Purple Wizard rose from the ashes of the Prissteens, a well received, critically acclaimed New York Rock n’ Roll band in the late ’90’s. Lead by singer guitarists Lori Lindsay and Leslie Day, the Prissteens were one of Joey Ramone’s favorite local bands. They combined the melodies of early 60’s girl groups with raunchy guitars that echoed the Sonics and early Kinks. The group released one album, “Scandal, Controversy & Romance” to rave reviews but commercial success eluded them and they were eventually dropped by their record label.
While continuing to practice and play local gigs in and around New York City, Lori and Leslie surrounded themselves with new band members. Now consisting of drummer Dave Lindsay (Ff) and bassist Jon Chalmers (Church Keys) the band’s musicianship improved and their repertoire expanded. The addition of Bill Peitsch (Church Keys) on vocals further enhanced the group’s personality and expanding influences. Deciding to complete the break from their past, they changed their name to Purple Wizard. The “inspiration” came from a tattoo of a purple wizard inked on the arm of Lori’s brother. The new name puzzled some longtime fans but the change served it’s purpose and suited the band just fine.
Along with a fresh batch of original material, the band developed a talent for finding forgotten and obscure great songs and bringing them back to life. Drawing from early Rock ‘n Roll, R&B, 60’s Soul, and British Invasion Rock, Purple Wizard frequently introduced choice covers into their set lists. Among those included on the album are The Dixie Cups’ “I’m Gonna Get You Yet”, Lee Rogers’ Cream of the Crop, and the Everly Brothers’ “Price of Love.” With an ear for detail they injected the group’s distinctive sound while being faithful to all the licks, fills, guitar solos, and vocal treatments of the originals. Not only does Purple Wizard manage to capture the genuine sound and spirit of their influences but they make every song sound like it was always theirs to begin with.
Original songs like “Stalker” and “Scrapins”, written by the band, with lyrics penned by the late, great Bill Peitsch, display qualities seldom found in rock n’ roll songs these days. Bill’s lyrics are genuinely clever, unpretentious, and hilarious. Listening to them would make Chuck Berry shake his head and smile. “Ass Up (The Pimp Song)” derives its humor and subject matter from the prime of 70’s Blaxploitaion cinema, Marvin Van Peebles and Rudy Ray Moore (aka Dolemite). The album’s closing track “Puffy Rap” was inspired by an US Magazine article a few years back about Puff Daddy inviting a posse of friends to party at the arrival of his baby.
The songs on Purple Wizard’s self-produced debut album were recorded and mixed in the basement of Dave Lindsay’s Brooklyn home (Country Club Studio) on a portable 8 track recording deck. The final mixes were then sent to England where they were mastered by Nick Watson at Sanctuary’s Townhouse Studios in London. Watson had mastered recent reissues of the Kinks and Small Faces catalogs. He has also produced and mixed for artists such as Deep Purple and Fleetwood Mac.
On their debut release, Purple Wizard delivers a well made album packed from beginning to end with great songs. The songs are vibrant, confident, exciting, and most of all fun. In an age where much of the pop music spectrum is saturated with clinically overproduced, bland material, this homemade album sounds truly fresh.