The Queers – Later Days and Better Days – Review

The Queers

Later Days and Better Days (Lookout!)
by Scott Hefflon

Depending on how jaded you are, The Queers Later Days and Better Lays is either a “unique collection of demo versions, alternate versions, and unreleased original Queers material [which] provides listeners a behind the scenes history of the band throughout the Lookout! years” or it’s a way to fulfill a contract with a label you’re no longer on without having to give them anything new. Either way, it’s interesting, it’s a chunk of early ’90s punk history (early ’90s qualifies as “history” in an instant-gratification, one-hit-wonder world, huh?), and despite the fact that I have the “actual” version of pretty much every song here (and they sound a helluva lot better), I’m definitely keeping this sucker. I may never play it again, but at least I’ll always have it. Perhaps that makes me the sucker, not it, but that’s not the point. While listening to demo versions of songs is kinda like reading discarded rough drafts by your favorite author, there’s a certain beauty in hearing Joe Queer fake words and finally sing “I wish I had some words to this stupid fuckin’ tune” in “Can’t Stop Farting.” These are demos, “scrapped” when the tunes were finished, cleaned-up, or simply recorded “for real.” That means that there’re a lot more fuck-ups and snarled vocals than were recorded later, but, for the average consumer, it’s kinda cool to see what a band sends to a label saying, “Hey, here’re the rough demos of the songs for our next record.” This is how Lookout! saw The Queers in 1992, before Love Songs for the Retarded. With 21 songs, 54 minutes in all, it’s up to fans to decide if this is sloppy, useless, and just a contract-fulfiller, or if it’s kind of a cool, goofy look at a band that later cleaned themselves up. Yer call, kids. I like it, for whatever that’s worth, much like Screeching Weasel’s Kill the Musicians, the catch-all release when they got off Lookout!.
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