bad crazy

Bad Crazy

band/music starstarstarstarstar vocals starstarstarstar sound/mix starstarstarstar songs starstarstarstarstar

Bad Crazy *remastered mp3s Aug. 2008
produced and mixed by Guy with Curt & Mike
lyrics by Guy © 1992 Propaganda Records
except 05 Action by *Scott/Priest/Connally/Tucker
Bad Crazy logo, layout and design, by John O’Neill
Vengeance logo designed by Kevin Bodo
photography and effects by Teresa Hattaway
recorded at Fabulous e.g. studios, Brandon, FL

Bad Crazy

music & lyrics
01 Tiger Shark
02 It’s Not Over
(track link) It’s Over
03 Bad Crazy
04 Meltdown
05 Action
06 Goodbye ’89
07 Damned if You Do
08 The Gates
09 Beijing
10 Beast w/ 2 Backs
(track link) Rolling
11 Nomad
12 Liar
13 Chase the Dragon
14 Nightmare Landscape
(end link) Goodbye
bad crazy
total time
live tracks (bonus)
from BL&C
01 Tiger Shark (live)
02 Bad Crazy (live)
03 Beast W/ 2 Backs (live)
04 Goodbye ’89 (live)
05 Action (live)
06 Meltdown (live)
live tracks (bonus)
total time

Vengeance Incorporated is:

Guy bass, lead and backing vocals
Mike lead and rhythm guitars, backing vocals
Curt lead and rhythm guitars
Chuck drums

Bad Crazy

side one

Tiger Shark
Curt intro & 2nd solo lead guitar
Mike 2nd lead solo
Guy keyboards & all vocals

It’s Not Over
Curt lead solo
Mike intro & fill guitar
Guy Ensoniq glockenspiel & strings
Guy & Mike backing vocals

Bad Crazy
Curt lead & fill guitars
Guy Ensoniq orchestra hits, horns & strings, all vocals

Guy Ensoniq strings, DX7 effects & all guitars
Chuck drum program
Guy & Mike backing vocals

Guy, Mike & Curt backing vocals

Goodbye ’89
Guy stacked guitars, Ensoniq strings, acoustic guitars
Curt 1st solo
Mike 2nd solo
Guy & Mike backing vocals

Damned If You Do
Curt lead solo
Guy all vocals

side two

The Gates
Curt electric & acoustic guitars, Ensoniq strings & flutes
Guy additional Ensoniq strings

Curt lead solo
Guy & Mike backing vocalsBeast w/2 Backs
Curt intro & harmony guitars, 2nd solo
Mike 1st solo
Guy DX7 strings & effects
Guy & Mike backing vocals

Curt acoustic guitars, lead solo
Guy DX7 strings
Guy & Mike backing vocals

Mike intro lead, 1st & 3rd lead solo
Curt 2nd & 4th solo
Guy DX7 strings
Guy & Mike backing vocals

Chase the Dragon
Mike intro lead, 1st solo
Curt 2nd solo
Guy DX7 strings & effects, all vocals

Nightmare L&scape
Curt lead & fill guitars
Guy & Mike backing vocals Guy Ensoniq ‘glass’


This project was the high point of Vengeance’s recording, song-writing and innovative talents. I’m as proud of this as anything on which I’ve ever worked, and I think its by far the best thing the band ever did together.

It was very much a group effort as well, more than anything we’d ever done, probably mostly because it was the first time the same line-up had been there from start to finish. Although the songs are credited to their primary songwriters, the band had a huge influence on the arrangements and the feel of the songs.

Armed with a great lineup of players who worked well together and a brand new Tascam 16 track, (as well as new Mirage sampler) we went into the studio to do the album we knew we could do. I had massive studio experience now, I was recording other bands full time in e.g. studios and basically producing all the projects that came in, as well as playing on many of them.

To start the sessions, Mike brought a song from his Brat days called Black Widow which we reworked into Tiger Shark and for which I wrote new lyrics. I never even heard the original version so I wasn’t corrupted by the melody they used. Mike also had an original idea for the main riff for It’s Not Over, I added a prechorus and chorus. Bad Crazy was my original idea, with a break lifted from West Side Story’s Cool.

I wrote Bad Crazy on acoustic guitar (see “Rollin’) and it was knocked around in the practice studio for weeks before Chuck came up with a workable beat that finally got the song flowing. I bumped heads with Curt over the weird timing changes and strange break, but once I made clear what I was trying to do the band liked it.

