Friday, November 21, 2014

The Day After The Sabbath 109: Savage Angels Ride With The Devil [biker movie rock]

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It's time to strap on the leathers, fire up the hog, and hit the road. TDATS #109 is a compendium of biker movie rock, a long time in the making. It's a varied mix, with tracks from obscure bands that were on soundtracks but never made their own album, some that did, some established acts, and some film score writers. I have made this particular volume differently, in that most of the tracks mix into each other, and I have inserted dialogue and other segues from the movies and trailers, I hope you dig it!

The original cheap, trashy exploitational biker movies that started the short-lived genre were Russ Meyer's Motorpsycho (1965) and American International Pictures' The Wild Angels (1966). Right from the get-go they were associated with fuzzy psychedelic rock, with Davie Allan's uniquely new fuzzy sound on The Wild Angel's soundtrack. 

The comp was partly inspired by a couple of movies - Angels Die Hard, and Bury Me An Angel. Both these movies included great tracks by a band going under the name East-West Pipeline at the time they were made.  Bury Me An Angel was from director Barbara Peeters, who was script supervisor on Angels Die Hard. She was the first woman to direct a biker film. The movie is about a girl who's brother is shot dead at his front door, for reasons that are not known. Of course, she gets on her bike, buys a gun, and goes on a mission for revenge. She embarks on a journey with her biker compatriots which can only end one way...

01. East-West Pipeline - Unlocked (1972)
       from album Bury Me An Angel OST
02. Bury Me An Angel trailer - Howling Hellcat (1969)
       from Bury Me An Angel trailer
03. Jeff Simmons - Naked Angels Theme (1969)
       from album Naked Angels OST
04. Simon Stokes & The Nighthawks - Big City Blues (1970)
       from album 'Simon Stokes & The Nighthawks' (1970) & Outlaw Riders OST (1972)
05. Bury Me An Angel trailer - Hellfire Burned (1972)
       from album Bury Me An Angel trailer
06. The New Life - Ha Lese (Le Di Khanna) (1968)
       from album The Sidehackers OST
07. East-West Pipeline - You Could Be (1970)
       from album Angels Die Hard OST
08. Bury Me An Angel OST - I Love You (1972)
       from Bury Me An Angel OST
09. Mad Dog - The Fast Song / Military Disgust (1969)
       from archival album Mad Dog, &amp The Black Angels OST
10. East-West Pipeline - Let It Free (1972) from
       Bury Me An Angel OST
11. Orphan Egg - Falling (1969)
       from album The Cycle Savages OST
12. John Cameron - Motorcycle Mayhem (1971)
       from album Psychomania OST
13. Lenny Stack - The Duel (Parts 1 and 2) (1970)
       from album C.C. and Company OST
14. East-West Pipeline - What The Preacher Said (1972)
       from Bury Me An Angel OST
15. Billy Green - Gravediggers (1974)
       from album Stone OST
16. Marvin Gaye - I've Been Looking (1971)
       from Chrome and Hot Leather OST
17. Iron Butterfly - Iron Butterfly Theme (1968)
       from albums Ball, & The Savage Seven OST
18. Davie Allan & The Arrows - Blues' Theme & The Devil's Rumble
       from albums The Wild Angels OST (1966), & Devil's Angels OST (1967)
19. Bury Me An Angel OST - Incest (1972)
       from Bury Me An Angel OST
20. Rabbit Mackay - Tendency To Be Free (1969)
       from album Passing Through (1969) & Angels Die Hard OST

NB. I have inserted a couple extra clips through the mix from Bury Me An Angel, which never had a soundtrack release. These are the segues: 08. I Love You & 19. Incest


