ANOTHER PRETTY FACE/Liner Notes
“The girl listens to recordings/Of rock groups long since gone . . .”
Those lines come from the opening song on this record, “(Do You Remember) The Planet Earth.” They were fantasy at the time they were written and sung: an apocalyptic fiction dressed in spangled guitars and operatic vocal shiver; a glamorous epitaph for a pop era then just reaching its perfumed height. But here I am, three decades later, listening to the first music of Another Pretty Face, a band “long since gone,” and marveling at how these songs – their electric sass and wickedly blurred sexuality – still sound like hot tomorrow. I also wonder how different yesterday would have been if this album had been released when it was made: during the Great Glam Uprising of 1973-74.
Another Pretty Face were never just another anything. They were, in the prime unleashed here, proof that Americans could not only do the power-riff sizzle and erotic dazzle of glitter as well as the British – Bowie and Bolan, Mott and Roxy – but also bring something special to the gala. “21st Century Rock,” “Little Boys,” “Stuck on You,” “The Great American Candy Bar Debate”: These are not merely flattering imitations of Ziggy Stardust and Electric Warrior. Singer Terry Roth is a deliciously original weapon, dirty and fragrant in his lipstick-droog pow. The taut guitars in “Eighteen Scram” make me think of George Harrison decked out and fired up like Mike Ronson. And I can’t imagine any of those English darlings having the finesse or nerve to cover Phil Spector’s AM-radio operetta “Da Doo Ron Ron,” a 1963 hit for the Crystals, the way you get it here: with boy’s-choir doo-wop intro, “Smokin’ in the Boys Room”-style guitars and the original gender intact.
There is no hairy-biker boogie here; this isn’t art class either. Born too late for psychedelia and too smart for heavy metal, Another Pretty Face embraced the fresh, tart ambition of English glam, then added the kick and moxy of their own long nights and warfare in New Jersey bars, Long Island beer palaces and Manhattan rock rooms like Club 82 and Great Gildersleeves. They say all politics is local, and the same is true of great music. Long before Bowie reinvented himself as a white-soul dandy on Young Americans, Another Pretty Face were peppering their sound with home-brew funk and marching R&B brass, like a New York Stones, in “Stuck on You.” I didn’t see Another Pretty Face live at the time of these recordings, but the sharp tart riffing and tempo shifts in “Wild Child” remind me of the way I had to slalom through the crush of space suits and super-high heels in the lobby of the Shubert Theater in Philadelphia when I went to see the New York Dolls in 1973.
This is a record of several firsts: It would have been Another Pretty Face’s first album, if one of the A&R men too busy looking for the next Beatles or Dylan had bothered to bend an ear. It was the first album produced by Ed Stasium. Three years later, he was cutting seminal Ramones and Talking Heads records; the punch and clarity of these tracks shows why. This is also the first time I’ve heard a cover of “Bang a Gong” that I dig as much as the T. Rex original. It’s a literal salute. But you hear what Another Pretty Face could do to a song in the clubs, when the room was packed and the beer fell like rain.
This is also the first time I’ve heard these recordings. I caught Another Pretty Face live later in the decade, when I was deep into punk. I knew they were good, and I knew they were loved. Now I know why. And I’m as blown away now by the band’s faith in itself – the force of prophecy in the guitars and Roth’s voice – as I am by the music itself. Another Pretty Face were singing a “21st Century Rock” in the last one; they just had to wait for the century to come to them.
Glitter was a phase. But Another Pretty Face were a phenomenon to those who knew them when, and the release of this album is their just reward, even thirty years late. “We brought our guitars in luxury cars/We live and we look and we act like stars,” Roth sings proudly at the end of “The Great American Candy Bar Debate.” “We drink our booze in the finest bars/And everyone knows who we are.”
David Fricke - Sr. Editor
New York City
It was a night when the genders come out to play, the era of San Francisco Cockettes and New York Dolls, down the stairs of the Club 82 off Second Avenue on E. 4th, after midnight till after light. You've got to make your own shine, here in this club moment before the invention of the disco-ball; the glam-rock home stage in full glitterati.
Tee has his twenty first century headdress on. Another Pretty Face is floating in post-Ziggy space, even to Tee's clipped enunciation, but with enough of the Long Island/New Jersey show band style (Rascals and Vagrants and Vanilla Fudge) to pare each arrangement with a precise head snap, the deliberation of layered chorus and hook. The 82 stage is down on the floor, more a raised dance platform (Travolta's strut down the runway street) and the crowd - equally feathered, made-up, any shade of sex - stand on all sides and watch intently.
