hotel California equipped with a suana and all-female nudist colony. If one thing is for certain, a majority of this film's budget was used to allure in every valley girl and aspiring actress and model, to strip for a no name director who just made his mark on Hollywood's, sexploitation borderline, underground B-movie sector.

Fittingly, American Movie filmmaker, Mark Bordacht joins in on this 'broadploitation' for his first ever, major big broad budget, co-leading role, as Danny Trejo's sidekick and partner in grime, however, his character is hardly convincing enough of the sexist pig-headed, privately hired, black co-op assassin he plays, simply because of the self-motivational movie making background we already know him from. The film looks like it was some insane fun to make, depending on whether doing dope with a mixed-up seedy scene inside the CIA's drug cartels and hanging loose with Danny Trejo is on your list of award-winning fun to be had.

The Director of Photography went out his way to make an impact with bizarre, sadistic characters with costumes to accent the weird, rampant fetish thoughts that played a major orle in Frankie Latina's vision from the start. The death scenes are doable, Im just not sure if they're entirely believeable 100%. If you can look past a naked middle aged, CIA agent in the beginnning without turning your stomach or channel you will be thoroughly delighted to find this film isnt nearly as action-packed as it is chick-packed. Now we're to the end, and if I had a to desrcibe this movie with accuracy with a gun to my head, I would be one dead, Strutter. For those in love with Super 8 Shorts and 70's Grindhouse mixed with some Blaxploitation, hop on board or jump deck before you even get started. It is of fair certainty, that if this is the first we're seeing of Frankie Latina, it most definetly won't be the last.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Blaze Bayley

Blaze Bayley
The King Of Metal
Blaze Bayley Recordings

After Wolfsbane knocked everyone's dick in the dirt to end 2011, there was high hopes for front-man Blaze Bayley's return to all things metal in 2012. Expectations got even higher when he went with "The King Of Metal" as a title. I mean, fuck ... Blaze may not have set the world on fire during his time fronting Iron Maiden, but the guy's do-it-all-for-the-fans mentality, don't-let-the-bastards-grind -ya' down-ethic and working-for-a-living-charm has made him the definitive underdog to root for. Sure, he kept the seat warm for Bruce Dickinson during the alt-rock, grunge explosion, but what no one but Steve fuckin' Harris has the balls to say is that he saved Maiden's ass when Dickinson flaked out and didn't want to weather the shit-storm. Afterwords he got sacked when said former singer hopped on the reunion bandwagon, dusted himself off and record label/manager conspiracy and all still put out some of the most criminally underrated metal work on the planet. But the ever-revolving door of musicians may have finally caught up to him. "KOM" sounds more like a rushed release to get back out on the road than the anthemic efforts of year's past. It's muddy in parts, unfinished in others, and some of it's even downright cringe-worthy (see the news report-like lyrics of "Dimebag" - an ode to the fallen Pantera axe-man). You hate to say a cross word about such a good guy, but Blaze missed the mark here. Ideas start and sort of don't go anywhere. Still, for a guy who has arguably never had a dud he was in charge of up to this point, we can cut him some slack. There's enough here to still rock live (title track, "Fighter," "Black Country"), and yet another inspirational tear-jerking ode to really, and I mean really, really, really never letting the bastards grind you down ("One More Step). It's easily his worst record, but somehow it's still so god damned honest it'll probably end up being a classic. 5/10 -- B.J. Lisko

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Michael Rank

Michael Rank and Stag

"Donchu know you're my only friend?"

