Streetlevel – Relay

1983 (no label)
Wolverhampton, England, United Kingdom

Clive Davenport – Vocals, guitars
Paul Keeble – Vocals, bass
Gary Mitchell – Drum, percussion, vocals
Graham Boler – Synthesizer, coffee

Side 1:

  1. You Have to Tell Them
  2. Never Knew
  3. Fight on the Street
  4. Finish of the Bliss
  5. Pictures of You
  6. Light and Shade

Side 2:

  1. In the World’s Terms
  2. Yireh (Gen. 22 v. 14)
  3. These Days
  4. One Spare Minute
  5. I’ve Got You

If the cover of this demo screamed out at you “middle of the road rock!”… you would be correct. It’s not bad, but if you want to rock out with some air guitar you might be disappointed. Songs like “Fight on the Street” have cool bass lines and are well written. There is nothing wrong with being middle of the road as long as you can do it well. Too many bands stay in that area to be safe. This appears to be a band that is doing this style just because it is what they want to, and it shows.


Damascus – Demo

1983(?) (no label)
Mt. Prospect, Illinois, USA

Possible band members:

Tom McKeown – Lead & background vocals, electric guitar, organ, piano, synthesizers
Marc Reich – Lead & background vocals, electric & acoustic guitars
Cliff Zweibruck – Electric bass, background vocals
Dave Coy – Drums, percussion

  1. Lead Me On
  2. Psalm Ad
  3. Reckless

This is the first demo by progressive/rock/metal band Damascus. There is little information on this demo, but I did find a lot of information about the band when transferring their next demo Will I Find You There? This demo starts off a bit deceptively – it seems a lot more mellow than the next demo, and not progressive rock at all. But pretty soon the progressive elements kick in. By the second song, there is no doubt what they are. Not as heavy as their next demo, but probably a tad more progressive. They also compared themselves to Van Halen or Bon Jovi on their next demo, but there is not much influence of those bands on this demo. No date or band members are listed. Possible band members based on the next demo are listed above, and a possible release date of 1983 is given based on an online interview that states they became Damascus in 1982 and then later recorded a demo.

Missing Information: Band members, release date

Steve Butler – Waving and Drowning

Steve Butler
Waving and Drowning
1983 Sticky Music (GUM 007)
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Steve Butler – Lead vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitars, background vocals
Graeme Duffin – Guitars and background vocals
Stuart R. Duffin – Bass
Malcolm Duffin – Drums and percussion

Side 1:

  1. Waving and Drowning
  2. Time and Tide (A Love Lost)
  3. Sunk in London
  4. Back in France
  5. Child’s Tears

Side 2:

  1. Checkout Girls
  2. Head and Heart
  3. Seasoned with Your Love
  4. Gonna Fly
  5. Best is Still to Come

I thought I had this one, then I realized I didn’t, so I went looking for it online and found the remastered version up on BandCamp! Steve Butler has an incredibly robust background in the UK Christian Music scene, as he was/is a member of Lies Damned Lies and also one of the founders of Sticky Music label. His musical resume is pretty impressive. This album was – I think – his second solo release. I have seen this album labeled pop, soft rock, and rock – it certainly floats around that general area. To my ears, there are some slight alternative leanings as well, but not enough to be called alternative rock. Early adult alternative pop is probably more accurate. A solid release that is now available online for all to hear.

Rescue – 2000 Years Later

2000 Years Later
1983 Maranatha Multimedia
Detroit, Michigan, USA

Rick Craven – Lead and background vocals, rhythm guitar, synthesizer
Fred Covyeau – Lead guitar
Andy Howard – Fretless bass
Mark Spaulding – Drums and percussion
Vince Covyeau – Drums and percussion

Side 1:

  1. Breathing Air and Hanging Out
  2. Kicks
  3. Time Thoughts

Side 2:

  1. Hot Night in the City
  2. No More of the World’s Plans

Another rare vinyl to cover. based on the awesomeness of the Jesus is the Truth single, I tried to find if there was anything else by Rescue. The only thing I managed to unearth was this 5 song 12-inch vinyl ep. How does it stand up to the previous single? This ep seems to lean more towards the hard rock of “Get Right” than the Misfits-inspired punk of “Jesus is the Light.” Both songs on side 2 have a distinct new wave influence while at the same time leaning more towards punk. “Time Thoughts” even gets pretty close to being heavy metal. Of course, being a Detroit band in the early 80s, I would assume they were heavily influenced by the 80s garage rock revival – maybe even the growth of the garage punk movement as well. So why two drummers? Not sure – Vince is listed but there is no picture of him. “Kicks” is a cover of the Paul Revere & The Raiders song. I can’t find any information about them online, so this may be the only spot they will ever be remembered.

