Saturday, December 26, 2009
Possible New Leak of Rapidfire 1983 Demo?
"I remember for two years standing at the Troubadour and people wouldn't talk to me; I didn't know what to say to them, so you just watched and learned for a long, long time," Axl Rose told Kerrang.
Kevin Lawrence remembers seeing ‘Bill’ around in those days. They began nodding at each other, and eventually struck up a conversation.
“He said he was a singer,” recalls Lawrence. “I said, ‘Do you have a PA?’ And he said, ‘Yeah.’ And I said, ‘You’re hired.’”
Lawrence was fronting a trio called Rapidfire and he was tired of trying to be the singer and the guitarist. Bill was a dream come true. He was smart, clean and he had his own PA. He asked Bill (he was never Axl then, says Lawrence) to join him and Mike Hamernik on bass and Chuck Gordon on drums. They were a hard rock band, along the lines of AC/DC or Judas Priest, and played small metal clubs around L.A.. All the material was written by Lawrence.
They rehearsed at Chuck’s parents’ house in Encino, recalls Lawrence – in his small bedroom with drums and Marshall stacks crammed next to their ears.
“The cops would come all the time and tell us to shut it down. Actually,” he backtracks, “if I remember right, Chuck’s sister was a cop. We couldn’t get in too much trouble!”
“The songs were already written when Bill joined,” recalls Lawrence, “so he just learned them. He didn’t have the opportunity to write. He did show me the lyrics to one song, Back Off Bitch, though.
“He was a perfectly normal guy when I knew him. He was hardworking, he always showed up to rehearsals and gigs on time and he did a good job at promoting the band as well.”
“He was a perfectionist – we all were,” says Lawrence, but adds there was no sign of the famous temper. “He wanted to be a rock star, and he worked at it. All the guy wanted was to be a rock star -- and a pair of I think snakeskin cowboy boots. He really wanted those boots.”
“We’d sit around and smoke cigarettes and talk about what being a rock star was going to be like. He was serious about it. I was serious about it, we were doing business.”
The band was scoring a few gigs around town at clubs like the Troubadour and the metal mecca, Gazzarri’s.
Lawrence remembers Bill wearing one glove and holding his mike out like Freddie Mercury. He’d wear the occasional bandana and would move around the stage with moves similar to those in his later years.
At Lawrence’s request, Bill was singing in the lower register. The guitarist soon rounded up some money, hired a small studio and had the band record four of his songs – Ready To Rumble, All Night Long, The Prowler, and On The Run.
It was May, 1983, shortly before the Rapidfire’s demise.
Bill was working a day job in an adult movie house, recalls Lawrence. He was still with Gina in those days, although she was moving out and Izzy was moving in.
Lawrence figures that Izzy was the ultimate instigator of Bill’s split with the band. Izzy was either no longer in Shire or about to no longer be in Shire, and he was turning his attention to starting a band with his willing buddy Bill.
“Izzy really didn’t like that Bill was in Rapidfire,” muses Lawrence. “And he really didn’t like the idea of Bill being in a band when Izzy wasn’t in a band.”
Rapidfire’s metal rock wasn’t Izzy’s thing – by that point, he was totally enamored with the Hanoi Rocks-style glam – and he told Bill he was wasting his time. He had a vision for a band, and his Indiana friend was a big part of the vision. It sparked a tug-o-war for the singer’s attention. It became immediately apparent that Rapidfire had lost when Bill arrived for what would be his last show.
“He showed up at the last minute at the club, which was unusual,” recalls Lawrence. “And he had his hair teased way out, the white powder cake up, lipstick, etcetera. He had on this leather jacket that they had spray-painted pink. He obviously wanted to do something else. We never really argued about it, it was amicable.
“I said, ‘I guess this is your last gig, huh.’”
posted 2:14 PM