Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction. If that name made you grin, you know of the band. The year was 1988. Tattooed Beat Messiah was released (some fools would say “dropped” these days), and the world of hard rock would never be quite the same. I was a fan from the first track, which was the “Wolf Child Speech.” It was over the top. Ridiculous. Not to be taken seriously. Perfect. It was what hard rock should be.
It’s no surprise that this band came out of the same era that gave us Sigue Sigue Sputnik (affordable firepower), Adam and the Ants, and Mötley Crüe.
The music was blistering and the lyrics didn’t take themselves all too seriously … or at least one hoped they didn’t. Zodiac Mindwarp (Mark Manning) put a lot of swagger in those tales of debauchery, and that’s what made it so great. Sure, there were other bands out there of this ilk that sang songs of wine and women, but none looked or sounded like this one, and few seemed so real.
Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction never got much of a following here in America. It made an appearance here and there, and some college stations played its songs, but for the most part it was merely a footnote in musical history, while insipid garbage like Mr. Big (1989 actually marked the band’s debut album, but it was formed in 1988) captured audiences’ ears and hearts -- easy listening for the easily distracted. I don’t know why this was the case, but perhaps it was due to the fact that Zodiac Mindwarp and company looked like a bunch of coke-up bikers who may be Nazis while Mr. Big looked like a bunch of Bon Jovi fans from the Midwest who dreamed of playing the Cloverfield County Fair. Me? I’ll take biker Nazis over cowboys any day. The rest of America, sadly, didn’t feel the same way. Oh, what could’ve been…
Enjoy the video.