Music by The Aliens, Smart Pills and American Bad Taste Top the Charts
By DONNA BALANCIA – Veteran Punk Rocker Vince Conrad has released some long-buried hidden gems to music lovers.
He remastered classic hit tunes from bands The Smart Pills, The Aliens and American Bad Taste and they are now available to the public.
The Aliens were well-known in New York in the late 1970s early punk rock scene but the band’s catchy songs were lost over the years.
Through Vince Conrad Productions, Vince is re-releasing punk rock classics like “He Hangs Around With a Bimbo,” “Sticky People,” and “Blank Samaritan,” which is good news for punk lovers.
And while doing so, his company, Vince Conrad Productions, has developed a recording, promotion and distribution model that others can follow.
“I wanted to get the songs out there because they’re great songs,” Vince said. “But also I want to show people that you don’t need a record company to come knocking on your door. Today, you can control the whole recording, promotion and distribution process yourself.”
Vince Conrad Productions is a new punk rock record label and publishing and production company based in Los Angeles. All of the music on the VCP website has been unreleased to the general public. And he’s got a lot of interesting songs to hear.
Conrad’s New York band, The Aliens, and Hollywood-based bands, The Smart Pills and American Bad Taste were well known to the punk rockers of the late-1970s and early 1980s. Conrad has re-issued CD’s for each of the three bands, as well as, as a solo EP of early punk rock songs previously never recorded entitled simply, Vince Conrad EP. The EP is ranked No. 3 in the LA Punk Rock chart on Reverbnation.
“These are songs that people loved,” Vince told California Rocker in an exclusive interview. “They were recorded in the day on a casette recorder and I’ve painstakingly remastered them. They really hold up.”
The Vince Conrad EP has achieved other benchmarks on the Reverbnation site, hitting the charts in the national and regional arenas.
Vince doesn’t wear the same spiky hair or pins through his earlobe (OK, not as often anyway), but he’s making new music, and he’s reviving the punk classics.
“My bands played with a lot of famous bands during the early punk scene in New York and Los Angeles,” Vince said.
“But the thing is if you didn’t get signed by a record label, no one would ever get to hear your music,” Vince said. “So many great bands didn’t get signed so they didn’t get heard, like Lance Loud and the Mumps, the Mau Maus, the Skulls and a lot of others.
“The Internet has really enabled artists to promote and distribute their music and get it heard,” Vince said. “What we’re doing is we’ve created a whole new recording industry model that puts the whole process back in the hands of the artists.”
Vince Conrad Productions offers CDs and a wide range of downloads from the Aliens, the Smart Pills, American Bad Taste and the new Vince Conrad EP.
During 1976 the Aliens, based in New York’s Chelsea Hotel, regularly played Max’s Kansas City, CBGB’s, Club 82 and other punk rock venues in New York’s early punk rock scene.
The Aliens played among such contemporaries as the Ramones, the Heartbreakers, Blondie, Wayne County, Mink Deville, the Mumps, and the Fast.
Vince’s partners in the bands were Holiday Ian and Git Smart, who would become members of American Bad Taste and The Smart Pills.
In 1979, the Smart Pills moved from New York to Hollywood and performed at the Masque, Club 88, Gazzarri’s, the Troubadour, Kings Palace, the Hong Kong Café and others.
The Smart Pills were on the bill with such contemporaries as the Germs, the Bags, FEAR, the Weirdos, the Mau Maus, Black Flag and the Plugz.
Many of the most beloved bands whose names have become synonymous with punk in the late 1970s and early ’80s had hard times, preventing them from enjoying the fruits of their hard work, Vince said.
“A lot of the bands, including my band the Smart Pills, broke up before they could get signed,” he said. “With the Smart Pills, we were being pursued by Casablanca and Warner Bros., but we lost our frontman. I then scrambled to get Ian and we formed American Bad Taste.”
American Bad Taste recorded four songs for Casablanca, then went out and took the Midwest by storm, bringing their music to America’s heartland before returning to Hollywood in 1981.
The collection Vince offers is a genuine effort to bring to a new generation of listeners some classic songs.
“Basically the songs were all on cassettes and reel-to-reel stored away in my trunks over the years,” Vince said. “You know when you’re on the road a lot you get used to having everything in a trunk. I always wanted to revive and re-master these songs and fortunately, now they’re available.”
The CDs and downloads are being sold through Vince Conrad Productions and are only available through the website at www.vinceconrad.com.