Perfect Rock Albums #2:
Love/Hate’s Blackout In The Red Room
Copyright © by Dan Schneider, 9/8/02


The Band     The Album     Ending


  Love/Hate was 1 of the GREAT & unappreciated party bands of all time. Unfortunately they never hit the commercial heights of other rock bands from their era: Guns-N-Roses, L.A. Guns, Poison, Bon Jovi, etc. By the time their 1st album: Blackout In The Red Room was released the hard rock of the 1980s was on the way out, soon to be smothered by the grunge of Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, & Nirvana. Yet, while the 1st 4 bands mentioned have a distinctly 80s sound & ethos, & the latter quartet the same for the 1990s, LH’s sound somehow straddles & transcends both. In my opinion you can argue there have been a few other pure party bands their equal (although I’m still waiting for nominees), there are none that can be stated their superior.
  While, at their best, bands like Soundgarden & Alice In Chains could equal the wordsmanship of their lyrics, they had many songs which did not. The 1980s bands mentioned never sustained the musical intensity nor diversity that LH did. Often they would give in to the weak putrescence of the vaunted ‘power ballad’: ‘Sister Christian’, etc.- Oy!
  In truth, I have the band’s 1st 3 albums: Blackout (still on tape- the CD is a bitch to find, if it exists), Wasted In America, & Let’s Rumble (on CD). I was torn between which of these 3 albums to focus on. All are great & loaded with terrific shit. Let’s Rumble got the boot because it’s not as hard rocking as the 1st 2- although still scorching at times. I went with the 1st album over Wasted simply because I think there’s a tiny bit more musical diversity in the actual songs’ music. But Wasted is a killer album, too. LH is not just kick ass drum-thumping, nor is it just death metal speed- yes, I like early Metallica & Megadeth, at times, & Celtic Frost could hang it on at times. Hell, the 1st concert I ever went to in 1979 was Mötorhead, opened by The Godz! But, in truth, I prefer some diversity. Metallica, after all (& despite their early fans’ protests), only became a GREAT band after the diversity of the Black Album loosened their asses. I enjoy the complexity & emotion of tunes which change stride midway- this is creativity. At their best GNR did this. But they had a penchant for sap that LH never gave in to. Unfortunately, the Grunge Tsunami of a decade ago killed all commercial hopes for this killer band.
  I will delve a bit in to the band’s history, culled from their online website:  http://www.lovehate.com/, then examine the great songs that make BITRR 1 of the great rock albums of all time- as well as a perfect 1!


The Band


  Like most young men of the last ½ century the members of LH dreamt of being rock stars, fucking hot babes (1, 2, 5, or more at a time) eager to get ramjetted, having alot of money, hordes of screaming fans at concerts, the ability to put the past behind them with a shot of this, a hit of that. After all, didn’t The Killer, Jerry Lee Lewis, start it all? Didn’t the 1960s make it all open? Didn’t The Song Remains The Same cement the dream in the minds of many a shit-talented punk? Speaking of which- wasn’t that the reason behind punk? As lead singer Jizzy Pearl declares on LH’s website- the band’s motto was Sic transit Gloria mundi (earthly glory is fleeting).
  JP was born to the name James Wilkinson, in Chicago. He spent his childhood in the San Fernando suburbs of Los Angeles. He claims a typical conservative, middle class upbringing, & a youth pursuing music & stardom with several bands before hooking up with a group that would become LH: Dataclan. Dataclan was a group that rode the early 1980s New Wave trends of Duran Duran, the Thompson Twins, etc. The head of the band was bassist Skid (Chris  ?), who seems to have been LH’s resident dreamer. Although the band had offers from Atlantic Records & Capitol Records, Skid wanted to get more labels interested in signing the band. Drummer Joey Gold’s parents were in business with L.A. Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss, & helped the band use the renowned Pickfair mansion, home of silent film era stars Douglas Fairbanks & Mary Pickford, to show off their chops, in early 1985. JP was invited to the shindig because Dataclan’s manager George Swade had managed several of JP’s former bands. LH invited many label execs to witness their talent. At the time Dataclan’s roster was Skid on bass, Joey Gold on skins, Jon E. Love on lead guitar, a keyboardist named Rodney, & a lead singer named Mark Hollis. Unfortunately the band bombed & received no offers. Dataclan’s name was shit to most labels. JP is philosophical on the nature of this all- LUCK is the single most important element, not talent. This is true in all endeavors, artistic or not, yet most refuse to acknowledge this lest admit the true helpless state we all bear before the brunt of the cosmos.
  Meanwhile the band descended into chaos- see the recent & humorous film Rock Star (with Mark (-y Mark) Wahlberg) for all the clichés which happen to all be true. Having been in the New York City poetry & performance art scenes in the late 1980s I rubbed elbows with any # of wannabe rock stars & bands & heard many of the same tales the film’s & Jizzy’s narratives reiterate. Lead singer Hollis wants to leave the band & go solo, jealous over Skid’s growing songwriting excellence. Sides are chosen but manager Swade (in shades of Spinal Tap) sends the band to headline clubs in Japan, where they fall apart: arguments over how ‘pop’ the band’s sound should be, Hollis decides he has the makings of a Michael Bolton-esque career, Skid’s drug use, etc. With 2 weeks left on their 6 week contract Hollis hauled ass out of the Empire in the middle of the night. The rest of the band got canned, & on getting back to the USA keyboardist Rodney lit out for greener pastures, as well. It is rumored that the duo own a car wash in Dubuque. Of course, JP relates their end in a slightly different tone: ‘somehow the Rock Gods look upon quitting as unfavorable and WILL STRIKE YOU DOWN, they'll put you on that express train to mediocrity and there you will stay....if you're gonna quit, quit for a better band, don't quit for nothin', like a certain Bass Player we all know, 'cause the moral is, you might not be able to get home again....’ But this opened the door for Jizzy. His pal, manager Swade, insisted JP take over as the lead vocalist or else he would cease to fund the band. The marriage was tense at 1st since JP was more of an ass-kicker to Dataclan’s techno-crapola. At the time JP was a parking valet in Encino, Skid was a ‘flower boy’- think Chaplin’s City Lights with hairspray!, Love’s income was a mystery, & Gold mooched off his rich parents, which was another sticking point with the other band members- except when their money & connections were useful: new equipment, bail money, & free tickets to LA Forum events (his parents owned a piece of the arena with Buss). The band moved in to an abandoned warehouse near LA’s Skid Row (not the band- the slim!) that Swade had gotten a hold of. The new lineup’s gigs did no better than the old lineup’s. JP’s tenor voice was not meshing well with songs written for a baritone. The band then tried to be a ‘Glam band’ in the era’s style. The band tried schmoozing their way into many a trendy dance club. A while later the band tried to cut a 4-song EP that bombed. It was funded by Gold’s parents, Swade, & Swade’s Mexican partner- a guy named Rami. The group hoped to tour Mexico as a Glam band in late ’85. It was another Spinal Tappian disaster.
  By 1986, the group dropped the Dataclan name, hoping to drop its history as well. They chose Love/Hate because they had a song Love and Hate that they performed at the time. As JP relates the name change: ‘it seemed like a good name for the band. Journalists in the future would always try to read some mystical significance into the name, the yin and yang, whatever. But I am telling you it was just a name.’ The band dropped their 3rd rate Duran Duran schtick after hearing the album Love by The Cult. The band turned Goth & JP even tried to pass himself off as British. Did Rob Reiner have a vision when he filmed This Is Spinal Tap? JP reasoned that Pantera & Alice In Chains were glam before turning heavy, & even Deep Purple turned from a very Byrdsian Flower Power sound to becoming the seminal Heavy Metal band. Good & bad performances at a weekend gig would determine the band’s psyche for the following week.
  But tension within the group still existed- mostly between Love & the others. Jizzy details it: ‘Jon could say the most hateful things that would really surprise you; they would shock you. So what you did after the first year or so was build an emotional wall around yourself so Jon couldn't push your buttons anymore. He was excluded from most business dealings and musical decisions and over the years we sort of existed in détente with each other. He was in the band because he was a good guitar player and a good recording engineer, but no one would ever say that they were friends with him. You never knew when he would turn on you.
  By year’s end Swade got a new business partner (after Rami bowed out after the Mexican disaster) named George St. John. Again, JP details: ‘This guy was a piece of work. When he brought us to his house, his walls were filled with gold records that he told us he had engineered. He told us he worked as a "second" engineer (and therefore, uncredited on the actual LP) on Aerosmith "Toys in the Attic", Led Zeppelin 4 ,Jimi Hendrix, etc. I must say we were impressed. Probably more impressive was the fact that he was buying us beer. I can motherfuck this guy now because he is dead, dead and gone.
This guy was a hardcore alcoholic psycho weirdo, we found out later that his gold record for Led Zeppelin 4 was not for engineering but rather given to him for being Jon Bonham's coke mule. He did coke with the old keyboardist from Aerosmith and "Voila!"--free gold record. It was just a short step in his alcohol dementia to think that he actually PARTICIPATED in them...
’ He was just 1 of many assorted tales of financial scam artist LH encountered, yet they signed on with him as their manager. Swade & he formed Jungle Management. They soon broke with St. John- but had signed a 3 year contract before doing so.

