The new wave was a big wave which put out many, many music acts.
I don't have any stats to prove this but it seems like everyone between 1978 – 1980, who was even vaguely new wave was signed.
There had been plenty of money made off music in the 70s … and there was., perhaps, an assumption that the good times would not, or should not, end. In many ways the 70s were the era of decadence … money, technology, a liberal social atmosphere and drugs all led to excess (both personal and musical).
The charts were largely dominated by disco acts or acts from the 1960s. The label heads were even older still but enjoying their condos and overseas holidays.
But, inevitably, the kids and young people who buy records wanted something new ….hence the ”new wave" which was grab bag of bands. Some were a return to the basics of rock n roll, some adopted new technology and looked to new horizons, some were experimental. Most only had one thing in common: the desire to distance themselves from the mainstream rock and pop sounds of the 70s.
The label heads seeing this on the horizon, and not wanting to lose their incomes, went on a mad rush and stared signing up every new wave act.
It is ironic then that when the new wave caught on all those bands that had formerly been kicking against the "old" sounds would be signed up and marketed in a similar way to those bands they replaced.
It also meant that in the rush many acts that aren't new wave but sounded close enough (to record executives ears) were signed up also.
Good for them.
Sue Saad and the Next are one of those.
Wikipedia: Sue Marie Saad, James Lance and Anthony "Tony" Lloyd Riparetti met in junior high school while growing up in Santa Barbara, California. Given their mutual interest in music, they began collaborating and eventually formed Calliope. They achieved some success and released several singles. One of these, "We've Made It", dealt with the generation gap and so angered a local disc jockey that he destroyed the record while still on air and voiced a tirade against the band … The three formed a new band around 1978, Sue Saad and the Next, whereupon they moved to San Francisco and then Los Angeles hoping to find work as sidemen. It was during this time that they began writing songs and recording them on their Rodney Sound four-track tape recorder. They were later joined by guitarist Billy Anstatt and bass player Bobby Manzer, studio musicians who had played together in the rock musical Zen Boogie, wanting to perform in a regular band. The band played in clubs and similar venues throughout Los Angeles and were eventually signed by Warner Bros. Records to develop as writers. Then-chairman Ed Silvers brought the band to record producer Richard Perry who immediately signed them to a contract with his company Planet Records in late-1979.
Planet records owner, producer Richard Perry, started Planet in 1978 more or less as a vehicle for his own productions which were (largely) recognizable for their clean sound. His biggest selling act was the Pointer Sisters. In his rush to acquire "new wave" acts he got The Next (he also got The Cretones, The Plimsouls, and American Noise).
The Next were a high energy bar band as new wave was breaking.
Look, I don't have a problem if a band isn't "authentic" as long as they have some tunes , smarts and skills. Just because it isn't power pop or new wave doesn't have any negative bearing on the music. I'm just trying to locate the music historically. I do like to pigeon hole but there had to be some grey area also. If power pop is a more acceptable, rock n roll form of new wave (check my other power pop comments for extrapolations on that) and those bands were getting signed up as new wave then the bands that were straight ahead high energy rock with a pop sensibility were being considered as new wave and also got signed.
Sue Saad and The Next take this high energy, not quite new wave, not quite power pop, rock and roll approach.
To music execs it all sounded the same.
Of course when a band realises they have been swept up in the same they dress (or their stylist does) them accordingly. Converse All Stars sneakers, leather jackets, an urban backdrop, tough poses and lots of black they have but you would ever mistake them for The Ramones or any other of other punk or new wave acts.
Richard Perry produced the album with drummer James Lance. "the whole project taking less than twenty days to complete. Lance had said that the songs on the album 'evoke youthful passion seasoned with wry adult knowledge, as well as a toughminded picture of daily American life and the ways it can be lit up by moments of rock and roll celebration'." http://www.theproducers.org/suesaad.htm
I'm not sure if i hear that here but the band is a solid guitar based rock band : think a less ballsy Pretenders or Loverboy fronted by a chick. At times they lean to Pat Benatar and Heart but there is just enough quirkiness in them to keep them away from the true mainstream
This was their only album but I suspect if they did continue on into the mainstream 80s their sound would have become more ploddingly dull (as did the mainstream 80s).
Interestingly (to me if to no one else) four of the songs were written by (or co written by) D.B. Cooper. He doesn't appear in the band line-up but is "very specially" thanked in the credits as D.B. "Dirty Boy" Cooper. There have been a couple of D.B. Coopers around but due to the cult like status of the historical events surrounding DB Cooper (google it) there have been many artists that have played and recorded under this name. In 1980, though, a D.B. Cooper released an album called "Buy American" on the Warner Brothers label and it was snappy US power pop. Most references to that refer to D.B. Cooper as a band but it seems to me from that album sleeve (back and front) that D.B. Cooper is an individual. It would seem that given the power pop / new wave overtones of both albums, the fact that both albums were released in 1980 that both were recorded in California and that Tony Riparetti and Sue Saad, of The Next recorded back up for D.B. Cooper's nect album "Dangerous Curves" (1981) I think that, that D.B. Cooper wrote for Sue Saad and the Next
Tracks (best in italics)
- Gimme Love Gimme Pain – (S. Saad – J.Lance) – a thumper and quite catchy.
- It's Gotcha – (S. Saad – T. Riparetti – J.Lance) – a zippy track – lot's of energy and it would have played well live. It could use a little more punch though by the end it has hit the mark. The song references life on the "mean streets".
- Prisoner – (D.B. Cooper – J.Lance) – a big ballad "new wave" style …. you could see this in a Hollywood movie about young-uns at the time. Pat Benatar isn't dissimilar though this song is quite good.
- Young Girl – (S. Saad – J.Lance) – a treat. Very Ray Davies in it's lyric (despite the gender). This is an excellent song that has tempo shifts and good musicianship.
- I I Me Me – (J.Lance – T. Riparetti) – This one thumps with a more New York new wave sound…and is amusing: about how people at parties talk about themselves too much (which is, again, quite Ray Davies).
- Your Lips-Hands-Kiss-Love – (D.B. Cooper) – Good though it sounds as if there is a roots rock song in there trying to break out.
- I Want Him – (D.B. Cooper) – A good song – some local references of the day in the lyric and a good melody and backing.
- Cold Night Rain – (S. Saad – T. Riparetti – J.Lance) – the obligatory emotionally over wrought ballad – which is a bit of a throwback.
- Won't Give It Up – (S. Saad – T. Riparetti – J.Lance) – another fast number. Good playing with the usual lyrics about playing in a rock n roll band. It is both silly and endearing.
- Danger Love – (D.B. Cooper) – Springsteen-ish themes and some Kinks-ian (circa 1979) riffs make this quite interesting.
Not perfect but entertaining …. I'm keeping it.
1980 Won't Give it Up # 107
1980 "Young Girl" # 20 (Netherlands)
I I Me Me
- The song "Prisoner" was covered twice. Once by Sheena Easton (1981) and then by Uriah Heep (1982).
- Guitarist Tony Riparetti went on to score music for film, mainly on independents and for (legendary B director) Albert Pyun
- Despite the "punkiness" of Saad's name (Sue Saad), it seems to be her real name.