LIZZY BORDEN - Give 'Em The Axe EP (1984) USA
Metal Blade Records 71078
vbr avg 220
01. Give 'Em The Axe
02. Kiss Of Death
03. No Time To Lose
04. Long Live Rock 'N' Roll
Vocals : Lizzy Borden (Diamond Dogs, Starwood)
Guitars : Gene Allen (Phoenix Down)
Guitars : Tony Matuzak (New York Rocks)
Bass : Mike Davis (Ozzy Osbourne, Halford, Angel Rot)
Drums : Joey Scott Harges (Diamond Dogs, Starwood)
Theatric Los Angeles Heavy Metal band suitably named after an infamous murderess and fronted by the almost afro topped 'Lizzy Borden'. The band never truly broke out of cult appeal, with finances too restrictive to enable effective touring and early albums blighted by low budget productions, yet LIZZY BORDEN eventually overcame these obstacles to gain respect, particularly in Europe. Masked somewhat by the reliance on stage antics, LIZZY BORDEN actually delivered some sophisticated, punishing heavy metal, peaking with the masterly 'Visual Lies' opus.
LIZZY BORDEN debuted in 1983 with an eight track demo cassette. Hitching up to Metal Blade Records, the combo contributed the song 'Rod Of Iron' to the 'Metal Massacre, Vol. 4' compilation then delivered the 12" EP 'Give 'Em The Axe' in May 1984, following this with the full-length 'Love You To Pieces' album in June 1985. At this juncture the band comprised Borden alongside guitarists Gene Allen and Tony Matuzak, bassist Mike Davis and drummer Joey Scott Harges, the latter actually Lizzy's brother. An earlier four-stringer, Steve Hochheiser, had opted out to join DÉTENTE.
'Love You To Pieces' was high on shock value, especially lyrically on cuts such as ‘Flesheater’, and high in unabashed metal content with ‘Council For The Cauldron’, ‘Warfare’, Psychopath’ or the Jack The Ripper themed ‘Red Rum’. Unfortunately the album suffered greatly from a below par production, a trait which would dog the band on their next offering.
LIZZY BORDEN maintained the momentum with 1986's 'Menace To Society' record, their first to graze into the Billboard charts, peaking at number 195. Nationwide touring supporting MOTÖRHEAD increased the band's standing. For the 1987 'Terror Rising' EP which includes a cover of the JEFFERSON AIRPLANE Psychedelia classic 'White Rabbit' BITCH's Betsy makes an appearance on the track 'Don't Touch Me There', a cover originally by THE TUBES, and ARMORED SAINT's Joey Vera guests on 'Catch Your Death' and 'Terror Rising'.
The ambitious double live album, 'Murderess Metal Roadshow' released in April 1986 and seeing Alex Nelson replacing Matuzak, would include a rendition of the WINGS epic 'Live And Let Die'. Two extra studio cuts were added to the concert tapes, 'Dead Serious' and '(Wake Up) Time To Die'. An accompanying video for 'Murderess Metal Roadshow', filmed in Los Angeles, gave viewers a chance to see Lizzy’s renowned coffin smashing stunt as the somewhat surreal mugging of Santa Claus to open ‘Psychopath’.
LIZZY BORDEN's debut British appearance came in 1987 with a headline slot at London's Marquee Club prior to a Reading Festival appearance on a bill headlined by ALICE COOPER. Meantime, ex-guitarist Tony Matuzak forged NEW YORK ROCKS.
The band added new guitarist Joe Holmes, ex-TERRIFF, for the Max Norman produced 'Visual Lies' album, probably the band's most polished effort in terms of overall sound and commerciality. Here Lizzy Borden finally gained the muscular studio sound so sorely lacking on prior output and reviews were reflective of this positive step forward. 'Visual Lies' hit number 146 on Billboard but would strengthen their fan base considerably in Europe.
Guitarist Gene Allen quit to found a project with ex-METAL CHURCH vocalist David Wayne in 1988. He would much later assume the mantle 'KaBong', contributing to the PHOENIX DOWN project of former ALICE COOPER guitarist KANE ROBERTS.
By 1989 LIZZY BORDEN was essentially a solo vehicle for the man himself, having split the group and assembled a new bunch of musicians to assist in the recording of the 'Master Of Disguise' album, a semi-conceptual affair, produced by Alex Woltman and Elliot Solomon and mixed by Terry Brown. Joining Lizzy on the record came drummer Joey Scott-Harges, original bassist Mike Davis, ARMORED SAINT bassist Joey Vera and more permanent four stringer Bryan Perry, ex-KING KOBRA guitarist David Michael Phillips, New York axeman Ronnie Jude and co-producer Elliott Solomon on keyboards. 'Master Of Disguise' gave LIZZY BORDEN their highest chart placing on Billboard at number 133. David Michael Phillips only stuck around long enough to perform one concert with the band, at the Palace in Hollywood, before vacating. European touring in 1991 found LIZZY BORDEN in alliance with Welsh Glamsters TIGERTAILZ.
Former band member Joe Holmes put TERRIFF back together with a new line-up that didn't include ex-ANGEL vocalist Frank Dimino as had the original incarnation. The 1990 version included vocalist Dana Freebarin, drummer Tim Cosma and Holmes LIZZY BORDEN bass playing buddy Mike Davis. The band failed to last the course and Holmes later found high profile work with DAVID LEE ROTH and OZZY OSBOURNE.
