The 25 Best Loud Rock Albums of the 70s

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I often joke that I went from being Eddie Punk to Eddie Trunk, but that seems about right. A decade ago, I was this punk rock guy, who “hated Pink Floyd” and all other progressive rock, hard rock, and heavy metal (except, of course, for Motörhead, who it’s debatable what side of the rock fence they even fall on), resurrecting the tired belief that somehow lousy musicianship is virtuous, while good musicianship is a way for you to say you’re better than your audience.

But then, something changed. Motörhead led me to Hawkwind. Hawkwind was one of John Lydon’s favorite bands, along with Alice Cooper, Can, and Van der Graaf Generator, and later it turned out that John Lydon didn’t hate Pink Floyd after all. That was just a put on! In fact, he and Roger Waters are buddies, who hang out together from time to time, or so I’ve read. On top of that, like a lot of punks, I got into doom metal thanks to this band called Pentagram, who all of a sudden got kinda popular thanks to the release of a bunch of their early demos. That of course led me right to Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and any other band that could be labeled as heavy rock or proto-metal; and, since much of that came from or crosses over with psychedelia and progressive rock, well, you can figure out the rest.

Now I’m obsessed with the 70s. I picture myself as the teenager with long hair and mutton chops, wearing my denim vest, bell bottoms, and Dr. Who t-shirt, coming home from a drive-in theater, that just showed The Brotherhood of Satan, to sit in a wood paneled basement, that has Frank Frazetta, Ken Kelly, and Boris Vallejo posters on the wall, and play Dungeons & Dragons or Pong, watch old horror movies or Star Trek reruns on a black and white TV, or read Creepy, EerieVampirella, or Castle of Frankenstein magazines or Conan or Michael Moorcock paperbacks, while smoking a bowl, and having Blue Öyster Cult, Black Sabbath, or Alice Cooper playing in the background. Ah, yeah, good ol’ 70s fantasy…

70s loud rock is, of course, any rock music that came out in the 70s and is loud. That’s the only criteria. It can be basic, three chord glam rock, super complicated progressive rock, standard hard rock, early heavy metal, or bluesy Southern rock; just as long as it’s loud, and it’s rock. And, though I do like Yes, Pink Floyd, and many other progressive rock bands, many of them don’t qualify as loud rock, since they don’t use enough loud, distorted guitars. Got it?

Some bands I never even thought about including, but people probably think I should, are Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Queen, Rush, Aerosmith, Bad Company, Free, the Who, and Van Halen.

Some bands I thought about including, but just could not find a space for, are Cactus, Bloodrock, Captain Beyond, Sir Lord Baltimore, Warhorse, Humble Pie, James Gang, Jerusalem, Jericho, Josephus, Grand Funk Railroad, Status Quo, Montrose, Mountain, Trapeze, Leaf Hound, Hard Stuff, Lucifer’s Friend, Night Sun, Elias Hulk, Zior, Spooky Tooth, Suck, Bang, Buffalo, Coloured Balls, Buster Brown, Rose Tattoo, Quartz, Horse, Fuzzy Duck, Jethro Tull, Arthur Brown’s Kingdom Come, Armageddon, Dust, Pink Fairies, Widowmaker, Blues Creation, the Flower Travelin’ Band, Elf, Toad, and Eloy.

With that said, here are my top 25 loud rock albums of the 70s:

25. Slade – Slayed? – Polydor – 1972

Before Kiss, the New York Dolls, and AC/DC, there was Slade, who, in a rock world that was becoming increasingly dominated by arty progressive rock bands, gleefully played deliberately “stoopid”, basic rock songs, that consist of blocky, distorted major chords, bouncy 4/4 beats, and big, singalong choruses. Their music was designed to be played on the jukebox at the local pubs that the blokes would go to after a long, hard day at the factory. Or, as the opening couplet at the beginning of “The Whole World’s Goin’ Crazee” says, “I say we all get our kicks playing in a rock ‘n’ roll band/there’s nothing like the feeling when you give it all you’ve got/and people wanna shake you by the hand.” Yep, unlike Kiss, who borrowed a thing or two from Slade and boasted about private planes and limousines, guitarist/singer Noddy Holder, lead guitarist Dave Hill, bassist Jim Lea, and drummer Don Powell just wanted a handshake and possibly a pat on the back for bringing the people some rock ‘n’ roll. Why didn’t they become more popular in the U.S. like AC/DC? Not enough dick jokes? On their previous album, Play It Loud, Slade dressed like skinheads. But when glam happened, they grew their hair out, replaced the Doc Martins with platform boots, put on ridiculous costumes, such as Hill’s “Super Yob” suit and Holder’s Mad Hatter costume, and scored a hit with their double live album Slade Alive!. It’s also funny to note how, in the androgynous and graceful world of glam, Slade came off like a big, clumsy gorilla; there is NOTHING androgynous about Slade. Slade would release a lot of great albums, not to mention a movie, but the album I think that truly encapsulates their raison d’etre is Slayed?, the one where all ten song titles are spelled wrong on the back; one of those is of course “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”, which is the second Slade song to be covered by Quiet RiotThe first is “Cum on Feel the Noize”, which is not on Slayed?, but on their next LP, a singles collection called Sladest. Of course, I don’t need to tell you that the originals are better.

24. New York Dolls – New York Dolls – Mercury/Polygram 1973

Gene Simmons astutely pointed out that the Rolling Stones, the New York Dolls, and Aerosmith all pretty much do the same thing. Ya know, they all have the pouty lipped, effeminate lead singer, who prances around onstage, doing his exaggerated, limp-wristed, girly movies, and the lead guitarist, who acts like he don’t care ’bout nuthin’ man, commanding all of the audience’s attention, while the rhythm guitarist, bassist, and drummer function as the group’s metronome. Of course, the Dolls also wore gobs of makeup and thrift store rags, making them look like cheap New York street whores, and were supposed to be the big, “break-out” group from New York’s glitter/glam scene, which also included Kiss, Twisted Sister, Joey Ramone’s pre-Ramones band, Sniper, and a bunch of bands you’ve never heard of, like the Brats, the Planets, Luger, and Street Punk. However, while middle America could embrace an Alice Cooper, with his snakes and guillotines, and Kiss, with their over the top, Kabuki style make up and science fiction costumes, the Dolls were just a little too… gaaaa… girly. So, they made two albums, New York Dolls and Too Much too Soon, and fell apart. Like Kiss and Slade, the Dolls played basic, three-chord rock, throwing in copious amounts of Chuck Berry/Keith Richards style guitar leads for good measure; except, of course, not on “Lonely Planet Boy”, which is an acoustic number. But, unlike those other two bands, they eschewed the big, easy to remember choruses and celebratory feel, for a less overt pop song structure and tales of the shady characters they encountered on the streets of New York. David Johansen sounds like a “street” Mick Jagger, singing about personality crises, gloomy kids shooting up dope, lonely planet boys, Vietnamese babies, outcasts who think of themselves as Frankenstein, trash, bad girls, subway trains, and jet boys. And their cover of “Pills” by Bo Diddly, with its “rock ‘n’ roll nurse” motif, perfectly fits within their hardened worldview. Someone’s going to yell at me for not mentioning that New York Dolls was produced by Todd Rundgren, who apparently wasn’t very fond of the group, or that Malcolm McLaren managed the Dolls before he managed the Sex Pistols, or that lead guitarist Johnny Thunders and drummer Jerry Nolan started pioneering early punk band the Heartbreakers.

23. Judas Priest – Rocka Rolla – Gull- 1974

Like the Scorpions, UFO, and Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest began as something rather different from what they became more widely known for; which is, of course, helping create the New Wave of British Heavy Metal with aggressively fast metal songs, that consist of “chugga-chugga” riffs, blazing lead guitar solos, and comic book-inspired science fiction and horror lyrics; okay, and the occasional homosexual dog whistle (yeah, I didn’t know what a “Jawbreaker” was until I googled it either). But, before all that, Judas Priest was a Zeppelin-inspired heavy rock band, that came from Birmingham, England, the same working class, factory city from which Black Sabbath are from. By the time they released Rocka Rolla, their debut LP, which was produced by Roger Bain, who also did the first three Sabbath albums, along with a couple of Budgie LPs, 4/5 of their classic lineup was in place (the drummer position would always be in flux). Before adopting the studs and leather from the gay clubs, singer Rob Halford, who sounds considerably calmer on Rocka Rolla, than he would on later Priest albums, lead guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton, bassist Ian Hill, and, in the case of their first album, drummer John Hinch looked like a typical, post-hippie, 70s rock band, with all their scarves and rags, like they’re some traveling group of rock ‘n’ roll Gypsies or something. Just LOOK at Rob Halford with that long hair that goes down to his ass and K.K. Downing with that hat, which makes him look like a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Isn’t that funny? Rocka Rolla has seven tracks, one of which is a ten minute, multi-part suite, and another, which is a soft ‘n’ pretty instrumental piece called “Caviar and Meths”, that I guess was supposed to be longer before Roger Bain took liberties with it. “Run of the Mill” is an eight minute long, somber ballad; the Sabbath-y “Dying to Meet You” is an anti-war song, that has a galloping second part, that sounds too happy for the subject matter at hand; and “One for the Road”, “Rocka Rolla”, and “Never Satisfied” deliver the bluesy, heavy rock goods. Judas Priest, however, no longer do.

