Saturday, October 11, 2008


Hi again, another week, more treasures of a musical nature for those who like it Hard and old school. We'll be completing a couple of discographies, dusting off the demo box and celebrating the sterling work of some of the best female fronted rawk bands of the past.
So let's get to it, shall we?
Up first, East Lansing, Michigan's DED ENGINE, a band who throughout their career were constantly and unfairly blighted by comparisons to better known British Metal bands. Following two demo releases, a 7" single and a track on the "It's Unheard Of" compilation LP, The band recorded a batch of five more tracks and compiled these with earlier material to create the 'Ded Engine' album. Initially this would be released via Pentagram/Dutch East India Trading of New York. Subsequently, Black Dragon Records in France and SPV Steamhammer in Germany licensed the album, now retitled "Hot Shot", for vinyl release across Europe whilst Maze Records took the record on for Canada. Following the release of their 2nd album, "Hold A Grudge" in 1988, the band were to split.

DED ENGINE - Ded Engine aka Hot Shot (1985) USA

RUBY STARR was born Constance Henrietta Mierzwiak in Toledo, Ohio. Starr started performing at the age of nine under the stage name CONNIE LITTLE releasing singles under this name and with CONNIE & THE BLU-BEATS. In 1971 she was signed to Curtom Records as RUBY JONES and recorded a self titled album. Shortly after that album's release, BLACK OAK ARKANSAS lead vocalist Jim "Dandy" Mangrum saw Starr singing in a club and convinced her to join his band. She assumed the stage name of Ruby Starr. Starr recorded & toured with the band for several years at the height of their success and was featured on their hit, "Jim Dandy". In 1974 she began touring with a new band featuring ex members of TARGET as RUBY STARR & GREY GHOST, and released a self-titled album in 1975 on Capitol Records. Her second album, "Scene Stealer", also on Capitol, was released in 1976. During this time she continued to open for Black Oak Arkansas and other acts such as BLACK SABBATH and EDGAR WINTER. Starr also toured with BLACKFOOT as her backing band from 1977 to 1978. Her third and last album for Capitol, "Smoky Places" was released in 1977. By 1980, Starr had formed a new band in Wisconsin called GREY STAR, playing all new original songs sometimes with 5 part harmony vocals, and laid down a two song demo recorded with BLUE OYSTER CULT producer Murray Krugman. Grey Star toured about 300 days a year in 1980 and '81, taking a break in July of 1981 to record their "Grey Star" album. The album was released with financial help from a friend of the band in November of '81, with only a few thousand copies pressed which the band sold at their shows. In 1983 the band recorded their second album, "Telephone Sex". This album featured the band using electronic drums and more keyboards, adding an AOR/New Wave edge. The album was released in November of 1983. In the spring of 1984 Mike Grey decided to leave the band. His later band, SLAVE RAIDER had a modicum of success later in the decade.
Grey Starr became the RUBY STARR BAND in 1984, and released two singles in 1984 and 1985, as RUBY STARR. Starr formed her next group, HENRIETTA KAHN, in 1987 but by late '89, they had gone their separate ways.. In early 1994 whilst working on a new band in Las Vegas, Starr was diagnosed with lung & brain cancer.
She died at home in Toledo on January 14th 1995.

GREY STAR - Telephone Sex (1983) USA

Staying with the female fronted theme, Kidd Gloves were formed in Teaneck New Jersey in 1985 by guitarist Frank Shaw, bassist Joey Satax and drummer Anthony Damian from the ashes of covers band SINNER. The trio recruited lead vocalist Lisa St. Ann after she had responded to a newspaper advertisement placed by the guys in their search for a singer. Dubbing themselves KIDD GLOVES, the quartet recorded their debut demo in June 1986 and promptly invested in the recording of a mini album, produced by Joe Zetti and TNT vocalist Tony Harnell., the latter a friend of Lisa's. Although guitarist Frank Shaw played on the album by the time it was released his place had been taken by Terry Basile. Titled "Feel The Fire", the four song mini LP was released by Very Fine Thing Indeed Music in 1987. However, the new line up failed to gel, and the band went their separate ways by the years end.

