In his third “Spine of Overkill” column, Chris MacDermott of Mighty High recalls forgotten Long Island metallers Frigid Bich and nights spent throwing garbage on rich people’s lawns. What could go better with classic metal than that?
If you haven’t heard it yet, Mighty High‘s new album, Legalize Tre Bags is available now on Ripple Music. More info at the band’s Thee Facebooks page.
Long Island had some really obscure bands with offensive names back in the 1980s. There was Mangled Clit, who at one time included superstar drummer Mike Portnoy, or the legendary Satan’s Penis, an early death metal band that went undocumented. But my favorite of all remains Frigid Bich. I have no idea why they spelled it “bich” and not “bitch,” but in most of the photos that remain of their reign, at least one band member is playing a BC Rich guitar. Or maybe they thought they’d have problems getting their records stocked in chain stores. Who knows? This is a band that I’ve been really into ever since hearing their incredible song “We Rule the Night” on the NY Metal ‘84 compilation, but have always had trouble finding out more about them.
Not much has changed since then. There’s very little info on Frigid Bich on the internet right now, but the equally obscure label Stormbringer Records released a compilation, Tyrants of a Generation, in Zeptember 2011 that I have not been able to find anywhere. Formed in 1980, Frigid Bich were intent on playing fast, loud and being as obnoxious as possible. Early song titles “Savage Lust,” “Reign of Steel” and “Teenage Rebels” need no explanation. By 1984, the lineup had changed and the band became even more over the top. “We Rule the Night” was by far the crudest sounding song on NY Metal ‘84 and I was hooked. What’s not to like about a song that rips off the intro to Metallica‘s “Hit the Lights” before blasting into a rewrite of Venom‘s “Raise the Dead?”
My favorite fanzine, KICK*ASS, was a big supporter of Frigid Bich, and just about anything they liked, I wound up liking, too. At some point I got a dub of a dub of a demo recorded in 1984 that included “We Rule the Night” and four other killer songs. That tape is long gone, but it looks like all of it is on side one of Tyrants of a Generation, plus a song called “Louder than Loud” I’d never heard before. Thankfully someone has posted most of these songs to YouTube and it’s great to be reacquainted with the incredible “Metal on Denim on Leather.” Taking Saxon‘s “Denim and Leather” to the extreme, this song borrows heavily from Metallica‘s “Metal Militia.” Their No Life til Leather demo was pretty crude but Frigid‘s tape makes it sound like it was produced by Bob Ezrin. I have fuzzy memories of blasting “Metal on Denim on Leather” and “We Rule the Night” in a friend’s car at the end of the night. We’d save up our empty Bud tall cans and McDonald’s wrappers to throw on rich people’s lawns in Pelham, NY. Always a good idea. “The Kids are Gonna Fight” and “Tyrants of s Generation” are basically about terrorizing old people that try to get in the way of rampaging metal youth. Never a good idea.
Side two of this album looks incredible, with live covers of Motörhead’s “Overkill” and “The Hammer,” Anvil‘s “Metal on Metal,” “Crank it Up” by The Rods and “Wild in the Streets” by Circle Jerks (yes, I know Garland Jeffreys wrote it, but I doubt Frigid Bich did at the time). It must have been inspiring to have seen these guys in action blasting out these jams at some Long Island dump. I imagine about 30 demented youths banging their heads frantically while the onlookers gasp in dismay. In 1984, the really heavy shit was just starting to catch on and it was important to show the new people how it’s done.
Hopefully I’ll be able to track down a copy of this album. It comes with a 20-page booklet with killer photos and a full band history. I had completely forgotten that Frigid vocalist Joe Leonard went on to be a bigwig at Combat Records. Too bad Combat never released an album from them, it would be considered a thrash classic now. There’s a new tribute page on Facebook and a fanzine called Chips & Beer has done an interview with Joe that will be coming out next month. Maybe the time is right for a Frigid Bich to rule the night again.
Tags: Frigid Bich, Long Island, Mighty High, New York