…Which brings us to The Demons’ self-titled debut album. It’s the ultimate three dollar record. Like almost any other band even remotely attached to the mid-to-late ‘70s New York City punk scene, The Demons got signed to a major. Singer/guitarist Eliot Kidd was probably best known for having a few quotes in Please Kill Me. He was a pal of Johnny Thunders and Walter Lure (who at one point was a member of The Demons). Having gigged a lot with the likes of The Dictators, The Demons drew the attention of Mercury Records and were given the opportunity to record with Craig Leon. Leon, as an assistant to the legendary producer Richard Gottehrer, had worked with the Ramones, Blondie, Suicide, and Richard Hell. And while The Demons may have not been top tier a la the aforementioned bands, their one and only album is a really cool artifact of early New York punk.
The Demons are probably best known for the song “She’s So Tuff”, which was covered a decade ago by Tina and the Total Babes. Tina Lucchesi knows how to pick ‘em! “She’s So Tuff” was hands down one of the greatest power pop songs of the late ‘70s, and it alone justifies the purchase of the Demons’ album. If Kidd had been able to write a few more songs like “She’s So Tuff”, then perhaps The Demons would not be such an obscure band in our present memory. The closest the group came to another A-level track was album closer “I Hate You”, which is disturbingly funny and really fucking catchy in a Heartbreakers meets Real Kids sort of way. I can totally imagine Tina Lucchesi covering this one as well - so stay tuned, rock n’ rollers! The rest of the album, while not devoid of filler, delivers some really cool tracks. Opening cut “It’ll Be Alright” is a terrific mid-tempo rocker that kinda brings to mind Johnny Thunders fronting The Paul Collins Beat. Given Kidd’s connection to Thunders and Lure, it’s hardly surprising that “Bad Dreamin’” comes off like an LAMF outtake. “Ten Past One” is a very credible ballad in the fashion of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. And well-done covers of “She’s a Rebel” and “I Fought the Law” further affirm Kidd’s affinity for that particular era of rock n’ roll.
Probably not a “punk” band per se, The Demons imbued their throwback rock n’ roll with enough sleaze and sloppiness to nonetheless fit the bill. The now-deceased Kidd is somewhat notorious for being in Sid Vicious’s hotel room the night Nancy Spungen died. But as a musician, he was more than worthy. You can’t really say The Demons were an influence on the glam-punk that resurged in the ‘90s (after all, who had actually heard them besides Tina Lucchesi?). But if you’re a fan of anyone from The Joneses to the Trash Brats to the Dimestore Haloes, you will most definitely recognize The Demons as some of the earliest practitioners of their style. Like a second string New York Dolls with power pop tendencies, Kidd and his mates were a fun band that must have been a good time live. They left behind just this one album, and one truly classic song in “She’s So Tuff”. In this age of Internet commerce, it’s not always easy to get a great deal on an old LP. But if there’s a shop in your proximity that deals in large quantities of used vinyl, The Demons are worth seeking out…even if you have to pay more than three dollars.