Talking Drums – Demos

Talking Drums
1983 Sticky Music (GUMM 009)
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Carol E. Moore – Lead vocals
Charlie Irvine – Guitar, vocals
Dot Irvine – Keyboards, vocals
Stewart McEwin – Bass
Derek Clark – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Warring Couple
  2. Compromise
  3. No Surprise
  4. Reassembly of the Heart
  5. In Two Minds

Side 2:

  1. What Do You Want?
  2. Why Won’t You Stay?
  3. Missing
  4. Slipping

Talking Drums were an alternative/new wave/synth pop UK band that went on to release a full length album called Reassembly in 1985. “Reassembly of the Heart” and “What Do You Want?” from this release of “demos” made it onto the full length. I put “demos” in quotes because these are well-recorded songs that really don’t sound demo quality. The tone is a bit more urgent than music typically is in the genre, but that actually works well here. Also of note is that Dot and Charlie were a part of Lies Damned Lies along with Steve Butler at this time as well. Both Talking Drums and Lies Damned Lies signed with major labels at later points. Not to mention that Sticky Music grew from a vehicle for demos and self-released music to a full-fledged label. In many different ways, it seems like this band/label/etc were a hit, but since it was in the UK… I wouldn’t know. Maybe someone from across the pond can chime in about how known or unknown Talking Drums actually was? There is a very informative story of these bands and Sticky Music for the music history buffs out there.

Scepter – The Scepter Tapes and Other Rarities​

The Scepter Tapes and Other Rarities​
2004 Hapi Skratch Records
Colorado, USA

Dave Beegle
Keith Rosenhagen
Fred Babich
Bob Burgett
Jim Iltis
Jeff Seaton
Jo Ellen Faruch

  1. Scepter Intro/Tuning Up
  2. Eye for Eye
  3. In a World
  4. Last Chance
  5. Straight From My Heart
  6. Meet Me There
  7. Against the Reds
  8. Memories of Love
  9. Falling Down
  10. Song About Television and Dogs
  11. Andy G. and Sadie D.
  12. Apocalypse When
  13. Bass Solo
  14. Flight of the Bumble Beegle
  15. The Classical Song
  16. Take It All the Way
  17. Memories

This was an interesting collection I found  on BandCamp while searching for Fourth Estate information. There are other bands called Sceptre and Holy Scepter that are not related to this band. This is the band where the members of Fourth Estate met. It seems they went their separate ways for a bit after Scepter, and then three of them came back together to form Fourth Estate. This is a collection of tracks from Scepter and various other recording sources in the mid-80s. The sound is more metal than Fourth Estate, and with vocals. A picture in the liner notes indicated this band opened for Stryper at one time, and you can see why. I still prefer Fourth Estate, but this is an interesting look at their beginnings. Of course, you can listen to the whole thing on BandCamp (embedded below). You can also find the complete liner notes and band story scanned on Discogs, but here are a few notes about the songs:

  • Tracks 1-9 are “The Scepter Tapes” (tracks 1-4 are listed as 1983, 7-9 are 1984)
  • Tracks 10-17 are “And Other Rarities”
  • Tracks 10-12 were written and performed by Jim Iltis in 1986
  • Track 13 was written and performed by Fred Babich in 1986
  • Track 14 was arranged and performed by Dave Beegle in 1981: “This was the piece that got Dave an audition with Kiss when Ace got the boot from the band”
  • Track 15 was written and performed by Dave Beegle in 1981
  • Tracks 16-17 were written and performed by Dave Beegle and JoEllen Faruch in 1982

Sticker – Sticker

1983 (no label)
Federal Way, Washington, USA

Claude Leslie Carlsen – Vocals
Joyce Macek Carlsen – Vocals
John Agostino – Drums
Bill Hardy – Bass
Gene Hubbard – Keyboards
John Morton – Guitars

Side 1:

  1. Somebody Special
  2. I’m a Rocker
  3. Surprise

Side 2:

  1. Thin Ice
  2. Mushrooms in the Sky

This is an awesome slice of 80s New Wave/Rock. Someone pointed out on Facebook that this was Les Carlsen of Bloodgood fame with his wife Joyce before he joined Bloodgood. I had noticed this tape in the collection that I am currently digitizing, but had set it aside for other tapes because I wasn’t sure what it was. As soon as I heard it was Les, I moved it to the front of the stack. Glad I did – I love this tape (also on vinyl I see). “Somebody special” starts off with a good new wave sound. “I’m a Rocker” is almost borderline hard rock, but the synths are pretty directly influenced by The Cars. “Surprise” is back to new wave, “Thin Ice” is back to near hard rock, and “Mushrooms in the Sky is new wave with a slight reggae influence (like many new wave bands did back in the day). Les and Joyce trade off lead vocals on different songs, while providing background vocals on the other tracks. Only five songs, and I am not sure if this is a Christian release or not… but I really don’t care. Underground albums like this just prove why the 80s were so awesome.