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Re-Discover the Music of John 'Smokey' Condon and S&M Records

Re-Discover the Music of John 'Smokey' Condon and S&M Records

John "Smokey" Condon

Chapter Music is re-releasing music by Smokey, 1970s L.A. pre-punk icons 


John "Smokey" Condon | Photography Courtesy of John Condon

Record producer EJ Emmons has worked with Chapter Music to restore the music of Smokey, a '70s band you've probably never heard of because, according to them, "they were faggots, and they didn't give a shit." The new complation titled, How Far Will You Go?: The S&M Recordings, 1973-81, features cameos from James Williamson of the Stooges, Randy Rhoads of Quiet Riot/Ozzy Osbourne and members of the Motels, King Crimson, David Bowie's Tin Machine, Suburban Lawns, and many others.

Condon, a Baltimore transplant, was "bewitchingly beautiful" and had been partying with the John Waters crowd before Emmons "created" Smokey. The first single,"Leather b/w Miss Ray," wasn't just openly gay, it was, according to Condon, "exultantly, unapologetically gay, examining front-on the newly-liberated leather and drag scenes thriving in America's urban centres."

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Then when they tried to shop around the single "How Far Will You Go...?" -- which features guitar from EJ's studio buddy James Williamson, fresh from his adventures recording Raw Power with Iggy & the Stooges in London with David Bowie -- Emmons says they were told by one record exec: "We can't put this out, it's a fucking gay record, what's the matter with you?" adding, "It's really good, though."

Smokey formed S&M Records, with a logo featuring a muscular arm encased in studded cuffs, and "S&M" tattooed on the bulging bicep. They went on to self- release five singles that span pre-punk, stoner jams, disco, synth-punk and more. The unreleased recordings on the compilation include a nine-minute disco workout titled "Piss Slave" and two versions of "Million Dollar Babies," an "ode to New York's notorious trucks where men would go late at night to trick."

The album is available for preorder. Listen to the remastered version of "How Far Will You Go?" below:

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