gullbuy music review

Stiv Bators


LA Confidential




Stiv Bators CD coverLA Confidential is a new reissue of Stiv's LA, LA album, with a rearranged track listing and a bunch of bonus tracks. It comes off way better than Bomp's reissue of his Disconnected album.

It's Cold Outside and The Last Year were recorded on a demo tape in Cleveland in 1978 with Jimmy Zero (guitar) and Johnny Blitz (drums) of Dead Boys and Frank Secich on bass. As the band headed west towards LA, it completely fell apart, culminating with a session in the desert where the whole band (except Frank) deserted and equipment was ritually burned. Upon reaching LA, a new band was put together.

Cold Outside, The Last Year, Circumstantial Evidence, Not That Way Anymore, I'll Be Alright, and I Stand Accused were recorded in 1979 with a band that included David Quinton )the drummer from the Toronto band The Mods) and Frank Secich and Eddy Best. These tracks are quite fine. They have a heavy 60s feel, but the rotten feeling I got from the Disconnected album is nowhere to be heard. Jim Mankey (part of the classic Sparks lineup) engineered the session. He was already off balance because he thought punks were dangerous thugs, when Kim Fowley came into the session with a bunch of people, including Joan Jett and Jimmy Pursey. All of them recorded a version of Louie Louie with new lyrics, called LA, LA. That track is included here, though it isn't anything much, aside from a historical document. In this same category is Morrison Rant, recorded December 28, 1980 at The Ritz in NYC as Stiv gave a Jim Morrison imitation during his intro to his Moby Grape cover of Too Much To Dream.

There are a few ace covers on this disc. His 1987 cover of Moody Blue's Story In Your Eyes is my favorite track on the CD. It contains everything a great cover should - a very new interpretation, passion and enthusiasm.

Using the same band as the Moody Blues cover, Have Love Will Travel (a Sonics cover) was recorded in 1987. The band was the Little Kings, with Texas rockabilly artist Charlie Sexton. the tracks were recorded in Westbeach, Brett Gurewitz's (of Bad Relegion) newly launched studio.

His cover of The Choir's It's Cold Outside became the first 7inch he released as a solo artist. It came out on Bomp, backed with The Last Year. Both songs are excellent.

The last cover is interesting. The Damned and Dead Boys were always intense rivals in the early days. No one would have ever thought that Stiv would make a band with Brain James of The Damned, but that is exactly what he did with The Lords of the New Church. This CD has a 1980 rehearsal of the first time they ever played The Damned song Neat, Neat, Neat. Brain James sounds spot on, Stiv is making up the lyrics, but EVERYONE knows that song, so Stiv and the band do pretty well, and the version kicks.

Of the originals, I like the alternate mix version of Circumstantial Evidence best. It sounds like early Who, and has a much more jangly sound than the regular (to my ears sterilized) version that originally came out on the LA, LA record. I can listen to this song over and over.

Plenty of good material on this disc. If you have been curious about what Stiv Bators did after Dead Boys and before Lords of the New Church, pick up this disc and leave Disconnected in the store.

---Carl, February 1, 2005