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MICHAEL DES BARRES ON BEING SIGNED TO LED ZEPPELINS LABEL

Before Michael Des Barres spent the late 80s trying to kill MacGyver on TV as master of disguises villain Murdoc he was a hell of a rock singer. Des Barres slinky vocals were first heard with Silver head a British glamrock band with a hardrock edge in the early 70s. By the late 70s Des Barres had fallen in love with muse deluxe Miss Pamela and moved to Los Angeles to live with her. But then she got a soap opera as an actress and went to New York and I was left with a hairdryer and a couple hundred bucks Des Barres recalls.

Des Barres would soon have a new gig too. He connected with Michael Monarch the talented original lead guitarist for Born to Be Wild hit makers Step penwolf. Monarch began hanging with Des Barres at the Laurel Canyon pad where he was crashing. Wed sit by the pool and we would play music and get into trouble here and there Des Barres says. Monarch knew drummer Jon Hyde who knew bassist Bobby Pickett. And within two weeks their new band Detective was born with former Yes keyboardist and David Bowie sideman Tony Kaye completing the circle.

Detective signed with Swan Song Records the record label launched by 70s rock overlords Led Zeppelin. They released two strong albums on Zeps imprint a selftitled debut and followup LP It Takes One to Know One both issued in 1977. Neither Detective album set the world on fire but the recordings have held up well. If you love the bellbottom blues wallop of Zep and Bad Company but want something less omnipresent Detective slaps.

Zep guitarist and mastermind Jimmy Page recently gave Detective back their masters and two Detective albums are now being reissued. First up that selftitled debut sourced from the original analog master tapes and released via Org Music a boutique label thats previously reissued Bad Brains classics for this Saturdays Record Store Day.

The Detective LP recorded with frequent Zeppelin studio collaborator Andy Johns behind the console is being pressed on silver vinyl with new liner notes. Album highlights include swaying opener Recognition Zeplike stomps Grim Reaper and One More Heartache power ballad Nightingale and grooverocker Got Enough Love. Off the strength of the album Detective would hit the road with Kiss opening for the makeup slathered band on multiple tours. Gene Simmons was very good to us Des Barres says of the bassist and singer.

In addition to Detective and Silver head Des Barres replaced Robert Palmer in the poprock band Power Station fronting the Some Like it Hot group at Live Aid in 1985. He and Pamela Des Barres known for her bestselling memoir Im With the Band were married from the late 70s through the early 90s. Long sober now Michael Des Barres was a confounder of Rock Against Drugs back in the 80s which were not exactly the most drugfree decade he says with a chuckle. These days hes a host of Sirius XMs radio show Little Stevens Underground Garage. Des Barres epic arc is chronicled in the 2014 documentary Who Do You Want Me to Be The charming Brit has lived many lives. But when Des Barres recently checked in from his L.A. home for the following interview Detective was the focus.

Michael how did you end up getting the Detective masters back from Jimmy Page and Swan Song
I got a phone call. And it just happened out of the blue. Its perfect Jimmy Page. I mean the whole Swan Song culture was unlike any other in the music business because it was run by four members of the greatest band in the world who had a lot on their mind and Zeppelin manager Peter Grant. In a sense it was a magical moment from the very beginning and getting them back was as magical as getting signed I think. Because its a very interesting time for music like this to come out in the world. What happened was I got a call from Jimmys lawyer saying Listen Jimmy would like to give you the masters back of Detective. Which is so incredibly generous. We were always pretty close because of a million reasons. He Page was with previously dated Miss Pamela. I knew him from Silverhead. They Zeppelin would come see us play. It wasnt as if he signed me to Swan Song without knowing me. So his attorney called and said Michael do you want the masters Of course I want them. And then Detective drummer Jon Hydes sister wonderful smart businesswoman took over. And here we are. We made those two records back to back loved them. We did a live record which is also going to come out which nobodys heard. But in terms of being able to enjoy the moment that was difficult because back in the 70s one was under the under the cloak of drugs and that minimized the enjoyment of it. It didnt take it all away. There were some moments that were absolutely magic and fortunately we captured in the studio. But there were also a lot of issues. We spent an enormous amount of money on it. It was a million dollar record literally and in those days thats a lot. We sat around waiting for the muse to come doing various substances that did not improve matters. So this reissue to me is a rebirth of rock n roll in my spirit.

 

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