I was always gratified with the way they would all work on my half-baked ideas with a lot of effort until we had workable tunes. For a while there though, the guys thought I was nuts on this one, we must have gone over it literally dozens and dozens of times, and tempers may have worn thin at my persistence, plus the weirdness of the song.

We had our first ever real “manager” and recording agent at the time who was shopping us around to his contacts at major labels, and he was always abjuring us to come up with less progressive stuff and dumb it down for the masses, plus write more commercial melodies.

I don’t remember consciously trying to write commercial songs, it was more that we just wrote what we wrote, and when something like “It’s Not Over” or “’89” came out nicely, we were like “oh good, this might fit the bill for the commercial stuff they want”.

I do think ’89 was a composition I’d been working on just as my own song, but then it occured to me to convert it to a power ballad, and it was thenceforth shaped accordingly, so there could have been some calculation involved. “Over” was considered for a single at the time, as was ’89, but like many things, finances never did allow it. Our possible #1 hit was thus denied.

Meltdown was mine start to finish, none of the other guys were involved though Chuck reprogrammed the drums. Well actually…

The studio was in my house and I often did demos of my own songs, but on this one the demo ended up having so many stacked guitars on it I just went ahead and finished it up, it wasn’t worth doing over again just so Mike and Curt could play on the original rhythm section with Chuck.

The drum machine seemed adequate and it was always difficult to re-record drums over existing music with perfect synch, so we just elected to leave the machine. I actually think I just gave Chuck the ‘programming” credit because he was irked about leaving the drum machine on there!

Also, the arrangement was complicated with a lot of holes in it which would have meant a lot of tedious click-track programming, so this just seemed a lot easier and it sounds fine, I think, there is so little drums in it I don’t think anyone could tell the difference.

Mike and I did the background vocals, with the bit with the vocal swell on “dragon that you hunted” being his idea, which I quite liked and still do. On the end there are 5 different counter-melodies. I was probably influenced by Queen’s “The Prophet’s Song” where they do something similar, but its far from a lift. Its my favorite job of work from the album, and not just because I played it all, I also think its the best melodic piece I ever wrote, better than ’89 even.

I felt very clever working out that chord pattern, the way it all led one chord to another, changing keys several times, and it worked really well with the melody. I was the most satisfied with that composition as anything I’d done up to that point. We to playback again and again after we’d finished up the vocals, which rarely happens, you usually just want to get away from the song a lot of times after you’ve worked on it intensely.

Action was a tune we had been doing live as an encore, using the Raven arrangement. It was such a cool song that we added it to the LP, the one and only cover tune we ever included on an album.

The band is very tight on this one, we ended up using the “live” rhythm section, the four of us, on the final version, with a few guitar “specials” over-dubbed, like on the scream on “mama you don’t underSTAND!”, as well as all the vocals. There is no proper solo on the song, so it was done 90%, instrumentally at least, live in the studio.

You can hear Chuck saying something at the end that picked up over the drum mics. I think we had done a number of takes, with the guitarists or me blowing it several times, and he was pretty proficient at the tune because we had been playing it live for so long I think he was a little exasperated, and he was asking “was that it or what?”, something like that. It sounded funny so I left it in, I always loved that stuff on albums.

Goodbye ’89 was mine, with Mike helping out on arranging it. I had worked endlessly on this song trying to perfect it and make its complicated arrangement and all the different parts and tempos work smoothly together, and it was really baffling me, I couldn’t get the mellow part and the heavy part to work together then segue into the solo.

Mike came up with the idea “just leave the chorus out before the solos, then come right in with the bridge after the solos” and it was perfect, all the sudden it worked. Everything just clicked after that, when its right you know it and it feels right.

I used stacked guitars on this one as on Meltdown, going for a Brian May type effect. I also did keys on just about every song on the album, though some aren’t very audible, they helped fatten up the sound.

The Mirage got a fantastic string sound, and we used it on several songs. I was messing with keys a lot at this time, even doing a fair amount of writing on piano and keys, and I was very keen to use them everywhere. The intro to ’89 seems a bit bombastic now, I think I was just enamored by the string sound, which was very good for the time. I don’t think the modern digital strings can touch it, really, it has a sound all its own, its very other-worldly, probably due to the primitive sampling technology at the time.

Damned if You Do was written part by part in the practice studio by me, Chuck and Curt. I think Mike just kind of hung out and offered suggestions without actually playing guitar. Not a bad way to write a song, just listening and adding input. We intentionally made parts of it 7/8 just to be weird. It also contains my only recorded bass solo, and I used to do a short one there live too. The lyrics included some direct quotes by our then “manager” where he gave us contradictory advice on how to write or fix songs.

