Part 211: The House of Lords Debacle

RECORD STORE TALES Part 211:  The House of Lords Debacle

Joe was on the other end of the phone.  “Mike,” he said.  “I have three CDs here by a band called House of Lords.  You want?”

I’d first heard House of Lords in ’88.  Gene Simmons was promoting them like mad.  They were signed to his new imprint, $immons Records.  A guy called Loz Netto was his first signing, but House of Lords was his first rock acquisition.  They included ex-members of Guiffria, Quiet Riot, and Alice Cooper.  I picked up their debut on the week of release, but I missed the second and third albums.

“I’ll take two!” I responded without hesitation.  “I’ll take the ones titled Sahara and Demons Down.”

Joe laughed.  “I knew you’d know who these guys were,” he said.  I saw the pictures of the hairdos on the back and I knew it.”

“Thanks man, send ’em my way.  I will buy them both for sure.”

HOL_0002

Yes, Tommy Aldridge was in House of Lords for a minute

Joe had the two discs sent to my store, attention to me.  But in between his store and mine, they had been intercepted.  Someone had written on the transfer slips, “Sell at $11.99 — no discount.”

No discount?  On House of Lords?  The fuck was this?

Not that $11.99 is a bad price.  That was a high but realistic sticker price for used copies of these albums.  I can get Demons Down on CD from Discogs right now for under 8 bucks.  If I had walked into another store and found them for $12, I would have bought them without hesitation.  It was the principle of the thing that bothered me.  I’ve talked before about how we didn’t get staff discounts on certain special or big ticket items.  House of Lords was hardly the kind of band that would negate a staff discount.  In fact, my boss (who had written the note) had no idea who House of Lords was.

He had obviously seen that the two discs were being sent to me, since he had written the note.  Perhaps he looked at the back and spied the Simmons Records logo.  Either way he personally nixed the the discount.  I called him up to ask what the deal was.

“Hey,” I began.  “These two House of Lords discs.  What’s up with the price?  No discount on these?”

“Nope,” he answered simply.

“Why?” I asked.  “Nobody knows who they are.”

“That’s just what we’ve decided they’re worth,” he replied.

“Alright, well I’m going to pass on them then.  I’m sending them back to Joe’s store.”  I was disappointed.  This kind of penny-ante crap had picked up in recent years.  It was petty.  It seemed arbitrary.

A few years later, more copies came in.  I snagged those, discount intact.  Much like most of the world, the powers that be had simply forgotten who House of Lords were.  And I wasn’t about to say, “Hey, by the way, in case you forgot, staff aren’t supposed to get a discount on House of Lords.”

I’m listening to House of Lords right now.  The funny thing is, for such “special” items, neither is really as good as their debut!

Next time on Record Store Tales…

Crushes!

33 comments

  1. Simmons promotion as u alluded to back in 88 hooked me into to buying HOL…..I was sucked in by the Simmons p.r machine at the ripe ol age of 21!!
    Hahahaha….this was the only release of there’s I bought….I kinda passed over it quickly…maybe it was too pomp for me….. Not enough gee tar !!!……who knows……
    Than again 88 it was 7th Son …..Skyscraper……Blow up Your Video ….OU 812 those were the 4 main releases for me that yr so …….god even Open UP and Say Aahhhh was on heavy rotation as well……

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    1. The first HoL I like, although as you said, lots of pomp and not enough geetar! The first one is still better than these two.

      It’s like lite pomp pop prog or something. And as you said 1988 was loaded with important releases, not least of which was both VH and DLR! And you didn’t even mention Judas Priest, Ace Frehley, and Europe who also released new albums in ’88 that I was addicted to. And Ozzy!

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  2. Actually the Priest album Ram IT Down I did purchase and I really did not care for it ..I guess u could say Priest for me was 79-84…. Even Turbo had some interesting things on it….
    Europe my younger bro bought it ,I didn’t mind it but once Norum left I lost interest as I bought his Total Control cassette and liked that better….Frehleys Second Sighting I bought as I liked the Comet release but I was disappointed in it as well found it more AOR ,little,to polished for my liking and the Ozzy album was good but I liked BATM a d of course the two Rhoads albums better but man he stepped up 3 yrs later on the NO More Tears album….

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    1. I could easily write reviews of all of these albums…

      Regardless of how they aged, I was 15/16 in 1988 and they all had huge impacts on me. Especially that Priest album. I had never in my life heard anything as heavy as “Hard as Iron” before.

