Exposé Online banner

Next Exit — One Way Ticket - 1981-82
(Light in the Attic , 1982/2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-09-20

One Way Ticket - 1981-82 Cover art

For some time now, I’ve been writing about the saga of Spokane’s Sweet Madness, a New Wave-ish art rock band active from 1979-81. Two compilations of their recordings have been released, and now One Way Ticket continues the story into its next phase. By 1981, the band had decided to ditch Spokane and head for Seattle, in the process modifying their sound by dropping keyboards and adding a new lead guitar player. The British ska band Madness was coming on the scene, so a name change was in order to keep people from thinking they were related. Thus was born Next Exit. They rearranged some of their existing tunes for the new lineup and started writing new tunes, and the demos they made in 1981-82 are collected here. Five of the songs would later end up on Next Exit’s album Metropolitan West; ten are new versions of songs previously released on the Sweet Madness collections; and four have not to date appeared anywhere else. (Yes, there is some overlap in those categories, as there are only 16 tracks on this collection.) To get the first concern out of the way, while these are technically demos, the sound quality is excellent, a clear step up from what Sweet Madness managed, and could easily have worked on a public release at the time. Many of the basics are intact from the previous incarnation, with Jan Gregor’s vocals at the center and the energetic rhythm section of Mark Fenton (drums) and Don Lynd (bass) blasting through the arrangements. The new addition was guitarist Greg Morlan, who brings a flashier technique to the proceedings, even occasional hints of metal and surf rock as well as creative use of varying tones and effects. Morlan’s work in both backing and soloing roles is distinctive, giving the band a sound that doesn’t really resemble any other group of the time. The songs range from the warped rockabilly of “98 Decibel Man” to the New Wave of “I’m Not Vicious” to the moody pseudo-ballad “Concrete River.” Three live tracks are included, and while the recording quality is noticeably inferior, it’s still quite listenable, and the energy level of the band is amazing. Between Fenton’s insane drumming and Morlan’s variegated guitar, these guys must have been a real kick on stage. One Way Ticket is a fascinating chapter in a near-forgotten musical journey, and I can’t help thinking that barring geography and bad luck, this band could have earned notice on an international level.


Filed under: Archives, 2017 releases, 1982 recordings

Related artist(s): Sweet Madness / Next Exit

More info
http://nextexit.bandcamp.com/releases

Latest news

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

RandomK(e) - Waiting – It's probably most accurate to call RandomK(e) a Beijing-based band than a Chinese one, as all the members are foreigners living there. Since their start in 2004, the foursome has been one of the acts...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues