Lucifer's Friend


Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969) as Asterix

Peter Hecht -- keyboards, synthesizers

- Peter Hesslein -- guitars, percussion, vocals

- Dieter Horns (RIP 2020) -- bass

- John Lawton (RIP 2021) -- lead vocals  

- Joachim Rietenbach (RIP 1974) -- drums, percussion

 

  line up 2 (1970-74) as Lucifer's Friend

Peter Hecht -- keyboards, synthesizers

- Peter Hesslein -- guitars, percussion, vocals

- Dieter Horns (RIP 2020) -- bass

- John Lawton (RIP 2021) -- lead vocals  

- Joachim Rietenbach (RIP 1974)-- drums, percussion

 

  line up 3 (1974) 

NEW - Herbert Bornold -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Joachim Rietenbach)

Peter Hecht -- keyboards, synthesizers

- Peter Hesslein -- guitars, percussion, vocals

- Dieter Horns (RIP 2020) -- bass

- John Lawton (RIP 2021) -- lead vocals  

 

  line up 4 (1977-81)

- Herbert Bornold -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Joachim Rietenbach)

Peter Hecht -- keyboards, synthesizers

- Peter Hesslein -- guitars, percussion, vocals

- Dieter Horns (RIP 2020) -- bass

NEW - Mike Starrs -- vocals (replaced John Lawton)

 

  line-up 5 (1981-82)

- Herbert Bornold -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Joachim Rietenbach)

Peter Hecht -- keyboards, synthesizers

- Peter Hesslein -- guitars, percussion, vocals

- Dieter Horns (RIP 2020) -- bass

NEW - John Lawton (RIP 2021) -- lead vocals  

 

  line-up 6 (2014-2020)

NEW - Stephan Eggert -- drums, percussion (replaced 

  Herbert Bornhold)

- Peter Hesslein -- guitars, percussion, vocals

- Dieter Horns (RIP 2020) -- bass

- John Lawton (RIP 2021) -- lead vocals  

NEW - Jogi Wichmann -- keyboards (replaced Peter Hecht)

 

 

 

 

- A.R. & Machines (Joachim "Addi" Rietenbach)

- The Air Mail (John Lawton)

- Arc Project (John Lawton)

- Asterix (Peter Hecht, Peter Hesslein, Dieter Horns, John Lawton

  and Joachim "Addi" Rietenbach)

- Brother T. and Family (Joachim "Addi" Rietenbach)

- The Denes (John Lawton)

- Electric Food (Peter Hecht, Peter Hesslein, Dieter Horns, 

  and Joachim "Addi" Rietenbach)

- The German Bonds (Peter Hecht, Peter Hesslein, Dieter Horns, 

  and Joachim "Addi" Rietenbach)

- The Giants (Peter Hesslein and Georg Mavros

- Gunhill (John Lawton)

- Hell Preachers Inc.

- The Hensley Project (John Lawton)

- The Hiltonaires (John Lawton)

-  Intelligent Music Project (John Lawton)

- The John Latwon Band (John Lawton)

- The Lawton Dunning Project (John Lawton)

- The Les Humphries Singers (John Lawton)

- Lucifer's Friend II

- Moonstone Project (John Lawton)

- The New Freedom Singers

- Okko

- On the Rocks (John Lawton)

- Jon Peterson & Sklyliner (John Lawton)

- Pink Mice (Peter Hecht, Peter Hesslein, Dieter Horns, and

  Joachim "Addi" Rietenbach)

- Rebel (John Lawton)

- Stonewall (John Lawton)

- Peter Sunday and the Birds of Fire (John Lawton)

- Sweet Mama (John Lawton)

- Uriah Heep (John Lawton)

- West One (John Lawton)

- ZAR (John Lawton)

 

 

 

 


 

Genre: progressive

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Where the Groupies Killed the Blues

Company: Passport

Catalog: PPSD 98008
Year:
 1975

Country/State: UK/Germany

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: still in shrink; open and torn

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $40.00

 

Anyone who purchased the progressive-flavored album these guys released as Asterix, or their self-titled 1970 debut as Lucifer's Friend is going to wonder if 1972's "Where the Groupies Killed the Blues" is the same band.  

 

Co-produced by Conny Plank, Herbert Hilderbrandt and the band, the first couple of times I played "Where the Groupies Killed the Blues it appeared there was a little something for everyone. Unlike the debut "Lucifer's Friend" which offered up Deep Purple-styled hard rock, this time out the band seemed interested in showcasing their musical breadth.  Showcasing John Lawton's fabulous voice, the opening ballad 'Burning Ships' was one of the prettiest and most commercial things they've ever recorded.  'Prince of Darkness' can only be described as proto-death metal.  Released as a single, 'Hobo' was hard rock, but with a commercial sheen.  The extended 'Mother' was straight-ahead progressive.  All-in-hall it seemed a very diverse collection.  And then the more I played the collection, the more the set's progressive credentials came to the fore.  Recalling prime Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, the extended 'Mother' featured some wild lyrics by the late John O'Brien-Docker. Side two's 'Rose on the Vine' and 'Summerdream' continued the progressive moves.  The London born O'Brien-Docker was apparently Peter Hesslein's songwriting partner, providing English lyrics to five of his compositions. 

