The late 70s hard rock band Detective featured Michael Des Barres second from left on vocals. Signed by Jimmy Page to Led Zeppelins Swan Song label the band released its debut in 1977 but within a year or two had broken up. Now the debut album is back in a reissue for Record Store Day on April 23 2022. Photography courtesy of Michael Des Barres The late 70s hard rock band Detective featured Michael Des Barres second from left on vocals. Signed by Jimmy Page to Led Zeppelins Swan Song label the band released its debut in 1977 but within a year or two had broken up. Now the debut album is back in a reissue for Record Store Day on April 23 2022. Photography courtesy of Michael Des Barres
Forty five years later singer Michael Des Barres listens to the selftitled debut of Detective and hears the a tantalizing potential for greatness in its grooves.. A bluesy hard rock band it found its way to Swan Song Records thanks to Des Barres friendship with guitarist Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin the band behind the label. Its 1977 debut was made amid all the excesses of the music industry at the time recorded over a year at the Record Plant in Los Angeles at a cost of $1 million. But despite all its advantages Detective the band and the album soon disappeared — until today April 23 when thanks to a bit of luck and a few twists of fate a new limited edition vinyl release of Detective drops on Record Store Day 2022.
Record Store Day of course is the annual celebration of independent record stores for which record labels large and small will dig through the vaults for music which like Detectives may have gone out of print been forgotten or overlooked but feels and sounds like something worthy of rediscovery and reissue. That record is so bleeping powerful and it just just slipped through the fingers Des Barres says. It slipped through the fingers because I think it was bluesy hard rock and of course they compared us to Zeppelin and theyd say Zeppelins playing on it and all of this crap.
Yeah we were influenced by the magic but not by the chord structure he says. So its a delightful thing to have it come out now. Org Records which acquired the master recordings of Detectives two studio albums and a live show recorded in New York City decided to release the debut on Record Store Day to make its return to turntables something special. They were big Detective fans Des Barres says. And they thought it would be a terrific way of doing it rather than just putting it out you know easy peasy here it is again.
And thats what we did he says. We have this huge party put together in Benedict Canyon. Tshirts and all the merch and everything you would possibly want of a rebirth and reincarnation as it were of a band we all loved. Detectives albums had long ago vanished from record stores and that might have been the way it stayed but for a kind and unexpected gesture Des Barres says. It did not happen bureaucratically it happened magically in my view he says. Anything to do with Led Zeppelin and certainly Jimmy it has a flavor to it that I dont think anybody else has or any other band has.
So what happened was years went by Des Barres says. I was in different bands and the guys were in different bands. About a year ago I got a call from a lawyer saying Would you like the masters back from Detective Jimmy would like to give them to you. I said By all means you know because I really wanted them out and those albums to be heard he says. Page and Des Barres met in the early 70s when Des Barres was the front man in the British glam rock band Silver head.
Jimmy and I hooked up in some mad orgiastic situation he says of their meeting. We talked and I was sort of discovering what English occultist Aleister Crowley was all about what the tarot deck was what spirituality I believed in. There were so many connections before Detective Des Barres says noting that Page had dated Pamela Ann Miller a celebrity rock groupie known as Miss Pamela before she and Des Barres met and married and she became Pamela Des Barres.
We became sort of interested in each other and the vibe Des Barres says of Page. Not on a musical level but on a spiritual level. One night in Birmingham England Silver head played a gig for about 20 fans in a small club in Birmingham England. From the back watched the four members of Led Zeppelin Page singer Robert Plant bassist John Paul Jones and drummer John Bonzo Bonham. That was the most surreal nightmare Des Barres says. People were looking Oh Silver head they are great and then they look at the back and the bleeping four members of the biggest band in the world are standing in this little sleazy club which by the way is the only way to play rock and roll.
Flash forward a few years. Des Barres split from Silver head and England for Los Angeles and Miss Pamela. A promoter connected him with guitarist Michael Monarch drummer Jon Hyde bassist Bobby Pickett and keyboardist Tony Kaye and the fledgling Detective started to play together. The second week of rehearsals Zeppelin comes to town to play you know 105 consecutive nights at the Forum or whatever the gig was Des Barres says. Jimmy comes to see us and he says quietly he says Would you like to be on our label