Ten good reasons to shake your blood to Speedealer’s “Bleed” goes as follows: This band has changed more members than I change my panties, as if I wear any. They have pissed off more than plenty with their original, infamous name, REO Speedealer. Loyal Lubbock, Tejas boys are so goddamn loyal they’re even loyal to the ugliest chick fan. Dead Teenager Records wouldn’t allow unworthy rock in their dead teenage wasteland. Speedealer has perfected playing with every band that’s worth a shit and still standing. All twelve songs on “Bleed” were recorded in one take, all in one and half hot n' sweaty Austin day. If Pinkus gets his hands on producing, things are bound to get done sturdy. Southern-blooded, hellhound speed equals me and you both getting rocked, thoroughly! If by now you even need a tenth reason to Bleed, beat it, hippie!
This month on Advanced Demonology, Ken and Swilson turn down some very dark corners and present you with four (and a half) hours of misery, jealousy, unrequited love, violent lovers and sad dreamers. It's our anti-Valentines day ode to the unlucky and overlooked. Bonus: at least four artists on tonight's show died in their 50's. Dig it!
DC thunderchuckers Assrockers most definitely have a tongue or two jammed firmly in cheek (ahem), as evidenced by…well, by the fact that they’re called Assrockers. A singer named Bison Roughbottom and songs with titles like “Tonight We Came to Rock” and “All Hell’s Breaking Loose Tonight” also suggest a band up to their tits in Spinal Tap-esque buffoonery, and I dunno about you, but I don’t really need my rock n’ roll to be ‘funny’. Luckily for all of us, the jokes end as soon as the first powerchord kicks in. Once these rock n’roll clowns get on with it, forget it, it’s a bloodbath. The Assrockers sound is steeped in all the classic mustache rock bands – Grand Funk, Heep, Naz – and frizzle-fried in pure-grade AC/DC grease. Tracks like “Never Stop Runnin’”, “Carpe Denim”, and “Contact High” all dole out the shameless arena-rawk thrills with the same balls-out punk energy as brothers-in-rock like Raging Slab, Night After Night, and Bad Wizard. Total headbanger bliss, really, mired only slightly by Bison’s one-note baboon howl. My guess is the best way to get yrself some butt-rock is live and in-person, with all the sweat and tits and revolution in the air, but this is a good way to learn all the songs, so you can scream along the next time they rock the ass out of your town.
Aural Amphetamine: Metallica and the Dawn of Thrash MVD
This low-budget doc, comprised mostly of Metallica stock-footage and talking head interviews with very tangential thrash-metal figures (dudes from Laaz Rockit, Sacrilege, and Elixir!), traces the history of 80’s thrash metal from it’s roots in NWOBHM to it’s heyday in San Francisco circa 1983. This may seem like an absurdly specific genre and time-frame, but it’s really about Metallica’s early years, so it you’re a fan of Hetfield and company, you’re sure to dig it. There are a few glaring omissions in the story here and there (no Hirax or Exciter?), but it’s mostly thorough, and zips through its story at a fittingly frenetic pace.
'You Can't Find Love In A Peroxide Bottle...'
- 'Peroxide Suicide'
Ontario's Lorrainas are pure-bred felines for sure, their brash, fast, smart and sassy tuneful punky-pop-a-rama having a dark, sultry sly tempting centre. (And I don't mean the Joan Jett-a like on guitar). As it is their distillation of New York street sleaze and LA sunshine n surf spray soaked Go-Go's / Runaways cutesy, kitschy camp quirks is quite a feast liberally topped off with Ramones-y unrelenting riffs, Thunders cat-scratch licks and Buzzcocks suffocating rough production. And they invite you to come taste too, teasing in 'Love, Sex, Terror' to 'Pour Your Love On Me', all the purring while liable to surprise you with a twist of the dominatrix tail. Kiss-off 'Johnny' is a wryly amusing love note to a Thunders clone, the come here I'm horny 'No Strings Attached' seduces you first with a 'Kids In America' melody and almost blindly lunges for The Dragons 'Needs' (I wanna furrck - Everyone'), appropriately enough. 'Rectified' is a nice, splodgy drowning in the surf instrumental, their own 'Pipeline' of sorts, though perhaps 'Kiss My Ass' and 'Johnny' rule the roost. Closer 'Sticks n Stones' rounds things off with a nursery rhyme style mantra - 'Sticks n Stones might break my bones but - I'll break your heart'. If The Donnas can still have a career doing bubblegum rock'n'roll then these horny heartbreakers should be signed and sealed right in place up beside n' above them.
