Max Bell


Quite an interesting article from this band`s earliest days. These days they are everywhere, as it is high fashion to wear t-shirts with this band on it by people who have never listened to their music. It is indeed a strange world.


`Waitin` for World War III` blues

By Max Bell

Joey Ramone is wandering around the empty Roundhouse, looking vacant and clutching a brand new camera under his arm like a teddy bear substitute. A slow trickle of other Ramonites follow in his wake, yawning. Enthusiasm isn`t one of their strong points, perhaps because they look a mite nervous underneath those sub-Fifth Dimension hair cuts.
You have to admit they are pretty weird. Four guys straight out of the teenage wasteland hanging loose while waiting for the advent of World War III. Four kids who came out of Forest Hills, New York suburbia, who all wanted to fight in Vietnam but ended up playing rock `n` roll instead, “cuz there`s nothin` left on the radio ta listen to no more.”
I`m not sure if they provide what I want to hear on my radio either, their interpretation of the rock ethic being akin to having your brain pulverised by a bloody mallet, but they got spirit. Waiting for their sound check, bass player Dee Dee is already complaining about the lack of power leaving his stack and the English sound crew aren`t taking the slating too kindly. The grudge will later culminate in a screaming row between band and console at the concert.
See – The Ramones don`t take the realities of the electronic medium into account: their idea of playing is to plug in with the amps juiced to maximum level and don`t let nothin` come in the way of their fingers and your ears. They perform so it hurts. Ramone rock forbids the audience to pass pleasantries while it goes down. In return Johnny Ramone leaves the stage with gore-soaked hands most nights, flesh cut to ribbons for the sake of taking your lobes somewhere they were never intended to go.

They write songs about murders, hustling male prostitutes, and mundane nihilism. The most optimistic vignette in the Ramone lexicon is to do with sniffing glue:
“Now I wanna sniff some
Now I wanna have somethin`
to do
All the kids wanna sniff
some glue
All the kids want somethin`
to do.”
The only overtly classy thing about the Ramones is actually their manager, Danny Fields, a sweet-natured PR whose previous credits with the business include keeping Jim Morrison sober and trying to break down the curse that surrounds Iggy Stooge. Even he`s got his work cut out with this lot, though. It`s rumoured that a Ramone won`t do an interview unless Danny is present to explain the long words. Some people say that Fields has to read out their press to them as well.
This isn`t altogether fair. Guitarist Johnny and drummer Tommy, the usual spokesmen for the group, are the sort of guys who would have left school in the fourth year. It`s doubtful whether Dee Dee and Joey ever got that far. They have that kind of New York subway. Bowery boy and Queens madness graffitied all over. They sound like the characters from Top Cat: Dee Dee is Brains, Joey is Fancy, Johnny is Chu-Chu and Tommy is Benny.

Still, what they lack in normal intelligence they make up for in cleanliness which puts `em several steps closer to God than all those smelly hippy bands. When I interviewed them at the Kennedy Hotel there was a queue for the bathroom. Dee Dee is reckoned to consume three showers per day (“Nuts to da woiter shoitage”) and the only times I ever saw him he was drying his hair. They make the Dolls look positively grubby.
The room is cluttered with punk ephemera: leather belts and garbage pulp mags full of archly self-conscious interviews with Big Apple street runts trying desperately to out do each other. The Ramones are a definite part of that schtick manager Danny has several fingers in both Punk and 16, and those mags like The Bay City Rollers, so you can tell where they`re at.
Dee Dee is attempting to slip into something tight, a tee-shirt that Danny gave him with Mae West on it. He purports not to know who Miss West is, which I find easy enough to believe: “Ain`t she da ugliest chick ya ever saw?” he quips. “Dat`s why I wear it. I dunno who she is, but she sure is ugly.” The interview was conducted in the presence of Dee Dee and Johnny, and most of it plays back like the scripted version of Steinbeck`s Of Mice And Men; no prizes for guessing who Lennie is. Danny was there too to prompt his siblings.
I ask where exactly they play now, with Sire Records pushing for acceptance outside New York in an effort to manufacture the first punk outfit who are popular away from the unrepresentative environs of their home town. It`s significant that no comparable band, with the exception of Kiss, have ever made it pay out of the urban sprawl. The Punk syndrome so far has been characterised by its built-in auto-destruction, so according to the schedule The Ramones have one year in which to bank their takings before another sensation replaces them. Today your love, tomorrow Mink De Ville or Blondie.

