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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

CCCan't You See Vicious Pink SYNTH POP FANTASTIC

Vicious Pink Phenomena later known as Vicious Pink were the epitome of Synth Pop New Wave.  When their debut single came out in 1984 the scene was ripe for their sound and CCCan't You See was a alternative dance club smash.  I especially love the French version which I provide for you in the deluxe zip.

Since CCCan't You See has been the most played song on my iTunes list on my iMAC for ages I figured I should honor it in some way.  It was a WBMX classic so you know they loved this record in Chicago.

The follow-up Fetish was pretty good too but just not quite as infectious.

Vicious Pink was formed in Leeds in 1981.  They broke up in 1986.  Originally they sang back-up for Soft Cell.  That's when they were called Vicious Pink Phenomena.  
 They were sure cool looking!  Josie Warden was able to sing equally well in French or in English though this didn't help the band to chart in France.

LIKE THEM ON FACEBOOK if you wanna be old school they have a MY SPACE TOO.

Pretty Poison from variation new wave to variation freestyle an Eighties success story

I just added more to this blog post.
Philadelphia based Pretty Poison broke with Catch Me I'm Falling.  But they actually had a string of single releases and ep.'s before that.  NIGHTIME  NIGHTIME DUB  CATCH ME

There's download stuff sprinkles all throughout this post.
a pretty zip

I love Jade Starling's vocals, their look was very big hair 80's. Here's her MySpace

I'm enclosing a zip which features several versions of Nightime including the totally electrifying dub and the Shep Pettibone Mix and their huge #8 hit from 1987 Catch Me.  And another zip which contains a funky version of Nightime entitled In the Heat of the Night.   The original 12" release made it up to #14 dance in 1984.  Catch Me took it up to #1 and then the re-release with new mixes of Nightime peaked at #13 in 1988.  I didn't really follow their other releases though When I Look into Your Eyes squeaked out a Top 10 dance spot in 1988 too. 

Here are the lyrics to Nightime:

Come, feel the steady rhythm of the nightlife
And hear excitement in the air.
Baby, when the night comes down, 
You know where I can be found, 
Dancing in a midnight fantasy.

In the Nightime
Blame it on the Nightime.
In the Nightime
Baby, that's the right time.

I feel a strange desire in the moonlight
Dreams of another dance in my eyes.
Baby, when the stars shine bright, 
Dance with me all through the night.
Be my lover til the light of day.

In the Nightime, 
Blame it on the Nightime.
In the Nightime yeah, 
Baby, that's the right time.
Right time for me.

Nightime is the right time
Nightlife is for me.
Dancing til the break of day, 
No place I'd rather be.

Nightime is the right time; 
Nightlife is for me.
Dancing til the break of day, 
No place I'd rather be.

In the Nightime, blame it on the Nightime.
In the Nightime, baby, that's the right time.
In the Nightime, blame it on the Nightime.
In the Nightime, yeah, baby, that's the right time.
Right time for me.

Nightime is the right time
Nightlife is for me
Nightime is the right time
Nightlife is for me
Nightlife is for me.
All in all it's a sound I can really appreciate.  Not quite freestyle, not quite electro and not really house either.  It's a unique record and is clearly influenced by many sounds at the same time.  When it was originally released on Svengali in 1983 it went pretty much unnoticed and under the radar.  It took the more commercial sounding Catch Me to give Nightime it's second life.  Here I've enclosed their entire Laced e.p. from 1983.  It's sort of new wave and not quite as straightforward dance as their later releases.  If  you click on the title of this blog you will be directed to my ebay listing for this collectible e.p.  LACED EP

A1Seal It With A Kis3:57
A2Let Freedom Ring6:15
B2Tempest Nightmare5:15

Their first single from 1981 is very rare and very new wave.  It's called Gimme Gimme (your autograph).  It was on the label Poison Pops and was only released as a 7" single.

I'm adding their goth single from 1982 No Tears and it's b side.
And finally their goth single Expiration from 1983.  A real Kennel club Philadelphia classic.

Nu Shooz

Nu Shooz originally formed in 1979 and featured 12 members.  But nothing much happened for them the first few years.  In 1985 as a husband and wife duo "I Can't Wait" came out and they broke out.  But in a roundabout way, ironically the Peter Slaghuis mix from the Netherlands is what broke the record.  In fact it was HUGE at The Paradise Garage, and played as an import.  Apparently Larry Levan would toy with it mixing it for as long as a full half hour.  Then it went pop.