KINGDOM OF FEAR: LOATHSOME SECRETS OF A STARCROSSED CHILD IN THE FINAL DAYS OF THE AMERICAN CENTURY Dr. Hunter S. Thompson Simon & Schuster
King of the Original Gonzo ranters and one of our spiritual forebearers, Doctor Thompson's carousing, maverick style is imitated poorly by middle-class English-Lit majors and shameless sell-out, P.J. O'Rourke, almost as often asLester Bangs and Papa Bukowski, and all too often by those who completely miss the point about what it means to be a maverick. Louisville, Kentucky native, H.S.T. has blazed an uncommon trail across the decades, developing his distinctive voice as a social-commentator, freedom fighter and penetrating American sociologist, all while openly consuming vast quantities of controlled substances, staying a few paranoid steps ahead of the fun-police and consorting with a daunting array of infamous pill poppers, politicians, performance artists, and other subcultural subterraneans. Mocking abusive and petty authority; fulminating about corruption and greed; skewering the heartbreakingly corrupt hypocrisy of the monied in this country and generally living by his own rules, seizing the liberties we're all entitled to as sovereign-born human beings--but get beaten into believing are no longer worth fighting to defend. Now in his sixties, Hunter remains livid and appalled by this saber-rattling, illegitimately installed President ("goofy child president") whom he mocks with un-camouflaged abhorrence. His incendiary riffs on the Gulf War and it's endless, insatiably bloodthirsty current sequels are as indispensable, vivifying, and precise as ever. It's a shame that Thompson's acerbic observations and wry wit still seem so shocking. His no time to fuck around style of courageous whistle blowing and hyperbole-drunken auto-mythologizing still provide an unexpected jolt, lulled as we are, by the party-line liars and personality-free hacks we currently endure. Imperishably-established as part of the pantheon of American Myth, Thompson continues to jeopardize his own prosperity by provoking power and setting an example as to what it means to behave as though we're free in a free society, and the recurring consequences of being your own person. "Kingdom of Fear" is mandatory reading for anyone left who really still believes in authentic freedom and democracy--as opposed to craven authoritarianism, cosmetic rebellion,the anesthesia of constant consumption, capitalist imperialism and chilling Orwellian double-speak. As
Prolly only yers and Platinum Willie Broad got the yarbles to assert this, but that eighties record producer, Keith Forsey, fookin' rocked, babies. He was the author of the Simple Minds "Pretty In Pink" prom classic, "Don't You Forget About Me", produced Willie Rebel's landmark "Rebel Yelp" AND this heavily moussed whizkit guitarslinger from Stevie Ray country, Charlie Sexton's sensational debut album, "Pictures For Pleasure", a snarlingly raucous, cascadingly cool, bruised and brooding array of pouty, heartsick loverock. I think my earliest recollection of Chuck Sexton wuz a picture in "Rolling Stone" magazine's "Random Notes" column of this gaunt prettyboy pinup dude jamming with some kinda baby boomer dinosaur rawk royalty-either the Vaughan bros., or Keef n Ronnie, or the Eagles or Rod stewart er somebody-I don't recall exactly who. I know he played on Don Henley's middle of the road weeper, "Building The Perfect Beast" and I think he mighta had a tune on the "Wild Life*" soundtrack er somethin' (*DO look fer Ron Wood in that flick's party scene!) but like I said, my memory's all but shot from way too many years of fuckin' up and blackin' out. Anyways, all the Madonna wannabe/Cyndi Lauper chicks I fancied in those days wallpapered their rooms and lockers with pictures of this shouldabeena Stray Cat torn from the pages of "Smash Hits" magazine-we were all real big on creating these big collages of all our favorite rockstars, back then. Jimples of scotched tape metal heart throbs and 120 Minutes new wave queers -the Cure and the Crue, Billy Idol and Duran Duran. Charlie Sexton looked alot like a cross between Duran bassist John Taylor and Edward Scissorhands, but with a rebel boy James Dean countenance shades of Keith Richards. He smoked his cigarettes with style , sang like Bowie, had hair like Presley AND supposedly, he was always some talented guitar virtuoso, but you wouldn't know it from listening to his album, cos it was awash with synths, y'know? It all sounded exactly like Forsey's music for both Simple Minds and Billy Idol - especially on the glorious hit single, "Beat's So Lonely", with it's naggingly infectious chorus of "So Lonely/So Lonely..." What a fuckin' smash that album was-it still makes me taste the watermelon lipgloss on a certain long lost love's lips just hearin' it all these years on. She was one of those girls you always want back, who used to play it nonstop while we made out on her bed beneath the Depeche Mode poster. The second best song on the record, "Impressed", also rocks ("I am NOT impressed/I love you the best....just a bunch of losers, yeah they're so damn cool/ they got nothing in this world to live up to...") Somehow, I remember thinkin' on the chorus of "Impressed" when he shouts, "long list of victims!": I preposterously always thought that line was, "I missed the Beatles!",which seemed even cooler to me, but I'm the same cat who once thought the "Leps line, "I'm not foolin' myself" was the more Rick James-like, "Hot Rock Bootay For Sale!" , so, y'know, whatever. My Fruedian slip's a showin' again.
I'll Bet It's Lonely At The Top...