Johnny is adamant that they are an exception to this rule: “We play outa New York too. We did a two thousand seater with Johnny Winter at Waterbury, Connecticut. That`s our biggest concert so far, and tonight.” Dee Dee:
“I had ta dodge a lotta bottles there. I wanted to get the hell out. Are the kids gonna throw things tonight? Will they like us?”
While I`m searching for an answer to this heartfelt question, Johnny inadvertently puts his elbow on the master switch for all the lights in the room. Dee Dee jumps up like a bat out hell.
Danny: “Did you did that? Who did that? Now we`ll never get the T.V. on again.”
Dee Dee grunts quietly while Johnny fiddles around with the switch. The lights come back on and Dee Dee beams. “Did I do that?”
Johnny: “The audience was old but it`s starting to get younger, the kids `re mostly…”
Dee Dee: “Nuts.”
Danny: “The kids who go to concerts at the beginning of something are living on their own anyway.”
Unlike their predecessors, The Ramones, through the cagey auspices of Fields, have secured a five year `real deal` out of Sire Records and obtained quite a bit of advance money too. With full promotion they have a substantial advantage over The Dolls on their Mercury days, and much better gear.
Dee Dee: “We spent a fortune in equipment.”
The Marshalls they`re using at the Roundhouse are rented however.
Dee Dee: “We wouldn`t use that crap.”
Johnny: “But we have the same stuff at home.”
Dee Dee: “We have the best. Before our contract we had nuthin`” (he starts to shout dangerously like Brando in On The Waterfront). “NUTHIN`.”


He returns to fondling his beer can, combing the tangles out of that cute sheep dog fringe, and staring at the T.V. which has the sound turned off.
I start going into a daze, trying to remember the facts The Ramones number on behalf of their credibility: like how Tommy was run over by a taxi-cab; how the missing link Ritchie had to be locked up in a mental institution; how they used to rip off T.V.`s and throw them off thirty storey roofs; how they give away lethal baseball bats after every gig. And how they`re still only twenty three and twenty four!
Johnny tells me about The Dolls. “They`re from a previous generation of bands, they were already breaking up when we started. Anyhow, they never really made it out of New York by going on the road. Still, we got a lot of inspiration from that scene.”
Field butts in tactfully: “Don`t write them off, they`ve reformed with a new guitarist. They could be back, and besides their importance was to provide a ready-made market for this kind of music.”
Brains raises himself from the realms of apparent slumber: “I tink dey were de best and…”
Johnny interrupts “For the audience, the clothes, those devoted followers are still there.”
Yeah but they had a lot of drug problems. Do you take drugs? I ask nosily.
Brains: “One of `em died. Dat`s a big problem.” He chuckles contentedly at this bon mot.
Danny offers me his soda water by way of an answer, but Dee Dee is still mumbling “…a nut for a manager.” He pulls up his comic shirt to reveal an ugly flesh scar about two by six with thread marks you file your nails on.
(The actual story on The Dolls at present as related to me by Sable Star (travelling with Greg Shaw, the Flamin` Groovies` manager) is that the lads are starving on government security. Meanwhile Johnny Thunders, Sable`s ex-beau along with Nickee and Dave Johansen had joined up with ex-drummer Jerry Nolan and erstwhile Television anaemic Richard Hell to colate The Heartbreakers. Confusing innit? Unfortunately their other guitarist, Walter, once of the Demons, is dying from a brain tumour.)

We move on to who writes what – all songs being credited to the band as a unit. Johnny responds cautiously: “We all write `em. We`re influenced by old hit singles: Freddy Cannon, Buddy Holly, Presley, Roy Orbison, Peter Lemonjello, and Joey likes Peter Noone. There`s more recent things – heavier rock. MC5, the Stooges (Fields also managed them a few years back and Lou Reed. He must be some kind of masochist). The album took a week to finish. Three days for the music, four for the vocals. It was cheap.”
So where does the image come from?
“That`s how we are. We`re nice too but I guess we are sick and deranged. We`re mean… uh… we try to be mean, there`s a lot of built-up hostility and, what`s the word Danny, oh frustration from life. I hope we ain`t burnin` out though. We have a lot of energy. We rest all day and sometimes it don`t get used up.”
I remind them of the follow-up to their image, the fact that they`ve been represented as dumb in the papers. Johnny says it takes intelligence to be original but Dee Dee is far more emphatic on the matter:
“We don`t go around hittin` people but we used ta. Anyhow we may not be the brightest guys on the world… but I don`t think I`m no mutant weed.”
Johnny: “People say Joey`s dumb, cos he don`t talk too much” (Dee Dee, appreciating this idiosyncrasy laughs uproariously). “We don`t sit around and look at the walls. The words on the album don`t mean nuthin`. We put `em in because they rhyme, it`s total nonsense. Same with the lyric sheet. So people could read and get familiar with good lyrics, otherwise no-one would understand them.”
See, they have no pretensions to being anything other than is obvious at first sight. Because they`ve been on the level I ask what kind of music they hate most:

