In 1988, at the pinnacle of the "Hollywood Hair Metal" craze, WILDSIDE, then called YOUNG GUNNS, was formed by guitarist/singer Benny Rhynedance and singer Drew Hannah. Both were 1986 Hollywood Hard Rock transplants from the pre-grunge Seattle music scene, which in 1986, didn't really exist yet.
By 1988 in Los Angeles, after slugging it out for 2 years on the Sunset Strip club scene as glam rockers ROGUE, and enduring the Hollywood "Pay To Play" club promoter rip-off scam, Benny and Drew disbanded their original Seattle band. The two formed THE BOYS which became YOUNG GUNNS, and recruited 2nd guitar player Brent Woods from the San Fernando Valley pop rock band ALRISHA, and super glam bassist Marc Simon from ST.VALENTINE.
While searching for a permanent drummer the guys dominated the Sunset Strip and THE WHISKY A GO-GO on Monday "No Bozo Jam" nights. After a year and a half of "false starts and flakes," they found ex-NRG and "no non-sense" drummer Jimmy D. from San Bernardino, CA. to complete the unit.
With a solid line-up, the band began an all out assault on Hollywood. Sold-out shows followed at The ROXY, WHISKY A GO-GO, THE TROUBADOUR, XPOSUER 54, and SPICE ON SUNSET. Front page covers on all the L.A. rock press arose, and record labels began to take notice. YOUNG GUNNS was getting hot.
Then famed Sunset Strip entertainment attorney Dennis Rider, sought out the band after a show at THE WHISKY and offered his legal/record contract brokering services. Rider had successfully negotiated many big music deals with most of the big record labels. WILDSIDE retained Rider's services, and he would ultimately pay off in spades and get the band their Capitol Records contract through his label connections with Tim Devine, then A&R President at Capitol Records.
Because of Dennis Rider, Capitol Records came calling in August of 1990, and a bidding war between Capitol and Polygram ensued, with Capitol winning the bid for 2 million dollars and 7 albums. It was the biggest signing of a Hollywood rock band since WASP back in 1984. Eyebrows were definitely beginning to raise in the industry. Hollywood monster talent agency CAA (Creative Artist Agency) signed up the band immediately. The band was destined for stardom and the buzz on the street was growing.
The guys needed a decent band name. They were known as YOUNG GUNNS from '88 to '90, but Lions Gate studios and Artisan Entertainment quickly sent out "cease and desist" letters because of the movie series. After another late night Sunset Strip debacle at the Rainbow Bar, "WILDSIDE" was thrown around, and it fit their lifestyle to a tee. They had their name.
With legendary LED ZEPPELIN record producer ANDY JOHNS (R.I.P. 2013) inked and at the helm, WILDSIDE recorded their debut CD in secret at Eddie Van Halen's famous 5150 personal home studio in Coldwater Canyon, and also at the renowned A&M Studios in Hollywood throughout 1991. Master metal mix-ologists STEVE THOMPSON and MICHAEL BARBIERIO (GNR, Dokken, Tesla) mixed the CD to near perfection. Capitol Records had a slick package to market to the hard rock masses. How could they lose?
With a release date of May 05, 1992, music tastes had quickly and unfortunately changed seemingly overnight, to a new sound. A new sound that was raw, less polished, with no image and very stripped down. NIRVANA led the charge of this new "GRUNGE" sound from Seattle, and "Hollywood hair bands" were deemed "uncool and ridiculous" almost overnight. The grand excess of the 80's had disappeared in a flash. Amazingly, Kurt Cobain destroyed 15 years of "Corporate Pop-Metal" in six months. Actually, it was quite a feat for a guy who wrote "radio popular songs" as a clinically depressed, homeless heroin addict that shunned the spotlight, and detested mass-marketed pop music. RIP Cobain.
Prior to their debut CD release, WILDSIDE hit the road with Geffen band, THE FOUR HORSEMEN in January of 1992. WILDSIDE's Under The Influence debut CD was released worldwide on May 05, 1992 to little fanfare. After the release of UTI they immediately hit the road with BABYLON A.D. and ROXY BLUE throughout that summer on a triple-bill rock tour package. Sales bumped up at a brisk pace throughout the tour, and into the fall of 1992. WILDSIDE headlined their own tour December 1992 through March of 1993. This was the highest WILDSIDE would ever climb.
In late 1993, after an "upper management shake up" at Capitol Records, all the execs that signed WILDSIDE were "no longer with the company," including Capitol Records then President, Hale Milgrim. New management at Capitol immediately called it quits for the band, and anyone else that Milgrim had signed. In the fall of '93, regardless of an iron clad contract and a 7 album career deal, new Capitol execs ripped up the band's contract and said, "Good luck guys, it was nice knowin' ya!" All in the name of GRUNGE and nervous stockholders.
WILDSIDE continued to tour into 1994 and write new songs for a new disc on an undetermined new label. Following the departure from Capitol, and the recent shift in music tastes, in late 1993, guitarist Brent Woods left the band to join Vince Neil's solo project, as a "hired gun." Guitarist/singer Benny Rhynedance was next to exit the band in 1994.
The band, minus Benny and Brent, continued on and recorded a new CD for a privately owned producer's small entertainment company. Releasing a "GRUNGE" type CD in 1995 the band became a foursome with only one guitar player. The S/T album sold poorly, and true fans were shocked to hear a "jump on the GRUNGE bandwagon." The remaining members disbanded shortly after for regular careers.
WILDSIDE had the sound, the looks, the songwriting talent, and the cocky attitude to be a widely successful global hard rock act. What they DID NOT possess was the luck of timing, unwavering record label support, simple band camaraderie, and the proper management team making the band's critical business decisions.
Capitol Records had said many times, "WILDSIDE is our own GUNS-N-ROSES." Had UNDER THE INFLUENCE been a release in 1987, this would be an entirely different biography indeed.
Today, UNDER THE INFLUENCE by WILDSIDE is no longer made, but can be found on eBay or Amazon, consistently selling for $30 to $60, and is considered a rare item even now, 25 years later. Not too shabby for a band that came so close to hard rock stardom.
Wildside (2) Discography Tracks
|Wildside (2)||Under The Influence (Album)||Capitol Records||Europe||1992||Sell This Version|
|0005-2||Wildside (2)||Wildside (CD, Album)||Tony Nicole Tony Records||0005-2||US||1995||Sell This Version|
|CD91042||Wildside (2)||The Wasted Years (CD, Album)||RLS Records||CD91042||US||2004||Sell This Version|
Singles & EPs
|Wildside (2)||Just Another Night (Single)||Capitol Records||US||1992||Sell This Version|
|DPRO 79360||Wildside (2)||How Many Lies (CD, Single, Promo)||Capitol Records||DPRO 79360||US||1992||Sell This Version|
|DPRO-79233||Wildside (2)||Hang On Lucy (CD, Single, Promo)||Capitol Records||DPRO-79233||US||1992||Sell This Version|