The History Of The One-Hit Wonder (Side Projects & Supergroups) – Part Three

"Go!" by Tones On Tail
 
There’s a very good chance that you’ve never heard of this band, but I bet you’ve heard this song many, many times without even realizing it.  It’s been heard in hockey arenas and on retro radio for years.  Still not ringing a bell?  Keep reading.
 
When he was still in Bauhaus, Daniel Ash started an experimental side project in order to showcase his own material.  He joined forces with bassist Glenn Campling who normally hauled Bauhaus’ gear during their tours and also designed some of the artwork for their albums.  
 
While Tones On Tail released a number of ignored singles, Bauhaus broke up.  Ash recruited his former bandmate, Kevin Haskins, to play drums for his new outfit turning the duo into a trio.
 
There was only one proper Tones On Tail album.  It was called Pop and it was released in 1984.  (Yes, they used that title long before U2.)  Performance was the first single.  It flopped.  Lions, the follow-up, didn’t fare much better.  However, the B-side to that second single, Go!, unexpectedly became an enormous hit in dance clubs and on radio.  Too bad it wasn’t on Pop.  The commercial success of that single might’ve helped the band move some records.  According to their official label biography, they were considered too depressing to get into.  As a result, this 2-year-old side project "semi-acrimoniously" called it a day the same year they released Pop. 
 
After a failed attempt to lure singer Peter Murphy back to Bauhaus, Ash, Haskins and David J started the highly successful Love & Rockets which lasted until 1999.  Meanwhile, Go! became one of those songs you couldn’t escape.  It was used in movies like Career Opportunities, Grosse Pointe Blank and Party Monster.  It’s been featured in an ad campaign for gum.  You can hear it on numerous retro compilations and sometimes, when you’re watching a hockey game, usually one involving The Edmonton Oilers, just before the puck is dropped, you’ll hear its familiar refrain:   "Ya ya ya ya ya ya yaya ya!" 
 
Not bad for a song relegated to the flip side of a unpopular single after being rejected for album consideration. 
 
"Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2" by The Class Of ’99
 
Layne Staley was no stranger to side projects.  In 1995, he sang for the Seattle supergroup, Mad Season, which also featured Mike McCready of Pearl Jam among his bandmates.  (Remember "River Of Deceit"?)  After only making one album with this lineup, Staley went back to Alice In Chains and his increasingly dangerous heroin habit.
 
While AIC was struggling to get back on track near the end of the decade, Staley would form another supergroup called The Class Of ’99.   Among the members:  guitarist Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine & Audioslave, and drummer Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction.  They would never make a proper album.  But 2 of their songs would be recorded for the 1998 horror film, The Faculty, writer Kevin Williamson’s awful reworking of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.  (The twist is that the aliens are disguised as high school teachers.) 
 
The band would do cover versions of both parts of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall.  Part Two was issued as a single and would become a Top 20 hit on Mainstream Rock Radio and a Top 40 hit on Alternative stations. 
 
3 years later, Layne Staley’s dead body would be found decomposing in his condo.  What a waste of great talent.
 
"Honestly" by Zwan
 
Billy Corgan is best known for leading The Smashing Pumpkins to greatness for 12 years.  After the band broke up in 2000, Billy decided to form a new group called Zwan.  Among the members he recruited were Pumpkins drummer, Jimmy Chamberlain, and A Perfect Circle bassist, Paz Lenchantin.  What began as a trio turned into a fivesome.  (Lenchantin was the last to join.)
 
Their one and only album, Mary Star Of The Sea, was released in January 2003.  It spawned one hit single:  Honestly, which peaked at #7 on the Modern Rock chart and #21 on the Mainstream Rock chart. 
 
So, what happened?  After an auspicious beginning, why did Zwan die so young?  According to Corgan, "Sex and drugs and junk."  He elaborated more specifically on his accusations in interviews which some of his ex-bandmates have denied.  (The rest have stayed silent.) Also, he later revealed that his heart was never really in this new project.  Is it any wonder he’s reuniting The Pumpkins?
 
"Layla" by Derek & The Dominos
 
Eric Clapton had it bad for Pattie Boyd.  Unfortunately, she was taken.  By a Beatle.
 
George Harrison met the beautiful model while shooting A Hard Day’s Night.  2 years later, Pattie would become his first wife in 1966. 
 
Meanwhile, Clapton was an easily bored but highly successful guitarist.  After stints with Jon Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and The Yardbirds, Clapton formed the power trio, Cream, in the mid-60s.  After four albums, they parted company.  Clapton then went on to start and stop numerous supergroups and side projects.  Blind Faith was one.  Derek & The Dominos was another.
 
According to Wikipedia, there are two stories for the establishment of the latter’s name.  In the entry for Eric Clapton, credit is given to musician Tony Ashton, who, for some unexplained reason, called Eric "Derek".  Clapton had taken three members of Delaney & Bonnie And Friends to start a new group.  Wikipedia says Ashton renamed them "Derek & The Dominos".
 
But another Wikipedia entry, this one for Derek & The Dominos, claims that the band was originally called Eric & The Dynamos.  However, that name didn’t stick because of an accidental screw-up.  As the story goes, before they went onstage for their very first gig, the announcer called them "Derek & The Dominos" by mistake.  For some reason, the band decided to make the change.
 
Clapton met Pattie through her husband, George Harrison, who also happened to be one of Clapton’s closest pals.  He fell madly in love with her and the feeling was mutual which created a sticky situation.  He became so tormented by his attraction to her he made a double album of original material devoted completely to this startling development in his life.  It didn’t help that he was also stupidly addicted to smack.
 
The most notable song from the only Dominos album was Layla, the record’s sole hit.  After 2 years in release, it finally became an enormous success in 1972 thanks to the enduringly great guitar work by the late Duane Allman.  Reaching the Top 10 in America, it did better in Clapton’s home country.  (It peaked at #7 in the UK and, in 1982, it returned to the Top 5 there.)  20 years after it originally charted, Clapton issued an unplugged, solo version of the song which also enjoyed tremendous success.  (It hit #12 in America and won a Grammy for Best Rock Song.)  Tragedy and drugs prevented the band from continuing beyond that debut album.
 
Inevitably, Clapton was able to pull Boyd away from Harrison and incredibly, despite all this drama, they remained friends until George’s untimely death from lung cancer in late 2001.  Harrison officially divorced Boyd in 1977 and would find love again with his second wife, Olivia, later that same decade.  Clapton married Pattie in 1979 but the marriage was tumultuous.  Despite beating his heroin addiction, he became a violent alcoholic (he would solve that problem, too) and the marriage dissolved in 1988.
 
Perhaps Layla’s greatest legacy is its inclusion in the final moments of Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas.  Whenever I think of the song’s 2 killer licks (Allman’s familiar riff and that cool piano bit in the final act), I see blood red spaghetti sauce and the closing credits.
 
Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
9:30 p.m.
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Published in: on January 9, 2007 at 9:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

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