Wrong Guys, Beasts and Zombies
Bruce Von Stiers
I was reading a press release for an album that was sent to me. The press release talked about a band that was founded in the L.A. underground cabaret arena. It also mentioned that the band calls some of their music “gothspell.” The other styles of the band include Americana , grunge rock and even a nod or two to New Orleans ragtime music. It seemed to me that this was a band to definitely listen to, if only to check out this gothspell styling.
The name of this multi-style-fused band is Dance Hall Pimps. The title of their debut album is Beast For Love. It is being released on Lakeshore Records.
The band is fronted by RJ Comer who does the lead vocals along with the rhythm guitar and the plectrum banjo. The other guitars are handled by Jeff Jourard. Eddie Fish is on bass and Vic “Baron” Migenes is on drums. Organ, piano and trumpet music was done by Bruce Mann. And Steve Carr played the saxophone, flute and clarinet. Jeff has been with both Tom Petty and The Motels. Bruce is a British import, but we won't hold that against him. Eddie studied under Gary Peacock and Tim Bogart. Baron worked with Madonna and was once a drummer for The Bay City Rollers. Steve was at one time playing tenor sax in Japan on a tour with Dizzie Gillespie and Phil Woods. RJ comes from a strong musical background. His mom was a Big Band singer and his dad was a bluegrass and gospel guy.
Additional help on the album comes from Victor Orlando and Rob Hill on percussion. Jeffrey Howell handled some programming and synth duties on the album. Background vocals were done by Matt Beisner, Nancy Nisi and Jen Crowe.
This debut album by the band was produced by Matt Hyde and Rob Hill. Matt is a Grammy winner who has worked with bands like Porno For Pyros. Rob has worked with Korn and Xzibit and both have worked with Cypress Hill.
The album has a dozen songs and lasts about forty-six minutes.
Seems Holy is the first song. It starts out with banjo music, an almost haunting ballad sound. Then things kick into a raucous rocking big band mood. The song's about a girl who looks innocent and sweet. She “seems holy, but she's not” is the tag line of the chorus. It is a fun and infectious way to begin the album.
Smoking right out of the gate, Underneath Your Stone hails back to the days of Eric Burdon and the Animals and early The Kinks.
Fun and smile effecting in the Buddy Holly rocking style is Mommy Was A Zombie. The lyrics are just too funny and the guitar playing too cool.
Moody, with some tough keys work, Heartbreak of Dawn is a good ballad. This one also hails back to the days of Three Dog Night and other organ laden music.
Great drum music opens a Doors like song called Wrong Guy Baby.
Things slide a slightly different direction with the sax laden guitar rock jazz groove called In The Back of My Mind.
Trumpet music is prominent in the rockabilly styling of the title track, Beast For Love. You won't be able to stop your feet from tapping and head bopping while listening to this one.
Classic, speakeasy style of jazzy blues come to mind with the great song You'd Drink Like I Do.
Some more great sax music finds its way into the mild George Thorogood styled tune called I'm No Prince Charming.
Slow and moody to start out, Transylvania Girls moves into a fun, toe tapping rock groove. The guitar is tough, the key work too cool and the vocals are great.
Then the band puts forth a pretty decent rendition of the classic I Put A Spell On You.
The album ends with another cover song. This one is the Lou Reed classic Walk On The Wild Side. The band does a nice job with it as well, albeit with a milder, jazzier influence.
This album quite different from a lot of the rock album I'd been hearing lately. I'm still not sure which part of the band's music was “gothspell” but I found the entire album fun and well worth the time to listen to.
Dance Hall Pimps are crusading against human trafficking and sex slavery of any kind, both in the U.S. and the rest of the world. Part of the proceeds from the sale of Beast For Love will be donated to service organizations who are leading the fight against these exploitative happenings and victim relief.
To find out more, visit www.dancehallpimps.com The site has a fun video for the song Mommy Was A Zombie. You can also check out the band's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dancehallpimps
© 2012 Bruce E Von Stiers