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True West

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Out of the same mold as L.A.'s Paisley Underground bands, True West didn't fit because they were from Davis, CA (operating out of the nearby nexus for guitar bands, San Francisco) and a little darker and less dreamy than the others. They debuted with True West, an EP in 1983 on Bring Out Your Dead Records. It was produced by the band's Russ Tolman and the Dream Syndicate's Steve Wynn. Hollywood Holiday, released by France's then-very hip New Rose label that same year, contained the debut EP as well as some new tracks. By 1984, the band signed a deal with U.S. indie label PVC for Drifters. Drummer Josef Becker left to join the similar, though darker California-centric roots band Thin White Rope, and after recording, so too did Tolman. 1986's Hand of Fate for CD Presents features guitar work by the Rain Parade's Matt Piucci and Green on Red's Chuck Prophet in place of Tolman. Shortly after, the band called it quits. West Side Story (Skyclad, 1989) is an odds-and-sods collection, Best Western (Skyclad, 1990) a compilation of of old demos, and TV Western (Skyclad, 1990) adds some live tracks to the demo sessions. Singer Gavin Blair and guitarist Richard McGrath worked as Fool Killers after the breakup, and Tolman is a prolific singer/songwriter. Becker went on to play with Game Theory. The group's bassist was Kevin Staydohar. ~ Denise Sullivan

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