It’s no use. I’ve held my tongue long enough. I’m going to write about Giuffria’s self titled debut album that rumbled down Public Street back in 1984.
To many, Giuffria were probably the pomp rock equivalent of the black death. Arrangements wafting about like a giant pair of flared trousers, hairstyles held aloft by Californian sorcery and Gregg Giuffria surrounded by more synthesisers than a Korg research laboratory.
But, and it’s a big but, Giuffria’s first album was so cool it made a guest appearance on Miami Vice. There, on a wall in a crooked nightclub owner’s dayglo office. Bold as brass, a black slab with the trademark silver G; more diamond-like than Diamond Dave (Lee Roth), more front than Bournemouth promenade.
And in David Glen Eisley, Giuffria had the nearest thing to David Lee Roth, right down to that trident of a name. In the video for Call to Your Heart, drummer Alan Krigger pats away at his toms like he’s fishing for tuna, and Craig Goldy on guitars. . . .
Actually, Giuffria made a mistake there. Goldy probably strayed a bit too far away from the glucose drip and played his guitar with a bit too much vim. Too much thrust in all the wrong places. So he was packed off to Dio.
Which meant when they recorded their second album, Silk and Steele, the sugar overdose was too much and even I almost turned diabetic as a result. But that first album: what can be said about that first album? Two things:
Don’t Turn Me Down
Sometimes a song sounds like it wrote itself. Effortless, bolshy, devoid of human input and all that arty-farty creative struggle. Don’t Turn Me Down sounds like its been running round the known universe, occasionally passing by earth and snatching anyone hovering too high in that part of the rarified atmosphere known as the insouchantosphere.
In Trouble Again, Eisley grumbles and groans and at one point sounds like he’s been punctured and is starting to deflate. Trouble Again is just that: a wayward teenager of a song coming home at three in the morning with a weird look on her face and only one shoe. I mean, who came up with this song? Who sat down, went into some kind of coma and drawled out a song about absolutely nothing in particular? If you could turn bourbon into music it would sound like this.
The album produced two hit singles, both sloppy ballads: Call to Your Heart (with silver G liveried oil barrels in the video) and Lonely in Love. The less said the better. If one was to be truly heartless and objective to the point of mathematical precision, you might even conclude that Giuffria is a two trick pony, so I’ll add Turn Me On, Do Me Right, Line of Fire and Out of the Blue. There, that’s six songs from a time when you only got nine on a vinyl album.
I saw Giuffria live, supporting the Scorpions, except it wasn’t Giuffria it was House of Lords, a sort of Giuffria evolution to match the day Neanderthal Man stood a bit more upright and discovered he was naked and his club was too blunt to chop down a tree. House of Lords were okay, but never came close to that peculiar forty-five minutes that possessed the band in 1984 and led to one of my top five rock albums of all time.
Never to be repeated. Especially now as Miami Vice has finished and there are no more decent acting opportunities for outrageous pomp rock albums.