Monday, January 16, 2006

Life, sex and death: A memory

This was a concert experience that is burned into my brain and not for any good reasons. It was the summer of 1992 and I went with a friend to see George Lynch's band Lynch Mob at a club that no longer exists. The opening act was a band called Life, sex and death. I had just seen an ad for their album right before seeing them, but knew nothing about their sound. Metal was on the decline at this time and had been so for almost a year, but a lot of bands could still fill up clubs in certain areas and Baltimore always seemed to have had a big audience for glam and commercial metal. The club was pretty full and everyone was waiting for the opening band. A long haired guy wearing no shirt and what could only be described leather hot pants came on stage and we realized he must be the bands guitarist as he strapped the guitar on. You certainly wouldn't know he was the guitarist from his playing ability as he began to hit a few sour notes and bang the body of the guitar against the amp which also made even more unpleasant noises. Then a guy wearing a tattered suit and bent glasses climbed onto the speakers and sat there talking some gibberish into the mic. Apparently this band had a genius "gimmick" of having a lead singer who was supposedly a homeless person. Then the bass player and drummer came on stage although their talent was of about the same level as the guitarist. The music just ground on with simple bar chords being played in between bizarre off beat noise. The singer or at least the homeless guy with the mic. continued ranting guttural ramblings and moved around the stage hunched over and making a face like he smelled something rotten. My jaw was on the floor and what started out as what I thought was a bad joke got worse as these guys played this garbage for about 40 minutes. What's worse was some people cheered for them and it was early so being drunk probably wasn't the excuse for everyone. What's worse than that was after the show I found out that these guys were on Reprise records which is a part of Warner Brothers. The label that had signed Hendrix and Van Halen signed a band who couldn't play and pretended they had a homeless person as their front man. No wonder metal died at this time as major labels were singing jokers like this. I believe they only did the one album so that was good news. My belief is that some record executive at WB perceived these guys as being a band that would appeal to fans of metal and the growing alternative scene and signed them. The problem was they must not have actually listened to the band before signing them. There were a lot of inexplicable label signings between say 1988 and 1992. Labels signed bands just because they knew metal was big and thought they should have metal bands, but they didn't really consider how good the band was or how the band should be marketed. This resulted in trash like these guys being on a major and talented bands being left by the wayside because their labels didn't know how to promote them. The flooding of the metal market that happened at that time is a topic that I will probably bring up in greater length at another time.

39 Comments:

Blogger \m/ said...

I remember these guys, they had that song 'Phone Call To Jesus', it was actually pretty funny.

They were a metal "Digital Underground" so to speak.

11:25 PM  
Blogger Ben Heller said...

Any band that has a Guitarist who wears leather Hot Pants are gonna have some credibility issues.

11:09 AM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

That is sad, sad, sad. There were enough bands out there with SOME talent that it sucks to hear of such a waste getting a record deal. Shame on them.

-- david

12:15 PM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

Sometimes it is best to miss the opening band. I can't beleive these guys didn't get booed off the stage.

7:19 PM  
Blogger whtfucover said...

Man, that story reminded me of the Time I was in Chicago in 86 and saw WASP, Slayer and...Raven at the same venue. Raven was sooo bad that when the singer stuck his mic out into the crowd for us to sing into it, everyone was going YOU SUCK!, man it was friggen nuts, They left after 5 or 6 songs, was worth it thought to hear the masters.

7:39 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Tony- Like I said some people like them, I thought they were horrid.

Ben-You have inspired to write a list of heavy metal fashion no-no's some time in the near future.

Dave- Amen, it's one thing for a local band to suck, but these guys shouldn't have been signed by anyone who had any kind of an ear for music.

fuzzbox- I booed them until my throat was sore and I was right up front, but they persisted on stinking up the place.

whtfucover- Welcome and that would have been the Pack is back tour which was Raven's worst album by far. Sometimes you get openers that are just mismatched. I saw Helloween open for Anthrax in 89 and I love both bands, but I was one of live ten people in an arena that was into Helloween. They were just so different from Anthrax that the fans were not into it. No one booed, but they just wiated for it to end so Anthrax would come on.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Ben Heller said...

Axl's skin tight white pants were difficult to get to grips with, if you know what I mean.

Fashion hell.

3:30 AM  
Blogger Strutter71 said...

Whoa whoa whoa!! I actually posted about LSD over on my blog not too long ago...I actually LOVED them. I saw them on the same tour. I ran out and bought their CD the next day, and still have it and listen to it. Hang on, I'll go check my blog and see when my post was and let you know.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Strutter71 said...

OK, it was a little longer ago than I thought. Anyone who is interested can go to my blog and find it in the "ARCHIVES" of April, 2005, under the title "Heavy Metal Memories." I think you'll find my LSD story a bit different.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Strutter, I just read your blog about LSD. I knew a guy who liked them a lot, but I couldn't take them. One of the band members did an interview with Metal Sludge maybe last year. You could either look under their archives or just type in Metal Sludge and Life, Sex and Death in a Google search.

