Straight From the Gutter… and into Your Panties
by Jon Sarre
Oh yeah, the wonderful world of indie records: Scrounging for cash, for bands, for press, for years and then a messy public split (carried out via bulk email, of all things) with yer partner and… lesser labels woulda imploded, to say the least, but not Junk. Lou Carus and Nancy Farber, the label’s engine now that co-founder Katon DePenna has split with ’em, are still standing tall on the lo-road, y’know, providin’ the ultimate in scuzzball sleaze-punk for connoisseurs and other low-lifes. Any schmuck who thinks Lagwagon or H2O is what punk rock is all about oughtta ask mommy and daddy for their credit cards and get their asses down to Goody’s or Tower and fucking demand this comp until the congloms order a few and then use said birth parents cards to buy up the whole friggin’ stock so they can give ’em to their dipshit skateboard club, or at least buy one fucking copy and stick it on one of them Napster things so the word can finally get out: Junk Records is the greatest label you’ve never heard this century so stick yer head in the nearest oven or wake the fuck up right fucking now!
We start our little underworld tour with The Dragons‘ semi-epic anthem, “Roll the Dice” — it’s all snarls’n’grimy fingernails and it’ll turn yer messy lil’ bedroom into a stinking rock’n’roll dive for about two an’ a half minutes, how’s that sound? The somehow re-vamped Electric Frankenstein (okay, Sal, EF2000) postures some punk/’70s metal steel wool cleansing with “Rock’n’Roll is Dead.” Sure, the cowbells make ’em sound like EF1973, but, tho’ ya haven’t heard this from Dave Marsh, so mebbe it ain’t the true blue down-home truth like the shit he claimed about Springsteen’s heavy alloy years, Grand Funk usedta be onea the most popular bands on the fuckin’ planet… nuff said, it could happen again!
Neither of these first two bands really capture the “Junk Sound,” mind ya… Wuzz that now, ya ask? It’s a sorta Thunders riff stripped down to the chewy shoot-it-in-my-dick-veins, the kinda chordage that makes ole Johnny in onea those “bad night in Japan” recordings sound like Stevie Fuckin’ Vai by comparison, that and the classic punk rock rhythm section ideal where the bass’n’drum plays the same exact thing; over alla that there’s this snotty pigeon-chested snarler tellin’ you, his girlfriend, his boss an’, ya know, society in general (or just the guy who won’t sell him beer at the convenience store at 5 a.m.) off, or else totterin’ off on some dime-store Tarrantino samurai epic he once formed in his head the last time he got a jay-walking ticket (and I know I’ll get some hate-mail from Ms. Farber for this un’: “ya know, we’ve got some alleged rapists’n’parole absconders on our roster, real criminals”).
For alla that, we’ve got Vancouver, Cunuckland’s mucheo-excellento Spitfires, Seattle’s garagy (but not “retro”) Vaccines, Austin, Tex-ass’ The Bulemics (with the legendary Texas Terri, who moans a lot, so I guess it’s a “duet”), Portland, OR’s New Wave Hookers (who I wish would release some fucking new shit, as this track once again features long-departed founding guitarist Alan Maly, who split a long while ago to do The Runaway Sins [formerly The Hellside Stranglers, formerly The Apocalypse Girls], who smoke, no shit, but then Al flew the coup there, too). Straight From the Gutter also boasts the talents of ex-Supersucker Robb Clark’s RC5 (a great band that called it quits ‘fore this came out) and these amazing hockey-landers, Jet Set (who’ve also split up). Perhaps the band that can best claim the dubious title of JunkHouse band is The Weaklings: young, loud’n’snotty’n’inta breakin’ shit (including, in the case of pigeon-chested lead snarler Bradley Wayne Shaver, themselves), more band members than Spinal Tap’s had drummers, and the best hard luck tour stories this side of uh… anyone. Listen to Shaver rant for a good minute on the Junk answering machine (it’s included here, natch, on a track fittingly entitled “Irate Young Man.” After he heard his singer’s profanity-filled rant, Weaklings bass player Casey Maxwell wryly suggested that Bradley try heroin, “often”) and then listen to his band do their thing and close out the record. It’s what you’d expect from four yahoos raised on conflicting weenings of the Dead Boys and Aerosmith, and if that ain’t bad taste, you tell me what the fuck is.
(7071 Warner Avenue F-736 Huntington Beach, CA 92647)