 

"Where the Groupies Killed the Blues" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Burning Ships (Peter Hesslein - Dieter Horns - John Lawton) - 4:34  rating: *** stars

The ocean sound effects were an acquired taste, but otherwise the opener 'Burning Ships' started out as a pretty ballad showcasing Lawton's sweet and powerful voice. One of the more commercial tunes in their catalog.  Courtesy of Peter Hecht, the arrangement was full of the cheesy synthesizers I love.

2.) Prince of Darkness (Peter Hesslein - John O'Brien-Docker) - 5:37 rating: **** stars

I'd repeatedly read these guys were early exponents of "death metal" but other than the goofy band name, I just didn't get it ...  well, that was until I heard 'Prince of Darkness.'  Not that I'm a big fan of the genre, but suddenly the connection became clear. Ozzy would approve.  As I saw in a YouTube post - "Uh, hail the prince of doom and darkness."

3.) Hobo (Peter Hesslein - John Lawton) - 3:42  rating: **** stars

Opening up with Joachim Rietenbach's thundering drums, 'Hobo' exploded into another slice of hard rock, but retained a distinctive commercial edge with guitarist Peter Hesslein cutting loose with one of the album's best solos.  It made a nice platform for Lawton's awesome voice. The track was released as a single in Germany and Spain.

 

 

 

 

- 1972's 'Hobo' b/w 'Burning Ships' (Vertigo catalog number 6147-002)

 

 

 

 

 

4.) Mother (Peter Hecht - John O'Brien-Docker) - 7:25 rating: *** stars

Powered by Hecht's keyboards, 'Mother' was the album's most progressive-flavored offering.  Musically it offered up a pretty melody that occasionally veered into discordant territory (in part courtesy of Karl Heinz's violin).  The tune also included some interesting multi-tracked Lawton vocals and the album's best Peter Hesslein guitar solo.  The best description I've seen of this one is "Black Sabbath meets Van Der Graaf Generator ..."

 

(side 2)
1.)
Where the Groupies Killed the Blues (Peter Hesslein - John O'Brien-Docker) - 5:04 rating: *** stars

The title has always left me puzzled - some sort of glitch in the German-to-English translation ?  Regardless, 'Where the Groupies Killed the Blues' found the band combining hard rock and progressive moves into a busy, but entertaining mix. Keyboardist Hecht and the rest of the crew all got a spotlight moment.  My only real complaint is the song just faded out during drummer Joachim Rietenbach's spotlight moment.

2.) Rose on the Vine (Peter Hesslein - John O'Brien-Docker) - 8:19  rating: *** stars

Opening up with a mildly disturbing, extended Hecht piano solo, 'Rose on the Vine' sounded like part of the soundtrack for a European slasher film.  Don't look behind the curtains ...  Thankfully about a minute in Hesslein's guitar came to the rescue, followed in short order by Lawton's vocals. Over the next eight minutes the song bounced all over the spectrum including some Hesslein acoustic moves; jazz-rock-fusion intervals, sweet and not-so-sweet Lawton vocal sections, various synthesizers squeaks and squawks ...  Yeah, there was a lot going on here and while it wasn't one of my favorite tunes, it was worth hearing as a platform for Lawton's stunning voice.  I've seldom encountered a singer who can cover such a wide range without any effort.

3.) Summerdream (Dieter Hecht - Peter Hesslein - John O'Brien-Docker) 8:56 

I had no idea what to expect.  The ominous opening sounded like early-'70s Krautrock.  Lawton's soothing vocals calmed things down and then the classical/progressive orchestration kicked in sounding like a lysergic inspired fantasy film soundtrack.

 

 

From a marketing standpoint the album was interesting given their US distributor Billingsgate decided to pass on the collection.  Passport Records finally issued it domestically in 1975, but not before dropping the songs 'Delrium' and 'No Reason Or Rhyme' ,and changing the running order.  In case anyone cares, the original running order was:  

 

(side 1)

1.) Hobo 4:15 

2.) Rose On The Vine

3.) Mother

 

(side 2)
1.) Where The Groupies Killed The Blues 

2.) Prince Of Darkness 

3.) Summerdream 

4.) Delirium 

5.) No Reason Or Rhyme

5.) Burning Ships

 

 

 

 

 

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