22. MC5 – Back in the USA – Atlantic – 1970

I’m still not totally sure why MC5 gets lumped in with punk rock. It can’t be because of their music, can it? Their first album, Kick Out the Jams, sounds like Blue Cheer, who are pretty pummeling, but nobody calls them punk. Their third album, High Time, sounds like Grand Funk Railroad. And it certainly can’t just be because of their leftist, “revolutionary” politics, something that they magically adopted overnight when they hired manager and “spiritual adviser” John Sinclair to help sell their loud and heavy brand of rock to the hippies. Can it just be because of their assholish behavior, like when they wrote a “fuck you” letter in some underground newspaper to the Hudson’s department store for not carrying Kick Out the Jams because of the use of the word “motherfucker” at the beginning of the song “Kick Out the Jams”, signing it with the logo of their record label, Elektra, causing Hudson’s to no longer carry Elektra product and getting the group tossed off the label? Jim Morrison acted pretty obnoxious, and nobody calls the Doors a punk band. On top of that, the members of the MC5 were “disowned” by the “revolution” when their next label, Atlantic, bought every member of the group a new sports car. Some Communists they turned out to be, with their love of burgers and American muscle cars! Granted, singer Rob Tyner, lead guitarist Wayne Kramer, rhythm guitarist Fred “Sonic” Smith, bassist Michael Davis, and drummer Dennis Thompson were against the Vietnam war, as they so blatantly express in the rave up “The American Ruse”, but what band at the time wasn’t? And even if they had anti-war or even leftist views, punk rock wasn’t some left wing hippie movement in the first place. It was about writing short, catchy rock ‘n’ roll songs with sick, disgusting subject matter; at least until the Clash tried to ruin it with their Marxist bullshit. So, what makes MC5 “punk” or even “proto-punk”? Beats me. The songs on Back in the USA are short, punchy, and fast, and, with 11 of them, the album clocks in at a brisk 28 minutes, which is a stark departure from the heavy, psychedelic, bluesy metal of Kick Out the Jams. It opens with a cover of the Little Richard classic “Tutti Frutti”, closes with a cover of the Chuck Berry classic “Back in the USA”, and has nine killer, catchy cuts in between. One of those is “Looking at You”, which the band originally recorded for their first single in 1967 and was later covered by the Damned. Another is the Fred “Sonic” Smith sung, acoustic/electric pop rock of “Shakin’ Street.” Another is “The Human Being Lawnmower”, which has a whole bunch of parts and changes in the span of two and a half minutes. And another is the “I formed a rock ‘n’ roll band to get pussy” anthem “Teenage Lust”, which has this classy verse: “then one day I had the perfect plan/I’ll shake my ass and sing in a rock ‘n’ roll band/from now on, there’ll be no compromising/’cause rock ‘n’ roll music is the best advertising.” Yeah, THAT’S really progressive, eh? I also like the fun hand claps in “Call Me Animal.” The album even has a ballad called “Let Me Try”, which I often skipped when driving in my car because it’s not short and fast like the other songs, even though it’s still good. And there are a few others as well that I quite enjoy.  But, hoo boy, when I lived in Grand Rapids, I listened to Back in the USA in my car a LOT. I mean a lot lot. “Back in the USA” would end, and “Tutti Frutti” would start, and I’d just listen to Back in the USA over and over and over again on loop. And I suggest you do the same.

21. Ted Nugent – Ted Nugent – Epic – 1975

I think it’s absolutely appalling that any time a person mentions that he likes Ted Nugent, he has to preface it with, “but I don’t agree with his views!” Like, so? You don’t hear people doing that when they talk about Crass or the Dead Kennedys, so why do they have to give disclaimers for liking the Nuge? Since when did your voting record prevent you from enjoying the killer guitar playing in “Stranglehold”? It’s times like these that make me want to go back to the 70s, when you could enjoy music without worrying about explaining yourself. Anyway, Ted Nugent is the excellent debut solo LP from guitar slingin’, Motor City madman Ted Nugent, who had recently dropped the Amboy Dukes moniker, yet kept Dukes bass player Rob Grange alongside him, and recruited lead singer and second guitarist Derek St. Holms and drummer Cliff Davies. The aforementioned “Stranglehold” is quite the guitar workout, and for someone who claims to be a clean livin’ man, he sure provided a helluva soundtrack to smoke some ganja to, with that pulsating bass, that seems as though it’s mixed louder than the guitar, and all those “wah-wah” effects, especially during the lengthy, jammy part. After “Stranglehold”, the album goes into “full-on” rock mode with “Stormtroopin'”, a clarion call for the second amendment if there ever was one, the ballin’ boogie rock anthem “Hey Baby”, a few more catchy and energetic rock tunes, and the incredibly fast and punky “Motorcity Madhouse.” Though, I’ve always wondered, who ARE the “Snakeskin Cowboys”?

20. Scorpions – Taken by Force – RCA – 1977

Can you believe that the Scorpions have been around since 1965, seven years before they released their heavy, psychedelic, progressive rock debut, Lonesome Crow, which was produced by Kraut rock pioneer Conny Plank and features Michael Schenker, younger brother of rhythm guitarist Rudolph Schenker, on lead guitar? Some may be shocked that I chose Taken by Force as my favorite Scorpions album instead of Lonesome Crow, but hey! The other surprising thing about the Scorps is that there exists that group of people, myself included, that loves the bejeezus out of the Uli Jon Roth era of the group’s career; before they transitioned into an international, arena rock sensation with hit singles that you are all well of aware of. Don’t get me wrong; Lovedrive, on which Michael Schenker briefly returned to play on a couple of tracks, Animal MagnetismBlackout, and Love at First Sting are great albums, but this earlier stuff has that gritty 70s hard rock feel, that only a seeming lack of commercial ambition could produce. Just listen to the mean and angry riffs on “The Sails of Charon” or the headbanging, metallic crunch of “He’s a Woman – She’s a Man”, and you’ll see what I mean. I was going to congratulate the album for not having a single ballad, but then I forgot about the closing track, “Born to Touch Your Feelings”, which is a seven minute long ballad, and has a bunch of broads talking over each other in different languages. I guess better one ballad, than the FIVE that are on In Trance. Also, Taken by Force doesn’t have a picture naked little girl on the cover.

19. Uriah Heep – …Very ‘eavy …Very ‘umble – Vertigo – 1970

If there’s one band that exemplifies what people find funny about 70s rock, then of course, it’s Uriah Heep.  Like Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser of Blue Öyster Cult, Uriah Heep singer David Byron has a sleazy, cocaine snorting, porno star mustache, and a voice that is only slightly less wussy than that of Jon Anderson of Yes. But, if I actually did have a problem with David Byron’s singing, then I wouldn’t have included Uriah Heep on this list. And, of course, I could have picked the obvious choice, Demons and Wizards, as their best album, as it is quite good, and it would have put two albums with a Roger Dean cover on this list, but I chose their first LP, …Very ‘eavy …Very ‘umble, instead. In the States, …Very ‘eavy … Very ‘umble was released with the title of Uriah Heep, and had the awesome, crushing heavy number “Bird of Prey”, an alternate recording of which would lead off the group’s next LP, Salisbury, replace the ass boring “Lucy Blues”; but even with two songs that I’m not particularly fond of – the other being “Come Away Melinda” – on the British release, there’s still plenty of hard rock, heavy metal, and progressive rock to enjoy. On opening cut “Gypsy” and on second to last track “I’ll Keep on Trying”, guitarist Mick Box plays the crunchy riffs and solos, while Ken Hensley makes a bunch of noise with his Hammond organ, and Byron sings the lyrics in his over the top, melodramatic way, complete with “ah-ah-ah-ah”‘s. The songs “Walking in Your Shadow”, “Dreammare”, and “Real Turned On” are bluesy heavy rock guitar workouts, that have Hensley joining box on slide guitar. Although, I will say that, “Dreammare” does seem far too happy to be about a man that’s being haunted by demons, and it would have made more sense for the lyrics of “Dreammare” to be matched with the “scary” minor note music of “I’ll Keep on Trying.” That’s of course a minor complaint. The final track, “Wake Up (Set Your Sights)”, is also kind of odd, in that it’s a jazzy prog tune, that sounds like some sort of protest song, with lyrics about “standing up for your rights” and to “stop this killing.” But it’s still a good jam, and at the end of the day, isn’t that all that matters?

18. Mott the Hoople – Mott – Columbia – 1973

Ian Hunter is David Bowie without the arty pretenses. Now, before you say, “hey, asshole, David Bowie wrote ‘All the Young Dudes’, and without him, blah blah blah…” Shaddup, I KNOW without David Bowie’s help, Mott the Hoople would have broken up and languished in obscurity, only to be discovered years later by geeky collectors such as myself, but isn’t that kinda what happened anyway? Who really talks about ’em, other than, I dunno, Rodney Bingenheimer when reminiscing about the early/mid 70s Sunset Strip scene, where guys dressed like girls, thinking that that would get the girls? Anyway, Mott the Hoople perform big, glammy rock ‘n’ roll, that alternates between Elton John-style boogie-woogie (opening track “All the Way from Memphis” and the appropriately titled “Honaloochie Boogie”), hard rock (“Whizz Kid”, “Violence”, “Drivin’ Sister”, and “I’m a Cadillac”), and power ballads (“Hymn for the Dudes”, the also appropriately titled “Ballad of Mott the Hoople”, and album closer “I Wish I Was Your Mother”), but with the added elements of saxophone, backup vocals, and piano, so their music has that nostalgic, 1950s, theatrical feel. They should have done the soundtrack for Phantom of the Paradise. Like Bowie and Marc Bolan, Ian Hunter sounds thoroughly British. Like Elton John, he’s a piano playing lead singer. And unlike Bowie, he writes good songs. BURN. Okay, I like some Bowie songs, including the one he wrote for Hoople, but I still think his “meh” songs outnumber his “hell yeah” songs. Someone’s going to yell at me for not mentioning that, after Mott the Hoople broke up, guitarist Mick Ralphs started Bad Company.

