Chuck Wright

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.”


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…


REVIEW: Quiet Riot – Live & Rare (2005)

Part 1 of my 2-part review of the Quiet Riot Twin Pack set.  Twin Pack bundled the band’s final two releases before DuBrow’s untimely death:  a retro live album, and the final studio album, Rehab.

QUIET RIOT – Live & Rare (2005 Demolition)

I will tell you right off the bat, the only reason to own Live & Rare by Quiet Riot is if you are like me (obsessive collector), and must own everything. That’s it. There are no other reasons. This is a terrible, terrible CD. Awful. It is so cheaply and carelessly put together that it truly is the definition of “cash grab”.

The original pressing of this CD had a major flaw, a 2 second gap between the songs.  This amateur mistake caused the audience noise to cut out and then start again in a way that was just jarring and unpleasant. They partially fixed the problem on my second printing…but only partially. The 2 second gap is gone, but it is replaced by a quick split-second pause — think about the way a live album sounds when you play it on an mp3 player. It’s not nearly as bad as the 2 second gaps, and it makes the album so much more listenable.   At the end, the live portion doesn’t even finish with a fade-out.  Just an amateur abrupt silence.  Lastly, the three demo tracks at the end aren’t even listed in the correct order on the CD sleeve.  I have a hard time imagining how these flaws made it past quality control — twice!!

I can remove the gaps using Audacity, and re-burn the thing using Nero, but really what’s the point?  If the album was decent, it might be worth the effort.  Unfortunately, Live & Rare is pretty poor.  You wouldn’t expect this to be the case upon reading the track list.  Live performances from the 1983 Metal Health and 1984 Condition Critical tours, the golden years with the classic lineup.  Throw on three bonus tracks from the 1981 DuBrow demo and it should be a pretty satisfying listen, gaps or no gaps.

Musically the songs are fine, but the recordings are terrible! Basically this sounds like a bootleg, and I have heard far better bootlegs.  I’ve heard audience bootlegs that were better quality than Live & Rare.  It’s nice that there are some rarely played tracks on here (“Gonna Have a Riot” and “Danger Zone”) plus a drum solo, but otherwise the CD is close to unlistenable. What’s the point of a drum solo if it sounds this terrible?  The only, and I mean only, saving grace on this CD are the three unreleased DuBrow demos. They date from a time when Quiet Riot was actually broken up, and Kevin was  recording under the name DuBrow. Banali was a part of the DuBrow lineup. They were eventually renamed Quiet Riot and they recorded Metal Health and made metal history. These demo tracks are historically significant to fans, and it’s nice to finally have them.

Buyer beware. I was not at all impressed with this CD, and I think Quiet Riot should have been embarrassed to release it. The liner notes state that it was “produced and mixed by Neil Citron and Frankie Banali”. I wonder exactly what they did to produce and mix it. I speculate that they adjusted some levels on a home PC and burned a copy to CD…without removing the 2 second gaps! Not very pro at all.

1/5 stars