Swift jewel thief, Michael Rank, stylishly led the romantic, raggle-taggle gypsies in SNATCHES OF PINK - one of the memorably most under-rated underground rawk bands of the Post Hanoi Rocks eighties glam era. With an edgy guitar style not unlike an angrier Peter Buck from R.E.M., or Judah Bauer from Jon Spencer Blues Exlposion, Michael Rank crooned seductive, folksy ballads with one red cowboy boot steeped in pill crushing Johnny Thunders terrain, and the other in the Camus-reading Replacements college-rock gutter. A pretty boy Neil Young for art damaged Royal Trux and Chrome Cranks fans, his lusciously lyrical songs were always invested with real emotion, flickering with a compassionate, candle-lit ambience like Chick Graning's Boston band Scarce, but always punctured with these erratic, untamed bursts of wet cat shrieking, ala Mick Ronson, Buxton/Bruce, or the Only One's John Perry. Effortlessly straddling the trash and jangle genres, Snatches Of Pink made some of the finest music of their day. In A world full of lousy NY Dolls and vintage Aerosmith imitators, Snatches Of Pink were always a cut above 98% of the scarvey glam poseurs who jumped on Izzy and Axl's coat-tails, simply by cutting their own thoughtful, countryish path, devoid of the cheesy cock rock gesturing and corny, metal-head wanking, that made so many talent-free major label cornballs millionaires, in the spandex years. I remember buying "Send In The Clowns", a Flaming Lips L.P., a New Model Army twelve inch single, and the "Bucketful Of Brains" fanzine with Jeff Dahl on the cover, from Newbury Comics, in Harvard Square, like it was yesterday. There was indeed, a moment in time, when only Soul Asylum, Thee Hypnotics, and the Replacements could really hang with Snatches Of Pink- and as hard as it is to believe: Goo Goo Dolls were pretty good, back then, too! All his shit's better than the two songs a piece that Gin Blossoms and Counting Crows ever summoned. I remember thinking music could not get any worse than when grunge puked forth all those corporate jock Tarzans with their tedious, Ethyl Merman warbling Zep rewrites, pouting endlessly about smack and rainy days. Then, came the boy bands, nu-metal, rap-metal, Madonna knockoffs, slickly commodified R&B and ring-tone hip-pop. Needless to got much, much, much worse, as the five big media-monopolies merged and weaponized the entire entertainment industry, reinventing it as a huge tool of distraction, indoctrination, pacification, relentlessly training the dumbed-down masses to blindly accept slavery, torture, surveillance, fondling, austerity, and endless war as "normal". Thankfully, Brother Michael Rank has convened an intensely beautiful, all-star super group, from the culture-rich community of North Carolina's indie-rock royals, and his new album, "KIN", will variously remind you of Dogs D'Amour, Wilco, Kris Kristofferson, the Faces, John Fogerty, Shooter Jennings, Hank The Third, Townes Van Zandt, and the very, very best of Black Crowes' ouvre. It's an absolutely brilliant, beautifully packaged, double C.D., and as a wounded, old, songwriting front man, myself, I'd be painfully envious, but when there is this much honest and pure, raw, soul-power, being channeled into these many good songs, you can't help but feel more gratitude, than jealousy. This whole album totally resonates with me, and I have a dismal existence. It gives hope to the doomed, you dig? If you love Dave Kusworth & The Tenderhooks, Paul K. & The Weathermen, The Alarm, or the Waterboys, you ought to buy "KIN" by Michael Rank & The Stag, right now-I'm talkin' to you, Stu Gibson! I love his song, "Kin"-it reminds me of David Bowie's "Hunky Dory" and the first Wallflowers record-sweet, sentimental, gorgeous, and deep! Since the sad death of the American print-media, I don't get paid for writing about music, anymore, and can very seldom be bothered to bear witness, but this is an important album, and I'm not the kind of rock'n'roll refugee to keep something this worthy and powerful to himself. I only wish I could find a drummer this good-it hurts like hell, getting old, with no band. If you're one of the real rock'n'roll people, and you've ever suffered an irretrievably broken heart, please do get this collection-it's just beautiful. Sincerely.