  By 1987 LH was without any real manager, & broke, as well as blackballed in the industry due to St. John’s Gestapo tactics in trying to get the band a label deal. The band’s response? JP, again: ‘We bought more bad dope, we recorded more songs, etc. At this time we had tired of the whole "drum machine " thing--the strip was alive, bands like Guns n Roses and Faster Pussycat and L.A.Guns were making their presence known and, of course, we got influenced. I always credit Guns n Roses with helping us get a record deal ---they started the whole ball of wax moving. It was weird. Bands were getting record deals left and right. We were jealous and envious but you always had to suck it in, smile, congratulate people---when inside you just felt rage -- why weren't WE chosen? well, as you know, we WERE, eventually...thank god.’ Soon, a new person entered the fray- Juan Crocier from the band Ratt. The band hated the over-produced sound Crocier left them with but early versions of 2 songs that later appeared on BITRR (Why Do You Think They Call It Dope? & She’s An Angel) made it to the soundtracks of the films Critters & Nightmare On Elm Street 4. The band had a little money coming in.
  Friction still reigned, though, as Jon E. Love was briefly replaced on guitar by a guy from Dio, called Tracy G. That lasted a month, until Love returned. Then JP had 1 of those moments upon seeing a videotape of the band’s performance: ‘I watched it in stony silence, I was looking at a fucked -up drunk idiot singer, off-key, saying stupid things, the very very opposite of cool--not many people can remember a particular day that had such a complete profound impact on the rest of their lives but I can... that video... changed my life. I KNEW that if I didn't get my shit together, if I didn't become KINGJIZZO, then I would be doomed to mediocrity. The Rock Gods WERE SPEAKING TO ME, through that horrible hideous video, they were saying to me WISE UP MOTHERFUCKER--FIND THE LITTLE AMPLIFIER ON YOUR BODY AND PUSH THE "BETTER" BUTTON---DO IT NOW---well, I took it to heart, I practiced , hour after hour, day after day, in the mirror, refining, editing, calculating, I spent months in that godamn mirror turning myself, transforming myself into a STAR, ....it sounds corny, I know, but if I hadn't done this your humble narrator might be working at UPS now, loading boxes onto boxes, for eternity.
  By 1988 things started to get better. Skid wrote most of the BITRR songs this year. The band started playing the Whiskey-A-Go-Go. LH played there week after week on Monday nights. JP soon started getting out of control: I once was on the roof of some 6-story building having a piss when Joey in the nick of time grabbed hold of my shirt and most certainly saved me from plunging to my death. are you getting the picture? I WAS OUT OF CONTROL. Jon hated me, thought I was a psycho, but I think Skid and Joe were amused by my antics, for you see this was "the Hammer of the Gods" , I was Keith Moon and Robert Plant rolled into one, the center of Attention, the Village Idiot--did this contribute to our getting signed? I hope so...’ The band did a 4 song demo & was signed by Columbia Records. Another hanger-on, a  lawyer named Dennis Rider, helped seal the deal. The band had built a following. They impressed some Record execs from Sony (parent company of Columbia Records) & were offered a deal in late December. Now, poets out there, read this next piece from JP, & see how it squares with the Academic world of poetry publication & contests: ‘Then when all the record companies heard about Sony, then THEY ALL WANTED US---how beautiful, what hypocrites, they who had scorned and chuckled now besieging us with phone calls, calling us the " next big thing"...there was a bit of vindication in THAT as well...so, Dennis negotiated with the company and we signed the deal January 13th, 1989--the band got a $100,000 advance, we each took home almost $20,000 in our pockets, an obscene sum to me. I remember us, the four of us driving home from the bank, just having received all this $$$, and Jon still bitching, still not satisfied, saying how Sony "fucked" us’. Now LH is hot & women & parties beckon, David St. John returned for his cut- he sued for his 20%. The band countersued & ended up paying almost $200k to St. John & Swade, & $42k for legal bills. The band rented a condo in Hawaii & lived the high life.

