Idle Lovéll – Surge Et Illuminare – 1984

The first of several Michael Knott (Lifesavers, LSU, Aunt Betty’s) related projects to find its way onto this list, and like the previously discussed “Weber and the Buzztones,” the placement of this album suffers from EP bias. By that I mean if it was a full length release, rather than just six songs, it most likely would have found its way into the upper half of the countdown. Even with that the album is worthy of consideration. It is also quite possibly the rarest of Michael Knott releases. Though listed as a “Blonde Vinyl” release, the limited nature and no national distribution makes the EP a sought after vinyl. Idle Lovell was a segue between different incarnation of the Lifesavers and LSU. The band, despite a limited run, went through a few incarnations itself with multiple musicians making up the band, though along with Knott, members included Vince Pangrazio on bass and Bradford J. Salamon on drums. Longtime friend and collaborator Brian Doidge, who also performed with Knott in multiple incarnations of the Lifesavers, LSU and the Aunt Betty’s. For me, “One Sided Love Affair” is the most Lifesavers sounding song on the album, and would not have been out of place on Dream Life. This one of many attempts by Knott to reach the mainstream market. It also ended up being the first release on Knott’s Blond Vinyl record label. The ultimate irony was that it was also the only Blond Vinyl release to be released on vinyl. Apparently the band wrote and worked on several more songs, but soon disbanded and those songs would find their way onto other Michael Knott related Lifesavers projects. The first real stand out for me is the opening track, “Touch Me in the Wind.” A very “current” tune for the times that would and maybe should have been a hit on mainstream alternative radio stations like LA’s famous KROQ. All six songs are very, very strong tunes with a darker, more dance-like goth feel. Great for fans of The Cure, The Church, Echo and the Bunnymen and the Psychedelic Furs. Two songs would later show up on Lifesaver and LSU projects. In fact, the feel and sound would play a heavy role in the future LSU incarnation with its darker edge. LSU and Lifesaver guitarist Brian Doidge would be a key band member for the live shows. One song of note is “I Can’t Wait,” which would appear on the following Lifesavers “Kiss of Life” project. I have always found it a bit ironic that the Idle Lovell version is much more pop and upbeat sounding to my ear than the version that appears on the much more pop and upbeat “Kiss of Life” album. Idle Lovell serves as a record keeper for the times and the progression Knott was making as a songwriter and performer. Always ahead and on the edge, Knott consistently made memorable music that was much more palatable than his reputation as some sort of avante garde artist would suggest. Hard to find, but worth the effort.

Contributor David Lowman –

1 – Touch Me In The Wind – 5:02
2 – Shallow – 3:55
3 – I Can’t Wait – 3:55
4 – Only – 4:05
5 – One Sided Love Affair – 3:52
6 – Drone – 5:20

Artwork [Charcoal Drawings], Layout [Cover & Insert] – Bradford J. Salamon
Backing Vocals – Bridget Knott
Bass – Vince Pangrazio
Drums – Bradford J. Salamon
Keyboards – Jim Richards
Keyboards [Additional] – John Gloudeman
Mastered By – Bernie Grundman
Photography By [Insert] – Colleen Knott
Producer, Engineer – Thom Roy
Vocals, Guitar – Michael Knott
Written-By – Michael Knott

Lifesavers Underground – Shaded Pain – 1987

Shaded Pain is Lifesavers’ fourth album, and it has its own unique sound, darker and more musically mature than their original works.

The band started out with a sound reminiscent of 1970s punk and with this 1987 release, they sound completely like the late 80s punk scene.

The record starts out with a somewhat chilling version of “Michael Row The Boat Ashore” in the opening track “Jordan River.” Lyrically, this album strives to tie contradictions together and it does so quite well in songs such as “Tether To Tassel” and “Our Time Has Come.”

The sound on this album is a rich, full guitar sound throughout with drums that pop, and a vocal that carries it all in a soothing/creepy fasion, depending on how the beat strikes you every moment.

1 – Jordan River – 3:55
2 – Bye Bye Colour – 4:02
3 – Die Baby Die – 2:25
4 – Lonely Boy – 3:49
5 – Our Time Has Come – 3:37
6 – Tether To Tassle – 3:36
7 – I’m Torn – 3:52
8 – Plague Of Flies – 1:27
9 – More To Life – 3:39
10 – Shaded Pain – 4:10

Art Direction, Layout – Ed McTaggart
Artwork – Mike Knott
Drums, Cymbal – Kevin Lee
Electric Guitar [Les Paul Gold Top], Twelve-String Guitar [Ibanez Acoustic], Acoustic Guitar [Yamaha], Bass [Black] – Brian Doidge
Engineer – Chris Brigandi (tracks: B5), Joey Taylor
Photography By – Colleen Hammond
Producer – Chris Brigandi
Vocals – Bridgett Knott (tracks: A1, A4)
Vocals, Keyboards – Mike Knott
Written-By – Brian Doidge (tracks: A4, B3, B4), Kevin Lee (4) (tracks: B3), Mike Knott

Companies, etc.
Recorded At – 3-D Studios, Costa Mesa CA.
Recorded At – Asylomar Studios
Copyright (c) – Broken Songs
Copyright (c) – Frontline Records (3)
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Frontline Records (3)
Distributed By – The Benson Company
Distributed By – The Master’s Collection
Distributed By – Kingsway Publications Ltd.

