Monday, December 24, 2007

Wicked Lester - Wicked Lester (1971)

"Wicked Lester was a New York-based rock and roll group. The group was formed (as Rainbow) in 1970, and its most notable early members were bassist Gene Klein (later Gene Simmons) and rhythm guitarist Stanley Eisen (later Paul Stanley). In 1971 the band changed their name to Wicked Lester, and in the fall of that year they recorded an album for Epic Records, which was never released.
Wicked Lester's music featured elements of rock and roll, folk rock, and pop. Simmons and Stanley, feeling that the group lacked a unifying musical vision, began forming a second version of Wicked Lester in late 1972. This second Wicked Lester, with an emphasis on more straightforward rock and roll, as well as on theatrics, became Kiss in early 1973.
During their brief existence, Wicked Lester performed in public twice. The first show took place at the Rivoli Theatre in South Fallsburg, New York in April 1971. The second, during the summer of 1971, was at an Atlantic City, New Jersey hotel hosting a B'nai B'rith Youth Organization event. Not long after that show, the band suffered a major setback when they had all of their musical gear stolen.
After a chance meeting with Electric Lady Studios engineer Ron Johnsen, Wicked Lester was given the opportunity to record some demos in the fall of 1971. Johnsen, who produced the demo tape, shopped it to a few labels, with no success. Eventually the tape was screened by Epic Records, who purchased the masters and agreed to fund the recording of a full album.
The entire recording process, which adhered to a haphazard schedule, took nearly a year to complete. When the completed album was presented to Don Ellis, Epic's A&R director, he stated that he hated the album and was not going to release it. The next day, Wicked Lester manager Lew Linet requested and received the group's release from Epic Records.
It was at this time that Klein and Eisen (now using the stage names Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley) decided that one of the reasons for Wicked Lester's lack of success was their lack of a singular image and musical vision. They made the decision to start a new version of the group, and began auditioning for a drummer in the fall of 1972.
Whereas Wicked Lester's original sound was rooted in varied musical styles (folk and pop, for instance), when Simmons and Stanley decided to recruit new members, they also made the decision to focus on a more aggressive and simple style of rock and roll. The first new member added to Wicked Lester was drummer Peter Criss, who had placed an ad in Rolling Stone. The new Wicked Lester, without a recording contract, began a strict and regular regimen of rehearsals.
In November 1972, the group arranged a showcase with Don Ellis, the Epic Records executive who earlier had rejected Wicked Lester's album. While one Epic executive, Tom Werman, was impressed by the power and theatrics of this new incarnation of Wicked Lester, Ellis once again turned them down. As Ellis was leaving, Peter Criss's brother (who was drunk) vomited on his foot.
In early December, Paul Stanley placed an ad in The Village Voice stating, "LEAD GUITARIST WANTED with Flash and Ability. Album Out Shortly. No time wasters please," rather than the historically incorrect "with Flash and Balls." The ad ran for two issues (December 7, 1972 and December 14, 1972) and the band had to run several sessions of auditions. One early audition was by the strange Paul "Ace" Frehley who showed up wearing different colored shoes. Frehley was asked back for a second audition and was a member of the band by Christmas 1972. Within a few weeks, the group had changed its name to Kiss and played their first concert on January 30, 1973.
The proper recording sessions for Wicked Lester's album, which began in November 1971 at Electric Lady Studios in Greenwich Village, took place during multiple sessions and were finished in July 1972. The album was a mixture of original material and covers, showcasing the group's eclectic style. Three of the songs recorded for the Wicked Lester album would later resurface as Kiss songs, with varying degrees of similarity:
- "We Wanna Shout It Out Loud": A cover version of a song that was originally recorded by The Hollies in 1970. The chorus would serve as the inspiration for "Shout It Out Loud" from 1976's Destroyer, although the two songs are completely different in every other respect.
- "Love Her All I Can": Written by Paul Stanley, this would resurface on 1975's Dressed to Kill. Both versions feature similar arrangements.
- "She": Written by Gene Simmons and Steve Coronel prior to the formation of Wicked Lester, this was also re-recorded for the Dressed to Kill album. The melody and arrangement in the two versions are nearly identical, although the original had congas and a flute that the Kiss version did not.
The only part of Wicked Lester's album to actually be released, initially, was the cover art, which was used for The Laughing Dogs' debut album in 1979. CBS Records, who owned the rights to the album, remixed it and planned to release it in late 1976 to capitalize on Kiss's commercial popularity. Kiss and Neil Bogart, the president of Casablanca Records (Kiss's label), purchased the album from CBS for $137,500 and never released it. Eventually, Kiss bought Bogart's share outright. Three songs from the album ("Keep Me Waiting," "She," and "Love Her All I Can"), however, were released in 2001 as part of Kiss's five-disc box set.
Source: Wikipedia

