“Me and Danny jammed with Steve in the rehearsal studio,” adds Dave, looking’ decidedly like you’d expect an ex-Lord to look, “and we thought, ‘Hey! We got the makings of a great band – all we need is a singer!
Let’s put’ a show! I suggest in response to this somewhat dramatic exclamation in true Garland/Rooney tradition.
“Hey, man,” drawls Steve in cartoon rock ‘n’ roller voice, “let’s start a rock ‘n’ roll band so we can get some chicks!”
We laugh heartily as Steve continues: “I had Billy’s phone number for a year – he was recommended to me for another band I was in back in New York. So I thought ‘what-the-hell’, I called him up and said, ‘Send me a tape and a picture’. Billy calls back the next day and says, ‘F*** the tape and picture – I’m coming over!’
WE WENT in the studio, did two songs – and that was it. This was like June/July ‘89. Then he went back to New York to get his shit together so he could come back again.”
Billy: “Of course while I was gone Steven had second thoughts and told the other members they had made a mistake! But I like to think that if I had never come over when I did, the band would have all gone their separate ways.”
Oh you’d like to think that would you? I nod, sending up his arrogance.
“Yeah! I would like to think that,” asserts Billy, smiling wryly with obligatory gleam in the eyes.
“Dream on” mutters Steve in the same tone one would utter ‘F*** YOU! And we laugh once more.
“That’s what great about the band,” enthuses Dave. “It’s all happened naturally. It’s like a jigsaw that’s fixing itself and we’re just sitting there watching it.”
I take it things are progressing well then?
“Almost too well” replies our Bill with a B-Movie sense of foreboding.
Steve: “we’re quite shocked by the speed of things. There’s a lot of good bands, but I think that the rock scene has been really dead here for a while. I don’t think the kids have been supporting the scene until now. It’s good timing for us.”
“I’ll tell you something, Ray,” interjects Billy “I really feel the expectation has been raised to an almost unreasonable level with us. We’d only done about seven gigs until we did our first headline at the Marquee and it was like everybody was expecting the second coming of Christ or something!”
Dave: “we were shocked at the turn-out for that headline! It was amazing!”
Steve: “we had no choice except to try and do it like that”
So how far can this scaly gutter-stalker spit its flames? Does it end at ‘Marquee headliner’ status? A terminal ailment in some cases.
“This is a world class band,” declares Billy coolly, in no uncertain terms. “We’ve all been through the basic training two or three times already. We’re going to lead an accelerated existence. In six months we’ve gone through what most bands go through in three years. Great things will come from this band. I hope that the public appreciates it and we’re still around to pick up the royalties…..”
Can I ask you a silly question: why are you called the Kill City Dragons?
“Where we rehearse we always eat at this diner and Danny and me were sitting there drinking coffee trying to come up with a name. Right across the street there’s this Chinese take-away called “Imperial Dragons” and I said, ‘Hey! Why don’t we……”
Put on a show?
“No, call ourselves the Imperial Dragons!” Steve continues. “But Dave didn’t like ‘Imperial’ so we kicked some things around and we had always had this ‘Kill City’ idea.
Billy: “it’s taken from a post Stooges Iggy/James Williamson album title. I think Kill City is supposed to be Detroit.
“But to us Kill City is anywhere you’re having a rough time,” laughs Steve.
“So that, combined with the Dragons part of the takeaways name………”
Sheesh! Lucky they weren’t sitting opposite McDonalds.
KERRANG! ISSUE 296 JUNE 1990
KILL CITY DRAGONS, SILVER HEARTS, MARQUEE CLUB – Live review by DAVE REYNOLDS
NOT EVEN the England v Egypt game on the box could persuade the Glam crowd to stay away from this one.
True, the Marquee wasn’t sold-out but it wasn’t exactly dead either. And why on earth should it he when the main attraction everyone had backcombed their hair for look like they’re on the verge of a major deal and the support band are a bouncing bunch of baby hard rockers with a reputedly hot demo to sell?
I’ve seen Silver Hearts a couple of times now and they’re getting better, the more gigs they notch up on the bedposts. With a set that appears to centre around a ‘70’s bubblegum pop hard rock influence full of catchy chorus lines and basic rock ‘n’ roll chords tacked to a Space Hopper beat these boys could he on to something. With an image that centres upon a kinda Quireboys-meets-Monterrey look (Sorta Man At Oxfam, y’mean? – Ed) then they probably really have got it made.
The Kill City Dragons on the other hand, seem to think they’ve got nothing more to prove. After all with an EP in the offing, a very nice line in T-shirts on sale out front, and that major label deal about to be inked, aren’t they set to become the new Kerrang! centrefold kids?
Certainly, but I’d really love to see them do something a little bit more interesting musically than just rehash the glory days of Hanoi Rocks and the Lords Of The New Church. They merge the New York sound of ‘73 with some late ‘70’s and early ’80’s punk bite. But the only New York sound of ’73 I ever got into was that of Kiss. That’s probably why I preferred the Silver Hearts.
The Dragons’ image, all trash Vaudeville chic, harks back to the days when the Hanois trod the old Wardour Street Marquee boards. Perhaps in too many ways, the Dragons are unconsciously relying on the cult appeal of Hanoi Hocks. But there’s no denying that the Dragons have the look and sound that’s driving London crazy with guitarist Steve Von Saint and frontman and Zinny Zan lookalike Billy G Bang not lacking when it comes to the girls down the front wanting to grab at a sleeping armadillo.
I’ve seen the Dragons once before and, well, it’s kinda like when you see an ex-girlfriend for the first time in months. You loved them way back, but now the appeal isn’t quite the same. So you stay friends stay in touch and be happy in the knowledge that they’re doing well for themselves.