It eventually made it all the way to #2 on the U.S. R and B charts and #3 on the pop charts, while making it to #1 in Canada and on the U.S. dance chart.  While in the U.K.  I can't Wait peaked at #2.  Furthermore it was fully embraced by the Latin Freestyle community who embraced the song as their own, though this lily white couple from Portland, Oregon were certainly not Latino.
 The follow-up single "Point of No Return" was equally as pleasing but it didn't have the chart impact of "I Can't Wait" so they are sort of considered one hit wonders.  Though they were even nominated for a Grammy as best new artist.
In 1988 their last hit was "Should I say Yes" which went Top 20 R and B though the track "Are you Lookin' for Somebody Nu" became another hit on the dance chart.

Monday, August 21, 2017


Valter Fausto Bassani released three italo disco records under the moniker Klapto.  He also used other aliases with Meccano being the most well known.

 Klapto zip

The first and probably the most infectious was Mister Game in 1983.

Queen of the Night was their follow-up in 1984.

The Sound of Spaghetti Dance, italo disco and 80's phenomenon

Today's treat is this fabulous documentary about Italo Disco featuring many of the originators.  There are subtitles but if you understand Italian you'll be able to appreciate it more.

The Sound of Spaghetti Dance Documentary

I've just started this book.  When I finish it I'll cover it, review it, and basically help translate some of it since it's only available in Italian.

Some fun facts from the beginning mentions that Gazebo has sold 12,000,000 records worldwide.

Italo Disco was primarily a male driven genre and in a sense was a response to all the female driven records of the late 70's disco music scene.

The book also mentions that Gazebo (Paul Mazzolini) along with Ryan Paris, Carrara, P.Lion, Ago, George Aaron, Savage, Linda Jo Rizzo, Martinelli, Righiera and Den Harrow are some of the most recognizable faces of Italo disco and that they are still active today.  Tom Hooker lives in Las Vegas and is a successful artist.  He has carried on a longstanding feud with Den Harrow (since he was the actual voice of most of Den's hits).  I have posted a video about this a few years back so you can check it out using the search function above.  Tom Hooker like yours truly was born in Connecticut.

Note how all the Italo Disco stars were pretty.  It appears to be a fact that they were often chosen as much for their looks as for their voices.

Nice Story on the Roots of Italo Disco

More to come.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor

I don't usually write about books but Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor 1980-1983 has made me want to do so.  Since this was before my time as a club kid in New York it nourished my curiosity for what the scene was like before I got there.

I was going out a bit in high school and then a lot by the time I got to American University in 1982.  So most of my early club years were about the rise of Hi Nrg music and the hot minute of New Wave.  Music styles embraced by The Saint in New York, which had a much whiter sensibility then The Paradise Garage.  In any case, The Saint was a club which I would not get to visit until years later when they were using the original space for Saint at Large parties, until they couldn't anymore.  Then they started having them at Roseland.  Really I didn't have a clue.  The last party party was going on, it was just a few blocks from my apartment on 14th street but all I thought about was that it was too expensive.  I didn't get the magnitude of the night.

Same thing happened the last night of Sound Factory in 1995.  I wasn't feeling it and just stayed home or went home after The Roxy I can't remember.  It ended up being the unannounced last night of the club, before it became Twilo and there were a ton of club politics involved.

But my friend Tommy Richardson got me on the Paul Lekakis guest list one Saturday in 1989 and I got to be amazed by all that The Saint was and what it had been.  Though I remember my friend Harrison calling most of the revellers dinosaurs.  We really felt like we were ringing in a new scene and that The Saint represented the past.

Paradise Garage closed the year before I moved to New York so I never got to see that space.  Anybody who used to go speaks about it as the holy grail of New York clubs.