-Pepsi Sheen

Monday, March 12, 2012

Flash Metal Suicide: Stars from Mars

That awesome demo I had
1988, self-released

"All my heroes are dead...I'm dying, too..." (Alice Starr)

"Do you remember the new romantics? Do you remember the stars From Mars? Do you remember promises, promises-I ain't broken none of ours..." (-Summer Favorites)

'Allo all my fellow forgotten rebels, former fuck-ups, failed rockstars, and Flash Metal folklorists. Today's no-class will be on one of the most beloved of all the nearly forgotten eighties trash punk bands, Los Angeles California's STARS FROM MARS. These guys never even made it as big as say, the Double O Zeroes back when their hair was all blonde, but sunset strippers who saw 'em in the clubs, will never forget how cool they were - totally disaffected, stand-offish bizarro decadents in a nighttime world all their own. Rubber suits and weird tattoos. I regret that I've done so much over the years to mar my own memory, cos I'm having trouble callin' up much in the way of autobiographical details and last I checked, there was almost zilch about them on-line. The Stars never became successful enough to get their own chapter in some mainstream rock encyclopedia, but that was alrite with us - in fact, it was the way that they seemed to always sabotage their own stardumb that impressed us the most. These guys were like the uncola of flash metal bands, in that they never gave a toss about becoming popular. It seemed like they reveled in making UNPOPULAR music. Truly underground rocknroll. We dug that thoroughly. Even if it was just a stance, we believed 'em. Lead singer, DAZZLE and his shady cohort, Alice, influenced me and alot of my friend's bands, growing up. Some of whom, then went onto fame and misfortune but ended up really impacting our entire little Sleazegrinding subculture.

Stars From Mars first sent me one of their early four song demo-tapes in '88 or '89, I guess-it was really fresh sounding at the time cos very few groups were doing any kinda music that reminded you at all of the Dolls or Dead Boys back then. It was all whammy bars and poodle perms. Stars From Mars, on the other hand, were trashy, fun, glamour pop with throwaway lyrics like "Kick Dat Cat". Me and Sleaze both waxed enthusiastic about these guys pretty much non-stop, throughout the first few years of our fanzine-ing careers, eternally rooting for these gender bending scuzz lords to catch as much lightning in a bottle in the studio as they did in all their photographs, but it never really happened. DAZZLE used to appear frequently in the pages of Propaganda, the glossy goth bible from back then, even occasionally gracing it's cover. DAZ cut an elegantly wasted, well-composed damned starlet profile like yer faves from  Hanoi Rocks and the Soho Roses, and Alice was just as swank.

They were one of them bands who were able to create a lot of buzz and excitement based merely on their
own shake appeal. They looked like they were gonna be big rockstars, they had that star flair down like vintage Bowie, Hollywood Brats, Queen, or Hanoi Rocks. They were regal subversives, sovereigns.

Stars From Mars were mostly a shambles live, and to my knowledge, they never seemed to get beyond the demo stage, recording-wise, but all those raw, early demos were an important influence on all us glammish punk upstarts back in the earliest daze of our own wasted years. Like alot of other wildly influential underground glam bands who never inked record deals, STARS FROM MARS were emulated by loads of Hollywood bands who did. I mean, EVERYBODY KNOWS that Gio from the Comatones is, irrefutably, the Greatest & Most Authentic Rockstar anybody's seen since Axl first started wearing bicycle-shorts in public and Izzy started racing BMX's, and  that Francois, the Dean Martin of Flash Metal, fumbled the ball, but the Comatones just never got it together to record and release a serious full-length that lived up to the promise of genius songs like, "Sexual Intellectual", "Routine Bleeds", and "Three Dollar Dress". Same with Stars From Mars. They'll always occupy an important space in the chrome hearts of those who know. Back in the late 80's, it was like, the trendy, affluent, college types had My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth. The nerds and geeks had R.E.M. and They Might Be Giants. The jocks and preps had stolen "Pump" and "Mother's Milk". But WE had the Ultras and Motorcycle Boy and Stars From Mars.