Bury Me An Angel (1972) promo shot
Bury Me An Angel (1972) promo shot
In my searches for good rock in biker movies, I came across East-West Pipeline on two soundtracks. They made some great songs and I was intrigued as to whether they were a real band or just something made up for the sake of the film scores, as is sometimes the case. The movies were Angels Die Hard (1971), and it's much lesser-known and lower budget spin-off, Bury Me An Angel (1972). In fact, East-West Pipeline are credited with the entire score of Bury Me An Angel (BMAA), whilst their name is on about half the songs in Angels Die Hard (ADH). The two best songs I have found from them are "You Could Be" in ADH, and the untitled intro song in BMAA, which I will call "Unlocked" for now, and it's the opening track in this comp. They are both grungy, heavy and just plain great tracks, with lots of attitude and character. The kind of thing that comes out of the blue and makes your ears twitch, and wonder what happened to the obvious talent that made them. Although there are not many complete 'songs' on the BMAA soundtrack, all the music in the movie is really good and hints at enough having been recorded to make a great album, which never apparently happened. 

This got me looking for any possibility of contacting the band members, to find out more. By luck I found a minor entry in an old website about Colorado bands, Colorado Music Page. In there it says that their original name was Magic Myce: "The original members were me, Walt Rawlins, Bill Cone, Gordy Peterson and Ray Styes. We played at the Exodus, Family Dog, Tulagis, Kelker Junction and many other places around Colorado from 1967 until we left for California in '69. We had a local single that was played a lot on the radio, Angel Baby, which was a remake of the old '50s song. Once we got to California we played a lot around local clubs there and recorded some movie soundtracks, Angels Die Hard and Bury Me an Angel. Angels Die Hard had a soundtrack album released but they didn't do that for the other one. The name of the band was changed to the "East-West Pipeline" when we did those. Later we changed the name of the band again in California to "Bedlam" which lasted until we broke up out there in about 1974.Walt Rawlins---guitar, Bill Cone------guitar, Gordy Peterson--?,  Ray Styes---?"

Bury Me An Angel VHS cover
Bury Me An Angel VHS cover
I am not sure who the "me" referred to in the above is. It may be Walt Rawlins or Bill Cone. On further investigation I found this: "The Angels Die Hard soundtrack on UNI contains the only commercially released East-West Pipeline recordings. They also did the soundtrack for another biker flick (Bury Me An Angel) but no album was released. The band was originally from Denver, then moved to California in 1969. Changed their name from Magic Myce/Majic when they moved out west, later changing it again in the early '70s to Bedlam. Their guitarist Bill Cone was previously in The Moonrakers, who have been discussed here recently. Later on, he acted in the horror movie classic Phantasm."

My searches came to an end, with some evidence that Walt Rawlins unfortunately passed away in 2010. The final lead is that Walt and Ray were both once involved in a Colorado band called Willie & the Po' Boys, although I don't think that Ray still is. They have a facebook group here where I have not had luck in contacting Ray Styes as yet.

Jeff Simmons was a member in Frank Zappa's Mothers Of Invention for a while in the early '70s. Before this he made two albums on Frank's Straight record label, one of them was a biker movie soundtrack, the other was a solo record called "Lucille Has Messed My Mind Up". Frank Zappa wrote two songs on Lucille, and was a producer, all under the pseudonym "La Marr Bruister". The story is that Zappa discovered Jeff and his band Easy Chair when they opened a Mothers show in 1968. He was immediately taken with Jeff's equal skills in playing both jazz and rock, and by Easy Chair's lyrical sense of humour, all things which had direct parallels with The Mothers. So, Jeff appears here because of his 1969 soundtrack to the hell's angels flick, Naked Angels. This was a Roger Corman production, a guy famous for b-movie/exploitation cinema and cult movies like The Trip and Death Race 2000.  I have used the opening track from the record, called Naked Angels Theme, which is a gloriously groovy fuzz-fest. This was re-issued recently by World In Sound records.