Johnny: “Can we say anything, Danny?”
Danny: “Just say jazz.”
Johnny: “Oh, not as much as disco.”
Danny: “Don`t you hate jazz more than disco?”
“No, I hate disco more, but jazz is really grating.”
Dee Dee: “Jazz is like bein` dragged through the walls.”
Johnny: “In a way our music is similar to disco with the lines repeating over and over and the beat. I don`t like folk music either.”
As it`s almost time to leave for the concert I prompt Danny into telling me why he ever agreed to manage The Ramones: “It was like The Doors. After five seconds of seeing them I knew I wanted to work with Morrison, and The Ramones have that too. After five seconds I knew I was in the presence of something original. They will be playing in big places soon. Maybe a lot of people hate it but a lot of people love it and those people are going to make them big.”
Dee Dee, who is nearly falling off the edge of the bed by this time, raises his eyes momentarily from the silent screen: “I dunno about that. But I like playin` big hotels.”
On the way out to the car Joey reappeared through a crack on the door. As he stumbled out to the limo all eyes in the hotel turned towards him but he was blissfully oblivious. Fields was looking flustered by this time, particularly as it seemed to take a lifetime to load them all in the car, not usually a difficult operation. Finally it was decided that Joey was indeed too tall to squeeze with any comfort in the back seat. Danny pulls him out crossly and motions tetchily at the front door. “You sit in there Joey,” he sighs.
The driver is wondering what exactly he`s let himself in for. He`s not the only one.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Paul McCartney, Twiggy, Stuart Sutcliffe, The Flamin` Groovies, Ian Hunter, The Who, Eric Clapton, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Jefferson Starship, Weather Report, Roxy Music, The Crusaders.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.


This album was originally released in september 1975, but I guess it wasn`t released in the UK before the summer of 1976. Strange to think that in those days you couldn`t get hold of an album until it was released in your country (or pay hugely by buying it on import). As we know – these days the albums get “leaked” on the internet even before they are released. How times have changed.
A very favourable review of a album that still remains one of the greatest “guitar-oriented” albums out there. There are some really classic stuff on this one, so if you haven`t already got it – buy it! It is well worth your money.


Hell on earth and a lorry-load of dollars


By Max Bell

Once upon a time the idea of liking Ted Nugent And The Amboy Dukes was considered remarkably unhip. Poor old Ted and his boys were the butt of many a knowing jest, usually based around their supposed ineptitude and crass handling of some of rock `n ` roll`s… uh… more simple trademarks.
I always liked The Dukes myself; sure they were a rotten band, but occasionally Ted produced the goods on schedule and confounded his critics by revealing some potential lurking beneath that morass of Detroit sick grunge.
“Marriage On The Rocks”, if you ever see it, is something of a minor league classic. I picked it up for a few pesetas in a Spanish supermarket five years ago and I`ve been trying to convert the odd passer-by to its manifold merits (with nought success I might add).
Ted`s second period regeneration has been even more fruitful in terms of albums, fruitless in terms of actual success.
“Call Of The Wild” and “Tooth, Fang And Claw” are really fine examples of spreading a few ideas a long way and remarkably dense little numbers in their own way.
Recognition seemed to be a long way round the corner though until now.
Minus the Amboy Dukes moniker, but plus a host of renewed confidence, the diamond coated Nugent has finally cracked the egg and got on the good side of his public mirage. If you say you like him today no-one will show you the closet. Times change.

For those who listen “Stranglehold”, the eight-minute extravaganza opening side one, is a veritable melee of guitar prowess, killer riffs and stirring seventh wave crescendo chords.
The replacement of Vic “Bolognese” Mastrianni by Cliff Davies has added another dimension to the rhythm section, an area of Ted`s entourage which was sadly lacking sparkle previously. Here he`s left to his own devices, migration axe laid on thick and slow, moody charged energy.
He is working the same territory as John Cippolina and Gary Duncan, a vintage string of cavalry bugle call and response mechanism that leaves most competition flat on their respective floors.
The final spiel from Ted on death is a superb advert for his own madcap excess. Muscular showmanship from a man who fights off assassin squads with a burst of Gibson-drenched buckshot.
“Stormtroopin`” (Nugent`s knowledge of the English language doesn`t encompass the letter G`) continues the American high frequency signal destroyer.
Laid back is not a term often found in Ted`s handbook. Davies` heartbeat slick rock percussion, Rob Grange`s foil bass and Derek St. Holmes additional rhythm guitar all undercut the main man who makes every British flash outfit sound old and tired.
Large doses of chauvinistic macho spitfire dribble all over the disc. Lyrics about guns, arson; nothing too nasty except the vocals.

