Right now in 2022 they may not openly want to admit this, but there was a time back at the start of the ‘80s when the uber cool indie Spillers Records emporium in Cardiff, Wales, really was the place to go for all your US metal needs. If you wanted to hear Y&T’s immense ‘Earthshaker’ record, or be knocked bandy by The Rods self-titled platter following both of them getting rave reviews in Sounds that record shop was where you would find them. You could keep the NWOBHM, that was already old hat by 1982, especially when copies of the “life changing” (not only for the band, but for us too) self-financed debut record from a certain LA based band known as Motley Crue finally made its way across the Atlantic and into the window of a certain shop on the Hayes.
I remember it like it was only yesterday, looking in the right-hand window of the shop and seeing that leather groin cover staring right back at me. It’s import price tag would certainly have meant me forgoing a few other music purchases that month, but following yet another rave review in Sounds just a few weeks earlier for said album I just had to have a copy, and boy oh boy was it ‘Red Hot’…no wait, that came a couple of years later didn’t it. Ha!
Let’s face it, Motley Crue never topped that self-released debut record, in fact they then went on to completely ruin it just a few months later with a godawful Roy Thomas Baker remix of it pre the release of ‘Shout At The Devil’. However, via that legendary 10 track Leathür Records version they introduced a whole new generation of cool kids to the visual and aural delights of glam rock, their influence stretching all the way from the Starwood, Whisky a Go Go, and Roxy music venues of their home county right through to Bogiez in Cardiff, where if you asked the likes of Rankelson and Tigertailz who they really wanted to be, Motley Crue would have been top of the list.
So, what the hell has all of this got to do with ‘Bound For Hell: On The Sunset Strip’ I hear you ask? Well, this 21-track compilation of the LA bands that didn’t quite have the same worldwide influence as Motley Crue, takes you on a journey back in time to a place where there weren’t all the sub-genres that metal/hard rock is plagued with today and every new band was seemingly just looking to have a good time, whilst making, what they thought was, awesome music in the process.
Of course, the reason a majority of the bands captured here never got further than playing mainly local shows was because they only had maybe one or two great songs at most, but just like the four amazing, ‘JobCentre Rejects’ albums proved for the lesser-known bands of the NWOBHM scene, there’s certainly nothing wrong with doing a deep dive into the underbelly of a scene, as you never know quite what long lost musical gems you might find.
Case in point here being the opening double whammy (bar) of ‘Going To The City’ by Stormer and ‘Cocaine’ by L.A. Rocks, the former a glorious slab of Van Halen influenced rock shot through with some angelic (as in Punky Meadows’ band not Mensi’s mob) vocal harmonies whilst the latter could very easily have come from an early Tygers of Pan Tang release, and in the process sounds like the start of the NWOLAM movement that never quite got past the release of this 1979 released single.
The juxtaposition of these lesser known bands and how they deserved (in some cases) to sit alongside those that then made it to the next level by signing major label deals is exemplified well here via the likes of Lizzy Borden, Armored Saint, a very raw sounding Black N’ Blue, and Rough Cutt all getting a look in alongside the likes of Odin, V.V.S.I and Knightmare II, and if you were wondering if the female end of the scene is represented then the likes of (the Rock Goddess sounding) Jaded Lady, (the Maiden-esque) Hellion, (the more new wave/Benatar sounding than I expected) Bitch, Leather Angel (who featured Terry O’Leary who then went on to write better material with Jaded Lady) and the melodic rock of Lisa Baker are all here to show you it wasn’t just the men who got to wear the eyeliner and Aqua Net back in early 80s LA.
There are a few possible turkeys included, because not everyone is going to be the next Van Halen, but I’ll let you decide which tracks you might want to flick through, as I found myself compelled to listen the whole 21 track onslaught, largely due to the brilliant 144-page coffee table book written by Katherine Turman (co-author of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal) that accompanies the deluxe 2LP box set. This is a book that takes you on a band-by-band rollercoaster ride through the LA scene, and unveils many interesting facts along the way, like Black Sabbath’s Bill Ward once briefly being a member of Max Havok as were Quiet Riot’s Carlos Cavazo and W.A.S.P.’s Tony Richards. Who knew that eh? Not me.
The perfect companion piece to Deadline Music’s excellent 2005 released ‘Hollywood Rocks’ box set ‘Bound For Hell: On The Sunset Strip’ is available to pre-order right now across a multitude of formats to suit all budgets, starting from an entry price point download or CD and going right up to the 500 only coloured vinyl Poser Proof edition wallet buster.
This is not just a set for heritage rock fans though as ‘Bound For Hell: On The Sunset Strip’ awaits a whole new generation of rock fans to influence and corrupt.
But it Here
Author: Johnny ‘Aquanet’ Hayward