The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome

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The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome
Studio album by Slade
Released 3 December 1983
Recorded Portland Studios, Rak Studios
Genre Hard rock
Length 42:29
Label RCA Records
Castle Communications
Producer Jim Lea, John Punter
Slade chronology
Slade On Stage
(1982)
The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome
(1983)
Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply
(1984)
Singles from The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome
  1. "(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie"
    Released: 12 November 1982
  2. "My Oh My"
    Released: 11 November 1983
  3. "Run Runaway"
    Released: 27 January 1984
  4. "Slam the Hammer Down"
    Released: 1984

The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome is the tenth album by the British rock group Slade. It was released 3 December 1983 and reached number 49 in the UK charts.

Two singles released from the album were successful, peaking in the top 20 of both the UK and US. "Run Runaway" reached #20 on the Billboard singles chart. Both "My Oh My" and "Run Runaway" had videos to help boost sales.

In the United States and Canada, this album was issued as Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply, in a different track-order and with the track "Cocky Rock Boys (Rule O.K.)" replaced by "Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply".

The album peaked at #1 in Sweden lasting a total of 12 weeks.

Holder was asked the meaning behind the title upon release, he stated "I was reading the sports pages one day and there was an article on motor sport. It talked about the 'kamikaze complex' those guys who compete seem to have in putting their life on the line every time they go on the track. I think Barry Sheene was mentioned as a specific example. Anyway, it struck me that some of our songs fitted in with this idea, so the title seemed a logical choice. And let's face it, everyone has something of that complex in 'em, we all take gambles at some point in our lives."[1]

Background[edit]

Following Slade's performance at the Reading festival in 1980, the group had sold out shows and had a major record deal with RCA. However, since the single We'll Bring the House Down, it had not had any hits. Singles such as Wheels Ain't Comin' Down, Lock Up Your Daughters, Ruby Red and C'est La Vie did not perform well on the charts.

Jim Lea had always wanted to write a big, folksy ballad and when he presented his melody idea to Holder, the lyrics to My Oh My were created. Another song produced was Run Runaway, a Celtic-flavoured rock-jig featuring Lea's fiddle. RCA hired John Punter to work on the tracks.

Punter's methods were different from what Slade were used to; for example he made the band record their parts separately. My Oh My became a hit in late 1983, peaking at #2, behind The Flying Pickets cover of Yazoo's Only You.

The rock band Quiet Riot covered Slade's 1973 UK chart topper Cum On Feel The Noize. Although Slade's original had not been successful in the U.S., Quiet Riot's cover peaked at #5. The song helped Quiet Riot sell seven million copies of their album Metal Health. As a result of this success, Slade signed with CBS records.

Run Runaway was soon released in the US and UK. Its promotional video was shot at Eastnor Castle in Hertfordshire. The song became a top 10 hit in the UK and Slade's first top 20 hit in the States.[2]

Release[edit]

Originally, the album was to be released in February 1984, as confirmed by the band shortly before, however the success of "My Oh My" caused RCA to quickly release the album earlier in late 1983, who wanted to cash-in on the success of the single. This caused some Slade fans to worry about the record being lost in the frantic Christmas market.[3]

Noddy Holder spoke of the album in a 1986 interview "we all felt that there should have been a single out on the back of 'Run Runaway'. The album was our first big success in America, it was top 5 all over Europe and number 1 in Scandinavia for months. Britain was the only place it wasn't a big album. We could have, theoretically, had another single off it. It would have been a hit. There was plenty of good stuff on that album."[4]

In the September-December 1986 Slade fan club magazine, the poll results were announced for the 1986 opinion poll based on Slade’s material. For the best album of the 80s, The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome placed at #1. The poll result notes explain that there was almost a tie between The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome and Rogues Gallery, also stating that not many fans chose Slade’s latest album at the time Crackers - The Christmas Party Album. In the same 1986 poll, for the best album sleeve, The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome placed at #3.