17. Rainbow – Rising – Polydor – 1976

I still consider Rising, the second Rainbow album, to be Ronnie James Dio’s career masterpiece. The ingredients were just there. I wouldn’t consider it Ritchie Blackmore’s masterpiece because of all the albums he’s done with Deep Purple. But for Dio, who was a small man with a big voice, I consider it to be the best thing he’s ever laid his vocals to. The first Rainbow album isn’t bad; featuring the classic “Man on the Silver Mountain.” But with Rising, the combination of Blackmore’s riffs and leads, Dio’s powerful and somewhat melodramatic singing, Tony Cary’s prominent, but not overpowering synthesizer swooshes (except on “Stargazer”), and the new rhythm section of bassist Jimmy Bain and drummer Cozy Powell, Rainbow created a fantasy metal classic to satisfy one’s unashamedly nerdy Renaissance/Dungeons & Dragons obsessions. On top of that, I looove the Ken Kelly cover art, hooee! At 33 minutes, and with six songs, it’s a little short. But, short length and small song count is beside the point when you have material like “Tarot Woman”, with its minute long Moog intro and “welcome to the fair” mystique; or the “scary” and “demonic” “Sign of the Wolf”; or the mystical wizard anthem “Stargazer.” And the best is saved for last; closing track “A Light in the Black” is proto-Judas Priest, epic speed metal, that pre-dates the New Wave of British Heavy Metal by a couple of years, and features the kind of progressive/classical guitar solo that would become a staple of Iron Maiden songwriting. The two other songs, “Starstruck” and “Do You Close Your Eyes”, are straight-forward hard rock, but no worse for it. After a live album, On Stage, and another studio album, the also very good Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll, Dio would be off to spread his demons, wizards, swords, and sorcery message in Black Sabbath.

16. Nazareth – Razamanaz – A&M – 1973

Here is another band that’s criminally underrated thanks to the radio only playing their two most popular songs. The fact is that Scottish hard rock legends Nazareth released a series of really great records, leading up to and past their big, commercial breakthrough Hair of the Dog. My favorite is their third, Razamanaz, which among other things, was produced by Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover and features covers of Leon Russell’s “Alcatraz” and Woodie Guthrie’s “Vigilante Man”, both of which are better than their originals, since their originals weren’t being pumped through loud Marshall stacks. I know that seems rather superficial because a good song is just a good song, but Nazareth understand how to adapt the music of folky, bluesy, singer-songwriter people to the hard rock format, and singer Dan McCafferty belts out the lyrics in that tough, yet melodic way, which shows just how much a really good singer can affect how a song sounds. No diss on Leon Russell, mind you, whose version is a very good piece of country blues honky-tonk. On “Vigilante Man”, along with the humorous boogie rock tunes “Woke Up This Morning” and “Bad Bad Boy”, guitarist Manny Charlton shows off his bluesy, bottleneck slide guitar skills. Then you have the rippin’, opening cut, “Razamanaz”, the similarly rippin’ “Too Bad too Sad”, the Bo Diddly jungle beat in “Night Woman”, the dark, demonic, and scaaaaaary “Sold My Soul” (“So I cried in desperation/bowed to evil sorcery”), and the bittersweet album closer “Broke Down Angel.” I don’t know if anyone’s going to yell at me for not mentioning that the Meatmen covered “Razamanaz.”

15. Motörhead – Motörhead – Chiswick – 1977

As of this writing, it would have been four days short of two years since Lemmy passed away; that is, only four days after his 70th birthday. But, ohhhh, what a legacy he left behind! I think I can safely call myself a hardcore Lemmy fan, owning just about everything he did, from his stuff with the Rockin’ Vickers, his LP with Sam Gopal, the pair of records he did with the Headcat, and of course every Hawkwind and Motörhead album. Anyone who knows the Motörhead story knows that they recorded a full length LP prior to Motörhead called On Parole, that didn’t actually come out until 1979, four years after it was recorded, and featured original guitarist Larry Wallis, who came from the Pink Fairies and briefly played in UFO. But, on the Motörhead LP, the classic lineup – Lemmy on bass and lead vocals, Fast Eddie Clarke on guitar and backup vocals, and Philthy Animal Taylor on drums – was in place, and ready to play loud, fast, heavy, blues based rock. The CD version of Motörhead has five extra tracks, but we don’t grade on curves, and thankfully the eight songs that make up the original Motörhead LP are just as good as the bonus material. All three songs that Lemmy wrote for Hawkwind are on Motörhead, along with several new songs, that were co-written with Clarke and Taylor, and a cover of the blues standard “The Train Kept A-Rollin'”, which pummels the daylights out of both the Yardbirds and Aerosmith versions. After listening to the opening track, “Motorhead”, it’s easy to see why punks took to the group in spite of their shaggy manes and seemingly outdated Hell’s Angles attire; the album continues with the punky “Vibrator”, which is sung from the first perspective of a vibrator. But then the album moves into slower, bluesier material like “Iron Horse/Born to Lose”, “White Line Fever”, and “Keep Us on the Road”, the last of which has a killer bass solo. Overall, it’s not my favorite Motörhead LP, since the best was yet to come, but as a cult heavy rock album, that was released amidst the burgeoning punk scene, it delivers the goods.

14. Deep Purple – Deep Purple in Rock – Warner Bros. – 1970

It took me a lotta soul searching and coin flipping to decide between whether to include Deep Purple in Rock or Machine Head on this here list, but the Gods have made their decision, and they’re sticking with it. Probably has something to do with the fact that I’ve heard “Highway Star” and “Smoke on the Water” a few too many times in my life, while …in Rock contains seven lesser known cuts, that are just as good as, if not better than, those two overplayed tunes. Do I consider the upper tempo, crunchy, down-strummed, power chord rocker “Flight of the Rat” to be proto-thrash? “Fireball”, the title cut from their next album, most certainly is. In general, though, Deep Purple have re-invented themselves has a heavy rock band, whose guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and Hammond organ playing keyboardist Jon Lord are foils of each other, while singer Ian Gillan shouts over the din, and bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice pound out aggressive, yet groovy beats. Deep Purple in Rock is sorta like Deep Purple’s second debut album. Having been around since 1968 and releasing three LPs – Shades of Deep Purple, The Book of Taliesyn, and Deep Purple – with original singer Rod Evans and original bassist Nick Simper, those two were told to take a hike, upon which, Evans formed Captain Beyond, and Simper joined Warhorse, and they were replaced by Gillan and Glover,who came from a psychedelic rock band called Episode Six, whose keyboardist and singer was this really hot chick named Gloria. Deep Purple then did a live album with an orchestra, appropriately titled Concerto for Group and Orchestra, heard Led Zeppelin, and went the heavy route. The album starts with a cacophony of random guitar and Hammond organ licks, almost as if to say, “we’re cleansing our pallets and starting anew!”, before the first crunching, distorted chord of “Speed King” comes crashing down, and Ian Gillan starts shouting a bunch of “good golly, Miss Molly”‘s and “tutti frutti’s” all over the riff; then the song calms down a bit, and Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore trade of improvised solos, as if their instruments are talking to each other. It’s neat! The somber, ten minute, anti-war epic “Child in Time” became a fan favorite, but what the heck is “Living Wreck” about? “You came along for a weekend/but you only stayed for one night/you pulled off your hair/you took out your teeth/Oh I almost died of fright.” Eek! On the other hand, the galloping, heavy metal closing track “Hard Lovin’ Man” appears to be about sex, though you can never be quite sure.

13. King Crimson – Red– Atlantic – 1974

I’m not one of these guys who jizzes all over everything that has Robert Fripp’s guitar noise on it. And I think that King Crimson have produced their share of unlistenable crap. On the other hand, King Crimson have also done some outstanding, genre-defining work. And it seems like they do it about once a decade. In the 60s, it was In the Court of the Crimson King; in the 70s, it was Red; and in the 80s, it was Discipline. King Crimson is essentially the Robert Fripp vanity band, and you can go to Wikipedia if you want to know who some of the Crimson alums are; we’re here to talk about Red dammit! And, on Red, Fripp is joined by future Asia bassist John Wetton and former Yes/future Genesis drummer Bill Bruford. The Fripp/Wetton/Bruford lineup had already done two albums prior – Larks’ Tongues in Aspic and Starless and Bible Black – and while I do enjoy those, Red is the trio’s masterpiece. Clocking in at 40 minutes, the five tracks on Red – “Red”, “Fallen Angel”, “One More Red Nightmare”, “Providence”, and “Starless” – take the listener though a head trip of fuzzed out acid guitar licks, multi-rhythmic percussion, bleating horns, whirring mellotron, and improvised violin scraping, going from quieter moments to full on crescendos, and containing a whole lotta complicated instrumental interplay. And, although it’s considered progressive rock, the influence of Red can be felt in much of post-hardcore, math rock, noise rock, and anything to come out of the indie scene that incorporates odd time signatures, multilayered percussion, and copious amounts of guitar noise; I’m not totally sure, but I think that the Jesus Lizard, Helmet, Nomeansno, Today Is the Day, Don Caballero, Drive Like Jehu, Polvo, and Slint might owe a bit of debt to Red. It is truly an ahead of its time record.

