Posted by: Craig Woolheater on August 17th, 2007
As I did last week here on Cryptomundo, I would like to share the music of one of my favorite artists, Maria McKee, on her birthday.
She started out in the band Lone Justice.
Lone Justice was an American rock band formed in 1982 by guitarist Ryan Hedgecock and singer Maria McKee (half-sister of Love’s Bryan MacLean).
One of the more promising bands of the L.A. rockabilly scene of the 1980′s, Lone Justice was inspired by Hedgecock and McKee’s mutual affection for rockabilly and country music. Initially a strict cover band, the additions of veteran bassist Marvin Etzioni and Don Heffington, a former drummer in Emmylou Harris’s Hot Band, prompted them to compose their own material. Benmont Tench of Tom Petty’s Heartbreaker’s was a frequent guest musician at their live shows.
Soon, Lone Justice became a popular attraction and a local favorite. With the help of Linda Ronstadt, they were signed to Geffen Records and were soon hyped as the next-big-thing.
Their self-titled debut appeared in 1985, followed by a tour in support of U2. Still, despite good press and media hype (Jimmy Guterman, then a critic at Rolling Stone, praised it as one of the best albums ever made), Lone Justice failed to sell; produced by the band’s manager, Jimmy Iovine, it failed to connect with either country or rock audiences. Even with catchy singles like “Sweet, Sweet Baby” and “Ways To Be Wicked” (written by Tom Petty), the album didn’t meet commercial expectations. Regardless, the Pazz & Jop Critics Poll for 1985 ranked it at #24, right behind Up On The Sun by the Meat Puppets and just ahead of Psychocandy by The Jesus and Mary Chain.
In the record’s wake, Hedgecock, Etzioni, and Heffington all exited the band, leaving McKee to lead Lone Justice alone. After enlisting guitarist Shane Fontayne, bassist Greg Sutton, drummer Rudy Richman, and keyboardist Bruce Brody, Lone Justice recorded their second LP, Shelter; Steve Van Zandt was tapped as the producer. It did not sell well.
Shortly after that record’s release, McKee broke up the band for good and went on to a solo career. Heffington became a successful session drummer, while Etzioni recorded under the guise Marvin the Mandolin Man. Fontayne played guitar in Bruce Springsteen’s band for the tour backing up the Lucky Town/Human Touch albums. After a decade removed from the music industry, Hedgecock returned in 1996 as half of the duo Parlor James. A posthumous Lone Justice retrospective, This World Is Not My Home, followed in early 1999, including early demo recordings.
A brief, budget compilation was issued in 2003 as part of Universal Music’s 20th Century Masters series.wikipedia
And my own personal favorite song of Lone Justice’s is Shelter. Here they are performing the song at The Ritz, NYC 12/13/1986.
Happy birthday Maria!