  BITRR was the 1st album the band released. The cover art was a painting by Skid, of the band toking, painted a year earlier. JP suggested the band use it for the album, after rejecting many a hoidy-toidy high-concept from the label honchos. The band got a huge promotional push which JP pins as the ultimate downfall of the band- they soon lost the desire & got fat. As JP says: ‘YOU'RE CHANGED.what I mean to say is that it probably would have been better for the band if we had started off with a SMALL deal, you know, like Metallica, start off slow and buildup over time....we weren't allowed that luxury, we were expected to go multi-platinum right out of the gate--IT WAS EXPECTED OF US ...

  You see, the record label puts out a shitload of money for you and they like to see a return on their investment, they're really cool and real supportive as long as they think you're gonna make them $$$$---now more than ever, it seems, I know of bands that don't even get their debut record released, it's like the record company isn't even confident that you're gonna sell ANY RECORDS AT ALL...so they just shelve your ass...and your dreams are shattered.
  At least that didn't happen to us, we got the BRASS RING FELLAS, WE GOT THE 'E' TICKET MOTHERFUCKERS, WE GOT TO RIDE THE FUCKING PONY---most bands don't get a bus, we got BUSSES GALORE, we got the best of everything... hedonism at it's best...ladies and gents...let me tell you all a little story about four horny guys and touring...
  JP feels BITRR was the band’s high point & they slid all the way from there. I’ll disagree, to a degree, with Jizzy later on, when I review BITRR song-by-song, & some of the later things the band did. But, yes, I give their debut album the slight nod as their best. It was released in 3/90 & the band went on a binge-laden tour to promote it. They opened for Mighty Midget Ronnie Dio’s titular band. From there they moved up to tour with AC/DC, promoting their single Why Do You Think They Call It Dope?. JP, again:  Then we scored the AC/DC tour.....the "Dope" video was all over MTV at the time and that was supposed to be the impetus that got us on the tour, but the reality was that SONY records paid a lot of $$$ and they "bought " us our spot on the tour. Not directly, mind you, but with $$$ in promotion and marketing and full-page ads, it could have been Lynch Mob or Kings X but it was us....that, my brothers, was the fucking best tour I was ever on....arenas, stadiums, full plush Grade-A GLORY... it was marvelous, we got to fuck "arena " bitches and eat arena catering and travel like visiting kings everywhere. The absolute best....along the way we became a bit of an infatuation in the U.K.-- they really loved us and still do to this day. Why? is it because of the booze lyrics? was it our weird stage show? our sarcastic take on life? probably a combination of all these things. We ended up being quite a phenomenon over there, we had our most rabid fan response over there---people say "why there, and not HERE"? well, ..fuck, I don't know...but it was just so cool to be big SOMEWHERE, ANYWHERE, we did a bunch of press and people gave a shit about what we had to say.
  Even though BITRR sold OK for a debut, considering the $ put in to it it was viewed as a little bit of a flop. But LH had made a name, & the record was critically acclaimed for its excellent lyrics, especially- much deeper than your typical Top 40 rockers. By 1991 the band worked on the songs that would make up Wasted In America- album #2. But, Sony had other ideas about how the band’s sophomore disc should sound. The Jizzster describes an almost typical Corporation-Employee interaction: ‘They made us go back to the drawing board. now, the reason why Joe and I were indispensable to the writing process was our contribution to what I call QUALITY CONTROL. Skid brought in songs, sometimes too hastily, and what we did was to kinda cut the fat off the piece of steak. Or sometimes throw away the whole steak. The song SPIT was originally called "Your Little Bump" referring to Skid's girlfriends clit, believe it or not. It was a good song once we agreed to remove the offensive part. The first lyrics to "Don't Fuck With Me" were horrible, really campy, so those got rewritten. And on and on. No big deal, Joe and I just a part of the process, separate the wheat from the chaff. So we kept at it until we came up with a better batch of songs to submit.
  The band went to New York City to record WIA, flush with alot of Sony moolah, in the hopes that WIA would just build on BITRR’s base. JP claims that the move contributed to his alcoholism & Skid’s egomania. This snippet is vintage- both in the real world of would-be rockers, & in the parodic Spinal Tappian counter-cosmos: ‘Skid wanted to write and direct a movie-WASTED IN AMERICA-" The Movie" –a "Rockumentary" what he wanted to do was fly out our ex-singer Mark Hollis, and PAY him to work and edit this film with him. We said no...for a plethora of reasons--first off, Mark Hollis was neither a film editor or anything, really, he was Skid's drinking buddy. He was still writing music and it was good ...but a cinematographer he was not and of  COURSE the band would have to shoulder the bill for this movie. I think if Skid had said "I want to do this movie" and I'll pay for it...we might have thought different. I was in New York to make a record, NOT to be the "star" of some quasi-movie. Skid was furious, of course, he started to call us the NON-ARTISTS--and wasn't it fucked that THE NON-ARTISTS were standing in the way of what the ARTIST wanted to do...I won't go into it too much, but this wasn't the first time that Joey and I had to put the brakes on one of Skid's madcap schemes. Six months before we got signed to SONY, Skid wanted to change the name of the band to the DEVIL DOLLS, we were gonna go full Motley Crue, full make-up, Alice Cooper....we said no. Skid locked himself in his room for 3 days and wouldn't talk to anybody... this kind of shit happened ALL THE TIME, Joey could tell ya, Skid was and is very talented, maybe the best songwriter I've ever worked with, but being a good songwriter doesn't always endow you with other skills...like good judgment. so...we said no to the movie... but it reared it's ugly head later as we shall see...
  The band thought WIA was a good record, but Sony thought it less of a kick-ass album than its predecessor. The 1st single from WIA was to be Happy Hour- a damned good song but not laden with the pop hooks that get radio play. JP would’ve preferred them releasing Miss America. Personally, I’d’ve gone with the kick-ass Cream. But JP, in his commentary, is too hard on WIA. In terms of musical growth the album does best BITRR, but its softer sound leaves it just a bit short. By September of 1991 the album was done, LH was touring with Skid Row- another potentially great band decimated by Grunge- in Europe, pushing a single, Evil Twin, the band did not like, at Sony’s behest. Skid let his feelings about corporate force-feeding surface in some interviews, & the band toured the Continent teetering between JP’s excesses of the flesh & Skid’s motormouth egoism. In early ’92 WIA was released, Happy Hour was the 1st single, & LH was touring with Ozzy Osbourne. But all tour long Skid persisted with his film idea, along with his pal & former bandmate Mark Hollis they began surreptitiously filming the band. Things got really Tappian when the duo decided to turn the documentary into a film meld on par with, say, a Mike Hammer Meets Michael Myers motif. Run-ins with other touring musicians, a video shoot for the 2nd single, Wasted In America, & alot of negative fan mail were in the past at tour’s end. JP even missed out on the lead singer gig for Mötley Crüe, after Vince Neil took off from that band.
  Meanwhile the 1st 2 singles from WIA flopped. Assorted publicity stunts also failed to get anything but laughs, & Sony’s ire. By 1992 the band was dropped by Sony & Jon E. Love, the lead guitarist, took a powder. They replaced him with a guy named Darren, who proved to be as productive as many a LH manager. But the band went on & planned recording their 3rd LP- Let’s Rumble- without a label. Another wrench was JP’s desire to write some songs for the band, something that was all Skid’s chore till then. BMG Records optioned LR & the band toured the UK. But the label would not release the LP stateside, so the band let their fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages to find a label that wanted them. More fuck-ups followed, especially in kiboshed releases of singles, even as the band started work on their 4th album- I’m Not Happy; a CD I’ve never heard. LR did produce a hit single, Spinning Wheel, but the label that picked LH up- Caliber- was lagging with the release of the album- which, by the time of its release, was too late to capitalize on the buzz from the single.
  By this time Jon E. Love returned to replace Darren on guitar. By this time the group was self-producing I’m Not Happy- album #4. But little happened as the bandmates opted on doing non-LH projects. A 5th, & final album- Livin’ Off Layla- was also done, but the band was pretty much kaput. By this time it was 1997, & the floundering band was in absolute anomy. But, by ’98 Jizzy tried to reunite the band after getting a tentative offer from the manager of the band Warrant. But things bombed, & JP ended up joining another band with a great past but dismal present- LA Guns. He soon split with them as well.
  Before I go into an in-depth look at BITRR, & skim some of the rest of WIA & LR, let me just sum up where LH currently stands- defunct. Yet in the last couple of years the inevitable ‘Best Of’ CD has surfaced: The Very Best Of Love/Hate. That’s usually the death knell for 99% of bands- if not the actual interment. JP sums up his take on the band’s progress: ‘here's the reality--BLACKOUT sold a couple 100 thousand, nowhere near gold status, WASTED sold worse, maybe 100 thousand, maybe...RUMBLE sold shit, negligable...I'M NOT HAPPY, next to nothing, and LAYLA, well, the less said about THAT record the better. anyway, the point is that we were STRUGGLING AGAIN, back to Square One...’. So, now that the not so meteoric rise & crash of the band has been charted, let’s look at some of their handiwork along the way.