12. ZZ Top – Tres Hombres – Warner Bros. – 1973

Blues rock trio from Texasssssss…. hawt damn is Billy Gibbons an underrated guitar player! Whenever I hear “La Grange”, I picture a cowgirl in Daisy Dukes and a flannel shirt, that’s tied low enough for her to show off lotsa cleavage, riding a mechanical bull, as a bunch of cowboys and cowgirls hoot and holler. “Master of Sparks” is an amazing song and should have been a huge hit. Someone’s going to yell at me for not mentioning that Motörhead covered “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers.” I once smoked weed while sitting in a room at the Soaring Eagle casino with my part-Injun girlfriend Amanda, and we jammed this album. Then we went to the casino, and I lost a bunch of money playing the ZZ Top machine.

11. Sweet – Sweet Fanny Adams – RCA – 1974

I read in some magazine that Sweet wanted to play in front of denim-clad heavy metal fans, not teeny boppers, but that’s the way the cookie crumbled when singer Brian Connolly, guitarist/keyboardist Andy Scott, bassist Steve Priest, and drummer Mick Tucker hitched their wagon to the glam rock movement, allowing Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn to write the songs that everyone knows, like “Ballroom Blitz”, “Wig Wam Bam”, and “Hellraiser”, while writing the b-sides themselves. And it’s the b-sides along with their second album, Sweet Fanny Adams, that showed the other side of Sweet. The first Sweet album, Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be, was released in 1971 and contains a smattering of lightweight, bubblegum flavored songs, like the Archies inspired “Funny Funny”, while their second album, Sweet Fanny Adams, opens with a speed metal song called “Set Me Free.” Think I’m kidding? Listen to “Set Me Free”, with its high speed drumming, chugga-chugga riffs, and ripping, yet melodic guitar solos, back to back with “Exciter” by Judas Priest, and you’ll see what I mean. Of the other eight songs on Sweet Fanny Adams, five were written by the members of the band, two are Chapman/Chinn numbers, and one is a cover of “Peppermint Twist.” And let me tell you; Sweet are NOT a bunch of nice boys! Have you seen the lyrics to “Sweet F.A.”? “Well, it’s Friday night/and I need a fight/if she don’t spread/I’m gonna bust her head.” Nice! REAL Nice! Of the two Chapman/Chinn tunes, one is “No You Don’t”, a hard rock song with a musical tribute to “Pinball Wizard”, and the other is the lesbian glam rock anthem “AC-DC.” Of the band-penned originals, the ones that aren’t about busting a girl’s head for not fucking you, include the proto-punky glam number “Rebel Rouser”, the straight-forward hard rockers “Heartbreak Today” and “Restless”, and another chugga-chugga, proto-speed metal tune called “Into the Night”, that, like “Set Me Free”, sounds right at home among the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Sadly, in typical American record label fashion, tracks from Sweet Fanny Adams and its followup, Desolation Boulevard, were chopped off, combined with single songs, and placed onto a compilation album also called Desolation Boulevard, that was released in the States; and Americans were none the wiser.

10. Thin Lizzy – Johnny the Fox – Mercury – 1976

I know what you’re thinking; that I’m just trying to be contrarian for not choosing Jailbreak as my favorite Thin Lizzy album. But, seriously, how many more times can you listen to “The Boys Are Back in Town”? Except if you’re that one guy who played it until he got thrown out of a bar. But, assuming you’re not an annoying hipster, who can only enjoy things ironically, then I’m gonna point you to the album that came after Jailbreak as MY favorite Thin Lizzy album. Though, considering how damn consistently satisfying they are with their duel guitar, harmony laced brand of hard rock, I could have easily picked any album from Fighting through Black Rose: A Rock Legend (I guess even Jailbreak, since it has songs other than the “The Boys Are Back in Town”, like “Angel from the Coast”, “Cowboy Song”, or, like, “Jailbreak”); but I chose Johnny the Fox, and I’m stickin’ to my guns! The albums before Fighting have their enjoyable moments, but Thin Lizzy hadn’t really found their sound yet; too much soft rock and soul for my taste. And that includes the Nightlife LP, the first one with Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson on duel guitars. The albums after Black Rose: A Rock Legend came out in the 80s, so even though they’re great, they’re disqualified for this list. The opening track, “Johnny”, whew, what a scorcher! It’s about this junky named Johnny, who robs a drugstore and shoots the cashier, then gets gunned down by the cops. Then the next song is called “Rocky”, which is about this guy named Rocky who wants to be a rock star. The third song, “Borderline”, is a soft song for the girls. The fourth track, “Don’t Believe a Word”, was a hit, but obviously not a big one, since most people don’t know it. And the next song is “Fool’s Gold”, which is a bittersweet rocker. Then the first song on side two is this funky jam called “Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed”, which I’m guessing is about the “Johnny” from the first song. I just described six out of the ten tracks. Oh, just listen to the album.

9. AC/DC – Powerage – Atlantic – 1978

Do you not already know what you need to know about AC/DC? Do you not know that the group was originally signed to the Australian Albert label, through which they released their first two LPs, High Voltage and TNT, before signing with Atlantic, who then proceeded to do selective surgery on every AC/DC album that came out, chopping off songs from one record, and putting them on other records? Ever wonder why “Problem Child” is on both Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap AND Let There Be Rock? Did you know that the Atlantic version of High Voltage actually contains seven songs from the Australian TNT LP and two songs from the Australian High Voltage LP? Pretty freakin’ confusing, eh? I actually bought the Australian TNT LP in nearly pristine condition from Herm at Vertigo in Grand Rapids for $8! Ain’t Herm a mensch? He TOTALLY knew he could have sold that sucker for like $100 on ebay, but he took the high road, selling it to one of his loyal customers, instead. Anyway, Powerage is my favorite AC/DC album; just nine killer deep cuts and nary a hit to be found; the most popular song on Powerage is “Gone Shootin'”, which you might have heard on the Beavis and Butthead Do America soundtrack. If you’re wondering why all of their songs sound the way they do, ya know, with that swing or that groove, that few other bands running the same three chord rock territory manage to accomplish, it’s because they’re written around the drums. Favorite tracks are “Down Payment Blues”, “Sin City”, and “What’s Next to the Moon.” Also, isn’t “Riff Raff” like really fast?

8. UFO – Force It – Polydor – 1975

PROOF that all you need to make your band really good is just hire a really good guitarist! UFO had already achieved something of a cult following with their first three albums, UFO 1, UFO 2: Flying, and UFO Live, in Japan (where else), but as enjoyable as their spacey jams might be, singer Phil Mogg, bassist Pete Way, and drummer Andy Parker realized that a 17-year-old, German guitar prodigy like Michael Schenker might be a bigger boon to them than the three adequate musicians that came before him, who made copious use of their “wah-wah” peddles, but not much else. Okay, that was harsh; I really like the first three UFO albums, and the group briefly had Larry Wallis, who would go on to join the Pink Fairies and become a founding member of Motörhead. But the fact remains that few compare to Schenker with his signature Flying V. With the release of their third album, Phenomenon, UFO dropped the space rock sound, replacing it with a straight forward hard rock/heavy metal approach, driven by Schenker’s catchy riffs and melodic solos. Pick your favorite Schenker era album; mine is Force It. The others are No Heavy Petting, Light Out, Obsession, and the double live album Strangers in the Night. Then Schenker quit, briefly re-joining the Scorpions, before starting the Michael Schenker Group, rejoining UFO, and then quitting again. Someone’s going to yell at me for not mentioning that that’s Cosey Fanni Tutti and Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle on the cover of Force It, which has one great, angry, headbanging track after another, only interrupted by an acoustic ballad, which is also really great, and a couple of bittersweet numbers. And, what a guitar tone!

7. Atomic Rooster – Death Walks Behind You – Elektra – 1971

Lead by bipolar organist/singer Vincent Crane, Atomic Rooster began after Crane had a nervous breakdown and left the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, taking drummer Carl Palmer with him. After the first Atomic Rooster LP, the cleverly titled and guitar-free Atomic Roooster (yep, with three o’s), Palmer joined Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and original bassist Nick Graham left a big, gaping hole, which would never be filled, resulting in Crane having to play all of the bass parts on keyboard. By the time Rooster began making their second album, Death Walks Behind You, they were a much heavier band, with John Du Cann, formerly of the Attack and Andromeda, playing the distorted power chords and taking over on lead vocals, and Paul Hammond, who might or might not be related to the guy who invented the Hammond organ, playing drums. The dark, eerie atmosphere of Death Walks Behind You is set right away with its eight minute opening title cut, that starts with a descending minor note melody played on a piano, as the guitar plays little Psycho-like high pitch screech sounds, before the pummeling blues riff comes in, and Du Cann sings, “death walks behind you!” in his mocking tone. Sure, lyrics like, “lock the door, switch the light/you’ll be so afraid tonight/hide away from the bad/count the nine lives that you had/start to scream, shout for help/there is no one by your side/to forget what is done/seems so hard to carry on” seem a bit corny, outdated, and overwrought, but then again, it ain’t as if the lyrics for “Iron Man” have aged particularly well either. The next track, “VUG”, is just a fun instrumental workout, showcasing the talent of the three musicians; as is closing track, “Gershatzer.” And, the shuffling, kinda funky, and super catchy “Tomorrow Night” became a hit. “7 Streets” and “Sleeping for Years” are these heavy numbers, that bring back the negative tone of the opening cut, and “Nobody Else” is a depressing slow jam, which gets rockin’ in the second half. Sadly,  thanks to Crane’s insatiable appetite for musical progression, he fired every member of Atomic Rooster before they had a chance to capitalize on their hit, and moved his project into a funky soul direction.

