The Malibu Kens existed from July 1981 To June 1983, forming shortly after the breakup of both the Urban Surfers and Joey Did & The Necrophiliacs. Joey Did was a punk rock band that existed from January 1980 to June 1981. In May 1981, Joey Did released the Be My Barbie single under the name Malibu Kens. But the real Malibu Kens, in my opinion, did not come about until Jim Algie joined the band, replacing Dennis Lenarduzzi on bass, in July 1981. This change of personnel led to a change of musical direction, from 1970s punk rock to 1960s garage rock, which would take us several years to develop. Eager to rid ourselves of the Be My Barbie single and its punk rock sound, we sought to make a new recording as quickly as possible.
This recording, Girls Dig Me, is the Malibu Kens first demo tape, recorded in July 1981. All tracks were recorded in one ten hour session. We borrowed a Teac 4-track reel-to-reel, mixing board, and some microphones to make the recording. We set up our equipment in Jim Algie's basement and got Myron Nebozuk to operate the recorder and mixer while we played. Drums, bass, and guitar were recorded in one pass (in stereo) for all songs. We then used the remaining two tracks to record vocals, additional guitars and percussion. Each of the four tracks had multiple instruments recorded on them which meant we had to get the balance correct at the recording stage. This was especially difficult to achieve since we lacked essential equipment such as compressors, limiters and proper microphone preamps. The final mix required a lot of manual level adjustments (riding the faders), particularly for the vocal tracks. Mixing was accomplished the following day, in another lengthy session, and resulted in a cassette master containing 12 tracks of mayhem. Tracks that we were very proud of at the time.
In 2012, I revisited the Malibu Kens demo tapes with the intention of converting them to CD before they deteriorated any further (as cassettes do after 30 years). I used various tools to clean up the sound as well as possible during the conversion to CD. I used the same titles for the CDs as was used on the original tapes. I had never made artwork for the tapes, but I managed to scrounge up a few embarrassing pictures of the band to use as artwork for the CDs.
Reviewing Girls Dig Me after 30 years it comes across as nothing less than a train wreck. No wonder people hated us and threw things at us. We were horrible. Despite our best intentions to change our musical direction, we were still a punk rock band. Every song sounds like we are racing to get it over with as quickly as possible (everybody play faster than everybody else). My guitar playing is ridiculously sloppy. Mike's vocals are completely obnoxious; you just want to swat him. The background vocals are hideous and off key most of the time. Jim makes some very obvious mistakes, even during his own songs. Ed escapes most of my wrath because he was, by far, the most competent on his instrument, but I'll still blame him for playing everything too quickly.
The song choice is a bit of a surprise. There are four songs that Jim brought over with him from the Urban Surfers, five songs that we had played when Dennis was still in the band (including some that I co-wrote with Dennis), and only three new songs. Not sure how we were supposed to change our sound when we were still playing dreck.
I find it especially surprising that we took songs from this demo over to CJSR (the University of Alberta radio station) and they actually played them on the air (but probably not for very long). To quote a newspaper review of us, "No praise for the Malibu Kens. Hopeless."
The Malibu Kens were:
- Mike McDonald: lead vocals, rhythm guitar
- Scott Juskiw: guitars, keyboards, background vocals
- Jim Algie: bass guitar
- Ed Dobek: drums, percussion