“Could The Second Beatles Have Existed In Seattle In The Early 80’s?” (A Short Story About The Heats)
Sometime in the late 70’s, Singer/Songwriter Steve Pearson met Don Short, another Singer/Songwriter in a suburb of Seattle. Ironically these to rock & roll heroes had a-lot in common. They both played excellent barking electric guitars, they both loved great pop songs by such groups as The Beatles & Rolling Stones, and, their voices melded together just like Lennon & McCartney. Not a bad combination at all.
Their biggest hit single was a clever short pop song written by Steve called: “I Don’t Like Your Face.” It recieved plenty of local air play on Seattle’s now defunct KJET radio which I can personally attest was a great station full of fun and sardonic cuts. “I Don’t Like Your Face” fit right in and sold over 15,000 copies on 45rpm discs. Remember this was before CD’s and downloads kids.
One of their biggest supporters back in the day was one Erik Lacitis of The Seattle Times. He seemed very empathetic about the band’s causes if you read the liner notes today on: The Heats: “Smoke” on Chuckie Boy Records. It is on CD and is a greatest hits collection of sorts of the bands containing 13 marvy cuts. Let me tell yuh, there is never a dull moment from The Heats. They had 2:50 seconds down to a fine art.
The main reason for the comparison to the Beatles in my opinion is the natural way that Steve & Don’s voices melded together in harmony not unlike Lennon & McCartney. That’s about the highest compliment I can pay a group. And it did not hurt that they both had such great pop sensibilities either. On drums was either Ken Deans or Rick Bourgoin. On bass was Keith Lilly or Wayne Clack depending on when you caught the band live. But Steve & Don were the real nucleus of The Heats just like Lennon & McCartney. It’s absolutely uncanny how close these two guys voices were to each other. And they both shared a fabulous whinny nasal vocal that by today’s standards would be considered almost condescending in a humorous kind of way. It’s so refreshing to listen to this album/CD and even realize that a band like this existed at this time period in The Jet City (Seattle). Knowing what I know about the Northwest this group could have never made it as big as they were in Portland, Oregon just 200 miles away. No way did Portland have the pop vision or audience for a group like The Heats. Seattle deserves a-lot of credit for this.
Even Ann Wilson of Heart was a big fan of these Jet City boys and tried to get them signed to Geffen Records back in the day. Geffen stupidly passed on the band and there went the second Beatles down the pop toilet. Unfortunately for the most part in those days, labels were still loaded with disco and AOR rock. Not where The Heats were coming from at all.
Other cool cuts of note on the CD include: “Ordinary Girls”, “Call Yourself A Man”, “Night Shift”, “In Your Town”, “Have An Idea”, “Remember Me” (bonus cut) & more. The engineering and production are all outstanding by any standards and if anything sound the opposite of dated!
Well, that’s all for now on The Heats. If you saw them live when they existed…you were lucky. I’m only sorry that the second Beatles didn’t stand more of a fare chance when they existed. We’re not getting any younger.
Checkout the CD for yourself if you can find it on Chuckie Boy Records online for sale. It’s a bargain at any price!
Footnote: The Heat’s “In Your Town” was produced by Ann Wilson and was featured on MTV back in the day as a video.