What a Shame mirrors the rollicking spree that was downtown New York City in the 1980s. The irreverent lyrics transform this from a rock song about a bad romance into a boisterous middle finger to the object of the singer’s scorn. The swinging guitars and driving rhythm section would put this song at home in any arena or club.
ABOUT SMASHED GLADYS
Born from the embers of the vibrant Toronto punk scene, Smashed Gladys helped to craft a legendary period of New York City rock. Lead singer Sally Cato started as a singer in the art rock band The Concordes, while guitarist Bart Lewis did a brief stint with Canada’s most dangerous band, The Viletones, before departing for NYC. Soon after relocating to Gotham, Sally & Bart met songwriter Tommy Boyce, who (along with his partner Mickey Hart) had coined most of The Monkees songs.
Under Boyce’s guidance, the group began rehearsing at a well known studio in midtown Manhattan.SG started playing venues in and around the NYC area, during which time they met Gene Simmons. Simmons offered them a production/ management deal. The band’s original 4 members: Sally Cato (vocals), Bart Lewis (guitar), Matt Stellutto (drums) and Ken Fox (bass) from Toronto’s Raving Mojos, Jason and the Scorchers and The Fleshtones, along with the addition of Hilly Michaels, drummer from the Ian Hunter band – went into the studio and recorded close to an album’s worth of material produced by Simmons.
Four of the songs from those sessions are being released now, for the first time ever. Simmons captured the personality and raw grittiness of the band perfectly, and by the end of 1984, SG were in the UK recording their first album, Smashed Gladys, with Mark Dearnley at the producer helm. Smashed Gladys returned to the states and began touring and doing opening slots with The Dead Boys, Van Zant, Nazareth, Ace Frehley, Cheap Trick, Poison, Rick Derringer, Blue Oyster Cult, Crocus and others. It was during this feverish period that they established the infamous Wednesday night series at The Cat Club.
The night became a launching pad for several bands, and grew to become a showcase venue, late night hang, and playing party stage for artists such as David Bowie, Duran Duran, Mick Jagger and several others. Selling out venues in Manhattan and the surrounding tri-state area, Smashed Gladys caught the attention of Elektra Records A&R rep Micheal Alago. In 1986 they were signed by Elektra VP, Howard Thompson. The band played a signing gig to a packed house at one of the first venues they played in NYC – CBGB’s. Elektra picked up the rights to the first record and then sent the band into the studio to work on their next record, Social Intercourse, recorded in NYC with Rick Browdie and in L.A with Michael Wagner doing additional tracking and mixing.
While making the record, they met the artist working in the adjacent studio, Ozzy Osbourne, who made a guest background vocal appearance on the song Cast of Nasties. Osbourne had warned the band that some of the titles and subject matter on the record might get them in trouble in certain markets and banned altogether from retailers such as Walmart. He was right, and touring in certain Midwestern states became dangerous at times forcing the band to bring along new members … Mr Smith & Wesson. SG was making demos for their third record when they received offers from producers John Paul Jones and Mick Ronson. They went with Mick Ronson and began pre-production, but Ronson fell ill. The band was then picked up by Teddy Slatus, Johnny Winter’s manager and label.
Tragically, SG’s third bass player, Mark Sliker, then died from a drug overdose. Following the trials and tribulations, Sally left the music business and returned to being a graphic artist. On May 19, 2020 Sally Cato passed away.
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