The Album


  There’s a reason BITRR is the 2nd album in this essay series- it’s about as perfect a party album as you can get- there’s not a bad song on it. The other 2 albums I’ve heard each have at least 1. & like The Zombies’ Odessey & Oracle the major reason is excellent song lyrics which subvert expectations (a major reason they, nor The Zombies could match the Top 40 pop success of lesser bands), & a sound both unique in their era & genre, as well as flat out musically excellent. Most critics, & even the band members look at BITRR as the group’s best. Often this is the case with bands’ 1st releases, as they’ve had years to polish their material & have a backlog of their best songs to put forth- this is also why 2nd albums are often busts, & a lot of groups become 1-hit wonders (at best).
  But, LH avoided this on the 1st 3 albums I’ve heard, not just with their lyrics & abruptly changing tunes- but great harmonies & backing vocals. Let’s go song by song: Song 1 is the titular Blackout in the Red Room- this is a great song: pure hard rock- not heavy metal, per se. JP’s falsetto is in perfect sync in this song, & his yelps & yips are perfectly timed with the rumbling buildups & dropoffs. Too often rock singers strain to hit the high notes. This is the 1st of many LH songs which abound with drug references, & I will attempt to steer you a little. But, you say, Dan, we know you’re a teatotaler, how would you know? Well, as a kid I earned my 1st $ in the mean streets of Bushwick, near the Wycoff Hospital’s methadone clinic, & playing in the nearby heroin galleries. Granted, this was 20 years before this LP surfaced, & across the continent in NYC, but some drug references are universal. Supposedly named after the painting by Skid, which appears to be of a bongfest, the term red room refers to the main room in a heroin den where junkies shoot up, usually with shared needles- the red being the abounding blood. Apparently the song references mixing booze with heroin- the result being an OD- possibly fatal by songs end- the music suggests this as it starts off booming then ends with a very teeter-tottery effect, as if the person is falling off of life. Tribute to the excellence is that either interpretation (bong or heroin) works.


