PRISCILLA JUMP ABOARD SUNCITY RECORDS FOR NEW CD
November 24, 2009
Eight lives gone, in a time not so long ago, in a galaxy of leather, lipstick, guyliner and lace sees our next signing Priscilla jump aboard the Suncity Records (www.suncityrecords.com) train.
There is no denying that Priscilla deserves their place in the footholds of eyeliner addicts and glam junkies the world over. Few bands have emerged onto the arena of rock music and immediately garnered the mass attention of audiences, critics and radio stations alike that Priscilla did when they exploded onto the scene.
Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, it was all there in abundance for Priscilla. From an enigmatic frontman awash in groupie-adorned excess, who nearly died after an accidental drug overdose, to a guitarist who battled his own demons and was at odds with the sudden and immediate glory of success that was thrust upon him and his band and felt he had to get out. The Priscilla story is a story of wasted youth. Not wasted in the classical sense, but in the sense that the rewards that are thrust upon the overnight heroes of a local glam generation are sometimes too much for any one group of young men to physically and mentally withstand. The lyrics to the band’s Z-Rock chart topping anthem “Wake Up The Neighborhood” could have easily been “Grab Yourself A Line And A Joint” rather than “Grab A Bottle Of Beer”, would it not have caused the song to be banned from being played on the radio. But, with the tragedy of chemical and physical excess there also comes the glory and this is also a tale of rock and redemption, atale of conquering hometown heroes set on the streets of a metropolitan city that was begging for something different.
Hailing from their somewhat unlikely industrial hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland was, at the time, breeding such artists as Trent Reznor and his act Nine Inch Nails and bands of an altogether grittier nature than the polished and made up look that would be Priscilla. Going against the normal grain that Cleveland had come to accept from its musicians at the time, the five members of Priscilla tucked themselves away in their rehearsal studio and would take the time to craft a carefully thought out and calculated selection of three chord power progressions. These tracks were largely influenced by the underground glam movement that was taking place at the time on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip by artists as diverse as Motley Crue, Hanoi Rocks, T Rex, Kiss and even bands that one would not expect such as power pop bands The Babys, Starz and The Raspberries (influences which can clearly be heard on the band’s slightly softer side on such cuts as Broken Angel, Stay With Me and Just Can’t Stop). The group had a master-plan that would be assured to get and keep audiences on their feet. Taking months to properly demo their glam opus in the studio with producer/engineer Sean Beavan (Guns ‘N’ Roses, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, No Doubt, Depeche Mode, Kill Hannah), the band’s music, upon its initial release immediately caught the ears of nearly every national record label in America. Whether you loved them or hated them, Priscilla was a band who could not and would not be ignored; they turned the music world on its collective ear with their instantly recognizable sound and catchy brand of power pop. Several chart topping songs, Wake Up The Neighborhood, Lick N’ A Kiss and Love In Action were played on American satellite hard rock radio station Z-Rock (with a listener-ship of millions and broadcast from coast to coast) were further proof of the band’s magnetic hand on the pulse and only made the the national labels want them more. It was at this early point in the band’s career, with the speculation of a major record deal becoming imminent and with word on the street already turning Priscilla into major hometown heroes, that caused El Mar Kramer and guitarist Mike Koloda already veterans of the culture of excess to celebrate once more to exorbitance.
Not wanting to rest simply on their musical laurels and only the songs that they had to offer, Priscilla took a cue from some of the greatest and most colourful glam and theatrical bands of their time and literally burst onto the concert music scene amidst a blaze of colourful looks and catchy hooks. The band devised an altogether new way of presenting themselves and began work on an elaborate stage and stage show unlike anything that had ever been presented on a smaller venue stage. Priscilla wanted to showcase their material to their audiences in a setting worthy of attention and did so with a three-tiered stage show that had before this only been reserved for stadium and arena acts. With their magnetic and energetic live shows, the band made believers out of even their harshest critics and won over audiences near and far. Even with all that was in their favour, there was a darkness at the end of the band’s tunnel. Potential record deals eventually ran dry due to poor executive decisions made on behalf of the band and internal dissension had also reared its ugly head among band members.
The group emerged from their blaze of glory and enjoyed years worth of acclaim, usually only reserved for mainstream national acts, until the grunge juggernaut began with its overthrow of the empire that had been glam rock. Even before that, singer El Mar Kramer whose drug-fueled benders met with continued disdain and opposition from several of his squeaky clean band mates, sensed that something needed to change. He had, by this time made his way to the metal bars and rock clubs of southern Florida and at these clubs, crossed paths with a fledgling Marilyn Manson. His run-ins with a young Manson would soon change the singer’s belief on what a band should be, as he would exchange his ideas and philosophies with El Mar of what he thought would be the future of rock n’ roll and shock rock and would briefly share with him his vision for what would soon become his band Marilyn Manson And The Spooky Kids (later simply Marilyn Manson). It was, in part, this ideology and vision to take a different musical path that would cause El Mar to return home and finally call it a day with his glam upstarts in Priscilla. In a final twist of irony, Sean Beavan, who had earlier helped Priscilla with their vision of a new power pop-infused glam concept in the studio and recording of their initial tapes, would end up becoming Marilyn’s producer/engineer/sound technician and would go on to help the shock rocker craft such goth/glam masterpieces as Antichrist Superstar and Mechanical Animals. And to further the irony, Tony Ciulla, a Cleveland club owner who gave Priscilla their very first concert on the stage of his then club Peabody’s Downunder, would go on to become Marilyn Manson’s personal manager.
So, as all good things eventually do, Priscilla had come to an end. But still, for a time the group were indeed the darlings of the underground glam and music scene. People who are fans of early Poison, early Tuff, Pretty Boy Floyd and even Roxx Gang will really dig these boys. Just check out the title track off the soon to be released album, entitled “Wake Up The Neigbourhood” at this location.