Wednesday, February 06, 2008

PART ONE (IN A HOPEFULLY CONTINUING SERIES)As I gaze upon my record collection, ravaged and raped by both age and thieves, I can’t help but notice how numb I feel. If ten years ago you would have told me a decent chunk of my vinyl would be floating somewhere in the nether regions of nowhere without a culprit in sight for the crime, I surely would of broken down in tears. Right at this very moment, I could care less. There seems to be no time in my day when I’m pottering around the apartment and stop and think ‘Damn! I really wish I could hear that Acting Trio record just one more time!’ Where as most of my big-ticket items were snatched, the ones that no one would be caught dead listening to stayed behind. Surprise, surprise…

And I’m thankful for that. For these dud records are the ones that I derive immense pleasure from; these are the ones no one would wanna come over and listen to. Guilty pleasures? I think not. I don’t believe in that sorta shit. You either dig it or you don’t, and if you don’t wanna hear it, stay offa the bus. Let’s say (…fer example…) I pulled out this fifth album done up by The Cockney Rejects titled ‘The Wild Ones’. Even people with no back-story on these louts would look at this thing and find it fishy. As some of you might know, these guys were the poster boys for the whole Oi! thing-a-muh-bob of the U.K. in the early 80’s. No matter what anyone might tell you, those first few singles by the Rejects still stand up, especially when you got an Afternoon Penis leading a room in the chorus of ‘Oi! Oi! Oi!’…lemme tell ya. But even before the Hardcore wagon would really pick up steam in the states, The Rejects were already trading boots and braces for leopard skin prints and B.C. Riches. Stories say The Rejects were fed up with being falsely associated with the right winged thugs rampant on the Oi! scene and decided their way out was jumping on the last crest of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM for you winners out there) I recall peering endlessly at the cover of this record in the racks of my local malls’ ‘import’ section when it came out. I was all of ten or eleven years old, but I knew of The Rejects and their jams and being a junior Anglophile, I was intrigued as shit over the whole skinhead thing I was reading about in my older brothers’ copies of the NME. Where the covers of their past albums showed The Rejects clowning around and mooning the camera, this one had this real posh looking photo of the guys posing in front of London Bridge (that is London Bridge, right?) Two out of the four members had hair past their ears and the drummer (Keith Warrington, formerly of Angelic Upstarts) had this real foppish rock star stance going on with his hand of the back of his hip plus (PLUS!!!) he was wearing an American football jersey. What the fuck was that? I was confused even further when I flipped the cover over and saw still shots of the guitarist Mickey Geggus wearing leather gloves and a leather jacket with no shirt underneath. Their vocalist had changed his name from ‘Stinky Turner’ to ‘Jefferson Turner’. Guess he wanted to class himself up. Can’t really impress a heavy metal babe with a name like ‘Stinky’, can you?

For some stupid reason or another, I bought the fucking thing. I remember looking at the song titles on the back cover (‘Way of the Rocker’, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream’, ‘Victim of the Cheap Wine’) while walking up to the counter and thinking it must be crap, but I wanted to know for myself if it was crap or not. Well, let’s just say I really found out for myself how crappy it was. It was disappointment once the needle hit the record. . The opening lyric of the record was ‘I don’t worry/I don’t care/I get out of bed and I comb my hair!’ That pretty much did it for me. The second song had this horrid chorus where the whole band went ‘Doot doo doo/Doot di do/Do-do!’. To my puritan punker ears, it just sounded like lame Heavy Metal riffs while Stinky (oh…excuse me…Jefferson) did some horrid Bon Scott imitation. I believe it sat around collecting dust for a few years until it was traded in at some store in my teens.

About three years ago, I found the record again and bought it just to remind myself how crap it was. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment who can’t hold onto money…please help me. But this disc elicited a different reaction some thirteen years later. Time certainly didn’t make the actual record any better, but it did add some sort of unfathomable element of fascination to it. Having taken in enough NWOBHM records as well as a shitload of lousy ‘Crossover’ records in my teens, I could hear this record as a very strange and desperate cry for help. By the mid-eighties, there were enough Brit Punkers trying to go Metal that it was pretty common to see your heroes latest record adorned in a cover that looked like a Greenslade record. But this record was recorded in 1981; way before Discharge would write thirteen minute long opuses about heroin addiction and have H.R. heave bags of smelly garbage at them. The Rejects were in a sea by themselves going metal while The Exploited and Chron Gen ruled the U.K. charts. ‘The Wild Ones’ is as single minded in it’s pursuit of riffs and glory as any third tier underground British Heavy Metal record of it’s time, but the (dare I say?) charm of it lies in the fact that these guys ain’t too savvy on their instruments. The riffs are generic as hell, but they cut to the bone hard as the football Jersey sporting Warrington tries desperately to keep up. Producer Pete Way (of UFO) tries to mask all the unsightly holes in the sound with tons of reverb, but it’s a lost cause. And strangely, all the things I listed above are the reasons I pull this record out time and time again. As an artifact, it stands by itself in its timeframe. It would be four years down the road until anyone would have to suffer through the endless piles of shitty records Punks would make with dreams of zit faced No Cal longhairs moshing very clumsily in their heads. If anything, this is the record DYS wish they made in 1985 (and that’s saying a lot) From now ‘til the end of my time, it’ll be a fave to pull out to annoy, confuse and entertain the kids, which is the least I can say for (fill in this blank with whatever band is on your nerves this week)

Ta for now!

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