Secret Syde, The - 1983 - Hidden Secrets (US)
The Secret Syde was an immensely popular American punk rock, neo-psychedelic band from the 1980s. Formed in New Jersey, they achieved more success in The Netherlands, Germany, and the Soviet Union where their music was aired on RADIO MAYAK. They were also very popular in the southern portion of the United States, namely New Orleansand the state of Mississippi.
The band was known for their onstage antics, which included amazing light shows, nude go-go dancers outfitted with black leather sado-masochistic bondage attire and Busby Berkley inspired sado-masochistic tap dance routines, and Steve DeVito playing the guitar with his teeth and rhino-skin whip.
At the height of their popularity, the band opened for Aerosmith's Joe Perry, the Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Johnny Thunders, G.G. Allin, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, and Kenny Rogers.
Their first album "Hidden Secrets" was widely overlooked upon its release, but has since become a popular collector’s item. The second album, Erebus went unreleased, but some tracks gained airtime on the BBC in the Netherlands and Radio Mayak in the Soviet Union. They also opened for several national acts. Secret Syde were an opening act for Joe Perry, as well as Black Flag, Motely Crue, Venom, Night Ranger, and Devo.
Writers, commentators, and fans alluded to the almost conspiratorial disdain of the Secret Syde by the mainstream, corporate, music cartel of the era that dominated the production and distribution of popular music.
The extreme financial pressures caused by the virtual corporate blacklisting of the band by the music industry at large forced members of the Secret Syde to consider the bleak options confronting them in the near future, which promised impoverishment and contempt by the mainstream music establishment. Mounting financial pressures and a corrupt abusive management led to further frustrations within the Secret Syde. There reportedly were physical confrontations in the band, deepening drug abuse, and rumors of mental instibility by some members of the Secret Syde. The Secret Syde, penniless, and morally disillusioned by the depraved, degrading mismanagement and voracious greed they viewed within the closed, totalitarian music industry at the time, encouraged the group to disband amicably in 1985.
After their temporary breakup, Lead Guitarist Steve Devito worked for the post office. Drummer Rob Angelo joined a popular MTV based band the Blases, going on a world tour. Bass Player Dave DeSantis obtained work in a local munitions factory in Long Branch, New Jersey and eventually went on to develop rocket propulsion systems for the West German government and United States Army Aviation and Missile Command. Song Writer Jon Davies made one of his first forays into Switzerland and Western Europe where he studied under the Dravidian Spiritual master Krishnamurti in Sana, Switzerland, afterwards working as a janitor for the Holiday Inn in West Long Branch, New Jersey. Jon Davies now calls himself a "Fundamentalist Satanist".
It was then that Wayne Larsen, custom guitar designer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, poet, and childhood remedial speech teacher for Jon Davies, made overtures to Jon to form another incarnation of the Secret Syde. In Late 1985, this refurbished five piece of the Secret Syde consisted of members of the neo-psych-pop phenomenon Laughing Soup Dish,Earth, Wind, and Fire, and former singers from the Lawrence Welk show. This Neo-Syde group opened for The Dead Kennedys in 1986 and received rave reviews. Dead Kennedy's lead singer Jello Biafra wrote complimentary pieces for and about the Secret Syde in the underground music fanzine the Trouser Press and announced he was a big fan of the Secret Syde and their music.
Around that same time Davies fronted Laughing Soup Dish for a few performances, and the band was billed as Jon Davies & The Secret Syde. Wayne Larsen and Jon Davies continued to perform into the 1990s in varios incarnations of their own iconoclastic and controversial punk rock outfits. Some of their best remembered group projects were The Leather Joy Boys, the Straight Satans, and Vlad and the Impalers.
Another version of the Secret Syde including Jon Davies made a surprising and unannounced performance in Konstanz, Germany at Albertus Magnus Haus. Hans Hunsfeld performed on drums and Nuri Zoltanov played the bass guitar while Jon Davies played guitar and vocals.
This Germanic version of the Secret Syde, re-spelled to "Sekrit Side", so as not confuse the new band with the original Secret Syde, recorded a crude demo in Marksburg Castle in Braubach, Germany. Copies of this "Sekrit Side" demo are circulating today among collectors on the internet, but is hard to find. Some of the songs include "Red Dawn", "Bolshevixen" and "Princess of Darkness". Secret Syde fans consider these songs to be some of the best ever written by Jon Davies. Bolshevixen is one of the most listened to Secret Syde songs on their Secret Syde/Rarities page on myspace.
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