6. Budgie – Never Turn Your Back on a Friend – MCA – 1973

There’s really not a whole lot to say about Budgie other than that they’re a power trio, and that they’re from Whales. Okay, all right, twist my arm, I’ll say more; in case you were wondering, a budgie is a parakeet, and glasses wearing bassist/singer Burke Shelley sounds like Geddy Lee. Also, Tony Bourge was the original guitarist, and Ray Phillips played drums, and they had funny song titles like “Hot as a Docker’s Arm Pit”, “Nude Disintegrating Parachutist Woman”, “You’re the Biggest Thing Since Powder’ed Milk”, and “In the Grip of a Tyrefitter’s Hand”; the last two of which are ON the album I’m currently about to talk about! Otherwise, Budgie was AWESOME. I tell people that they were heavy like Sabbath, but grooved out like Zeppelin, and that they didn’t worry too much about that whole “musical progression” thing. This is why they probably never really had any hits, sticking with their blues based heavy rock and heavy metal formula, and occasionally throwing in a pretty, acoustic slow jam like “Riding My Nightmare.” But, who cares? Their albums all rock, and indeed, Never Turn Your Back on a Friend, with its Roger Dean cover art and its cover of “Baby, Please Don’t Go”, is my favorite of the eleven official studio albums that they released. Someone’s going to yell at me for not mentioning that Metallica covered “Breadfan”, along with another Budgie song called “Crash Course in Brain Surgery”, that’s from a different album. Oh, and “In the Grip of a Tyrefitter’s Hand” has a drum solo.

5. Blue Oyster Cult – Secret Treaties – Columbia – 1974

First things first: the “cowbell” joke from Saturday Night Live isn’t funny. It’s just not, so stop saying it. Second of all, Blue Öyster Cult is weird, maaaan… I know the world at large knows ’em for their three big hits, “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper”, “Godzilla”, and “Burning for You”, and those ARE great songs, but dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover that BOC were never a standard group of bar-cum-arena rockers that your baby boomer dad listens to; I mean, he might, but that’s neither here nor there. And I KNOW that, with his beard, Eric Bloom looks more like a film director or philosophy professor, than the singer of a band, and that guitarist Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser has a sleazy, cocaine snorting, porno star mustache, much like David Byron of Uriah Heep, but FORGIVE THEM!!! This WAS the 70s after all, and while some things looked cool, other things have dated. Thankfully, you can’t say that for the music of Blue Öyster Cult, at least on their first three albums. Hailing from New York, the group, which also consisted of keyboardist/guitarist Alan Lanier, bassist Joe Bouchard, and his brother, drummer Albert Bouchard, signed to Columbia, and released a trio of classic LPs; Blue Öyster Cult, Tyranny and Mutation, and Secret Treaties. Most fans agree that Secret Treaties is probably their best album. It’s not really “heavy metal”; in fact it’s not really “heavy” at all, and the drums sound like two little toothpicks tapping on a box of matches. But the guitars are distorted and hard edged, and Roeser plays basic, punky riffs, creepy little melodies. and jazzy leads, as Lanier accentuates the riffs with his keyboard playing and occasional synth solos, especially on the near progressive “Flaming Telepaths.” Like on the first two albums, BOC is basically doing a soundtrack to a Lovecraft story or something out of a Warren magazine; celestial beings, subhuman freaks,  people with telepathic power, harvesters of eyes, “Cagey Cretins”, “Astronomy”, and “doing it to your daughter on a dirt road”, as Eric Bloom so eloquently puts it in “Career of Evil.” Someone’s going to yell at me for not mentioning that Metallica covered “Astronomy.” Also, the song “ME 262” is sung from the perspective of a Nazi fighter pilot and invents the colorful colloquial “heavy metal fruit.” Once the group hit pay dirt with Agents of Fortune in 1976, they would streamline their sound for the mainstream rubes, but thankfully they got weird again on Cultasaurus Erectus and Fire of Unknown Origin.

4. Iggy and the Stooges – Raw Power – Columbia – 1973

It’s punk rock AND it’s cock rock! Many people consider the Stooges to be the first punk band, completely incongruous with the hippie trends of the late 60s and the progressive/metal/arena rock trends of the early 70s. I guess you could make that argument and be about 70% correct, but you could find the same level of primal aggression in Blue Cheer, the same level of pessimism in Frank Zappa, and the same basic garagey rock in the Sonics, the Count Five, or the Nazz. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that the Stooges are a fantastic band; they released two underground classics, The Stooges and Fun House, with the original lineup – singer Iggy Pop, guitarist Ron Asheton, his brother, drummer Scott Asheton, and bassist Dave Alexander, along with saxophonist Steve MacKay on the second LP – before going on hiatus in 1971 when they were dropped by Elektra, and then were discovered by David Bowie shortly after. Initially, Bowie wanted to help Iggy Pop start a new band, flying him over to England and auditioning new musicians for him, but then Iggy insisted that his buddy, guitarist James Williamson, fly over as well, and the Asheton bothers joined soon after. Of course, now the band was called Iggy and the Stooges, and they had new management and a new label, and Ron Asheton was moved over to bass, allowing James Williamson to take over his original spot, but the Stooges were back. Running 34 minutes and containing eight cuts, Raw Power contains middle upper tempo, guitar fueled rock ‘n’ roll, over which Iggy Pop shouts antisocial sentiments like “I’m a street walkin’ with a heart full o’ napalm/I’m the runaway son of a nuclear a-bomb/I am the world’s forgotten boy/the one who searches and destroys!” in songs with titles like “Search and Destroy”, “Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell”, “Raw Power”, “Penetration”, and the perfectly named album closer “Death Trip.” James Williamson fills every space he can with his shrieking guitar leads, and the group soften things up a bit with the primarily acoustic number “Gimme Danger” and the slow blues jam “I Need Somebody.” They also throw in a fun, hand clappin’, butt shakin’ tune called “Shake Appeal.” Also, I like the 1996, over-the-top, “all in the red” mix more than the Bowie mix. Someone’s going to yell at me for not mentioning that Guns ‘n’ Roses covered “Raw Power.”

3. Hawkwind – Space Ritual – United Artists – 1973

“Dude, they’re the band that Lemmy was in before he started Motörhead!” is my standard opener before going into an endless tirade about the mighty Hawkwind, a band who I, shall we say, am more than just a casual fan of. Having started in 1969 and carrying on to this day, albeit with only one original member, guitarist Dave Brock, Hawkwind is similar to the Fall in that they flood the market with a bunch of albums, which confuse and intimidate the uninitiated out of ever wanting to jump aboard the ship, since they’re not sure what a good place to jump on even is. Of course, it’s slightly easier with Hawkwind, since you just go to the Lemmy albums first; Doremi Fasol Latido, Space Ritual, Hall of the Mountain Grill, and Warrior on the Edge of Time, the second of which was released in 1973, and is a double live LP that features most of the tunes from the LP right before it, one song from the pre-Lemmy album In Search of Space, a couple of new numbers, and a bunch of between song space gibberish about sonic attacks and seconds of forever; sadly, “Silver Machine”, the group’s most popular song and hit single, which Lemmy sang his first lead vocal on, and which made him Hawkwind’s most popular member during his brief tenure with the group, is not included. Space Ritual is surprisingly aggressive thanks to Simon King’s pounding percussion, Dave Brock’s three chord, “motorik” metal riffs, and Lemmy’s driving, proto-punk bass lines, especially on tracks like “Born to Go”, “Brainstorm”, “Lord of Light”, and “Master of the Universe.” And check out that bass solo on “Time We Left This World Today”! It’s also interesting how originally acoustic numbers from Doremi, “Space Is Deep” and “Down Through the Night”, were played as electric tunes and had bass and drum parts added to them. Throw in copious amounts of “wah-wah” solos, some sax bleating and flute blowing from Nik Turner, and some “wishy-wooshy” sounds created by Dikmik Davies and Del Detmar, and you have one hellova head banging, intergalactic trip through time and space to listen to while you stare at a blank, static filled TV screen after dropping acid or eating five pot cookies; if you’re into that type of thing, that is.

