Monday, September 21, 2009

New Wave for the New Week #28

Quick - what mid-to-late '70s power pop band played supporting gigs with both Van Halen and The Ramones?

Quick - what quirky, Sparks-influenced band's lead singer went on to co-write and perform the theme song for one of the most-watched TV shows of the 1990s?

Quick - what band that hasn't played live since 1978 and never played a gig outside of their native California is challenging its fans that, if at least 1000 people commit to buying tickets, they will play a reunion gig in Los Angeles THIS YEAR?

If you answered, "The Quick!" you're right on all three!

Consisting of Danny Wilde on vocals, Denny Benair on drums, guitarist Steven Hufsteter, bass player Ian Ainsworth and Billy Bizeau on keyboards, The Quick started life in the mid-seventies California post-glam/pre-punk scene. Their influences ranged from the British Invasion bands of the 1960s to their obvious close study of Sparks' Propaganda and Kimono My House albums; their music was equal parts glam, bubblegum and power pop.

Despite never venturing beyond the California state line, The Quick released their only full album, Mondo Deco, on a major label (Mercury) in 1976. Their most wonderful creation, however, is not found within its grooves. Over the next two years, the band self-issued two EPs in the hopes of securing a deal with Elektra Records; the second of these, In Tune With Our Times (1978), is where their masterpiece can be found.

"Pretty Please Me" is a damn-near perfect song: musically catchy and lyrically clever, its only flaw is that it was about a year or so ahead of its time. Had it been released while bands like Cheap Trick and The Knack were the darlings of radio programmers across the country, it would likely have been a huge hit.

Unfortunately, Elektra passed and the band went their separate ways. Denny Benair would go on to drum for various L.A. bands including The Weirdos and The Three O'Clock, and Danny Wilde would have his moment in the sun as a member of The Rembrandts, whose theme for the TV show Friends would be inescapable in the mid-'90s.

The Quick have long been celebrated by bands who came after. "Pretty Please Me" has been covered - very well, I might add - by The Dickies and by Redd Kross. Fans of power pop and what we sometimes used to call "skinny-tie new wave" have been rediscovering the band, and an excellent CD compilation of the band's recordings, Untold Rock Stories, was issued in 2007. This renewed interest has resulted in the band staking their claim to a MySpace page, and agreeing to the "We Want The Quick to Play Live" fan challenge: if 1000 fans commit to buying tickets by 12/1/09, the band will play a reunion gig! (If you are in the L.A. area - or are willing to travel to see them - you can add yourself to the head count using the widget at the bottom of this post.)

"Pretty Please Me" will be another audio-only entry in this series (not even a performance clip of the song to be found?!?), but with a song this good I think that's OK. Please enjoy the New Wave for the New Week entry this week, The Quick's "Pretty Please Me":

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  1. The Quick! Excellent call - I actually bought all of the songs available via the band's MySpace page... the next thing you know you're going to be telling me you actually listen to Milk 'n Cookies!

  2. Still trying to track down a copy of the Milk 'n' Cookies record, but yeah, like them a lot!