SOHO ROSES

JANUARY 1988

ARE THEY famous? The bar man stared in disbelief as the lads from Soho Roses tottered into his pub, clad in high- heeled boots, red and black PVC pants, garish jackets, jangling jewellery and enough make-up to paint the Forth Bridge.

“If they’re not famous now, they soon will be, huh?” he nodded, preparing to pour them each a Babycham “Pints of bitter please!” demanded the Roses, a they headed straight for the pool table.

Yes folks, ‘neath the sort of outfits that make Tigertailz look like Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts, there beat manly hearts, bent (if you’ll pardon the phrase) on playing their own frantic, high energy music, shocking ears and eyes and conquering the civilised world.

They’ve charged into battle with a likeable mixture of self- mocking humour and deadly serious determination. Rather than wait for someone to hand them success in the shape of a record deal, they’ve made their own debut 12-inch EP, ‘Whatever Happened To’, on Trash Can Records. Pressed on pink vinyl and packaged in an elaborate cover that wouldn’t disgrace a major band, it cost them a pretty penny.

But you can tell from the scatty enthusiasm of songs like ‘Crazy ‘Bout Me’, ‘Cost of You’, ‘Just A Girl’ and ‘Sweet Sixteen’ that they have something to shout about.

Only three of the Roses could make it explained Julien Dean (bass, jokes and frizzy hair): “Our guitarist Andy DeGray couldn’t get out of bed this morning” So Julien, singer Paul Blittz and stomping hot drummer Patrice Panache shared the task of explaining just who Soho Roses are, and why they’d got fowl to do with any other Roses you may have heard about.

“THE BAND has been going about a year,” said Julien. “Me, Pat and Andy met at the Marquee one night, when we were eyeing up the same girl. We were in the toilets tossing a coin to decide who would have the first chance at chatting her up. Pat won and he walked over, pinched this girl’s bum and it turned out to be Paul! And that’s how we met,”

The band dissolved in laughter.

“So that’s how the band came about. We really wanted a singer who looked good. We thought that was important because so many bands look terrible. You must realise we are all vain y’see.”

“We spend half our time fighting over mirrors,” said Pat. The band explained that Paul, over six-foot tall with exploding feathers of blond hair, has a normal day job and has to wear a three-piece suit.

Only sometimes he forgets to take oft his stage make-up, testing the patience of his employers.

“Well we won’t have to do any more day jobs if millions of record companies and managers get in touch with us,” said Pat with fierce determination.

“We don’t have a manager and find it very difficult to get things together ourselves. We’re pretty untogether people but we’ve done well really to have got this far.

Andy has a degree in business studies and Pat is very good at business, too.” said Julien. “Paul is good at art, and I can hold me beer!”

They have all been in ‘crap’ bands before and have a clear idea of what they really want. Said Pat: “We just didn’t want to be one of these horrible Live Aid rock bands like U2 or Simple Minds. We just wanted to be a good trashy band.”

Paul: “I haven’t seen any bands like us really. There are plenty of bands described as trashy and being influenced by the New York Dolls and Sex Pistols, and when you go and see them they are straightforward Heavy Metal. I mean.., we are… trashy!”

“It’s just another word for Crap really,” grinned Julien. “we are ultra crappy.

“Actually we really like Poison and Faster Pussycat. They’ve got great songs and a brilliant image. We tend to get lumped in with them

“Oh, yes I look just like them,” said Pat. “No. Poison are great and they write nice melodies. But they come out with some really stereotyped, horrible stuff as well.”

None of the band likes Guns n’ Roses.

“They look terrible,.and Sound worse,” said Paul, shaking with mirth.

“And we think an important part of being a band is looking good,” insisted Julien.

SOHO ROSES gigs are fairly shambolic affairs.

“We make cock-ups onstage and jump around and laugh at each other,” said Julien, “but people enjoy it,

We have had a lot of bad tuck with gigs being cancelled. And we keep being put on with bands like Samson who are nothing like us’

“At first we had no publicity and no audience, but now more and more people are taking an interest in us.

“Londoners are lazy though. They won’t bother to take a tube to see a band they’ve never heard of before. They’ll only support people they’ve already seen.

“We’d like to do a tour of Scandinavia where everyone comes to see you because they fancy you. We hope to go there.. . when the weather’s nice!”

“But Europe is only part of it. . we want to conquer the world,” said Pat, “We wanna take Trash everywhere,”

THEY RAISED the finance to make their own record because they saw the fate of bands who went on for years and years without ever getting product out. They were – determined not to waste time waiting to be signed.

Said Paul: “We thought – ’We gotta do this record!’

They bust a gut to get the package together then found that a radio show supposed to support independent bands said it ‘wasn’t suitable’, and most rock and pop magazines refused to review it.

“I took it to one paper and they laughed at me,” said Julien. “Kerrang! has been the only paper to take an interest and help us. We thought we’d get such a bad slagging we’d have to split up!”

“We wanted to do a lavish production job on the sleeve so that people would take notice. I was really pleased at the way it came out, said Paul. “although the pink vinyl took ages and held up the release. We advertised it and were getting orders before was ready!”

How serious are they about playing?

“It’s the trashy attitude that is most important. We know we are not very experienced and don’t play too well live, but that doesn’t bother us.”

“I think we play excellently live,” interrupted Pat, heatedly.

“If I went to see us, I’d love us” said Paul, “We play very powerful music and really attack the audience. We don’t play standard riffs. We play songs. There’s no cranked up guitar solos. Andy’s dog writes all the songs.

“There’s no nice slow, gentle bits in any of our numbers. There’s nobody else playing music like us.