Interesting facts:
- (We Want To) Shout It Out Loud was originally recorded by The Hollies and is not the same song as Shout It Out Loud from 1976's Destroyer album.
- Wicked Lester lead guitarist, Steven Coronel, was a mutual friend of Gene and Paul's and introduced the two of them.
- Neither Paul, nor Gene, EVER want these recordings released because they think they are horrible (Paul calls the Wicked Lester recordings "eclectic crap").
- Wicked Lester only played together twice before recording the album.
- Other songs recorded include Eskimo Sun (which later appeared in a vastly different form as Only You on Music From The Elder), Suitor, About Her, Long Road, and Stanley The Parrot (which became Strutter on KISS' first album).
- The Wicked Lester album was produced by Ron Johnsen who also produced Peter Criss' pre-KISS album, Chelsea in 1971.
- The proposed cover for the Wicked Lester album features an evil-looking young boy sitting on some steps with a dog. This cover would resurface in 1979 (CBS Records had placed it in storage) on an album for the group, The Laughing Dogs.
- Gene and Paul sang a commercial jingle for AMC trucks that got them the exposure needed to gain studio time with Eddie Kramer to record the demos for an album deal.
Source: Kiss Discography 1971-75

Tracklist: 1. Sweet Ophelia, 2. Keep Me Waiting, 3. Love Her All I Can, 4. Simple Types, 5. She, 6. Too Many Mondays, 7. What Happens In the Darkness, 8. When the Bell Rings, 9. Molly (Some Other Guy), 10. Shout It Out Loud, 11. Long, Long Road.
Download (46 Mb): MegaUpload / Rapidshare


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Vio-Lence - Oppressing the Masses (1990)

For all you metal heads and Machine Head fans out there, here's a hard to find album by Vio-Lence featuring both Robb Flynn and Phil Demmel on guitars.
"Vio-Lence was a thrash metal band formed in 1985, that released a few demo tapes, one EP and 3 LPs between 1985 and 1993.
After establishing a secure line-up with Phil Demmel and Robb Flynn on guitars, Dean Dell on bass, Perry Strickland on drums and Sean Killian on vocals, they released a demo tape on Mechanic Records in 1986 .
Soon after releasing their demo tape they entered the studio to record their debut album, called Eternal Nightmare, a seven track album released in 1988. Eternal Nightmare suffered in lack of promotion despite being well accepted by the (thrash) audience and critics.
Together with the band Forbidden, they were labelled the new promises of bay area thrash and in 1989 they struck a deal with Megaforce Records to release their second album, titled Oppressing the Masses. Around that time, Perry Strickland substituted Tom Hunting of Exodus, yet only for a few shows, denying the possibility of staying permanently.
Finally in 1990, Oppressing the Masses was launched on Megaforce Records with better distribution and marketing than their debut, Eternal Nightmare. A video for the song "World in a World" has also been filmed.
In 1991 they released an EP bearing the name Torture Tactics, which included three studio songs (old songs from the demo era which were recorded during the Oppressing The Masses sessions) and one live track from the Oppressing The Masses tour.
Internal conflicts in 1992 resulted in Robb Flynn's departure from the band. He, along with Adam Duce, Logan Mader and Tony Constanza formed the seminal groove metal band Machine Head. Vio-Lence started to record their third and last studio album aptly titled Nothing to Gain, which was released in 1993 and was followed by Perry Strickland's departure, the result of the drummer's decision being the dissolution of the band.
Phil Demmel, Dean Dell, Ray Vega and Mark Hernandez formed a half-thrash band called Torque which disbanded after releasing a studio album and playing several live shows. Demmel then went to form Technocracy. Robb Flynn remains active in the metal community as the guitarist and singer of Machine Head. Phil Demmel is now in Machine Head and has been since before the release of Through the Ashes of Empires".
Source: Wikipedia

