Gilby Clarke from Guns n’ Roses signed his first record for me at the 2015 NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA. Put out in 1985, Candy’s Whatever Happened To Fun? is pure, unabashed power pop, though you can kinda tell from how they’re dressed: from the neck up, they’re hair metal, but from the neck down, they’re The Knack—and that’s basically this record in a nutshell. It’s a band that toured opening for Rick Springfield, after all. That said, I’ve always loved power pop, regardless of how uncool it is, and this is definitely a quirky-but-quality power pop album with a bunch of good songs, the best being the title track.
I’ve had the record for a while (turns out it’s mega-rare; copies average $100 or more on ebay, though I found mine for $25), so when I heard Clarke was going to be signing autographs at The NAMM Show this year, I had to bring it. I waited on a line for about an hour behind plenty of people sporting GnR CDs, and Clarke was gracious and friendly with everyone. When I walked up with this, his eyes popped. “WOW—man, how long have you had this?!” he said, putting it on the table to really look at it. “That’s 19-year-old me,” he said nostalgically, pointing at himself on the far left. He explained the mysterious cartoon paint can in the lower right corner—it means “Can-D” (I would have never have gotten that)—and I asked who the producer, identified only as Teeth, was; turns out it was Don Ienner, brother of Jimmy Ienner, who produced Three Dog Night and the Bay City Rollers in the 1970s. He mentioned he didn’t wanted Ienner to produce, but the band’s singer, Kyle Vincent, did, so that was that. “No one cared what I thought; I was just the guitarist, right?” he laughed.
While Candy never got anywhere, it was clearly a launch pad—Clarke went on to GnR; Kyle Vincent went on to a solo career that included a few minor hits; and Teeth became the chairman of Sony Music for five years in the Nineties, so he did pretty alright, too.
So Gilby signed it for me, we got a photograph together, and as I split, he said, “That’s the coolest thing anybody’s brought for me to sign all day. That was a real score, man!” I agree!