Bound For Hell: On The Sunset Strip is early '80s L.A. rock as it actually was - a California cataclysm of drunk and horny headbangers, dressed in sharp, shiny leather androgyny and fire, kicking crowds in the teeth to clear the way to that one big shot.
Benjie here, hijacking one of Vince’s Hot Picks for the week. When I first saw the track listing for this compilation, I was convinced someone from the Numero label found a time machine, went back almost 40 years, then hid outside my bedroom with a tape recorder documenting every slab of hard rock vinyl that spun on my stereo. This one is personal to me.
You’ve probably heard all the bands from the era and area that made it… Mötley Crüe, Ratt, Poison, etc., but this collection is an excellent playlist of some bands that could’ve made it, some that should’ve made it, and some that never had a chance to make it.
Let’s take a look at some (of my) highlights here…
Max Havoc? Hard to believe I’m seeing that name on a record in 2022. Coming across like a heavier Van Halen with an Manowar-esque album cover, at various points Max Havoc included members of WASP, Ratt, Rough Cutt, and even Black Sabbath’s Bill Ward for a short time.
Witch was another favorite of mine at the time, coming across like Mötley Crüe if they were a thrash metal band. Sadly, back in the '80s, Witch was more famous on the local scene for their drummer dating Tommy Lee’s sister than they were for their excellent EP, The Hex Is On.
SIN has the distinction of being one of several bands that included bass player and local legend Rik Fox, who played with Blackie Lawless’ pre-WASP band Sisster and Steeler with Ron Keel. SIN also has the distinction of being the only band I remember who really wanted to sound like the '70s band Angel. The band would later change their name to Jag Wire, but minus Rik Fox. I still have my shaped picture disc of SIN’s “On The Run,” one of the private press jewels in my collection to this day.
Leather Angel were one of the few all-female metal bands on the scene, represented here twice because later they became Jaded Lady. I had such a teenage crush on the bass player Cathy. They were both good bands too, holding their own with all the testosterone on the Sunset Strip.
Probably the most shocking find on here is Romeo’s “Feeling To Rock.” For years I thought I was the only person alive with this 12” single. I couldn’t find anything about it on the internet for years, but apparently someone at Numero also found a copy. It’s good old fashioned west coast hard rock with a nice sunny disposition, almost like the '70s Laurel Canyon sound combined with the Sunset Strip of the '80s.
You also get slightly more well-known names like Lizzy Borden, Armored Saint, Black ‘N Blue, and Bitch, all important contributors to an incredible music scene that was unlike any other time or place. Here’s hoping Numero is hard at work on a second volume so we can get some pre-Shark Island Sharks, Ruby Slippers, Sound Barrier, and Rozzi Lane!
Here’s what the label has to say about the release, and I can’t argue with any of it - Heavy metal? Glam? Hard rock? Make your own fuckin' call, you poser. We're not gonna do it for you. Bound For Hell is early '80s L.A. rock as it actually was: a California cataclysm of drunk and horny headbangers, dressed in sharp, shiny, leather androgyny and fire, kicking crowds in the teeth to clear the way to that one big shot. Featuring 21 tracks by 21 of the Sunset Strip's most razor-sharp heathens, Bound For Hell is available as a 2LP box set with an ephemera-stuffed gatefold and 144-page hardbound book, or a sheer savage CD Wallet, with a 12-panel double-sided poster for those denizens of the compact disc. Drumsticks burned. Hands were severed. Faces bled. Heavy was HELL for a half decade and it was a long, long way down.