|Lydia Van Huston|
|Lydia Van Huston was the first recording artist on the newly formed Penthouse Records in 1980. Her debut single, "We Are One", was written by Toni Biggs, and was the love theme from the 17 1/2 million dollar film, "Caligula". It was released to the world on November 14th 1980. Lydia was about 20 years old.
Lydia sounds very much like Kate Bush on the record, and it isn't her fault it wasn't overly successful. It was more the stigma of porn and Penthouse. How did a nice girl like Lydia get involved with Penthouse, and still come out unscathed for the most part? The fact that she was a friend of a friend, and not actually part of the Penthouse Empire.
Lydia Van Huston was born in Canada about 1960. The green eyed beauty was born under the sign of Capricorn to an Italian family. Moving to the US when Lydia was about 7 years old, her family settled in Southern California, where she has resided ever since.
Lydia started her music career back in Canada at the age of 4, playing piano and violin. By the age of 14, she played these instruments in various symphony orchestras. In 1976 she made her debut as a concert pianist with the Los Angeles Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Louis Palange, playing Mozart Piano Concerto #477.
About 1978, Lydia met Doug Meador, who like her was also classically trained. Lydia wanted to sing, and Doug wanted to expand his musical horizons into rock and roll. At the time he met Lydia, Doug was also just getting to know Toni Biggs, who just happened to be the daughter of Penthouse founder Bob Guccione! Lydia and Doug floated apart, and she instead began working on demos and professional recordings in studios throughout Los Angeles.
Her career took a turn in 1979, when the 5'4" 124 lb girl took a bit singing part in the sex explotation film, "H.O.T.S." It wasn't exactly acting however! I haven't been able to find her in the credits yet, unless she used her birth name.
In early 1980, Doug contacted Lydia, and asked her if she would be interested in singing the title song for the Penthouse produced film, Caligula. Lydia knew this was a great oppertunity and jumped on it. Most of the sessions were done in LA's Motown studios. The players on the recordings were Doug Meador-piano, Toni Biggs-bass, Jeff J. Craig-guitar, Ted Ashford-synth, Al Capps-string and horn arrangement, and both Art C. Fox and Chris Kelly on the drums.
This became Lydia's first official release. The soundtrack album of Caligula featured a 12" single of the theme song she sang on, as well as a 7" single that went to retail and radio. The Soundtrack and single both shipped on November 14th 1980 with an advance order of 100,000 records. In June 1981 the record was also made available from Penthouse by mail order. I don't have any Billboard information for the fall of 1980, but Lydia's song may have gotten club play. It didn't chart, but she was on her way.
Doug's rock band broke up at the end of 1980, so he and Lydia decided to try and work together again. They formed the rock band 'Madame X' with Guy Eckstine on bass and Bernie Pershey on drums. Doug probably played guitar as well as keys, and Lydia sang her little heart out! Madame X played all the clubs on Sunset Strip, and recorded 4 songs in demo form, including Doug's monster ballad, "Believe In Me". After banging his head with Madame X for a year, Doug quit to work with Toni Biggs in the band "Threshold".
Lydia didn't miss a beat, and in 1982 debuted her solo band, "Lydia Van Huston". Guy Eckstine changed his name to Gary Skrien, but still played bass. Bernie also remained on drums. Lydia added Jennifer Batten and Rick Dallas on guitars. The band went from hard to harder.
1988 was a big year for the band. They recorded a 1-track demo, and had two further songs on LA compilations, 'Tune Up #2' (Toy Soldier) and 'Tune Up #3' (Forbidden Love). Metal was on the rise in LA, with the success of bands like the LA Guns and Guns n' Roses.
However, it seems that the band got lost in the shuffle during the metal heydays, and before they knew it, grunge was the "in" thing.
As of now, October 2006, it's not sure what has become of Lydia Van Huston or her band. I have sent out some e-mails looking for her. None of the Pets that I am in contact with remember her as of yet. Was Lydia forced to get a day job? Or at 46 years of age is she still playing heavy metal on the sunset strip. Who knows?
Lydia Van Huston where are you?