Tag Archive | Re-Release

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)

The Beatles A Hard Day’s Night Gets 50th Anniversary Restoration and Re-Release!

A Hard Days Night One Sheet
Photo By Gail

Do you love The Beatles? I sure do. I remember watching the band’s first film, A Hard Day’s Night, for the first time on a black & white TV set tucked way in a family room that we called The Den, and being totally enraptured by The Beatles charming shenanigans and totally amazing songs. I was probably five years old at the time, and by then the film was two years past its 1964 release date. Since that day, I’ve seen A Hard Day’s Night countless times on TV — either broadcast or via recorded media– but I’d never had the chance to see it on a Big Screen until Criterion hosted a press screening last month to promote the upcoming release of the newly restored 50th Anniversary edition of the film. Let me tell you, it is really something special, and sitting there in the dark theater with images of John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr all larger than life, took me right back to being that little five year old girl who was (and still is) just completely nuts about The Beatles.

Hard Days Night Ticket Stub
This and Image Below Courtesy of Rogert Ebert Dot Com

Directed by the legendary Richard Lester and released amid the initial global frenzy of Beatlemania, A Hard Day’s Night follows the fab four through a fictionalized ‘typical day’ of running from hoards of crazed fans, traveling by train, hanging out in their hotel room, meeting the press, cracking wise, filming a live TV show and, finally, performing for a capacity crowd of those same of hysterical fans who simply will not stop screaming. There are couple fun subplots such as a hilarious running joke about Paul’s Grandfather (Played brilliantly by Wilfrid Brambell, who was actually on 50 years old when he made A Hard Day’s Night) and a sweet interlude where a dejected Ringo runs off to have his own brief misadventure. The film is just fantastic and features a dozen original Beatles songs that still sound better than any pop music released in the past 20 years or more. I could watch it over and over again.

A Hard Day’s Night returns to theaters on July 4th, 2014 (check local listings for showings your area), but this past week saw the release of Criterion Collection’s DVD/Blu-Ray edition of the film, featuring a new 4K digital restoration approved by Richard Lester with three audio options. Up to Criterion’s usual high standards, the package also contains a booklet with an essay by critic Howard Hampton and a number of extras; some of these are vintage documentaries about the film, but two of the best are new: an interview with author Mark Lewisohn tracing The Beatles’ history up to A Hard Day’s Night, and “Anatomy of a Style,” an astute analysis of Lester’s and editor John Jympson’s techniques. This collection is must-own for all Beatles fans.

Hard Days Night Movie Poster

About the video and audio restoration: Using the latest in digital restoration technology, the Criterion Collection was able to restore A Hard Day’s Night from the 35 mm original camera negative, which, though incomplete, was in excellent condition. The missing material was taken from two original interpositives. The image was scanned in 4K resolution on a Scanity film scanner to retain the character of the film’s original printing stock without any generational loss, and the raw data was carefully treated using a variety of digital tools to remove dirt, scratches, flicker and other damage. The final result was approved by director Richard Lester, and is in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.75:1. Stereo Audio Restoration and 5.1 Surround sound were supervised by sound producer Giles Martin (son of Beatles producer George Martin), with the soundtrack and songs remixed at Abbey Road Studios and Twickenham Studios by Martin and Sam Okell.

I will leave you with some fun A Hard Day’s Night Trivia! Enjoy!

John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the song “A Hard Day’s Night” in one night, basing the title on a Ringo-ism.

The soundtrack to A Hard Day’s Night was the band’s first record not to include any cover songs, and is also the only all-Lennon-McCartney LP in their catalog.

The film was titled Yeah Yeah Yeah in Germany, Tutti per uno (All for One) in Italy, Quatre garçons dans le vent (Four Boys in the Wind) in France, Yeah! Yeah! Tässä tulemme! (Yeah! Yeah! Here We Come!) in Finland, and Os reis do Iê-Iê-Iê (The Kings of Yeah-Yeah-Yeah) in Brazil.

A thirteen-year-old Phil Collins is an extra in the Scala Theatre scene.

Charlotte Rampling is one of the dancers in the nightclub scene, watching her then boyfriend Jeremy Lloyd (also in Help!) trade moves with Ringo on the dance floor.

The characters of Norm and Shake were based on the Beatles’ personal assistant Neil Aspinall (Norm) and road manager Mal Evans (Shake).

During the performance of “Tell Me Why,” director Richard Lester can be seen briefly toward the end of the song, walking by the front of the stage.

The words The Beatles are never spoken throughout the course of the movie.

A Hard Day’s Night competed for two Academy Awards, losing in both categories: best screenplay (Alun Owen) and best adapted score (George Martin). None of The Beatles’ original songs were nominated.

Watch the Trailer Below: