When NY rockers Baby Shakes decided to record their version of The Angels’ “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?”, the band could not have imagined how relevant those words would become almost a year later. As featured on the female fronted quartet’s new album Cause a Scene, the song’s theme continues to resonate with a new audience from across the sea.
With the current collective sense of isolation, could this vintage classic become the perfect quarantine anthem that defines 2020? Baby Shakes and their fans seem to think so.
Australians of course know and love this song, and will enjoy hearing Baby Shakes’ new version, which takes it back to its 1976 origins and highlights the spunky pop elements of it. Indeed, hearing this new version, it reminds us that when The Angels were first signed to Alberts – and when they had a minor hit with their first recording of the song – their label mates were not only AC/DC but the Ted Mulry Gang and John Paul Young, and their mentors and producers were of course Harry Vanda & George Young. Taking the song back to times before audiences started adding their bit, Baby Shakes highlight its pop brilliance and keep it short, sharp and fun. In doing so, they perhaps also highlight similarities to what was happening in their own hometown back in 1976, when the Ramones and Blondie were packing out a little club called CBGB’s.
Just days before NYC enforced the quarantine, Baby Shakes – lead singer/guitarist Mary Blount, lead guitarist/singer Judy Lindsay, bassist/singer Claudia Gonzalez and drummer Ryan McHale – were all packed and ready to jet out to Europe in support of their newest LP. Soon all of their gigs, both locally and abroad, were cancelled due to the closure of music venues worldwide. “Of course we were upset that we couldn’t tour, we worked really hard for months, but in the bigger picture none of that matters when the world is facing a crisis of this capacity.” says Mary (lead singer/guitarist). Since then, the band has been brainstorming ways of engaging their audience and staying in contact with their friends and fans. “We wanted to do something to lift everyone’s spirits and put a smile on their faces, especially since we can’t reach them live or in-person at the moment”.
A music video presented itself as a perfect opportunity and the band felt that the lyrics to “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?” would succinctly express their sentiments. Filmed on their phones, mostly within the confines of their tiny Brooklyn apartments, it became an extremely intimate and personal way of interacting with their audience. “The news has been pretty gruesome and many friends outside of NY have expressed their concern. We thought it was important to show everyone how we’ve been living our common everyday lives from the safety of our homes.” – Claudia (bassist). Since the video premiered, Baby Shakes have received an overwhelming emotional outpouring from fans around the world through social media. “Some people said it made them cry and some laughed and said it cheered them up. We were thrilled that so many Australians expressed pride and nostalgia over hearing a classic song from their youth. Overall most people said that they felt the same way,” reports Judy (lead guitarist).
It’s no secret that Baby Shakes are Australian music enthusiasts. Since forming, they have been huge fans of the Aussie garage-punk music scene, citing direct influence from bands such as The Scientists, Radio Birdman, The Saints, Hoodoo Gurus, and Fun Things. It was only a matter of time before this song would make its way into their repertoire. “We’ve always loved this song. When our drummer, Ryan, suggested it as a cover we thought, well we’ve already covered an Australian band on a previous album (“Last Night” by The Scientists) so we weren’t sure. We like it so much that we decided to do it anyway. Doc Neeson had such a great voice so it was an ambitious cover.” – Mary.
Currently Baby Shakes are acknowledging public health and safety orders by continuing to stay home and wearing facemasks. They are beating the quarantine blues by staying creative and dreaming of a day when it’s safe to play again so they can finally tour Australia.