Wednesday, August 12, 2015

"Keep It Tight" by Single Bullet Theory

Song#:  1362
Date:  03/05/1983
Debut:  84
Peak:  78
Weeks:  4
Genre:  New Wave, Rock

Pop Bits:  This rock band from Richmond, Virginia, were not the first nor would they be the last to be done-in by the corporate machinery. Initially, they went the indie route and did their own promotion, set up their own gigs, and even self-released an EP in 1977. A couple of years later they started getting more attention when they would open for and tour with hot acts like The Pretenders, The Ramones, and Patti Smith. They were doing quite well on their own, but the lure of being on a major label was hard to ignore and after a couple of bites they settled on Nemperor Records, a subsidiary of CBS. Things went downhill from there. Unable to secure producers they wanted, folks at CBS finally forced the band into the studio with the label's choice of producer. With the label in charge, the band's sound got a bit of a revamp into commercial territory, they were put on a horrible tour with Adam Ant, and there was little money for promotion. A self-titled debut LP did get issued and this first single made it onto the pop chart for a month. A second single tested quite well and appeared to be shaping up as a bigger hit, but with the band at odds with the label, CBS decided to pull the plug and SBT's major label days came to an end. The group would also split up soon after.

ReduxReview:  I think the band was looking for a more straight-ahead rock sound, but ended up with something that was a pop-ier version of Nick Lowe or Elvis Costello. I don't think that is too bad of an area to end up in and indeed this is a catchy little tune with a fun video that seemed to be perfect for MTV. Unfortunately, I just don't think the band got promoted well enough. This song should have done better. But with the band not really wanting to play ball, it was easy for the label to just ignore them and move on to other artists. It's too bad because I think this band had a chance.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The band was originally called X-Breed, which they pronounced as "cross breed," but few people got the name right with most calling them "ex breed" or "ten breed." Apparently a friend of the band's was deep into conspiracy theories and had been researching the Kennedy assassination, which included the Warren Commission's single-bullet theory. The phrase was suggested as a band name and it stuck.  2) An early version of this song was recorded by the band and included on Planet Records' 1980 new music compilation "Sharp Cuts." The song almost got the band a deal with Planet, but they declined a contract. As with CBS, the band was not thrilled with the assigned producer. The band then rerecorded the song for their debut LP.


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