In a December 1983 interview by Record Mirror magazine, Lea spoke of how the band's American success came about, "Quiet Riot phoned us up and asked if they could use the song Cum on Feel the Noize. They were a bit cheeky really because they had already recorded it. I think they've done a very good version and the song is a classic." Lea was asked if he knew how much he was to make out of the publishing royalties, Lea replied "Let's say enough to buy some very nice Christmas presents. Because of the success of the song in the States, we're also got five major record companies trying to outbid each other and sign us to a major deal. We've had ridiculous offers coming over the phone. We'll give you five Rolls Royces if you go with us, that kind of thing."

Promotion[edit]

During the album's release in December, the band were touring throughout the UK in order to promote the album. With the success of My Oh My, the band were appearing on national TV regularly, followed by the success of Run Runaway.

As the album was originally to be released in February 1984, a major concert tour was penciled for the Spring. However, when RCA decided to release the album in December 1983 instead, a college tour for that month was organised instead. Although a college tour was not ideal after the big success of the My Oh My single, but the band were committed to the tour, although negotiations were taking place for a concert tour in the Spring of 1984.[5] This tour would never take place and after a few concerts in America during 1984 (following the band's American success with "My Oh My" and "Run Runaway"), the band would never perform live again, except for a one-off version of "Johnny B. Goode" during Slade's 25th Anniversary party, organised by the band's fan club.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Slam the Hammer Down"   Noddy Holder, Jim Lea 3:25
2. "In The Doghouse"   Holder, Lea 2:44
3. "Run Runaway"   Holder, Lea 5:00
4. "High and Dry"   Holder, Lea 3:10
5. "My Oh My"   Holder, Lea 4:12
6. "Cocky Rock Boys (Rule O.K.)"   Holder, Lea 3:27
7. "Ready to Explode"   Holder, Lea 8:38
8. "(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie"   Holder, Lea 3:43
9. "Cheap 'n' Nasty Luv"   Holder, Lea 3:27
10. "Razzle Dazzle Man"   Holder, Lea 4:39
2007 Remastered edition bonus tracks
No. Title Writer(s) Length
11. "Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply" (b-side of "My Oh My") Holder, Lea 3:34
12. "My Oh My (12" Extended Version)"   Holder, Lea 5:34
13. "Don't Tame a Hurricane" (b-side of "My Oh My" 12") Holder, Lea 2:33
14. "Run Runaway (12" Extended Version)"   Holder, Lea 5:26
15. "Two Track Stereo One Track Mind" (b-side of "Run Runaway") Holder, Lea 2:55
16. "Slam the Hammer Down (Hotter Mix)" (b-side of "Slam the Hammer Down") Holder, Lea 3:44

Song information[edit]

Slam the Hammer Down[edit]

"Slam the Hammer Down" opens the original album with a shouted soliloquy by Holder from a helicopter. Chris Ingham from Rock's Backpages stated "The track features an elaborately motor racing/sex metaphor." The track was issued as a promo in the US only. The single peaked at #92 in the US.

In The Doghouse[edit]

"In The Doghouse" featured brass instruments for the first time in a Slade track for years. Chris Ingham stated "In The Doghouse celebrates the carefree indiscretions of youth." Noddy Holder later recalled "there was plenty of good stuff on that album...we could have, theoretically, had another single...it would have been a hit", Holder was probably talking about In The Doghouse.

Run Runaway[edit]

"Run Runaway", a Celtic-flavoured rock-jig featuring some elliptical lyrics and the return of Jim Lea's fiddle. RCA saw the potential of the track and appointed John Punter to work on the track. The album version is extended to give more time for the Linn drum gallop. This track became the first hit in the US for Slade after years of trying to crack the American market, peaking at #20. The track is also a recommended track by allmusic.

High and Dry[edit]

"High and Dry" was originally covered by female rock band Girlschool which was produced by both Holder and Lea. Chris Ingham stated "High and Dry is known for showing notable Holder vocal, once memorably described by Melody Maker's Jim Arundel as "a blistering yell that's akin to Little Richard undergoing throat surgery by blowtorch without an anaesthetic". High And Dry is also for its unapologetic commemoration of insensitive womanising; "you want equality", goes the lyric, "you won't get none of that from me". How that fits with Slade's declaration in My Oh My that they "believe in woman" is difficult to say, but a politically correct Slade wouldn't be Slade at all."

