The Radiators From Space Story, Part 3: Troubled Pilgrims

by admin  24th Jun 2014 Comments [1310]

By Brian Neavyn

 

The arrival of the Radiators From Space on the Dublin scene as punk emerged was followed in early 1977 by their super-charged debut single “Television Screen.” Their move to London that autumn without lead singer Steve Rapid coincided with the release of their red hot album TV Tube Heart. On this evidence the band were very much a contributor to the new punk rock sound. This early period and the band’s interaction with the London punk scene is covered in detail in UT#35. Linking up with producer Tony Visconti as the year ended, opened up possibilities for songwriters Philip Chevron and Pete Holidai. They grasped the opportunity to pursue a musical path that their earlier pre-punk music influences determined. In early 1978, the Radiators (re-named) launched their radical new sound. The powerful and catchy glam-pop single “Million Dollar Hero” very nearly broke into the charts and was the appetizer for their unique Ghostown album, which was recorded in summer 1978.

However the punk scene was changing and developing so rapidly month by month that all acts associated with the early ‘76/’77 scene faced an uncertain reception. For the Radiators, much of their punk fanbase had peeled away by the time Ghostown was released over a year later. The delayed release did not help their cause and the band broke up in early 1981. Despite two project-focused but brief activities in the late 1980s the Radiators from Space were no more. UT#36 carries the story of the Ghostown album. The album’s literary references were woven with criticism of the state and in particular the church. This story also covers the release in 1989 of the single “Under Clery’s Clock” where Phil Chevron, in revealing his homosexuality, wrote of the dating experience of a young gay man.

Throughout the ‘90s their musical legacy attracted an ever growing international interest. The Radiators From Space reformed in late 2003 to play a Joe Strummer tribute concert. Guitarists Phil Chevron and Pete Holidai were joined for the show by original singer Steve Rapid and a new rhythm section of Cait O’Riordan on bass and Gareth Averill (Steve’s son) on drums.

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The Sons of Adam: Saturday’s sons of the Sunset Strip

by admin  8th Jan 2014 Comments [2380]

By Greg Prevost & Mike Stax

 

From late ’65 until early ’67, the Sons of Adam were one of the most happening bands on the Sunset Strip, playing to packed houses at clubs like Gazzarri’s, Bito Lido’s and the Whisky A Go Go. They had the right sound, the right image, and some of the most talented musicians on the scene. They even had their share of lucky breaks, including an appearance in a major Hollywood movie and a deal with Decca Records. Arthur Lee even gave them one of his songs. Yet somehow the Sons of Adam never managed to lift themselves out of the Hollywood club scene and into the major leagues. Today they’re mostly remembered as the band Michael Stuart was in before he joined Love, or the band Randy Holden was in before joining Blue Cheer. What’s too often overlooked is that the Sons have a proud legacy of their own: three enormously great 45 releases, and a story that is long overdue to be told.

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Warsaw Pakt: Rocket-fueled rock’n’roll from the bunker

by admin  3rd Jan 2014 Comments [204]

Real high-energy rock’n’roll in its most potent form is best captured live and in the moment. Maximum thrills, minimum frills.

In 1977, London’s Warsaw Pakt took that premise one step further, recording their album live, straight through, direct to the cutting lathe – no tape master, no overdubs, no mixing. The record was pressed, packed and shipped overnight and was in the record stores the following day. No procrastination. Instant gratification.

“The idea was to bypass tape and gain a very accurate recording that would be louder and clearer than any other method then available,” remembers guitarist Andy Colquhoun.

The actual process was simple. “It was play Side One, break, tune up, play Side Two,” he explains. “This was done three times. The engineers were very concerned about us destroying the cutting lathe heads, which ran about five grand each. At first the sound in their control room at the top of the building was very restrained. By the third take of the two sides it was OK, but not as good as the room sound. They used that take anyway. The master was taken directly to the factory and manufactured overnight, and we were in Virgin Records at Marble Arch the following afternoon signing copies.”

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