Before the Evil Empire's State Radio Propaganda Monopolies drove all the cool music mags outta business and bought the underground, like it was real estate, it was the more obscure bands that never seemed to really go nowhere that always really stole our hearts anyhow. Like when we first got the fake indie "Live Like A Suicide" album and thought that Guns N Roses were always gonna be one of our little cult bands like Motorhead and Hanoi Rocks, only to be horrified, later, when they were embraced by all our ignorant adversaries. The bands that nobody else was ever that wise to became really important to us, as kids. The Misfits, before Metallica ruined 'em. Tex & The Horseheads. The Gun Club.Tigertailz from England. Soho Roses. Gunfire Dance.Thee Hypnotics. The Trash Brats. The Zeros. Alien Sex Fiend. Demolition Boy. Kill City DragonsDogs D'Amour. Underneath What. Angels In Vain. The Freaks. Motorcycle Boy...these were OUR BANDS, y'know?  Almost exclusively, to this day. Like my ace cat used to repeat nightly, "Nobody cares, nobody remembers." But all these fringe band's cult-followings seemed to grow ever more passionate as they remained obscure, it became more and more elite, like all the fanatics of the Glamour Punks or Viletones.

I don't even remember what Alice played when he was in the Stars, guitar, I suppose, but one gets the impression that he and DAZZLE were having the Errol Flynn time of their young lives back then-absolutely OWNING the vampire clubs of Hollywood, together, reigning princes of glam hedonism. They were effortlessly, but obviously, the rulers of the roost in any room either one of 'em ever set a platform shoe into. We all know that Alice went on to form the unvanquished, unforgettably stellar ULTRAVIOLETS (who had to drop it to Ultras to appease some lesser band that sucked) before drifting off into obscurity and guest appearances on Gidget Gein elpees. GIZMO, the drummer, was in one of those ephemeral Sunset Strip bands called Seaweed Eaters for awhile in the early nineties when grunge was first rolling in like a cloud over Hollywood. And apparently, the luminous DAZZLE started going by Dominique at some point. I know they played some big showcases for industry people in NYC in the old days cos a dear old friend of mine was there takin' pictures. Another chick I know who knew ALL the wayward waifs and would-be idols of west coast Flash Metal told me she heard that DAZZLE did prison time for drugs - this was NOT a cat who'd fair well behind bars, or come out "rehabilitated" , one shudders to think.

Other reports had him involved in porn (True! He is/was married to big-boobs star Elizabeth Starr. - Sleaze), and even less savoury rumours I won't bother repeating here. Another friend said the Stars From Mars played at some gay niteclub in Hollywood regularly. Who knows? DAZZLE, WHERE ARE YOU NOW? There's at least, ten or twenty of us raggedy old glam hags who still remember your flashy trashy, supernova star power, and songs like, "We Got Tonite" and "City Roller". STARS FROM MARS were among the most important of the "Shoulda Been Contenders" nasty punk, lips 'n' high heels bands that time forgot.

-Pepsi Sheen (remembers everything)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Flash Metal Suicide: Armored Saint

Armored Saint 
March of the Saints
Chrysalis, 1984

“I Don’t listen anymore/ Action is what I need”

Heavy metal was always pretty literal-minded, ya know, like when Accept would release a record called “Midnight Highway” and the cover would have a chick, on the highway, ‘round about midnight, or when Rainbow released “Right Between the Eyes” and the guitar was smashing it’s way right between the guy’s eyes, or in the video for “Rainbow in the Dark”, when they had a RAINBOW in the DARK. Metal’s like that, man. But for all of metal’s thick-headed obviousness, I think Armored Saint trumped ‘em all. They called themselves Armored Saint, and goddamn if they didn’t fuckin’ dress like Armored Saints.

Years later, when the gig was up completely, the ‘Saint just started dressing up in jeans and black t-shirts- they mighta even cut their hair- and they’d talk in interviews about how they just grew outta the leather chestplates and broad swords, ya know, and so did the audience. But you never hear about Armored Saint anymore, do ya? Listen, if you start out wearing leather chestplates, FINISH wearing leather chestplates. If they woulda kept up the act, maybe they’d still be trotting out “Can U Deliver” to adoring throngs of aggro-Medieval flash metal enthusiasts everywhere.

What? They still are? Touring with Queensryche and/or Motorhead, you say ? Summbitch. Ah, just roll the re-cap, would ya?

