Sunday, 1 November 2009

The Bang Gang - Love Sells (1990)

1. Pedal to the Metal
2. 20th Century Boy
3. The Neon Fairytale
4. Young and the Restless
5. You Make the Beat Go On
6. Be a Model (or Just Look Like One)
7. Dangerous
8. Thrill After Thrill
9. B.M.G. (Be My Girl)

“Out walking with the young & the restless
Mama never begged – please come home
Out walkin’, never walkin’ alone…”

An album that is always capable of throwing me headlong into one big glam spasm. It oozes sleaze at every pore, sneers with abandon, is packed with catchy hooks and gives well deserved nods to pretty boy godfathers, Marc Bolan and Motley Crue.

Love Sells is an utter gem of the sunset strip scene in my eyes. It compels me to strut down the street decked out in tight leather, cowboy boots, an abundance of jangly bangles and to be totally loaded on vodka, causing maximum chaos. I type all this out to you now, after liberally applying some Maybelline foundation and eyeliner, backcombing my hair into the bird’s nest it currently resembles and once again placing this CD into the player. Ahh, that’s better - I’m much more comfortable….

The Bang Gang will look like - on first glance - your typical “hair band” to any Joe Blow rock n’ roll asshole, but they represent everything so devilishly raw and dirty within the bloated bubblegum world of glam metal. For a start their lead vocalist is called Jet Silver, which to me, is probably the most badass name any glitter/gloss muthafucker has ever baptized their self with! The dude sounds like a cat (that’s not a bad thing by the way) getting his cream, both in the alley and in the kitchen back home and he’s a hot guy (I’m not afraid to say it). Jet’s got sort of a lisping, drawl going on which on first listen makes the group sound similar to the likes of Faster Pussycat and Alleycat Scratch, but I can safely say the Bang Gang are streets ahead of both. We also have Scottie “The Bitch” Earle on bass (formerly of TKO and Culprit). Scottie had hit Hollywood back in ’87 and had try-outs with the likes of Lita Ford and Alice Cooper before pulling in old TKO band mate Kjartan Kristoffersen (guitar), Scott Stevens (guitar) and Achon Inc (drums) to join him and Jet Silver. The Bang Gang was born in 1989, only playing a handful of gigs and then venturing into the studio with Ryan Dorn to knock out Love Sells in 1990 on the independent label – Sinclair Records.

It all kicks off with the androgynous romp that is “Pedal to the Metal”. A song that possesses a whole metallic ton of sly charm and some of the coolest, kinkiest lyrics I think I’ve ever heard:

“Standing twenty pounds underweight/with my midnight tortured hair
She kissed my lips….they smeared across her face
Trouble on a stick/but she don’t care”

That type of lyric right there instantly sets the tone and to me conjures up all the images of being out on the town, at some dive of a bar, propped against the wall looking like a hooker junkie. Batting your eyes across the room to the next woman you’re destined to bed down with that night. You’ll get wasted on anything and everything and you don’t give a fuck.
It’s coming to that realisation and feeling that energy vamp vibe, which really edges this sucker into flash metal territory. The guitar sound is jangly at times, with quite a clear tone and then you get the dirty overdriven rhythm grinding in copping riffs straight from the T-Rex play book – it’s a wicked speed jive, flooring it toward total Ecstasy.
Speaking of ‘ol T-Rex, the Bang Gang boys serve up a very sweet little cover of “20th Century Boy” - that I’ve been told, was a big hit in the clubs back in ’90, practically a staple of every DJ worth his lick at the candy store and always preferred to the original even when it came to requests. The cover is heavier, with a nice backing vocal that almost makes the track come across as more pleading and possibly even whiny, but in a “come to bed”, “be my bitch” manner.

“Neon, neon/I’m a star struck boy
Over you/Neon neon”

The “Neon Fairytale” (what a fucking awesome title!) is basically the first of two ballads on the album – yeah they all had ‘em – but it’s a goody and the best one. The lyrics do seem cheesy, but I cannot get my head around how they still manage to be poetically gorgeous. The subject matter is in the style of an actual fairytale “If it were fifteen-seventeen/I met a fair maiden such as you” – and the comparison to modern day “But it’s now ninety-five/I’m no king, no prince, no knight”. I know some people would scoff at this as pansy trash, but I’m a huge sucker for just about anything that remotely gives mention to gnarly neon.

Now, for Love Sell’s finest moment: “Young & The Restless”. I have found it so hard to accurately put into words the sheer, stunning excellence of this track. It is top class as far as glam/sleaze anthems go, crammed with attitude, style, building little melodic pockets of pure euphoria without ever straying away from its methodical pounding beat. I saw the video a while back (the only promo vid they ever made) and it blew me the fuck away, big time. I mean, it was a rough copy, but damn was it cool. The track totally puts you in another zone, and I’d challenge anybody to try and restrain themselves from a boogie to this beast.

There are a couple of other killer tunes making up the rest of the record. “You Make the Beat Go On” and “Thrill after Thrill” are packed with wry innuendo dressed up as sophisticated sunset strip poetry (see that’s derogatory and complimentary at the same time – beat that!) and the other notable song is “Dangerous” as it features none other than Mr. Tracii Guns on lead guitar duties. “Dangerous” is a wicked track, another standout that drives home the sleaze and pins it down spread eagle. I tell ya, if this album was a chick, she’d be a coke-head cosplay cutie, all dressed up for the bukkake party of her life.

Unfortunately, this is the only Bang Gang album there is, albeit for a demo package titled “Vanity Kills” (released 2001) which also smokes despite lacklustre sound quality. The band fell on hard times, losing money and succumbing to in-fighting, plus there was the “g-word” (we do not speak its name here). Anyway, for all its worth (and this is a rare, expensive CD) “Love Sells” is simply incredible for the genre of music it is spawned from and I highly recommend it – it’s worth absolutely every single penny. I mean, if you don’t own this, yet you own some Faster Pussycat (I do btw)or Sea Hags, then you’re a fucking asshole!


© Flash Metal Circus


  1. This was the best thing i have EVER read about Bang Gang, and as I share my love for this band and the Love Sells album, I soo appreciate what you have written. Much respect!

  2. This album still rocks 20 years later!!