Now a H.M. group is only as good as its vocalist and here the boys fall down with the occasional thump until Nugent hauls them up again.
“Hey Baby” owes a whole lot to Free and their ilk though it lacks Rodgers and Co`s mastery of the on-off motif. They don`t so much stop and start as never let up; gets a mite wearing after a while.
“Just What The Doctor Ordered” is a similar slice of front line boogie, nothing unusual but guaranteed to get any alive audience in the world tearing down the walls.
If they`d had Nugent at Jericho the fracas could have been over immediately. He makes some acceptably horrible noises.
On the other side “Snakeskin Cowboys” (what a flair for the catchy title) is directed to the front stage murder platoons who dig this sound in the Mid West and South where Ted is already a legend.
Actually the lyrics are dreadful, but that doesn`t matter much. In the old days The Dukes battled with such philosophical problemata as “Why Is A Carrot More Orange Than An Orange” and it got them as far as zilch gulch, no paddle.
Nugent`s guitar style is all about eliciting a certain response, probably violent blood-letting hysteria, and he succeeds in unblocking most frustration taps with his standard block bar rhythm chords. The rock and roll plumber strikes again.
Nugent no longer needs to indulge in money-spinning Jack Elam leatherette guitar battles to earn his keep.
Recently the band have been supporting the largest combo in this universe, Aerosmith to you (more popular than either The Stones or Zeppelin, let me tell ya, in the States). Choice indoor gigs like an 86,000 indoor Detroit stadium. Hell on earth and a lorry load of dollars.
Prediction: by the end of this year Nugent and Bob Seger will have joined the ranks that separate small fish from huge monsters. This time he`s sharpening his teeth on broken glass.
I think you`d better get Ted Nugent before he gets you.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Michael Chapman, Roger McGuinn, The Beatles, ZZ Top, Bob Marley, Sly and the Family Stone, Eric Burdon Band, Genesis, Streetwalkers.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.


A little while ago the number of visits to this blog passed 50,000. Thank you all for reading this and giving me motivation to continue to post these articles from long ago in a tribute to both artists and writers alike.
This blog is still a blog for the few, and what better way to celebrate than with an article that honours the cult that reads this blog with a band famous for attracting a cult of fans and even having the word “Cult” in their name?
Here`s to the next 50,000 visits!


Oysters swamped by unchained superlatives

The Blue Oyster Cult:
Agents Of Fortune

By Max Bell

I guess I`ll have to lay my cards down and say I always felt the Cult would produce a no-holds-barred stone masterwork befitting a band of individuals so obviously attuned to the spirit of the genre. “Agents Of Fortune” is the album in question.
After last summer`s European jaunt which resulted in previous advocates withdrawing their favours somewhat, much talk of lame stage act, failed evil aura – you remember – I waited apprehensively for the rebuttal from the East Coast`s only begotten sons of dizbuster acid rock into the here and now.
They are vindicated without apologies.
Perhaps the criticisms levelled at Pearlman`s troops was justified. I thought much of the sniping was at least constructive; so did they to the extent that at the second Hammersmith Odeon riot they`d removed the drum solo, cut the extraneous crowd-pleasing crap and concentrated on arching the hall with their battery of musical-cum lyrical genius.
It comes to mind that there are only a handful of bands merging the relevant influences of the last decade with the potential that increased sophistication in terms of instrumentation, volume, production mono makes feasible; on my turntable The Cult are more adept at keeping one clawed boot in the `60s while the other paw scrapes away at the dark core of today than any comparable outfit.
Their first monster set the scene and outlined the persona that “Tyranny And Mutation” turned into BOC`s thumbprint. The glove was down but there was no competition. “Secret Treaties” followed as `74`s sole legit H.M. classic (when another so called contender for the wreath dreams up a song as irresistibly mind boggling as “Dominance And Submission” come back and tell me).

The live album, which in retrospect is patchy, contained evidence at its best of the Cult`s manic soft white underbelly and their fearsome reputation as purveyors of the meanest, literally frightening dosage available in vinyl format.
With “Agents Of Fortune”, unbelievably, they transcend its predecessors. A solid blow to all those with wool in their ears sprouting off on the death knoll of rock `n` roll, either too unenlightened or culpably refusing to listen to the surfeit of superb music nestling under their noses in 1976.
The matter at hand. Without wishing to destroy your sense of discovery too much I`ll fill you in on the cover art work, something they always take care of with unequalled panache.
Out front a gent in evening dress card sharps four artefacts from the tarot pack that all bear on the inner material (recorded). Behind Lynn Curlee`s painting the spheres revolve, controlled by this ambiguous agent. I`ll leave the rest to your eager purchase and vivid imagination.
The harvest is immediately reaped on “This Ain`t The Summer Of Love”, which is the Cult recovering all angles in their changing moods of panic, cynicism and ultimate rock truth Eric Bloom handles the vocal with his customary nastiness: “Feeling easy on the outside, not so funny on the inside. Hear the sound pray for rain, `cos this is the night we ride. This ain`t the Garden of Eden, there ain`t no angels above, and things ain`t what they`re supposed to be, and this ain`t the summer of love.”
The song is distinctly moody – as in unpleasant. Donald (Buck Dharma) Roeser stalks off on a mesmerising guitar volley the equal of any of his own previous creations. At just 2.20 minutes this would make one hell of a single – incongruous maybe, but heavy in the unadulterated sense of the word.