9:32 PM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

I remember that show and LSD was just plain stupid. They were ALL gimick and NO substance. They are easily one of the worst bands I've ever seen.

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Jack Cocean said...

i never saw life sex and death live but i think thier album is amazing. theres a lot of a really clever guitar work in it, in odd keys and such. Yeah the singing and the lyrics are stupid but in the studio they have an amazing tone (maybe the producer to thank for that).

i can understand how they might suck live tho. im a big fan of the guitarists current band (luckily never seen him in hotpants or anything of the such) and i know he is an amazing guitarist, and im not some know nothing about music kinda guy, im classically trained and can tell when there's skill involved

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The singer actually smelled bad, live in dumpsters, etc. Some claim it was an act, but that would REALLY be putting oneself into a role to sleep among garbage. Friends of mine slightly knew him, but they did know others in the band. They rocked, great live show. They did have talent--it was no "waste," as others (obviously unfamiliar with the band) might believe. What the band did was challenge people's stereotypes about metal and rock imagery in general. That is, to THINK.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

anonymous-They were horrible, just complete and utter crap. Challenge people stereotypes? Seriously they were lame and used their singer as a bad gimmick. They were one of many bands who emerged in the dying days of early 90's rock and they had no business getting a record deal. Just a mindless mess at best.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life, Sex, and Death was a GREAT band that STILL has a respectably large following to this day. Which is remarkable since they broke up back around 1994! Personally, I absolutely LOVED L.S.D., and in fact, found this blog while Google-ing them. So I don't know who this METAL MARK is, but I know better than to waste my time checking out anything else written by this asshole since he obviously has the musicial taste of a 60-year-old woman. I mean, come on! He likes Lynch Mob? That's Dokken for homos, and I fucking HATE Dokken! If L.S.D's guitarist sounded like "unpleasant noises" to Mr. METAL MARK, then I would think the untreated raw sewage that spewed out of George Lynch's guitar must have sounded exactly like a steel drum being dragged across an empty garage floor. Or maybe that's just in the studio. I've never seen them live, so I can't say for sure.
It would also seem that Ol' METAL MARK wouldn't be able to say for sure much of anything at all. Especially what she said about L.S.D. since the show was over ten fucking years ago! He obviously was/is a heavy drinker as well since he HAD to be drunk when he actually paid actual money for tickets to a Lynch Mob "performance" without a mask.
So, in closing, fuck you METAL MARK. Fuck you, fuck Lynch Mob, and fuck your shitty website! Oh, and when you're done deleting my comment, be sure to post a blog about how "unpleasant" some band that opened the Winger concert you went to back in 1988 hurt your poor little ears. Queer.

8:15 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Life, Sex, and Death was a GREAT band that STILL has a respectably large following to this day. Which is remarkable since they broke up back around 1994! Personally, I absolutely LOVED L.S.D., and in fact, found this blog while Google-ing them. So I don't know who this METAL MARK is, but I know better than to waste my time checking out anything else written by this asshole since he obviously has the musicial taste of a 60-year-old woman. I mean, come on! He likes Lynch Mob? That's Dokken for homos. If L.S.D's guitarist sounded like "unpleasant noises" to Mr. METAL MARK, then I would think the untreated raw sewage that spewed out of George Lynch's guitar must have sounded exactly like a steel drum being dragged across an empty garage floor. Or maybe that's just in the studio. I've never seen them live, so I can't say for sure.
It would also seem that Ol' METAL MARK wouldn't be able to say for sure much of anything at all. Especially what she said about L.S.D. since the show was over ten fucking years ago! He obviously was/is a heavy drinker as well since he HAD to be drunk when he actually paid actual money for tickets to a Lynch Mob "performance" without a mask.
So, in closing, fuck you METAL MARK. Fuck you, fuck Lynch Mob, and fuck your shitty website! Oh, and when you're done deleting my comment, be sure to post a blog about how "unpleasant" some band that opened the Winger concert you went to back in 1988 hurt your poor little ears. Queer.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Mike-I certainly would not delete your post(s). They are way too funny. I will leave them up for everyone to stare in awe at your intelligent and enlightening responses. Oh, wait that's not right. You obviously cannot deal with an opinion that is different than yours. That's fine and I welcome that and it would be great if you talked about what you liked about LSD. Instead your feelings got hurt and your face turned all red as you let loose a childish rant. Blah, blah, blah you don't like Dokken or George Lynch and need to resort to name calling because that's the best you can do. Thanks for stopping by and increasing my hit count though. Now your raging nonsense is on here for all to see. Have a nice day!

9:30 AM  
Blogger bob_vinyl said...

