Harvey Myrtle 45 (Yevrah Moons, 1980)

Harvey were a San Francisco band made up of the three Harvey brothers - Doni, Regi, and Chris. They were responsible for one 45 and one 12" ep. Both are solid records - Blue Oyster Cult/Thin Lizzy-influenced hard rock, with punk energy and compactness. Listen to this song and guess why no major label took a chance on them: Three brothers with a great hard rock sound. Now consider this: The Harvey brothers are Black and being a Black rock & roll band in the 1980s wasn't considered marketable*. Was this an example of racism in the music industry? Perhaps a bit, but remember, Arista took a chance on the Bus Boys and, despite heavy marketing and a lot of media, they never really took off. The industry figured, they tried and people weren't ready. And, to be fair, they were probably right. Black rock & roll bands were so uncommon - in the mainstream - that they weren't a novelty; they were a rarity. And outside of a few major cities, it was rare to see African Americans at rock concert, as fans. And it isn't as if Black folks didn't listen to rock & roll in the '70s and '80s. I've gone through many a record collection that seemed much more color blind than stereotyping would suggest. Santana, Ike & Tina, Classics IV, America, Isaac Hayes, Paul Revere, Miles Davis, Cameo, Boston, and a Saturday Night Fever soundtrack - the owner could be Black, White, Latino, Asian, anyone. Then, as now, most people's music tastes were color blind. But society wasn't. 

The first "adult" album I bought for myself was Earth, Wind, & Fire's "That's The Way of The World." Albums by ELO and Steve Miller followed that. A little latter it was Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith. By that time, I was a suburban, teenage dirtbag. I lived in an all-White suburb. We used the word "nigger" a lot, carved "KKK" into park benches, and said stupid things like "There's Blacks and there's niggers and Jimi Hendrix was Black." I write that and get chill over how absurdly moronic that statement is. But that was my neighborhood and that was group think. On the other hand, my next door neighbor had a copy of Parliament's "Flashlight" that I liked so much I lifted it from her (for some reason, it was OK for girls in our 'burb to like "Black music"). I secretly shoplifted Parliament records (was a grand teenage shoplifter and amassed my first couple hundred albums by illegit means) and then hid them in my bedroom so my friends wouldn't find them. That might be an extreme example of fucked-upness, but I am sure it was pretty standard across the nation. The whole anti-disco "movement" was tinged with racism and that pretty much coincided with my early teens. These were the folks who the music industry had to market hard rock to. Trying to get them to buy a Black hard rock trio wasn't going to be as easy as floating some crap like Foreigner out there. Much easier. Anyway, some thoughts. 

Harvey probably didn't have many problems in San Francisco. The city has always been more open to people and to music. Harvey wasn't the only SF area hard rock or punk bands with African American members and that they had an audience large enough to warrant them releasing two records (if it was pure vanity, Harvey would have been one and done).  While it is a shame that they couldn't have had a larger audience (at least not until Living Color forced the issue of the Black rock band), those two records are total keepers. Here is one of my favorite Harvey tunes (for more on Harvey and Black punk bands check out Rocktober's Black Punk Time, scroll down for info on Harvey). 

* Remember the '80s were pretty culturally repressive. Women in rock & roll, jazz, comedy, etc. had similar career blocks, as did Asians and Latinos. It wasn't until the 1990s and the rise of indie labels - who gave a shit about music, not marketing - that things started to change. 

Apart from the other issues you bring up, might another problem with Harvey be their name? it's just about as uncool/non-rock 'n' roll as it gets.
Although I find the track not to my taste (I thought it was going to be on par with same-period SVT until the vocal harmonies kicked in) thanks for the link to Black Punk Time. Amazing stuff, great resource.
I have one word for you, Mr Fab: TOTO.

Is that any worse than HARVEY?
"The whole anti-disco 'movement' was tinged with racism..." Just about any popular phenomenon is "tinged with racism," but there were plenty of exceptions, definitive exceptions, in disco to challenge the potency of that remark. Giorgio Moroder? Bee Gees? Saturday Night Fever? Meco? Rod Stewart didn't earn the big P.U. from former fans because he was somehow perceived as race-bending. He was an R&B marvel before he waded into disco, the difference being he was superb at the former, totally sucky at the latter.
Did you read the phrase you quoted? I wrote that the "ANTI-disco" movement was tinged with racism, not that disco was tinged with racism. Disco was, for the most part, not only multi-racial but pretty much the only gay-friendly portion of pop music going at the time. However, as stated much of the reaction to disco was racist and anti-gay.
Wow - cool to see Harvey get discussed. Regi Harvey lived upstairs from Skip's Tavern on Cortland Ave and hosted a weekly open jam session night there for a long time. I think he had a hand in a lot of the music going on there. Unfortunately, it was mostly bar band blues jam stuff that I wasn't really into, but I think this is probably the last bar in San Francisco doing this kind of thing. During the Bernal garage sales, Regi would always put out random Fender parts for sale which was sorta cool. Regi died of cancer in 2010.
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