Neon Leon


Neon Leon 1979–84 Singles Collection LP

Right out of the gate, I have to say that I would never have imagined that I’d find myself reviewing a record for MRR that features Mick Jagger on one of the tracks. “Neon” Leon Matthews is one of the true unsung heroes of NYC punk, and his story is truly the stuff of legends. Matthews’ was shredding with members of PURE HELL in Philadelphia in the early ’70s, before relocating to the fabled Chelsea Hotel at the urging of Johnny Thunders. It has been asserted that Matthews was the last person to see Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen together prior to her death. For more info on his remarkable life, check out Neon Leon Fast Track to Hell, his autobiography. Back to the matter at hand, Hozac has compiled all of NEON LEON’s singles from the late ’70s to the mid-’80s. The eight tracks span a range of sounds, from revved-up NEW YORK DOLLS-esque glam, to synth-tastic new wave, and a straight-up killer rendition of “Heart of Stone,” with none other than Mick Jagger contributing backups. It’s a wild ride! The opening cut “Rock’n Roll is Alive” is worth the price of entry on its own, with a phaser-laden drum intro (à la DEAD BOYS), unhinged guitars, and chorus reminding us that “rock’n’roll is alive in New York City!” From what I hear, NEON LEON is based in Germany and still performing. Killer! Snatching this up is a total no-brainer for fans of DEAD BOYS, WAYNE/JAYNE COUNTY, PAGANS, NEW YORK DOLLS, etc. NEON LEON rules!