Charlie Sexton made a cuppla bitchin videos that got a reasonable amount of MTV rotation, including the cool as shit, black and white stomper, "Beat's So Lonely", and the sortof mediocre rockabilly ballad, "Hold Me" that was intended to emphasize his Elvis-appeal. After the album fell off the radar, he released a few more albums I don't remember so well, and formed a group with his brother Will called Arc Angels for awhile that all the cool chicks who dug shit like Chris Isaak and the Connells collected, but I don't remember any of those songs standing out much to me. I think he did "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic" instrumentally or something , but for me, he never managed to recapture the Ken Forsey produced lightning in a bottle magic of "Pictures For Pleasure". That one rocked just like "Rebel Yell" almost minus summa the space shuttle guitar wank. If yer hip to Quentin Tarantino's best movie "True Romance", you might recall that swanky rockabilly shuffle, "Never Been To Graceland". That was Charlie Sexton, too. We always respected him for having one of the best hairstyles of the eighties, after Neal X from Sigue Sigue Sputnik, who we also emulated back then. Flash Metal Bubblegum, really. If you dug solo Billy Idol, Charlie Sexton shared much of his whole vibe-the whole wan, anemic, black leather, curly lip, skull guitar strap slung super lowdown low, dangling ash on a Chesterfield, classic pose with some real slick songs to back it all up with. Like a teenage sleaze, a comic book tease, with yer art on yer sleeve. Last I heard, he was playing lead guitar for none other than Bob Dylan (and if you ain't heard ol' Zimmy's powerhouse "Masters Of War" in recent years, go listen to it a/s/a/p...) and if you ever dug yer flash metal on the sulking teenybopper Smash Hits/John Hughes movie/120 Min. side of the tracks, by all means, go revisit this sucker outta yer neighborhood cheapo bins and see how vividly it evokes all those shimmering, receding memories you've repressed about gettin' to feel up the girl with the feathered hair and b-cup bra who used to draw the Eye Of Horus around her eye in black liquid eyeliner and make you listen to Siouxsie & The Banshees. Oh, to be young and carefree again....
“You‘re Hungry for Heaven, but you need a little Hell”
Come and Make Me Holy Again...
People think I’m kidding when I say I like Dio, or, at the very least, that I’m being “ironic” about it. Well, first of all, irony is for punks, plus I think it’s against the law now anyway. And even if it wasn’t, I don’t do irony, baby. I really DO love Dio, and I am quite sure that “Holy Diver” is one of the greatest rock n’ roll rekkids ever made. I could give you a 17-point explanation why- probably will, at some point - but we don’t have time for that now, man. We got bigger fish to fry. Suffice to say that Ronnie James Dio (RIP) did not know strife, did not know pain or poverty or struggle (um, cancer aside), had never suffered a moment of fear, loathing, or self-doubt, and there’s a reason for that. Ronnie James, ya see, was a winner. He had been his ENTIRE life. The cat was a singer-of-songs and seller-of-singles since the late 1950’s, amazingly enuff. Back then, they had yet to invent metal, so he sang doo-wop, but whatever. And then he was in Elf. And Rainbow. And Black Sabbath! Whenever RJ got behind a mic, there were people there to listen. And crook their fingers into devil horns. And scream “DIOOOOOO!!!!” at him.
Since forming his solo band, Dio (nobody ever said he was humble) in 1983, RJD has become the official voice of heavy metal. I mean, when anybody anywhere just says it, ya know, “heavy metal”, whether it’s between gum snaps at a strip mall in Missouri or screamed in mortal agony in a bamboo cage in Indonesia, Ronnie James Dio is what they mean by it. His throaty howl contains not a trace of blooze, or pop, or country, or punk, or even teen-Dio doo-wop, anymore. It is one thing, and one thing only – METAL. And that takes conviction. And RJ was about nothing, if not conviction. Ronnie James Dio was so committed to heavy metal and all it stands for that he was willing to slay dragons with broad swords to prove it. I mean, c’mon, man, who else is gonna SLAY DRAGONS? You?
Nope. Just RJD. Keep in mind, by the way, that Dio flourished in the days of Poison and Bon Jovi and every pretty boy puffball hairspray band that ever trolled the Sunset Strip, and he was only like, 5 foot 2, and his hairline was always receding, and he had always looked like your uncle, the one that used to live in your dad’s basement whenever times got tough. But Ronnie James didn’t need looks, didn’t need make-up, didn’t need hair that covered his whole head. All RJD need was that big crazy voice, and his fuckin’ broadsword, and a dragon to slay, and METAL. And to hell with the rest of it, ya know?
And that’s why he survived, and thrived, through all those wasted years. See, RJD refused to change. Ever. Are you the same person as you were in 1983, assuming you were already born 1983? Of course not, right? Well, Ronnie James Dio was the same guy in 1983, and 1993, and 2003. Do you know what the name of his last (2002) record was, man? “Killing the Dragon”. I think that about sez it all.
Time to Burn
Which brings us to this DVD, “Sacred Heart”, which was shot in Philadelphia, in 1986, during the tour of the same name. There’s a supplemental interview included, shot in 2004, with Ronnie James and Sacred Heart guitarist Craig Goldie. Goldie just sits there like a mook, and complains that the audience booed him on the tour, ‘cuz he used to be in Giuffria. Personally, I think he should STILL be booed for being in Giuffria. Anyway, Dio, looking as rock as a dude your dad's age is gonna, says cool stuff like, “I didn’t have to do that much, I just had to kill the dragon. These guys had to play and play, while knights were running around the stage trying to fight each other.” Then he gives advice you can use today, like, “When ya get thrown into the fire, you learn to dance really quickly, or you burn your feet.” Then, mixing decades willy-nilly, Dio says, “I’m not gonna give ya a Beyonce song, or a Klymaxx song.” It’s OK, RJ, we didn’t expect you to, brother.