KIDD GLOVES - Feel The Fire Mini LP (1987) USA

Distrainers formed in Leicester UK in 1977 as a three piece. The original line up was Dave Roe (Guitar, Vocals), Phil Hammond (Bass & Vocals) and Steve Taylor (Drums, Vocals). The band at this time were very influenced by the punk movement that was going on around them. Dave left the band in 1978 and a replacement Guitarist in the shape of Pete Bambury was brought in. The band had now started to move away from the punkier side of things and by the time they released the single “Say Goodbye", in 1979 they were being touted as a NWOBHM band. The band gigged extensively during 1978/79 and built up a reasonable following throughout the UK. In addition to their headline gigs, there were a number of support appearances including WITCHFYNDE, WAYNE COUNTY & THE ELECTRIC CHAIRS, LIGHTNING RAIDERS and SAMSON. Around this time, there were also regular appearances at The USAF base at Upper Heyford in Oxfordshire where they appeared along with the likes of URCHIN, CHEVY, and SLEDGEHAMMER. As the bands sound developed a heavier feel they felt that the name they had chosen was a hindrance (sounding too “new wave”), so the decision was taken to change the name to ALIEN and expand to a four piece at the same time. ALIEN continued for a number of years although Steve Taylor left in 1981 to join Northampton NWOBHMers SOLDIER. An EP of material recorded in 1980 entitled "Japanned", was released in 2006 on the Headless Corpse label, as a result of the positive feedback the EP generated, Phil Hammond and Steve Taylor decided to resurrect the Distrainers, but Phil Hammond left to join Leicester band Burn. With new personnel on board Distrainers are currently putting together an album called "England's Green Unpleasant Land".

DISTRAINERS - Japanned EP (1980) UK

Staying in the NWOBHM groove, TRANZZAM were a five piece NWOBHM band formed in Oxford in 1979. After going through several drummers, former TREASON / CRASH K.O. sticksman Ace Finchum joined in 1982 prior to the recording of their first demo, the four song "Lionheart" tape. However, he jumped ship shortly thereafter to join up with former band mate Stevie Denham aka Steevie Jaimz in notorious glam band TIGERTAILZ. With new drummer Andy Orme on board, the band recorded a further demo, this one, the 3 song "Hypnotized" cassette in 1984. The band went on indefinite hiatus around 1985, but the members continued to play together on and off through the years under the name HIGH 'n' MIGHTY. In 2000 High 'n' Mighty released an album called "Pest" on Euphoria Records.

TRANZZAM - Hypnotized Demo (1984) UK

Welsh language NWoBHM band, Y DIAWLED hailed from Crymych.
In 1982 the band contributed the track 'Shwt Mae Siapus', with Kevin Davies on vocals, to a Fflach Records four way EP showcasing other local talents MALCOLM NEON, ERYR WEN and Y FICAR. The 1983 single 'Noson Y Blaidd' featured Rhiannon Tomos as new singer. This further 45, "S.O.S.", followed the same year, but the group split shortly thereafter.

Y DIAWLED - S.O.S. 7" (1983) NWOBHM

A Cardiff based Heavy Metal band with a reputation for delivering melodic quality songs. PERSIAN RISK was formed in 1979 by ex-ROCKTOPUS guitarist Phil Campbell, a musician who had previously plied his trade from the age of 13 as a drummer backing strippers! PERSIAN RISK's first line-up comprised of Campbell, guitarist Dave Bell, vocalist Jon Deverill, bassist Nick Hughes and drummer Razz. Deverill left to join the higher profiled TYGERS OF PAN TANG in 1981, necessitating the recruitment of former LEADING STAR vocalist Carl Sentance. SPHINX guitarist Graham Bath was added in late 1983 at the same juncture as Razz was replaced. Razz was superseded by erstwhile LONE STAR, WILD HORSES drummer Dixie Lee and the band contributed a track to the 'Heavy Metal Heroes Volume 2' compilation album. Campbell left to enter the big league by joining MOTÖRHEAD in 1984 and this move gained PERSIAN RISK the valuable British support slot to MOTÖRHEAD later the same year. The group added ex-SHY and CHINATOWN drummer Steve Hopgood and ex-MAX HAVOC band, TYRANT and WRATHCHILD guitarist Phil Vokins in late 1984 although by 1986 Hughes had fled for pastures new in IDOL RICH and Bath had left the fold too. Sentance also departed and would lend guest lead vocals to the debut TREDEGAR album in 1986. Sentance would also front TOKYO BLADE for their 1986 European tour. He was briefly replaced by ex-SATAN snd BLIND FURY vocalist Lou Taylor, but this effectively tolled the death knell for the band. By the time the 'Rise Up' album was released PERSIAN RISK had split up. Taylor created TOUR DE FORCE. Whilst Phil Campbell travelled the world in MOTÖRHEAD Steve Hopgood was to journey through many acts. The drummer formed a union with former McCOY vocalist Nikki Brooks, ex DUCHESS guitarist Dave Kilminster and ex-AIRRACE and TRAITOR bassist John Alexander in a new act titled WILD in early 1987. The drummer later turned up in BATTLEZONE, JAGGED EDGE and KILLERS. Carl Sentance journeyed to America to join a band put together by BLACK SABBATH bassist Geezer Butler suitably billed the GEEZER BUTLER BAND before touring as a temporary vocalist in TOKYO BLADE. Sentance was to later join MONROE, based in Germany, prior to a return to Wales and a stint with TOKIO ROSE. Travelling to America next, the singer formed GHOST with the LONE STAR, UFO and WAYSTED credited guitarist PAUL CHAPMAN. The singer actually reformed PERSIAN RISK in Florida with American guitarist Mark Lanoue and drumming compatriot Fred Wendal where the band gigged until their demise in 1993. Sentance then fronted Atlanta act PSYCHO CIRCUS until 1995.

