Friday, August 15, 2008


After relocating from Florida, the Comatones created their own sensation in the LA club scene. Mixing glam, punk and plain old-fashioned r’n’r, the ‘Tones were another fantastic addition to the thriving scene in the late 80’s/early 90’s. The members went on to be involved with groups such as the Flash Express and the Hangmen and singer Giovanni and bassist Divo apparently have a new line up (see their My Space page).

Sleazy, sexy r’n’r was the name of the game for these cats and they looked good, played great and had superb songs. A perfect remedy for the overly slick, pretty-boy pretend rock going on at the Sunset Strip clubs at the time – this was the real thing!

Divo sets the pace for the opening number of their 4 song 12”, “It Don’t Really Matter” and as the band crashes in with perfect riffs and Gio starts in on the groupie he picked up the night before, you know that this was the cure-all for 80’s hair metal crap! Jimmy James was – and is – a guitar hero, coaxing hip licks from his vintage Gibsons. Second guitarist Brian Waters is no slouch either, and the two play together terrifically, though Jimmy tended to dominate the leads.
“Kitchen Gone Blue” is more of the same, great stuff, with sing-along “try try try try try’s” and flat-out power r’n’r! Gio continues to rant against some unnamed female as he sings lines like “get up, shut up, I’m over you” – not exactly feminist manifestos here!

They go for a quieter, moody, minor chord feel in the beginning of “Shit Faced Association” before building into a mass of power chords for the wild choruses. Lot of super guitar playing and cool use of dynamics on this one.

Once again, Divo starts off the drivin’ “Square Balls” – full of washes of wah-wah guitars and more good balance of loud and quiet, though never sacrificing the intensity. Jimmy shines yet again (at least I remember Jimmy doing all of the leads – Brian, I apologize if I have this wrong!) with perfect parts for the tune. These cats were truly underrated.

At the time, any band with style was considered “poseurs” by some, so I think this worked again the Comatones (and some other bands), who were natural rock stars! If you weren’t wearing the hideous long shorts of the time and baggy t-shirts, you tended to be lumped into the horrid Strip Metal scene, no matter what you sounded like. It’s a shame, because these guys coulda - and shoulda - been monsters!