2. Black Sabbath – Vol. 4 – Warner Bros. – 1972

The kids today love their doom rock. And while it’s great that they’re at least ripping off one of the best bands, rather than one of the worst, they’re still missing the big picture. Black Sabbath weren’t only good because of Toni Iommi’s heavy, drop D riffs, but because they could also jam like nobody’s business. It’s hard to think of Sabbath without Iommi’s bluesy leads, Geezer Butler’s whirling, hypnotic bass lines, or Bill Ward’s jazzy drumming. And, with the monotonous, odd, and impossible to copy timbre of Ozzy’s voice, the formula was complete. Unlike their first three albums, Black Sabbath, Paranoid, and Master of Reality, Vol. 4 has no hits; just ten deep cuts, that make a good soundtrack for a trip into the abyss. On opening cut “Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener”, Ozzy informs the listener that he is but an insignificant speck in the universe, and that the world will continue turning long after he’s gone. The album gets a little less bleak with the second track, “Tomorrow’s Dream.” “Cornucopia” and “Under the Sun/Everyday Comes and Goes” have a couple of the heaviest opening riffs ever recorded. “Snowblind” is all about the cocaine, which is strange considering that Sabbath is a pot-smoker’s band. And “Supernaut” has science fiction lyrics about seeing the future and then leaving it behind. There are a couple of silly moments, like the sentimental vocal and piano ballad “Changes” and the proggy noise guitar piece “F/X.” And there’s also a pretty classical acoustic guitar instrumental called”Laguna Sunrise.” Otherwise, Vol.4 is Sabbath’s masterwork, or one of several, I guess.

1. Alice Cooper – Love It to Death – Warner Bros. – 1971

Known for his gaunt frame, “scary” jester and/or spider-eye makeup, theatrical stage show, golf enthusiasm, and alcoholism (though, it was revealed in the documentary Super Duper Alice Cooper that he also had a freebasing habit, which explains why he looked so emaciated between 1978-1983), Alice Cooper, the persona, was born on Love It to Death, the third album by Alice Cooper, the band, when it was released in 1971. After the Pretties for You and Easy Action albums, which were released on Frank Zappa’s Straight label, and contain a mix of psychedelia, hard rock, and free jazz, along with incomprehensible lyrical gibberish, Toronto based neophyte producer Bob Ezrin suggested that singer Alice Cooper (who was born Vincent Furnier, in case you were wondering), lead guitarist Glenn Buxton, rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway, and drummer Neil Smith focus on what they’re good at; Stones/Who/Yardbirds-inspired hard rock, with lyrics about teen angst, sex, and the macabre. Of course, the rest is history; “I’m Eighteen” became a huge hit, and the group, and later the man, went onto mega stardom, with a career that continues to this day. Love It to Death contains nine songs, eight originals and a hippie spoof cover of Rolf Harris’ “Sun Arise.” Of the originals, one is the nine minute long “Black Juju”, which is driven by a dark ‘n’ heavy riff, accompanied by a spooky church organ, and is sung from the perspective of a voodoo priest, who appears to be resurrecting the dead. Another is the six minute “Ballad of Dwight Fry”, which tells the tale of a man who is put away in an asylum for two weeks, gets let out, and then strangles a man to death; for the song, Alice recorded his vocal track while wearing a straight-jacket, and, to this day, performs the song in one as well. The rest of the album consists of short, sharp, and catchy rock tunes, like the spoiled brat anthem “Caught in a Dream”, the punky “Long Way to Go”, the burlesque-inspired hard rock of “Is It My Body?”, and what sounds like a caustic warning against moral degeneracy in “Hallowed Be My Name.” I never quite figured out if Alice is actually trying to deliver the warning himself, or if he’s singing from the perspective of a religious figure watching his flock go astray in lines like, “sluts and the hookers have taken your money/the queens are out dancing/but now they’re not funny/’cause there goes one walking/away with your sonny/cursing their lovers/cursing the bible/hallowed be my name/yelling at fathers/screaming at mothers/hallowed be my name.” And the next song is called “Second Coming”, which seems to be about a guy who is trying to not go to Hell or something. Did I mention that Alice Cooper is a Born Again Christian and a Republican?

Ten Things I Will Always Find Funny About Old Movies

dvdsA couple days ago, I once again enjoyed Howard Hawks’ 1959 western Rio Bravo, in which John Wayne plays sheriff John T. Chance, who is trying to keep a gang of thugs from running roughshod all over his dinky little town, while only having help from an alcoholic named Dude played by Dean Martin and a cripple named Stumpy played by Walter Brennan. There’s so much to like about the movie; the budding romance between an awkward and possibly virginal John T. Chance and the super hot gambling huckster babe Feathers (Angela Dickinson); Dean Martin’s struggle with the bottle; the comic relief from Stumpy; the gun slinging action; baby faced Ricky Nelson proving his chops to the older guys… what a GREAT movie, right?

Well, yeah, except if you’re not used to watching these kinds of movies. For one thing, at two hours and twenty minutes, Rio Bravo doesn’t exactly BREEZE by. On top of that, for being a western, it’s actually pretty low on action. It’s a CHARACTER driven movie, rather than one based upon a lot of fast paced gun play. Thirdly, I can picture young people finding Ricky Nelson incredibly annoying with his “yes sir”/”no sir”/”gee wiz sir” persona. Okay he doesn’t say “gee wiz”, but he does look like an overly wholesome little boy, not a rough and tumble gunslinger. And fourth, you have to suspend your disbelief since nobody bleeds when they get shot, and John Wayne gets knocked out rather easily when he trips over some wire. I’ll talk about those below, but my point is that, unless someone regularly watches old films and is used to suspending his or her disbelief, which is what audiences had to do before better special effects were created, a movie like Rio Bravo might seem dated and downright silly.

So, the other day, I read an article from LA Weekly called “Stop Laughing At Old Movies, You $@%&ing Hipsters” in which the author complained that hipsters laugh at old movies because of the hammy acting, outdated special effects and cheap set designs. While, in principle, I agree this is a stupid thing to do, especially if you shelled out the money for the movie in the first place, I also feel that the author was using the wrong movie with which to make her point.

She had attended a screening of Mario Bavo’s 1961 fantasy epic Hercules in the Haunted World, for which the theater provided a 23-piece orchestra and nine singers to accompany the soundtrack. What the fuck for? Hercules in the Haunted World is one of hundreds of Italian peplum films that came out in the late 50s though the early 60s; sword and sandal adventure epics where shaved and greased down, half naked body builders of questionable acting ability fight atop foam rocks and coliseum backdrops either in historical reenactments or purely fantastical plots against giant puppets or stop motion monsters while attempting to save unbelievably gorgeous women, who are most likely supermodels, not professional actresses. Do you see where I’m going with this? Hercules in the Haunted World is not exactly high art. So the fact that people laughed at the melodrama, cheesy special effects or the fake looking sets is NOT necessarily because of their philistinism, but possibly because the movie was legitimately funny at times.

That doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable, but COME ON. Some things just DO NOT age well. And considering the other examples of films the author gave- 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Godfather, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Shining, The Exorcist – it make me wonder if she’s not talking out of her ass or just happened to be in the theater on a particularly bad day. So I decided to give the “hipsters” the benefit of the doubt and compile a list of items from old movies which will always evoke at least a smirk out of me, if not outright laughter. Lighten up guys, they’re just movies.

1.) When people get knocked out cold by a single, ineffectual hit

Either people were much weaker in the past, or people used to hit a lot harder, but it’s funny to note how easily people can just get knocked out in old movies. I’ve taken the kinds of hits and spills that have knocked out some of the characters in these old movies and not gotten knocked out; am I then to believe that I’m tougher than John Wayne? Case in point; Rio Bravo. The nogoodniks in the film stretch a string across the base of a stairway, John Wayne goes running down it, crashes to the ground and is out like a light. Now, that’s just ridiculous; I’ve actually drunkenly tumbled down concrete stairs and stood up unaffected. Scott Rosendall, my wheelchair confined buddy, went speeding down a flight of stairs, sat up and crawled into his awaiting wheelchair. Is wheelchair using Scott Rosendall then tougher than John Wayne? Another example that immediately comes to mind is when the monster in The Thing from Another World (1951) pushed the scientist over, and he was out cold. Seriously, the monster just pushed him, and he was out. If people got knocked out just from being pushed, then every single mosh pit would quickly turn into a mountain of unconscious bodies laying one atop another.

2.) When people get shot, but don’t bleed

Howard Hawks’ 1932 gangster classic Scarface, which stars Paul Muni as a prohibition era liquor peddling thug named Tony Comanti, was once considered one of the most violent movies of all time. But how violent is a movie where nobody expels any actual blood? We see lots of smoking guns and people clutching their chests and/or bellies either out of pain or to hide the fact that there is no actual bullet hole, but NOBODY BLEEDS!!! Now, in old fashion Westerns, this is somewhat excusable considering that cowboys were using pea shooters that often couldn’t even break skin, but for cryin’ out loud, these gangsters are using TOMMY GUNS to fill rival gangsters and the occasional innocent bystander full of holes. What’s even more problematic is that this wasn’t fully alleviated until WELL into the 60s. Although Hammer studios introduce blood and gore via Dracula (known as Horror of Dracula in North America) to the big screen and a surprising amount of it considering it came out in 1958, and Hitchcock’s Psycho had “blood” in the form of chocolate syrup going down a shower drain during the infamous Janet Leigh stabbing scene, and John Ford’s 1962 western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance showed a tiny bit of blood dripping from John Wayne’s arm, Sergio Leone’s 1964 western A Fistful of Dollars had a scene where some banditos disguised as Union soldiers gun down a bunch of Mexican soldiers, and NONE of the Mexican soldiers bleeds a single drop. Thank God for the invention of the squib!

