Sessions and Rarities

Sessions and Rarities (1975-1983)

Runaways: Live At The Whiskey

Date: x/x/75
Status: Surfaced
Source: Audience recording
Sound Quality: B
Duration: 16:06

Songs: 1. Rock N’Roll
2. Thunder
3. American Nights
4. Wild Thing
5. Secrets

Notes: This short August 1975 concert is notable as the earliest available live recording of the Runaways, and of Michael herself. Its setlist resembles a cut-down Born To Be Bad. She also does a mean Wild Thing.

Runaways: Gold Star Demos

Date: 9/3/75
Location: Gold Star Studios, Hollywood, CA
Length: 13:33
Sound: A

Songs: 1. Rock N’ Roll
2. Secrets
3. Thunder
4. Yesterday’s Kids
5. You Drive Me Wild

Credits: Micki Steele: Bass, Lead Vocals
Joan Jett: Guitar
Sandy West: Drums

Notes: These demos were recorded at the famed Gold Star studios, and released on a limited promo vinyl release, limited to 105 copies.

Runaways: Cherokee Studios Demo

Date: 9/x/75
Location: Cherokee Studios
Length: ?
Sound: A

Songs: 1. Rock N’ Roll
2. Secrets
3. Thunder
4. Yesterday’s Kids
5. You Drive Me Wild
6. Who Do You Voodoo
7. I’m A Star
8. Born To Be Bad
9. American Nights
10. ?

Credits: Micki Steele: Vocals
Joan Jett: Guitar
Sandy West: Drums
John Locke: Keyboards
Mark Andes: Bass

Notes: Described in Evelyn McDonnell’s Queens of Noise, these demos marked an attempt to expand the band’s sound by including a keyboardist and studio bassist. The band recorded ten songs at this session, which remains unreleased.

Good Question: Good Question Demo

Date: c.1975/1976
Location: Home Studio
Length: ?
Sound A

Songs: Unknown.

Credits: Mike Hamilton: Guitars
Phil Sweetland: Keyboards
Paul Reed: Drums
Ross Harris: Bass
Scott Kirby: Vocals
Michael Steele: Backing Vocals

Notes: Good Question was a mid-70s LA prog-rock band who were never signed to a label, despite recording two separate demo tapes and submitting them to such labels as RCA. The first of these tapes featured backing vocals from Michael, who previously knew Mike Hamilton from their high school band at Corona Del Mar. She was unavailable for the band’s second session, recorded at Sun West Studios.

Elton Duck: Elton Duck (1979/1980)
Status: Surfaced
Source: Single + Unreleased album
Location: Rumbo Studios
Sound Quality: A+
Duration: 48:17

Songs: 1. She Won’t Answer The Phone
2. Make It Up To You
3. All The Way To The Bank
4. Ordinary Guy
5. Runaways
6. He Will Never
7. Only A Few Days
8. Flame
9. Bad Things
10. No Looking Back
11. Hangman
12. Last Tag
13. Xmas
14. White Punks On Dope

Credits: Mike Condello: Vocals, guitar
Mike McFadden: Vocals, guitar
Micki Steele: Bass, backing vocals
Andy Robinson: Drums

Notes:  Despite leaving the band shortly after they signed a flawed recording contract with Arista Records, Michael continued to play bass for the sessions of Elton Duck’s self-titled debut album at Rumbo Studios. (The group also recorded a live in the studio session which remains unsurfaced.) Numerous alternate mixes of tracks were produced during the sessions, with some still known to exist. Due to the label ultimately deciding to withhold the album from release, it remained unreleased for more than thirty years before gaining a very belated Kickstarter-based charity release in 2012, lovingly put together and released with liner notes from Bud Scoppa and the band’s three surviving members. Initial copies came with autographs.

Elton Duck at the Troubadour:

Date: 5/29/79
Location: The Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA
Status: Partially surfaced.
Sound: B
Length: c. 3 minutes

Songs: 1. Runaways
2. Walk Away Renee

Credits: Credits: Mike Condello: Vocals, guitar
Mike McFadden: Vocals, guitar
Micki Steele: Bass, backing vocals
Andy Robinson: Drums

Notes: An important early Elton Duck concert at the Troubadour was filmed on Super 8. Brief snippets were later used as part of a video promoting the album’s 2012 re-release. The complete footage is believed to be approximately three minutes, including Runaways and the Michael-sung cover of the Left Banke’s ‘Walk Away Renee’. Unreleased, it would be a highly important document, and already counts as the earliest known live footage of Michael’s playing.

Toni and the Movers: Bitches and Bastards/Africa (1981)
Status: Surfaced.
Location: Rapsodi Studios
Source: 7” single.
Sound Quality: A
Duration: 7:20

Songs: 1. Bitches and Bastards
2. Africa

Credits: Toni Childs: Vocals
Micki Steele: Bass, backing vocals
Jack Sherman: Guitar, backing vocals
Chris Schendel: Drums
Christian Del: Traps, backing vocals
Larry Zee: Guitar

Notes: Released in 1981, this single is the first legally released recording on which Michael appears. Toni and the Movers was one of many bands she played in during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The titular Toni was Toni Childs, whose three-month imprisonment for drug possession ended the band. Her vocals are very different to her later work, with Bitches and Bastards being a punk song, sounding nothing like her later, more commercially successful material. The title ‘Africa’ presumably bears no relation to Toto’s synth rock hit. According to Mark Buchholtz the reason this single was released under the name ‘Nadia Kapiche’ is that the earlier band had been recently disbanded.

