The proliferation of independent labels across the globe have been a tremendously benefit to critics, music fans and collectors as these smaller labels possess a unique ability and desire to reintroduce both influential artists, who have been sadly forgotten by the cruel tide of history and the shortsightedness of critics and fans, and to artists who were completely forgotten because their work was so forward-thinking sonically and/or thematically that their work was largely misunderstood until years later through the re-issuing of albums that have all but disappeared.
Back in 1973. John “Smokey” Condon had relocated from Baltimore to Los Angeles, crashing in a spare room of an apartment, where the The Doors’ road manager had once lived. And while living in Los Angeles, Condon had met a then-up-and-coming producer EJ Simmons and together they went on to record some of the most sexually frank material of the period – material that openly talked about gay sex and Los Angeles’ leather and drag scenes and paired that with a sound that ran the gamut from pre-punk, stoner jam, disco, synth punk and more. Interestingly, the slinky, seductive funk of “How Far Will You Go?” the title track off the soon-to-be released compilation How Far Will You Go manages to sound both of its time and ahead of its time, as sonically it bears a resemblance to John Cale’s solo work, in particular I think of “Fear is a Man’s Best Friend” and “Pablo Picasso,” Fear of Music-era Talking Heads and David Bowie. But it may be some of the sexiest work of that period that I’ve heard in some time.
Despite the fact that Condon’s backing band featured at various points James Williamson, best known for his work in The Stooges; Randy Rhoads, known for his work with Quiet Riot and Ozzy Osbourne; Hunt and Tony Sales (Grin and Tin Machine); along with members of The Motels, King Crimson, Suburban Lawns and others, Condon’s work had gone largely forgotten. And yet in some way, his work sounds like the precursor of the work of artists like Gordon Voidwell and Jef Barbara.