Track four in this comp is from Simon Stokes & The Nighthawks. Stokes is something of an enigma, having made some good music in the '70s and possessing a great earthy, aggressive voice, he's stayed under the radar. His gruff, bar-room blues sound immediately ingratiated him with bikers, on his first record was a track called 'Ride On Angel'. There is not much substantial information about him documented online. At heart he is a bluesman with lots of country sound in there also, although he did make some harder-rocking tunes too. I have found some evidence that he has been playing as recently as last year, and there's some performance photos from 2010 here. Stokes made three albums in the '70s, one with "The Nighthawks" (1970), one with "The Black Whip Thrill Band" (1973) and solo LP "The Buzzard Of Love" (1977). There is a mini-biography of Stokes on Allmusic, which states; "Beginning in 1965, Stokes recorded a number of 45s under names such as the Flower Children and Heathen Angels. At the same time, Stokes became a staff writer at Elektra Records. Forming a band called the Nighthawks, Stokes and MC5 signed to Elektra on the same day."

If you are looking for his heavy cuts, The 1970 Nighthawks album is the best, with tunes like 'Big City Blues', 'Southern Girl', 'Cajun Lil' and 'Down in Mexico'. The Black Whip Thrill Band LP has a couple too, but is more notable for its bizarre cover art showing scenes of sadomasochism, not something that seems to have much to do with the music, maybe Simon Stokes is into that stuff? The album was allegedly banned in the US because of this, making it more desirable to cult music fans. The only common musician apart from Stokes on his '70s LPs was guitarist Donald "Butch" Senneville, who played on the first two. Stokes reappeared in the '90s, after a 20 year hiatus. He has made some more records since, in 1996 he made a collaboration with LSD guru Timothy Leary, for which his '70s guitarists Chris Pinnick and Randall Keith returned. Stokes' most recent LP was "Simon Stokes & The Heathen Angels" in 2010. I have used 'Big City Blues', which appeared on the Outlaw Riders (1971) soundtrack, and first appeared in it's original version as a 1966 single.

Track 6 is from a 1969 movie called The Sidehackers, which is about motorcycle sidehack racing, also known as 'sidecars' in the UK. I haven't seen the movie, but it's now on youtube, having been given the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment. By all accounts it's not very good, hopefully it's in the "so bad it's good" category! A soundtrack LP was released, which  apparently consisted mostly of songs from an obscure band called The New Life, who had only made a few singles previously. The LP isn't any great shakes, apart from the track included here; "Ha Lese (Le Di Khanna)". The New Life were California-based, but this great piece of freakbeat is sung in a language I can't confirm. Thanks to Dmitri Mavra in the tdats fb group for pointing out that it appears to be an interpretation of Afro-Jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela's original, first appearing on his 1966 album, "The Emancipation of Hugh Masekela", which was sung in the South African Sotho language.

There's an interview here with Sam Sinipoli, who was in The Cinderman and The New Life; "14. How did the deal to record music for the movie 'Sidehackers' come about? 
We signed with Ameret records about a year after we started at the Cinnamon Cinder [Long Beach venue]. We recorded a couple of singles and then Ameret hooked us up with Jerry Steiner and Mike Curb (eventual Lt. Governor of California) who were scoring the movie soundtrack. So we placed a few of songs on the soundtrack of this movie. The premier of "The Side Hackers" was a lot of fun. The producer, Jon Hall (of Tarzan fame) rented a 707 and flew the cast and ourselves to Phoenix, AZ for the premier. At the time our record "Ha Lese" was number 1 in Phoenix so we got quite a reception at the movie theater. We also had a few songs on another movie soundtrack. The movie was called "Black Water Gold" and starred Ricardo Montoban. I think that came about because of the first movie deal."

On to track 7. This is another one from East-West Pipeline, equally as cool as the first one, but with a different feel. It's from 'Angels Die Hard', the movie that came before Bury Me An Angel. Both movies had a tall, Amazonian actress called 'Dixie Peabody'. While she had the lead roll in  BMAA, her first roll in ADH was very minor, not even credited. ADH was the first film distributed by Roger Corman's New World Pictures and half the budget was provided by Corman.

