After releasing the album digitally in early October, Smashed Gladys have just announced that RAW is officially available for purchase on a limited edition double LP via Golden Robot Records!
Smashed Gladys was the band that built the scene, and literally the stage, at The Cat Club in 1980s New York. They had a bold sound that caught the attention of major labels and top-notch management when they released their self-titled debut in 1985. The follow up, Social Intercourse, was ahead of the curve with raunchy lyrics sung by an unapologetic front woman, Sally Cato. She and guitarist Bart Lewis had come to New York from Toronto to take on the world, and they did, until sands shifted in the music business, a band member overdosed, and Sally and Bart went their separate ways.
Fast forward to 2020. Bart had been teaching music when the pandemic hit. With the world at a standstill, he recalled unreleased demos and the songs the band had recorded with Gene Simmons of KISS. He thought about how, in this moment, the force of a singer like Sally would be fully embraced.
Then, in May of 2020 Sally Cato passed away.
Bart knew that he had to take the roughs he had on hand, source the rest (some of which were found behind fireplace bricks!) and put together an incredible team to bring forward this tribute to Sally. The result of that effort, and what would be her final recorded work, is the new Smashed Gladys album, Raw.
Bart reached out to Gene Simmons who gave his blessing, and then set out to bring a talented cast of players, engineers and mixers together to realize this vision.
Simmons has been an ongoing supporter of the band, commenting “I’ve always been a fan of Smashed Gladys – particularly Sally‘s voice and persona, and that does not take into account a really solid musical unit. As good as anything that’s out there certainly. Smashed Gladys is as cool as it gets.”
The original recordings with Sally, Bart, Matt Steluto and bass players Mark Sliker, Fernando Rosario Jr, and Ken Fox were enhanced with Toronto native Victor D’Arsie on keyboards and bass. Mark Dearnley, who produced the first Smashed Gladys album, returned to mix six of the tracks, while John Catto, guitar player for The Diodes and a lifelong friend of Sally’s, mixed five tunes. The four songs mixed by Gene Simmons and the three mixed by Sally herself round out this powerful collaboration.
The album cover graphic is an original illustration by Sally Cato with the album and CD art directed by Anthony Feyer, who is a New York/Toronto artist and another long time friend of Sally Cato.
RAW Track listing:
1. Black Beauties & Blue Eyed Blondes
2. Move Over
3. Bump in the Night
4. Bleed for Me
5. Tattooed Blue
6. Beggars & Thieves
7. That Woman
8. Rented Dreams
9. What a Shame
10. Go to Hell
11. Ain’t Looking for Love
12. Weekend Whiskey / Lost Generation
13. Broadway Babies & White House Ladies
14. Never Take No
15. Give It All You’ve Got
16. Stand Tall
17. The Beat Goes On
18. B.A.D. (Bonus Track)
Born from the embers of the vibrant Toronto punk scene, Smashed Gladys helped to craft a legendary period of New York City rock.
Lead singer Sally Cato started as a singer in the art rock band The Concordes, while guitarist Bart Lewis did a brief stint with Canada’s most dangerous band, The Viletones, before departing for NYC.
Soon after relocating to Gotham, Sally and Bart met songwriter Tommy Boyce, who (along with his partner Bobby Hart) had coined most of The Monkees songs. Under Boyce’s guidance, the group began rehearsing at a well-known studio in midtown Manhattan.
SG started playing venues in and around the NYC area, during which time they met Gene Simmons. Simmons offered them a production/ management deal.
The band’s original 4 members: Sally Cato – vocals, Bart Lewis – guitar, Matt Stellutto – drums and Ken Fox (Toronto’s Raving Mojo’s, Jason and the Scorchers and The Fleshtones) – bass - along with the addition of Hilly Michaels, drummer from the Ian Hunter band – went into the studio and recorded close to an albums worth of material produced by Simmons.
Four of the songs from those sessions are being released now, for the first time ever.
Simmons captured the personality and raw grittiness of the band perfectly and by the end of 1984, SG were in the UK recording their first album, Smashed Gladys, with Mark Dearnley at the producer helm.
Smashed Gladys returned to the states and began touring and doing opening slots with The Dead Boys, Nazareth, Ace Frehley, Cheap Trick, Poison, Rick Derringer, Blue Oyster Cult, Krokus and others.
It was during this feverish period that they established the infamous Wednesday night series at The Cat Club. The night became a launching pad for several bands, and grew to become a showcase venue, late night hang, and playing party stage for artists such as David Bowie, Duran Duran, Mick Jagger and several others.
Selling out venues in Manhattan and the surrounding tri-state area, Smashed Gladys caught the attention of Elektra Records A&R rep Michael Alago. In 1986 they were signed by Elektra VP, Howard Thompson.
The band played a signing gig to a packed house at one of the first venues they played in NYC – CBGB’s. Elektra picked up the rights to the first record and then sent the band into the studio to work on their next record, Social Intercourse, recorded in NYC with Rick Browdie and in L.A with Michael Wagner doing additional tracking and mixing.
While making the record, they met the artist working in the adjacent studio, Ozzy Osbourne, who made a guest background vocal appearance on the song ‘Cast of Nasties.’ Osbourne had warned the band that some of the titles and subject matter on the record might get them in trouble in certain markets and banned altogether from retailers such as Walmart. He was right, and touring in certain Midwestern states became dangerous at times forcing the band to bring along new members … Mr Smith & Wesson.
While SG was making demos for their third record they reached out to and received offers from various producers They went with Mick Ronson and began pre-production, but Ronson fell ill. The band was then picked up by Teddy Slatus, Johnny Winter’s manager and label. Tragically, SG’s third bass player, Mark Sliker, then died from a drug overdose. Following the trials and tribulations, Sally left the music business and returned to being a graphic artist.