Friday, February 19, 2016

Fanny - 1974 - Rock And Roll Survivors

Rock And Roll Survivors

01. Rock 'n' Roll Survivors    4:27
02. Butter Boy    3:22
03. Long Distance Lover    3:35
04. Let's Spend The Night Together    3:31
05. Rockin' (All Nite Long)    2:38
06. Get Out Of The Jungle    3:58
07. Beggar Man    4:05
08. Sally Go 'Round The Roses    3:30
09. I've Had It    3:02
10. From Where I Stand    6:47

Bass – Jean Millington
Drums – Brie Howard
Guitar – Patti Quatro
Keyboards – Nicole Barclay

In late 1974, Nickey left Fanny. From all accounts, the band was moving in a direction that Nickey wasn’t happy with; she found Patti Quatro an unsatisfactory replacement for June, and her ultimate feeling was that, without June and Alice, it just wasn’t FANNY any longer. Cam Davis, a friend of June’s, was brought in to replace Brie on drums when Brie left to marry composer James Newton Howard at the end of the ROCK AND ROLL SURVIVORS sessions. Having never recorded with the band, Cam tended to defer to the others.

Patti began to assume a leadership and decision-making role within Fanny, a situation which Jean resented due to having been involved with the band from its very beginnings. Things came to a head in early 1975: Cam left, with Patti following shortly thereafter. As this happened when Butter Boy was climbing rapidly up the national charts, and Jean was especially disheartened – Fanny was shaping up to have their biggest hit ever and there was no band to help push it along.

In the spring of 1975, Jean convinced June to come back for one more tour, and Brie Brandt-Howard also agreed to sign on. The band was rounded out by Patti Macheta (a friend of June’s) on percussion and vocals and Wendy Haas, wife of Martin Mull and an old friend of the original FANNY band members, on keyboards and vocals. But although they ostensibly got back together to promote Butter Boy, they didn’t perform any of FANNY’s material – one of June’s conditions for coming back was that the band do only new songs. They also discontinued any use of the name FANNY, instead billing themselves as the L.A. All-Stars. By early 1976 a number of labels were expressing interest in financing an album; however, label interest was strictly focused on a continuation of the FANNY legacy and name. The L.A. All-Stars came within a hair of inking a deal with Arista Records, but ultimately, the label demanded non-negotiably that the women again call themselves FANNY, and June refused to sign on for another tour.

FANNY’s career had come to an end, but the legacy of their pioneering efforts for women in rock lives on to this day. The many fans who saw FANNY play live knew, and still remember, that they rocked harder on stage than most of their male-produced recorded tracks suggested. It’s not an overstatement to say that all the female movers and shakers in the rock world, from Joan Jett to Courtney Love and onwards, owe a debt of gratitude to FANNY for getting that all-important first foot in the door and showing the world that women can truly rock!

This album is an example of the kind of story that happened all the time throughout the 70's: A decent band builds a sizeable following via a handful of releases in the late 60's~ early 70's, and then creative and/or personality differences cause one or more key band members to bolt, leaving a bare skeleton of original members to decide whether to carry on, or call it quits and regroup under a new moniker. The overwhelming majority of victims of this scenario would have done better to have followed the latter path, but far too many felt they had worked too hard to develope their name brand to just walk away and start from square one all over again. So they shopped around for replacements and hoped their fans wouldn't complain too much. Unfortunately for Fanny, luck wasn't on their side, and this album was savagely trashed. In my opinion, this was unjustified. It clearly lacks what little bit of underground elements their earlier releases contained, as this one is relatively light weight, and highly commercial right out of the gate. Selecting such a weak cut for the second one on side A all but sealed its fate for me, but I always stick it out, just in case. In the end, its really pretty good overall - entertaining, though hardly very cool. I've always had a soft spot for girl bands - not the ones that did nothing but sing harmony for motown in the early 60's, but the groups that played their own instruments and did their best to rock out. Some succeeded better than others, and I would rate Fanny not as good as some, but better than most. Had they ever toured in my area, I would have checked them out. This album is worth investigating by fans of the group, but hardcore underground rock conisours will probably want to look elsewhere.



  2. Very interesting read for me, and pretty damned accurate. I was there. After recording Rock and Roll Survivors I didn't leave quite so quickly, we toured the record around the states. David Bowie was a fan, gave us theatrical suggestions and made memorable entrances to a couple of our shows. Here we are 40+ years later, and June, Jean and I have signed a record deal with Blue Elan records & just finished recording a brand new record under the incarnation 'FANNY WALKED THE EARTH.' Fanny fans and the hardcore underground rock connoisseurs will be smiling big! It will kick your monkey the best way! ....Brie (Brandt Howard) Darling drums and vocals