Then there’s the actual concert. It's shot with multiple cameras and deftly edited, but looks sorta murky (there's a whole lotta fog going on). It's certainly not unwatchable, tho, just a little fuzzy in places. The stage looks like the Flintstones, with lotsa fake rocks and fire, with a big crocodile-dragon napping quietly behind the drum riser. Although they were touring their second album at the time, Dio leans heavily on prior hits here, including a cuppla Rainbow tunes (“Long Live Rock n’ Roll”, “Man on the Silver Mountain”) and a Sabbath nugget “Heaven N’ Hell”, which is weird, since “Holy Diver” was pretty much a solid-wall o’ metal hits, but mine is not to reason why. Ronnie James keeps mentioning the dragon ‘tween tracks, like that’s what everybody was really there to see. “I know, you want to see the dragon. Keep watching…and listening…”
I don’t know what kind of freak pays $35 or whatever it was just to see a cable-operated plastic dragon flop around, but I’m not an ‘arena’ guy, so mebbe he was on to something. Anyway, the intro to “Sacred Heart” is a film of Ronnie James, with some kinda monster make-up on, inviting you to join him on his ‘journey’ to the “Sacred Heart”, which you can’t even refuse at this point. I mean, you're already there. The search for the “Sacred Heart” leads RJ to a giant orb with lasers in it. At one point, the laser is the devil. Then it’s a heart. Then the dragon’s head starts moving around, eyes glowing red, snorting. And the band plays on.
RJ has his sword, He’s swinging it around. His sword is a laser now, too. Everything’s a laser, even the guitars are lasers. Two gold statues come to life, like in that old Japanese movie, Maijan, and start shooting…well, lasers, at each other. Then the dragon’s ‘body’ cracks open, revealing his “Sacred Heart” ( a laser, natch), and RJ does something with it. That part was confusing, looked like he was humping it. Anyway, after it’s over, he starts singing “Long Live Rock n’ Roll”, so it all must work out in the end.
“Rainbow in the Dark”, Dio’s biggest solo hit, is saved for the end. It sounds great. All the songs sound great, even with the lasers and the dragon and Goldie wearing a cape, and even with Dio’s ad-libbing (“I’m the man, where’s my hand, here’s my hand!”), and even tho he has to mime everything (if he mentions ‘time’, you just know RJ’s gonna point to his imaginary watch).
Sure, motherfucker, all that’s kinda funny. Fake rocks are always good for a chuckle. But when the laughter’s over, there remains a triumphant Ronnie James Dio, shouting, with all authority:
“If you suddenly see what has happened to me
You should spread the word around
And tell everyone here that it's perfectly clear
They can sail above it all on what they've found
It cries for you - it's the best that you can do
Like a sound that's everywhere - I can hear it screaming through the air...
Long live Rock and Roll!
Long live Rock 'n' Roll!
Long live Rock and Roll!”
Say what you will, man, but here's the truth: DIO ROCKS. Always and forever. “Sacred Heart” provides ample evidence, if ya need it.
Number of the Beast: All Star Tribute to Iron Maiden Restless/Rykodisc
Not too sure if there's ever been a Maiden tribute album so far. Not everyone'd be brave enuff with the requisite moral fibre to try and nail these masterworks of metal mayhem and gattling gun guitar strafings. Or desperate enuff on the showing of this collection of mainly semi-retired fretboard hackers...whatever, tho, it IS almost uniformly fantabulous, and the overall calibre of songwriting throughout the Irons reign would baffle Bach, even if just for a few ticks. Not hard really when they stay true to the originals, but why alter perfection? Why the fuck not? Me, I'm still waiting for a psychobilly rendition of 'Aces High'. C'mon, it's just begging for Demented Are Go or OS Catalepticos to shoot it down....or worse.
Anyway old General Harry shouldn't be too pissed at this when he gives the troops a once over on the parade ground at Pacific Palisades or wherever, even Dee Snider's straining on 'Wasted Years' should be overlooked, and actually commended for valour as he does inflect more pathos and reflective feel, into it than Dickinson's panto screeching, especially as when the original was recorded he'd rather have been fencing, flying or 'writing'. Old self-mythologizing villain, the Nick Cotton-esque desperado Paul Di'Anno plays for the pipe on 'Wrathchild', still a great song that he obviously identifies with, but I'd rather have had 'Remember Tomorrow' given the production it deserves. 'The Trooper' is tackled by possibly the only men able to take this 'un over the top and not get cut down on their own wire...yup, it's those dastardly Motorhead barstads Lemmy & Campbell...Lemmy's howitzer firing breath actually benefiting the classic tale of an infantry mans death waddle in the Crimea.
