Rolling Stone, 10/16/80
The Aquarian/Dec. 10, 1980
LE MUSEUM DE BENATAR Articles:
Record Review 12/80
THE MOUNT ST. HELENS OF THE ROCK WORLD THAT ERUPTED IN 1980 WAS A 90-POUND, 5-FOOT SOPRANO BELTER NAMED PAT BENATAR. HER STEAMY DEBUT ALBUM, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, ESTABLISHED HER AS NOT MERELY ANOTHEIFVFA-BLE FE@LE SINGER, BUT AS A MAJOR ARTIST TO BE RECKONED WITH BY PEERS AND PROGRAMMERS ALIKE. HEAT WAS CERTIFIED GOLD BY THE RIAA (A RARITY FOR A NEW ARTIST) AND SPA14NED TWO TOP 30 SINGLES ("HEARTBREAKER", "WE LIVE FOR LOVE") WHICH KEPT THE LP ON THE BESTSELLER LISTS FOR NEARLY A YEAR. HER POPULARITY WON HER A VARIETY OF KUDOS INCLUDING, "TOP NEW FEMALE VOCALIST" IN RECORD WORLD. NOT ONLY HAS SHE DEMONSTRATED THAT HER VOICE PACTS A-WATLO-P, BUT A COAST-TO-COAST, SELL-OUT TOUR PROVED THAT SHE CAN PACK AUDITORIUMS AS WELL.
THE SPARKS OF HER CAREER STARTED BY THE FRICTION OF HEAT PROMISED TO BURST INTO FLAMES WITH THE RELEASE OF A STRIKING COLLECTION OF TEN NEW SONGS ENTITLED, CRIMES OF PASSION. CRIMES, PRODUCED BY KEITH OLSEN, NOT ONLY MATCHES THE PREVIOUS EFFORT-FOR SHEER ROCK POWER, BUT FURTHER REVEALS PAT'S TALENTS AS A SONGSMITH. FIVE OF THE TUNES WERE CO-PENNED BY PAT WITH OTHER NUMBERS BY KATE BUSH ("WUTHERING HEIGHTS") AND FELIX CAVALIERE'S "YOU BETTER RUN", WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY RELEASED ON THE SOUNDTRACK OF THE HIT FILM, ROADIE.
CRIMES SHOWCASES HER PENCHANT FOR TACKLING SONGS THAT ARE GRITTY BOTH THEMATICALLY AND STYLISTICALLY. "HELL IS FOR CHILDREN", FOR EXAMPLE, IS A HEARTRENDING SONG ABOUT CHILD ABUSE. ("IT WAS INSPIRED BY A NEWSPAPER HEADLINE RATHER THAN MY OWN EXPERIENCE", SHE SAYS.) TUNES LIKE "HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT", AND "TREAT ME RIGHT" ARE ALL CONFIDENT ROMANTIC NUMBERS THAT SHOW SHE HAS LEFT THE POOR-POOR-PITIFUL-ME APPROACH OF YESTERDAY'S FEMME FATALES IN THE DUST OF THE '70's. PAT IS A FULL-FLEDGED WOMAN OF THE '80's. NOT ONLY DOES SHE RECOIL FROM THE DOORMAT APPROACH TO SEXUALITY, BUT SHE REJECTS ANDROGYNY AS WELL. HER TOUGH-BUT-FEMININE LOOK FITS WITH A VOICE THAT IS CAPABLE OF SUMMONING COMPASSION, ANGER, SENSUALITY, IRONY AND (OF COURSE) PASSION.
BENATAR'S BAND INCLUDES SUCH VERSATILE MUSICIANS AS NEIL GERALDO (LEAD GUITAR, KEYBOARDS) AND MYRON GROMBACHER (DRUMS) BOTH FORMERLY OF RICK DERRINGER'S BAND, PLUS ROGER CAPPS (BASS) AND SCOTT ST. CLAIR SHEETS (RHYTHM GUITAR).
ABOUT THE ONLY CRIME OF PASSION THAT PAT MIGHT BE GUILTY OF IS SEDUCING CRITICS. THE DETROIT FREE PRESS SAID THAT HER VOICE WAS "FULL OF RAW POWER" AND TIME PRONOUNCED THAT SHE "SOUNDS LIKE ALL OF (THE GIRL GROUPS) PACKED INTO ONE". ONE CRITIC EVEN GUSHED, "WHEN THE MUSIC BEGINS, HER TRANSFORMATION INTO THE VAMPISH, SENSUAL BITCH EVERYONE WANTS TO LOVE AND MAKE LOVE TO IS COMPLETE".