Tracklist: 1. I Profit, 2. Officer Nice, 3. Subterfuge, 4. Engulfed By Flames, 5. World In a World, 6. Mentally Afflicted, 7. Liquid Courage, 8. Oppressing the Masses.
Download (95 Mb): MegaUpload / Rapidshare

Vio-Lence Official Site / Vio-Lence @ Wikipedia

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Runaways - School Days (1978)

The Runaways performing their hit song "School Days" live at a German TV show in 1978.

The Runaways - Forever Lost?: Live In NYC '76 & Oslo, Norway '78

Here's a little treat for all fans of the greatest all girl and ever - The Runaways. The vinyl only live bootleg "Lost Forever?" has 6 tracks recorded in New York City in 1976 on side A, and 7 tracks from Oslo, Norway on the B side.
The tracks from Norway with Joan Jett on vocals are nothing but amazing. The band really took a gigantic step forward when Jett became the singer. Too bad they only lasted a year after that - where's the reunion?

Tracklist: 1. California Paradise, 2. Cherry Bomb, 3. Take It Or Leave It, 4. Don't Use Me, 5. Johnny Guitar, 6. Dead End Justice (1-6 Live In NYC 1976), 7. Wasted, 8. School Days, 9. You're Too Possessive, 10. You Drive Me Wild, 11. Waiting For the Night, 12. Little Sister, 13. C'mon (7-13 Live In Oslo, Norway 1978).
Download (76 Mb): MegaUpload / Rapidshare

The / The @ MySpace / The Runaways @ MySpace / The Runaways @ Wikipedia

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Banjo & Sullivan - The Ultimate Collection 1972-1978 (2005)

"It's a tragic story - struggling musicians who finally experience success only in death, that which they could never achieve in life. Banjo & Sullivan disappeared amid a series of heinous homicides and were basically forgotten-–until now, that is.
Kentucky-born guitar ace Roy Sullivan was a Nashville session player in the '60s before teaming with Adam "Fingers" Banjo, a banjo picker from Mississippi. Their 1972 debut album, Two Silver Tongue Devils (Who Ain't Got a Clue), was followed by 1974's Wasted Banjos and Drunken Guitars. Sullivan then married Gloria Harrison, a respected studio singer, who joined the group on piano and backing vocals. In summer 1975, "I'm at Home Getting Hammered" hit #34 on the country chart and "She Didn't Like Me, but She Loved My Money" reached #23. In 1977, Banjo married backup singer Wendy Clark and she joined on backing vocals and tambourine.
The next year, while touring in support of the latest album Where the End Meets the Road and the single "Lord, Don't Let Me Die in a Cheap Motel," B&S checked into the Kahiki Palms Motel after a rousing run of gigs. While the exact details of the grisly crime are unknown, what is certain is that Gloria, Wendy, and roadie Jimmy Cracker were murdered there by a group later dubbed the Devil's Rejects. Roy and Adam were never found and were presumed dead".

"Banjo and Sullivan is a group of fictional characters created by Rob Zombie, appearing in his second feature film, The Devil's Rejects. They were a group of unlucky musicians who ran into Otis B. Driftwood and Baby Firefly at an old motel".
Source: Wikipedia

Tracklist: 1. Dick Soup, 2. I Don't Give a Truck, 3. Honeymoon Song, 4. I'm at Home Getting Hammered (While She's Out Getting Nailed), 5. Killer On the Lamb, 6. I'm Trying to Quit, But I Just Quit Trying, 7. She Didn't Like Me (But She Loved My Money), 8. Roy's Ramble, 9. Lord, Don't Let Me Die in a Cheap Motel, 10. Free Bird.
Download (69 Mb): MegaUpload / Rapidshare

Banjo & Sullivan @ MySpace