Of course, with an album featuring Dio man Craig Goldie, Dokken's George Lynch and Paul Gilbert from Racer X, guitar pyrotechnics (or prattling, if you will) is to the fore. Yuss, I know, Maiden did it anyway but sometimes these chaps kinda think it gives them reason to go just that touch too much in the far-zone, where Maiden, especially Mr Murray, played far tastier solos than their stage-wear would otherwise indicate, as we all know. One thing with your hair, dudes, another on classic metal. Stand up (no surprises here, surely) Nuno Bettencourt who, to paraphrase Def Leppard, pursues some bludgeon widdle-ola on 'Aces High' like the eager new recruit forgetting to watch his wing in the heat of the dog-fight the songs warning of. D'oh. Go to the back of the benefit queue, or be a session muso or something. Whatever you do, bugger off. (Yes, old prejudices from rock club days die hard...get the funk out, indeed, damn him!). It also, quite criminally, guv, lacks the spiraling dive-bombing trem-arm trickery that soundtracks a Spitfires plummet to the green and desecrated land. Similarly on '2 Minutes To Midnight' and 'The Evil That Men Do', tho the latter has a much needed heaviness that the band swapped for synths on the '7th Son' record.
Best is the 'Holy Smoke' meets Skynyrd ballad 'Fear Of The Dark' intoned by Testament's Chuck Billy, and surprisingly the always slight 'Flight Of Icarus' fares better, falling between the way too slow, insipid watery soup version from the 'Piece Of Mind' album, sunning itself instead, even for just an instant, in the reflected glow of the prime rib sizzler on the 'Live After Death' set.
Of course, your willingness to inflict this upon yourselves will depend on your loving or loathing of Maiden. But as an album in itself it should appeal to more than Maiden completists, tho it coulda done with
a few more tunes in there, like 'Drifter' and 'Prowler' perhaps. Even if you're a passing rock / metal fan with a casual interest in our East End ear splitters it's worth a few bob of your Brown Ale fund. In the meantime n' by all means, do contact your local psychobilly heroes and press 'em to do 'Aces High'.
While it is always fun to look back at the folly of youth and sneer, jeer, or cheer at hapless flash metal victims like Britny Fox and King Kobra, it really oughta be noted that only nerds, bumpkins, and the semi-retarded listened to that dreck back then. The shit we were into in the city back in the early 1980’s was more heat and fire than mere flash. It was hardcore rock n’ roll, like Slayer, Black Flag, the Misfits, Venom, Gang Green, Motorhead,Suicidal Tendencies, Metallica, GBH, Fear, Tank, Discharge, Corrosion of Conformity, stuff that stank of stale beer and cheap speed and promised blood and danger. Glam was exploding in the malls and suburbs, but on the streets it was all used leather, metal-plated boots, spikes, black jeans, long hair, and stolen booze. The punk kids and the metal kids were two separate and sometimes warring factions when roaming the neighborhoods looking for good drinking and screwing spots (the punk kids always had more fun, and more girls, and more drugs, which often made me question my headbanger allegiance), but everybody piled into one big sweat-soaked mass of teenage rampage at live all-ages shows, which is how the whole notion of ‘crossover’ bands like Crumbsuckers, DRI, and Agnostic Front– bands that were 95% punk rock, but with just enough screaming guitar leads to draw in the rivetheads, too – came about. And as much as the metal kids gravitated to the harder punk bands, the Mohawks loved Lemmy and Cronos and Celtic Frost and Destruction and Voivod, anything fast and evil. And that’s just how it went. I know that Dokken happened, because I saw it on TV, but there was rarely a Dokken sighting at the VFW Hall in Cambridge.
It wasn’t long before bands starting erasing the genre lines completely. The first two that really had an impact were both from England. Broken Bones was a jarring thrash n’ roll juggernaut formed by couple of the dudes in Discharge. They turned into a straight-up thrash metal band as the 80’s wore on, but they were a full-scale punk rock riot when they started. The other was Warfare, the meanest, loudest, most punk-as-fuck heavy metal band of the 80’s.
Warfare was from Newcastle Upon Tyne, the same town in Northern England that Venom hailed from, a band that would figure prominently in their history. They were formed in 1984 by Paul Evo (or just Evo, as he was known in the band), a drummer/singer who previously played with first-wave punks Angelic Upstarts. He was joined by guitarist Gunner and bass player Falken, which pretty much cemented what the band was gonna sound like. If your guitarist is named fucking GUNNER, heavy shit is going to happen.
Warfare’s sound was an ugly explosion of NWOBHM guitars blown-out for maximum fuzz, played at thrashpunk speed, with chugging battlefield rhythms and the hoarse bellow of Evo over the top. To this day, Warfare remains one of the most gloriously obnoxious sounds you’ll ever here, like Venom, Tank and Motorhead all fighting over the same scrap of turf with rusty knives and barbed-wire fists. Which makes perfect sense, when you consider their recording history.
Warfare signed to Neat records, Venom’s label, and released their first album “Pure Filth”, in 1984. It was produced – so to speak – by Tank mainman Algy Ward. I dunno if ‘produced’ is really the right word. It’s more like he lit the fuse and ran like hell. “Pure Filth” is a classic of bullet-riddled punk-metal mayhem, filled with howling, war-zone freak for alls like “This Machine Kills”, “New Age of Total Warfare”, and infamous noisefest “Rose Petals Fall From Her Face”, which also featured Algy and Venom.