Without a deal now the band soldiered on throughout 1992 on the American club circuit with new member Swedish bassist Martin Anderson. With Metal out of favour, Lizzy Borden and Joey Scott-Harges forged the Punkier DIAMOND DOGS project, a union with guitarist Joe Steals and bassist Michael White. This band did not record or tour.
A resurrected band unit returned in 1999 performing a well received set at the 'Bang Your Head' festival in southern Germany on a major bill headlined by W.A.S.P., MOTÖRHEAD, DIO and DEEP PURPLE. The band put on a back to theatrics full blood n' gore spectacle. It was not all good news for the band though. Lizzy himself was arrested at the airport on the way back to America and asked to explain why he was in possession of a blood soaked axe!
LIZZY BORDEN ensconced themselves in The Crypt studios in North Hollywood with producer Elliot Solomon to craft the 'Deal With The Devil' album, a set of all new compositions alongside two eighties era tracks 'Lovin' You Is Murder' and 'We Only Come Out At Night'. Japanese versions, which included a raucous take on ALICE COOPER's 'Generation Landslide', came with a bonus track 'We'll Burn The Sky'. LIZZY BORDEN comprised of Borden, guitarist Alex Nelson, bass player Marten Andersson (of LEGACY, JONAS HANSSON BAND and TAKARA) and long term drummer Joey Scott for this recording. Guest sessions would be on hand from ARMORED SAINT's Joey Vera and erstwhile LIZZY BORDEN man Michael Davis on bass.
This new unit would put out 'Deal With The Devil' in October 2000 and tour North America during April of 2001 as guests to YNGWIE MALMSTEEN. Despite being out on a welcome high profile bout of touring not everything ran smoothly and the band would find itself back in the media when at a gig in Charlotte, North Carolina, the band's guitar tech Ulrik Zander was shot three times attempting to foil a robbery. Fortunately Zander recovered and the tour went on.
Ex-bassist Michael Davis was found on the Los Angeles club circuit in 2000 as a member of BRANOM, an act including erstwhile HERICANE ALICE, BANGALORE CHOIR and BAD MOON RISING drummer Jackie Ramos, former BOY ELROY guitarist Brian Davis and ex-CLOUD NINE vocalist Tim Branom.
In March of 2003 bassist Mike Davis joined the ranks of HALFORD. The band soldiered on throughout the year, drafting former DIAMOND DOGS man Joe Steals as fill in guitarist. In March of 2004 Andersson would join the GEORGE LYNCH band for roadwork in the USA. Tragedy struck the band on May 17th, 2004 when guitarist Alex Nelson was killed in a head on car crash.
LIZZY BORDEN completely revamped itself in mid 2004 to become STARWOOD, comprising a credited line up of vocalist Lizzy (Borden), guitarist Joe Steals, bassist Marten Andersson and drummer Joey Scott (Scott-Harges). This 'new' unit cut the album 'If It Ain't Broke, Break It!' for Metal Blade. Adopting a much more upbeat, radio friendly approach and image to match, STARWOOD employed re-worked songs from the DIAMOND DOGS venture. Strangely, STARWOOD's biography and website made no reference to LIZZY BORDEN's history. By coincidence, as this transition was made, Metallic Archangel Records announced plans for a LIZZY BORDEN tribute album entitled 'Baptized In Blood'.
Quite bizarrely, official STARWOOD press releases in October came with a quite unique postscript advising the media that no changes be made to the text "unless verified for truth and accuracy by Starwood's management", presumably a reference to the complete omission of LIZZY BORDEN history. STARWOOD lent support to UFO for a solo Californian gig in October. They were set to join VINCE NEIL's proposed November UK tour dates before these gigs were pulled.
In early 2005 ex-LIZZY BORDEN man Mike Davis featured in the multi-national Hard Rock outfit THE COTTON SOETERBOEK BAND, comprising a veteran cast including AYREON singer Robert Soeterboek, guitarist Alan Cotton, Joost van den Broek from AFTER FOREVER and SUN CAGED on Keyboards with SAHARA, ROB ROCK and DRIVER man Reynold 'Butch' Carlson on drums.
March 2006 delivered word that LIZZY BORDEN was set to rise again as the group announced they were seeking a new guitar player to replace the late Alex Nelson. Days later Ira Black, from VICIOUS RUMORS, THE SIDEFEX and HEATHEN, took the position as the group announced US tour dates for May backing W.A.S.P.
Marten Andersson contributed session bass guitar on OVERDRIVE and LOCOMOTIVE BREATH guitarist Janne Stark's November 2006 MOUNTAIN OF POWER tribute collection.
New LIZZY BORDEN album recordings in early 2007 hosted guest appearances by Y&T frontman Dave Meniketti and TRIVIUM guitarist Corey Beaulieu. Further studio guests were then added, including ex-DOKKEN guitarist GEORGE LYNCH, Michael T. Ross of ANGEL and HARDLINE, Erik Rutan of HATE ETERNAL and MORBID ANGEL plus Jonas Hansson of SILVER MOUNTAIN.
For the band's appearance at the April 28th 2007 Metal Blade Records 25th Anniversary Showcase as part of the New England Metal And Hardcore Festival they were joined by a new second guitarist, the SEVEN WITCHES, METALIUM, MARSHALL LAW, FROSTBITE, FROST, THE BRONX CASKET CO., BIRD OF PREY and SAVATAGE credited guitarist JACK FROST. The new album 'Appointment With Death' arrived in November.