The Gates was all Curt, who played all the parts and programmed the drums. I added more keys to fill it out later. He had used a very slow attack on the original strings and it was so late it sounded like the strings were out of time. I probably didn’t really deserve a credit on there, it was such a trivial fix, but I’m an asshole about credits, or at least I was then on our stuff.

I used to do endless uncredited keys, vocals, guitar and bass on stuff I recorded for other bands in the studio. If they needed any of those things, I’d throw it on sometime when I was there by myself and could really work on it and develop a nice part, and they were usually very happy with it, but I was never insistent on being credited. On Vengeance stuff however, I think I was more anal.

Beijing and Nomad had been written by Curt while he was living in Alabama before he rejoined the band. He sent a rough tape to me, and I wrote lyrics and melody before he returned, then the band worked out the final arrangements in the studio. Mike came up with the big end piece (where the bass and backing guitars modulate up over the main riff) on Beijing and it just made the climax. Mike was always very good at listening to an already composed song and coming up with great ideas to ice the song off. I suggested the beat from Rainbow’s “Gates of Babylon” after we struggled to find a groove for the lick Curt had written.

Beast was another collaboration from an original idea by Mike and parts added by me. This is probably my least favorite song on the album, mostly because I was never happy with my melody on the chorus, it really sounded trite, its my weakest effort out of this set for sure, but I made several attempts at reworking it and just couldn’t come up with anything better.

I had similar problems with Nomad. I think it was because both those songs were very riff driven, composed on guitar with an ear on the lick and not melody placement. When I wrote songs by myself or in collaboration with one of the other members I was very aware that I had to eventually come up with a melody, so I shaped the structure accordingly. I do like the “horn chords” we used on the backing vocals, Batman-like 7ths, 9ths, 11ths and even a 13th on the end of Nomad.

Also, on Beast there was a big “party” section during the solos, where I had the band and all our girlfriends whooping it up after “ride ’em, cowboy!”, but Mike came up with a really dense and full lead solo, and the party noises were just too much and I had to leave them out of the final mix, which I very much regretted. I had done like 4 channels of the 7 of us and it sounded like 100 people, which was probably why it was too distracting. Technically, it was amazing, though! If Mike had not worked so hard on composing the multi-tracked solo I would have been very keen to drop this one from the LP, I disliked the chorus that much, although I liked the verse very much, and thought the lyrics were funny. Also, Curt’s guitar on ‘silent scream’ is very good.

Liar was mine, even the arrangement was pretty well set when I presented it to the band. Another song written completely on bass, you can tell its heavily influenced by Steve Harris, especially the intro, which he used to do a lot, a thick bass intro with guitar noodling over it, like on “Still Life” from “Piece of Mind”. We used to play almost everything on that album in our cover band days. This has obvious Led Zep influence.

Chase the Dragon was one I wrote late in the process, not being ready for the test recording phase, so it was only recorded once, the only song not extensively reworked since we had begun recording. We always wrote them, rehearsed and shaped them a bit in the studio, recorded the entire project, including all the vocals and etc, revamped anything that needed it, then did final versions. That may be why is was one of the few we never played live.

Chase is another example of lifts, “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and “Gates of Babylon” were big influences here. Cool tempo-change break at the end, with me doing my Freddie imitation on the ad-libs.

Nightmare Landscape was another one of my bass compositions, with the band working it out. I liked the 3 counterpoint melodies at the end. I purposely left holes for the drums to give Chuck some space. The break on this is interesting too, we did a lot of stuff like that, very progressive, lots of time signatures, tempo changes, key changes etc.

We were playing steadily by now and all the tunes on Bad Crazy were played out extensively, even Meltdown.

I think only Chase was never played live, probably because we never rehearsed it a lot, just got it down and recorded it. Beijing was also never done live (the vocals were ball-bustingly high, I had to do it a few lines at a time in the studio, and I think honestly I slowed the tape a bit, like 5%, a quarter tone, not enough to sound like Alvin, but just enough so I could reach the notes without straining.

Ironically, since we had never done it live, the director of the one vid we did for this LP picked this as the one to do, and we made a video of it in the old Masquerade theater. It was before we had started the final versions, but the preliminary version was weak, so we recorded a special version of the song just for the video.

We then re-recorded it for the album. I always did all the drums for a project at the same time so they were consistent throughout the album, so using a track from an old session would have scotched my plans, so the video version was never released to the public in any other form.