Friday, April 09, 2010

ANTON FIG & AMANDA BLUE: SPIDER!


Today you know Anton Fig as the drummer in David Letterman's house band, but back in the early 80's he was proud of two glistening black discs of vinyl from his band SPIDER. And he still thinks they're worth buying.

"Those were really great albums," Fig (aka "Anton Zip") recalls, referring to "Spider" 1980 and "Between the Lines" 1981). Spider was breathtakingly fronted by his wife at the time Amanda Leigh (aka "Amanda Blue") and included Holly Knight on keyboards.

As Anton remembers, "We opened for Alice Cooper for quite a few months - it must have been around '81 - It was a memorable tour for me. I know we played Joe Louis arena in Detroit - very exciting for a young band. We did a couple of videos but it was just as MTV was starting - so it was not widely seen." And after? "Amanda did a couple of records released on Rennaissance Records. I'm not sure what happened to Jimmy and Keith I still see all the time. He is playing around NY and producing various projects...The band should have made it but did not due to bad timing and judgment of our 'superiors' -- in my opinion anyway." A new band is always going to have record companies, managers and even band-members disagreeing on direction. But at least it was a good ride.

Amanda "Blue" Leigh, as she's known (amandablueleigh.com) was born in Cape Town, South Africa and recorded a solo album back in 1972 called "Medusa." She and Anton formed Spider when they came to New York circa 1977. He was a session drummer working with Garland Jeffries, Link Wray and many others. The band drew the attention of Kiss members Ace Frehley and Gene Simmons, and they were signed by Kiss manager Bill Aucoin to his Rock Steady Productions organization, and to a hot label at the time, Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman's Dreamland Records label. If you know their work, then you'll know what to expect; power pop punk.

After Spider's two-album contract with Dreamland ended, and the group disbanded, Amanda joined the band Shanghai and released an album in 1982. Ten years later, having put her career pretty much on hold to raise her two kids, Chay and Austin, Amanda has released several solo albums including "Awakening," "Returning," "For Dreaming" and her 2007 effort "OneLove." She and her new husband John Slicker live in New York City where, the music biz being impossible for most indies to make any money on, they teach at the Core Energetics Institute.

Anton co-wrote "New Romance" with Holly Knight, and the song's turned up in an episode of "Knots Landing." Most of their songs were written by some combination of Fig, Knight and Leigh. You can easily find that out for yourself, as both albums have been re-issued on a single CD, and individual tracks are on legal mp3 download from Amazon and the usual suspects. Your sample track is from the original vinyl.
NEW ROMANCE (It's a Mystery) Instant download or listen on line. No pop-ups, porn ads or wait time.

2 comments:

Amanda said...

Thanks!
I have been archiving all of my music lately, from present to way back.
Anton dug up our home demos from 1985-89 in NYC and I am putting together a CD of this work for release in May sometime. It is some of the best work I did at that time, vocals & co writing, and Brian Kehew is mastering it in LA. Your timing is perfect and I appreciate it a lot.
Let me know if you have any ideas on radio/web stations that play 80's classic pop rock, I am trying to gather as much info as possible for this summer release.
Many blessings to you and thanks again *).
Amanda 'blue' Leigh

Rita said...

Amanda!

I cannot believe I found your comment! YOU'RE MY IDOL, BABY! I've held up both your albums to every musician I've ever known as THE BEST DAMNED BAND I've ever heard! I LOVE YOUR ART! It is so precious to me, I'm not kidding. Been listening to your CD...double compilation all afternoon...a good friend found it and GOT ME A BRAND NEW ONE FOR CHRISTMAS! I treasure it more than ANYTHING. I had my own run in the heartbreaking music business, and I don't merit you hearing my detail, but I'm not ashamed of my work either.

any way, I LOVE YOU...you sing correctly and tough...I used to try to cover your stuff at showcases in L.A....people would say "Man, that is so GREAT! Where did you get that material? " I'd say, It's SPIDER, the best damned band EVER...than Tina did Better Be Good to Me, and I love Tina, but your version is HANDS DOWN THE BEST.

Any way, I'm totally star struck...I LOVE YOU and I wish you all had been able to do more.

Much respect and love,

Rita Richardson
Shebacat44@yahoo.com
Tennessee