Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1975-78)
- Ian Ainsworth -- bass, backing vocals
- Danny Benair -- drums, percussion
- Billy Bizeau -- keyboards, backing vocals
- Steve Hufsteter -- lead guitar
- Danny Wilde (aka Daniel Thomas) -- vocals, rhythm guitar
- Choir Invisible (Danny Benair)
- The Cruzados (Steve Hufsteter)
- The Dickies (Steve Hufsteter)
- The Falcons (Danny Benair)
- Flyboys (Danny Benair)
- Great Buildings (Ian Ainsworth and Danny Wilde)
- Joykiller (Steve Hufsteter)
- The Plugz (Steve Hufsteter)
- Psychotic Aztecs (Steve Hufsteter)
- The Rembrandts (Danny Wilde)
- Shrine (Steve Hufsteter)
- The Three O'Clock (Danny Benair and Steve Hufsteter)
- Tito & Tarantual (Steve Hufsteter)
- Tres Diablos (Danny Wilde)
- Danny Wilde & The Rembrandts (Danny Wilde)
- The Weirdos (Danny Benair)
Genre: pop/new wave
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Mondo Deco
Country/State: Los Angeles, California
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: promo stamp on back cover
Catalog ID: --
My wife will tell you I have the intellect and maturity of an 8th grader. It's true. I know that life is extremely complicated; full of shades of gray rather than clear black and white, but that doesn't stop my from trying to simplify things. As for The Quick, I view them as an example of late 1960s bubblegum pop growing its hair, opting for a new set of clothing that include jackets, skinny ties and wide collars and stepping into a weird halfway house between commercial moves, glam and new wave genres. The Quick also owed a considerable debt of gratitude to The Sparks.
Based in Los Angeles, The Young Republicans (great name for a band), were built on the talents of bassist Ian Ainsworth, drummer Danny Benair, keyboard player Billy Bizeau, lead guitarist Steve Hufsteter and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Danny Wilde. By 1975 the group had begun to attract some attention on the Los Angeles club scene, playing regular dates at The Starwood and The Whisky a Go Go. With the infamous Kim Fowley signing on as their manager and re-christening them The Quick they were signed by Mercury Records (which happened to be the label that signed the Fowley managed Runaways). Going into the studio under the direction of producer Kim Fowley and former Sparks guitarist Earl Mankey engineering, the result was 1976's "Mondo Deco." While most reviews point out the band's affection for the Mael Brothers, to my ears The Sparks influences were overwhelming. Wilde's quirky mouse-on-whippets vocal mannerisms simply dripped Sparks influences while as chief songwriter Hofsteter-penned songs like 'No No Girl', 'Playtime' and 'Hillary' were clearly influenced by The Maels. These guys were clearly talented, but if you weren't a Sparks fans, the album was likely to be an acquired taste. That also made it easy to identify the highlights - toughening up their sound made 'Anybody' a standout performance, as was 'My Purgatory Year.'
Once in the studio, disagreements quickly arose with manager/producer Fowley. Fowley's vision for the band and desire to dictate which songs the band should record had little in common with The Quick's interest in '60s rock and Sparks-styled pop. With the two sides unable to compromise Fowley effectively ended all support for the album and it quickly vanished into cutout bins. The band responded by showed their indifference to Fowley and Mercury by burning their contract in front of the Mercury's L.A. office. Those moves may have increased their standings with fans and fellow musicians, but it made them pariahs in the music business and finding a new label proved difficult. They continued to tour through though 1978 at which point they called it quits.
Deco" track listing:
1.) It Won't Be Long (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 2:48 rating: *** stars
Perhaps due to the fact original Sparks guitarist Earle Mankey engineered, Wilde's vocals on their cover of 'It Won't Be Long' bore more than a passing resemblance to Russell Mael. Great if you liked The Sparks. The Beatles-styled "yeah yeah yeahs" in the background always make me smile. Elsewhere guitarist Steve Hufsteter final solo seemed to borrow liberally from Dave Edmunds and Love Sculpture's 'Sabre Dance'. No idea when or where if came from, but YouTube has a poor quality, black and white clip of the band lip-synching the tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCicITCGbqI The song was tapped as a Japanese single:
- 1977's 'It Won't Be Long' b/w 'Rag Doll' (Mercury catalog number SFL-2183)
2.) No No Girl (Steve Hufsteter) - 3:13 rating: *** stars
Another reflection of their Sparks infatuation, the opening section of 'No No Girl' was a near direct lift from the Mael Brothers' 'This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us'. If you missed that connection, then there was always Wilde's Spark-esque vocal.
3.) Playtime (Steve Hufsteter) - 2:47 rating: *** stars
If you were a Sparks fan then this album was probably a joy. If you weren't a Mael Brothers fan, by the time you got to 'Playtime' you were probably getting tired of their influences on The Quick. This bouncy pop track offered up another performance where the combination of Wilde's arch vocals and the slightly quirky arrangement was an acquired taste. It was largely wasted on my taste buds.
4.) Hillary (Steve Hufsteter) - 3:52 rating: ***** stars
Right down to the spoken word segment, 'Hillary' was even more Sparks-esque that the previous performances. Kudos to drummer Danny Benair who just kicked the crap out of his set on this one. Also on the positive side, it was one of Hufsteter's bouncier and more commercial offerings. It would have had a chance had Mercury released it as a single.
5.) Anybody (Steve Hufsteter) - 6:10 rating: ***** stars
Wilde's quirky, mannered vocals continued to irritate me on 'Anybody', but I have to admit hearing the band toughen up their sound with a bit of Rolling Stones guitar bliss offset some of those irritations. It was also the first song where Hufsteter's lead guitar struck a chord with me.
1.) Hi Lo (Steve Hufsteter) - 2:38 rating: ***** stars
Every wondered what would happen if The Sparks slammed into The Left Banke? If so, give a listen to 'Hi Lo'. The whole band sounded like they'd been sucking down whippets. Don;t take those comments as a criticism since this was one of the album's standout performances.
2.) Rag Doll (Bob Crewe - Bob Gaudi) - 2:37 rating: *** stars
I'm guessing Kim Fowley was responsible for the decision to cover a Four Seasons tune. The basic melody was buried in their somewhere, but the glam-ish arrangement meant most folks were going to be hard pressed to recognize this one as a cover. Why Mercury tapped it as a single is a mystery to me:
- 1976's 'Rag Doll' b/w 'Last In Line' (Mercury catalog number 73851)
3.) Last In Line (Steve Hufsteter) - 1:56 rating: *** stars
With a quirky melody and Wilde's high-ptched, Chipmunks vocals, 'Last In Line' was another Sparks-wanna-be performance. At this point if I wanted to hear a Sparks album, I'd pull one out.
4.) My Purgatory Years (Steve Hufsteter) - 5:19 rating: ***** stars
Great song title; great melody and the teen angst lyrics were actually pretty funny. Certainly not a punk track (they were too musically competent to fall under that umbrella).
5.) Don't You Want It (Steve Hufsteter) - 4:15 rating: ***** stars
The bouncy closer 'Don't You Want It' was another could've been a hit, but the standout performance came from drummer Danny Benair.
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