My Oh My[edit]

"My Oh My" came as Lea had always wanted to write a big, folksy ballad and when he presented his melody idea to Holder, the lyrics to My Oh My were created. The melody came from an idea that Lea had while listening to Hill and Holder tuning up in the dressing room before a gig at a University in Wales. This track became a huge hit in the UK, peaking at #2 and #37 in the US. The track is also a recommended track by allmusic.

Cocky Rock Boys (Rule O.K.)[edit]

"Cocky Rock Boys (Rule O.K.)" ended the original side one of the album. Chris Ingham wrote "Cocky Rock Boys tips a wink at Slade's audience and shows Lea's production off complete with a backward vocal effect, the first for a Slade track." This particular track did not feature on the American version of this album, Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply.

In the Slade International Fan Club newsletter for April, May and June 1988, a fan asked who spoke the repeat lines "You Frank and Johnny, you're hurting my arm." The club stated that it was Holder speaking the lines and that the lines were taken from a 1941 film titled "The Maltese Falcon", starring Humphrey Bogart.[6][7]

Ready to Explode[edit]

"Ready to Explode" is an eight-and-one-half-minute track that that opened side two of the original vinyl album. It is a multi-themed song suite about the excitement of motor racing, inspired in part by the Jim Steinman's work with Meat Loaf. Guitarist Dave Hill said "I seem to remember that he was hooked on the Bat Out of Hell album at the time, and he wanted to make a record about...being on the edge and all this type of thing". The track also featured Pete Drummond doing announcements on the track. The song was split into four different parts:

  • Part 1: The Warm Up
  • Part 2: The Grid
  • Part 3: The Race
  • Part 4: The Dream

In the September-December 1986 Slade fan club magazine, the poll results were announced for the 1986 opinion poll based on Slade’s material. For the songs most wanted to be heard live, Ready to Explode placed at #2.[8]

(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie[edit]

"(And Now the Waltz) C'est La Vie", described by Chris Ingham as "a waltz-time anthem about the bittersweet feelings surrounding an end-of-affair tryst", was originally released in 1982 as a Christmas single. In November 2005 on one of his regular TV-reviewing slots on the Mark Radcliffe BBC Radio 2 show, Holder was asked to choose a track from the recently released Best of Slade. To Radcliffe's surprise Holder chose this flop single. Holder reasoned the track showed off his voice really well.

Cheap 'n' Nasty Luv[edit]

"Cheap 'n' Nasty Luv" is described by Chris Ingham as "another in the series of Slade songs which display an interest in the oldest profession (see also Standing On The Corner, When Fantasy Calls) though the usual lusty appreciation is set aside here and replaced with an empathetic view of a young lady unhappy in her situation." On the American release, Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply, the song is shorter than the European version which adds an extra snythesizer section.

Razzle Dazzle Man[edit]

"Razzle Dazzle Man" features a fast tempo, new wave influence until mid-way when the song changes into a ballad featuring acoustic guitar and large backing vocals. Chris Ingham wrote "Razzle Dazzle Man closes the album, but not before reprising motifs from Ready To Explode and a fade giving the impression that side 2 was all one thematic piece." This particular track did not feature on the American version of this album, Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply.

Non-album tracks[edit]

Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply[edit]

"Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply" appeared as a b-side to Slade's 1983 hit My Oh My. The title was used for the American version of The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome. The song also appeared on the American release. Chris Ingham wrote "the track is a song about a drunk driver strongly advising his amorous passenger not to grope him while he's being followed by the police. The chorus is as fast as anything Slade ever recorded while the production typifies Slade's sound in the mid-80s."

