❉ Slinky Vagabond interchanges guest musicians in a manner that creates a new and exciting whole.
“I felt a great energy playing with Keanan: no limits, no barriers. Our different musical backgrounds created an exciting mix and we felt it was time to build a more structured project. I think the true essence of Rock’n’Roll comes out when you can work free from plans or deadlines.” – Guitarist/songwriter/producer Fabio Fabbri.
Featuring guest appearances by Midge Ure (Ultravox/Visage/Live Aid co-founder), Dave Formula(Magazine/Visage), Richard Fortus (Guns N’ Roses/Psychedelic Furs), David Torn (David Bowie/David Sylvian), Tony Bowers (Durutti Column/Simply Red) and Martin Turner (Wishbone Ash), King Boy Vandals is an album born of musical alchemy, forged in fire and cooled in sweat.
“The title King Boy Vandals is an anagram of Slinky Vagabond. We re-arranged the name just as we re-arranged the band,” explains New York-based fashion designer/author/musician Keanan Duffty about his new album with Italian guitarist/songwriter/producer Fabio Fabbri which will be released independently on May 6th. In a similar fashion of mixing up integral elements, Slinky Vagabond interchanges guest musicians in a manner that creates a new and exciting whole.
“At the beginning, we didn’t have plans or projects,” adds Fabio. “I felt a great energy playing with Keanan: no limits, no barriers. Our different musical backgrounds created an exciting mix and we felt it was time to build a more structured project. I think the true essence of Rock’n’Roll comes out when you can work free from plans or deadlines.”
Recorded prior to the pandemic, it was tightened and honed in post-production when the world halted. “We completed all the backing tracks and vocals at Fabio’s studio, as I had been giving lectures regularly in Florence during 2018 and 2019,” says Keanan. “Some of the songs were written from scratch. Others were already written as demos, for example English Country Garden – I had written the music and lyrics and demoed it in New York. Fabio had some songs already written that needed lyrics and a vocal. So, fortunately we were done with all of that before the pandemic really began to take effect and lock everything down. As you know, Italy was hard hit in early 2020.”
Adds Fabio, “Having a personal recording studio gave me the opportunity to work during the pandemic and also to get through that very bad period. I think that the pause of live concerts in 2020 made musicians more available to work on new songs and I think that is one of the reasons we had so many great musicians as guests”.
A full-blooded rock and punk record that shifts and slinks alongside searing guitars and muscular drums, King Boy Vandals explores the deeper reaches of dark rock clubs, gritty and dirty and very much alive. While many of the songs on King Boy Vandals had their genesis in the last two years (recording sessions took place in 2018 and 2019 with many of the guest performances happening digitally during the 2020 pandemic lockdown), some songs like Primadonna and Fear No Evil have beginnings further band in the past. “Those two songs are totally rewritten versions of demos I did for Velvet Revolver,” Keanan laughs. “After Scott Weiland left, there was talk that VR might audition for another singer. Their management sent me a couple of backing tracks and I wrote lyrics and went into the studio with Earl Slick, who produced a session with me singing on the VR backing tracks. Needless to say, I did not get the VR gig.”
Beefing up the song from its skeletal beginnings, he and Fabio collaborated to finish the song. “For this new Slinky Vagabond record, I kept the old lyrics and Fabio wrote new music, which is what you hear on our record. Midge Ure recorded guitar parts on Primadonna and we think it has a vibe of the Rich Kids [the band Midge fronted with Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock in the 70s]. Richard Fortus plays his signature solo on Fear No Evil.”
Old Boy (which features Ure and Tony Bowers) chugs with a propulsive rhythm, paying homage to the films of director Park Chan-wook whose Vengeance Trilogy – Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) / Oldboy (2003) / Lady Vengeance (2005) – serves as a worthy inspiration. “I remember I wrote the music for Old Boy during a trip to Seville in 2016,” says Fabio. “That place so rich in Flamenco gave me the idea for a Spanish style chorus. Nevertheless, the final result is a mix of predominantly dark sonority.”
The cinematic first single The Beauty In You (featuring Dave Formula and Tony Bowers), released on April 16th, lifts and soars in epic guitar washes, highlighting Keanan’s liltingly crisp vocals. “It’s about the beauty in decay,” he explains. “Although it masquerades as a love song, it’s actually about abandoned ghost towns like Pripyat in northern Ukraine, which was evacuated after the explosion of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Also, The Salton Sea in California where the town of Bombay Beach was once a popular destination for Frank Sinatra, the Beach Boys, and Bing Crosby and it now is a derelict ‘living ghost town.’ I love that place. It’s like being in a deserted town on Mars.”
Originally formed in 2007 featuring Keanan, Earl Slick (David Bowie, John Lennon), Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, Rich Kids) and Clem Burke (Blondie, The Ramones), Slinky Vagabond was built with guest collaborations in mind. Structured like hip hop bands that construct songs on features, early tracks featured a veritable slew of collaborations including the late, great Pete Shelley who sang backing vocals on the David Bowie cover Boys Keep Swinging. A fixture on the NYC club scene, Slinky Vagabond was a celebrated guest on celebrations as Joey Ramone’s Birthday Bash (2007) alongside the New York Dolls, Fashion Week’s Gen Art and Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp (2008) and Marc Bolan’s 30th Anniversary Show (2007) alongside Patti Smith, Tom Morello, Joan Jett, Ronnie Spector, and more.
With King Boy Vandals, Slinky Vagabond is set up for a big year, but they’re not too concerned about that. “We hope that people hear this record and enjoy it for what it is; a bunch of blokes of a certain age making music for the love of it,” laughs Keanan. “There’s no auto-tune, it’s mostly recorded live and it sounds like all the players that perform on it. So, a bit of Rich Kids, Magazine and Bowie. Simon Critchley told me he thinks that some of it sounds like early Suede, which is good enough for me.”
❉ ‘King Boy Vandals’ will be released independently on May 6, 2021. First single “The Beauty In You” (released April 16, 2021) is out now.
❉ News source: Keanan Duffty.
❉ We Are Cult is not responsible for the content of this news release.
❉ Photo credits: Ruggero Lupo Mengoni.