Finally Allan Lanier makes his singing debut with a solo composition I first heard at the four-track stage in a London hotel room late last autumn. To mark the occasion Columbia have spelt his name right on the cover.
The number, “True Confessions”, is presumably about strained relationships a la the boy and girl school, particularly with both Lanier and Patti Smith being on the road almost permanently. Can`t think why they`ve kept Lanier`s writing and singing talents under wraps for so long because this is a further addition to the Cult`s stream of self-contained vignettes – without actually bearing too much on the overall direction of the album.
The Brecker Brothers` searing saxes tear off the piano motif while the incomparable Bouchard rhythm section drips alongside.
Just why these boys are so patiently manufacturing to a standard far removed from normal excellence is amply indicated on “(Don`t Fear) The Reaper”, a Roeser classic that will stand against previous examples of inspiration such as “Astronomy” and “The Last Days Of May.” It`s the longest cut on the album of unusually short songs but although the melody is beautifully to the point of hummable the number is pure muscle; no fatty tissue.
Of all the acceptable heavy exponents the Cult seems more likely to uncover a chord structure of this magnificence, and only Dharma could sing it with the appropriate delicacy.
Under the hypnotic guitar line Albert Bouchard and Bloom weave a subtle percussive off beat that tantalises until the vocal creeps insiduously in. The second chorus begins: “Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity,” the harmony accompanying is pure magic, just like Michael and The Messengers in fact.
Thereafter the Cult do not look back.


“E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)” is outrageous. The Sandy Pearlman and Roeser team have here written chaos many times before and this kick in the face joins the ranks at the top. Synthesised voice guitar that destroys anything Joe Walsh or Jeff Beck have ever mangled out of said gadget, then the Rock King of the Finger Lakes spitting out the “Agents Of Fortune”, Balthazar, epic grande.
Lyrically it`s prime obscure Cult. Must be one of the Desdanova cycle that they`ve traced throughout their existance. Buck`s front line attack surpasses “Hot Rails” and the rhythm support is not to be tampered with.
Two points here. Firstly, I think “E.T.I.” may be one of BOC`S projected inclusions of the “Fire Of Unknown Origin/Mirror Of Illusion” project which Bouchard and Pearlman have been formulating as their coup de theatre. From what I heard last summer this will be an achievement on the level of Brian Wilson`s lost “Smile” tapes. Hope it doesn`t go the same way.
Secondly, this is the only song on the album composed by Pearlman. Whether this is politics or just the way it happened I don`t know. I do know that Pearlman and Cult are synonymous and that`s how they must keep it for maximum effect.
Conjecture aside, the lead break is severely demonic, a cities aflame blaze.
Both sides are arranged in total symnetry, two shortish songs build into the middle which in each case is the weightiest number lengthwise, then two more balanced finales arranged as penultimate movement and crescendo.

The block-buster on side one is Patti Smith`s and Albert Bouchard`s “The Revenge Of Vera Gemini.” Now Patti at the Roundhouse was a revelation, but I`ve always felt that “Career Of Evil” and “Baby Ice Dog” were the best things she ever wrote. And this joins them.
It`s a male/female dance duet and absolutely in the footsteps of James Douglas Morrison: “You are boned like a snake with the consciousness of a snake.”
If I could describe the effect this will have on you (which I can`t) then suffice to say it comes over like Shocking Blue locked in the next dimension. Ms. Smith even sings in tune, and for fans of her debut record there`s a clue as to her future: “No more horses, horses, we`re gonna swim like a fish”. Dharma peels off kerosene-doused licks and the ending resolves into deathly hush.
Side two opens with a couple of Bouchard and H. Robbins compositions, “Sinful Love” and “Tattoo Vampire” which are both archetypal fantasy domain Cult, totally bizarre, straightforward streamrolling lunacy. Keep a close friend near at all times, especially for “Tattoo Vampire” `cos it kicks off like a pack of skinned bats.
Quiet man of the band, Jo “The Bass” Bouchard, sings the medial cut, “Morning Final”, a murder on the subway with full grisly sound effects. Lanier`s organ and piano work is remiscent of early Ray Manzarek, a double-edged knife consistency so dense it`ll turn your emotions onto full tap.
This finishes with a hell bound train grinding to a screech upon which the doors open to reveal “Tenderloin”.

Now I expect The Cult to be different at all times but “Tenderloin” is a real departure. It`s another Allen Lanier ouvre. Bloom`s phrasing and the jazz blue note treatment is new ground: “I come to you in a blue, blue robe” and “I`m feeling hungry have another line” highlight Eric`s chilling delivery, the style I thought had reached fruition on “Secret Treaties” taken to a completely alternative conclusion. The keyboard on the third verse is masterful. On the other hand the closer, “Debbie Denise,” a Patti Smith poem from the “Witt” collection, is inexplicable. Bouchard produces a melodic melange so basically alien to the BOC image I`m not sure how they get away with it, but they do.
Getting down to the grits I`d call it a combination of Four Seasons counter part harmony rooted in the warm outerworld of vigilante tomboy Lesbian ballad with neo-Beach Boys bad vibration synthesisers to ice off the whole mixture. (Max!!!-Ed)
Bearing in mind that the lyrics are an adaption of a woman-to-woman situation, when you hear Albert sing “I’d  come here with my hair hanging down and she’d pin it up and softly smile. And I was rolling with my man” it becomes apparent that it takes these guys to carry off the near-maudlin and make it tasteful. The number is branded classic.
Listen, it`s no hyper-critical bullshit to say that “Agents Of Fortune” will elevate this band to the ranks reserved for the pioneers. BOC don`t plagiarise for their ideas but they have the mystique and menace peculiar to vintage American rockers. When all is said and done this is the Cult at their best. Buy it, turn it on loud and work it out. I haven`t come down yet.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Steely Dan, Helen Mirren, Rod Stewart, Sam Jones, Supercharge, Stevie Winwood and Stomu Yamashta, Average White Band, Dr. Hook.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT Kiss FROM New Musical Express, May 22, 1976