      There’s an idea for a theme…maybe I can think about doing a theme by year. 1988 and 1989 were pretty good years!

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        1. I’m one of the many who saw the first Poison album and thought they were girls. I didn’t like Bobby Dall (I like blondes) but I thought Rikki Rockett looked cute.

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        2. Thanks for sharing Mike!

          Next week on Dude Looks Like a Lady – we look into the strange case of Vixen. What’s that? No way!!

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        3. Strangely Vixen were one band I wasn’t into. I never liked them at all. There was another band called Precious Metal that I liked. I think they even had The Donald in their music video.

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        4. I saw them once, sometimes if I’m having a bad time at work I think back to the bass solo and realise that things ain’t so bad after all.

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  3. I really dig all three HOL albums, but obviously, their debut was the best of the bunch. And they never managed to get a guitar player as good as Lanny Cordola when he left after the debut.
    HOL are still going to this day, but with a completely different line up, leaving singer James Christian as the sole original member. But they still make great records if you’re into melodic hard rock / AOR.

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    1. I am aware that they are still making albums, and even releasing compilations of demos from the old days. I’d love to check them out actually. Impossible to find around here though. My eyes are always peeled.

      I think Lanny Cordola might have gone down the Christian rock path a few years later. I remember being in a Christian music store in 1995, and seeing a few solo albums by Lanny Cordola.

      I wonder what ever happened to Dennis Chick and Michael Guy? I know Doug Aldrich was in the band after Michael Guy, and did a tour, and we all know he’s doing very well today in Whitesnake.

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  4. Last time I ever heard anything from Chick was when he made a couple of albums with Mike Tramp’s grunge outfit Freaks Of Nature.
    The names of the last HOL records are World Upside Down, Come To My Kingdom, Cartesian Dreams and Big Money where CTMK has to be the best of the bunch. Actually I think it’s one of the best HOL albums ever. You can find a review of Big Money here:

    http://etainmentnewsreviews.wordpress.com/melodic-rock/melodic-rock-reviews-2011/house-of-lords-big-money/

    Also, singer James Christian has a new solo release out called Lay It All On Me which I’ll be reviewing within the next couple of weeks.

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  5. The first House Of Lords album was actually going to be the third Giuffria album and it was about to be titled Pleasure Palace. But they had signed for Gene Simmons label and he made Gregg Giuffria sack the whole band except guitar player Lanny Cordola and he also demanded that he’d change the name as no one could pronounce the name Giuffria. Singer David Glen Eisley (a very underrated singer) then started Dirty White Boy with guitarist Earl Slick and ex Autograph drummer Keni Richards and released a great album before they split up.

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    1. Thanks for the knowledge!

      I knew they evolved from Giuffria, but I didn’t realize how they got from A to B. I do have one Giuffria album, the name is escaping me, but it had “I Must Be Dreaming” on it.

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      1. That’s Silk And Steel. A very good AOR album. I got it too. Their first self titled album wasn’t nearly as good. Craig Goldy (later Dio) was the guitarist and Chuck Wright (later Quiet Riot and House Of Lords) held bass duties on that one.

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  6. Damn, saw this link and thought had stumbled onto Mike’s review for Sahara :(

    Ahhh well, cool story sufficed but clearly I’m in the minority as not only did I love Sahara thought too it was superior to the debut! Heavier broader and slightly less pomp (the American Whitesnake perhaps?) and while not quite as good, Demons Down wasn’t that far behind either \m/

    Truth be told much love for the first three records, might be worth reviewing Mike hmmm?

    Chains Of Love woulda been my preferred opener with ‘Open up your heart, and let me in!’ but through the title track, American Babylon, Can’t Find My Way and the utterly beautiful and powerful Remember My Name (one a cover one an outside write but both totally within the House Of Lords wheelhouse) and concluding with a heap of up and go with Kiss Of Death, and add to that the huge talent on offer (of course Christian in particular), the big sound and appropriate for the time cover art and whatnot, Sahara remains a killer record, a record that IMO held its own back when and still stands today \m/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So Wardy, should I take this as a request for a review on Sahara? ;)

      I’m a little backlogged right now…working on two different series simultaneously but finished neither!

      It has been so long since I have played these two albums. Like I don’t even think I ripped them to my PC yet. But you know who is up on all the latest with House of Lords? That would be Jon Wilmenius!

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      1. I generally play them together like Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman… Classic pompy rock. James Christian sounds bitchin’ on those records and they wore cool leather jackets in the videos!

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