Here is the usual prologue.
My blogger pal Deke over at Thunder Bay had a cool Northern Hemisphere Summertime Series between July and August.
Each week, he wrote about albums he spun during the summer.
Well, the real Earth summer is between December, January and February in the Southern Hemisphere.
So the good act that Thunder Bay is, boarded a Qantas plane, landed in Sydney, survived 14 days quarantine in a Sydney hotel and is finally here to present the “Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Series” with the great act “The Record Vault” opening up.
“Five Wicked Ways” the debut album from Candy Harlots finally came out in May 1992 after a long 5 years of trying to get a record deal.
Candy Harlots started in 1987 in Sydney by guitarist Ron Barrett, drummer Tony Cardinal, vocalist Mark Easton and bass guitarist Nick Szentkuti. Guitarist Marc De Hugar joined soon after.
Szentkuti was replaced by Scott Millard and then Leeno Dee. The addition of Dee on bass also gave them another songwriter on top of Easton and Barrett.
The band eventually got a record deal from Virgin Records after three shows but their manager turned it down.
And the guys couldn’t sign the contract themselves because their management deal didn’t allow them to do it without their manager approving it.
In between bad management decisions they still wrote and toured. They opened up for The Cult, Cheap Trick, DAD, Kings Of The Sun and The Angels.
But they still couldn’t get a major deal apart from the Virgin deal. So they released their debut 7″ single Red Hot Rocket in April 1989 on a small indie label.
A follow-up single entitled Danger (backed with Wrap 2 Arms) was released in May 1990.
They jammed and partied with members of Skid Row and Motley Crue.
Then tragedy struck.
In October 1990, founding guitarist Ron Barrett died after an asthma attack, at the age of 26.
Peter Masi was recruited. But the changes didn’t end here.
In February, 1991, guitarist Marc De Hugar was replaced by Phil Bowley.
And a month later, vocalist Mark Easton left after a final performance with Candy Harlots. The only founding member left at this point is drummer Tony Cardinal.
New vocalist Tony ‘Aiz’ Lynch joined the band soon afterwards. By now their management deal had also expired. And Virgin Records came knocking again and signed the band.
The Lynch-led line-up received greater media attention than the Easton-fronted group, and they remained popular with the Australian hard rock and heavy metal fraternity, gaining many new fans through Virgin-backed promotional activities.
In 1991, the “Danger” single got re-recorded and released with the new version of the band. I purchased the cassette single and CD single.
“The Tease Tapes” also came out in 1991 as a promotional release with “Hot Metal” magazine, to promote the upcoming album which was scheduled to be released in October.
But October came and went and still no album.
Then at the start of 1992, the “Foreplay” EP came out, which would have three songs from the album plus a cover from The Kinks.
And finally in May 1992, “Five Wicked Ways” came out.
The Candy Harlots had the LA sleaze of Motley Crue, Guns N Roses, Ratt and Poison. They could be like Skid Row, AC/DC and Kiss when they wanted to be.
“Backstreet Boys” kicks off the album with its AC/DC riffs. “Sister’s Crazy” is more grown up, a modern sounding pop song about the whole “Fallen Angel” and “Runaway” story.
“Danger” is back and its a melodic rock anthem. “Cheat On Me” is typical hard rock with a bit of punk sleaze.
My favorite is “Where No One Dares”. It’s a slow rock song with excellent guitar playing.
“My Flame” starts off with a pulsing bass riff and a bluesy riff that would make Georgie Satellites proud.
“The Lady Shakes” has Cardinal beating those drums to kick off the song before a bass riff kicks in that reminds me of Rachel Bolan.
“Wrap 2 Arms” is a Ron Barrett cut and its resurrected here, which is a good tribute to their founding guitarist. It’s sleazy and dripping with melted rock along with “The Wildest Way”.
Then the big Aiz Lynch penned “What Are We Fighting For” comes in at track 10 and so far it’s all killer and no filler.
“Mercenary Baby” is funky and rock like. “The Other Side Of Love” feels like a Dokken cut and the album is rounded with an acoustic “Devils Blues”.
And they released a few singles from the album in “Sister’s Crazy” and “What Are We Fighting For” with extra unreleased tracks and cover songs.
Like an AC/DC cover in “Can I Sit Next To You Girl”.
And then Aiz Lynch was fired.
The band got new singers, changed their name and then it ended.
But that small output is as good as any of the big bands.
Check em out.
And all the best in the New Year.