Back To The Past (11):
KIM LA CHANCE
This is the story of one of the biggest names in heavy metal. This lady was quite well known, especially in the underground scene. Names like ALOHA, VIXEN, HAWAII, MALISHA may sound familiar to some of you readers. This is the story of KIM LA CHANCE.
It starts in September ’81, when Kim joins Hawaï’s first heavy metal band VIXEN (not the Janet Gardner outfit) together with Jeff Graves-drums, Paul Escorpeso-bass (ex-MANICA) and Marty Friedman on guitar (who came from the Washington based band DEUCE). Friedman’s name will also return in bands like ALOHA, HAWAII, CACOPHONY and today MEGADETH.
They record a 5-track demo tape after two months containing “Angels From The Dust”, “Secret Of The Stars”, “Lady Savage”, “Living In Sin” and THE ANIMAL’s cover “House Of The Rising Sun”. April ’82 brings a second demo, again with “Angels From The Dust” and “Escape The Night”. In that same year, Mike Varney (boss of Shrapnel Records) selects “Angels From The Dust” for his compilation album “US Metal II”. He choose the version from the second demo, because it’s much faster and better. And VIXEN records another demo containing “Angels From The Dust”, “Living In Sin”, “Beg For Mercy” and “Escape The Night”. This also leads to the departure of Paul Escorpeso, who soon was replaced by a guy named Kimo. In ’82 the band recorded the 5-track album “Made In Hawaii”, which was released by Azra Records in ’83. It’s a shame that this masterpiece only came out one year after its recording. On the one-sided EP, we find the songs “The Young And The Reckless”, “Living In Sin”, “Escape The Night”, “Rocking Me Hard” and “Beg For Mercy” (with a short interlude of “Aloha EH” at the end). The first and last song are instrumentals. Kim’s vocals are high and therefore very recognizable. Sometimes, she even sounds like an opera singer.
But before the official release, Kim leaves the band and is being replaced by another metal maiden: Lisa Ruiz. VIXEN changes their name into ALOHA and under this name they record a new demo tape. On this tape we hear “Secret Of The Stars” and the fastest drummed song of that time: “The Pit And The Pendulum”. With “Heavy Metal Virgin” they appear on “Metal Massacre II”. But Lisa and Kimo don’t last long and are soon to be replaced by Gary St. Pierre (later in VICIOUS RUMORS) who sings & plays bass. Gary’s arrival leads to another name change: ALOHA becomes HAWAII. HAWAII’s future is great. They record two albums (“One Nation Underground” and “The Natives Are Restless”) and one EP (“Loud, Wild And Heavy”) and once again they appear on Mike Varney’s project “US Metal III” with “Secret Of The Stars”. Lisa Ruiz disappears and we think she resigned from the music business. Kim left because VIXEN had attracted people who wanted to change the image and credibility of the band. Since Kim had definite ideas of continuing to a more melodic sound, never afraid to experiment with new concepts and styles, she decided to start a band of her own. After leaving VIXEN, she immediately began to recruit new band members. At the same time, Danny Shishido of EXCALIBUR was looking to form a new band.
In November ’82, a half year before the “Made In Hawaii” EP was released, MALISHA was born. Original band members (next to KIM) are Darry Shihido on bass, Randy Hano on guitar and Ivar on drums. It’s the summer of ’83, when MALISHA record their first 5-track demo. By then, Ivar is being replaced by Craig Brooks and Rick Dingman. The demo was mailed to almost every metal and rock magazine around the world. So there was an unexpected demand for this tape. It contains “Hands Of The Ripper”, which opens with a long scream after the intro and sounds like the typical US Metal with speed breaks and solos. “Metal Wars” is slow and puts the brake on a bit. “Power Flight” is again an uptempo song. The demo tape ends with the ballad “Love For The Day” and “Serve Your Savage Beast” (which later becomes the album title). The demo sounds OK, but with only one guitar player it’s very difficult to create a heavy sound. MALISHA’s sound can best be described as ‘melodic heavy metal with a lot of variation’. After the release of the demo, Randy Hano quits the band and Kim decides to look for new talents. Los Angeles was the right place to be because it was (and still is) rich with good rock and metal musicians. Trying to put together the perfect combination for MALISHA, they came upon the most fantastic bands that nobody had ever heard of. Bands that were just playing in rehearsal studios all over the country. Bands that only needed a singer to make the line-up complete. The combination was clear. MALISHA (Kim) needed new talent and they were in need of Kim as their singer.
And so in ’86 we’ll find some new talented musicians back on MALISHA’s debut album “Serve Your Savage Beast”, released on Shardan Kane records. It’s a 9-track album with the five songs from the demo tape, added with “Valkyrie”, “Step Through Eternity”, “What I Believe” and “Burning Rage”. On the record, you’ll hear Ken Brown-bass, Dave Hall-drums, Rich Black-guitar, Steve la Voie-guitar, Glenn Noyes-drums, Billy Furtado-guitar/bass and Pierre Grill (engineer and owner of Rendez Vous recording) on keyboards. “Valkyrie” is a song, dedicated to Janne Stark (guitar player of the Swedish metal band OVERDRIVE and currently the writer of ‘The Encyclopedia Of Swedish Hard Rock And Heavy Metal’ (’96)). The album is full of variation and it’s a shame they didn’t get any further. Today, Kim is in a band called KRYSTALWERK, and she plays in the electronic/trance outfit SPACEDRUMS with percussionist Chaim Gueta and keyboardist Jim DeCicco, who have released a self-titled CD on Pyram-Axis Music in 2005. [http://www.spacedrums.com]. Furthermore, the VIXEN CD “The Works” (’04 Pyram-Axis Music) sees the light, which features thirteen remastered tracks and is a must for any serious 70’s-80’s metal collector. You can order a copy at http://www.cdbaby.com.
written by: Toine van Poorten (in collaboration with M. van Santen)/copyright Metal Maidens 1997 – revised in 2005)
METAL MAIDENS MAGAZINE
Back To The Past (11):