It's plot has a twist in that the usual rough and tough biker gang have a chance to redeem themselves by helping with a disastrous small-town mine cave-in, although the townsfolk are not as thankful as maybe they should be. Amongst biker movies, the soundtrack is definitely one of the better ones out there. With East-West Pipeline responsible for most of it, it even has a song from Houston psych act Fever Tree, who had a 1968 hit "San Francisco Girls". It was re-issued on CD in 2012 by Reel Time.

The Black Angels has a story involving conflict between black and white gangs, certainly putting a different spin on the typical biker movie story lines. some of the music was made by a band that was previously called The Zoo. The striking intro to the movie plays out to the track 'The Fast Song', which I used here, along with 'Military Disgust'. The Zoo's album from 1968, "Chocolate Moose", featured some decent psychedelic blueserock, and after becoming Mad Dog they took on a more hard rock sound. The existence of Mad Dog was revealed after Shadoks un-earthed and issued the only thing they recorded, a demo from 1969, on which you can find these songs. It was later issued again by RD Records with some bonus tracks in a package called 'Dawn of the Seventh Sun'.

Up next is California's Orphan Egg, with 'Falling'. This appeared on the soundtrack to 'The Cycle Savages' (1969). Orphan Egg's drummer, George Brix, is a character who was involved with many acts in his career as a session player and staff writer for Sony. During his middle-teens he claims to have had already sold some songs to Capitol records, having to do business through his parents due to his age. His band won a Battle Of The Bands contest and that gained them a recording contract and a couple of movie offers including 'The Young Animals' (1968). Later-on George filled-in for bands such as Cream and Blue Cheer, as well as writing songs that were used by The Hollies and The Yard Birds, and playing for Moby Grape, Quicksilver, Santana and others. He claims to have written and played on more than 50 top ten hits, sometimes under the name Paul Waylie. George claims the offer to write some music for Cycle Savages came from a guy from America International Pictures, the production company that Roger Corman originally worked for before he started New World, and responsible for exploitation movies and biker movies like 'The Wild Angels'. The AIP guy saw them play live at Forest Hills Stadium in New York, opening for The Doors.

Cycle Savages had Bruce Dern in one of his earliest staring-roles as Keeg, the vicious and unhinged gang leader who takes revenge on an artist who happens to absent-mindedly sketch the gang in passing, while they are up to no good.

Track 12 is some incidental music from an English movie called 'Psychomania'. Hilariously bad, it's about a gang of bikers who comit suicide in a pact with the devil, in order to return as the invincible undead. The movie stars notable names like Beryl Reid, the Séance-obsessed mother of the gang's leader, played by Nicky Henson. The great soundtrack was penned by John Cameron, a prolific and well-known library/score writer who also wrote a few hits for the likes of Donovan and Cilla Black. Another of his works was the awesome orchestral version of Whole Lotta Love, which was recorded by the Collective Consciousness Society and used as the theme tune to Top of the Pops for about 15 years in all. The Psychomania OST was released on CD by Trunk records.

With some more cool instrumental music, comes Lenny Stack and his work on the movie "C.C. and Company" (1970). The lead role was acted (in the loosest sense of the word) by the then-New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath, and the leading lady was producer Roger Smith's wife, Ann-Margret. One commenter's opinion on IMDB is that the movie was Smith's attempt to revive his singer/actress wife's ailing career, while also capitalising on Joe Namath's huge popularity at the time. The story is about Joe's character, gang member C.C. Ryder, and his conflict with gang leader 'Moon'. CC takes pity on a girl who his gang start hassling on the side of the road after a car breakdown, and saves her. He falls for the girl, alienating himself from the gang, who eventually attempt to kidnap her.

