Tuesday, April 6, 2010

20/20 - An introduction to....

The story starts when in 1977 two natives of Tulsa by the names of Steve Allen and Ron Flynt, after witnessing the success of their hometown companions Dwight Twilley and Phil Seymour, decided to seek their musical fame on the bright lights of Hollywood blvd. Once there they were joined by the drummer Mike Gallo and the first 20/20 line up was formed. In the late 70's, LA was the headquarters for much of the country's punk influenced new wave and pop. From the Quick to the Last to the Plimsouls to 20/20, there was no shortage of great rocking pop coming from California, and 20/20 were probably the best of the bunch.
They started gigging very frequently and became household name at famous Madam Wong's in Chinatown. Esther Wong always supported local bands and became famous for auditioning the bands after listening their tapes in her car. She showcased many cool punk new wave bands at the time. Oingo Boingo, The Police, X, The Motels, The Knack, The Plimsouls, The Go Go's were just few that played Madam Wong's. Greg Shaw was one of the first to notice energetic live 20/20 shows and became their biggest fan from the start. He imediately signed them to his BOMP! Records and released their first 7'' single „Giving It All b/w Under The Freeway“. It's an amazing single and very hard to find although you can hear it on the Various Artists Roots of Powerpop CD collection. Soon after that Chris Silagy joined the band on keyboards which changed their sound from traditional 60's influenced to more new wave-ish.
Their 1979 debut album 20/20 produced by Earle Mankey the ex Sparks guitarist really is a true power pop nugget and one of the best debut albums. It has all, power chords, catchy choruses, fabulous hooks and melodies. However, "Yellow Pills" their biggest hit is, in my opinion vastly overrated, and may be the weakest song on the album. "Cheri", "Remember the Lightning", and "Jet Lag" will always remain my favorites and are true power pop classics.
Look Out!, their second album released in 1981, while containing a few very cool tracks („Nuclear Boy“ is one of them), was unfortunately not quite up to par. It was their downfall that continued when they hit rock bottom on Sex Trap. Anyway, the Look Out! tracks are considerably less traditional power pop and have enough hooks to appeal to more adventurous fans who wished the debut had more new wave appeal.
Because of the fact that their label could never translate radio play and sold-out shows into national chart success, 20/20 declined to do the third album Sex Trap for them and they tried to find better luck elsewhere. A new deal with a major label fell through, leaving the band without a label so the band released their third album Sex-Trap in 1982 on their own Mainway Records. Anyway the album was picked up by Enigma in 1983 but the label owners alternated the Mainway release. Two songs were remixed, one song was dropped and one was added, but that didn't help alot and album hardly saw the light of day.
20/20 released two more albums in the 90's. 4 Day Tornado released in 1995 and has that old trademark 20/20 sound but on their 1998 and final 20/20 release Interstate, there's more of an emphasis on their country twang of guitar pop.
Although they never recieved the recognition they deserved, mostly because popularity of Knack's „My Sharona“ literaly washed off all the other bands from the scene, Allen and Flynt continued to record and their reunion gig at the Radio Heartbeat festival proved that they can still deliver their old songs with the same power and pashion they did at their prime.

Story by Vex Voxtone

PS: There's no need to upload any work from 20/20...They did it earlier and they did it with excellent results (vinyl-ripping, scans, etc...as usual of course...) the guys at Power Pop Criminals Blog. Click here to catch 20/20 at their best. 
-the editor-

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