Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Stepmothers: (I Dream I'm) Innocent!

Many years ago, before Google Blog Search made a mockery of the word rarity, The Stepmothers made that apocalyptic sort of music that the Trouser Press raved about but which you could not lay your hands on. Back in the early eighties, all I knew of them was the hand-clappy, marching-chanty, power-poppy anthem, "Where is the Dream?", from Rodney on the Roq Volume 2.

So, since I've only recently actually heard their mutinous bounty, I'll have to rely on MRML readers for some 'back-in-the-day' anecdotes and I'll just give you the quick n' dirty version.

The Stepmothers, Steve Jones* on guitar and vocals, Jay Lansford on Guitar, and Larry Lee Lerma on Bass and a succession of drummers, hailed from Claremont, California. They began by playing that incessantly catchy pop-punk Posh Boy's Robbie Fields (and KROQ D.J. Rodney Bingenheimer, America's John Peel) nurtured so brilliantly in the early eighties. Led by a fine, slightly Idolish, lead singer in Jones and an ace guitar slinger in Lansford, they sounded ready to kick the shit out of the pop charts, like as if the gang from The Wild One had formed a band. It never really came together, instead the Stepmothers' metalized punk bridged the gap between SoCal pop-punk of their time and the Hollywood sleaze metal to come. After the band broke up, Lansford joined Channel 3, really bringing up their game (see here), and Jones formed a genuine brass ring conten-dah named the Unforgiven.
*Not that Steve Jones.

"(I Dream I'm) Innocent!" is a later-period re-union song and fucking hell does it tear flesh. Cover art aside, this is no dated topical song - listen to that opening Stanley Kowalaski line, "Baby, I got viciousness just seeping from my skin". It's a terrifying tale of domestic horror, the horror that always ends unspeakably.

Download I Dream I'm Innocent! b/w Bloodstains 7"

The band's entire discography is available on the kinda dodgy digital incarnation of Posh Boy - good luck!

Thanks to Ian E. for pointing me towards this particular track.


  1. Yet another great post Jeff! I always have to listen to that song at least two times. Once through just ain't enough!

    Have you heard the band The Drips? Their song "Coastline" is in the same ass kicking vein as "(I Dream I'm) Innocent". Definitely a group worth checking out (I believe that their are members of both the Bronx and the Distillers in the band).

    IMO the best version of the song (Coastline) can be found on the Hostage Records compilation - "Tower 13".

  2. Excellent single Jeffen. Another I've never heard before which makes it all the better. Absolutely love Bloodstains.

  3. In A Rut
    Yeah there's a certain (very rare) type of song that I can listen to over and over and that is such an excellent example - I've probably listened to it 30 times already. Thanks for the good call on the Stepmothers and I'll be checking out the Drips today.

    Hey finding something good YOU've never heard before is damn hard job - thanks for checking it out and leaving a thought behind.

  4. Nice one. I am a huge Stepmothers fan and Jay Lansford was/is a great guitar player. He really added something to CH3 too.

  5. Kenny
    Thanks. Yeah What else did Lansford do? I sure like his role in Stepmothers/CH3.

  6. Yep, that Stepmothers disc is going on to the "must have" list. This junkie thanks you for the fix.

  7. "If you order that Stepmothers CD you might take it right out of the mouth of Somebody(a.k.a. In a Rut)" said the record store clerk when we tried ordering the album.
    Let's hope In a Rut already has a copy or it's gonna be a Riot at the Record Store (which I think would be a great song-title).

  8. hey guys, wow!!!! i cant believe someone has posted a stepmothers single, really awesome. i grew up with these guys. they were the big inland empire punk band. steve went on to front the unforgiven, i do have that L.P. posted over at my blog. I have since got the cd reissue. but have not upped that version. i like the vinyl rip better. I also have the stepmothers cd!!!! i have not posted it yet. but if any of you would like me too, i will, it's not a problem. u guys can vist me at my blog http://radiosatan.blogspot.com/ or email me direct @ scotskeleton@yahoo.com , and thanks for the 7" ul. very nice- Nekro

  9. hey dimple dicks, your uncle daddy nekro is back. i have ul the stepmothers cd for my blog. here is the link to the ul, please feel free to post here. btw, i love this fucking blog.

    Uncle Daddy Nekro,


  10. nekrodad
    Thanks fro the comments and the additional material - just please remind your readers to buy the albums if they like 'em - these dudes can't be rich!

  11. o no problem jeffen, i agree ppl need to buy these records. the only problem with stepmothers records and cds, they are out of print. and they charge like 30 bucks for the cd used here in la. but i still bought it. like i said i grew up with steve, and well he has money. but still the stepmothers and the unforgiven were his jobs. and i know i would hate to go to work for free. your the man jeffen, keep this blog going. i have tons of stiv bators and brian james stuff as well. i may pop in time to time to ul something nice for you.

  12. Thanks for the info nekro.
    If you post any rare Bators/James stuff let me know.
    If you guys put up a blog roll let me know and I'll put you on my roll.

  13. hey jeffen, im going to be uploading a rare Bators/Thunders show pretty soon. Im waiting for a buddy to rip it for me. i have a 1st gen tape of a live gig from paris in 89. Really good show, but i dont have a converter. so i have to wait till my buddy can do it for me. Also this week, ill be posting some Brian James solo stuff. As well as the New line up of the lords of the new church, which is not very good. but it is still worth a listen.

  14. I think posting impossible-to-get obscurities that are imperfect but interesting is what this corner of the blogosphere (what a word!) is all ab out. Keep it up and I'll link back to your posts somehow.

  15. The LP 'You Were Never My Age' became an improbable mega-hit at our college radio station in 1981-1982 at WUVT in Blacksburg, Va. We desperately tried to get Steve and the guys to come across the country, but even with 700 pre-sold tickets, the costs just did not work out for them to make the trip.

    The entire LP was played every hour for 18 months. Tracks were even played at the local Wednesday New Wave Nights at The Marriott. People dancing to Don't Kill the Beat.

    I have kept my original vinyl all these decades. Good to see Posh release this, finally.

    -DJ Ben

  16. DJ Ben

    It's interesting how records used to catch on locally back in the day and not just among a certain clique. Great tale and glad you've hung onto this great album.

  17. Well, I can hardly take credit. It was Jay's German friends who generously put out both the Simpletones "I Have A Date" retrospective and The Stepmothers one. Vinyl and CD formats. Steve allowed us to add "(I Dream I'm) Innocent", which is major league.

    Yes, when people buy these official retro releases, they are supporting an entire eco system. It's never a question of making money; rather it's an attempt at avoiding losing money by the bushel load. The bootleggers are different : free master tapes, minimal manufacturing costs, no royalties.

    What we did do, beginning 2 years ago, was to make nearly all of the out of print releases available on iTunes and Amazon. Even The Wigglers, for those of you familiar with why The Stepmothers used to open for Motley Crue.

    1. Glad you and Steve made that re-issue possible, it's a testament to lost genius.
      So thanks for all that Posh Boy stuff it never ceases to amaze me,really.


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