“Pure Filth” put Warfare on the map, but their “Two Tribes” single, a rumbling, psycho-delic cover of the Frankie Goes to Hollywood song, got them in the papers. They started to sell a lot of records but, amazingly, had yet to play live at this point. They liked being in the studio better. Playing live was for pussies. But duty called, and they began playing gigs in 1985, and spent much of their stage time ruining it for everybody else, disrupting the other bands’ sets and acting as beastly as they sounded. In one infamous incident, they were asked to open for Metallica at the Hammersmith Odeon, but were expected to pay for their own expenses. In protest, they played in the parking lot during the show, where Evo threw his mic stand at the Odeon manager’s car and smashed the Warfare truck into several parked cars, resulting in enough damage to land him in court on criminal charges. Which just added to the band’s rep as bullet-belt wearing bad asses of the highest order.
In 1986, Warfare released their second album. Cashing in on their metal/punk crossover appeal, they named it “Metal Anarchy”, and cashing in on their image as speed-freak biker desperados, they got Lemmy to produce it. Again, ‘produce’ is a very high-faluting word for it. Can you imagine Lemmy actually sitting there, turning knobs, saying, “Ok, from the top, a little more sparkle on that one, eh, Evo?” No. Lemmy pounded booze with the fellas, and they made a monstrous fuckin’ record together. Motorhead’s own Wurzel even kicked in a few reptilian riffs. It sold 40,000 copies and Warfare didn’t bother to tour. Fuck touring. They decided to make another record instead. It was called, quite accurately, “Mayhem Fucking Mayhem”. Cronos produced it, and when Falken fucked off, Cronos played the rest of the bass parts, too. The album got caught up in record label hell, and was finally spit out, with barely any publicity, in 1987. By then Guns N’ Roses were becoming the biggest band in the world and rock n’ roll was pretty obnoxious all on it’s own, so it didn’t need Warfare so much anymore. They attempted to release a cover of “Addicted to Love” to revive the hordes, but were shot down by Robert Palmer’s publishers. Or by Robert Palmer himself, I wasn’t there. At any rate, they did one more album with Neat, 1988’s “Conflict of Hatred”, but it had fuckin’ keyboards and a saxophone on it. Not even a guest appearance from Venom’s Mantas could lift “Conflict” out of the mud of “maturity”. And it was at this point that everybody sorta forgot about Warfare.
They didn’t die, though. In the early 90’s, Hammer films was undergoing an ill-fated revival, and they had plans to open their studios again. That didn’t happen, but Warfare still released an album in conjunction with Hammer in 1990. It was called, imaginatively enough, “Hammer Horror”, but got no press, and fizzled out without mention. Evo eventually re-recorded the tracks with Algy Ward, and that’s pretty much what he spent the rest of the 1990’s doing, revamping old Warfare songs. “Crescendo of Reflections” was released in 1991, and contains new versions of old shit like “Blown to Bits” and “Metal Anarchy”. There’s also been two best-of comps since then, but the last new material Evo worked on in the 90’s was in Warhead, a short-lived supergroup with Wurzel and Algy. And that’s where the story ends. Mostly. A few years ago, Evo resurfaced in a punk covers band called Thieves of Fate with a couple black metal guys. Which, while reasonably bad-ass, is no metal anarchy.
So where is the Warfare cult? Motorhead is still rolling on, and probably always will. Tank’s fans never left them. Venom’s back, albeit in the same sorta way Axl wants to convince you that GN’R is back. So why not Warfare? In 1984, I was making my own “Pure Filth” t-shirts with white Hanes tees and black and red magic markers, absolutely convinced that their gut-churning hand grenade rock was the sound of the punk-metal revolution, and unlike a lot of the bands we worried ourselves over in the 1980’s, the Warfare sound is still as tough and volatile as it was back then. It’s uncompromising. It’s like a hard fucking in a bathroom stall. It’s like stepping on a landmine. Warfare was rock n’ roll in a combat zone. Which seems pretty relevant in these strange and terrible days.
Do yourself a favor and your neighbors a disservice and pick up a copy of Pure Filth today. You could use some mayhem fucking mayhem.
THE BOYS The BBC Sessions Vinyl Japan, 1999 By Stu Gibson
"Deathwish Drummers and Suicide Kicks"
The Boys were by far and away the best 'punk' band of their time. As bold an opening statement have you ever seen, hmmm? Possibly also one of the best things released by Vinyl Japan too, incidentally. They may not be a typical Flash Metal contender, but they qualify for inclusion simply because they were so fucking good and also as they remain fairly obscure amidst the fake anarcho-politico bullshitto brow-beaters of the time. So in true Flash Metal tradition, we hereby herald another bunch of reprobates, beat degenerates and, in their case, classic songsmiths to boot who weren't punker-than-thou pseuds, or Oi thugs, but classic trash rawk'n'rollers with an innate ear for tunes and hungry tongues with which to taste 'em and lick 'em into shape. They had more in common to me with perennial US under-achieving geniuses The Flamin' Groovies. For, residing in their tight-pant pockets were scraps of all manner of great 'n' good streamlined songshapes from The Beach Boys, Phil Spector, Chuck Berry, The Beatles, T-Rex and The Sweet, with MC5 'Back In The USA' grit and garage fumed frenzy and Blondie pop nous and knowledge. Y'know - Rock'n'Roll. Jukebox jivin' good time music. (And also possessing a drummer as good as the more celebrated Clement Burke). Ribald raconteurs, ragged school graduates with honours degrees...