Blackout In The Red Room      

So you're going drinking tonight
It's party time
Gonna turn bad to maybe

So you're gonna paint the town red
It's party time
Gonna turn bad to maybe
Blackout in the red room
Blackout in the red room

So you say you can't remember
It's party time
So you say you can't remember

So you woke up blind
It's party time
So you say you can't remember

Chorus (3x)

Blackout, blackout (3x)

It’s a blackout


  While not the strongest song lyrically, the sly references & the strong musical background, especially the crashing drums, really deliver an effective drug warning- a bit of medicine slipped in with the band’s sex, drugs, & rock-n-roll oil.
  Song 2, Rock Queen, is a major headbanger- from drugs to sex- the guitaring in this song is wicked, especially during the main lyrical body. The chorus is a wicked little piece- as well as being sly. How this song never became a Top 20 smash is beyond me. How the 1st chorus kicks in straight to the 2nd main lyric works well in depicting the breathless lust of the protagonist.


Rock Queen

I got my wine
Get out of my way
Got a chip on my shoulder
Had a real bad day
Met a little girl
Just thirteen
She's a knock-down blue-eyed slut psycho-virgin tease

Rock Queen, thirteen, buxom blonde, bad dream
Let me touch your cookies--let me eat your cookies—now

Got some time
Won't go wrong
Sittin' on the sidewalk
Singing songs
Take my baby home
On the scene
Turns out she's a koochie-koochie-koochie

Chorus (multiple x)

  The 2 best lyrical parts of the song are the description of the nymphette as ‘a knock-down blue-eyed slut psycho-virgin tease’ & the offer to ‘Let me touch your cookies--let me eat your cookies’. While not deep, this song, barely over 2 minutes has a # of musical changes, great hooks, & a refrain that is fast & furied- why did this not become a hit? Looking back a dozen years later the song holds up far better than anything on Nirvana’s Nevermind. Just goes to show you that timing is a lot to the process of success.
  Song 3, Tumbleweed, is a good song, but not on par with the 1st 2 songs. It opens with some nice guitar licking, but the song, about anomy &- ultimately- death, is not the stuff most pop bands venture in to. But the song, with its bit of Western pitch, & its constant regressive pull (sorry, I’m not a musician- perhaps backbeat is the term?) toward the song’s end, do really affect the idea of walking off in to the sunset. An effective song that just is out of place in the Top 40 universe.



I'm tumblin', tumblin' round
I'm tumblin', my feet don't touch the ground
'Cause I got no, got no place to go
Maybe if I did I'd settle down my roots would grow
I'm a tumbleweed

I'm tumblin', tumblin' round
I'm tumblin', like a wind blowin' through your town
Got a sharp thorn sticking in my side
On this dusty road I'm goin' for a ride
I'm a tumbleweed

Tumbleweed bad seed
No one I need
Tumbleweed bad seed
Got a home on a ghost town highway
Ooh I'm a tumbleweed

I'm tumblin', tumblin' round
I'm tumblin', someday I will be gone
When I grow old, grow old and pass away
Just spread my ashes on a windy day
I'm a tumbleweed


  Song 4 did not suffer from the same. Why Do You Think They Call It Dope? is especially effective with some of the unintelligible spoken word & musical effects behind the chori- very effective at rendering the bugged out drug stupor. The bass guitar also has alot of little crackly effects that render a very drugged out feel, a mind splintering- this is a very audience-friendly song, as well. It was 1 of LH’s most successful songs & it’s obvious why.

Why Do You Think They Call It Dope?

Why do you think they call it dope?

Nighttime, shooting star, the sun started to rain
Trees lost branches, gurus' trances, black-brassiered dancers, little dears
Showdown's coming, it's no joke, mouth is running, it's a stroke
That's what I think when I'm so fucked up I can't even find the door

Chorus (2x)

When your heart beats fast, you're so broke, in your car with the red lights flashing
Look sincere, smell like beer, roach in the ashtray, going to the pokey
Thirty days later, ten bucks left, hands are shaking looking for a dime bag

Chorus (2x)

Dirty little dopers on dope, so bad (2x)

When two and two turn into five you'll probably see it my way
When bad is good, like it should, things turn upside down
Some people say it's hip to say no, my town it's green light go
For party rockin' angels now it's trigger happy slang-bang-pow

Chorus (4x)

  Great images in the 1st stanza, drug references in stanza 2 are very effective, especially set off against the cutesy- & dated- reference to prison (pokey). These sorts of things are things typical songwriters won’t bother with- they are less sly & more straightforward- they’ll pound a hook in to the earth. Another songwriter would never have gotten to stanza 3, & probably not 2, the song would have been more preachy, & certainly not as realistic-ending as this.
  The next song- Fuel to Run- is basically on alcoholism. Not as good as the prior song, & a bit of a downer in mood & verse, it does contain some nice turns- most notably the inverted downward mobility. But the song is not as high energy as others. The bass does mimic well the sound of what could be a bum pounding the pavement, looking for places to score a shot. Effective, but again not the simple-minded approach most hit songs take.


Fuel To Run

Smash bam biff boom crack
Party still goin' six in the mornin'
Jim Beam, Courvoisier and Jack
We're goin' down

I need some fuel
I need some fuel
I need some fuel to run
I need some fuel to run

Yo Zeke stop! At the liquor store
We want some more
I'd like to introduce you to my fifth
That's who I'm with

Chorus (2x)

I'm free to exercise my downward mobility
I'm free to exercise my downward mobility
My downward mobility


  The chorus is the most effective lyric, & the desperation of the lead singer has a yelping desperate sense that scores well, but just is a turnoff to non-afficionados of great pop tunes. The next song is about drinking, as well- but much hipper & upbeat- especially with an Eastern sitar feel behind the chori, & in the bridges. A real spangly retro-60s feel.


