Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Voodoo Idols - Temptation

The Voodoo Idols were a Tampa band active in the early 80's. In 1982, they released two 7" singles: first, "Do the Kirk" b/w "Grunt Grunt" (included on the Killed by Florida compilation) and a cover of the Stooges "Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell," then "We Dig Nixon" (included on Killed by Death Vol. 10) b/w Dead Air. Both are pretty rare. I don't have them (well, I have mp3's, but there is no honor in posting such things), but I do have this nice LP from 1984. For a sample of what you're getting into, I've embedded the catchiest song, "Hairtrigger." Here's the liner notes from the back cover (pictured below):

From the legendary Florida Music Scene where Jim Morrison grew up, where organ king Lenny Dee owns his own restaurant, where Randy California destroyed millions of his own brain cells, and Patti Smith took her infamous dive off the stage, comes another band ready to make the rest of the world aware that Florida is more than just that downard pointed thumb sticking out of Georgia.
The first album by the Voodoo Idols is all that their earlier singles promised it would be. Heavily influenced by the Stooges (Larry, Moe and Curly), Dobie Gillis TV shows, Trashy Horror Movies, World War II, and Dick Clark's Blooper Specials, the Idols lay down a vicious backbeat with twin guitars and saxophone pounding out rhythms. Over all this Johnnie on vocals, with more moves on stage than Elvis in hell and a delivery that many have tried to copy but none succeeded, an Idols show is always a treat and something to look forward to.
I'll leave it for the band to discuss their influences in future interviews, but suffice to say it is diverse. I can safely say this as I've sold them many of their records over the past four years. To wrap things up just let me say this: for a great time buy this record and play it, for a greater time catch the Idols live.
Mike Mann
Big Time Record Mogul

So what do the Voodoo Idols sound like? The phrase that comes into my mind is "The Cramps without the rockabilly influence." It's a weird, grungy swamp rock with distorted guitars, skronky saxophone and funky drums. In fact, this was one of those rare occassions when an album actually sounded exactly like what I wanted it to sound like. I'm not sure what I was basing that on, the cover or the name, but it just gave off this impression of "swamp." (I was vaguely aware of them before--my friend Dave told me they sucked, and that all the other Tampa bands (meaning, I guess, the orthodox hardcore bands) hated them.)
Like I said, the Cramps infulence is pretty obvious. Not only is their name taken from a Cramps song, but the song "Temptation" is actually about The Cramps. I wish I still had the lyric sheet that came with it, becuase I'll be damned if I can make any words out, but I know there was a line about driving across the country in a station wagon, "watching horror movies all the way," and you can make out the refrain "Livin' in a psychedelic jungle." The music on that track sounds like a grotesque of rockabilly, and the vocals seem to be mimicking Lux Interior's rockabilly hiccup. The first track, "Don't Call Me Back," has a drum beat that reminds me of Joy Division's "Heart and Soul." Other than that, it's hard to think of anything to compare it to.

Bonus Track: The Voodoo Idols - Postcard (mp3)
Fast forward a couple years, probably 1986. I'm in the lame record store in Stuart, flipping through the stacks, and there's another Voodoo Idols record there! I look at the back. It's just three guys now, and they don't really look much like the guys on the first album. A different band with the same name, maybe? Well, it's recorded in Ft. Lauderdale, and the contact info is for Tampa, so it must be them. So I buy the album, take it home and play it, and am confronted by very generic, unexceptional blues rock. It sounds like some local band that you'd see playing at some cheezy bar. But I went ahead and ripped "Postcard," which I think is a pretty nice song with sweet lyrics. Consider this my message to friends that I haven't kept in contact with. Snazzy cover, anyway. You can find some info on the web about Temptation and the singles, but I've never seen any information about Crocodile Smoke. A google search shows that there are plenty of copies out there for sale, though.
EDIT: Apparantly, I left this song out of the file, so here it is:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Burn was missing from Temptation. Is there any chance of getting the rest of Crocodile Smoke and the singles from you on mp3?

2/07/2009 6:01 AM  
Blogger Chris Oliver said...


I posted Burn now. I didn't digitze the rest of Crocodile Smoke, so I can't upload it, but if you google it, you can find a vinyl copy for very cheap. If you want the singles, send me an email. laflizard at yahoo dot com.

2/08/2009 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

8/02/2009 5:27 AM  
Anonymous Honquijote said...

Thanks a lot for sharing this... =)

10/22/2012 4:26 PM  

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