Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Legend That Time Forgot

Most of you probably haven't heard of Neil Merryweather. I only discovered him by accident. I was cruising the record bins at Logos when I stumbled upon a copy of Kryptonite. The sci-fi comic cover caught my attention so I pulled it out for further inspection. As soon I as saw the group photo on the back I was sold.

Holy shit, these guys were dressed like glam rockers but still looked like they could rock hard! I payed for the record and rushed home to have a listen. My expectations were low; these guys looked too good to be true. Or maybe not. Kryptonite is a beast of an album. Heavy riffs, wailing guitar leads, and proggy synths, oh my! Merryweather spits out space-distopian lyrics with a macho snarl. Reminds me a bit of early Alice Cooper. Both this album and their first (self-titled) are essential picks for fans of obscure proto-metal and heavy glam.

Neil Merryweather was involved in the LA music scene for years, floating from one project or another. He played bass on a handful of albums. Some were fairly good (Heavy Cruisers' first LP) and some were not (Merryweather's Word of Mouth). He did a brief stint with an early Rick James project and help write songs with Penthouse model, Lynn Carey, in Mama Lion. After a small amount of success he decided to go off on his own and formed the Space Rangers. He originally planned on doing a soft funk-rock thing in the same vein as Traffic, but fortunately for all of us he attended a David Bowie concert and found his new direction. They put out two albums and played one concert opening for KISS and T Rex before breaking up due to lack of support from their record label. Merryweather then went on to record several more lackluster solo albums and play bass for Lita Ford before completely disappearing into obscurity.

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