You Better Believe It
produced and mixed by Guy
© 1988 Kip Kirby
recorded at Fabulous e.g. studios, Brandon, FL
Guy bass, lead & backings vocals, lead & rhythm guitars, keys, DX7 effects
Mike lead & rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Recorded on spec after a deal set up by ace producer Kim Fowley (The Runaways), who took a short-lived (end ultimately fruitless) interest in the band. Still, I’m gratified for the time he did spend, I’m sure he’s an insanely busy man who is pitched music by bands constantly.
He said he had some spec songs he believed could be hits, and if we would record one he would include it in his usual pitch to record companies. I’m guessing he had dozens of bands and hundreds of songs he shopped around, so I’m happy he thought us worthwhile enough to work with. My cousin Kip had also mailed him a package and it had this song, and he and I both suggested to Kim it might be worthwhile to develop. Kim agreed and we were off.
Vengeance recorded this as a demo Fowley to shop around, but nothing came of the deal. The band learned the song from a demo cassette and arranged their own version and recorded it in one afternoon and sent it out the next day. The master tapes are unavailable, so this very poor mp3 was taken from a cassette demo. Curt was still in Alabama at this time and had not rejoined the group and we didn’t feel like Nick would be any help on this, he made have left the band by then, I can’t remember.
We rehearsed the song live and worked out an arrangement. Mike played guitar with Chuck to get the drum track down while I engineered, then we junked that guitar part and over-dubbed over the mastered drum track. Mike and I put rhythm guitar and I did the bass, then Mike and I did a solo a piece, I think I did the lead on the intro and he did the outro. I added a bunch of keys and put a spacey keyboard intro on to it all (it was just some atmospheric sounds, so I didn’t have to synch to come in with the band). Mike & I stacked a lot of backing vocals and I did an insane screaming lead and we were pretty proud of it. I doubted it would be a hit single, however, but Kim said he liked it.
Kim Fowley was actually very cool. I snail-mailed him (all you could do in those days) after being given a lead to him by Ronnie Galetti from Nasty Savage. He called me on the phone several times and we had long, one-sided rambling conversations on his theories on how to be successful in the biz. He also mailed me a thick stack of addresses and phone numbers for like 100+ indy and major labels, A&R people, agents, managers and clubs in LA.
I mailed promo packs and cassettes to every single one, and not one panned out, but still, it was a really nice gesture, I’m sure people bugged him all the time. I assume he shopped this around for us at least a little, unless he didn’t like our version, we did the song at his behest and he claimed he liked it. It was fun to have a project to do and an interpretation of someone else’s song, but of course nothing ever came from it, but having our own studio made it painless and free, at least.
I was bothered that he didn’t have even one suggestion, which either meant 1. he didn’t care, B. he hadn’t actually listened to it, or III. it was perfect. You do the math. I have to say it was fun to take a very bare bones demo (I wish I still had it, it was a guy on electric guitar playing chords while singing over the guitar) and make it our own. We wrote the lick, the solo rhythm and the intro and outro.
I’d like to say a bit about Kip: he and his older brother Kurt were like gods to me and my brother when we were kids. They were from California (Placentia, outside of L.A.) and he knew all the cool music and movies that hadn’t made it to Ohio yet. He took me to see Star Wars, he turned me on to Queen, especially Night at the Opera and pointed out how cool and squirrelly things like May’s solo on Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon.
He and Kurt played acoustic guitar and sang, mostly Cat Stevens (Father and Son, Wild World); America (Everyone I Know is from California, Sandman); ELP (From the Beginning, Still You Turn me On); John Denver (Sunshine on My Shoulder, Country Roads) and Eagles (Already Gone, the first tune I ever learned).
We went on vacation with them one year and I became obsessed with guitar and never looked back. A couple years later they came to Florida, where we had moved and I was into Ted Nugent and could play passable lead and he was blown away and I was proud as hell. I sent him a lot of stuff from Vengeance and he just couldn’t believe it (contra the song).
Due to intra-family bullshit (his mom was my mom’s sister and they fell out) after he moved and lost his address and phone number my aunt was a complete jerk and wouldn’t put me back in touch with him. I had wanted to fly to Colorado, where he was living, and play with him and spend time together.
He died a few years ago and I never got to see him again after a few phone calls in the ’90s. Still, I owe him a debt for getting me into music in a big way, actually seeing someone play makes all the difference, and he taught me rudimentary chords and a couple songs and got me going. His brother Kurt has passed too. If you were a band in the ’80s you are seeing more and more of your friends and family pass as the years go by and that’s where I’m at now. Last time I called Mike he said “who died”? very reasonably because that’s the only time I talk to him. So it goes.