I harbored a crush on the blonde tressed beauty Chaili for years. She was the epitome of the girl next door and I couldn’t shake the thoughts of her from my pre-teen brain. She had everything, looks, smarts, and a really exotic name that most people couldn’t spell. (What’s strange is that there ended up to be at least two other Chaili’s in our hometown.) I was infatuated beyond belief. I once asked her to `go with me,’ the fifth grade equivalent of boyfriend-girlfriend. When she responded, “Go where?”, I nearly died. It took me years to get up the nerve again to even approach her. In eighth grade, at the graduation Disneyland trip, we finally held hands. I know that’s not much for eighth grade, (I mean, really, I already had French kissing experience!) but to me it meant the world. It never went any further than that, however. All throughout high school we danced around the possibility of our attraction without ever discussing it. I still had a schoolboy crush, she nominated me for the Winter Court, we ran into each other on a trip to Tijuana and we flirted like nobody’s business, but alas, again nothing more. What I remember most about Chaili though, is that she loved, and I mean loooooved Billy Idol.
The combination of new wave and blue collar hard rock, plus the advent of the music video, made Idol a huge superstar. I have to admit that I still love Rebel Yell, specifically “(Do Not) Stand in the Shadows,” but there hasn’t been music like that in years. Not so any more. Enter New York’s Diamond Nights. Although this is also the name of a Neil Diamond tribute band, do not confuse them. The New York band combines that same energy of dirty guitar driven rock with new wave keyboards and glam flash. The preview to their upcoming fall album is an EP called Once We Were Diamonds, and if the EP is any indication, the album will be a monster. “Destination Diamonds” opens with Heart’s “Barracuda” like guitars before the singer, Morgan Phalen, lets loose with one of the best rawk voices in recent memory, going falsetto to belt out “Hey baby would you like to mess around?”
“The Girl’s Attractive” is the most Billy Idol of the bunch. While the first two songs might resemble some of the more blue collar rock, I’m talkin’ Blue friggin Öyster friggin Cult baby, the third song is definitely more new wave. At times you can almost see the trademark lip sneer and Steve Stevens’ crazy black hair. If this song doesn’t make the band famous, then “Saturday Fantastic” will. The only thing missing is the cowbell to be honest. You will want to sing along to the falsetto chorus of “Yeah yeah, whoa-ho, another minute and a mile to go.” While everyone else seems to be stuck on the keyboard new wave retro kick, Diamond Nights kick it way old school with the down and dirty Top 40 radio that most are now ashamed to speak of. This is the type of music that would blare (and still does) out of pickup trucks on construction sites. Loverboy, BOC, Bad Company, Journey, Foreigner and Billy Squier all come to mind when listening to the EP. While that may sound like a horrible concept, Diamond Nights make it not only cool, but cutting edge and more fun than holding hands at Disneyland.
Billy Idol- Rebel Yell
Van Halen- 1984
Blue Öyster Cult- Fire of Unknown Origin