Label: Bomp Records
Price paid: $8
Purchased at: The Bop Shop, Rochester NY
“There is a very fine line between lawsuit and orgasm.” – Kim Fowley
Kim Fowley is sort of like California’s version of Malcolm McLaren. That analogy is a tad insulting to both Fowley and McLaren, but both were influential impresarios that shaped their respective worlds.
In the 60s Fowley had success as a producer, working with many bands and (with Gary Paxton) recorded the #1 novelty hit ‘Alley Oop.’ In the 70s he hatched a scheme to form an all-girl group as a vehicle for his songs- The Runaways were born.
This 1979 LP showcases some of his ‘discoveries’ of the period. None of the tracks/artists included met with chart success, and although not particularly rare today, the album is a history-rich nugget of west coast proto-New Wave.
- Randy Winburn – Somebody Else’s Girl
- Tommy Rock – Dream Rocker
- Laurie Bell – If You’re Gonna Change Your Heart
- Lonely Boys – Phantom Poster Man
- Kim Fowley – Letter From Hollywood
- Baby Roulette & The Rave Ons – Black Orchids
- Tommy Rock – High School
- Surprise – Maybe I’m Wrong, Maybe I’m Right
- Randy Winburn – Sunshine U.S.A.
- Venus & The Razorblades – Outside World
- Lonely Boys – Ugly Girl
- Dog Rangers– Nobody Seems To Know What Love Is
Randy Winburn – Vocalist from the 60’s psychedelic group ‘Nova Local.’
Tommy Rock – There’s scant info on this artist, other than he’s supposedly (unconfirmed) written for Bowie and Leon Russell. He released the single ‘Is It Love’ on the UK Spark label in 1978 followed by ‘Dancing the Night Away’ on Bomp in ’79.
Lonely Boys – Rather obscure Australian group that only appeared on a few Fowley-produced compilations. Band members had awesome names like Charlie Lunch, Icepick Slim, Jarryl Wirth, Miki Murder, and Will E. Wisp.
Baby Roulette & The Rave On featuring Laurie McAllister formerly of the Runaways – Laurie McAllister was briefly in The Runaways, performing with them live shortly before their breakup. She joined The Orchids as their vocalist in 1980, dying of asthma related causes on September 2nd, 2011. Baby Roulette were most probably a non-band made up of one or several Fowley artsists. McAllister sang lead vocals and played bass on this track, which was- as far as I know- their only song committed to vinyl.
Surprise – Little is known of this band, other than the track that appears on this compilation was written by Fowley and Bart Bishop (of the 70’s group ‘Providence, and brother of Randy Bishop from the band ‘Wacker’.) Bart supplies vocals on this track as well.
Venus & The Razorblades – Arguably the biggest and most well established group on this compilation, VATRB were a mostly-female post-Runaways Fowley concoction. The band’s best known track is the novelty song ‘Punk-A-Rama.’ Vocalist and writer Roni Lee also worked with equally obscure band Mars Bonfire, an early version of Steppenwolf. Guitarist Dyan Diamond was groomed by Fowley, but despite a record deal and the release of 1978’s ‘In the Dark’, she failed to find lasting success.
Dog Rangers – Little is known of the Dog Rangers, a studio band most likely. ‘Nobody Seems to Know What Love Is’ is credited to Tommy Rock and [Gary] Pickus. Gary is the inventor of the algorithm for the mobile app, “WOOGEY,” which transforms first names into customized ringtones. He’s also somewhat of a (self proclaimed?) big deal on the national dueling piano circuit since the turn of the century.
I love the sleeve art on this one. Sleazy and cheesy in a 1960’s schlock Ed Wood sort of way, it lets the consumer know that the music isn’t to be taken ‘too’ seriously. Whether ahead of it’s time or just by chance, the juxtaposition of neon pink and black would become a staple of the New Wave palette- here used to shocking effect. Despite being labelled as ‘volume one’ this is the only disc in the series.