3.) When monsters can do nothing but push or throw people

In real life, if you pick up a little girl and throw her into your local pond, and she drowns, you’re one sadistic son of a bitch! However, if you do the same thing in a movie, such as the 1931 classic Frankenstein, you’re pretty much stretching the boundaries for the amount of violence you’re allowed to inflict on other people on a movie screen. Wait, no, there is the part where Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant Fritz is found hanging on a noose, but in general, the movie monsters couldn’t really DO anything, and you had to REALLY use your imagination. Probably the most annoying culprit is the creature in Creature from the Black Lagoon. It screeches, it stomps around, it kidnaps the girl, it pushes people and well, it pushes more people. Hey, did you see that super crazy, violent horror movie where the monster pushes people? Okay, old horror movies did have some surprisingly grizzly scenes – the human head hunting trophies in The Most Dangerous Game, the scene where Bela Lugosi skins Boris Karloff alive in The Black Cat, the scene at the end of Island of Lost Souls where the mutants revolt and mutilate Charles Laughton with surgical tools, the scene in Freaks where we see Olga after she’s been turned into a duck woman – but none of the actual violence happens ON screen; one noteworthy exception is in the 1933 British horror film The Ghoul, where a corpse played by Boris Karloff carves an ankh into his chest with a knife, and I suppose you can count the scene in King Kong when the gorilla steps on a baby’s head, but these are the exception. Do we get to SEE the werewolf in Werewolf of London or The Wolf Man mutilate people? Did we actually SEE Count Dracula suck anyone’s blood? Of course not (at least not until Terence Fisher’s 1958 adaptation of Dracula); we have to pretend these monsters are hurting people! One point of interest is that, in 1938, when Frankenstein had a theatrical re-release (on a triple bill with Dracula and Son of Kong), censors in various cities snipped the part where the monster throws the girl into the water, cutting right as the monster leans in on her and grins, unintentionally implying something far more sinister than what actually took place in the excised footage.

4.) When people replace swear words with words that you hear in kids cartoons

Imagine you’re watching a detective or gangster picture, and a character gets really angry, and he says, “you better watch it, buster!” BUSTER? Did people actually say BUSTER back then? Not even “you bastard”, but “BUSTER”?! Somehow seeing Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe or Mike Hammer or Little Ceasar Rico or Tom Powers or whoever else say “buster” just doesn’t make them seem as bad ass as they once seemed. And everyone knows that, when people think of “bad ass”, they think of an adorable, diminutive  Jewish man named Edward G. Robinson.

5.) Any black actor prior to Sidney Poitier, Woody Strode or that one guy in Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing

In the 1950s, liberal directors of the era all of a suddenly began casting blacks in relatively respectable roles. When I say blacks, I mean Sidney Poitier, Woody Strode and that one guy that was in Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing; and by “respectable”, I mean you’re supposed to feel bad for that guy – okay, fine, his name is James Edwards, and he was in such noteworthy films as Robert Wise’s The Set-Up (1949) and Samuel Fuller’s The Steel Helmet (1951) – when Timothy Carey tells him, “you’re wrong, nigger.” But before that, hooo boy… You don’t want to laugh because you’ll be looked at as an asshole, but hey, back then the roles given to black actors weren’t exactly the most empowering, talking like completely illiterate, recently freed slaves with their “suh, suh, I’s dint know, suh suh.” To be fair, Clarence Muse, the coach driver in the 1932 horror film White Zombieand I guess he was in a bunch of other stuff, like the b-picture Invisible Ghost (1941) and Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street (1945) –  wasn’t too, how shall I say it… well, he shouts, “ZOMBIES!!!”, not “SUH! SUH! I SEES ZOMBIES, SUH!!!” However the same can’t be said for Mantan Moreland in King of the Zombies (1941) or Napoleon Simpson in  The Mummy’s Curse (1944). Oh, and check out the hilarious maid roles played by Butterfly McQueen in Gone with the Wind (1939), Mildred Pierce (1945) and many others. Quoth McQueen: “I didn’t mind playing a maid the first time, because I thought that was how you got into the business. But after I did the same thing over and over, I resented it. I didn’t mind being funny, but I didn’t like being stupid.”

6.) All white people pretending to be non-white people

I’m definitely going to hell for this one… from Walter Long as the freed slave Gus in Birth of a Nation to Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer to Boris Karloff’s portrayal of the “yellow menace” Fu Manchu in The Mask of Fu Manchu to Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to all of the Spaniards and Italians who played Indians in John Ford’s Cheyenne Autumn… in our modern times, it’s seen as ugly, tacky, grotesque and unpleasant the way many a white actor has portrayed blacks, Asians, Americans Indians and even Arabs – Stanley Donen’s 1965 film Arabesque f’rinstance –  but the clumsy and ham-fisted delivery of these characters causes me to giggle, and to suppress your laughter in the face of political correctness is to die a slow death.

7.) When people act overly scared by stuff that isn’t very scary

Once again, to be fair, one could say this about the majority of old horror films. However, sometimes  an actor or actress’s delivery is so melodramatic, and the fear he or she evinces is so over the top when compared to what he or she is experiencing in the movie, that it becomes comical. The funniest example off the top of my head is the woman shrieking as though she’s being raped as a puppet skeleton approaches her in William Castle’s 1959 schlock fest House on Haunted Hill.

8.) People in rubber monster costumes destroying miniature cities

Everyone who knows about Godzilla knows that each Godzilla movie got progressively sillier, as Godzilla himself went from being a symbol of atomic horror to a downright adorable, lovable dinosaur that, in spite destroying entire cities, had a buddy in the form of a ten year old boy in Godzilla’s Revenge (1969). But even in the original 1954 Gojira, the one where it’s a straight up horror movie without any of the cutesiness, he’s still just a guy in a suit throwing around toy cars and walking over miniature model cities between cuts of freaked out Tokyo citizens. And let’s face it; in a lot of these films, the buildings just look like milk cartons with squares painted on them. In the case of the 1962 Swedish monster film Reptilicus, a miniature monster destroys other miniatures and, since no rear screen projection is even used to put people on screen with the monster, the film ends up looking like a glorified puppet show.

9.) Scrolling backgrounds you see from car windows

Driving sequences in old movies just don’t look very realistic, ya know?

10.) REALLY vague allusions to sex 

The film noir pot boiler Kiss Me Deadly, adapted from the Mickey Spillane novel of the same name, directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Ralph Meeker as the sleazy private dick Mike Hammer, is a remarkably modern, unflinchingly violent and hard edged film for something that came out in 1955; the torture sequence alone is rather chilling. Yet even it suffered from the censorious confines of the era in which it was conceived. It’s remarkable how intimidating both Meeker and the underworld thugs he encounters can be in spite nary a single cuss word being uttered. But what I found rather odd was how, when Hammer spoke with his lovely secretary Velda (Maxine Cooper), he asked her, “did you date him?” This is code for, “did you seduce him and/or sleep with him in order to snag him in an extramarital affair?” Now, come on, he asks her “did you date him?” She could just as easily say, “Yep! We went to the movies last night, and it was great!” At least that’s how I would have interpreted such a question. Another example of this type of vague sexual allusion is in Fritz Lang’s 1952 drama Clash by Night, in which Jerry D’Amato(Paul Douglas) finds out that his wife Mae (Barbra Stanwyck) had been cheating on him with Robert Ryan’s character Earl Pfeiffer. The line they used to reveal this was, “we spent all afternoon together.” WE SPENT ALL AFTERNOON TOGETHER?! Doing what? Playing cards? Watching TV? Picking our bellybutton lint? We’re just supposed to KNOW that when a man and a woman spend the afternoon together – not the NIGHT, mind you – they were necessarily fucking?!

The Alt-Right, Punk Rock and Fake Boobs: An Analysis

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The worst thing about people who are full of shit is when they become fans of things that you both enjoy and are a much, much greater expert on. I think I’m in some position of authority to state that most punk rockers don’t know as much as I do about the Alternative Right or the general umbrella of the new right. And similarly I think it’s safe to say that most people on the Alternative Right have only a cursory knowledge of punk rock. So, as someone who is a damn near expert on both of these topics – not saying I was ever on the vanguard of either of these movements – I think I’m at least qualified to call bullshit on a recent article published by Playboy magazine.

But before I even analyze the recent Playboy piece “5 Punk Rockers Explain Why the Alt-Right’s ‘Punk Movement’ is Garbage“, let’s ALL put on our bullshit detectors.

Is Playboy not the magazine that 13 year old boys jerked off to for the first time? Is it not the “classy” boobie mag that was started by a pipe smoking, middle aged-cum (no pun intended)-dirty old pervert, who would feature pictorials of attractive women with their beach blonde hair and big, fake boobs? Wasn’t Hugh himself the subject of the wrath of second wave feminists?

Yeah, I know… Playboy has articles too; and there are people who actually read the articles, rather make their fathers question why all the pages in his books are stuck together. And, from my understanding, there was even an era when Playboy actually had good articles from “legit” writers like Woody Allen – who, liberal as he might be, bless his soul, never became a feminist or stopped being a pussy chasing dog – and Gore Vidal. But that was the 60s, and you had to feign intellectualism in those days.

Regardless of its praising of certain liberal causes, Playboy has long since been just a porn mag-lite (no beaver shots), known for launching the careers of airheads like Jenny McArthy and Pamela Anderson.

So why, all of a sudden, do they fancy themselves the authority on punk rock and feel that they can decide that “the Alt-Right’s ‘Punk Movement’ is Garbage”?

