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SVT: No Regrets

Dave Howell

I hate to pick on these guys, but things have changed a lot since the early '80s when SVT made these songs.


No Regrets

Label: Rykodisc
US Release Date: 2005-04-26
UK Release Date: 2005-05-02
Amazon affiliate

"Rock is dead / Long Live Rock!" said Pete Townshend. But rock is dead, led by many factors, including changing radio formats. I hate to pick on these guys, but things have changed a lot since the early '80s when SVT made these songs.

The otherwise excellent liner notes, written by a friend of the band who joined Huey Lewis and the News, say that the tracks sound so fresh, you may be fooled into thinking that this CD was made last month. If you do, please contact me -- I can sell you an original signed copy of the Jefferson Airplane's recipe for hash brownies.

These guys do rock. The power chords are here in full, with a drummer who knows how to put in those quick fills. Surprisingly, the bass player does not stand out that much at first listen. And the band was originally named the "Jack Casady Band".

Yes, it is Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna. He parachuted from the groundbreaking Airplane before they shlocked into Starship, but he parachuted, at least for a time, into SVT, which is almost an '80s hair band. SVT have been called punk and new wave, but it's still rock and roll to me.

Their local (San Francisco, of course) radio hit, "Heart of Stone", is here. The chorus goes, "Oh oh oh oh baby's got a heart of stone" (repeat over and over). Other tracks include "Love Blind" ("Don't don't don't leave me alone" -- repeat four times), "No Regrets" (rhymes with "I wish that we had never met"), "Money Street" ("Can I take you away from here / Can I feel your love on Money Street?" -- repeat over and over -- "/ It's a hard hard world/Money Stree t/ Aw money money money..."), "What I Don't Like" (includes washing cars, music factories, and playing the fool) and ends with "You Don't Rock Me", which you may or may not feel about SVT by this time. Except that there are four more bonus tracks not on the original two albums, to make a total of fifteen.

Unfortunately singer/guitarist Brian Marnell died in an auto accident. The band broke up before this, with Casady returning to Hot Tuna. They would probably have never made it anyway. Known for Casady's involvement, San Francisco listeners were turned off by his move away from blues and psychedelica.

There is a bit of potential here. Casady and drummer Paul Zahl are a highly skilled rhythm section. Marnell is certainly no Jorma Kaukonen, but he has the singing chops for power ballads. With the addition of a lead guitar player, who knows what may have happened? Oh, and a different lyrics writer, too.

Nick Buck, a friend of Casady's, plays keyboards on three songs.

Fun fact: Everyone thought that SVT stood for Supra Ventricular Tachycardia -- excessive heart beat and pulse rate -- but it was actually the name of Casady's bass rig.


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