(artwork/photos from the archives of Michael M Garrett)
"My first image of Single Bullet Theory was a little oasis of attitude on a flatbed truck in an empty lot in conservative downtown Richmond, Virginia, during a music festival in 1977. I’d had enough of drunken preppies and good ole boys. I wanted a sound to match my mood.
Single Bullet Theory was the right band for the moment. They didn’t sound like any band in town. They didn’t look like one either. The lead singer, alternating between guitar and sax, wore his dark hair Prince Valiant style, with a tailored white jacket and a large shiny saxophone pin on his lapel. They absolutely tore it up, and afterwards my ears rang for three days.
The band had formed in 1976 from the ashes of Big Naptar, Crossbreed, and X-Breed, bands which had mixed cover songs and originals with a garage, punk feel. Their edgy style matched their origins in the bohemian art school culture of Richmond’s Fan District neighborhood in the 1970s, as a fresh wave of music flowed from New York and England brandishing an aggressive sound with a clever attitude to match.
SBT took that sound further – loose, high energy and, with three guitars, loud. They made their name playing free warehouse parties and half-dollar cover shows at local bars. In early 1978 the band played at an art opening party for Andy Warhol at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in the staid heart of Richmond. More than 6,500 people mobbed the place.
This was a band that opened for The Patti Smith Group, Talking Heads, and The Stranglers. And toured with The Ramones and The Pretenders. They knew VU’s John Cale and courted him to produce their first record. He couldn’t, one of the near misses that marked the history of a band that could never quite get the right producer or record deal to capture their live sound and place them in the middle of a rock ‘n roll revolution.
They recorded the songs on this EP during the late 1970s, about midway through their glorious run, and it captures the band’s energy. These are the first tracks SBT has released since their eponymous LP, issued on Nemperor Records, more than 40 years ago.
Single Bullet Theory broke up in 1984. In 1991 they staged one last concert, a reunion show at The Flood Zone in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom. They ended a giddy, rocking night with “Les Bonnes Chanson,” the good song.
These songs, this band, those heady days." - Michael Martz