While rifling through my CD/record/cassette tape/mp3/music collection this past weekend, I happened upon the self-titled debut album from Britny Fox. I quickly decided to dust the cassette off and give it a whirl in the old tape deck. Yes, I still have a cassette deck, and yes, it still works…sometimes. Fortunately, this was one of those times that it worked.
Putting in Britny Fox plastered a smile across my face and brought back a wave of memories. From 1988 – 1990, I was as obsessed with Britny Fox as I am with Pop Evil today. I thought that Britny Fox was one of the greatest bands in rock with the potential to have a huge future. The first time that I heard “Long Way To Love” on MTV, I was hooked. I picked up their debut album not long after that. Packed with gems like “Girlschool,” “Save The Weak,” “In America,” and their magnificent cover of Slade’s “Gudbuy T’Jane,” that tape was fantastic.
The band released an exceptional follow up with 1989’s Boys In Heat. This album contained two of the band’s biggest hits in their cover of Nazareth’s “Hair Of The Dog,” and the ever popular “Dream On,” which spent weeks in the top ten of Dial MTV (which was how bands got their notoriety back then). With Boys In Heat doing so well, I just knew that Britny Fox was going to take over the world. Then something happened within the band, and Dean Davidson, the band’s cherished lead singer, left. He went on to form Blackeyed Susan, while Britny Fox went out to find a new singer in Tommy Paris.
I picked up a copy of Blackeyed Susan’s Electric Rattlebone not long after its release and I loved it. I still have that on cassette to this day and that still plays as well. It was a more southern sounding version of Britny Fox, less metal, more blues, and I liked it a lot. However, when Davidson left Britny Fox, I never went back to them. The band released Bite Down Hard in 1991, but without Davidson, I didn’t bother to pick up the album. Blackeyed Susan never released another record. Their follow up album Just A Taste was recorded, but never put out, which is a shame. So what happened to these guys? Where have they been? What have they been doing? Where are they now?
Dean Davidson – Lead Vocals
After leaving Britny Fox to form Blackeyed Susan, Dean Davidson released one album with that band and recorded a second. When the music genre shifted, Davidson went silent for a while and then reappeared in 1999 when 80s metal was having a resurgence. He would go on to record solo albums, and there were rumors in 2010 that he was getting back together with Britny Fox, but that never happened. These days, Davidson is working on a new country-tinged solo album that is due out in 2014.
Michael Kelly Smith – Lead Guitar
Guitarist Michael Kelly Smith stayed with Britny Fox until the end of their run (1993) when the music scene changed dramatically. In 2003 he performed with a band called Razamanaz and released one album. Smith was involved with the production of the greatest hits and live albums that Britny Fox released, but has not done much in the field of music since his days with them.
Billy Childs – Bass Guitar
Bassist Billy Childs bounced around a lot after 2003. There were a few different lineups of Britny Fox and he was involved in them all, most recently, the 2008 (and last) Britny Fox lineup, which played several club dates throughout the US. These days, Billy Childs is the bassist in a Led Zeppelin cover band called Get The Led Out. The band still tours nationally and they have some Northeast dates scheduled for this November and December.
Johnny Dee – Drums
Drummer Johnny Dee went on to play in Doro’s touring band after the demise of Britny Fox, where he remains to this day. Dee played drums on Doro’s last two albums, Fear No Evil and Raise Your Fist and toured all over Europe and the US with the band. Dee is currently out on the road in Europe for Doro’s 30th anniversary tour.
With festivals like M3 and Rocklahoma happening annually, it would be nice to think that Britny Fox could get back together for a small tour or at least some festival performances, but that is highly unlikely. It appears that Davidson and the rest of the band still don’t speak and it is doubtful that they would be willing to put aside their differences for even one tour. That’s unfortunate, because there are still a lot of fans out there who would love to see Britny Fox play live.
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