The movie includes some amusing scenes of chopper bikes attempting to disrupt a dirt bike race, and failing miserably to deal with the terrain.
Lenny Stack is a Big Band composer and musical director for TV, working mostly on music industry award shows. He has written songs for Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick, and composed TV movie scores. I was a little disappointed that he hasn't done any other movies with as high a profile as C.C. and Company (if it can be described as such) because he did a great job on it.

Stone is a cult classic Australian biker movie, about a cop who's job is to go under-cover to discover why the members of biker gang 'The Gravediggers' are being murdered one by one. The movie's notoriety has been boosted by Quentin Tarantino's frequently expressed admiration for it, and a documentary was made in 1999, called Stone Forever.

The soundtrack was made by Billy Green. Born in The Netherlands, Green (aka Wil Greenstreet) was living in Australia at the time and had been guitarist in Aussie bands including The Questions, Doug Parkinson In Focus, King Harvest, Friends and 'Gerry & the Joy Band'. It is stated that he played the music for Stone with members of a band called Sanctuary. In recent years he's lived in the US and had a stint as the house musician for the Empire State Building’s 86th-floor observation deck. Discogs has this to say: "In 1975 he began transforming himself into a world-class jazz alto sax player and composer. He led a number of original jazz funk, acid jazz, and free jazz bands in Austin, Texas, for 10 years. Since 2001 he has lived in Rockland County, New York, where he teaches, composes, and currently plays solo sax."

Chrome and Hot Leather provides track 16, a movie produced in 1971. It's inclusion here is a bit of fun, and I am pretty sure the vocals are sung by Marvin Gaye, yes - not a frequent name you'll see here so please don't disown TDATS... C&HT has a ludicrous plot involving a Green Beret sergeant Mitch, who's girlfriend has been mortally injured in a road accident. Just before her death she divulges that a motorcycle gang called "The Devils" were responsible for running her off the road.

Mitch and his sergeant buddies (including Marvin Gaye in the role of Jim) take military leave and prepare themselves to track down the evildoers. As best as they can, they take on the appearance of a motorcycle gang: bikes, clothes and all, and reek revenge on The Devils. This results in some humorous moments, not least because the clothes they wear make them look more like the Village People than a tough biker gang. The movie has a very early role for Cheryl Ladd (then Cherie Moor) of Charlie's Angels fame, and it was Marvin's second acting performance after TV movie 'The Ballad of Andy Crocker'.

Time for one of my favourite tracks here, from Iron Butterfly. 'The Iron Butterfly Theme' is a quality song from their first album, 'Heavy'. Although they were a patchy band, you can't deny how important and seminal their good tracks were, such as this and In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. I had to include this when I discovered it was used on the soundtrack to "The Savage Seven" (AIP 1968).

This movie was another to put an ethnic spin on things by pitting a biker gang against a group of Native Americans. The two sides alternate between enemies and accomplices, for it to be later revealed that the real bad guys are local businessman who have orchestrated the entire thing for their own gain. Duane Eddy has a small role in the movie, as does Penny Marshall, who would go on to direct films such as Big and A League of Their Own. Director Richard Rush also directed the cult psychsploitaion film Psych-Out (Dean Stockwell, Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern) and his most respected, The Stunt Man (Peter O'Toole - 1980).

Davie Allan is a guitarist best known for his work on soundtracks to various teen and biker movies in the 1960s. Allan's backing band is almost always the Arrows (i.e., Davie Allan & the Arrows), although the Arrows have never been a stable lineup. I have used two tracks of his here, one from 'The Wild Angels' (1966), and one from 'Devil's Angels' (1967). I'd say his sound is akin to Link Wray, but with lots of fuzz, in fact he is regarded as one of the main originators of the fuzz guitar sound. There's an interview with Davie over at the ever-great Psychedelic Baby webzine, here. The Davie Allan site says: "In the late sixties, Davie Allan & The Arrows carved their niche in the musical history books with an array of classic instrumentals and two dozen motion picture soundtracks. The most notable of the movies was Roger Corman's cult classic The Wild Angels plus Devil's Angels, The Glory Stompers (Dennis Hopper) and Born Losers (the film that introduced the character Billy Jack). Some of the other 60's "B" films were Riot On Sunset Strip, Thunder Alley, The Angry Breed, Mary Jane, Teenage Rebellion, Hellcats, Mondo Hollywood, The Wild Racers, Wild in The Streets, The Golden Breed, Skaterdater and The Hard Ride."