Lifesavors – A Kiss Of Life – 1986

Not only did they change the name from “Lifesavors” to “Lifesavers” on this one, but the band took a sudden turn with this album, sounding a lot more like Flock of Seagulls than like a Cali-punk band.

Smooth production, serious looking photography, and a clean sound make this a pop album. Subsequent releases from Lifesavers all share this mature style but some of them manage to bring the edge back rather than the adult contemporary sound of 80s oldies.

Throughout, they manage to keep thoughtful lyrics and passionate delivery.

The band’s energy comes through again on songs like “Choose To Be True,” a truly catch tune. The classic “Turn Turn Turn” also makes an appearance on this album. It seems to be more an homage to Ecclesiastes than to Pete Seger or The Byrds though.

1 – She’s On Fire – 3:39
2 – I Pray You Pray – 3:34
3 – I Can’t Wait – 3:42
4 – Choose To Be True – 2:28
5 – Highway To Zion – 3:02
6 – Dreamin – 4:20
7 – Love Boy Love Girl – 3:13
8 – Turn, Turn, Turn – 3:39
9 – We Live For The Sun – 3:44
10 – Free Her – 3:18
11 – See Me Fall – 4:48

Companies, etc.
Distributed By – The Benson Company, Inc.
Copyright (c) – Frontline Records
Phonographic Copyright (p) – Frontline Records
Copyright (c) – Broken Songs

Acoustic Guitar – Michael Knott
Art Direction – Ed McTaggart
Backing Vocals – Kenny Samuels
Bass Guitar – Brian Doidge
Drums – Kevin Lee
Electric Guitar – Doug Doyle, Michael Knott
Engineer – Doug Doyle
Keyboards – Doug Doyle, Michael Knott
Layout – Ed McTaggart
Liner Notes – Craig A.J. Keyzers
Percussion – Kevin Lee, Michael Knott
Photography By – Brian Ray
Producer – Doug Doyle
Saxophone – Allen Palmer
Vocals – Michael Knott
Written-By – Bill Robinson (tracks: 2), Chris Lizotte (tracks: 2), Jim Akin (tracks: 2), Michael Gerard Knott (tracks: 1 to 6, 7, 9 to 11), Pete Seger (tracks: 2)

Lifesavors – Dream Life – 1983

This 1983 release from The Lifesavors continued where their debut ended. The guitars stayed edgy and the vocals a little raw and I felt this album was a little more fun than their previous release.

Michael Knott did most of the songwriting for this album and actually did all the original vocals but due to some internal band drama the vocals were rerecorded by Kirk Heiner and Brian Goins.

Final answer is that this is a great fun album that offered up something Christian music was missing and needed at the time.

Track Listing:
1 – Break In My Head 2:33
2 – Christian Twisters 2:18
3 – Glamour Girls 1:00
4 – Christian Army 1:50
5 – Physical 3:02
6 – Waiting For You 2:30
7 – Sooner Or Later 2:40
8 – False Identity 2:12
9 – I Won’t Give In 2:30
10 – The One 1:55
11 – Hurt, Out Of My Heart 2:55
12 – Fourteen 2:47
13 – I’m Not 2:18
14 – Watch Nowhere (Else) 3:35

Arranged By, Co-producer [Production Assistance] – Chris Wimber
Band [The Lifesavors], Bass, Rhythm Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Backing Vocals – Chris Wimber
Band [The Lifesavors], Drums, Percussion, Vocals – Kevin Annis
Band [The Lifesavors], Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals – Kirk Heiner
Band [The Lifesavors], Vocals – Brian Goins
Design – Ken Baley, Linda Dillon Baley, Mark Swanson
Guest [Additional Musical Services], Backing Vocals – Carla Martin, Debbie Wimber, Jerry Chamberlain, Jim Camp, Ray Rubio, Robin Renee, Sharon McCall
Guest [Additional Musical Services], Guitar – Mike Knott*, Mike Annis
Guest [Additional Musical Services], Keyboards – Ric Alba
Layout – Mark Swanson
Mastered By – Kevin Gray
Photography – Ken Baley, Linda Dillon Baley
Producer – Thom Roy
Recorded By, Mixed By – Thom Roy