Tag Archive | 1970s Rock

Classic Record Re-Release: The Quick, Mondo Deco

Quick Mondo Deco Cover
Image Courtesy of It’s Alive Media

I don’t have any children, but if I did, you can bet I’d be one of those parents who goes on and on to my kids about how much better music was when I was a teenager, because it would be true. Ah, the 70s: All the power of Progressive Rock and the glory of Glam bookended by The Beatles and Punk — what a time to be a pop music fanatic! 1976 was a particularly memorable year for me, because I saw Queen on their A Night at The Opera tour, and also witnessed a history-making performance by The Who while they were supporting an album they’d released the previous October. I was fifteen years old! 1976 was also a year that ushered in major socio-political changes, which were enmeshed with a literal ‘New Wave’ of pop music when London’s The Damned released “New Rose” — the very first Punk Rock single. And the train kept-a-rollin.’

In this very fertile transitionary period between the rejection of arena rock bombast and the embracing of live music that was most effectively performed on a much more intimate scale, the LA club scene spawned a number of significant local bands that possessed cross-genre appeal, such as The Runaways, and The Quick. While The Runaways are now the subject of legend, The Quick had a much shorter shelf life, releasing just one album and a collection of demos during its three-year existence. The interesting thing about The Quick though is that its fan base has remained devoted and cult-like. So, to hear that the band’s 1976 Mercury Records debut, Mondo Deco, is getting the expanded-edition, re-release treatment is hardly a surprise to us, because we’ve been waiting for it for four decades.

The Mondo Deco re-release marks the first time that the album is available on CD, and it includes the newly remastered original Mondo Deco LP, plus the ten demos that got the band signed to Mercury Records, and one unreleased outtake. The package also includes extensive liner notes, a new essay on the band by Quick fan-club President (and Frontier Records founder) Lisa Fancher, track-by-track commentary by drummer Danny Benair, and never-before-seen Archival Photos. For fans, and anyone interested in that period of American Rock Music History, it is a must-own collection.

The Quick were far from a household name, so if you’ve never heard them, you’d be in the majority, but imagine if Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks had joined The Monkees, and you’ll have some idea of the band’s very distinctive sound. The Sparks‘ comparison is hardly incidental, as band members cite the fellow Angelinos as a primary influence. The aural similarities are most evident on songs like “No No Girl,” the complicated tale of a neglected child-turned-rebellious teenager who embraces increasingly self-destructive behavior in an effort to get her parents’ attention — and who may or may not have an unorthodox relationship with her Dad! “No No Girl” is also memorable for its appropriation of the piano waltz “Chopsticks,” and its bridge, which borrows heavily from the children’s nursery rhyme-cum-pop-standard, “A Tisket A Tasket.” Clever!

The entire Mondo Deco album is a classic of pure power pop bliss, but standout tracks include the band’s covers of the Lennon/McCartney-penned Beatles‘ tune “It Won’t Be Long,” and a sublime interpretation of “Rag Doll,” as popularized by The Four Seasons. One original composition that feels ready for some kind of lucrative licensing opportunity is “Hillary”;  an earnest love song to a Dominatrix whose lyrics comforted me greatly in the dark weeks immediately following the unfortunate results of the 2016 Presidential election. “Hillary, you are more than a girl to me / Hillary, you are all of the world to me/ Hillary, just the thought of you fills me with pain.” Sigh. There must some way for the band to cash-in on this song!

The Quick Band
Danny Benair, Billy Bizeau, Steven Hufsteter, Danny Wilde and Ian Ainsworth are The Quick

In case you’re wondering whatever happened to the members of The Quick, you’ll be happy to know that they all continued to have careers in music, though with varying degrees of success.  Steven Hufsteter (guitar), who wrote most of The Quick’s material, went on to form the seminal Los Angeles band The Cruzados.  Billy Bizeau (keyboards) went on to write “Queens of Noise” and other material for The RunawaysDanny Benair (drums) went on to fame behind the kit in bands like The Weirdos and The Three O’ClockDanny Wilde (vocals) and Ian Ainsworth (bass) formed the band Great Buildings. Later, Wilde formed The Rembrandts, whose song “I’ll Be There for You” was the theme song for the hit sitcom Friends, so we know that he never has to work again if he doesn’t want to. Sweet!

For such a near-completist collection of the band’s discography, the one glaring omission is a tune that’s inarguably The Quick’s best and most enduring song, “Pretty Please” — which was previously released only to the band’s fan club members, and as part of a Rhino Records compilation that is long out of print. A master of “Pretty Please” surely exists somewhere, so why was this singularly amazing song left off of this otherwise definitive collection? Was it due to the potentially un-PC lyric, “Bang Bang Goes The Big Gun / Tell Me Babe I’m the Only One”? I wish I knew. If you’re curious to hear the song, The Dickies covered in on their 1983 album, Stukas Over Disneyland, and you can hear The Quick’s transcendent demo of the song on Youtube at This Link.

Grade: A+

Mondo Deco will be released on June 1st, 2018 via Real Gone Music. Track listing is as follows:

Mondo Deco

1. It Won’t Be Long
2. No No Girl
3. Playtime
4. Hillary
5. Anybody
6. Hi-Lo
7. Rag Doll
8. Last in Line
9. My Purgatory Years
10. Don’t You Want It

Demos / Untold Rock Stories

11. No No Girl (Mercury Demo)
12. Teacher’s Pet (Mercury Demo)
13. Hi-Lo (Mercury Demo)
14. Hillary (Mercury Demo)
15. Rag Doll (Mercury Demo)
16. My Purgatory Years (Mercury Demo)
17. It Won’t Be Long (Mercury Demo)
18. Heaven on Earth (Mercury Demo)
19. Born Free (Mercury Demo)
20. Don’t You Want It (Mercury Demo)
21. Anybody (Unreleased Outtake)

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Rare Video from 1971: Alice Cooper Band Record “The Ballad of Dwight Fry”

Neal Smith, drummer for the original Band called Alice Cooper sent me the link to this video a couple of days ago and told me it was a clip he had never even seen before. Knowing how many fans of that awesome band I have as readers, I knew I had to post this as soon as I could get it together. This clip is especially great because you get to hear Neal and guitarist Michael Bruce have a very candid conversation about whether Neal or bassist Dennis Dunaway will provide the voice of the little girl in the song’s introduction. Neal twirls his sticks a lot and Kachina the snake also makes an appearance! Enjoy!