PAT CANDIDLY ADMITS THAT THE VAMP ON STAGE IS A FANTASY. "THE WOMAN OUT FRONT WHO SNEERS AND STRUTS IS JUST A CHARACTER. IT'S NOT ME. I'M A REAL HOME BODY", SHE SAYS WITH A SMILE. THE REAI; PAT WAS BORN IN BROOKLYN IN 1953. SHE GREW UP IN LONG ISLAND WHERE SHE MADE THE HONOR ROLL CONSISTENTLY IN SCHOOL AND STUDIED OPERA. "IT WAS BORING", SHE RECALLS, "BUT I LEARNED HOW TO SING ROUGH WITHOUT HURTING MY VOICE". AFTER DROPPING OUT OF HER STUDIES IN HEALTH EDUCATION AT THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT STONYBROOK, PAT MOVED TO RICHMOND, VIRGINIA WHERE SHE WORKED AT EVERYTHING FROM BEING A BANK TELLER TO A SINGING WAITRESS ("I USED TO SING LIZA MINNELLI SONGS WITH BLEU CHEESE DRESSING ON MY OUTFIT", SHE RECALLS.) IN 1975 SHE RETURNED TO HER NATIVE NEW YORK WHERE SHE WAS DISCOVERED AT TALENT SHOWCASE, CATCH A RISING STAR, BY ITS OWNER RICK NEWMAN. HE IS NOW HER MANAGER. AFTER STUNNING THE JADED GOTHAM CITY CRITICS WITH HER CHARMS ("YOU CAN HAVE LINDA RONSTADT, STEVIE NICKS, GRACE SLICK AND THE OTHER QUEENS OF ROCK", WROTE ONE DAZED SCRIBE, "I'LL TAKE PAT BENATAR"), SHE LANDED A RECORDING CONTRACT WITH CHRYSALIS. PAT CURRENTLY LIVES IN THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY AREA OF LOS ANGELES.
With the success of her debut "In The Heat Of The Night" and "Heart-breaker" single, Benatar has emerged as the most dominant of all the female rockers released in the past year. This release finds Benatar in an even more rock vein with her powerful yet sensuous vocals blazing a ferocious rock path. Her band, the same as the one that appeared on her last LP with the exception of a new drummer, surrounds Benatar's vocals with crisp playing. The production by Olsen allows the band to stretch out more and figure more prominently in the mix. In addition to the single "You Better Run," there is a stunning rocker called "Hell Is For Children" which addresses itself to child abuse. A most credible followup to Benatar's near platinum debut. Best cuts: "You Better Run," "Treat Me Right," "Hell Is For Children," "Little Paradise."
Pat Benatar--Old Waldorf, San Francisco
Benatar, who quickly soldout three consecutive nights at this 600-seat nitery, plus one followup night (Aug. 17) at the 3,300-seat San Jose Civic, seems to have become the focal point of all the energy that has been generated over the past year around the new batch of young women rockers.
Her solid, fiery and thoroughly appealing 12-song, 70-minute set Aug. 16 featured a good mix of five tunes from her debut Chrysalis album plus seven from the new package. This included the current single, "Treat Me Right," which came second in the set, following the opener of the John Cougar-penned "I Need A Lover," one of the first album's most striking tunes.
Benatar's remake of the Rascal's 1966 hit, "You Better Run" -which she introduced as the followup single, came halfway throgh the set, followed shortly by "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," on of the best received new tunes. Set closers were "Little Paradise" and her first hit, "Heartbreaker" with encores of "No You Don't" and "Hell Is For Children," a powerful statement on child abuse.