One More Round

Black-out Bill, he's my bud, he brings over Jack
In the car to the Whisky
It's 1:30, stinking drunk, 50 cents in my pocket
Turn around-Vicky!
On the cuff, on the house, line 'em up, line 'em down
One more round

Quarter of two, what to do.
Sharks start to circle
My my my my my my my
Last call alcohol, time we said bye-bye
My my my my my my-Vicky!
On the cuff, on the house, line 'em up, line 'em down
One more round--one more round

She said "start trottin' boy, my friends are thirsty"
Start trottin' boy, my friends are thirsty
Start trottin' boy, my friends are thirsty

14 yellow roses, windows for the light

One more round (4x) 

  The ‘Na-nas’ in the background chori also give a retro feel- back to the 50s, even as the subject matter is very 70s & on. This gives the song a very timeless quality. It’s a killer tune, & the most lyrically complex yet- it ends side 1 of the LP- but not the CD. The named references to drinking pals is effective & draws the listener into the tale, the shots being lined up is a nice way of setting this song off as a light take vis-à-vis Fuel To Run. Another thing that works well is Vicki’s command to the singer, as well as the ‘moment’: 14 yellow roses, windows for the light- whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean. But, it works well! The fadeout with the whooping also lends a light, fun sense to this great song.
  The 2nd side’s lead song, the CD’s 7th, is a really terrific tune- much deeper & resonant, emotionally, than the party tunes that dominate side 1. She's an Angel, starts off with a furious side 1-type blast of ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah’ 2 times- but the song’s main lyrical body is a soft guitar-laden verse. Stanza 2 then picks it up. The end’s return to the guitar alone works. The song’s musical contrasts, as well as lyrical, really depict the bipolarism well. This could have been subtitled ‘for Sylvia & Anne’. 

She's An Angel        

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah (2x)

She's tryin' to have a good time
Even though these are the bad times
She's tryin' to get in--she wants out
Doin' some time for small crimes to herself
Sitting by a window--breathin' on the glass
Time will tell, time will pass
'Cause when you're young sometimes little things seem larger than life

She is a wild wind blowin'--she's my thunder and rain
She is a hurricane
They think she's insane
But she's an angel

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah

They'll lock you away
They'll lock you away

Mommy takes the strings off your bass
So you won't hang yourself
Could things be so bad
When you're lovin' life with everything you have

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah

She is a sunbeam shinin'--think it's gonna rain
Sure she's feelin' pain
They think she's insane
But she's an angel

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah

They'll lock you away
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah
They'll lock you away

She's on drugs yeah she's on fire
They all say that she's a liar
Sure she's lookin' for trouble
And now she's seein' double

She is a sunbeam shinin'--think it's gonna rain
Sure she's feelin' pain
They think she's insane
But she's an angel

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah (3x)

They'll lock you away (4x)

She's tryin' to have a good time
Even though these are the bad times

  Here are just a few of the great songwriting moments within: Doin' some time for small crimes to herself/Sitting by a window--breathin' on the glass, Mommy takes the strings off your bass/So you won't hang yourself, & Sure she's lookin' for trouble/And now she's seein' double. This is not what you expect from a bunch of hard rock part animals- perhaps a slow ballad by Neil Diamond or a dour tune by Patti Smith. But LH really effectively portrays the unnamed lead character in word & song. The best song on the album. Well, at least the deepest. The next song, Mary Jane, is killer- albeit far bouncier & upbeat. What One More Round does for drinking, this song does for toking.

Mary Jane

Don't you worry, don't feel no pain
Just wrap your lips around her
Don't you fret none, don't feel no shame
We're gonna roll 'er up, Mary Jane

She's my baby rocket stone her eyes are green
She smells like candy and her number is 13
They say she's growin' wild, wild like a weed
They say she's loco crazy
There's somethin' I best tell you
I'm loco crazy too

Mary Jane, I want you
Mary Jane, I need you

And I heard you were lookin' for some action
And I think I got just what you need
And we were sittin' in a circle
Passin' round and round


I found my connection down at the beach
And my heart started racin' 'cause she's at arm's reach
I don't know why I feel this way 'bout you but I do

I am hallucinating, this world, fine mess we're in
I am imaginating, come to me, Mary, Mary Jane

Chorus (3x)
Green buds inside you, green buds inside you
Green buds inside you, green buds inside

  Mary Jane may also be a female character in the song- but it’s definitely about a joint, a Mary Jane. Mary Jane/Marijuana. Got it? What great lyrics: ‘She's my baby rocket stone her eyes are green/She smells like candy and her number is 13’. I don’t know exactly what that means- the point is, after a hit or 2 you won’t either- it just rocks. The neologism of ‘imaginating’ evokes the slurred speech of a stoner, & the closing of ‘Green buds’ also implies something added to a simple joint. The song’s crashing & abruptive  rhythms sway back & forth- very psychadelic, & the song’s fizzle at the end really are a nice touch that could easily have been left out- but a great songwriter bothers with those little extras. Straightjacket is a bit more straight forward a song:



Gonna get a little laid
Fuck off!
No sticks and stones
Gonna get it right

Some people think I'm going crazy
Some people think I'm mad mad mad
Some people think I'm gonna hurt somebody
Some people think I'm gonna hurt myself

Put your straightjacket on
Put your straight straightjacket on
Put your straightjacket on
Put your straight straightjacket straight straightjacket on

I think I'm gonna go out tonight
I think I'm gonna get into a fight
I think I'm gonna knock somebody's head off
I think I might murder somebody yeah yeah


  This is a song that should have been a Top 40 hit. Why? Because it’s pretty generic, compared to the rest of the album. That said it still rocks, & the chorus is addictive. The next song, Slutsy Tipsy, is a classic party song.


Slutsy Tipsy

You thought you'd blow my mind
You thought you'd suck my thumb
You thought you'd be

Sweet a little slutsy tipsy

You thought you'd buy some beer
You thought you'd crucify me
You thought you'd be

Chorus (2x)

You won't be alone
It's warm inside
You thought you'd take me home
You thought you'd sacrifice me
You thought you'd be

Chorus (4x)

Love is a special thing  

  The song is also fairly straight forward, but it has alot of fun: ‘You thought you'd suck my thumb’. The paranoia of the singer is leavened by this humor, as well as the guitar frets (I believe is the term) & scrawls that let 1 know the singer is not a reliable narrator. The screeching end of the song is also very funny. While not a bad tune, the next song is alot better, despite its off-putting title. Slave Girl is 1 of the more complex songs, lyrically & musically. Stanza 1 is subdued, then explodes into stanza 2’s harder beat.

