Friday, November 26, 2010

Sea Hags

The Sea Hags story is pretty typical of the heartbreak of a million bands in the '80s who struggled to land that most elusive record deal, only to have it all go up in a poof of drug smoke and poor decisions. The Sea Hags were meant to be huge, San Francisco's hat in the ring of sleazy streetwise chick metal ala Guns n Roses, in 1989 the fucking world was their cocaine oyster. Their Kirk Hammett-produced demo earned them the attention of the blood-sucking vampires over at Chrysalis Records. Ian Astbury of the Cult was so smitten by these hard-working/hard living young lads that he offered to produce their debut, however the job went to Mike Clink who was, at the time, having his balls washed hard based on the success of Appetite For Destruction. Before the sessions even started management stepped in and pressured the dudes into replacing great drummer, Greg Langston, with better known drummer, Adam Maples, as well as adding Frank Wilsey on guitar (maybe not a bad idea.) Despite the well known and advanced drug problems of frontman Ron Yocom and bassist Chris Schlosshardt, the band managed to eke out a pretty decent album that is as much the first Lords of The New Church album as it is GnR. Didn't really matter much to Chrysalis though, they sat on the album and subsequent tour support in hopes that Ron and Chris might get their shit together long enough to dazzle the waiting world. Well that didn't happen. Schlosshardt died of either an pneumonia or a heroin overdose, depending on who you believe. Wilson quit after a short tour of the UK, Maples joined GnR for a minute only to be replaced by Matt Sorum and his perm, and Yocom could be seen around San Francisco's Mission district in bad fucking shape, until a few years ago, when apparently the former Sea Hag pulled himself up by the cowboy bootstraps and DID get his shit together. He now fronts the band The Power of 3. Right on Ron. And this record still is lots of fun. Frisco!!!


18 comments:

sephim said...

I have had All The Way Valley and Under The Night Stars in my collection for some time and could never find a full copy of this.

Thanks fucking heaps.

If this was put out at the same time as Appetite, I have a feeling rock history would be completely different.

weird beard said...

Yesss! Had this on cassette and played it until it had to be replaced. Vio-Lence-Eternal Nightmare and Sea Hags were in heavy rotation back then. Right on!

e normous said...

That is an excellent write-up.

ümlaut said...

Great write up! One of my fave local bands from back in The Day.. A version of Sea Hags played a couple of "reunion" shows 3 years ago:

http://haggisbuffet.blogspot.com/2007/06/shut-up-and-dance.html

xjerryx said...

Hell yes. I haven't heard Half The Way Valley in two decades, but could probably still sing it word for word. Thanks.

ben said...

i remember the "world premiere" of the video on headbangers ball ...weren't they in a junkyard or something? but i do believe it was everyone's favorite club owner/nascar fan as the host and he was slobbering all over the video and i don't know if ever showed again. correct me if i'm wrong. c

Jamie said...

Thanks for posting! Forgot how catchy this album was..."Half The Way Valley" totally gets stuck in your head. Should have been big like G'n'R. Another case of wrong place wrong time.

Anonymous said...

Saw 'em at the Pyramid club in NYC with Detroit's Seduce back in the summer of 1987. Watched the whole show w/Rick Rubin and that dude he used to hang with... Scott?... anyhoo, the labels were literally lined up to kiss their collective ass.
toke!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Sea Hags were a Good band, I have some live video of them, I will rip & post the video magazine it is from,in the next couple weeks on http://guitars101.com

Grk! said...

I remember Chris & Ron being guest single reviewers in Kerrap! back in 1989, along with the frontbloke of Salty Dog. They gave the first Samael 7" a fairly positive review, even though they found "Into the Pentagram" "a little boring at over 8 minutes."

Gabino said...

Great post AND blog, I'm usually the fuckwit that never leaves comments but this seems like a real labor of love, and your taste is fucking meticulous. Nice work, thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Fans of impossibly 80's horror should note that Sea Hags' "Under the Night Stars" is on the soundtrack of Nightmare on Elm Street 4.

Anonymous said...

Too funny. The Sea Hags were "what I did for fun" in art school while everyone else was seeing Skinny Puppy. I feel somewhat vindicated, now that they've shown up on Cosmic Hearse. Thank you.

john said...

"Someday" if one of my most loved songs of all time. Says it's written by SVT from San Fran. Any copy of a recording by SVT of that song?

lil m said...

From my righteous prick my lil' punk rock rooted perspective I always felt these two guys were primadonna pricks, just lil' spoiled kids from Sonoma County who un-ironically embodied every single bad rock cliche'...plus they were simply a total mess, posterboys for just say NO. Maybe I was just jealous, but I really don't think so.

Ron & Chris could barely figure out how to pay for a cab without an assistant, and would literally get so lost wandering around Market & Church so bad you'd have to hold their hands to help them find the corner they were meeting their hook up on.

Langston, the only nice guy, got canned, and went on to play drums, in the Hellbillys and for a minute pre-GNR drummer Matt Sorum was the SeaHags appointed drummer. A second album was in the works at an expensive studio lock up, but most of the songs were being tracked & written by a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) as Yocum was blank in the songwriting dept. and Schlosshardt had an aching arm of huge abscesses and could barely keep his eyes open, much less play.

That album never surfaced of course...maybe someday I can talk him out of the tape for ya...

All I know is, that everytime I saw Ron pushing his shopping cart talking to himself at 16th & Mission, I had to laugh.

I kept thinking about the time some poor confused Asian scholar kid who got dosed stumbled up to the Sea Hags at a show at Barrington Hall in Berkeley.

Rockstar Ron viciously started kicking him and then swung his guitar at me when I tried to help the lad up.

Schadenfreude?

Never had I seen so many resources squandered on people who didn't seem to deserve them.

Denman Peer Resources said...

Used to see them all the time in Sacto. Love this record, thanks!

Anonymous said...

One of my fave albums from the era. I also remember the premier vid. It was hideous, but it didn't matter; these guys were excellent.

MarsHottentot said...

I used to have a compilation that had a live set by these guys from before the album came out - it was excellent in that it didn't sound like glam metal, it wasn't thrash - I wasn't sure what it was or if I even really liked it, but I was respectful of their not jumping any obvious sonic bandwagon. The record - I got it when it came out, but I had moved on to noise rock and just couldn't be bothered. Thanks for this, I'll be interested to hear what I think at 42!