Must Read Book: Nick Kent’s Apathy For The Devil

It’s no secret to anyone born prior to 1980 that the best years – the truly Golden years – of Rock music are now decades behind us. By the “best” years, of course, I’m talking about the 1970s. Some of us were lucky enough to live through this truly magical decade that, when speaking of Rock music, came in like a lamb and went out like a lion. Think about it, the 70s embodied a sonic revolution like no other: ushered in softly by the final days of The Beatles – the band that invented everything – and ushered out by the glorious cacophony that was first wave British Punk Rock – a movement that’s influenced countless pop music genres that have arrived in its wake. From the Beatles to Punk Rock; there arguably is no decade that has had a greater impact than the 1970s, historically and influentially, on any modern music that is worth listening to.

The Seventies live on for music fans of a younger generation because so much of that music is archived and still available to anyone with an iTunes account. But just hearing the music isn’t the same as being privy to the rich and exotic history behind the people who made those songs come alive. That is why we must be grateful for rock journalists like Nick Kent, a rock critic and avid fan, who was at ground zero for almost everything noteworthy that happened musically between the years of 1970 and 1980,  for having captured his experiences living the rock and roll dream, and its nightmare flipside, in his recent memoir entitled Apathy For The Devil (Da Capo Press). I’ve read a ton of music bios and memoirs on the Seventies and, seriously, this is best book on the subject that I’ve come across.

Just how great is Apathy for The Devil? Well, I would venture that it’s an even more satisfying read than Bob Greene’s long-out-of-print gem Billion Dollar Baby, that writer’s inside account of going on the road with the original band called Alice Cooper – and that is lofty praise indeed, because that book is just insane. As a writer for England’s NME magazine, a first-hand participant in and keen observer of so much of rock’s from-the-gutter-to-the-good-life history, Kent’s memoir is both entertaining and edifying. I mean, the guy knew, met, interviewed and wrote about everyone: Led Zeppelin, Bowie, Pink Floyd, Roxy Music, The Whoeveryone. Certainly too many bands and artists to name and keep this review under 5,000 words. And the war stories he’s brought back from his close encounters will knock your socks off. I love this book!

Divided into nine chapters, one for each year, with 1978 and 1979 combined into one entry, Apathy For The Devil is quite a roller coaster ride, and at the end of the ride you may find many of your previously held opinions enriched or changed flat out. For example, the chapter entitled “1973”, in which he elucidates his understanding of the inner workings of The Rolling Stones and his assessment of just how Mick Jagger’s mind works, piqued my interest and enthusiasm for that band in a way that 40 years of their recorded music had been unable to do. Apathy For The Devil is, in Kent’s own words, about “surreal people living surreal, action-packed lives.” And although he was talking about rock stars when he wrote that, what you come to realize as you flip through page after page of vivid, fearless, darkly humorous and wickedly compelling prose, is that he is also talking about himself.

In the florid pages of Apathy For The Devil, we learn not only every gloriously gritty detail about Kent’s intimate personal history during ten years spent writing about every band that mattered, but also amazing details about the personal histories of dozens rock stars and music industry luminaries that are now household names; from the aforementioned legends like David Bowie and Mick Jagger to Chrissie Hynde (who was Kent’s girlfriend in her pre–Pretenders years) and the notorious, Punk Rock Svengali Malcolm McLaren, who had never even heard of Jimi Hendrix before he met Kent. As if the insider stories of Rock’s most decadent decade weren’t enough, the author also shares his decent into and recovery from heroin addiction in riveting detail. So, sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, it’s all here in a book that’s amazingly well-written and so much fun you won’t be able to put it down.

For Rocking hard enough to Crack a Skull, The Worley Gig gives Apathy For The Devil Five out of Five Stars.

Lyrics of the Day: Steely Dan's "The Royal Scam"

The Royal Scam

And they wandered in
From the city of St. John
Without a dime
Wearing coats that shined
Both red and green
Colors from their sunny island

From their boats of iron
They looked upon the Promised Land
Where surely life was sweet
On the rising tide
To New York City
Did they ride into the street

See the glory
Of the royal scam

They are hounded down
To the bottom of a bad town
Amid the ruins
Where they learn to fear
An angry race of fallen kings
Their dark companions

While the memory of
Their southern sky was clouded by
A savage winter
Every patron saint
Hung on the wall, shared the room
With twenty sinners

See the glory
Of the royal scam

By the blackened wall
He does it all
He thinks he’s died and gone to heaven
Now the tale is told
By the old man back home
He reads the letter

How they are paid in gold
Just to babble in the back room
All night and waste their time
And they wandered in
From the city of St. John without a dime

See the glory
Of the royal scam

Guess When These 10 Classic Bands Released Their Debut Albums!

In today’s Mental Floss fun Lunchtime Quiz, you must venture a guess as to whether an assortment of 10 Classic Rock bands released their debut albums in the 1970s or 1960s. It’s not as easy as you’d expect, but most hardcore music nerds over 40 should be able to ace it!