FASTER PUSSYCAT – Faster Pussycat [Rock Candy remastered & reloaded]
The ‘Remastered & Reloaded’ release by Rock Candy of FASTER PUSSYCAT’s self-titled debut album offers the perfect excuse to revisit a record that had a massive impact on the LA’s Sunset Strip Hard Rock scene history.
Taking their influence from the roots of glam rock and fusing it with commercial eighties hard rock a pinch of punk, “Faster Pussycat” was the epitome of the sleazy American movement. Formed by a bunch of rock ‘n’ roll reprobates delivering lust-fuelled lyrics, back in a day this band appealed to those of us who dared to explore the darker side of the party metal explosion.
“Faster Pussycat” was released in the July of 1987, two weeks before a li’l ol’ record called ‘Appetite For Destruction’ hit the shelves.
With the line-up of Taime Downe on vocals, Mark Michals on drums, guitarists Greg Steele and Brent Muscat, and Kelly Nickels on bass, Faster Pussycat, then managed by Vicky Hamilton (who had managed both GN’R and Poison at early stages of their careers), secured a deal with Elektra Records and tapped up producer Ric Browde, who had just hit mega-pay dirt with Poison’s ‘Look What The Cat Dragged In’.
Browde saw the band play at The Cathouse, the club run by Taime and roommate/future Headbanger’s Ball presenter Riki Rachtman, and thought they were dreadful but felt that they had ‘something’ and agreed to work with them.
Elektra, who were rumoured to be ready to pull the plug on the band before they had even recorded their debut, offered Browde and Faster Pussycat $20,000 to record a demo. Browde said that he could record an album for that and the band, now featuring bassist Eric Stacy as a replacement for (future LA Guns member) Kelly Nickels who was suffering from a particularly nasty motorcycle/asphalt interface, got to work.
Although working under a tight budget and the band members inexperience in recording, the resulting album-shaped product obtained by Browde would be proof that the highly-rated knob-twiddler knew exactly what he was doing…
“Don’t Change That Song” opens the record with its immoral riff as an introduction, unveiling a whole new world of gutter-dirty rock ‘n’ roll, much more dirty and nasty than the typical hair metal fluff around those years. A near-perfect collision of Aerosmith and Hanoi Rocks, as successfully created in Dr. Browde’s lewd laboratory, the song would benefit from a music video directed by none other than Russ Meyer himself, the clip showcasing the band members performing in front of the breast-happy auteur’s lauded exercise in movie ultraviolence from where they stole their name, while top-heavy females salivated over a jukebox. Typical gaudy, trashy genius from Meyer, it suited the band and song perfectly.
Caveman drums, throbbing bass and glitter guitar riffs ushered in “Bathroom Wall”, a depraved tale of dating, ’80s-style, “No Room For Emotion” adds a bluesy feel, and “Cathouse” sounds hot and bourbon-sodden.
Featuring a guitar solo from MSG guitarist Mitch Perry – performed as a payback to Browde after the guitarist had run up a meaty phone bill while staying with the producer – “Babylon” is, arguably, the song most associated with Faster Pussycat when talking about this great debut. Browde claimed that the song was a ‘piece of shit’ before he messed around with it, but resulted into one of the most celebrated songs ever in the sleazy movement.
The rockin’ ball continues rolling with “Smash Alley”, “Shooting You Down” with its lowdown ‘n’ dirty chugged riff, and the gang vocals of “City Has No Heart”.
“Ship Rolls In”, the album’s penultimate track, opens with a guitar lick that is so much of a love letter to the New York Dolls, and who couldn’t love the lyrical genius smeared all over the record’s final, and most Aerosmith-like, track “Bottle In Front Of Me”.
“Faster Pussycat” would peak at number 97 on the Billboard 200 in the States, the band not really hitting the heights (of chart success, at least) until sophomore album ‘Wake Me When It’s Over’ went gold.
But this debut is regarded by the fans as the true, dirty ‘n sleazy Faster Pussycat, also included in Rock Hard magazine’s book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.
As usual with Rock Candy Records, “Faster Pussycat” has been remastered from the master tapes shaped from 24 BIT digital technology.
01 – Don’t Change That Song
02 – Bathroom Wall
03 – No Room For Emotion
04 – Cathouse
05 – Babylon
06 – Smash Alley
07 – Shooting You Down
08 – City Has No Heart
09 – Ship Rolls In
10 – Bottle In Front Of Me
Taime Downe – vocals
Greg Steele – guitar, backing vocals
Brent Muscat – guitar, backing vocals
Eric Stacy – bass, backing vocals
Mark Michals – drums