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Christ Child

May 31, 2011

I started this piece some time ago and my biggest fear was that I would be thought of as a poser or at least a very disingenuous person. I am not those things but this story might lead one to that conclusion. I remember awhile back I was producing a Zydeco album and after one of the tracking sessions the bass player told me that he was on his way to another session. I asked him who the artist was and he said that he didn’t know but it was heavy metal music. I was astonished because we had just finished three tracks in a genre worlds apart from heavy metal. He just looked at me and said, notes is notes. Since that day I have followed that mantra and I believe that is more true today than at any other time but we are talking about a long time ago.

Sometimes the opportunity to have a little fun presents itself. In the music business the fun aspect is directly proportional to how much money you have to spend. Due to the fact that I was always working on under financed projects fun was relegated to the few moments where you just know you have accomplished exactly what you intended to do. Having said that, in 1977 I was approached to do a project of my choosing. Of course it was under financed but…OF MY CHOOSING, were the operative words. In all the years I had been working in music I never had anyone say those words. I jumped at the chance. I had recently returned from London where I recorded in a studio where both the Beatles and the Stones had recorded but also above the studio was where The Sex Pistols stored their equipment so I used to see them dragging the amps etc. up the stairs and letting them smash into each step as they went to their storage room. I was fascinated by their angst and that still holds true to this day. Their basic attitude was lack of respect for anything including their instruments. I had been accused of the same thing many times in my career so I got it immediately.  I wanted to try something in that genre. In America that music had not caught on so there were no groups or artists available. It took a few more years but when it finally took hold here it permeated rock music in many ways. My first decision was that I wanted a hand in creating the material. I have a friend, Michael Paul Girard who I knew would be perfect for the project. Mike had the basic requirements, he was educated, he could play several instruments, he had angst and he refused to get a job so he lived in his van. PERFECT!!! Mike also is an excellent song writer. Since those days Mike has written and directed nine feature-length films, written a novel, wrote and directed a series for Playboy television and is currently in the process of having some of his plays produced off-Broadway. Of course I didn’t know that Mike would have all this success but I knew Mike was the guy for my project. The next step was  for me to come up with titles and ideas. The first title was, “Five finger exercise” as a guy who took piano lessons I sent hours doing five finger excercises but it this case the play on words was masturbatory. The next was, “She’s just a bitch”, in 1977 this was a very provocative title. Now days the rap community would change bitch to ho and add a plethora of f-bombs. Bitch was enough in 1977. “Let ’em eat rock “,was an obvious reference to Marie Antoinette’s statement of, “Let them eat cake”. “Star Whores”, I read a review of this song where a disc jockey said that the main lick would burn a hole in your head. I took it as a complement. Also I was able to put an instrumental intro of one minute and twenty-eight  seconds. This was unheard of in the “don’t bore us get to the chorus” mentality of the record business at the time. “Street Babies”, had a little to do with my London experience and based on a lick I used in another song. “Teacher”, a comment on authority. “Blow it up”, is a statement about futility.  “Washington A.C./D.C”, political commentary about politicians talking out of both sides of their mouth. “Carnival of frustration”, A spoken word piece over a droning track. ” Crazy dirty and dangerous”, the rigors of youth. All in all it gave me the chance to say some things that I had wanted to say for a long time. I wasn’t a kid at this time  and I had kids of my own so this was a departure from the kind of music that I needed to make to generate financial stability for my family. Never the less I jumped at the chance and I never regretted doing the record. Albeth Grass, one of the Paris Sisters who had a giant hit called,”I love how you love me”  produced by Phil Specter, did the cover art. It was originally in full color and looked fantastic, a true work of art. I thought it was great.  When I heard the playback of the album in its entirety I didn’t think the guys who financed the project had a chance of placing it with a record company. I was wrong as they recovered their investment from the first record company they showed it to. Buddah Records was the label and ironically I had been signed to Buddah when Neil Bogart was the head of the label. Back then they would have never let me make this record. They also wouldn’t go for the full color album jacket so instead of a work of art it looked like jumbled mess. I also had nothing to do with the liner notes, I would not have approved of that approach, par for the course. I didn’t help the cause myself as Mike and I never supported the album in any way. The first commandment in the record business is, thou shalt always play the music live. In spite of all this the record found a small audience and did get some spotty airplay. Where played it became somewhat of a cult item. I still read items about the album today. The title should have been, IT’S NOT FOR EVERYONE.

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5 comments

  1. great album


  2. Wow! I remember finding this album in a used record store when I was 18 or 19. I stuck it on the record player they provided for previewing records, and decided it was fake and crap. The liner notes were a big part of my decision, so it’s nice to see you had nothing to do with them. I was listening mostly to stuff like Black Flag and Minor Threat at the time, so anything not hyperspeed fast was crap (unless it was Kate Bush, Bill Nelson, or Horslips).

    A few months ago (and three decades hence), I came across a rip of the whole album on someone’s blog (forget whose) and downloaded it for the heck of it. I mean, it was crap, right? It should be fun for a listen.

    Holy shit, was I wrong. I immediately began looking for a copy and managed to find one on-line, after trying all the local record stores here. It got it two weeks ago and it turned out to be in almost perfect condition, and not even a cut out. I’ve not been able to stop listening to it since.

    Thanks so much for posting this. It’s really cool to finally find out the real story after all these years! One question, though: the cover art makes it look like the album title is HARD, yet the labels and spine just say Christ Child. Which is it? And are any of the four dudes on the cover you or Michael?


    • The original cover did not have that photo and it was in full color. It looked great. Then the bull shit began and they ruined everything except the songs. Michael and I shared and still do to this day, the attitude of the movement. The lack of concern over quality of sound but more important to preserve the angst was foremost on our minds. Remember I had Chick-a-boom ten or so years before this and had produced many artists but none where I had free reign. I can once again do that, check out my blog on” Defence of Fort McHenry” . I did this at home and did all the playing, singing and mixing myself. I know It’s not a hit but still I was able to do something I wanted to do. I’m going to do more so stay tuned. Let me know what you think of “Defence”. Also neither myself or Michael is in that photo.


  3. Thanks for telling the story. I bought this album in the cutouts for a few bucks when I was a teenager in the early 80’s. I liked it then and I still like it. The guitar has kind of a unique tone, maybe tuned down before it became popular? There’s a bunch of cool riffs and I like the vocals, a little like the Ramones. Some online clowns call this “fake Punk”. Do they know how most of the famous Punk bands formed, like the Pistols, Ramones, etc? Not much faker than that to me. But above all it’s a hard rockin’ album where every song is pretty good. I don’t think the name Christ Child helped any, confusing.


  4. So very cool.I worked for a record warehouse at the time.I was 20 years old when I heard C.C for the first time.Loved it.In fact I’m spinning the Lp as Of now!



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