Before getting snapped up by a major and fucking up their career trajectory in the process, Armored Saint were one of the most well-known and highly respected Flash Metal bands going.  They formed in LA in ’80-’81, around there, and they wore leather chestplates and the occasional Roman helmet. They ripped off Judas Priest shamelessly – two guitars cranked up really high, screeching vox, leather, spikes, motorcycles, smoke machines, the whole bit. And even if it was all a re-hash, it was still pretty bad-ass. They had three signature songs, these saints-in-armor- “March of the Saints”, their theme song, “Can U Deliver”, a rip-off of their own theme song, and “Madhouse”, which, if you heard it for the first time tomorrow, would sound suspiciously like an Anthrax song. But that comes later. At any rate, all three of these songs were primo examples of chest-thumping flash metal manliness, and they happen to be the first three songs on AS’s major label debut, (ahem) “March of the Saint”, which means you only really need to listen to the first half of their first album to hear the best of Armored Saint. Now that’s convenience!

But, in the interest of historical perspective, I oughta mention that Armored Saint's first vinyl appearance was the rough n' ready "Lesson Well Learned" on the seminal early-metal comp “Metal Massacre II” (Metal Blade, 1982), and that they self-released a three song EP (same sessions, and included "Lesson") in ’83 before gettin’ snatched up by Chrysalis during the Great LA Flash Metal Feeding Frenzy. Problem was, AS didn’t play cock rock, and they didn’t wear spandex, they wore leather chestplates. And they had good hair and all, but Sigue Sigue Sputnik had the greatest hair anyone has ever seen, but that didn’t get them heavy rotation on the Headbanger’s Ball either. So Armored Saint were kinda fucked, really. Big major label record, big ‘ol bus, money to burn…but I have yet to talk to an aging metal chick who’d list the Saint anywhere near her top 100 most fuckable glambangers. And no chicks equaled trouble in early 80’sflash metal. Just picture the scene- here’s these fuckers all trussed-up like Xena extras, chugging out proto-thrash metal in the opening slot of a Quiet Riot/Whitesnake tour. All you could hear between songs was the impatient snapping of bubblegum from the hussies in the front row, who’d already been waiting for 7 hours to show their tits off to Dave Coverdale. Flash Metal Suicide? The very definition, baby.

Ah, but fuck it, man. Armored Saint had an iron-clad contract, and they managed to slug it out for two more major label records (“Delirious Nomad”, 1985, “Raising Fear”, 1987) and a never-ending slew of theater tours before retreating back to Metal Blade records for a live album, “Saints Will Conquer” (1988), which re-established them as a non-poser, bang-thy-head METAL band. And then everything went all to hell. Their guitarist, Dave Pritchard, died of Leukemia, and their singer, John Bush, fucked off to be the 666th Anthrax frontman. The cat was still singing “Madhouse”, but now it was the ‘Thrax versh. Talk about yr lateral career moves.

The band attempted to soldier on without two the key members, but imploded around ‘91. In ’98, John Bush got together with Saint founder Joey Vera to talk ol’ times, and ended up getting the band back together. Meanwhile, Metal Blade bought the rights to the Chrysalis records and re-released ‘em, and goddamnit if everybody’s not as happy as can be these days.

Flash metal, by design, is a cold and ruthless bitch, a painted harlot born to die young. Yet, somehow, despite suffering more than their fair share of mortal wounds along the way, Armored Saint managed to yank victory outta the jaws of defeat. Armored Saint, the sonsabitches, are a Flash Metal Suicide in REVERSE.

I suppose that would be more exciting if they had more then three good songs, but what the hell. Did I mention that they used to wear leather chestplates?

Armored Saint Facebook

-Sleazegrinder, more sinner than Saint

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Movies About Girls Podcast 135

Another nitrous oxide-inhaling episode of the internet's wildest party awaits you!

Tonight, the gang takes on 1986's surreal small-town mayhem masterpiece, Blue Velvet 

Plus: Hits from Hell, the top 5 bottom 5 DVDs of the week, weird news, Songs about Girls, and lots more!
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PS: Songs on tonight's show performed by:
Russ Kennedy and the Little Wheels
The Banshees
Larry Hall
Frank Alamo
Roy Orbison 
Thanks for listening! 
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