If, and it's a big if, LSD had any redeeming qualities, they so thoroughly hid it behind their gimmick that it was impossible to decipher. Mike, I think you just bought into a lot of nothing. If you want music that challenges, perhaps you should try something that's actually bold like Godspeed You! Black Emperor or Tanya Tagaq or John Zorn or...well, there's a pretty long list of bands that are more challenging than LSD. Of course, it's hard to say what kind of homophobic rage that kind of challenge would send you into, so maybe you're best off sticking to silly little gimmicks.

1:17 PM  
Blogger scarfish69 said...

It's been amusing reading the comments you have to the right. It's funny how most of these people can barely form a coherent sentence. I can see being passionate about metal gods like, say Iron Maiden or Voivod, but hair metal or some little metalcore band, just no.

I had completely forgotten about LSD. I saw them. I thought the homeless guy gimmick was stupid then, still do.

I had really hoped this acting like a child/ internet tough guy fad would die out. It just seems to get worse through the years. Why is it so upsetting that others have different opinions? Some people listen to Ke$ha or watch remakes of perfectly good movies. That's their choice. I've actually agreed with most of your opinions on the different pages except for your choice to respond to these morons. It just seems to encourage them.

12:58 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Scarfish-Thanks for chiming in.

I may be encouraging them by responding, but I respond as needed to positive and negative comments.

5:35 AM  
Blogger scarfish69 said...

Sorry for the rant. These people are just bothersome.

2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I enjoyed the band fully, and I am not usually a metal fan, but my friends in metal bands loved Stanley and group, a lot. I saw LSD live once (in MI) but one friend had gigged with them in L.A. and regarded them as the top band in the scene at that time. Having heard at least one LSD live tape from a tour here, this one being in Boston (as I recall), it was more the local crowd that made the show. In Detroit, they rocked hard and the audience loved it. It was a fun show, and I was happy to be there. In the Boston show (as you hear on the tape) the locals were assholish and so was the band. Which makes sense, you show up with ignorance and that's what you get returned to you, etc. The debut LP has some really funny writing on it, and it rocks out nicely, I still like it.I do accept the Stanley character as a "gimmick," but how many dozen metal bands have had a gimmick? Start counting and let me know when you stop there, it's hardly a criticism to point out.

2:03 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

"but how many dozen metal bands have had a gimmick? Start counting and let me know when you stop there, it's hardly a criticism to point out"

The gimmick stands out more when it's lame like with Stanley. The gimmick stands out even more when the band lacks the musical talent to stand on their own as LSD did. Of course it's a point of criticism when the band fails to do anything beyond just being a gimmick band and that's what we had here.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

"Which makes sense, you show up with ignorance and that's what you get returned to you." So, when I showed up at Ozzfest years back and Superjoint Ritual came out and stunk up the place it was my falt? It was my fault that Phil acted like an ego driven douchebag? Funny, because I know bands who will put on kick ass shows even if people are not their too see them or into them. It's called winning people over folks! LSD was all gimmick. They made a huge deal out of having a homeless dude in the band. Big deal. Again, I know a lot of bands who over the years lived on peoples sofas and their vans to get by. Gimmicks do not make bands. Mark happens to like everything from (good) glam to thrash,etc. just as I do. We are all entitled to like or hate a band though. Just because I love NWOBHM dosn't mean every band in the genre was great.I do know that for me I will judge band's higher if their studio albums rock as hard as they do live and vice versa. I wish all band's were like that.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love L.S.D.'s debut album. I consider it a must have. Mark, have you even bothered to listen to it? It's possible that the band's sound wasn't set up right, etc. You seem more focused on Stanley than the music, just because you didn't like what you heard/seen at first. That's too bad. I'd recommend giving their track "Tank" a listen to, then decide if you'd like to hear more from there.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

anonymous-Yes, I heard it shortly after saw them and was not impressed. However I was certainly willing to give them a chance. I heard it again a few years after that and still thought it was poor. I focused on Stanley in my post because in their live show he was the focus. However I heard the music it was bland and cheesey. I do respect your opinion because you came on with a reasonable comment and not foaming at the mouth like most of the people that liked this album. Thanks for stopping by.

4:03 PM  
Blogger Seamus said...

I just came across this blog when googling Witchfynde and saw the comments about Life Sex & Death. I checked them out on YouTube as I figured anything that provokes strong comments like these must be fairly interesting. "School's for Fools" I found OK - stupid lyrics but musically not bad. "My Name is Stanley", however, was a different story entirely - I managed to endure almost two minutes of it and have no idea how I managed it - that's 1:45 of my life I'll never get back and life's too short to waste listening to crap like this. This song is completely devoid of anything remotely resembling musicianship and as for Stanley - at last I've found a worse vocalist than Tiny Tim. I'd say they play this in Guantanamo Bay to torture prisoners...