Kiss didn`t get a good review in NME after their first tour in England. The journalist wanted to like them but appreciated their albums more than the live version of the band. It didn`t matter for Kiss, as they were used to bad reviews and built a very successful career, despite their critics, that lasts until this day. They are still a very successful live band and, as they say, definitely got the last laugh.
What is interesting about this review is the praise Mr. Bell gives to the drummer Peter Criss. Many Kiss fans argue, even today, about if he is a “good” drummer or not. Bell gives him credit for his his style, and I personally agree with this. A very important influence of the Kiss sound was Peter`s jazz-style drumming and also his voice. Without Peter I think Kiss would have been a poorer band on record and may not even have got as big as they did.
Here`s a toast to the cat-man! You may be retired these days, but the true Kiss-fans miss you!


Young folks having fun


By Max Bell

The lady on the door was most persuasive. “Would you take a Kiss mask? Please… go on have a couple, we`re trying to get rid of them”. I obliged and made my way upstairs to the bar which was shut, in keeping with the Odeon`s policy of guessing the average age of the night crowd. In this instance they were right. The audience being mostly composed of young folk covered in thick Kiss copy make up, parents with their offspring, haughty queens in tight trousers that left little to the imagination and rather bemused looking punters who`d come along on the surmise that we`ve all heard so much about Kiss that they must be worth seeing once.
At the top of the stairs belligerent and tanked up youths ripped off large promo cardboard cut outs and posters while good natured Sturico men tried to pin them back to the railings. Stray were finishing their set to much applause and the D.J. cranked up his heavy rock collection as unknown happenings took place behind the Safety Curtain.
Kiss are due on at 9 p.m. but owing to the exigencies of G.L.C. fire regulations they don`t make it until 9.40; the natives, not knowing the impossibility of trying to persuade irate officials that fire balls on side stage are O.K. fun, are understandably restless. The excellent Keith Peacock from Casablanca passes on the information and tells me that Kiss had played a blinder at Birmingham the night before. Still, it seems ironic that a band with such a cast iron S.M. reputation, that you wouldn`t let your kids within a thousand miles of, are stymied by the safety rules that operate with regard to large concert venues. Could have something to do with the fact that anyone sitting twenty feet from the stage stood a fair chance of having their eyebrows singed.

Kiss and the Dresden fire storm are synonymous in… uh… heavy metal circles.
Jonathan Richman slurped off the turntable and suddenly the lights had dimmed and these four munster figures lurched on. Wall to wall amps and an elevated drum kit flanked by candles and police sirens loomed into view. Whoomph… zonk… the famous Kiss are off. They are about the loudest band I`ve ever heard. The noise is excruciating, a warped wave of wattage cascades over every inch of the hall, only trouble is the opening two songs are unintelligible. Paul Stanley, he of the Marc Bolan curls, star on eye, is front man. Their opening gambit is to stand in line and then leap into the air. Three guys in Marvel comic strip costumes and a drummer who thinks he`s a pussy cat. Fascinating.
I really can`t believe my eyes, or ears. Kiss are zipped into their volume saturated time warp with all the trappings that British glam rock made redundant at least two years ago. Platform boots, silver epaulettes, lipstick, the whole movie.
So far so funny. I like some of their records in the way that I like any kind of trash music that has no pretensions to being sophisticated. While the aura always seems contrived it is occasionally amusing. Everyone is susceptible to a bit of hype and chintzy glamour so I`m waiting for things to liven up. Y`know Kiss aren`t Yes or Johann Sebastian`s four younger brothers but people tell me what good musicians they are underneath that hideous black and white cake. The bands I`d reckoned they owed most to, The MC5, Dolls, Stooges all had a lot extra to offer besides Power On destruction. The last vinyl jungle, `Destroyer`, (produced by Alice Cooper`s buddy Bob Ezrin) was an indication they might be moving a few rungs up the ladder. Start off crass boys and the let`s see what you can do.

