This is a radio commercial we cut in the studio around this time, with the ad exec on vocals and guitar, my roommate Steve Keifer on keys, me on bass, Chuck on drums and my then-gf Liz O’Brien on backing vocals. It was stuck on the end of the master tape to I included it here for laughs. But I also include it here to talk a bit about Liz, who was a huge help to the band in a thousand ways. She ran sound for us at rehearsals and live, helped set up the PA, painted the 3-headed dragon background you see on some of the photos, two versions of the sign we used on our drum riser.
It was taken from an illustration, and she gridded out a bed-sheet and re-drew it. I still have it, although it’s a bit worse for wear from being folded. She must have bought 2 dozens little plastic cans of hobby paint for the gold color. The first one was for the original logo, based on the letters from the Rainbow logo, which she adapted to spell “Vengeance”. She also did the final version of the sign, using a new logo designed by Kevin Bodo (at least we think it was, we had some problems with plagiarism with the design of the original Predator cover, but I’ll drop that now).
We added a hinge and an extension onto the sign with “Inc” added after we changed the name. We were undoubtably (in my mind) first band called Vengeance, playing metal, having created our name in ’79-’80 after looking through some album covers for inspiration and Herbie, our bass player, came up with “King’s Vengeance” after the Thin Lizzy song on Fighting, and we shortened it to Vengeance.
A dutch band of posers got signed, so they were edging us out, so fanzines, in which we figured prominently due to my constant corresponding, called us US Vengeance, and we considered that name. However, Chuck had the brainstorm for Vengeance Inc. (we thought Vengeance Incorporated was better finally) from Murder Inc. and we stuck with that. Liz also drew the cover for Malicious Intent, which is in the promo section but not used here because frankly, it’s not great. It was ok at the time, but it didn’t translate. However, she spent endless hours on it and a lot of criticism from band members, and she never lost her cool and always did her best.
I think we all gave her a lot of crap about mixing also, and that wasn’t very nice of us. She was respected by a lot of people because we had great sound and most bands had a friend doing sound who drank the entire gig and didn’t know jack about sound, and we had a dedicated professional.
She did a lot of typing for the correspondence, which in those days was voluminous, the Vengeance fanzine, designed flyers and a million other things. When I started the studio, she originally was the designated tape operator and engineer in the booth, but she never really took to it for some reason and also I began doing most of the recording of my parts in the booth instead of the main studio, so I ran it myself.
Also, recording analog includes a lot of “punch-ins”, which is a precision art, if you fuck up you can erase a pain-stakingly constructed take, or miss a good drop-in, and a musician who is very familiar with the music can just do it better. Or I thought so anyway.
The point is, we grew apart as I became more involved with studio work, and for nearly 4 years we pretty much retired from live gigs while recording the first 2 albums, and there was little for her to do. We broke up in ’89, and the song is somewhat based on and dedicated to our relationship. It’s a long time coming, but thanks for everything Liz. I don’t think we could have done it without you. Oh, and she sang back-ups on this radio spot. She also had a great alto voice, with the same range as Karen Carpenter and able to sing very low for a girl.