Slave Girl

When the rain comes, don't cry
'Cause I'll keep you dry
When the wind blows, don't sigh
'Cause our love won't die

Down from Louisiana, playin' in a band
She moved to Hollywood, bottle in her hand
Wears a black bandana, blood red tattoo
I know she's wrong but I'm a bad guy too

She's a gang bang slave girl, I'll be your homeboy
She's a gang bang slave girl, I'll be your homeboy
Gang bang slave girl, gang bang slave girl

Daisy, growing side of the road
Forty-five Smith & Wesson, cock and load
You better run, better pay your rent
'Cause every shell she shoots counts for money never spent


And on our anniversary we'll cruise the barrio
I'll hear your favorite song on the radio
Gang bang slave girl, gang bang slave girl
And on our anniversary we'll cruise the barrio
I'll hear your favorite song on the radio

When the rain comes, don't cry
'Cause I'll keep you dry
When the wind blows, don't sigh
'Cause our love won't die
'Cause our love won't die 

  Of all the songs about relationships, this is 1 of the most interesting- a sort of mix of Mötley Crüe’s Dr. Feelgood & Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers- although the song came out 4 years before the film. The changes in rhythm really allow JP to show off his vocal chops. He is 1 of the great rock singers- easily in the Top 20 (probably of all rock-n-roll & definitely the Top 10 of hard rock/heavy metal).
  The last song is a puzzling, but very interesting tune- starting with the title. Hell CA, Pop. 4 rocks with some more abruptive rhythms, & JP’s falsetto:


Hell, CA., Pop. 4

She's a lone bitch biker with a skull tattoo
Rides a mean black Harley carries buck knife too
Outlaw Sheila in a leather vest
They say she's worst, I know she's best
'Cause love is the unknown rider

Hitchin' down the road with about ten cents
She picks you up buys some cold Budweiser
Stealin' down the highway wind in your hair
You don't know her name but you don't care
'Cause love is the unknown rider

Spray paint one black can I'm really famous man
On the walls that I spray on
Black streak cool freak long hair loud guitar
Bloody mouth preacher sinner go out at twelve

'Cause I'm from Hell California population four
I'm from Hell California population four

Lipstick on the mirror bee's honey on her thigh
Lingerie past issue
I commit fantacide 'cause she's unknown she's the unknown rider
So what who gives a fuck I live in Hell Hell is my home

Chorus (slight variation)

I want some every night can't stop myself or the world from turning
I don't even know your name but I think we'll party just the same

Chorus (slight variation- 2x) 

  Really look at the lyrics- while the song is solid, the lyrics are very dense. This is about a bike-riding serial killer, yet it has a party tune feel. Most rockers, given this subject matter, would go Black Sabbath-like- dark & somber. That LH mixes things up is very daring. Nonetheless this song is almost a perfect example of why the album was critically acclaimed, yet never Top 40- in a sense they are the hard rock equivalents of the more recent Björk.
  Okay, I’ve distilled a bit of this album’s magnificence. The next 2 albums had moments that equaled or excelled this 1’s, but also moments that bombed. Let me briefly tour Wasted In America & Let’s Rumble. I’ll go song by song.


Wasted In America, Columbia, 1992


Wasted in America: A good opener, & some nice guitar riffs- a nice political song that isn’t really political:


Something's gone wrong with the TV generation
I am the product of that situation
So you say you're feelin'
Pinhead frustration
C'mon join the nation


Don't ask me why things are the way they are
They just are
I don't know why
People are so curious
They wanna chase it
They wanna taste it
They wanna get wasted

  Yet the humor remains in this song, especially toward the end:

They're getting wasted in New Jersey
Wasted in Illinois
Wasted in California
And the Texans say "You 'all"

Spit: The intro rocks & the lyrics are killer- a sample: 

Throbbing pulsating gyrating hyperventilating
'Til we pass out on the floor

Met a little girl with no bloomers on
When she showed me her fake I.D. I knew something was wrong
She said let's dance
Said I got a wooden leg
Said I'd like to see you on your knees
She's cuddly wuddly wuddly too
She's cuddly wuddly wuddly got a hold on you
Yeah you got a reputation for coming on strong
Now you're leanin' up against my dang-a-lang-a-lang-a-lang
Here we go to your bungalow
Boyfriend's on the road

  LH is very effective at nonsense lyrics & dated phrases like ‘pokey’ from BITRR’s Why Do You Think They Call It Dope? to this tune’s ‘bloomers’. The spit is supposedly referring to cunnilingus, but that’s only because I read Jizzy’s take on the song. The song really leaves it to the imagination, & its many musical twists really work.

Miss America: A weaker song than the 1st 2- but solid. A bit sappy at times but the rumble false ending, pause, & true ending works, as it resembles the false then true ejaculation into the woman the singer’s fantasizing over- can you say masturbation? Speaking of which is song #4.

Cream: No, not an ode to the power trio, but the best song on this CD so far. Alot of abruptions, & this song personally clicks with me because of its subject matter’s relation to my youth. That said, it’s a ferocious song that comes to a screeching halt. Another complex character centers the song (here in full lyrics).

Her name was Aphrodisia
She put me in a spell
She told all her friends
I could do her well
Took her in the alley
Laid her on the trash
Then she told me everything

Put your corner on working girl
Smudged makeup around your eyes
First you want it get
You want it come and get it
You need it all the time

Nymphomaniac in black
She wants your peaches
But all you get is cream
All you get is cream
All you get is

Put your red dress on working girl
Got another spot on your dress
First you hold me
You hurt me
You bite me
Then you burn me
You work me overtime

Nymphomaniac in black
She wants your peaches
But all you get is cream
All you get is cream
All you get is cream

How many times can I say that I want you
How many times can I pass you by

And dare I look inside the sullen door of many colors
Thousands of seed lights glowing inside my head
And I can't...