...The Boys were also one of the first of the punk bands to be signed and, if memory serves, some record or other they hold is that they were the first band to have a full-length 'platter' out, to The Damned's having first single. Something like that. Trivia 'n' tosh, really. Typically, they suffered at the hands of their label, NEMS, not really knowing what to do with them, having signed any old band it seems and then being dumb and not realizing exactly what they had on their hands. Or books. And while they were on said label all kinds of mishaps happened with the distribution so their well-received records couldn't be really received by the boy-hungry kids, as it were.
But for a little history first of all. Once upon a time there was a New York Dolls-y / Facesmess o' blues type of band in London called The Hollywood Brats. Yeah, I know, so you knew that, but what about the people that didn't eh? Think of them as they rush out to buy these raw relics of razzle dazzle Rockin'. They ground to a halt and two members of said band - Casino Steel and Andrew Matheson (not to be confused with star of a thousand TV movies Tim) – sruffled their way around London that summer of '75 and bumped into the cool as a cat named Matt Dangerfield, who'd knocked about in famous meeting-point-for-punk rehearsal room crew the London SS with Tony James and Mick Jones and others, who all sat around dreaming of shooting brown and being like
The Ramones and Johnny Thunders. Kind of like a UK Rocket From The Tombs, but without the gumption and get up and a go go to actually do anything. Worked out well in the end as we got Generation X (well, OK, coulda done without 'em but they did a few good things), The Clash, The Damned and, yes, indeedy people, The Boys. See, this Dangerfield character knew some other cats, with even better names than his (I used to be sooooo impressed with The Boys names when I got this record, as they sound like some Sarf Lahnden Victorian street gang) let's introduce 'Honest' John Plain, Jack Black and Kid Reid into the picture. Hi, guys.
'BBC - play our single please / You have missed us off your playlist'
The reason, in case you're even remotely curious, that I'm writing this in relation to the BBC album is purely for the fact that it's the first one I came across several years ago, not that's it's necessarily the best one or the one to go chase after or anything, although as Flaming Star crooner Max Decharne says in the sleevenotes, it's great to have it released seen as the BBC seem to have erased far too much of the old archives. Guardian of our nations culture my ass.
I'd only ever heard of them in the tour programme for The Dogs D'Amour's Errol Flynn tour in 1989 (which, in typical Dogs style, they were still flogging on the following years Straighttour!) and to be honest never really bothered with rushing out to discover them.
However, twas after I'd moved to Manchester and spent several fruitless years and friendships trying to put a band together with this drummer called Simon that I finally heard them, as Simon was a big fan (he'd been in a Manchester punk'n'roll band calling itselfSuicide Kicks many years before). Many a cold autumn day was passed quaffing cheap-shit cider and stale morning beer wading through the guys gargantuan record collection. Unfortunately his stereo was buggered so I couldn't tape much of this vinyl Valhalla, if ya like, but it stood me in good stead just to hear all this stuff, be it The Lurkers, the Radio Stars ('All Kinds of Girls' - fantastic), Heavy Metal Kids. After a chaotic falling out sometime around 1998 all I was left with was a compilation tape he'd done us with 'Classified Susie' and 'Brickfield Nights' on, two of their best off second album 'Alternative Chartbusters' helpfully.
And so it was one summers day in 1999 that I was returning back from Hull and a visit to the parents that I popped into Vinyl Exchange, an awesome shop in the centre of Manchester which happens to be mainly CD's really, but yeah, whatever. Anyway I unearthed this then about to be released beauty and rescued it with the help of a tenner I'd bummed off ma Dad, and boy, was it worth it? Hi, there, the answer you're looking for is yes, wake up out there.
It featured both of the above two titles, and mouth-frothingly had 'Brickfield Nights' on twice (as the CD is a compilation of two LP's, 'The Peel Sessions' and 'In Concert'). 'Brickfield Nights' is just swoonsome, a brilliant tale of teenage nights hanging around and loitering, 'Every night we'd meet at the same place same time / Late nights spent kicking round a football / We carved our initials on the school wall' to the comical adolescent trying so (over)hard 'Then the girls came with their long hair / High heels and their make-up never quite right'. A never-ending tale of kids hanging out and trying to impress each other, parading around provincial English towns like it's the promenade in 'Born To Run', occasionally fighting, just that now they'd probably knife you for being a freak. As The Boys sing in this themselves 'Remember those dark nights / Down Brickfield / Never a blade in sight' looking back through the old rose-tinteds after too long in dismal grey late seventies Britain. An unusual nostalgia piece for a 'punk' band, but not when you hear its Phil Spector-esque Shangri-La's /Ronettes / Shirelles (take your pick) trying to coax a shy Brian Wilson away from the piano for a dance beat and perfect appropriation of early 60's pop with its innocent air and candy floss summer holiday skylines. A truly glorious moment in the whole history of this thing we call Rock'n'Roll.
I was even further made up as this album had 'New Guitar In Town' on it, a Lurkers song that Honest John wrote for them and was a single along with a masterly cover of 'Little Ol' Wine Drinker Me', that was pretty faithful to, tho far better than, the Hollywood Brats version. 'New Guitar...' is another real highlight. A Western themed anthem for a hot young guitar slinger roaming from town to town and their lure to the ladies.