PERSIAN RISK - Ridin' High 7" (1983) UK

That's that for another week, hope you enjoy tonight's smorgasbord of sound, and find something to make your day. More to come soon, keep commenting folks!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice set of goodies this week. Grey Star was a surprise to see. I saw them as support act for Starfighters in Austin many years ago, a very strange bill to say the least. Ruby was a real sweetheart after the show though. Sorry to hear of her passing.

Saturday, October 11, 2008 8:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there - not much to say on this one except the usual thanks!!! As ever your efforts are much appreciated. Heavy Metal Heroes?
Best wishes, Blofeld

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 4:32:00 PM  
Anonymous ron..... the cheeb said...

Thanks so much for sharing the Tranzzam demo, and the Persian Risk. The Ded Engine and Kidd Gloves were very fun to listen to. They scratched an itch, so to speak. As for the Grey Star.....a lot of it just fell flat for me. A few songs have enough life to be listenable, and one song "Downtown" makes me wish for more of the same. Thanks again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger bigfootkit said...

Blofeld, i haven't forgotten about HM Heroes, i'm just unsure of where i have it. It will turn up eventually, i swear.
I'll have a new post up at the weekend, in the meantime i've created a new blog for my older links which are still live.
If you're a recent visitor, this may be a better way of trawling through the niloob archives.
Go check it out at:

Thursday, October 16, 2008 4:03:00 PM  
Anonymous nightsblood said...

Like the Tranzzam demo; it's not as energetic as the Lionheart demo you posted recently, but it's still quality stuff.

Always liked that Persian Risk single more than the rare and expensive 1st single :-)

One request that's rather outside the box: does anyone have recordings from Crowhaven after they switched from rock-metal to bluegrass? They actually re-tooled at least one of the songs from their killer 'Emotional Adjustment' LP into a bluegrass tune and it came out really well. I've heard part of the recording, so I know it exists, and I'd love to have a copy of the whole thing (I grew up in bluegrass country, so while it's not my favorite style of music I'm pretty tolerant of it). Thanks for any help with this not-so-metal request.

Friday, October 17, 2008 9:12:00 AM  
Anonymous nwobhm00 said...

Hi there... this one is especially for Blofeld, but also for all those others who might be interested in heavy metal heroes 1 & 2.

ps: any chance someone wants to share Vardis - Vigilante ? i'm looking for this one for ages but can't find it...

Friday, October 17, 2008 1:38:00 PM  
Anonymous nwobhm00 said...

oops, forgot the link :

greetingz, nwobhm00

Friday, October 17, 2008 1:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PLease csn you put the single by

Great site

Saturday, October 18, 2008 4:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there nwobhm00! My heart was racing when I saw the link! And then I got an error message at Rapidshare saying the file could not be found!!! Aaagh, fate is against me. Any chance of checking/re-upping the link? Appreciate your effort anyway. Best wishes, Blofeld

Saturday, October 18, 2008 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up a few blocks from Connie Mierzwiak and her brother Rick back in Sylvania Ohio. We all went to Stranahan Elementary...She would have a bit older..
I remember he had a little mini-bike a small motorcycle back in the 1960s. One of the first guys I knew with long hair. He wasn't all that verbal, we never talked very much. But he was a decent guy. They both had music in their blood. What he is doing I've no idea...I've been away from Sylvania, Ohio for many years.
I saw Connie when she was in the Blu-Beats...a long, long time ago, the early to mid 1960s...she had a tall bee-hive type hairdoo back then...they were mostly a coverband...I recall Rick was in at least one of her bands...Probably the BG Ramblers, or an early version of Ruby Starr..they were sort of into a flashy, trashy,metal thing...Connie was very hard edged, like she had already seen too much of the music business..Both she and the band seemed very hardbitten..
.But a few years later my sister & I were watching TV one night and saw her with BOA...I wished her but that music wasn't too the time I didn't know thing about a solo album she had recorded with Curtis Mayfield...I'm curious about that LP. Also turned out in the mid-1970s she was verty popular in Texas at the Armadillo World Headquarters...Glad to learn she had reached a reasonable level of fame
I was curious about what she was doing now...too bad to learn that she has passed...turned on my birthday in 1995...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 3:59:00 PM  
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