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Debut Album From Lions & Ghosts To Be Issued Digitally For The First Time

The year was 1987. A wide variety of established artists were dominating the Billboard charts, from established solo male artists including Michael Jackson, George Michael, Sting, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Bruce Springsteen to rock legends including Aerosmith, INXS, REM, and U2 to newcomers Whitney Houston and Debbie Gibson to the genre some call hair metal with records from Poison, KISS, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, Great White, and Guns N’ Roses.

In the midst of these multi-faceted genres arrived a quartet from Los Angeles by the name of Lions & Ghosts. Frontman Rick Parker, guitarist Michael Lockwood, Todd Hoffman (bass), and Micheal Murphy (drums). The band took its influences from The Beatles, glam rockers T.Rex, classic songwriters The Byrds, and more. Their love of memorable choruses and lyrics with a psychedelic twist shone through on their debut album, Velvet Kiss, Lick of The Lime. The record received a good amount of airplay for its first single, “Mary Goes Round,” and “Contradiction” from Southern California alternative rock radio institution KROQ. The band toured a good deal, supporting acts as varied as Gene Loves Jezebel, Love and Rockets, The Church, The Alarm, Dramarama, Guns N’ Roses, amongst others. Chances are, if you were at a cool show in the late 80s in L.A. at the Hollywood Palladium or the Palace, you saw Lions & Ghosts opening for someone. And more than likely, you fell in love with this band.

The origins of Lions and Ghosts began as Banner which was a trio comprised of Rick Parker, Todd Hoffman and Micheal Murphy. Murphy later met Michael Lockwood through a mutual friend and the group expanded to a quartet.

Velvet Kiss, Lick Of The Lime was recorded at Tony Visconti’s Good Earth Studios in the Soho district of London in the first part of 1987 and was produced and engineered by Peter Walsh (Simple Minds, Heaven 17, Gene Loves Jezebel and more). The group spent several months recording, then added the icing by having Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T. Rex, Thin Lizzy) arranging and conducting a sixteen-piece string section for several tracks.

The album opened with the song “Passion,” which was featured in the cult classic film Modern Girls, and also featured KROQ favorites “Contradiction” and hook-laden “Mary Goes Round.” Visconti’s string arrangements were prominent on fan favorites “When the Moon Is Full,” “Street Angel” and “Man In A Car.” The world-renowned Bernie Grundman mastered the album.

Lions & Ghosts second album Wild Garden was released in 1989 and received a bit of radio play with the single “Arson in Toyland.” The album was recorded at A&M while the band shared the studio with U2 as they recorded Rattle and Hum. Wild Garden featured producer/engineer Thom Panunzio (famous for working with John Lennon in his New York years), producer Tony Berg, and guest producer for a day Stan Lynch (drummer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). By this point, bassist Todd Hoffman had left the band. Several different bass players filled his spot, including Pete Comita from Cheap Trick. Lions & Ghosts disbanded after finishing the touring for Wild Garden.

Rick Parker released a solo album, Wicked World, in 1991 and became a mixer, engineer, and producer for numerous artists, including David Poe, Chris Shiflett, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Miranda Lee Richards (his wife), Junkyard, and more.

Michael Lockwood has recorded, produced, played live, and written with many noted musicians, including Aimee Mann, Carly Simon, Fiona Apple, Jon Brion, Bijou Phillips, Susanna Hoffs and more. He has recently partnered with his manager Jeff Keller to start their new record label Sparkle Plenty which is distributed through Deko Entertainment.

The digital reissue of Velvet Kiss, Lick of The Lime includes bonus tracks which were not featured on the original album. “Be Yourself” is taken from from the “Mary Goes Round” 12 inch single and there are also four alternate mixes taken from the 12 inch for “Contradiction” (New York, Psycho, Heavy and Dub) as well as “Beneath The Joke” from “Contradiction.” The collection will be available on September 9.

Gurl I Luv You” is the first new recording by Lions & Ghosts in over 30 years. By sheer chance, Lockwood was asked to do a session by a local artist at Rick Parker’s studio in Los Angeles. It was a night full of old stories and many deep conversations. Parker and Lockwood started exchanging song ideas and the outcome was the new single. The track features Parker on vocals and bass, Lockwood on guitars and mellotron, first class session keyboardist and Los Angeles veteran Patrick Warren adding strings and John Wilmer on drums. The track was mixed by Rick Parker, produced by Lockwood and Parker, and picks up where they left off over 30 years ago. It will be available for digital download or streaming on every major platform on September 16.

Art Has Value


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