What hath the Lords of the New Church wrought? They brought a type of punk, a gussied-up Stooges meets New York Dolls sound with raunchy guitars n' sneered vocals to the mainstream. They, sadly, helped pave the way for bad-boy fashion-disasters like Billy Idol and Motley Crue. And yet their music, all excesses aside, rings as hauntingly true today as ever.
|"Truth is the sword of us all."|
The Lords of the New Church began in 1981 as that most grandiose of aggregations, the super-group. And a punk rock super-group to make matters worse! The mix of players, from different styles and different countries, did offer hope. Stiv Bators of the Dead Boys and Brian James of the Dammed formed a traditional British song-writing partnership, anchored by a rhythm section of Sham 69's Dave Tregunna and ex-Barracuda Nicky Turner. The final tally may or may not have surpassed than the sum of its parts but it surely created a striking figure all its own.
Taken as a whole, the Lords were a twisted Frankenstein monster. Image-wise, they played up a sleazy punk-goth-metal fashion complete with leather, studs and bandannas. Lyrically, they combined an occasionally incomprehensible political philosophy with a similarly disjointed anti-religious thrust. Musically things only got more complicated.
The band was founded on Bators-James shared love of the Stooges, as evidenced by Bators Iggy-worship, but this was a band who revered the New York Dolls ("L'il Boys Play With Dolls" name-checks almost every Doll’s song) and covered obscure sixties punk songs (Balloon Farm's “Question of Temperature”). Yet, despite having proto-punk influences and a goth-metal look, the Lords decided to be a pop band. They wrote songs with huge hooks (witness the awesome, “Open Your Eyes”) and allowed the keyboards (and occasional horns) equal play in the mix. The Lords tried to make sense of punk, six years after ground zero, sort of like the Combat Rock-era Clash.
|Picture disc photo (probably) by Longy|
In fact, the Clash's first and last drummer (and only chiropractor) Terry Chimes co-wrote the Lord's third single, "Russian Roulette”. The song mines the same vein of Apocalypse Now jungle psychosis (in an almost Hearts of Darkness way) that his former band-mates did in "Charlie Don't Surf" on 1981's Sandinista. Chimes' wrote the song with Tony James (later Mick Jones co-conspirator in Carbon Silicon), whose former band-mate Billy Idol would take a similar but more limited, set of ingredients as the Lords to the top of the pop charts.
Today, most of the Lords material is out-of-print, though two collection and some dodgy material (including new material with a different lead singer, a sort of Lords of the 21st Century kind of affair) remain available. But we here at MRML have hit upon The Lost Treasures of The Lords and if you just say the word(s), we're willing to bring you to Church! Today's offering is the incredibly rare pseudo-bootleg Live at The Spit which is a 1982 FM broadcast from WBCN, Boston that shows the band spitting out louder, snottier (if not younger) versions of the tracks from their debut album.
So the offer is on the table, sacrifice a few words to the COMMENTS section and we're willing to let forth more lost Lords!
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