Variety, Mar. 29 '78: pre-NEIL!!! Pat
Guitar Heroes Mar '83: pre-Pat NEIL!!!
The Aquarian/Nov. 21-28, 1979
SCENE, Nov. 15-20, 1979
On Your Own (L.I. 1980)
LE MUSEUM DE BENATAR articles:
SOHO Weekly News 9/78
After Dark 9/79
Benatar has selected a program devoted to original rock material and ballads, plus a few rearranged faves. Her wide vocal range is beautifully suited to such tunes as "Bird of Paradise" and "My My My," by the talented cleffer/songstress, Taro Meyers, a stunning version of Roy Orbison's "Cryin," and an exciting reggae arrangement of the Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven." Benatar receives good support from Greg Dlugas on synthesizer and keyboards, Tom Harris on drums, and Roger Capps on bass. The 24-year-old singer is definitely a performer on the ascent.
After parting company with Derringer, Geraldo decided to seek better things by moving to New York. "As soon as I'd got done with the Derringer LP up at Bearsville (Todd Rundgren's studios) I came down to the city looking for some work. I them met up with Jeff Aldridge from Chrysalis Mike Chapman, who produced the first record, and they got me together Patti. It all evolved from there."
"I wanted to have a handsome guitar player," she said with a giggle. "They had touted him really big, because he came from Rick Derringer's band, and they said, this is the guy you want, he writes ... and I'm thinking, 'Oh, yeah, right, well let's see.'
"I saw him and I said to myself, I don't care if he can play a note - he is in the
band! It just worked out that he could."
Pat Benatar is more than just a new female singer-- she's the brightest hope yet of becoming the rock 'n' roll woman of the '80s. Her debut album on Chrysalis, In The Heat Of The Night, is the proof. But even before this seductive pixie had recorded a single track, her club appearances earned raves like these: "You can have Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks, Grace Slick and the other queens of rock. I'll take Pat Benatar... She is a heartbreaker and a showstopper."--New York Post. "Benatar's voice has the power of Laura Nyro, the resonance of Linda Ronstadt and a three-octave range that is almost startling ... The lady has a definite affinity for good rock and roll."-Record World. Despite those comparisons, the Soho Weekly News had this reaction: "She has a great voice and alreat looks, enormous taste in cover material, and a fine band. Best of all, she really can't be directly compared to any female singer I can think of."
Super-hot producer, Michael Chapman, (Blondie, The Knack) also was overwhelmed by Benatar's talent. He broke a self-vow not to take on any new artists when he heard a demo tape. Chapman personally produced three tracks on the album, while his long-time engineer and now independent producer, Peter Coleman (who also supervises Nick Gilder) oversaw the rest. In addition, Chapman and his partner, Nicky Chinn, wrote three new songs for the LP, in addition to, a rearranged version of a song they wrote for Sweet, "No You Don't".
Other material includes two songs co-written by Benatar and her old friend/bass player, Roger Capps--the sarcastic "We're So Sincere" and the funny, intriguing "My Clone Sleeps Alone". There are also electrifying versions of John Cougar's "I Need A Lover, Nick Gilder's "Rated X" and Alan Parsons' "Don't Let It Show". Benatar's hand-- Neil Geraldo (lead guitar, keyboards), Roger Capps (bass), Scott St. ClairShepts (rhythm guitar) and Glen Hamilton (drums)--provide superb support, All in all, Heat is one of the most potent, exciting debuts in a long time. Where, you might wonder, has a voice of this stature been keeping itself? Good question. Yet the answer is quite simple.
Her all encompassing break came when she auditioned at New York's famous showcase for young talent, Catch A Rising Star. Club owner, Rick Newman, remembers the night: "It was 2:45 in the morning. We had 30 performers and she was about #27. I was on the other side of the room drinking with some friends--then I suddenly heard this voice!" Newman booked Benatar again and again. Eventually he became her manager.
An engagement at Tramps followed, and thus the glowing reviews, an NBC feature by "Cousin Brucie" Morrow, visits by suddenly eager record company representatives, and the contract with Chrysalis.
Benatar hints at why she has such fresh impact: "I hardly ever listen to other female vocalists. It's British male rock singers I most admirepeople like Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Lou Gramm. I try to be strong and masculine on stage like them, but somehow it comes out being very feminine." But not the delicate sort of femininity that dominates pop music today. Pat Benatar is here to rock and roll. "Low-key or laidback I'm not. A lot of women singers today seem to be saying 'If you love me and then hurt me, I'll die.' I say 'If you love me, then hurt me, I'll kick your ass."'
Rock may have a major new female singer with this debut package. Benatar possesses a highly distinctive vocal style that cuts through uptempo material like a razor blade. Combine that with the hottest producer in the music business and it makes a pretty potent package. Music is derived chiefly from lead guitar, slide guitar, keyboards, bass and drums and the hooks abound. A number of tunes are interpretations of other artists' work although there is some exciting fresh material as well. Best cuts: "I Need A Lover," "If You Think You Know How To Love Me," "In The Heat Of The Night," "We Live For Love," "Rated X." Dealers: Play in-store.