Toni and the Movers: Bootlegs
Steele: Bass, backing vocals.
Status: Surfaced.
Source: Various Tapes.
Sound Quality: Various
Duration: 45-50 minutes apiece.

Songs: 1. Still Movin’
2. Shift
3. The Good Life
4. Black Into White
5. Africa > Confessions of a Love
6. Losin’ You
7. Broken Hearts
8. 1980s Man
9. I Was Wrong
10. Something’s Burning

Credits: Toni Childs: Vocals
Micki Steele: Bass, backing vocals
Jack Sherman: Guitar, backing vocals
Chris Schendel: Drums

Notes: In their relatively short career, the Movers gained a high reputation for their energetic live concerts, honed through regular playing and their members’ musical talent. A number of concerts were recorded at the time, chiefly during the last few months of the band in early 1981, at venues such as Madame Wong’s West. Recordings survive and attest to their unrealised potential. The above setlist dates from a 3/4/81 concert at the Cathay De Grande. In addition to several unreleased songs, Africa is played more energetically than the single version and segues into Confessions of a Love.

Toni and the Movers: 6/x/81 Footage
Status: Partially surfaced.
Source: Filmed by New Wave Theater cameraman.
Sound Quality: A
Duration: 3:36

Songs: 1. Something’s Burning
2. Africa.

Notes:  In addition to audio bootlegs Toni & The Movers were briefly filmed in June 1981 playing two songs, complete with bandmembers in kilts and psychedelic visual effects. The filming was done on a soundstage in Valencia, CA, occuring because a cameraman for New Wave Theater had seen the band live and enjoyed their act enough to record it, although the results were never broadcast. Footage of the unreleased ‘Something Burning’ surfaced on youtube in mid-2010 before being removed in a WMG copyright claim. The live version of ‘Africa’ from this date remains unsurfaced and in the possession of the taper. This film is among the earliest known live footage of Michael.

1981: Nadia Kapiche

Status: Surfaced.
Location: Various
Source: Cassette tape > CD
Sound Quality: Varies.
Duration: 55 minutes.

Songs: 1. Coal Mine (demo)
2. Giants (demo)
3. Eat Garbage (home demo)
4. Live Improv #1 (7/22/81)
5. Live Improv #2 (7/22/81)
6. Live Improv #3 (7/21/81)
7. Sister Says So (6/15/81)
8. ‘something pretty and quiet…’ (7/21/81)

Credits: Toni Childs: Vocals
Micki Steele: Bass, backing vocals
Steve Schiff: Guitars, backing vocals
Mark Buchholtz: Keyboards/Saxophone
Ed Warneckee: Drums (tracks 1-2)
Richard Larsen: Keyboards/saxophone
?: Drums (tracks 4-9)

Notes: An offshoot of Toni & The Movers arose in the form of Nadia Kapiche, a loose band who chiefly played improvised music at L.A-area gigs that frequently involved drummers who had been recruited only hours before. The group was fairly short-lived, but recorded several demo songs. Luckily demos and some live material were preserved by  keyboard/sax player Mark Buchholtz, meaning that another of Michael’s obscure early 80s bands can be heard. A further hour of live recordings survive. ‘Coal Mine’ has more recently been revived by Toni Childs on her latest solo album.

Snakefinger: New Wave Theatre (1982/83)
Status: Surfaced
Source: TV > VHS > ?
Sound Quality: B+
Duration: 4:42

Songs: 1. The Man In The Dark Sedan

Credits: Phillip Littman: Guitars, Vocals
Miguel Bertel: Rhythm guitar
Micki Steele: Bass
Eric Drew Feldman: Keyboards
John Ryan: Drums

Notes:  Perhaps the most prominent event of Michael’s tenure as bassist in Philip Charles Littman’s avant-garde rock group Snakefinger was an appearance on the early 80s music anthology show New Wave Theatre. Although it is unknown whether the footage was aired soon after its initial recording, it later appeared on a 1984 compilation episode released after Peter Ivers’ death, which later surfaced on youtube. The footage preserves a recording of Snakefinger’s ‘The Man In The Dark Sedan’, showing the band in peak form and interspersed with occasional found footage. It holds further significance as Michael’s first known television appearance.

Snakefinger Bootlegs
Status: Unsurfaced
Source: ?
Sound Quality: ?
Duration: Varying

Credits: Phillip Littman: Guitars, Vocals
Miguel Bertel: Rhythm guitar
Micki Steele: Bass
Eric Drew Feldman: Keyboards
John Ryan: Drums

Notes: Several online trading lists list Snakefinger bootlegs from between 1982 and 1983, possibly during her period in the band. It is unknown if any of these actually feature Michael’s playing however. Available bootlegs from early 1982 feature George B. George on bass, narrowing down things slightly. Additionally, Erik Meade of Eyesore recalls Michael telling him that she played on an unreleased alternate version of I Love You Too Much To Respect You during her time with the band.

Apaches of Paris: (1983)
Status: Unsurfaced
Source: ?
Sound Quality: ?
Duration: ?

Songs: 1. Be My Squeeze
2. Cinderella Au-Go-Go
3. I’ll Never Lose This Feeling
4. Sometimes
5. Til The End Of The Day

Notes: Only recently rediscovered, the Apaches of Paris are the last group Michael played bass in prior to joining the Bangles, with all known information being stated by Laura Molina . Although she did not play on the group’s sole EP release Cinderella Au-Go-Go, the band’s live sets were primarily made of material from this record. In addition Michael sang on a cover version of the Kinks’ 1965 tune ‘Til The End Of The Day’. No live recordings with Michael have presently surfaced, but the 4/24/83 gig at Elk’s Club is known to have been videotaped and may still exist.

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