Silverhead – Silverhead / 16 & Savaged CD
SILVERHEAD / SILVERHEAD – PUR 361 – 884860068826. CD Digipak edition – Sept 2012
SILVERHEAD / 16 & SAVAGED – PUR 362 – 884860068925. CD Digipak edition – Sept 2012
Silverhead, another forgotten band from the early days of glam rock’s heavier spectrum? Well forgotten by some perhaps but role models for many more and remembered fondly enough by others (with one fan likening them to an early Guns’n Roses) to bring the band back together for a reunion tour in Japan earlier this year (with a new album on the way). Tipped by journalists at the time to bridge the gap between T.Rex and Bowie in the early seventies, it’s always been a surprise that the group never quite got there.
Silverhead were signed to Deep Purple’s fledgling label Purple Records in 1972, and Machine Head producer Martin Birch took the helm in the studio for their strong debut album Silverhead, released towards the end of that year. Two catchy singles (with Purple’s Ian Paice producing) tickled the glam rock palate (the raunchy backing vocals on Rolling With My Baby apparently featured Suzi Quatro and Elkie Brooks!) and the group were soon supporting any number of groups in Europe, including Deep Purple themselves, Osibisa and Nazareth.
After the promising debut, Purple Records quickly put them back into the studios in early 1973 to make the follow up, Sixteen & Savaged (on which none other than Joe Cocker dropped by to help on backing vox). Purple Records took their eye off the ball, distracted by the problems which beset Deep Purple that year. There were no singles this time round either. Even so, stints playing in America (where they toured with Kiss and Uriah Heep) brought the band to the notice of the New York glam scene, the group rubbing shoulders with several of the prime-movers and inspiring many more.
By the end of the year plans were set in motion for a third album, but shortly after they started demo work in LA, the group returned to London in early 1974 to find that Purple Records had pulled the plug on the group. No explanation was given but unknown to Silverhead, a decision had been taken to stop all non Deep Purple related activity on the label. A much edited live Silverhead album was pushed out in Japan but European release was cancelled and was a proposed ‘best of’.
Michael Des Barres was sometimes likened to a cross between Steve Marriott and Rod Stewart and took to the role of front-man with plenty of swagger and self-confidence, his androgynous good-looks working for fans of either gender. The band were all highly capable musicians too; Robbie Blunt (guitar), late of Brit rockers Bronco, joined Silverhead on their second album (replacing original guitarist Steve Forest), then went into session work and made his name playing with Robert Plant during the 1980s. For Nigel Harrison (bass guitar), Silverhead were his first taste of the big time, but he later joined Blondie and co-wrote some of their later hits before leaving in 1982. Pete Thompson (Drums, percussion, keyboards, vocals) and Rod Davies (guitar, percussion, vocals) had played together in bands touring US army bases in Europe, Pete later working with Ken Hensley of Uriah Heep.
And charismatic front man Des Barres? He went on to form Detective, signed to Zeppelin’s label, before working solo and then ending up in the Duran Duran side-project Powerstation in 1985 (which saw him on-stage for Live Aid). Where do you go from there? He had been to drama school in London before becoming a singer and chose to return to that profession, where he has never been out of work, acting in films and numerous America TV shows. He has recently cut his first solo album.
The Silverhead albums have been poorly served by the reissue industry in the past, with a couple of lacklustre CDs in Europe and poorly mastered Japanese replica sleeve editions (along with really low-fi live recordings which are actually bootlegs).
These new editions mark the fourtieth anniversary of the band’s first release and come with detailed notes by rock writer Jon Kirkman, who has interviewed members of the band specially. Rare photographs and memorabilia back up the comprehensive CD booklets, and the albums themselves are enhanced by previously unreleased versions of notable album cuts rescued from the original studio tapes, as well as a handful of good quality live tracks.
Perhaps Silverhead fell between two markets; the often down to earth lyrics and sexual imagery which flashed through much of their material proved too much for the teen fans – few parents would want their kids listening to More Than Your Mouth Can Hold! Certainly their second album sleeve raised concerns in some quarters and remains an uncompromising image even today. Yet the group never cultivated the cerebral edge which helped performers like Bowie rise above cult status.
Even so, the band are still referenced in many publications today, with Classic Rock awarding them a Cult Status article as recently as 2010.
Track list below. Both CDs can already be preordered at DTB Online store.
Silverhead / Silverhead
Long Legged Lisa 3:38
Underneath The Light 5:24
Ace Supreme 2:58
In Your Eyes 6:05
Rolling With My Baby 3:52
Wounded Heart 5:23
Sold Me Down The River 4:26
Rock ‘N’ Roll Band 5:53
Silver Boogie 0:54
Ace Supreme 7″ edit 3.43
Oh No No No (non album track) 3.51
Rolling With My Baby 7″ edit 2.56
Rock ‘N’ Roll Band (alt take) 5:50
Ace Supreme (alt take) 3.00
Oh No No No (alt take) 4.00
Rolling With My Baby (alt take) 4.00
Silverhead – 16 And Savaged
Hello New York 3:18
More Than Your Mouth Can Hold 3:24
Only You 4:13
Bright Light 4:43
Heavy Hammer 3:40
Cartoon Princess 4:11
Rock Out Claudette Rock Out 3:30
This Ain’t A Parody 3:21
16 And Savaged 4:21
Hello New York (alt take) 3:30
16 And Savaged (alt take) 4:21
This Ain’t A Parody (alt take) 3:21
Hello New York (live) 3:30
16 And Savaged (live) 4.30