`Flaming Youth` stun guns the auditorium. Stanley, Ace Frehley and Gene Simmons of the Seven Samurai top knot are still leaping up and down or striking guitar hero poses. I like the song cos it`s dumb but under the kerosene riffing I don`t detect too much inspiration. Maybe Kiss are on a bad night or maybe if you took away the Marshalls and the image they`d have nothing left.
On one level their music doesn`t really matter. Kiss stand or fall on the quality of their much vaunted theatrics and their manner of presentation. I`m a trifle miffed that nothing other than fractured ear drums has yet left them there boards. Stanley starts one of many obnoxious raps. “This is going to be one of those rock`n`roll parties, I can feel it London. We`re gonna get this place `Hotter Than Hell`.”
He and Frehley fuzz and masticate lead licks. Stanley dons a Fire and Brimstone Chief`s helmet and Simmons leers outrageously for the camera men then shakes his Kamakazi bun like a poodle after a bath. Chord breaks which have very little to do with music, and never ever rubbed shoulders with the word tune, drown out the vocals.
The sirens spin to muffled cheering and then Simmons staggers over to his candelabra, selects the wax and ignites a mouth full of lighter fuel. It is simultaneously the most contrived piece of overkill imaginable, actually performed very sheepishly and utterly lacking in intimidation. Alright it doesn`t matter that Arthur Brown did this in 1966 or that stage props are excusable as a means to entertaining but you expect to be pinned to your seat in amazement, at least hold your breath for a few seconds, but the deed is merely feeble. Over in a flash. Puh!


The girls in front of me with Kiss scrawled on their cheeks, and who can`t be a day over twelve, aren`t that impressed either. Under all the guff I got the feeling that Kiss were condescending to the audience. Give `em what they want and then put the takings in the bank quick. Their moves are professional enough only to gratify the noise lust of the lowest common denominator open to rock. I don`t care that they wear their kinetics so far out you know they haven`t got a single original lick, but once the energy graph dissipates and you begin to study their ability to even play what simple ideas they do possess, the shortcomings are tremendous.
For starters they aint even sexy. Ace Frehley moves with the approximate grace of a third degree advanced numbskull. A guitar by rote. It`s no surprise to learn that he exists in a permanent heat haze of zonked vacancy. Simmons` bass playing is basic, and that`s being kind. He played a one note solo which was good. The audience voice their approbation accordingly. He sticks his tongue out about seven inches like a proboscis but him and butterflies aren`t too compatible. It probably stands him in good stead for various sexual practises though.
Stanley`s in between raps become more tedious. There`s plenty talk about rock`n`roll, all the songs feature those much maligned words when the lyrics need a bit of credibility. Alan Freed and Bo Diddley have got a lot to answer for.
Frehley plays a solo that reminded me of visiting the dentist. At the end of same a flame scuds into the front row, exit one owner of a good stall seat in a puff of smoke.

The stormtroopers blast into what is recognisably `Nothing To Lose`. The title is on the nail. Kiss drench the sacks with no regard for variation or taste, the material is indistinguishable. `Nothing To Lose` pummels like nothing you`ve ever heard before into `Shout It Out Loud`, a veritable scumbag of a number. The audience are still pretty sedate. None of the seat mangling and whole scale freak out they are purported to wreak in darkest Manhattan.
What with the gear and the noise and the monotony they remind one of vintage Slade except they aren`t as competent. Only drummer Peter Criss looks like he could get his stash together doing another kind of music. Besides his cat whiskers are cute. He has something recognisable as style. All that nonsense about stalking his prey as he flails the skins. A plane crash that turned him into a sabre toothed tiger whose mother weaned him to recovery. “I must have been a cat in an earlier life”. Says Criss. Guess that`s more than likely.
Things are beginning to happen down there. Simmons is now playing a two note bass solo and chewing on a blood capsule at the same time. What virtuosity. Weenies squeal in terror as a liberal splattering of red saliva drips slowly onto his feet. It`s grizzly enough to make anyone with an ounce of sensibility leave their lunch on the person in front of them. They begin something that sounds like `Schools Out` speeded up. Those rip-offs are right out front, they should be paying royalties to every H.M. division on the planet.
Criss gets his moment of glory as is the way with drummers. Lights are vibrating. He could take a few hints from Albert Bouchard on how to make the drum solo humorous. He hits each piece of the kit. These soldiers really have their act together.
The show hit the bottom most pits from thereafter. “Are you with us tonight,” says Stanley, and starts rubbing himself off. Real subtle. “How many people here like to get stoned?” The girls in front of me apparently do. “Do you believe in rock`n`roll?” Jesus Christ if he went through that routine once he did it four times. It does however get the kids on their feet.

