A.W.S.M. Presents

A.W.S.M. Presents
1988 (no label)
Orangevale, California, USA

  1. First Strike – Runnin’
  2. The Blitz Band – No Party in Hell
  3. Final Chapter – White Horse
  4. Inside Track – 18 Inches

This is basically a compilation demo by the Associated Writers, Singers, and Musicians group. I really hadn’t heard most of these except for “No Party in Hell.” I thought it was a 77s track, but here it says The Blitz Band? Turns out, it was a 77s tune written by Mark Proctor that was going to be on All Fall Down until Mark Proctor left the band. He encouraged them to still record it, but they didn’t. So he formed The Blitz Band and recorded it. Apparently they have about 10 other songs on demos out there somewhere. The sound is heavily AC/DC influenced. I had never heard the First Strike song, either – turns out it was on a final demo of theirs I have never heard called 1990. Need to track that down. This song seems more melodic and less metal than their 1987 demo Crank It Up! First Chapter is probably the closest to traditional heavy metal on the compilation. Inside Track is a female-fronted keyboard drive alternative-ish rock band. Not sure what became of A.W.S.M. (doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue), but this was a decent sampler of bands.

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The Doug Edgar Project – The Doug Edgar Project

The Doug Edgar Project
The Doug Edgar Project
1987 (no label)
Victoria, British Columbia, USA

Doug Edgar
(others?)

Side 1:

  1. Holdin’ on to You
  2. No Matter What

Side 2:

  1. I Remember
  2. You Must be the Answer

I’m not sure who Doug Edgar is, but he was able to put together a good tape of quality classic rock/80s hard rock. But the question is – was this tape all Doug, Doug sharing the work with others, or Doug not doing much but assembling an excellent band around himself? Anyways, there is a classic rock sensibility to the songs, but the keyboards and electronic drums have a distinct 80s feel. Also the occasional classic / hard rock riff shines through.

Missing Information: who played what on this?

Fighter – Live Mix

Fighter
Live Mix
1989 or 1990 (no label)
Waterloo, Iowa, USA

Amy Wolter
Jim Wolter
Who else?

  1. Nice Guy
  2. The Waiting
  3. If You Want Love
  4. I Saw Jesus Through Your Eyes
  5. Running the Race
  6. Stop Look Listen
  7. Fighting Fire With Fire
  8. Do What You Want
  9. Star One
  10. Jamie

The j-card says “Live Mix,” while the tape says “Demo.” I would guess that these songs were either recorded live in the studio or mixed in the same fashion a live show would be. All in all, what you have here are six songs that were re-recorded on their debut CD The Waiting, all four of the songs from Demo II (including two of the six from The Waiting), and two songs that I don’t think appeared on any other demos or recordings (although also note that “Fighting Fire With Fire” and “Jamie” never made it off Demo II). “If You Want Love” is one of those songs, but the other one doesn’t have a title listed. So I called it “I Saw Jesus Through Your Eyes” as that is what is repeated in the chorus. So four songs total that weren’t on their two national CDs. Also, as you can see above, the first three songs are listed by name, with the other seven as “additional.” I don’t note any difference in song quality or tape hiss or anything on those seven, so I am not sure why they weren’t listed. Anyways, this demo is not far off from their debut CD – even the four songs not on that album sound like they would fit there easily. The recording is a bit muffled, but not too bad. Seems to be a rare collectible. For those not familiar with Fighter they were a rock/AOR band led by a husband/wife team. They could play and write songs in that genre well, and their two in-demand CDs are rare and often expensive.

L.E.D. – Mother Goose as Boo

L.E.D.
Mother Goose as Boo
1986 (no label)
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

Billy Sutherland

Side 1:

  1. This Ain’t the First Time
  2. I Really Like the Way You Dance
  3. Star Light Star Bright
  4. Sometimes

Side 2:

  1. On Top of the World
  2. Hooray for Hollywood
  3. Three

I wasn’t sure what to make of this tape until someone mentioned that the only person named on the tape was friends with Matrix/Bride back in the day. I should have recognized the style of the tape label – Matrix, Bride, White Ray, etc all looked like that. They must have all used the same service/person? The first song has a bit of a new wave/mod vibe until the raging metal guitar solo. The second song has the feel of a lighter ZZ Top song, with flourishes of hard rock. Overall, the songs bounce between alternative rock, rock, and hard rock. But they do a good job, and this style-jumping was a thing in the mid-80s. I would say this is overall alternative rock. No song titles are given, so I went with what is repeated most often in the chorus of each song. The faux Asian accent at the beginning of “Hooray for Hollywood” is painful, and would have been considered “racially problematic” even back in the mid-80s. Also just not sure what it adds to the song. Just a weird thing to do in an otherwise good demo tape.