Rabbit Mackay & The Somis Rhythm Band - Passing Through LP
Rabbit Mackay & The Somis Rhythm Band
Passing Through LP (1969)
The final artist to appear is Rabbit Mackay & The Somis Rhythm Band, who had one great track on the end of the Angels Die Hard LP (along with those of East-West Pipeline, also here). The track 'Tendency to be Free' is found on his second album, Passing Through (1969). The other members on the LP were: David Sueyres (Keys, vocals), Bob Jones (guitar, vocals), Mike Burns (drums), Mike DeTemple (guitar, banjo), Richard Adamson (bass, guitar) and Reji Pekar (lead guitar). Their music is a pretty good mix of blues, psych and garage rock, but I think Tendency To Be Free' is the best they did. Here's some extra info I found online: "Rabbit released a couple of albums on UNI, and his son Manzanio Bay is on Arlo Guthries Durango album. His second UNI album is entitled 'Passing Through'. [The first was called Bug Cloth] He, MIchael DeTemple and Andy Douglas began work on a third album and also were sidemen on the flower power "Vision of Sunshine" LP by Wings Hauser."

Closing this track, and the comp, I have added a speech from a classic scene of Jack Nicholson's and Dennis Hopper's characters in Easy Rider...

Stay free! Rich

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  1. Mama mia!

    that is one fantastic collection of biker soundtrack mayhem dude

    1. Thanks man, it took me quite a while to find the best of the best stuff! I don't think I coulda done it better than this...

  2. Absolutely stellar mix, Rich. Top to bottom. Can tell you really poured a lot of time and effort into this. Truly appreciate putting this excellent comp together. As always, look forward to the next one.

    1. Thanks man, I really upped the ante with this one without realising it, I got more too live up to now, time for the disappointing sophomore effort haha

  3. Amazing !! Thanx so much from Spain :)

  4. Hey Rich, I can see (& hear) why you might think the vocalist on I've Been Looking is Marvin Gaye, as a long-time fan of his I'm sure it's not him.

    Unfortunately, that's about as helpful as I can be for now. I'll try to track down who sung this ...

    1. Thanks. It would be awesome If you can confirm who sang it!

    2. Looks like credits for the songs on Chrome & Hot Leather have never been identified. It's possible the vocalist on that song is Marvin Gaye. If it is, the song is played at slightly the wrong speed. But the singer doesn't really go for it here, rejecting opportunities for higher notes which Gaye preferred for lower register crooning. Also, by 1971 Gaye was fresh off his brilliant What's Going On album and was on a creative high. Whether or not he's the vocalist here, he is obviously not the song writer. It's hard to guage whether he would have lent his voice to something that he didn't have full creative control over, but that's pie-in-the-sky speculation.

      It was also said however that the filmmakers and crew either didn't know or didn't care who he was. All they really knew about him was that he was a new actor who was tall and lanky.

      Either way it's a great song and a great comp!

  5. After searching "early 70s biker hard rock" I ended up here; love the comp. you've put together and believe I ran across it on your YT channel. Lately I've been fascinated with this stuff (and psychsploitation), but beyond the typical Davie Allan fare and into more obscure terrain, so this was just the fix! Lots of hard guitar riffs, jamming and tough guy swagger by bands, most of whom had probably never mounted a hog yet, who instinctively tapped into how 'cool' that slice of counterculture was. Thanks for posting!

  6. Super comp, almost bought a Harley, joined a bikergang and rode to hell and back.

  7. Super comp, almost bought a Harley, joined a bikergang and rode to hell and back.