Rave Up On Aisle 9
:: Alley Cats - Give Me A Little Pain ::
:: Alley Cats - Nothing Means Nothing Anymore ::
In 1978 I was working in a grocery store and every once in a while, this couple would come in to shop. They stood out because they were obviously punks and in 1978 you didn't see a lot of people who looked like that in suburbia. I wondered who these people were. The guy was short, skinny and wiry, and the girl was Asian and hot in her leather mini skirt and fishnet stockings. One night I finally worked up the nerve to talk to them, which wasn't easy considering how dorky I felt in my grocery store uniform. I asked them if they were in a band. Randy Stodola answered in a voice that sounded like a frog using a bullhorn, "Yeah, we're called The Alley Cats". Cool, I said and I told them I was in a band and we were performing later that night in Redondo Beach at a hippie bar called Sweetwater. Randy said he'd try to make it.
Sure enough, he was front and center that night at Sweetwater. After our set he came up and said he liked us and asked us to play a show with the Alley Cats at another dive in Redondo called The Bearded Clam. Of course we accepted this cordial invitation.
We played the gig, which was fairly uneventful and under attended. I remember we all joked about the Alley Cats drummer having a mustache, which was decidedly unpunk. They certainly did rock though.
I lost touch with Randy and Dianne after that, and my band broke up pretty soon after the Bearded Clam gig, so that was that. I found this single at a local record store probably in late '78 or early '79. The Alley Cats tried to achieve the kind of success some of their contemporaries like X and The Germs were finding. Their debut album came out in '81 on Time Coast records called Nightmare City. It included re-recorded versions of the two songs on this single. A second album, Escape From the Planet Earth came out on MCA in '82. After that, they changed their name to The Zarkons (probably because they were tired of being confused with the Stray Cats) and released Riders In The Long Black Parade in '85 on Enigma, then finally Between The Idea and The Reality...Falls The Shadow on Atlantic in '88. In this final incarnation, Randy and Dianne were still slugging away along with a new drummer (who sounded suspiciously like a drum machine) and a chick vocalist named Freda Rente (later with fIREHOSE).
Unfortunately Randy and Dianne never did make it in the music business. None of their releases met with great success and their sound was described as "X Lite". By '88 they had sunk into full '80s-synth-pop-utter-crap mode, so it's no wonder they completely disappeared after that. From what I hear, the formerly married couple haven't been in touch with each other for many years. Yet another sad story of dashed rock dreams on the scrapheap of... dashed rock dreams, or something. Meanwhile I'm still working in a grocery store.