Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Wave for the New Week #106

[All throughout the month of November, all NW4NW entries are based on requests made by you, dear readers. Because of the amount of requests received, there will often be more than one entry per week during this month - I recommend signing up for email alerts on the left-hand side of the screen so that you don't miss any of the fun! I cannot take anymore requests for this month, but please always feel free to suggest bands you might like to see featured in future NW4NW posts. You may do so either in the comments section of this post, on Twitter, or on the Facebook Fanpage.]

I was honored to receive a request for this year's NW4NW All Request Month from guitarist Amy Gore, formerly of The Gore Gore Girls and currently teamed up with Nikki Corvette, Lianna Castillo and Al King as Gorevette.  Tops on her request list? None other than her own bandmate Nikki's classic bubblegum-punk band, Nikki & The Corvettes!

Nikki & The Corvettes may have had a relatively short shelf life (roughly 4 years, from 1977-1981), but Nikki's influence has been far reaching.  Everyone from Josie Cotton to The Go-Go's to The Donnas owes her an audible debt of gratitude.  Whereas female-led rock and roll bands may not seem so unusual today, when the then-named Nikki Corvette & The Convertibles released the single "Young And Crazy" in 1978, it was almost unheard of, as she discusses in this interview clip:

With a sound that reimagined The Ramones as a '60s girl group, and with enough energy and enthusiasm to nearly bounce the needle right off the turntable, "Young And Crazy" announced the rules by which Nikki was playing:  No mopey torch songs, no dour introspection, no syrupy ballads.  Nikki was all about rock and roll and fun and cars and boys and good times.  This was music meant to be cranked out of a tinny AM car radio with the top down, the sun blazing, and as many friends crammed into the backseat as possible.  You simply are not going to be in a bad mood if Nikki Corvette has any say about it!

A second single, "Honey Bop," appeared in 1979 with the band name now somewhat simplified to Nikki & The Corvettes (try saying "Nikki Corvette & The Convertibles" five times fast), followed in 1980 by a full album on the Bomp! label.  Nikki & The Corvettes is a classic.  Not a bad song to found among it's dozen tracks, it features highlights like "He's A Mover," "Just What I Need," "Backseat Love" and "Summertime Fun" that not only keep your toes happily tapping, they stick to your brain like wonderfully gooey confections, demanding to be heard again and again.  Unfortunately, Bomp! sped up the masters when pressing the album, making Nikki's already bubbly voice sound almost cartoonish.

The single "I Gotta Move" appeared in 1981; it is notable for its flip side, which could be the Nikki Corvette theme song, "Girls Like Me" ("...were born to rock and roll...").  That, however, seemed to be the end of the road.  Nikki dropped out of the recording industry, apparently unaware of the rabid fanbase she had just waiting for something - anything - from their darling Nikki.

In 2000, Bomp! reissued Nikki & The Corvettes on CD with the recording speed corrected, the cover art changed, and all of the non-album single sides appended except, inexplicably, for "Honey Bop." The reissue only served to increase demand, and in 2001 Nikki was coaxed out of retirement for a show in LA, then another in 2002 in Minneapolis.  In 2003, her fans' long wait was rewarded, when the single "Love Me" b/w "What's On My Mind" ended a 22-year recording drought.

Shortly thereafter, a Japanese release, Nikki Corvette's Wild Record Party, appeared, containing Nikki's renditions of classics like Generation X's "Ready Steady Go," The MC5's "High School," The Saints' "Wild About You" and more.  Again the fun is dialed up to eleven, and it's as though the 20+ years since her last album never happened.  Highly recommended.

Nikki had been slowly assembling a new "official" band, and Nikki Corvette & The Stingrays made their bow in 2006 with Back To Detroit.  Kicking off with the sizzling title track, the album transports the vibe of Nikki & The Corvettes to the 21st century without sounding overly nostalgic or derivative. A second album with the Stingrays, Rebellious Love Emergency, followed in 2008.  Again, you cannot go wrong picking up either album.

Nikki was introduced to Amy Gore in 2005, and soon they began writing songs together, releasing their debut as Gorevette, Lustfully Yours, earlier this year.  On their MySpace page, they note a description of their music from Real Detroit Weekly that captures them beautifully: "Bubble-gum and hip-shakeable hooks meet ruthless, pure-firestorm guitar ecstasy."  Having been fortunate enough to see them perform live, I can confirm that description.

My great thanks, again, to Amy Gore for this request! Please enjoy the clips I've chosen below: first, an audio-only of two Nikki & The Corvettes songs circa 1980, "Girls Like Me" and "Let's Go," (the audio starts about 10 seconds in), and then the clip for Gorevette's "Lustfully Yours" from this year. Enjoy!

Enhanced by Zemanta