Country Australia

Style Sleaze Glam

Candy Harlots were formed in 1987 in Sydney by guitarist Ron Barrett (aka Ron B. Gypsy, ex-Glam Savages), drummer Tony Cardinal (ex-What??!!, Soggy Porridge), vocalist Mark Easton (ex-Suicide Squad, Kelpies, Soggy Porridge, Glam Savages) and bass guitarist Nick Szentkuti (ex-Glam Savages). Shortly after the band was formed Easton met guitarist Marc De Hugar in Melbourne and invited him to join the group. ,Szentkuti spent six months as bass guitarist; he was followed by Scott Millard (ex-The Faith) and then Leeno Dee (ex-Roxx).

The band developed an underground following around Sydney and were offered a recording deal with Virgin Records after three shows but their manager turned down the offer. The contract was not signed until the band’s management deal expired four years later. They played frequently in suburban Sydney pubs, including the Kardomah Cafe in Kings Cross and the St James Tavern in the city, and secured support slots with The Cult, Cheap Trick, Divinyls, The Angels, The Sunnyboys, Danish rock band D-A-D and Kings of the Sun.

Although the band’s popularity steadily increased, their infamous reputation made the securing of a major label contract difficult. Melbourne label ‘Au Go Go Records’ issued their debut 7″ single, Red Hot Rocket, in April 1989 with the initial 500 copies pressed on red vinyl and wrapped in a pair of women’s lace knickers. The single was produced by Mick Cocks of hard-rockers Rose Tattoo. The band followed this up with a tour of Melbourne in mid-1989.

Numerous live shows led the band to prominence in the Sydney rock scene, and a follow-up single entitled Danger (backed with Wrap 2 Arms) was released in May 1990 on the Sydney label ‘Timberyard’. A friendship between New Jersey’s Skid Row and the Candy Harlots was struck after a Hordern Pavilion show in 1990. Both bands jammed on The Troggs’ Wild Thing at an after-show party at the Kardomah Cafe, with members of Mötley Crüe (touring at the time) also in attendance. 

Ιn February 1991 the band was dealt a further blow when Easton decided to escape the lifestyle he had embraced so fully-both as a matter of self preservation and of disillusionment with managerial/directional interference-and left the band he had created.

Fast forward to May 1991-and the remaining Harlots-Dee,Bowley,Cardinal and Masi,along with new singer,the charismatic Aiz Lynch-find themselves in a studio demoing tracks for Virgin Records boss Laurie Dunn,with new management-Andrew McManus(Divinyls)-and a renewed vigour- well on their way to a second chance! The band would release a debut Virgin single with a newly recorded version of ‘Danger’-backed with ‘Hot Love Child’,in late ’91 and embark on the AC/DC ‘Razor’s Edge’ tour.In early ’92,hot on the heels of a punishing touring schedule the ‘Foreplay’ EP would crash into the ARIA national Top 100 chart at 17 with a bullet!

It would enjoy a long stay in the charts and peak in the top 5 in NSW and Vic.May saw the release of the long awaited ‘Five Wicked Ways’ album-produced by Peter Blyton(Choirboys ‘Big Bad Noise’ album)and mixed in LA by Jeff Hendrickson (Van Halen,Aerosmith).FWW would reach the top 30 nationally,going top 10 in various states.The single,’Sister’s Crazy’ would also do well,making it to number 3 nationally. Following more extensive touring the lifestyle took it’s toll along with label pressures and the band reshuffled it’s line-up and would make one more album-which remains unreleased- before morphing into The Harlots-an exercise initially designed to fulfill outstanding touring commitments but which would tour for 2 years and release an EP through Mushroom.The Harlots disbanded in 1996.

– Five Wicked Ways [1992]



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