Thursday, 16 October 2008

Motorcycle Boy - Popsicle

A former housemate of mine once told me about a band he saw when on a pilgrimage to LA. They came on (at, I think, the Whiskey-a-Go-Go), played one song (‘I Hate The Sunset Strip’), trashed their gear and walked off again.

That band was Motorcycle Boy.

Eschewing the usual LA clich├ęs, Motorcycle Boy looked towards Iggy Pop and classic garage rock for inspiration, and when they finally committed themselves to vinyl they had Sylvain Sylvain on production duties (and their not-too distorted guitar sound owed a certain debt to that favoured by the New York Dolls).

Sylvain is in fact the first voice you hear on Popsicle (he contributes some French mutterings over the album’s intro) before the opener proper (‘I Get Around’, the first of several gloriously misogynistic tracks to grace Popsicle) makes its appearance. Even though side one (to those of us who still stuck in the realms of vinyl terminology) is chock-full of corkers ('Supersonic' and 'Cool You and Me' in particular) the band don't shoot their bolt before the second half of the album with 'She Says' and closer 'What I Want' battling it out for the right to be considered the album's highlight.

Popsicle is another example of an album that missed the glam boat, and in some ways this has maybe served the band well as it's an album that is fondly recalled by many rather than one that was swallowed up and forgotten about.

See also:
Nina Antonia - The New York Dolls: Too Much Too Soon
Johnny Thunders - So Alone
The New York Dolls - One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This


Michael said...

This band was one of guitarist/songwriter Ratboy's many projects, though he was ousted by the time the record came out. (Usual story: he played the guitars on it, but his replacement is the one pictured on the cover.) I always thought their roots rock/rockabilly edge really set them apart. But they were also too glam for the Del-Lords/Long Ryders/Del Fuegos crowd to which they'd've otherwise had great appeal. Caught between two poles, these lads.

But I think you're right. This is an album fondly recalled, instead of just another slab of landfill.

DGW said...

Gunfire Dance were the same over here - once they were lumped in with the glam scene they couldn't escape it, but they belonged elsewhere (and deserved much more).

Michael said...

I got the GD disk a while back, and I know exactly what you mean. Those guys were so much more than their rep.