New York, NY--Holy moly! The lady's got it! To be honest, I wasn't expecting the total onslaught of bewitching sexuality and growling vocals that Benatar presented. Within a staunch rock'n'roll framework (her excellent band rocked like a bitch), Benatar, wearing a slinky leopard-skin top and leotards, proved herself to be not only an enthusiastic showperson but a down-right provocative and alluring entertainer.
Coming from a cabaret background, this Long Island rocker performed selections from her Chrysalis debut lp, In the Heat of the Night (partly produced by Mike Chapman), along with covers of Johnny Cougar's "I Need A Lover (Who Won't Drive Me Crazy)," Paul Revere & The Raiders' "Just Like Me" (a killer) and the Rascals' "You Better Run," in which she pouted the sultry lyrics and turned it into her own song.
The audience, which was filled with 20 members of her own family, was behind her all the way. So was the band. The members (Neil Geraldo, lead guitar/keyboards; Roger Capps, bass; Scott St. Clair-Sheets, rhythm guitar; Myron Grombacher, drums) looked like they were enjoying what they were doing. Grombacher and Giraldo are from Rick Derringer's band. (Glen Hamilton drums on the lp.)
The originals, most notably "My Clone Sleeps Alone," were hook-filled and heady. The covers--Nick Gilder's "Rated X" (perfect for her) and Alan Parson's "Don't Let It Show"-- were great picks. She certainly has a knack for choosing songs that compliment her stage show and show her off in dazzling light.
Yes, definitely dazzling. Pat Benatar is one hot lady of the stage. She arouses desire and rocks 'n' rolls at the same time. She certainly does give good shows.
Benatar's Agora performance was one of those rare live shows that fulfills--even surpasses--a good album. She has her band to thank for that; the lineup was practically identical to the one that appears on her debut LP, and the combination is a hot one indeed. Parma native Neil Geraldo, particularly, did his home town proud with some sizzling lead guitar work that heightened the air of excitement and kept the jam-packed club howling for more.
There was never a lull in Benatar's set, which covered the more rocking numbers from her album as well as oldies by the Rascals and Paul Revere and the Raiders. Benatar herself is living proof that "good things come in small packages;" to look at her, you wouldn't imagine that such a gripping, controlled ballsy voice could come out of such a small body. Good women rockers are hard to find, and it won't be long before Pat Benatar is widely known as one of the best.
Despite her image as a high-flying, hard-driving rock 'n' roller, Pat Benatar is
really the down-to-earth product of a suburban working-class upbringing. She
was the sweetheart of Lindenhurst (NY) High--the girl who played Queen Guinevere
in the school production of Camelot, wore matching t-shirts to class with
her boyfriend, and sang the "O Holy Night" solo at the Christmas concert.
On the night before she moved from New York to Los Angeles, On Your Own talked with Benatar about the changes she's been through and what it's like to be the local girl who has made good.
On Your Own: Did you always want to be a professional singer?
Pat Benatar: No, that was the last thing I wanted to do. All my life I wanted to be a schoolteacher. I sang in the school choir, but I wasn't serious about it at all.
OYO: What changed your mind?
Pat: I got married right out of high school, and my husband enlisted in the Army. We moved to Virginia, and I was working as a bank teller. I finally got so sick of looking at other people's money every day that I had to quit. That's when I decided to try singing.
OYO: How did you learn to sing rock 'n' roll?
Pat: I went through every kind of music imaginable--pop, cabaret, you name it-- until I got to rock 'n' roll. At first I sounded like Judy Garland singing Led Zeppelin, but then I came back to New York and spent almost three years hiding out at a club called Catch a Rising Star. I spent many painful nights there learning how to sing rock 'n' roll.
OYO: Did you ever doubt you could make it?
Pat: Oh sure, right up until "Heartbreaker" (the first hit single from her debut album, In the Heat of the Night). When I started, it wasn't fashionable to be a female rock singer. All the agents and record companies said to me, "Why don't you try pop or rhythm and blues? Girl's don't sing rock 'n' roll." I'd say, "Don't bet on it," then go home in tears. It was terrible.
OYO: What do you think of being called a sex symbol?
Pat: I have to laugh because I know what I look like when I go home and take off the makeup. When you grow up having skinny legs, a pug nose, and big teeth, it's hard to believe that anyone regards you as a sex symbol.
OYO: What advice do you have for people who want to break into the music business?
Pat: Get as much original material together as you can, or if you're going to do covers be sure they're really good. If you believe in what you're doing, stick with it. And learn to take criticism because you're going to hear it.
OYO: So what do you hope to be doing five years from now?
Pat: I want to keep doing albums, and I want to write more. I started writing songs about a year ago, and I'm still a real coward about putting my feelings on paper. And I'd eventually like to make films. When I'm 45, I don't want to be singing rock'n'roll.