Rockbrat Remembers: LA metal bands who never made it: CANDY

LA's Candy - superb power pop

In this regular blog post I cast the magnifying glass over some 1980’s LA bands who were clearly entrenched in the minor leagues, the 2nd division, (or even the 3rd) – and as a consequence, were not packing out stadiums, touring the world, or signing to major labels – despite their big star aspirations (Hello Nadir). Most of these bands were Californian bands, although not specifically from Hollywood. It just so happens that Hollywood was the heart of the mid to late 80’s scene, and that is why this is the area of focus. This blog has been inspired by the ‘Hollywood Rocks’ book. Mr Rockbrat bought me this book a couple of Christmas’ ago – and it’s pretty much the bible for any fan of the Hollywood hair metal scene. I wasn’t there during the heyday but nowadays I look back at that scene with a kind of voyeuristic curiosity. It’s like eating a cheeseburger – it tastes good but it’s full of calories. I still dig the music from this period. It was a great and fun period to be into rock ‘n’ roll. In 87- 92 I experienced a somewhat carbon copied version of the LA scene in Sydney, Australia. By the time Cowboy Col and Mr. Rockbrat got to LA in 93 the scene was pretty much dead. It didn’t stop me from getting round in my KNAC T shirt and LA Roxx baseball cap though. So let’s go back to the Sunset Strip. The Rainbow, The Troubadour, The Roxy, Gazzaris – or out to The Country Club in the Valley. When Van Halen and then Quiet Riot broke through, along came Motley, Ratt, Poison, Warrant and a zillion other cardboard cut-outs. Some good – some bad, so let’s check out some of the lesser well known acts. In this feature, I will give a brief description of the band, a little bit of history, my assessment, and a mini review of one of their albums – and then a score out of 10. Today I’m casting an ear over Candy, an LA band who existed for six years from 1981-1987. Candy featured future Guns N’ Roses guitarist Gilby Clarke, as well as singer-songwriter Kyle Vincent. In their early days, Candy featured Vincent on lead vocals, bassist Jonathan Daniel, drummer John Schubert, and guitarist Geoff “Rexx” Siegel. Gilby Clarke replaced Siegel after 6 months. Candy signed to Polygram and released their one and only album, ‘Whatever Happened To Fun’ in 1985. When Candy played their first gig, Kim Fowley saw them and predicted, “These guys are the next matinee idols.” They lacked the requisite record company / radio push that would have made that happen, and ultimately they splintered. The one album they left though is as superb example of contemporary power pop as you could find. That’s right – power pop. Although they dressed like their LA peers, their sound was more rooted in late 60’s pop than early 80’s heavy metal.  LA weekly described the band as “Teen pop filtered through the Ramones, Bay City Rollers from hell, Johnny Thunders meets the Raspberries–that’s Candy” and I don’t think I could find a better description  than that. From top to bottom – every tune on their album is fantastic. The album opens with the big sounding ‘American Kix’, with its likeable hook and infectious chorus.  “Whatever Happened To Fun” was the single released from the album, and if anyone knows a Candy tune – it’s this one.  Catchy, melodic, and a true slice of power pop. Great vocal, reminds a lot of John Waite. Sing a long chorus. Why wasn’t this a huge hit ?  ‘Last Radio’ is another good tune, as is ‘Kids In The City’, yet as I said, every tune on this album is first rate.  In late 1986, Gilby Clarke replaced Kyle Vincent as lead vocalist, and guitarist Ryan Roxie joined the lineup. Gilby Clarke famously went on to replace Izzy Stradlin in Guns n Roses, and then his own solo career. After Gilby left, the remaining band members joined up with new lead vocalist Shane and became the Electric Angels. Since leaving Candy, Vincent has enjoyed a successful solo career, releasing over 10 albums. Jon Daniel is a manager of many top acts in the recording industry, Schubert is a teacher in Southern California. I’m pretty sure a posthumous album of unreleased material has seen the light of day called ‘Teenage Neon Jungle’. Only one last task to perform – and that is to give the album a rating. 9.5 out of 10. Go check this album out now.

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