They could've been the Sweet, or something progressive; but Another Pretty Face never caught the right parlay to break out of North Jersey, never got to play Rodney's, or be in Star Magazine. They lived up to their bespangled name, making a record - amazing unreleased until now, with lots of songs that would have sounded grand on the radio or shouted out in large-hall reverb - that shows just how cute and deadly they could be, decked out in the frippery of their aspirations, dyed to match their platform shoes. Sometimes it's never finding the right girl, or guy, and going home alone. To your fantasy."
Lenny Kaye, March 2004
(The Patty Smith Band, Suzanne Vega)
When I took my first steps down into Tony Camillo’s Somerville New Jersey basement recording studio in late August of 1972 I could have never have imagined that it would lead to a career in the music "biz" that would continue for three decades into the 21st century. I would also have never thought that the first project that I was involved with as a producer/engineer would take the same amount of time to be released.
For the uninitiated, Another Pretty Face were a group of lads from New Jersey whom, enamored with the up and coming "Glam-Rock" scene that was about to "come out" and be unleashed to the unsuspecting public were determined and destined to be at the forefront of that movement. Go to just one of their shows and you knew they HAD the goods; a great look, big rock moves, androgynous image, an outrageous vocalist, T Roth who could belt out a song as easy as falling of a rock and charm the audience into submission whether they were female or male. Most significant of all they had a bunch of fantastic songs that had great hooks, unforgettable melodies and lyrics that made one think to themselves; "Is that what he really said"? These boys had taken the local scene by storm and were ready to make a record that would jump to the top of the charts. And don’t forget….these guys were wearing makeup years before Kiss!
I had been ensconced in that basement, helping build Tony’s studio and honing my craft for a little over a year. So when APF entered "Venture Sound" in late 1973 I had NO idea what the bands stage antics were about but I did notice their songs and the talent that was pouring out of these guys. The band and I also shared a willingness to experiment and we were all eager to learn how to create a fresh and distinctive sounding record.
I had been in touch with T over the years and was delighted to learn that Bummer Tent wanted to release the "legendary" APF long player. The only existing tape was a ¼ inch 15 IPS safety copy of the master mixes from the 2 inch 16 track which was tucked away in a storage box that had traveled with me over the years from New Jersey to Montreal, back to New Jersey, into my Mom’s basement, California, NYC, back to California and finally to Durango, Colorado where I now reside….geez.
The "Bonus" tracks are from earlier recordings that I had a 7 ½ IPS ¼ inch copy of. As a bit of trivia I might add that that the drum track and guitar solo on the demo of "Candy Bar" were also used on the final version.
Fortunately the tapes were in excellent condition and I transferred the ¼ inch into my Protools system for a bit of equalization, compression and preparation for the mastering.
Upon listening to the tape I must admit I was quite shocked with the fidelity, sounds, performances and the surprising quality of the production. After all when I recorded this LP over 30 years ago I was just a kid fresh out of NY’s School of Visual Arts who played guitar in local bands and had never worked as a "tea boy","gopher"or assistant in a professional recording session. I really had no clue about any recording methods, techniques, or "secrets" of the "big time" record producers. What I knew was that I liked the records they made and I wanted to accomplish a similar sonic landscape with APF.
Besides the talent of APF there were several of the NYC "sidemen" that performed on the LP that went on to some interesting careers.
Lew DelGato: Wrote the APF horn arrangements, joined the Saturday Night Live Band in 1976 and is still the musical arranger for the show.
Alan Rubin: Also joined the SNL band and played "Mr. Fabulous" in the Blues Brothers Band and movie.
Randy Brecker: Well, he’s RANDY BRECKER!
And lest we forget…
Meco Monardo: Who pleasured us with the infamous disco version of "Meco’s Star Wars Theme"
I am thrilled to have been involved with this project and that we have finally gotten this FABULOUS LP out to the masses. I hope that it brings back some fond memories of that era many moons ago and also attracts some new fans.
Listen carefully and you will hear T’s bangles rattling in the quiet moments.
Ed Stasium Durango, Colorado June 2004
Grammy Award Winning Producer - Ramones -Living Colour -