Song Of The Day 11/16/2015: Davie Allan & the Arrows – “Devil’s Angels”

The Hidden '60s, Part 3 – Devil's Angels is a biker movie starring John Cassevetes that came out in 1967, and I'm sure I don't need to tell you it was co-produced by Roger Corman. The characters in biker movies vacillated between groups of two-wheeling thugs who have simple penchants for anarchy and clumsy sensual fulfillment, and earnest seekers whose forestalled efforts to construct meaning in their lives lead them to confront wards of the establishment who are simply trying to protect the health of their front lawns. Usually the establishment wins but the victory is largely pyrrhic, except for the lawns. Devil's Angels was about a biker seeking the town of Hole-in-the-Wall because he heard it had no police force, allowing eventual movie subject Butch Cassidy to dwell in a badge-less utopia. He's informed that Hole-in-the-Wall doesn't exist (at least not as a municipality; it's a pass), thwarting his destiny yet again, and nobody achieves any closure. We didn't need closure as much in the '60s as we do now.

The flick had an amazing theme tune, courtesy of guitar innovator Davie Allan, a teen friend of music titan Mike Curb and a veteran of biker movie scores. Allan was one of the first guitarists who used over-distortion as a regular part of his toolbox. Blues Theme, the signature track of the movie Wild Angels, was Allan's big hit with overdriven fuzz guitar, and was one of the first songs Eddie Van Halen learned to play. The theme to Devil's Angels (#97, 1967) came out the same year, pushing the fuzzbox close to its outer limits and allowing Allan to twist out some crazy finishing phrases. This guy's going to turn your lawn into mulch. Perhaps you should rent a condo.

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