10.17.2005

Whizz Kid



David Werner Whizz Kid LP (RCA, 1974)

How eager we are to believe the British! They've successful pulled two cons on us Americans. First they tell us that the Beatles saved rock & roll. A assertion demolished by the existence of the Sonics, the Trashmen, the Coasters, the Olympics, Bo Diddley, the Surfaris, thee Midnighters, the Wailers, Dion, and thousands of other Black, White, & Chicano rock & rollers.

And then they tell us that UK punk saved us from the wasteland that was Seventies rock & roll. Let's look at that wasteland: There were the Stooges and the New York Dolls, but after that...oh yeah, Roxy Music and Bowie, but then...ah yes, T Rex, Hawkwind, Big Star, Slade, Sweet, Sparks, Mott the Hoople, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, Blue Ash, the Raspberries, ummm you get the picture. Fact is, the Seventies rock & roll wasn't all Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Debby Boone. There were plenty of great records made.

Unfortunately, a lot of very cool music has fallen between the cracks and one reason is because we accept the word of lying Limey scum bent on self-aggrandizement because they have nothing to live for but a life of eel pie, runny pizza, and bog tromping. Fortunately, there are people out there fighting the dishonesty of the Brits and it seems like the fog is finally lifting and more and more great stuff is being rediscovered.

About five years ago I had no idea who David Werner was or that he made music. Then someone turned me on to Whizz Kid. Released in 1974, when the glam/glitter rock scene was starting to run dry, Whizz Kid proves that there still was a little life in the genre. While Whizz Kid isn'’t groundbreaking, Werner turns out some great songs by drawing from the best. He mixes Bowie with Big Star and Marc Bolan with Mott. His guitarist, Mark Doyle, has a style that sound somewhere between Mick Ronson and Johnny Thunders - a nice clear, drugged out, dream wail. And Werner's voice is both sly and snide. The lyrics are your typical rock star take on groupies, being a star, romance, and loneliness.

Whizz Kid has a few duds, but it is still an above average rock & roll album. It is a shame that the record is so obscure (though easily obtained) it is a great listen. It also helps put lie to the Brit's claim that they saved rock & roll. What is there to save when the body is healthy?

And, what about Werner. Well, he did a record shortly after Whizz Kid, which I've yet to find. He put out a self-titled "New Wave" album in 1979, which is surprisingly listenable. Then he disappeared. A correspondent once told me he was doing British Music Hall stuff. I later found out he'd produced a few things as recent as 2002.

Comments:
Wow, I wonder if Bob Pollard ever heard this album. "One More Wild Guitar" has a lot of musical devices that he used over and over again in GBV and his solo stuff.
 
I found out about Mr. W only recently, when I heard the title cut on WFMU. Having now heard these two songs as well, I'm eager to hear the whole thing. There's a lot of classic pop (whatever that means)(Ok, Big Star, Kinks, Zombies even) going on underneath the glam facade. That could be where the GbV similarities come in.

Anyway, keep up the great work. Your blog has become one of my daily stops.
 
the guitarist,mark doyle, is from the upstate new york area and was in a band called free will.they later changed their name to jukin bone and put out 2 lps on rca in '71 and '72.they used to play at my high school and were THE band in the syracuse area(also famous for elf).
 
cool post. I never heard of this dude before. thanks for turning me on to him Crud Crud.
 
After hearing these songs on your site, I managed to get my hands on all three David Werner albums. Whizz Kid is by far the best. Each is very much of its time. The second, Imagination Quota (1975), has some nice songs, but (to me) they're almost ruined by the mid-70's, post-Young-Americans, slick overproduction. The third, just called David Werner (1978), is too nuwave - like a million other singer-songwriters trying to be Elvis Costello without his edge. Again, there are a few nice songs, but he's just trying too hard to fit in to the latest style. To me, Whizz Kid is pretty solid all the way through - it's a pity he never did anything else as good.
 
And now he does musical theatre!
 
Seems like a logical progression, unfortunately.
 
My dad, David Werner, does NOT do musical theater..nor would he ever. Nor has he ever had anything to do with "British Music Hall stuff" He did have a good laugh at that one though.
Aside from his solo career, he is probably most famous for writing and producing "Cradle of Love" by Billy Idol in the early 90s ( it was in the movie "Ford Farlane" w/ Andrew Dice Clay, as well as his work with Tom Jones, Soul Sister, and a handful of other artists. He is still producing/writing, currently working on a few different projects.
Thanks for the support and kind words, I showed this to him yesterday. :)
 
We need Whizz Kid remastered and rereleased in the digital format.
It is a true classic.
And such a waste that David has not released since 79.
And I thought John Fogerty used to be a musical genius recluse.
It is your turn David.
 
This all seems a bit over the top. I bought 'Whizz Kid' at the time - how many of you did that? - but only found one song on it I liked. I taped it and sold the album to a second-hand store.

Let's face it, he wasn't a success as a solo artist because he simply didn't write very good material.
 
If he didn't write good material then how is it folks are blogging about it 20-25+ years later?

I think its interesting that a performer with a strong start and reasonably solid follow ups simply disappeared! I wonder what the story behind the story is there...

After all for all the 'historic significance' of them, artists like Werner could write and perform circles around the Sex Pistols...

I think its a little weird that the guy has no wiki entry and must like it that way. To each their own - rock on.
 
thuoght David early on did some of the Capitol Steps? [ if not my mistake]
Ive been a freind since the RCA Days in the 1970's we had some mutual freinds and family freinds included.Alas we all moved and I lost track since his live show at the stanley theatre in 78-89?
Killer show!!! All worth while.
hope to see some of ya'll again. I WAS FREINDS WITH DONNIE & jACK ,LISA ETC. not to mention working with ronnie. and seeing your Mom with him at a marriage in the 70's and thats been it.

I David or someone affiliated I'm trying to get in touch with donnie-Slot.
Take Care and really miss your music
Steve Benzo
Brownsville rd. Whitehall
I've been doing my best to pass along cdr that are in excellant shape. some discs were brand new before recorded and the last one I recorded on maxell and still sounds great especially on CD-r
 
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