Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault And Thunder Bay Down Under Summertime Spin Series – Candy Harlots

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.

A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The B-Sides For Engaging With Fans

Remember how cool it was to discover new bands or songs from the B-sides of singles.

Like when I purchased the “Creeping Death” single and I first heard “Am I Evil” from Diamond Head and “Blitzkrieg” from Blitzkrieg. Or picking up the Whitesnake singles to “Here I Go Again” (and hearing “Guilty Of Love), “Give Me All Your Love” (and hearing “Fool For Your Loving and Don’t Break My Heart Again”), “Is This Love” (and hearing “Bad Boys” and “Standing in the Shadow”) and “Still Of The Night” (and hearing “You’re Gonna Break My Heart Again”).

Europe also promoted their back catalog with the release of “The Final Countdown” single. On the B-side there was the excellent “On Broken Wings”. Def Leppard also went into the archives when they put non album tracks “Ride Into The Sun” and “I Wanna Be Your Hero” as the b-sides to “Hysteria” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me” respectively.

Throughout music history, the b-side has often thrown up an extra, unexpected treat. And with technology advancing, the vinyl b-side is a thing of the past, and when CD singles started coming out, the B-side was relegated to a four song EP while the MP3 introduced the era of cherry-picking and the b-side was dead forever.

One of my favourite rock acts from Australia “Candy Harlots” had real good single releases. I still have the original 7 inch single of the Leeno Dee penned “Danger” that was with Ron Barrett (RIP), Mark Easton, Leeno Dee, Tony Cardinal and Marc DeHagar. On the B-side was the Ron Barrett penned “Wrap 2 Arms”.

Then a few years later came the “Danger” CD Single. However this time the B-side was another Ron Barrett penned song called “Hot Love Child”.

The intention of the single was for artists to double up with releasing two great songs at a time.

“The Beatles” single releases came to be known as the “Double A-sides”. In the Seventies, the second cut was even seen to overtake its a-side: “Beth” from Kiss comes to mind. It was their biggest hit and it was a b-side to “Detroit Rock City”. By the Eighties, the B-side started to become a method for releasing versions of songs that were not officially released. Some bands used demos of unreleased songs, while others used live recordings of released songs or demos of released songs. Other bands used the B-side as a way to record cover songs.

Bon Jovi took the “unreleased demos of songs plus liver versions of released songs” route initially with each single, while Metallica took the “demos of released songs plus cover songs route”. Both formats worked and fostered a connection with fans that ended up with both bands releasing  albums that celebrated their own paradigm.

Bon Jovi came out with the boxed set” 100,000,000 Fans Cant Be Wrong” which focused on the unreleased songs. They did it again with the 2014 re-issue of “New Jersey”.

Metallica brought out “Garage Inc” which further built of the culture that both bands created.

Motley Crue tried to get in on the act with their “Supersonic And Demonic Relics” release.

Just recently Machine Head did a similar concept with “Killers and Kings” and their cover of Ignite’s “Our Darkest Days”/Bleeding”. It was a creative release that had four different covers based on Tarot Cards. As a fan, I purchased all four of the covers and they are still wrapped in plastic.

Coheed and Cambria released all the demos plus a few unreleased songs as part of the Super Deluxe release for “The Afterman” releases.  We, (the fans) lapped it all up.

Those albums that I purchased, I played them over and over (especially the demo/unreleased songs). However, all that time and devotion from all the fans was not counted by any metric so the artist had no idea the engagement the fans had with those releases.

All that mattered was the flawed business model of the initial purchase.