Be My Barbie was the first time the Malibu Kens appeared on vinyl. It was all Dennis' fault. The Modern Minds had released an EP, and the Rock 'n' Roll Bitches were about to release their EP. Dennis wanted to be the next band to release something on vinyl and managed to convince the rest of us.
On March 6 and 7, 1981 we went into Homestead Recorders to make our first record. We had fought long and hard about which songs to record. For financial reasons we decided to record a two song single, rather than a three or four song EP. Considering that our songs up to that point were either written by Dennis/Scott or Mike/Scott, we decided to pick one song from each song writing team. Since I had a hand in writing all the songs I didn't care too much about which songs were picked. Our first choice from the Dennis/Scott combo was Crude City, not because it was one of our better songs, but because we were an Edmonton band and Crude City was about Edmonton. Dennis was very keen on recording Insomnia for the Mike/Scott song because he believed it was the most musically progressive of the Mike/Scott songs. Mike however, being his own worst critic, threw a real wrench into the works. He hated the lyrics to his own songs and decided to rewrite the lyrics to Insomnia a few days before we were to go into the studio to record. But it wasn't just a rewrite of a pop song about being very tired, it was a completely new song with a new title, a rant about running away from home. At the time, I was really angry at him for doing this. I liked Insomnia. I hated the new song: Wednesday Morning. But there was no room for negotiating; we were booked to record at Homestead Recorders and Mike wasn't about to budge on this one.
I don't recall who came up with the record title, but we chose something that stuck with the Malibu Ken theme. We had numerous resources available to us for the artwork: Dennis designed the record label and back cover, Myron Nebozuk drew the front cover art from a photograph taken of us from the Riviera Rock Room, Ken Chinn created the poster and lyric sheet, and Eric Baumgartner took the photos. 1000 copies of the record were produced (the minimum order at World Records).
The finished product didn't arrive in our hands until the end of May 1981. Unfortunately, by that time Dennis had already decided to leave the band to pursue his interest in rockabilly music. Worse was that the rest of us were no longer interested in playing the style of music that was on the record. Thus, we had very little interest in promoting the record and trying to sell it. Although we were sticking with the Malibu Kens name, the band on the record didn't exist anymore. Once Jim joined the band we changed our musical style and didn't even want to play those songs anymore. We continued to play Crude City and Wednesday Morning for a few months once Jim joined the band, but only to try to sell the record; we hated playing those songs.
We kept trying to sell the record throughout the summer, albeit half-heartedly. At one point we staged a "burgers and coke" hunger strike at K-97 to try to get them to play our record on the air. By Septemer 1981 we had only sold about 150 copies and gave up trying to sell anymore. I believe most of the remainder ended up in landfills shortly thereafter.
The players on this disc were:
- Mike McDonald: lead vocals
- Ed Dobek: drums
- Dennis Lenarduzzi: bass, vocals
- Scott Juskiw: guitar