But what I really remember with this record is the all too rare occurrence that as soon as I put it on - well, I seem to recall skipping straight to 'Brickfield Nights' and 'Classified Susie' - another storming song. A bored housewife takes to advertising for sex soirees while her husband's out at work, probably paying Soho whores in his lunch hour.
'Pretty housewife, 21 / Interested in daytime fun / A new vibrator / She wants to use it / AC/DC / She's not choosy'. This should be included on Punk dross compilations and revered likeThe Members 'Sound Of The Suburbs' - relishing the delight of hearing them in pristine CD quality, or any sort of quality really - that I was completely taken with them from the initial rumble in the jungle aggro-romp of 'Sick On You' (a sped up and speeded up version of a Hollywood Brats song, kicking the '73 / '74 glam stylings up the arse with its own stack-heels and adding some '77 snot 'n' gristle to taste a la 'L.A.M.F.') and the Steve Marriott meets John Malkovich's character in 'Dangerous Liasons' singalong 'Oh - Oh, oh, oh' of 'First Time', a not so gallant tale of how he's charmed some young wench out of her dress - Yes, the one he just manfully sicked on - and now she's telling him it's her first time and to 'Please don't hurt me'. Chivalry be damned. Hell, she was gagging for it anyway, mate. Pure Faces swagger, as aped by their younger brothers zipping round town on 50cc scrambler bikes, smoking tabs and starting fires after school drunk on two cans of hideous tramp radiator fluid. 'Cop Cars' is maybe a bit punk-by-numbers in hindsight, you know, ya gotta mention a song wiv ver pigs in, like, but is a good Clash-tastic rollicker that woulda been perfect for '77 I imagine, seen as it sounds pretty pert 'n' purty in 2005.
'There's A Subway To Heaven And An Underground To Kingdom Come'
- 'Livin' In The City'
From the very off it was a case of knowing 'Oh my, this lot are Gooood' and the attendant excitement of realizing that once more you've stepped out of the shit and into that gallery of goodness. Along with The Lurkers they could perhaps be classified as something akin to a British Ramones, if you're into that sort of thing, such is their punked up adrenalinized savage riproar thru classic Rock'n'Roll stylings whilst they still maintain a peculiarly British edge. They were also cleverer, more adventurous and, sorry, much as I like The Lurkers, but less lunk-headed than them, boogie-ing at almost unfathomable brake horsepower at times ('Tonight', or the supremely frenzied Chuck Berry Quo-punk of 'Livin' In The City', off the first, self-titled album) while still having a deftness of touch that is quite remarkable, what?
But ultimately, they make you wanna dance, and they make you laugh and smile and just plain and very simply make you happy. With the same kind of naturally exuberant glee that ran thru the Small Faces they pulled off pleasingly inane but brilliant lines like 'You've had all The Jam / Even Paul's old man / And all the rats in boomtown' on 'Backstage Pass' in a similar way to what Plain would bring to The Crybaby's. (A young version of Tyla was clearly impressed too, lifting 'Heroine' onto his own song, titled, with strange almost paranormal synchronicity 'Heroine', but providing a soon-to-be-classic Tyla bittersweet edge to The Boys 'When I needed you / You arrived on cue / Like the Heroine / In a movie' with 'Your love brings me down / Like a Heroine / Don't love the hero in the end / In the end of the film'. You could also go as far as saying Tyla's riff could, just could, have been written while listening to his dusty copy of 'Alternative Chartbusters', or someone's copy anyway). Unfortunately, this didn't translate wholesale into their Christmas transition into The Yobs. I've only heard this record once I think, at Christmas a couple of years ago, trying to protect my sisters sensitive ears, but I'd rather stick with The Macc Lads, meself, if anything.
And to show the similarities between this Rock, or Punk, thing and all its little subsections on later tracks such as 'Rue Morgue' they bring back the mad speed addled scenes of mods dancing as seen in Quadrophenia, not a hundred miles away from The Who, if they were any good, perhaps a heavier Small Faces (tho not Humble Pie who sucked worse than The Who. At least on a par with...) having a soul influenced melody within it's punk fuelled tale of bored youth looking for kicks with a French chick. I'm not sure these days you'd get away with songs based around the differences between English and French either, but that's the problem with today. One of 'em anyway. And that's The Boys for ya. Boys done good, out on the town, having a laugh and a drink and just so happenin' to be pretty fucking happening on the songs side of things too. Like The Crybaby's, that Plain later formed with Darrell Bath, there's a real air of old-time British provincial small town soundtrack to The Boys, something almost quaint. Hanging around outside the chippy, having a sneaky pint aged 14 in the old men's boozer that hasn't been redecorated since the war. Aaaah Rock'n'Roll sweetheart. As Ian Hunter sang - 'The Golden Age of Rock'n'Roll will never die / As long as children feel the need to laugh and cry'. Unfortunately it seems that kids ain't laughing and crying much these days but there'll be a little pocket of 'em somewhere, somewhere that The Boys will always find 'em. The Boys albums aren't an every song's a classic scenario but as a whole are bristling with razorsharp poppunk tunes that should have had a much wider audience.