Newt's Coronavinyl Countdown is a daily blog wherein veteran Georgia Straight rock writer Steve Newton works through his LP collection--alphabetized according to band name, from AC/DC to ZZ Top--hoping to connect with fellow music-lovers who are also social distancing during COVID-19. Today's selection is Angel's Helluva Band.
This is one of those albums that I didn't even know I still had until this whole COVID-19 thing caused me to start going through my vinyl collection for this here blog. And there it was, right there in the middle of the "A" section, long hidden between platters by the Alarm and Angel City.
So I yanked it out and took a look at the cover and saw five pretty guys with big hair posing in white satin and chains and thought to myself: "Geez, Newt. Really?"
But the album came out in 1976, so, yeah, it was still part of that whole glam-metal thing I'd been into since Kiss blasted onto the scene with its self-titled debut album two years earlier. And speaking of Kiss, I noticed that Angel was on the same label, Casablanca, as Gene Simmons and the boys. And then I remembered reading in Circus magazine or something that Gene Simmons had discovered this band. Maybe that had gotten me into them.
When I pulled the album out I noticed that there was an ad for it affixed to one side of the record sleeve. That was one of the things I used to do with my albums sometimes if they came in plain sleeves with no artwork or credits. After I'd carefully encased them in plastic, I'd attach any advertisement I could find in said Circus magazines or wherever. I really fawned over my records back then.
And in this case, the ad copy probably played to my rebellious teenage tendencies at the time.
"Are you down-to-earth?," it reads. "Clear-headed? Do you spend weekends alone, with schoolbooks for company? If so, YOU'RE NOT READY FOR ANGEL!"
Now that I've had a chance to listen to the music for maybe the first time in 40 years, I can see what attracted me as a kid. As well as the glam, there's a bit of a prog element there, and I was into prog. And guitar player Punky Meadows, besides having a name I probably thought was really cool, sounds pretty hot.
Greg Giuffria--who would go on to lead a semi-successful band called Giuffria, and also play in House of Lords, another Simmons-boosted band--handles organ, piano, clavinet, harpsichord, Mellotron, synthesizers, and ARP string ensemble.
And that's way too many keyboards for my liking.
Although it has a few bright spots, Helluva Band wouldn't even register on the list of my fave albums of 1976. That was the year of Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak, Blue Oyster Cult's Agents of Fortune, and Rainbow's Rising, don'tcha know.
Tune in tomorrow when Newt's Coronavinyl Countdown lands on a way better band with Angel in its name--Angel City--and a look at Two Minute Warning.