|Also known as||Helter Skelter
|Origin||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Genres||Glam metal / sleaze rock / hard rock|
|Labels||Au Go Go
|Past members||see Members list below|
Candy Harlots were an Australian glam metal band from Sydney, active between 1987 and 1995. They also released material as Helter Skelter and The Harlots. Their musical style is commonly described as sleaze rock, and according to rock music historian Ian McFarlane they were, "An unashamedly macho, decadent lot, with a black leathers 'n' chains and gutter-rock image played out over an entertaining brand of hard-edged rock 'n' roll." They enjoyed Top 20 chart success with their March 1992 EP Foreplay on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Singles Chart and obtained a Top 40 chart position with their sole full-length album Five Wicked Ways in May 1992.
Candy Harlots were formed in 1987 in Sydney by guitarist Ron Barrett (aka Ron B. Gypsy, ex-Glam Savages), drummer Tony Cardinal (ex-What??!!, Soggy Porridge), vocalist Mark Easton (ex-Suicide Squad, Kelpies, Soggy Porridge, Glam Savages) and bass guitarist Nick Szentkuti (ex-Glam Savages). Shortly after the band was formed Easton met guitarist Marc De Hugar in Melbourne and invited him to join the group. Szentkuti spent six months as bass guitarist; he was followed by Scott Millard (ex-The Faith) and then Leeno Dee (ex-Roxx). The band developed an underground following around Sydney and were offered a recording deal with Virgin Records after three shows but their manager turned down the offer. The contract was not signed until the band's management deal expired four years later. They played frequently in suburban Sydney pubs, including the Kardomah Cafe in Kings Cross and the St James Tavern in the city, and secured support slots with The Cult, Cheap Trick, Divinyls, The Angels, The Sunnyboys, Danish rock band D-A-D and Kings of the Sun.
Although the band's popularity steadily increased, their infamous reputation made the securing of a major label contract difficult. Melbourne label 'Au Go Go Records' issued their debut 7" single, Red Hot Rocket, in April 1989 with the initial 500 copies pressed on red vinyl and wrapped in a pair of women's lace knickers. The single was produced by Mick Cocks of hard-rockers Rose Tattoo. The band followed this up with some live dates in Melbourne in mid-1989.
Numerous live shows led the band to prominence in the Sydney rock scene, and a follow-up single entitled Danger (backed with Wrap 2 Arms) was released in May 1990 on the Sydney label 'Timberyard'. A friendship between New Jersey's Skid Row and the Candy Harlots was struck after a Hordern Pavilion show in 1990. Both bands jammed on The Troggs' Wild Thing at an after-show party at the Kardomah Cafe, with members of Mötley Crüe (touring at the time) also in attendance.
Lead guitarist Marc De Hugar was replaced in 1990 by Phil Bowley (ex-Rags 'n' Riches, Shy Thunder). In October 1990, Ron Barrett died after an asthma attack, at the age of 26. Ex-Flying Tigers guitarist Peter Masi was recruited in his stead. Mark Easton left after a final performance with Candy Harlots at Kardomah Cafe on 22 March 1991. New vocalist Tony 'Aiz' Lynch (ex-Backstreet Shuffle, a sometime support band to Candy Harlots) joined the band soon afterwards, and his songwriting skills helped the band to secure major label interest. Virgin Records signed the band after the track What Are We Fighting For? was played to Virgin representatives including future manager Andrew McManus. The Lynch-led line-up received greater media attention than the Easton-fronted group, and they remained popular with the Australian hard rock and metal fraternity, gaining many new fans through Virgin-backed promotional activities.
The Foreplay EP was released in March 1992 and reached No. 17 on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Singles Chart. The debut album Five Wicked Ways followed in May, and reached a Top 40 ranking in the ARIA Albums Chart. The album was produced by Peter Blyton (The Radiators, Machinations) and spawned the successful single Sister's Crazy.
Virgin Records was eventually bought out by EMI and Candy Harlots were subsequently signed to EMI's US label. Soon afterwards Aiz Lynch was fired from the band, to be replaced by vocalist Hayden Watt (ex-Triple X). In mid-1993, founding drummer Tony Cardinal quit the group along with Peter Masi. However Bowley, Dee and Watt formed a new outfit called Helter Skelter, with the addition of drummer Tubby Wadsworth (ex-Killing Time, Mantissa). They released one single, Cry for Love (an Iggy Pop cover) before Watt was replaced by Jordan Howe. In April 1994 they became known as The Harlots, issuing a self-titled CD EP in October, before dissolving the following year.
- Tony Cardinal joined Screaming Tribesmen in the mid-1990s.
- Marc De Hugar joined Screaming Tribesmen in the mid-1990s alongside Cardinal. His glam rock-influenced band Dragonfly produced an EP, Zero, in August 2006 (on MGM). De Hugar subsequently went on to perform, teach, run clinics for Charvel USA, and undertake a variety of other projects. He had plans to record a solo CD, with the working title Evolution X.
