MELVIN JAMES – The Passenger [Bad Reputation Records remastered] (2023) HQ *Exclusive*

MELVIN JAMES - The Passenger [Bad Reputation Records remastered] (2023) HQ *Exclusive* - full

New CD’s are arriving to our mailbox, and we’re featuring ’em in exclusive at 0dayrox.
Reissue label Bad Reputation is well known for resurrecting hard to find albums from the ’80s, mostly from the melodic hard rock field. But from time to time, the company surprises us with unexpected releases.
One of these is the just appeared remastered reissue of MELVIN JAMES 1987’s album “The Passenger“. With a catchy set of tunes sounding like a mix of Billy Idol, Bryan Adams, Stan Meissner, etc, and a clean polished production, “The Passenger” is absolutely ‘Eighties’.
Already a seasoned studio expert, Melvin co-produced the album with Bill Szymczyk (The Who, Eagles’ Hotel California, Joe Walsh) to create a LP which still sounds fresh today.

Hailing from Iowa, Melvin started recording his own songs into the recording studio of a friend. Frank Wiewel, bassist of AORsters Dakota and co-owner of Westminster Recording Studio in Otho had introduced James to his business partner in the studio, Kirk Kaufman.
Kaufman, aware of Melvin’s talent and songwriting abilities, took him under his wing, setting him up in an apartment in nearby Fort Dodge. James now had ready access to studio time—midnight to 8:00 AM—and under Kaufman’s tutelage learned how to work in a recording studio and use it to bring his ideas to fruition.
He spent about 18 months at Otho and by the end of his time there had recorded numerous tracks and received interest from Warner Brothers executive Doug Lee, who suggested James assemble a band and get some live performance experience.

In 1979 20-year-old James, with baby son Melvin in tow, headed north to the Twin Cities to pursue musical opportunities. He stayed with Dakota’s former sound man Tom Kelly, residing in a windowless attic above Tom’s apartment in Saint Paul.
Tom introduced Melvin to bassist Gary Snow after Melvin had seen Gary perform with his band Soda. Melvin and Gary recruited Randall Procowitz and formed a power trio named the Crash Street Kids. In 1981 they released the album Little Girls.

In support of the album, they produced a video for the song Mystery Girl; the video’s director was Chuck Statler, who had directed videos for Devo. A review of Little Girls in Playboy Magazine described the band’s sound as reminiscent of The Who, The Yardbirds, and The Raspberries. While touring in support of Little Girls, the band were in a serious automobile accident outside of Brookings, South Dakota.
Procowitz broke his collarbone, Snow sustained shoulder injuries, and James escaped with minor injuries. They shared a flight home on a single-engine four-seater plane. The injuries left Crash Street Kids unable to play indefinitely.

Eventually, James decided forge ahead alone, returning to his studio roots. Working in Otho with Keith Brown and Frank Wiewel, James recorded and co-produced new songs he was writing. Their first three song demo attained interest from Atlantic Records.
James recorded more songs, attracting interest from Geffen Records, culminating in a showcase in Minneapolis. In the meantime MCA Records, Warner Brothers Records, and EMI Records became interested in James. The record labels one by one came to Minneapolis to see James perform.
Shortly thereafter a bidding war ensued. James chose to sign with Michael Rosenblatt of MCA Records for his first solo album.

For this MCA debut James teamed up with Szymczyk to co-produce ”The Passenger” where he not only sing, but play many instruments. The LP was released in 1987 and the single “Why Won’t You Stay (Come In, Come Out Of The Rain)” reached top 20 chart status and its video was in in high rotation on MTV.
”The Passenger” is pure ’80s, cool rock n’ rolling stuff.
Highly Recommended

You’ve seen it first at 0dayrox


01 – Why Won’t You Stay (Come In, Come Out Of The Rain)
02 – We Hear The Thunder
03 – Telephone
04 – Passenger
05 – Loving You Is Strange
06 – Twisted
07 – She’s So Sorry
08 – Sugar Candy
09 – Devil With A Halo

Melvin James – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Percussion
Gordy Knudtson, Pye Prochowitz – Drums
Joe Vitale – Drums, Synthesizer
Dik Shopteau – Bass
Dave Hern – Synth Bass



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