They do `Fire House` or was it `Cold Gin`? The resultant sound was rough. Sophisticated they ain`t. If you`ve ever had someone drag new sandpaper up the inside of your leg you`ll know what I mean. The drum kit hits the roof, literally, a device that Earth, Wind and Fire are also partial to.
Stanley goes on about how cool the audience is which is much appreciated. Kiss are pleased with the flak they get back.
Finally they do `Detroit Rock City`, the very passable opening to `Destroyer`. Live they muff the dual lead runs, even the chord change they borrowed from The Cult. It seems plausible that they are using tapes as some of the time voices or guitars emerge even when no one is near a microphone or has his hands on the relevant fretboard.
After that the hall erupts. Three encores including the mundane `Rock`n`Roll All Nite And Party Every Day`. Confetti pours over the lads, all hell lets loose and I haven`t even told you about the dry ice, the strobes, the mirror ball and the exploding neutron pods.
Look, I want to like Kiss. Their albums reveal they have something to offer but on this showing, live, in person, stalking before the people who pay their wages, they cannot be taken seriously. When the shit hits the fans Kiss have nothing except the clothes they stand up in and their volume controls. Every effect they use is someone else`s cliche taken to the furthest possible point. They aren`t bizarre, they`re obvious and hideously self-indulgent.
Outside pavement touts are flogging cheap trash, scarves, badges at extortionate prices (the official programme was a pound!). The thin end of the wedge, this senseless rock capitalism. Thank Christ they shut the bar. I went home and threw up.


I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Nils Lofgren, Patti Smith, Elvis, David Essex, Strapps, Steve Miller Band, Lee Garrett.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
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ARTICLE ABOUT Kiss FROM New Musical Express, April 24, 1976

Some interesting perspectives on Kiss in this short review of their album “Destroyer”. It has been over 40 years since this album arrived, and among a lot of Kiss-fans it is held as one of their greatest albums ever. Also, in a lot of the rock music magazines, it usually gets in the top 50 albums of all time lists. So there is something about this album that Mr. Bell couldn`t quite see at the time.


KISS: Destroyer (Casablanca)

By Max Bell

If ever a group have made it huge in America by carefully manipulated saturation in terms of records, concerts and promotion then Kiss are that animal.
Five records in two years, bill topping over bands they were supporting but six months ago – jeez, Kiss are so big it hurts.
Incredibly their reliance on a modicum of style, unashamed derivativeness and a stage persona which is gross in the extreme still hasn`t prevented them being accepted by the city fathers and mothers of the union. When Kiss hit town they get the works; keys, red carpets and police escorts.
Kind of fishy for a bunch of perverted looking dudes in monster make-up and ten-inch heels, the kind of guys you`d expect your parents to loathe and detest.
But no, the Kiss armies, kissing competitions, Kiss-mobiles and fan clubs abound, the accent is on fun-a-go-go. The whole thing reeks of commercialism gone mad.
For “Destroyer” they`ve kept the services of Bob Ezrin, who is certainly a better producer than Neil Bogart, and heralds Kiss` foray into the territory vacated by Alice Cooper now that he`s taken to advertising Budweiser and playing golf with the establishment.
Ezrin has also written a lot of the lyrics this time round and that means the image moves from contrivance to downright self-parody.

The opener “Detroit Rock City” is aimed specifically at a `Get up off your chair and get down` routine, the oldest trick in the book. Musicwise and otherwise though the song is pretty nifty and involves the grisly tale of someone killed in a head on collision (with sound effects, natch) while listening to his own music blaring over the car radio.
It`s a typical piece of Ezrin chicanery but good for all that.
Kim Fowley, that real live minor league punk, proves he`s still at large by contributing “King Of The Night Time World” which has guitarists Ace Frehley and Paul Stanley hors de combat and slurping along like subterranean, festering corpses while the ridiculous Gene Simmons yells his set pieces with credible `B` horror movie posturing.
Maybe I`ve got calluses on the brain but I sometimes think Kiss are quite funny. Undeniably they`re slick and ultra polished too but the vampire drooling extras are getting tedious. Worse, drummer Peter Criss and Frehley are looking bored these days, all that grease paint can`t do much for the complexion anyhow.
A lot of their recent publicity snaps show that only Simmons and Stanley seem convinced that all this is good idea.
An example of Kiss falling by their image comes on “God Of Thunder” which is no doubt a cue for the exploding amplifiers and automatic neutron pods to splutter into action. Musically it sucks. A gratuitously gimmick ridden, ham-fisted dose of fall out entirely bereft of humour or excitement.

“Great Expectations” is a slab of pubescent teasing which,, ow you say, leaves little to the imagination. `You`ll watch me playing my guitar and you`ll see what my fingers can do`. Humph, I think you get the picture. At least that kind of dumb nastiness fits Kiss` grisly masque whereas “Beth”, replete with lavish strings and weedy romanticism, is plain idiotic.
Kiss are suffering from one overwhelming problem, their own success. I happen to believe that given time and minus the now ludicrous clowning they could make something genuinely heavy.
With material of the calibre of “Shout It Out Loud” (very neatly dispatched to the cleaners by Mister Singles last week) they are merely riding on a vehicle of their own unimaginative making. “Flaming Youth”, which is actually highly creditable rock`n`roll, would have been a far better bet.
Of course they`re no fools, very adept and sending themselves up rotten, probably some kind of poisonous gas live too. Still as they are now running snarling to the bank with such regularity I wish they`d justify the talent that lurks beneath the facade.

Kiss Destroyer

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Mick Ronson, British Country Music Festival, Abba, J.J. Cale, Magna Carta, Dr. Alimantado, Steve Harley, Osibisa, Rolling Stones.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to:
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.