1983 was when I went abroad to Rome.  My university had a branch there.  So this is when I cultivated my love for Italo Disco.  A genre I didn't really know about before then.  So as much as I hold The Paradise Garage and Larry Levan up on a pedestal, even if only in my mind.  I would not have been ready for that scene yet.  It even took me a while to feel secure at The Sound Factory which was my era's version of The Paradise Garage but certainly more Latino and then later more Chelsea muscle queen then The Garage ever was.  In many ways, I was still a provincial suburban kid from Connecticut in the early 80's.  Sort of torn between my love for new wave and disco.  Since loving disco was basically something you had to be in the closet about where I grew up, or at least at the Catholic schools I went to.  I was sort of confused.  Luckily I was able to leave this all behind in 1982 by both coming out and by experiencing freedom by going to a university far from my home and my sheltered oppressive upbringing.  My parents were immigrants from the South of Italy and they had some very specific ideas for what they expected their only male son to be like, in a family of five children.

So really at the time written about in the book, I was completely oblivious to what was happening at The Mudd Club and The Roxy, Danceteria or The Pyramid.  Though years later on a visit to to the city from D.C. I did go to the New Years eve party of 1984 going into 1985 and it was a night that remains ingrained on my memory banks.  Fabulous beyond anything I had ever been to before.  It even featured a sighting of the incredibly glamorous and iconic Diane Brill the girlfriend of Rudolf Piper who ran the club and other clubs that I later got to promote parties at such at The Tunnel and Mars.  I started to use the moniker Goldy Loxxx, which Michael Alig sanctioned for me and first started using on invites at Larry Tee's Celebrity Club and outlaw parties and other events at The World and Red Zone.

wikipedia Larry Tee

Wikipedia Club Kids

How horrible is my hat?

Back row third person in from the left, in a top hat, you can hardly make me out.  But every club kid mover and shaker was there even though we had to show up at the club in the middle of the day.

wikipedia Party Monster

Back in those years would I ever have imagined that Diane Brill would even know my name much less have conversations with me?  The New York clubs were definitely where you could rub elbows with your idols.  In many ways you could even feel on the same level with them.  Especially if you were chatting them up in a V.I.P. room.

wikipedia Mudd Club

From what I gather from the Tim Lawrence book those early 80's years had a huge cross section of artists and actors and creative people who were involved heavily with the clubs.  While managing to create so much out of the clubs too.  Here's a pic. of Jean Michel Basquait at The Mudd Club.  He later would go on to DJ at Area for shits and giggles. Though there were certainly creative types when I was going out 6 nights a week in the late 80's early 90's, it sure didn't seem anything like what I read about in the book.  Seminal spots like Area with their installations and The Saint with the incredible dome and light show were already closed by then.

But for a hot minute us club kids felt like we ruled the roost.  We could get paid by some clubs just for showing up or handing in a guest list.  Which we may or may not have made any phone calls in support of the event.  The whole scene fell apart basically because of Michael Alig's murder of fellow club-kid Angel Melendez the introduction of hard drugs to the scene, and Mayor Giuliani's obsession with destroying the scene.  Yes there had always been drugs in the clubs.  But could you run a successful party and be completely strung out at the same time?  I don't think so.  In any case James St. James immortalized the moment in his book Disco Bloodbath and later in the film Party Monster which gave many young people who hadn't lived it and didn't know anything about our movement, their own source of joy and inspiration.  Susanne Bartsch throws parties even now with a new breed of New York club kid.  While many of us from the original club kid era have moved on to so many other things, such as artists, writers, singers, TV show hosts and even a few like me are teachers.

Not one of my favorite pics. but it is James St. James and I at the first Love Ball May 10, 1989.  A legendary night for the club scene if there ever was one.

wikipedia james st. james

Of course RuPaul and I came up out of the same New York clubby scene.  Difference is she now disassociates herself from Michael Alig and I've pretty much forgiven him for the many times he was shady.  We write each other emails and give each other likes on Instagram.  Next time I'm in New York we plan to have lunch.

More recently the film Glory Daze documented the comings and goings of the club kids in the 90's too.

When I was hosting Shampoo at The Limelight on Saturdays I worked with the drag queen of comedy Lady Bunny.  She used to come over on Saturday evenings to my loft in Tribeca because I had a second phone line.  Together from  opposites sides of the loft we would call people for our guest list.  She was caustic and pejorative and often hung up on the people she was calling to put on the list.  She always had me in stitches and I'll never forget how funny she was.  A true talent.  
It was Michael Alig that would bring me in to promote nights such as Shampoo and at Club U.S.A. so I will give credit where credit is due.  He thought I was fabulous and I agreed with him (lol).  Can you lol when you're not texting?  It's tacky, right?