Put your corner on working girl
smudged makeup around your eyes
First you want it get it
You want it come and get it
You want it all the time

Nymphomaniac in black
She wants your peaches
But all you get is cream
All you get is cream

Nymphomaniac in black
She wants your peaches
But all you get is cream
All you get is cream
All you get is cream

And so I walked on down the hall
And found myself passionless and not quite able
To take myself seriously
Now you and I know that I know that you know
That everybody around me is lyin' and cryin' and dyin' 

Yucca Man: A good bass lends atmosphere to this well-written song, loaded with interesting lyrics. The guitar is both faint & powerful at times. Some of the great lyric samples:

If I had a dollar--cut it in two--give you fifty cents
But the rock will come and get you


Now you are a cannibal
You eat yourself for a supper in a stew
Shut your mouth
Stop gummin'
  These lyrics work mostly because of their mystery, their poeticness.

Happy Hour: While content-wise, this song should be a classic Top 40 tune, look at the lyric density of some of these lines:

Bimbo beauties beckoning
Fizzy banger
Said she's a sanger-screwdriver
Miss Phillips gives head for bottlecaps
On the ceiling painted frescoes never lie


A dyed blonde sacrificial lamb
Died during happy hour
How far would you drive
How far would you drive
To rock in another man's grave
We went down to Disneyland
Mickey died in vain


There's a point in space
Where you don't have to fight
Happy hour


Fireflies play leapfrog on the sheets
Purple spots on your t-bar
Tell me what your money buys

  A short guitar intro leads in to more abruptive rhythms. JP is in classic falsetto mode, & the tune is a very interesting slice of the bar scene- but much too complex for typical rocker/morons to appreciate.

Tranquilizer: A great song. The acoustic guitar buildup at starts feints a few times then the song kicks ass with the 1st lines sung:

You need a shot to your arm
You need a shot to your face
You need a shot won't do no harm
Just keepin' pace

  The song is another anti-drug song, really. Check out the slickness & slyness of this lyric:

I'll get you high I'll pin one on you baby
I'll be your pacifizer, I'll be your unitizer
I'll be your sympathizer

Time's Up: Dueling guitars give way to a give & take screech that mimics the fall of a missile- very apropos for the song’s lyrics. The background organ grounds the song well. This should’ve become a rock anthem! The bridge to the guitar solo is also scorching. The look at singles bar life is smack on.

a) I don't need no education
I don't want no rehabilitation
I don't need to act kind
Up time
You were so sweet when you were in junior high
But that was a long time ago-o-o-o
Now you're out on the streets
With bikers and rock n' rollers

b) The sand's run out of your hourglass
Now you've got to make a decision--time's up

c) There was a girl and we knew her name
She tried to forget but we all remembered her
Yesteryear her yesterday

d) Up time down time it's all around time
Kill for thrill time it's today 

  All 4 selections are so right on target. LH is probably the hard rock band that was most in tune with the times they existed in. Not even the socially conscious groups of the 1960s were as in sync & sly about their takes on the times.


Don't Fuck With Me: A slow song, & lyrically weak. Not bad, but not good either- especially with the merging of the Western/Gangster motifs. Lyrically 1 of their lesser songs:

Don't fuck with me 'cause I don't look like you
We can be brothers and wear our different colors too

Don't Be Afraid: Another weak song musically, but the lyrics are better:

Nibble on your flesh in the sun
Toilet paper wrapped around you till you're a mummy
Wrapped in shit paper teacher
Whatever happened to eternity
Empty ketchup bottles keep you company

  Cool, but sort of pointless.

Social Sidewinder: Another solid song with some social comment, rockable, but not memorable.

Social sidewinder
Can it be that the good and the bad
Equal the free
Can't find her
She's hiding from everyone  

Evil Twin: Not as bad a song as JP thinks but not near the best 3 or 4 songs on the CD- still, good compared to Top 40 crap:

Once I woke up mild mannered and shy
Passed in the pub and I didn't know why
Made a sharp turn and I hooked a bee-line
For the tender minute mender, bad news sender, liquid vendor

  Overall WIA’s best is the equal of BITRR’s, but the worst is a notch or 2 below. As for Let’s Rumble, also had some great rockers: Let’s Rumble, Spinning Wheel (on bondage), Beer Money, Sexical, & Flower, some middling tunes: The Boozer, Wrong Side Of The Grape (although a great title), Devil’s Squaw, & 2 weaker songs (by LH standards)- the dull Here’s To You, & the ballad If You Believe In Miracles. Some nice lyrics abound, & some great hard rocking music- but another dip from the 1st 2 albums. I’ve never heard a song from I’m Not Happy, nor Livin’ Off Layla, although JP & others agree they are weak albums.




  Let me bring this home by stating that not only is it a shame that LH never hit it big- after all, they were far superior to all of the 80s hair bands & only Alice In Chains & Soundgarden- as grungers- compared, but 1 wonders how the last decade of music would have been different. Grunge was bound to die- too tied to dying punk & self-absorptive nihilism. LH was the band that should have taken the torch from Guns-N-Roses. Would rap have stayed more under wraps? Would Marshall Mathers have envied Skid & Jizzy, rather than NWA? After all, Skid wrote better songs than they, or the rockers, did- although I love the best of GNR- & Jizzy’s a better singer than Axl Rose ever could be. As a party band LH was essential hard rock- they could be deep or coy, funky or funny, fun or serious, yet little known, even in their day. Back in about 1994 I recall a conversation I had with a wannabe rock drummer I worked with at a magazine warehouse- Doug Meyers. & the warehouse was loaded with rock mags of the day. In talking of great rock bands he could barely recall LH, until after a few minutes he remembered the song Blackout In The Red Room. I urged him to get the tape or CD- he did & loved it & the others. They are now pretty rare- especially BITRR- I have the tape, but can’t find a CD of it anywhere (I have CDs of the 2 other great albums)- not in used stores nor online. Regardless, if you love great hard rock & wanna appreciate something special get any of the 3 LH CDs I mentioned, especially Blackout In The Red Room. & if you do find it, or have a spare copy feel free to send the info, or CD, my way. After all, I’m the guy who turned you on to their kick ass shit! 

Some websites that were useful in culling info on LH:






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