RENT PARTY - The Waldos (Jungle Records)
"I USED TO BE SO STRONG..."
I ain't owned that beautiful Nina Antonia book about Johnny Thunders for years-poor people can't have nice things - ya always have to sell it all to eat and smoke. "Everything is in the pawnshop", you dig? But all those swanky Heartbreakers photographs are etched forever in my mind.
Walter Lure was always a dead cool fashion plate, from the infamous Anarchy tour 'til now, in his trademark fedoras, Converse all-stars, stripy tie, vintage suitcoats that look like Keith Haring or Mark Kostabi designed them. He was always part Vaudeville, a showbiz personality, he cut a mean profile and so did his variously infamous bandmates. His post Heartbreakers outfit, the Waldos, were a fun garage band like say, the Fleshtones, but where Zaremba and company did the '60s retro revival trip, the Waldos specialized in straight-up, slutty, street soul and sleazy swagger.
What I remember about going to see the Waldos was how it was always an event. All the kids went to be seen in their coolest Dolls finery and to rub shoulders with people like Cheetah Chrome, Chris Barry, Gunfire Dance, Alison Gordy, Sami Yaffa, Gas Wylde, and D-Generation. Back then, everybody had a Keith Richards haircut, but nobody played guitar like Keith Richards, besides, well, Waldos axe-man, Joey Pinter. The Waldos were comprised of summa the fastest guns in Manhattan's early proto-punk underground.
One of the few, and the proud, original Max's Kansas City punk bands, who never got signed to Sire, in Seymour Stein's urgent stampede to efficiently convert all those Bowery inhabiting derelicts into skinny tied new wave money makers, was THE KNOTS. My generation mostly knows them because of the New Bomb Turks cover of their quintessential, "Action" 45. After Joey's various tours of duty in other bands in NYC and Florida including Pleasure Pirates, Brooklyn Trash, the Dogs, etc., ex KNOTS members; both songwriter, Joey Pinter, and bassist Tony Coiro, hooked up with former Heartbreaker, Walter Lure and NYC drummer, Charlie Sox, to form Downtown's favorite partyband, the WALDOS.
The Waldos stock in trade were catchy, uptempo originals like "Crybaby", "Crazy 'Bout Your Love", and a half dozen charming covers, including heartfelt renditions of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me", and Jerry Nolan's "Countdown Love". The NYC rockscene wept, when Charlie Sox died suddenly, and the Waldos recruited concho-belted longhair, Jeff West, a former member of the Testors, to replace their original percussionist. West was a crack pro and this historic line-up made a full length platter co starring NYC punk celebs like Jamie Heath--the sax-player from the Oddballs, and the legendary Danny Rey, probably best known as sax player for Mad Juana.
Walter Lure led his reliably valiant crew of hedonistic jetboys through fastpaced sets of dynamite rock and soul, that left everyone's oversized Hanoi Rocks hair and streaking Patti Palladin eyeliner running like a Rivington Street habitué beating cabfare, all of us smiling, in a wet mess of drunken, sweaty, highly intoxicated merriment. Excited audiences who saw New York's finest in their peak form brought friends back to future performances.
Waldos shows always attracted the real rocknroll community and felt like family reunions, as famous faces flickered from the frontrow, and guests like Johnny Thunders were often seen joining the Waldos onstage. Frequent guest guitarplayer, Richie Lure, passed away, as did Johnny Thunders, Jerry Nolan, Stiv Bator, Jamie Heath, and even the popular porkpie hat wearing bassplayer, Tony Coiro. Jeff West turned to his business for solace, but was seen playing some gigs with the Testors in recent years. Joey Pinter was busted for some bogus charges, did time, and eventually moved to L.A., where he is a rockscene favorite, often glimpsed performing alongside marquee name cult heroes like Billy Rath, Billy Burke, NY Junk, and various Crazy Squeezes and Dirty Eyes.
