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The Vinyl Issue: The Casablanca Records Story

In hock to the Mob, fuelled by booze and cocaine, and with a roster that ran from Kiss to Donna Summer via Parliament, the Casablanca label was the embodiment of 70s excess.

The rock star was hardly a novice. It was the late 1970s and he’d seen plenty of drugs and groupies. He also knew that his record company, Casablanca, had become a byword for excess. So it wasn’t a complete shock when he strolled into their offices one afternoon to find a member of another Casablanca act screwing a male employee over his desk.

According to Casablanca co-founder Larry Harris, it was Gregg Giuffria, keyboard player with Washington DC pomp-rockers Angel, who witnessed his labelmate in flagrante.

“He was about as fazed at the sight as I was at hearing about it, which is to say, not at all,” Harris admitted. “That was Casablanca.” Just another day at the office.

In the 70s, Casablanca was home to a motley crew that included rock monsters Kiss, funk pioneers Parliament, dance queen Donna Summer and disco troupe Village People. “It was,” says Kiss’s Gene Simmons today, “a place for rogues and rebels and people that broke the rules.” 

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