Don't Tame A Hurricane[edit]

"Don't Tame A Hurricane" was originally taken from the 12" version of "My Oh My." The track featured on Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply, the American version of The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome. On the American release, the title was changed to "Can't Tame A Hurricane." Chris Ingham wrote "'Don't Tame A Hurricane' has a rocking terseness and directness that recalls Slade's '70s heyday while packing an '80s punch. The 'hurricane' of the song title refers to a larger-than-life character who won't be tied down and who's an 'international cocktail who'll end up on the rocks.'"

Two Track Stereo One Track Mind[edit]

"Two Track Stereo One Track Mind" featured as the b-side to "Run Runaway." Chris Ingham wrote "The song is a jokey portrait of a girl who blocks out her lover during intercourse by listening to music through headphones. On one level, a piece of titillation, on another a comment on the difficulty achieving meaningful connection in an age of multi-media distractions."[9] This track was not featured on either The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome or the American version of that album, Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2/5 stars[10]
Get Ready To Rock! 3.5/5 stars[11]
Record Mirror 5/5 stars[12]
Sounds 4.5/5 stars[13]

At the time of release, reviews were overall positive.

Record Mirror stated "Romping back into the forefront of Eighties pop with an apparently effortless confidence and an untainted infectiousness. Slade are riding hard on the heels of a smash hit single with an album that decently consolidates the success of 'My Oh My. Noddy Holder only has to turn on that formidable voice on the opening 'Slam The Hammer Down' and you know straight away Slade will never abandon the battle while there's spirit enough left to fight It. Now this is the Slade we’ve known and loved and laughed with for years - a raucous, rollicking and simply addictive little riot that kicks the album off with a resounding start - no wonder people are rediscovering rock ‘n’ roll these days. And there's more of same craftsmen at variations on a theme. Slade storm on through the vinyl with 'In The Doghouse', the irresistible 'High And Dry’, the excellent 'Cheap n' Nasty Love' and a grand finale with 'Razzle Dazzle Man'. Look for humour and you’ll find it dotted around all over the place. "Get your oats in while you can can", hollers Holder on 'Cocky Rock Boys (Rule OK)'. "You're full of wit and it hits the fan". There are certain moments of contrast to be found on this album. The family sing-song 'My Oh My' fades into something approaching insignificance besides the more fiery stompers, and the percussive, mid-placed 'Run Runaway’, oddly chosen as the next single, droops into repetitiveness before the second verse is out. And '(And Now The Waltz) C'Est La Vie' tends to disappear into the clouds of its own long-winded ambition. Finally though, its certain that for flash and sparkle, slap and tickle, and a ride on a runaway rock n roller coaster. Slade have lost none of their old wicked touch."

Sounds stated "Kamikaze Syndrome? Pardon me, but wouldn't resurrection shuffle be nearer to the point? Slade seem to be eternal, eternally young, eternally fun. As "My Oh My" finds them back in the running for that number one slot eleven years after their first one, this the album of the single, shows conclusively that Slade are still capable of rocking harder and catchier than most bands half their age.They sound so lively and confident you can forgive them the rock 'n' roll clichés they occasionally slip into, though maybe the real key to their survival comes with the track "Run Runaway" which shows them cheekily and triumphantly plagiarising flavour-of-84 Big Country. Elsewhere, the 'Sailing' style scarves in the air of the single is surpassed by the even more anthemic 'C'est La Vie', but as always it's the hell-raisin' metalboogie stomps that really shake the timbers, and there's enough big stampers here to keep Quiet Riot in hits till 1987!

My favourite tracks are the noisy rocker 'Slam The Hammer Down' which is classic Slade party material, the corny epic 'Cocky Rock Boys' and 'In The Doghouse', an out and out Faces belter, all out with the boys and trousers round your ankles. These are all on side one, but side two is just as moving and features a gripping driving documentary 'Ready To Explode', a belting number about Hanoi Rocks drummer called 'Razzle Dazzle Man' and an Abba style tale, namely 'Cheap n' Nasty Love', an epithet which could never fit Slade. If I hadn't already handed in my top 20 for the year, 'The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome' would have pride of place in it.[14][15]