Musically, the most striking characteristic of the Benatar style is the playoff of her well controlled high vocal against the tight, thundering guitar-dominated beat of her road and recording band. This was best exemplified by "We Live for Love," which was in fact penned by lead guitarist Neal (NEIL!!!) Geraldo, who shone all night while playing a trio of exceptionally handsome guitars.(Jack McDonough)
from Rolling Stone, 10/16/80
by Steve Pond
"I'm just a scrapper from Cleveland," says Neil Geraldo. It's a good thumbnail description of the guitarist, who speaks in the cadence of an East Coast street kid. His position in the band is tricky. He's largely responsible for Benatar's sound, song selection and concert repertoire. Not everyone wants his contributions publicized. On the back of her new album, Benatar thanks him "for all the heart and hard work in the Production of this Record. I love you." But the current Chrysalis bio doesn't even mention that he writes songs.
"Lindsey Buckingham once said that getting in a relationship inside a band is a big mistake," says Geraldo as we sit in the revolving bar atop the band's Omaha hotel. "I never believed him. Now I believe him. It is very tough. You gotta have...." He pauses, then laughs. "I don't know what you gotta have. It's just very tough."
Geraldo was given the job as Benatar's musical organizer prior to the first album; his experience at that point consisted of bar bands with his uncle and a stint in Derringer that left him unsatisfied. "It was suffocating," he says, "because they wouldn't use my songs and I had to play piano to get on the record.
"When I was hired to do the first album with Patty, I swear, there was absolutely no musical direction," he says. "She'd just say, 'I like rock & roll. What should I do?' I'd say, 'Well, do you want some guitars or what?' She'd say, 'Yeah,' so I'd go get some guitars. I knew it would be good, because when I heard Patty's voice, I just loved it to pieces."
Geraldo is now looking for outside artists to produce. But that's off in the future, after he and Benatar spend some time in their house in Tarzana, a quiet, residential suburb in the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles. They moved in last March, but they've been away for all but two months; their dog and two cats had to be kenneled, and the place looks, in Benatar's words, "like a tomb."
And when they're home, are there any questions about who's in charge?
"No questions at all," says Benatar. "He's a total Italian, he's so macho. He's the man, I'm the woman, and I've got to learn to adjust to that." She smiles. "It's kinda nice, really, because he's genuine about it. Neil will never be Mr. Benatar. Never."
"A kid named Joey lived across the street from me once, and he'd push snow in my face before school. I could never do anything about it, because I was a girl and real small. But after about a week, I got real pissed off. So I had two friends hold him on a slide. Then I punched his teeth out."
She did it so quietly, so professionally nad with so little fanfare and hype that few realize: Pat Benatar is the new first lady of rock and roll.
Any doubt about this was forcefully erased when the 27-year-old Long Island native returned home for an S.R.O (how S.R.O. you couldn't even begin to realize) performance at Ron Deisener's Palladium. Opening with Johnny Cougar's "I Need A Lover," Benatar turned up the heat and never relented.
I couldn't help but be impressed with the obvious maturity of her fine band. As with anything else, if you keep playing and playing and playing, you're bound to get better. Neil "Spyder" Geraldo knocked me out! Switching off from a green-tinted BC Rich to an occasional Les Paul, the young guitarist pushed the others in the band--Scott Sheets, rhythm guitar; Roger Capps, bass; and Myron Grombacher, drums--to the very limits of physical exhaustion.
Time after time, Geraldo pulled the crowd to its feet with his sizzling licks. By my count, Benatar squeezed 14 numbers into the blistering set. Among the highlights were "Treat Me Right" (the soon-to-be-released single), "My Clone Sleeps Alone," "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," "You Better Run," "Heartbreaker" and an outrageous version of "Hell is For Children." I felt chills run down my spine on that one.
Benatar and the band finished the evening with an old Paul Revere & The Raiders' tune called "Just Like Me." It was sensational!
If I sound like I'm giving this lady a hype, believe me, I'm not. As they say in the business, she's gone! Prediction: The next time Pat Benatar plays this market, it may very welll be in a building located at 33rd St. and Seventh Ave. Just see if it happens.
PALLADIUM PACKED: If you could have seen the joint, you wouldn't
have believed it. There were people everywhere.
Benatar and her band with be the special musical guests on Fridays, ABC-tv's late-night variety program that is broadcast live from the West Coast. She's appearing this coming Friday...Scalpers had a field day in front of the Palladium. People were paying double face value (isn't it great to make 100 percent profit on your money in 10 minutes?) without even squawking. Yes, Benatar is that hot! After the Fridays appearance, the band is going off the road for a well-deserved vacation. If the present schedule holds, Benatar will do a new album for Chrysalis in early 1981.