Bloody Red Battle Royal – Review

Bloody Red Battle Royal

(Blood Red Vinyl & Discs)
by Jon Sarre

Putting all the expected claims from the record label and the nifty pics of vintage pro-rasslers and the martial title lifted from the Sport of Kings’n’Hulks aside, this compilation is more like a party than an eye-gougin’, back-breakin’, pile-drivin’ Texas chainsaw steelcage death match. Sure, it may be one a those parties where the cops show up, but sooner or later, the boys are gonna see that the reason everyone’s wearin’ black leather jackets is only cuz they wanna look like James Dean.

Checkout The Hentchmen, for example, nice guys really and they play some organ-driven surfrock – their cut, “Plumbline Rock” is pretty laid back. What about The Fleshtones? They’re a bit past that juvenile delinquent age, so when they say “watch what you say” on “Friends of Bazooka Joe,” they’re probably not thinking of doin’ anything rash. The Screamin’ Furys are kinda youngish (tho’ not juvvies) and their vintage Toe-Rag style “Want Need Love” suggests they never should’ve called it quits. The Furys’ fellow Portland, Oregonians, The Surf Trio, jump outta nowhere and hit you over the head with their big-beat club and grab your girlfriend (or daughter) “Back To My Cave.”

Elsewhere, (semi-)legends The Woggles do what they’re (semi-) famous for, and some guys and a sax player who call themselves King Louie And The Lakeview Vikings rant like they wanna send you some menacin’ hate mail wit’ all the bad parts underlined twice in thick black pen. Some paranoid maniac you hardly know confronts you and he’s got his band to back him up and, for some reason, they collectively call themselves 13 Frightened Girls. Maybe they’re so scared cuz Girl Trouble is right on their heels an’ trouble is what they’re all about. Their CrankCramps hiccupy histrionics get plenty a reprobates I know to droolin’.

They’re been lotsa bands called the Fiends (some spell it “Fiendz”) and maybe some of ’em featured bouncy nutso organ grind and a singer who sounds like Richard Simmons in too-tight shorts… this one does anyhow. Ex-Miracle Worker Gerry Mohr (with his newish combo, The Cavemanish Boys) is exposed here performing live what is perhaps the only non-“Psychotic Reaction” Count Five cover I’ve ever heard (“Big Big Mouth”). Speaking (in a roundabout way) of ’60s punk, The Royal Pendletons hock a snotty (yet retro) glop of the stuff yer way with “I Wanna Know,” and The Hatebombs‘ “Workin’ Like a Dog” is 9-5 complaint like Springsteen if he’d had a better record collection and possible brain damage. Getting towards the end here (but not outta gas), The Purple Merkins toss off a number called “Cock Hoop,” ripping off Johnny Otis ripping off Bo Diddley in the process (luckily Bo don’t know lawsuits). Similarly Big Jim And The Branders‘ “The Speed Demons” recalls Dave Allan and the Arrows in a litigable sense. Just when ya think yer gettin’ away scot-free, the violence implied in this disc’s title knocks on yer door in the form of The Silver Kings, soundin’ like the Mummies with real short attention spans with their contribution, “Kick the Door Down.” The called-in-from-a-faulty-payphone-recorded-onto-an-old-answering-machine-tape vocals suggest they’ve called in their threat and, ya never know, they may even show. Break out the Ritz Crackers and e-zee cheez – ya gots company, pal!
(2134 NE 25th Portland, OR 97212)