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472. The Lifters/What Love’s All About – The Lifters


The Lifters

I decided to put both of these projects together as there is some crossover between the two, including the most popular Lifter’s tune, Eternity Bop. Also, the first project was an EP but deserving of placement on the list as well.

The Lifters were part of the burgeoning Christian Punk/New wave scene in the early 80’s that included Undercover, the Lifesavors and Altar Boys. In fact, it was common to put all of those bands together in one breath when describing the music of Southern California in the early 80’s. It may have also had something to do with the friendships between the bands and the fact that they always seemed to be doing concerts together every weekend in Church gyms and local parks.

In an odd sort of six degrees of separation there was also some sort of relationship between the bands. Mike of the Altar Boys had a brother in the Lifesavors, Brian Ray of the Lifters married Crystal Lewis who also sang with Chris Brigandi (the Lifters) in another “Lifters” incarnation, Wild Blue Yonder. All the while Chris Lizotte married Brian Ray’s sister and Chris Brigandi’s sister was married to…oh, now I’m confused.

While Undercover was the new wave/punk band, the Altar Boys were the Ramones-like Americana punk rockers and the Lifesavors were the alternative/punks, the lifters played straight ahead rockabilly in the vein of The Stray Cats with stand up bass, single snare drum set up and Chris Brigandi’s raspy vocals and 50’s rock n roll guitar stylings.

But amidst the trappings and Stray Cats comparisons what may have been lost is just how good they were, especially live. Both projects are filled with infectious, fun, clever and really, really good rock n roll! They were also the only band that I recall having two releases on the Calvary Chapel owned MRC label. I had always hoped that these two projects would be combined on to one CD, but I have yet to see that take place.

The EP contained a wonderful sock-hop tinged ballad “I’m Yours” that seemed like it would have fit perfectly in the final scene of the first Back to the Future and the piano driven “Living Water.” Highlights on WLAA include “Middle Ground” (which has some of Birgandi’s finest guitar work on the two projects and always kicked live), the title track which features  a great “call and response” and the groove on “Do What I Do” is magic.

One interesting side not: “What Love’s All About” featured the traditional classic “Operator” sung by a young Marnie Sonnenberg who would later marry and start a great unheralded Southern California band called Daughter Eve and who was very good friends with Maria McKee of Lone Justice…

  1. dashneal
    October 16, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    LOVED the vocals on “Operator.” That girl could SING!

  2. April 3, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    I can’t believe I came across this. I have been trying to find what the lifters were up to and never knew what their name was changed to. When I was seven years old the Lifters came to perform at my church called Santa Maria Foursquare, I cant remember if it was Chris or Brian who stayed at my house and I was thrilled to get to know this band. Not to mention I fell in love with Marnie and she rocked my world when she sang Operator. I don’t even know if any of the Band members remember but they performed in Ethel Pope Auditorium in my hometown of Santa Maria. Funny thing is I now live in Orange County and it sounds like they have roots here. I called my Mom and told her what I had found out. She was excited to hear news on them.

    • Corey mcguire
      August 15, 2017 at 1:49 am

      Chris Brigandi is or was mortgage broker out in Huntington Beach /Newport Beach area last I heard. I contected him and he was gracious enoughbto send me a copy of his music on cd, to this date it’s the only way to hear the classic worship song Im Yours.

      Good luck

  3. Tim
    November 18, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    According to an old CCM magazine I have from 1983, The Lifters first album was called “Living Water” by the article in their review of it. Same cover and songs as The Lifters self-titled album you list here. Weird.

    • low5point
      November 18, 2011 at 7:29 pm

      The debut was self-titled

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