A pre Supermodel of the world RuPaul.

Wikipedia RuPaul

Here I am with Andy Bell of Erasure at Mars.  I think this was in 1990.  It was in one of the last months of the clubs existence.

On my way to Wigstock.  I thought my look was relatively subdued though the Vivienne Westwood crown was major.  Bill Cunningham took my picture for the New York Times that day so I remember it well.  To a club kid if Bill Cunningham took your picture it meant you had arrived.

Wikipedia Wigstock

Wikipedia Bill Cunningham

Dancing at Love Machine at The Underground.  This Vivienne Westwood armour/vest got me some decent coins years later on eBay.  A teachers income always needs a boost.  Years later did I really still expect it to fit anyway?

 The night I won King of Manhattan 1991 at The Limelight.  Painstakingly made by designer Manolo.  I never felt more regal or grateful that such a talented designer was a dear friend.
 Our idol and icon Leigh Bowery.  No one could compete, but he surely did inspire.

At a party I threw for diva and door-person extraordinaire Kenny Kenny.  Kenny has become an incredible photographer and artist.  Follow him on instagram, Kenny Kenny photos.   I wrote about Leigh just a few blogs back if you're curious.  Leigh Bowery as Minty

In the early 80's Leigh Bowery and Trojan were getting a lot of press and attention with Tabboo in London in that cities own inception of the club kid movement.  Infused with the whole new romantic sensibility of the time.  Course it was later made into a Broadway show starring Boy George as Leigh Bowery.   It was financed by Rosie O'Donnell.

wikipedia Leigh Bowery

So I really must thank Tim Lawrence for writing such an incredible book and documenting so much disco history.  I look forward to the coming books and for an opportunity to be interviewed when he gets up to my period.

Mark Kamins always did the music for Manolo Ready Couture fashion shows.  His mixture of spiritual, sexy and audacious was always fun.

 Mark Kamins at a tree trimming party in my Tribeca Loft.

Mark with his ever present whistle along with Susan Ainsworth at Club Gold, Tokyo.  All three of the above photos I took myself.

From the club kid bible, the magazine Project X

Tim Lawrence mentioned my buddy Mark Kamins often in Life and Death on the Dance Floor.  He was after all the main DJ at Danceteria.  Mark was definitely instrumental in the launching of Goldy Loxxx.  Especially when he took me to Japan to represent New York Club Kids and when he got me the gig to DJ in the side room of the 90's inception of Danceteria.  Mark was a dear friend to me and lived only a couple blocks away in Tribeca at the time too.  So we even got to spend time together outside the clubs.

School Yourself about Danceteria

So I highly suggest you get a copy of the book.  Order Your Copy here

As a reader of my blog I know you care about the music, so here's your chance to get versed on the New York scene from the early 80's too.  You should also check out his other books Love Saves the Day about The Loft and a book about Arthur Russell.

here's an excerpt:

Publishing his thoughts in an eight-page feature title "Behind the Groove" in the September edition of Collusion,  Harvey launched into his argument from the get-go. "The brief 10 years of disco history have provided popular music with one of its most creative periods--one too often passed over by critics," he declared. "Even the faddish embrace of all things danceable has failed to encourage critics to muster the same seriousness for the synth-anthems of Brooklyn duo D Train as they do for Soft Cell or Yazoo."  Few credited disco as being the legitimate heir to the rhythm and blues tradition, while the likes of Grandmaster Flash alleged that disco was responsible for "killing off" funk, "despite its means of production being the same" and "despite its embrace of great black voices like Loleatta Holloway, Aretha Franklin, Bettye Layette, Gwen McCrae and many others." Harvey also argued that DJS rather than musicians or producers were the most influential figures within disco thanks to the way they communicated the music with such "extraordinary power."  Who else could remember the thousands of one off releases, he asked, and who else could claim to be as modernist as the DJS who transformed their found materials into a collage? "Disco has always revolved around the cult of the DJ and the club," he concluded, "and, as such, record spinner have shaped the  music in a way that is unique."
Page 450 Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor

My blog post from 2009 about disco related books