Currently, he is at work on a hotly anticipated debut solo album. The legendary Walter Lure and ex Pillbox drummer, Screamin' Joe Rizzo, have carried on performing, "Too Much Junkie Business" and "Chinese Rocks", for generation after generation of Ramones T-shirted, NYU college kids. "Rent Party" went mostly overlooked at the time, as the classic Waldos line-up never toured far beyond NYC, and bands of a similar spirit, like the Humpers, Lazy Cowgirls, Teengenerate, and Devil Dogs provided Waldos fans with their revved-up gutter rawk fixes in the years immediately following the rapid succession of deaths and setbacks. Contemporary times have seen mainstream movies and establishment squares sparking young people's interest in bands like the Dictators, Deadboys, Blondie, and Waldos.
"L.A.M.F" was re-released, and now, Jungle Records is making the Shernoff produced, scuzzy punkroll masterpiece, "RENT PARTY" available again to sneering, spiked bracelet wearing teenagers, of all ages. All the old favorites are here. Ear candy like "Crazy 'Bout Your Love", "Never Get Away", and "Party Lights" seem as fresh and vivid now, as they did when we were still thin enough to wear our red velvet suitjackets and size 28 leather pants to see the lads wow the cognoscenti at CBGB's, way back in the age of Cobain's brains on your Doc Martins.
If you were there, the guitar intro to "Flight" will give you goose bumps and implore you to move instantly towards the volume button. Glam fans were treated to performances in New Orleans and Hollywood last year that reunited Uncle Walter with quick draw artist, Joey Pinter, and their D.T.K. duel guitar work thrilled packed halls of enthusiastic glitter punks who know all the words to "Love That Kills" and "Seven Day Weekend".
Diehard fans have demanded a repressing of the elusive "RENT PARTY" album for years and now it is finally available with some bonus tracks, from Jungle Records. If you have yet to hear this neglected classic, or just want to relive some of those starry eyed gutter years, get this record pronto, or you'll be "Sorry". - Pepsi Sheen
LIVE IN BERLIN - Walter Lure (Nicotine Records)
Achtung! If the name Walter Lure doesn't ring bells, jump right out of the steeple, ya heathen. Taken from a German show in 2007, this is the liveliest of live records. No surprises but no prisoners taken, either.
Walter once was a Heartbreaker where he was the slightly more precise foil to Johnny Thunders' slip-slidey six-string attack. He also played most of the memorable lead guitarwork as a session guy for the Ramones on their latter-day recordings. So he has form.
When, after numerous reformations, the Heartbreakers finally expired (along with their founder, quickly followed by their drummer) Walter had already made sensible lifestyle choices. He'd carved out a day-time career on the money markets in the Big Apple, moonlighting with his own band The Waldos who remain a "brand" with differing personnel to this day. The latest Waldos evidently couldn't make it when Walter got the call to go to Europe so he recruited a pick-up band - allegedly Belgians, but the surnames of a couple beg to differ - and this album on the always interesting Italian label Nicotine is the result.
The fact a live CD exists now makes you wonder why The Waldos didn't do another studio recording after their wonderful "Rent Party". That was way back in 1995, for chrissakes. Walter Lure still plays those piercing, spiraling leads and drawls out the same call-to-order vocals like a Little Italy waiter telling his pizza chef to hold the anchovies. Put his absence from the CD racks until now down to him being too busy or record companies being too clueless to ask.
You'll easily guess the content of the live show. Half the set is Heartbreakers standards (mostly originals, a few of their usual covers) while "Sorry", "Cry Baby" and "Busted" from "Rent Party" all rate a place. They've delivered raucously and true to their ragged spirit. It should be mentioned that Walter was the consistent songwriter in the Heartbreakers, finishing tunes his distracted band-mates couldn't complete.
So the Heartbreakers weren't the world's rehearsed band and on an especially chemically-assisted night were about as tight as a Times Square hooker's handbag. Junk rock cliches to one side, they also just happened to be one of the two or three most dangerous rock and roll acts on the planet. This record doesn't have that same air - how could it? - but nor does it fall apart at every change. Lure's band sounds like they're starting to hit their straps and his playing is brutal. The recording quality is boomy enough to impart a measure of that good ol' live ambience, and if things get a little messy in the vocal trenches sometimes then that just adds to the thrill. Rock and roll should never be antiseptic and the odd bump in the road keeps you awake behind the wheel.
If you're among the considerable pockets of one-track minded adults worldwide that grew up on the Heartbreakers and the rest of the motley Bowery crew, you're probably going to love it. Score this one direct from the dealers here. - The Barman
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