Missing Information: Song titles, who played on this?

Alliance – Answer Beyond the Pieces

Alliance
Answer Beyond the Pieces
1988 (no label)
West Columbia, South Carolina, USA

Lonnie Smith – Keyboards, vocals
Tony Feliciano – Guitars
Mark Poole – Bass
Tracy Hollingsworth – Drums, percussion

Side 1:

  1. Eye Contact
  2. Answers
  3. Journey’s End
  4. Great Expectations
  5. Hope of the Ages

Side 2:

  1. Breakaway
  2. Just Say No
  3. Bridges
  4. Genesis
  5. Worlds Apart

This is a good quality album of keyboard-based hard rock/AOR – a style that was popular in the mid-80s due to bands like Journey. However, it was kind of in decline by 1988. The songs on this demo ride the line between keyboard ballads and guitar-crunch rockers. There is even a slight hint of prog rock on some tracks like “Worlds Apart.” I believe this band had some other demos as well, but I am not sure what style they did on those. This is one of many bands that seemed to dial in the 80s rock sound really well, even if getting it done a few years later than it was in style.

Sherri Smith – Wavering Deficit

Sherri Smith
Wavering Deficit
1997 (no label)
Clyde, New York, USA

Sherri Schmitz Smith – Most guitars, lead vocals, percussion
Shawn Harnish – Some guitar parts
Scott Andrezejewski – Bass guitar on some songs
Tim Reed – Bass on all other songs
Art Ralston – Drums
Jim Hinrich – Background vocals, congas
Tim Sampson – Harmonica

Side 1:

  1. Go Away
  2. Shattered
  3. The Room Inside
  4. Please Rescue Me
  5. Dusted Angel

Side 2:

  1. When Will I Learn?
  2. What Can I Say?
  3. Be Not Conformed
  4. It’s Always Something
  5. Salsa Picante

This was a blast from the past. Well, one song at least. Sherri Smith had a couple of songs on HM Magazine CD samplers, and one of those songs (“Salsa Picante”) is on this demo. This is kind of rock/hard rock – but most of the songs have vocals on them (which I wouldn’t have guessed from the instrumental songs she placed on samplers). Some music fans describe people like Ace Frehley and Lemmy Kilmister as having “can’t sing/don’t care” vocals. That seems to be the model on some of the songs here. Sherri shows that she can sing on some songs, but when she gets aggressive it kind of falls into the “can’t sing (this style)/don’t care” model. Really, I think this demo is mostly to show off Sherri’s guitar skills, which it succeeds at.

Ed Englerth’s Linear Action Band – Hit the Wall

Ed Englerth’s Linear Action Band
Hit the Wall
198? (no label)
Hastings, Michigan, USA

Ed Englerth – Lead vocals, BGVs on “Steal Your Heart”, bass, acoustic guitar, guitars
John Heald – Drums, BGVs, lead vocals on “Steal Your Heart”
The Frog – Lead guitar
Jim Erdman – Screams & shouts on “Stop Making Sense”
Roland Sunkins III – violin

Side 1:

  1. Hit the Wall
  2. Stop Making Sense
  3. At Night
  4. Bitter Mind
  5. I Can Go to You

Side 2:

  1. Injustice in a Fallen World
  2. Talk Show Metaphysics
  3. Mistaken Identity
  4. Where are We Now
  5. Steal Your Heart

At first I wasn’t sure what this was, so I put it aside into the “no idea” pile. But then I found out that Ed was a member of Armada and Preston, and that members of Xalt helped with this as well… so I decided to give it a spin. There is some 80’s-alternative U2 influence here and there, but mostly I would say this goes into the hard rock category. Unfortunately, the tape was a bit chewed up and stretched out towards the end of side 1, so a couple of songs were hard to listen to. No date on this one, but my guess would be mid-80s based on the sound, as they mix alt and metal in ways that would have only happened in that time period.

Missing Information: when was this released?