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a brand new, almost, vinyl from their only release. They rock to death ! A nice recrod found...

1:37 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

How much did they have to pay you to take that off their hands?

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Moosejuice said...

I'm not going to drop any lame F-bombs in my disagreement with you about Life Sex & Death. I have to admit I never saw them live so I can't comment on that, but their album is really quite brilliant with some very creative and sometimes funny twists. Love it now as much as I did then. However, Lynch Mob or any of the hair bands of the era are definitely NOT the audience this band should have been playing for. Check out the disc sometime, if you can find it...and listen with an open mind 'cos it's definitely left field.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Moosejuice-Thanks for stopping by. I respect your opinion because instead of throwing a fit you gave some reasons as to why you like this band. I did hear the album several times as well as seeing them live. They were bad in all cases because they were sloppy, mindless and annoying. I don't think the fact that they were paired up with Lynch Mob has anything to do with whether I liked them or not. I like some hair metal bands and hate others. The friend I saw them with doesn't like a lot of hair metal. Yet we both agreed that Life, sex and death were one of the worst bands we ever saw live. There is a difference between coming from left field and being the bottom of the barrel. These guys fell in that second group.

3:48 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

Their album is about as brillant as Britney Spears. God LSD sucks and for the life of me I cannot figure out why anyone considers their music classic. I would rather listen to Trixter (and I loathe Trixturd) and Warrant's Cherry Pie a dozen times over than have to listen to that hobo lead outfit!

3:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saw this band in San Francisco in 92 at the Terminator and was not impressed. Ran into them agian in Chicago in 94 @ the Thristy Whale and they were much better. They were not your typical rock band. Loud, sloppy, sleazey and deranged and thats why they were hot in LA. They were original and they stood out from the norm. The lyrics are weird but they made you think outside the box. The Silent Majority is just that, with songs like Jawohl Asshole, Train and Rise Above. And live, you never knew what was going to happen next. I find it way too easy to slam someone for being different or not to my standards but thats what lsd is all about WE ARE ALL ENTITLED TO DISAPPROVE> wether you like them or hate them.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

"WE ARE ALL ENTITLED TO DISAPPROVE"
Sure just as I am entitled to disapprove of bad "music" like LSD.

"They were original and they stood out from the norm."
Original? I would agree with different more than original, but unfortunately neither one guarantees a band will be good.

"The lyrics are weird but they made you think outside the box."
That's a good one.Very funny.

10:33 AM  
Blogger Andy said...

I've come across more than my fair share of bands who made you try to "think outside the box". Sometimes it worked and I walked away thinking "that blew my mind" while other times I left thinking "someone should do them a favor and blow their head up because their mind is waste". It's a toss-up. Having lived by a college town I've seem and heard it all lyric wise. Before anyone says something like "your just a metal head Andy so what do you know?" I like it all from 60's rock to grindcore. I saw a lot of poetic acid/folk rock acts back in my younger days that while they might have needed a shower (there is no doubt they did and we are talking about both mena and women here-hippies!) they were amazing. Different and amazing. Even the acid soaked/folk rock description is too vague as we are talking just plain weird. And yet the words were so out there...outside the box so to speak that I felt as if my mind had been given a wonderful massage. That said, LSD is still a sorry excuse for a band. Just my opinion though.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I fuckin loved this band. Granted, I never saw them live, but I played the shit out of Silent Majority and thought it was a stunning album. I still do.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

Anonymous the last one-I respect your opinion. A lot of people liked them. A friend of mine who I normally agreed with on like 90% of music thought their album was one of the best of that year. However I couldn't get into them.

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

I have a buddy that loved these guys. They weren't my cup of tea, but about that time in '92, there were SO many metal bands that we're starting to sound alike and it seems like bands started to do what TOO many music acts do today; come up with a strange gimmick to get noticed and in this case, a record deal. I have to admit, the gimmick caused me (and apparently a lot of others), to check them out. The lead singer, Chris Stann "Stanley," was actually a perfectly normal guy from a very wealthy family in Chicago. The entire homeless guy act was just that; an act. Perhaps he's more wise than all of us; he came up with a gimmick that got them a record deal with a huge advance, from what I understand (talent or not). On a side note, George Lynch is awesome. I thought Dokken was one of the most underrated metal acts ever, in terms of their talent. Take away the glam, the hair, the now-goofy outfits, and you have some of the best metal music ever made (in my opinion, of course).

3:06 PM  
Blogger Metal Mark said...

@ Chris- The gimmick was different and they got a fair push as far as I saw the ad for the album in several different magazines back then. I have nothing against gimmicks. It's just the music wasn't good or even fun. It was tedious at best both on album and in person. Dokken were good. I saw them live shortly before they broke up and they were tight. Lynch Mob were solid when I saw them as well. Thanks for stopping by!

1:19 PM  

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