Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Trashy Fun

Today in Music History:

In 1969, Elvis Presley was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, on sale for 35 Cents.
Toward the end of the eighties there was a serious glut of hair metal bands. Seems like everytime you blinked there was another one. Each one was worse than the one before, making me wonder how in the hell did these guys get a contract. All was not bad though, every once in a while a decent one emerged.

Faster PussycatIn 1987 whilst browsing in a record store, homercat came across an album that caught his eye. The first thing that I noticed was the name of the band. Lifted straight from a Russ Meyer flick, or at least I hoped. Looking at the band, I groaned inwardly and thought oh no, another hair metal band, although they had a glammish look about them.. Back then I was willing to buy albums without having ever heard of the artist. The name of the band, the cover and the song titles had me forking over money in no time.

Upon returning home I played this new disc by this group called Faster Pussycat. I was immediately struck by how this band had lifted most of it's licks from the New York Dolls and the lyrics were mostly juvenile, almost sleazy and yes it was definitely glam rock. Gosh darnit, I loved this album, even though every fiber of my being screamed ...must hate pussycat...I played the piss out of this album and everyone I played it for loved it. From the first chords of "Don't Change that Song" to the rocker "Bottle In Front Of Me" Faster Pussycat shows why sleazy rock and roll is fun. It's a shame a lot of folks missed out on what is one of the best glam rock album of the 80's. The songs are campy and fun, songs like "Bathroom Wall" and "Babylon" show the campy side , while "Smash Alley" and "City Has No Heart" so they can write more than songs about sex.

This Hollywood metal band (whose name was indeed lifted from a Russ Meyer flick)were signed by Elektra in 1986 and released their debut album in 1987. Unfortunately they peaked commercially two years later with the gold album Wake Me When It's Over, and the Top 40 single "House of Pain." Although their next album, 1992's Whipped, hit number 90 on the charts, it fell off quickly and pussycat was then doomed. Here came the flannel clad, grunge artists, which effectively killed most of the eighties bands. The hard rock audience had changed and had no patience for Faster Pussycat's trashy glam metal. I never really got the grunge thing and really disliked most of it. So much so that I actually went into my country music phase, because I couldn't stand this new stuff. How exciting to watch a bunch of guys in flannel, hardly moving when they played their songs about how bad their rich lives were.

So Faster Pussycat split, and singer Taime Downe formed the industrial/goth outfit the Newlydeads (along with a former member of another former L.A. glam pop outfit, Bang Tango's Kyle Kyle)With America experiencing a resurging interest in '80s glam pop by the early 21st century, Faster Pussycat reunited for a tour, which was a definite hit with America's thriving metal underground. But instead of an album of all-new material coinciding with the tour, a collection of old tracks remade as techno remixes was issued, entitled Between the Valley of the Ultra Pussy, which for all intents and purposes killed this band for good. This album was absolutely horrid and it was unlistenable. One of the worst things I ever heard and I've heard a lot of crap. 11 Faster Pussycat classics remade into a den of industrial dance buffoonery. Vestiges of the original tracks leave their ghostly signature -- a guitar riff here, a snatch of lyrical catch phrase there. But mostly, Ultra Pussy is a short-circuited mess.

Be that as it may to this day their 1987 debut album is still a favorite of mine and if by chance you've never heard it then check out these two tracks. If you're into glam you'll probably end up hunting down this album.

Babylon by Faster Pussycat
Bathroom Wall by Faster Pussycat
Buy It

Funny Toon