“We don’t mind people calling us GIam,’ said Paul, after a furious debate about the origin of punk, Metal, Thrash and glam rock. “but really we are TRASH!

“You see,” said Pat, “we wanna be known all over the World, Or East Ham, at any rate. We’ve had people come up to say, ‘We’ve been waiting years for a band like you?”’

CHRIS WELCH


JUNE 1988

TATTOOED LOVE BOYS/SOHO ROSES Marquee, London

SOHO ROSES have sold-out….. they played to more than six people! Some out to seek and enjoy, others out of sheer depraved curiosity. And why not?

A snarlin’ Mike Monroe impersonator, a guitarist and bass player sportin’ Alice Cooperized ‘Special Forces’ hairdos, and a black glam-drummer make for prime-time freak-show viewin’!

A nervous, shaky start for the Roses’ Marquee debut, but what could have crumpled into an embarrassin’ heap got up and did a ragged dance. Drummer Patrice pretty much organised the chaos, while guitarist Andy chugged-out riffs that probably owe more to Chuck Berry than Johnny Thunders. But so what – they’ll probably both sue anyway?

Surprise of the night was da boyz havin’ the audacity to encore with Hanoi Rocks’ ‘Motorvatin’… and gettin clean away with it! llswear the buggers were actually CONCENTRATIN!?!

This is dedicated to anyone who wants to sleep with me tonight – it’s dedicated to everyone! says vocalist Paul Blittz at one point, which as freak-show offers go is a better deal than an offer of oral sex from the bearded lady!

The Tattooed Love Boys, on another tack (as opposed to the Roses ‘tacky’), are incredibly proficient. Mike Ransome loomed imposingly on a drum-kit of Godzilla proportions, and together with CJ on guitar and Dee Zee on bass they were as solid as a jar of Marmite. Frontman Gary Miélle is an admirable performer, if you ignore the pretentious Americanisms, with a vocal-style in the ‘Bon Jovi/eat shredded wheat without the milk’ mould.

But as well as the TLBs deliver, pseudo-sleazy rockers like ‘Sweet Little Ragamuffin’ their noted enthusiasm still lacks that certain killer somethin’ that should be ticklin’ wickedly at my fancy.

That go-for-the-throat hunger that propels Wolfsbane and Tigertailz just ain’t paradin’, which leads moi to wonder if they all have cosy day jobs.

Don’t write ‘em off though, my lovelies, I just think maybe someone else should check ‘em out next time and hopefully grasp the buzz I’m missin’.

RAY ZELL


1988

TEENAGE IDOLS, SOHO ROSES, BROOKLYN DOGS – Marquee, London

“IT’S ALL coming back to haunt us’ – I gasp to a certain fellow journalist also ‘associated’ with the original rag-bag-punky ‘Glam scene’. The mutated, bastardized ‘daughterz’ of Hanoi Rocks, the Babysitters et al, have come of age’

I entered the smoky venue and headed straight for the stage and the young tarty pups were halfway through their performance: the Brooklyn Dogs, hailin’ from, and I quote, “Burbigum”. A four-piece rag-bag-punky-glam etc, etc. et-goddamn-cetera band, givin’ it their best shot but maybe sufferin’ a mild attack of “Wow, we’re actually playin’ the Marquee” nerves. An’, guys, takin’ the ever dauntin’ chance of coverin’ a classic like Hanoi’s ‘Tragedy’ is always gonna putcha at risk of swampin’ the original toonz you should be toutin’.

If the ‘Dogs can get their onstage personas to match their ‘at the bar afterwards’ charisma, then these brat-Brummies just might obtain the dubious honour of membership to the ‘trash with flash league.

Next up. . . WHA-A-AT, dem again’? The buggers who singlehandedly keep Max Factor in business – Soho Roses, improvin’ in posey leaps and poutin’ bounds. This band worry me – what I used to consider average material lie ‘Coz Of You’. Sweet Sixteen’ etc.) are metamorphosisin’ into annoyingly memorable sub- classics. A touch sullen, but The Roses did the business. The only disappointment bein’ they didn’t get into a scrap with either the ‘Dogs or headliners the Last Of The Teenage Idols.

Ahh, the Teenage Idols. What did ex-Babysitter vocalist, Sergeant Major Buttz, have in store with his new recruits? I’d guess most expected an obvious cloning of his old partners in grime; not this synthesis of wild n’ wecicy humour, which is thankfully unique only to Buttz, with Metal Mat (guitar), Shuff (bass) and Dave Who-Can’t-Behave (drums), are a Metal band who lean towards punky rock ‘n’ roll, as opposed to the ‘Sitters’ punky ‘rock en roll’ that leaned toward Metal.

And there was Buttz, beamin’ with pride at his new baby. A red-hot (as we say) guitarist and a give-it-some-bollocks rhythm section introducin’ such curious gems as ‘There’s A Spider In My Head’, ‘Rebel Without A Quid’, ‘Ned The Crow And Resurrection Joe’ and the. . dare I say it… Zeppelinesque ‘Teenage Idol’?!’!! Needless to say, the waaaay over-crowded (I think someone lost count here!) Marquee lapped-up the chucklesome barrage.

Dumpy ‘Olivia’ Rusty Nut in gratuitous slinky black number, padded-bra (I think!) and fright make-up, joined the louts for ‘You’re The One That I Want’ with Buttz as Travolta. Sadly not as amusin’ as it sounds, the whole shambolic embarrassment cumin’ across as well-rehearsed as an episode of Crossroads!

Never the less, my darlin’ ones, Buttz pulled it off, leavin’ any doubters not so much with egg on their face – but the whole chicken farm!

RAY ZELL

 

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