- Mark Easton continued to perform and record with his blues-rock outfit Mark Easton Limousine, releasing: Coast to Coast (2001), Greener (2004), and Bandwagon (2006). In October 2003, he performed at a reunion gig with his former band The Kelpies at The Annandale Hotel in Sydney. Easton went solo in 2007, playing slide guitar, harmonica, drums, loops, and vocals simultaneously. He has released three solo albums: Money is the Root of All Evil (2009), Live at Sydney Blues Festival (2010) and Grind (2012). He has toured extensively throughout Australia, including performances at many Blues and Roots festivals. In 2013, he teamed up with slide guitarist Adam Hole and released a live album, Attack of the Monster Guitars. A tour of Australia was arranged in 2014, in support of this release.
- Nick Szentkuti went on to perform as a singer and guitarist. In 2007, he formed a folk band called Five Leaves Left, who were scheduled to appear at the Blue Mountains Music Festival in March 2011.
- Scott Millard performed with the bands Crash Politics, Bell Jar, ID and Clusterfunk before releasing a solo EP under the name Crackerjack (1994). He then worked for Warner Music Group, Sega, Festival Records and Air Recordings. At the end of 1999 he moved to Singapore, to work for Namco Bandai Partners.
- Leeno Dee played with Phil Bowley in Velvet Claws, The Killer Kowboys and Dearly Beloved, who released an EP entitled Pushover in February 1997. He was a member of the bands Jerk and Ink, before forming Melody Black with Tubby Wadsworth, Phil Bowley and Johnathan Devoy (ex-Jerk, Ink).
- Phil Bowley recorded with Gav Darby, Envy, The Flog Puppet and Fusion, and released two solo albums: Inside The Outside (2007) and Black Ice (2008).
- Peter Masi played with the Angry Anderson-Peter Wells Band (which featured members of Rose Tattoo), Mark Easton Limousine, and then Beware of the Dog with former Harlots vocalist Jordan Howe, before joining Ugly Little Secrets / Ugly Secrets.
- Aiz Lynch formed the short-lived band Angry Snuff Puppet. In early 2005, he was scheduled to appear at a Tsunami Benefit show in Richmond, New South Wales. He then went on to front the band Ugly Little Secrets, which also featured Peter Masi, Adam Laird and Johnny Hayes. In June 2012, the band's name was shortened to Ugly Secrets, with a lineup which now included Pete Stanton on bass guitar and Steve Auburn on drums.
- Hayden Watt joined a 90's cover band in Adelaide, before relocating to run 'Modern Music Bundoora' (a musical tuition organisation) in Melbourne.
- Tubby Wadsworth went on to record and perform with Australian hardcore act Mass Appeal, Love Shark (of Machine Gun Fellatio) and Melody Black.
- Jordan Howe was a member of Beware of the Dog and H8Tank, then Paindivision (2007–2008) and Saint Lucifer (2010 onwards).
Candy Harlots (1987–1993), Helter Skelter (1993–1994), The Harlots (1994–1995):
- Ron Barrett – rhythm guitar (1987–1990) (d October 1990)
- Tony Cardinal – drums (1987–1993)
- Marc Lee De Hugar – lead guitar (1987–1990)
- Mark Easton – lead vocals (1987–1991)
- Nick Szentkuti – bass guitar (1987–1988)
- Scott Millard – bass guitar (1988)
- Leeno Dee – bass guitar (1988–1995)
- Phil Bowley – lead guitar (1990–1995)
- Peter Masi – rhythm guitar (1990–1993)
- Aiz Lynch – lead vocals (1991–1992)
- Hayden Watt – lead vocals (1992–1994)
- Tubby Wadsworth – drums (1993–1995)
- Jordan Howe – lead vocals (1994–1995)
- Five Wicked Ways (Cassette, CD and Digipak, 1992, Virgin Records - VOZCD2056LE)
- Foreplay (Cassette, CD and video EP, 1990, Virgin Records - VOZCD134)
- The Tease Tapes - giveaway with Hot Metal Magazine #31 (Cassette, March 1991, Virgin Records - FILTH1)
- Red Hot Rocket / When Will I Know (7" vinyl, 1989, Au Go Go Records - ANDA96)
- Danger / Wrap 2 Arms (7" vinyl, 1990, Timberyard Records - BUZZ069)
- Danger / Hot Love Child (7" vinyl and CD, 1991, Virgin Records - VOZ117)
- Sister's Crazy (CD, 1992, Virgin Records - VOZCD136)
- What Are We Fighting For? (CD, 1992, Virgin Records - VOZCD2056)
- Helter Skelter: Cry for Love (CD, EMI Records - 8740292)
- Helter Skelter: Nailed (Unreleased album)
- The Harlots: The Harlots EP (CD, Red Room Records - RR001)
- Gray, Denis. Vicious Kitten Fanzine, 1995
- On The Street Magazine - Sydney
- Hot Metal Magazine - Australia
- McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Whammo Homepage". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86508-072-1. Retrieved 8 February 2010. Note: Archived [on-line] copy has limited functionality.
- Spencer, Chris; Nowara, Zbig; McHenry, Paul (2002) . The Who's Who of Australian Rock. Notes by Ed Nimmervoll. Noble Park, Vic.: Five Mile Press. ISBN 1-86503-891-1. National Library of Australia catalogue information. Note: [on-line] version established at White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd in 2007 and was expanded from the 2002 edition.
- McFarlane 'Candy Harlots' entry. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
- "Discography Candy Harlots". Australian charts portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
- http://www.liveguide.com.au/Events/637544/Candy_Harlots/Candy_Harlots_Reunion_2009 Candy Harlots - Reunion gig details (2009)