Joe Geesin of Get Ready to Rock wrote of the remaster "1983's The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome kicks off proving that while it wasn't the classic Slade of old, they still had it. Noddy still sounded like Noddy, despite the hugely updated production. The riffs were still big, and the solos were if anything better, more metal if commercial metal (check out opener 'Slam The Hammer Down'). This was Slade's biggest commercial success in America. The surprise hit single was 'Run Run Away', despite the new wave tribal sound to the drums. It's still a catchy and memorable track but not one you'd attribute to Slade unless someone told you so. Nice time change mid-song, Celtic flavoured crunchy lead riff, and Jim Lea's violin. 'C'est La Vie' was a waltz ballad that flopped as a single - strange choice lads. Extensive sleevenotes, slipcase and 6 bonus cuts make for a first class package though."[11]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1983) Peak
position
Total
weeks
Australia ARIA Albums Chart[citation needed] 50 ?
Austrian Albums Chart[16] 17 2
German Albums Chart[17] 9 ?
New Zealand Albums Chart[18] 39 3
Norwegian Albums Chart[19] 2 22
Swedish Albums Chart[20] 1 12
Swiss Albums Chart[21] 5 16
UK Albums Chart[22] 49 13

Personnel[edit]

Slade[edit]

Additional credits[edit]

  • Andy Dummit - Saxophone on "In the Doghouse"
  • Pete Drummond - Announcements on "Ready to Explode"
  • John Punter - producer
  • Andy Miller, Dave Garland - engineer
  • Andrew Christian - art direction
  • Shoot That Tiger! - design
  • John Shaw - photography
  • Phil Davis - set designer

References[edit]

  1. ^ Posted by Mickey P. (2004-02-26). "From Roots To Boots!: The Amazing Kami-Khazi Syndrome". Sladestory.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  2. ^ "Slade 1983 The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome". My-rock-music.ru. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  3. ^ http://www.sladefanclub.com/uploads/7/6/6/0/7660950/2943861_orig.jpg
  4. ^ "SLADE @ www.slayed.co.uk". Crazeeworld.plus.com. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  5. ^ http://www.sladefanclub.com/uploads/7/6/6/0/7660950/1611418_orig.jpg
  6. ^ http://sladefanclub.weebly.com/uploads/7/6/6/0/7660950/9356003_orig.jpg
  7. ^ Slade International Fan Club newsletter April - May - June 1988
  8. ^ http://www.sladefanclub.com/uploads/7/6/6/0/7660950/8554869_orig.jpg
  9. ^ Amazing Kamikaze Remaster CD Album Booklet
  10. ^ "The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome - Slade". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  11. ^ a b "Get Ready to ROCK! Review of CD album resissues by rock band Slade called The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome,You Boyz Make Big Noize,The Collection 70-87,Rogues Gallery". Getreadytorock.com. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  12. ^ http://www.sladescrapbook.com/userimages/RM171283.JPG
  13. ^ http://www.sladescrapbook.com/userimages/Sounds171283v2.JPG
  14. ^ "SLADE amazing kamikaze syndrome". Sladeinengland.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  15. ^ "Slade Scrapbook Website - Cuttings 1983". Sladescrapbook.com. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  16. ^ Steffen Hung. "Slade - The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome". austriancharts.at. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  17. ^ "charts.de". charts.de. 2007-07-27. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  18. ^ Steffen Hung. "Slade - The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome". charts.org.nz. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  19. ^ Steffen Hung. "Slade - The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  20. ^ Steffen Hung. "Slade - The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  21. ^ Steffen Hung. "Slade - The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome". hitparade.ch. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  22. ^ "Slade - The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 2012-07-24. Retrieved 2011-08-10. 
  23. ^ a b Images for the remastered edition of The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome (see liner notes where it mentions Lea playing the fiddle on "Run Runaway," even though it is not officially listed in the album credits). Retrieved 5-24-2010.
  24. ^ Slade- The Amazing Kamikaze Syndrome @Discogs.com Retrieved 5-24-2010.