Tuesday, October 3, 2017

With The Aid Of Delusion

Heartbreakers : One Track Mind

On October 3, 1977 Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers released their legendary album,  L.A.M.F. (Like A Mother Fucker). Thunders and drummer Jerry Nolan were both ex New York Dolls, who brought most of the songs, the street cred, and $125 a day heroin habits to the band. 

In late 1976 The Heartbreakers the band was invited by former Dolls manager Malcolm McLaren to join the Anarchy tour with The Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Clash. On the day they arrived, The Sex Pistols made their infamous appearance on Bill Grundy's show

The tour was mostly cancelled but The Heartbreakers got enough notice to sign a record deal with Track Records.  First came the singles. "Chinese Rocks" b/w "Born To Lose" sold 20,000 copies it its first week of release. "All By Myself" was covered by the Undertones in their 1977 gigs. "One Track Mind" is a re-write of Richard Hell's "Love Comes in Spurts", though to be fair Heartbreaker Walter Lure wrote the original guitar line.

Track asked staff producer Speedy Keen ( who wrote "Something in the Air" as a member of Thunderclap Newman) to speedily record an album with The Heartbreakers.  And this is where things begin to go wrong.

The album was recorded in two studios in several weeks, but it took six months to mix the album in five different studios. It never sounded anything better than muddy. By the time the album came out, nobody wanted to deal with the drug addicts in the Heartbreakers. Want to know why? Just watch Thunders in the clip below.

Many years and many mixes later, there finally is a version of L.A.M.F. that sounds right by combining mixes from London, Japan and Italy. This is the pure sound of a band living and dying for the sake of sex drugs and rock and roll. Punk's Exile on Main Street.

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