First of all, there IS no AltRight punk movement, because if there was, then my name would be in the article. Not only am I the guy who printed the first ever Punks for Trump t-shirts (only 50 left as of this writing; BUY BUY BUY!!!), but that’s Matt Forney, one of the definitive AltRighters, in the picture below wearing one.

forney_with_chicks

But, even if the article’s writer, Michael Tedder, was aware of this fact, he still misses the point entirely:

Members of the alt-right have of late made the argument that “conservatism is the new punk” and that gadflies like Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos are the modern day truth-telling equivalents of the Sex Pistols and the Clash, pushing back against social justice warriors and political correctness culture. In their eyes, their old, retrograde ideas—which inevitably manifest as fear and outrage at attempts to curb white male privilege—have suddenly become avant-garde because of…safe spaces or something.

Neither Alex Jones nor Milo Yiannopoulos are “AltRight.” They’re libertarians. They’ve adopted some of the less extreme views of the AltRight – that cultural Marxism sucks, that SJWs of all stripes and shades are stupid and that Islam is a threat to Western civilization – but they were never considered part of the movement; to call them AltRight would be like calling the Cars a punk band. Sure the Venn diagrams overlap, but they’re not one and the same. To be honest, I’m not considered “AltRight” by some of the more radical elements either because I’m not a White Nationalist, I don’t believe that all ethnic groups need to be separated at all costs and I don’t fit the proper genetic stock. The AltRight actually has quite a bit of diversity of thought under its umbrella, but a person on the left will never take the time to investigate any of this.

But I digress. As far as the “new right” (which includes the AltRight) being considered “the new punk rock”, well… I suppose that depends on how you define “punk rock.” And that’s where we get to the meat, spikes, leather and chains of the article; unless, of course, you’re a modern day vegan-feminist-hippie-crust-punk, who dodges showers the way the hippies dodged the draft. Then you probably think the original punks were fascists for wearing and eating dead cow.

Most AltRighters don’t know that much about punk and all of the bands it produced or its various sub-genres and their spin-offs. If ANYTHING, while AltRighters might espouse the general, “offend the easily offended” attitude of the Sex Pistols, and while I think Trump is pissing off all the right people, AltRighters specifically probably have more in common with the Oi! band 4Skins, who wrote this wonderful anti-immigrant slam “One Law for Them”, in which they quote the “rivers of blood” speech by Enoch Powell, or the Canadian punk band Forgotten Rebels, who have the hilarious “Bomb the Boat and Feed the Fish”, in which they advocate a rather more, um, violent solution to the problem of mass immigration from third world countries. Hell, I’d even say they have more in common with hardcore punk bands like Agnostic Front, who have the anti-welfare screed “Public Assistance”, which got them in a heap of shit with the PC brigade, or Minor Threat, who mince no words in “Guilty of Being White”, or Black Flag, who sing about the changing ethnic demographic in Southern California in “White Minority” (oh, but they’re being ironic, cantcha tell?!).

But, instead Playboy claims they found the TRUE representatives of punk rock, and these people, who quite obviously have next to no knowledge of the AltRight, explain why someone on the AltRight can’t be punk.

First they get a quote from Victoria Ruiz from some band called the Downtown Boys. (And if you leftist fags say, “uh, what a POSER, you’ve never heard of the Downtown Boys?”, I’ll say, “go fuck yourself, you’ve never heard of Aryan Disgrace, Metal Urbain or the Mentally Ill.”)

Alice Bag, who has actually done the work of being a punk rock star, recently said via Facebook: “Punk has been portrayed as music by and for angry white males, but in its inception, it was a rebellion against all rock cliches. Gender, ethnic, sexual and class taboos were all challenged by our early punk community and that is a story which is not very often told. People of color, queer folk, women—all were present from the very beginning of Punk.”

Yeah, fine, Alice Bag and the Bags are actually really good – how can they not be? They had Geza X on guitar! – but Republican Johnny Ramone has done WAY more work of being a punk rock star. Not to mention Lee Ving of Fear, who wrote the classic “The Mouth Don’t Stop (the Trouble with Women).” And so has leftist clown Jello Biafra. So what? Okay, fine, Darby Crash, the singer of the Germs, was a fag. And their guitarist Pat Smear is black. And Ivan Julian, the rhythm guitarist for Richard Hell and the Voidoids, is also black. And the Bad Brains are all black and were known for their queer-bashing because they “be Rasta, mon, and Rasta don’ like no bloodclot faggots!” Again, so what? That changes precisely what again? The answer is coming; wait for it:

I think that this is exactly why it is nonsense when the alt-right strings together vapid words to try and incite a playground fight with those of us who put blood, sweat and tears into creating an expression that is the antithesis of everything that these alt-right meatheads represent. They are simply a distraction to the women, femmes, queers and people of color filling the columns of Spin, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, the New York Times and numerous other publications that report on culture. I don’t see actual alt-right bands headlining Coachella, I see Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar—two of the most punk in terms of crystallizing dissent about the status quo —artists taking the stage. Real punk is and will always be a total threat to the alt-right and their culture, which is based on white supremacy. Otherwise it isn’t real punk. The alt-right’s tactics are FAKE PUNK. The alt-white (I mean right) want us to sip tea, but we are drinking fresh water from a firehose.

In other words, according to this person, the AltRight DOESN’T represent the punk rock ethos because they AREN’T represented in corporate mainstream media and DON’T perform at corporately sponsored music festivals. I think even the old timey leftists at Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll would raise an eyebrow at that. But more specifically, AltRighters and anyone who espouses views that are heretical to the PC establishment need to be purged from all mainstream discourse. Also probably the main reason no “AltRight bands” have ever performed at Coachella is because THERE ARE NO ALT-RIGHT BANDS to speak of. And even if there were, they wouldn’t be invited to play these festivals. In fact corporately sponsored festivals like the Scion Rock Fest has dumped bands when they were suspected of having “nefarious” connections. But apparently Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar are totally punk as fuck, man.

Next we have Chris Freeman of Pansy Division, the only name on the list I recognize. Feel free to read his lengthy, bitchy diatribe yourself. The only thing that stuck with me was this:

Punk rock for me was about free-thinking more than free speech, and I say that not to minimize free speech but to point out how robotic life had become in the 1970s.

Uh, oookay…. moving right along then…

Well, what do we have here? Erika M. Anderson seems to be the only person of the bunch with a brain!

I think if you define punk as simply being a group of angry young men wanting to say “fuck you” to dominant societal norms and current values, then the roots of the alt-right are definitely one of the most punk things going on right now.

AGREED… but:

But that’s like narrowing your definition of punk down to the Sex Pistols—which was basically a boy band put together by a pair of London clothing designers who wanted to use shock tactics to promote their fashion line. I much prefer Crass (who were anarchists, feminists, environmentalists and better songwriters!), X-Ray Spex or even Pansy Division. But my guess is that if you are truly invested in the theory of alt-right as new punk, then facts about the diversity of the movement aren’t really going to appeal to you.

Oo, calling the Sex Pistols a boy band… them’s fightin’ words! Julian Temple’s 2000 documentary The Filth and the Fury puts that myth to rest. Plus, even if it were true, that doesn’t change the fact that “No Feelings” is one of the best songs ever. To be fair, Crass makes some pretty righteous noise even if they’re views are stupid, and X-Ray Spex tear it up with their noisy, bleating sax and Poly Styrene’s caterwauling; I don’t think I’ve ever heard Pansy Division. Regardless, I AM invested in parts of the alt-right, but as proven above, I’m aware that there were black, gay and gurl punks. Her rant concludes with this:

Indeed, it’s all keks and lulz until a con man takes office and fills his cabinet with incompetent billionaires who don’t actually care about free speech, poverty, or really anything but themselves. Turns out there is a thin line between being punk and getting punk’d.

Oo, she’s clever!

Some guy named Andy Nelson at least gets one thing right:

It is no great secret that for all its posturing and incremental progress over the years, underground punk is still, regrettably, a culture dominated by straight whites males.

I wouldn’t say “regrettably”, but:

The notion that expressing all the hateful bigotry that the entirety of American society has been reinforcing forever would resemble the anti-establishment in any form is a premise so asinine and feeble-minded it is nearly beyond comprehension. Insofar as “Alt-Right Punk” is a real thing, I remind you that we’ve seen this type of thing before, and we’ve seen how it ends: Just ask Dave Smalley and Michael Graves what kind of traffic that moronic website ConservativePunk.com is getting these days.

Hey, if you don’t like it in the United States, you’re free to live in such tolerant countries as Iran and Saudi Arabia. As for Dave Smalley and Michael Graves, I’m not sure what kind of traffic they get on their moronic website these days, and I’m too lazy to check.

And finally Patrick Stickles of some band called Titus Andronicus (isn’t Shakespeare racist or something?) begins with:

In determining if conservatism/“alt-right” is the “new punk” or “political punk rock” or whatever they are saying, we must first address the distinction between “punk,” the ideology, “punks,” who practice said ideology, and “punk rock,” the musical genre/fashion template with which we associate acts like the Sex Pistols or Ramones or Black Flag and “punk rockers,” those who adhere to those templates.

No, we mustn’t. Well,you can if ya want, but I’m going to listen to this here Dictators song and have myself a vodka/diet coke mixer.

White Trumps on Dope, an Open Letter to Jello Biafra

jello_biafra_trumpIf you were ever 14 and didn’t go through a Dead Kennedys phase, you are one sad kid.  The Dead Kennedys are a wicked, sick killer band.  Their songs are ferociously hooky, and the musicianship of guitarist East Bay Ray, bassist Klaus Flouride and drummers Ted (a.k.a. Bruce Slesinger) and D.H. Pelligro eschews the notion that “punk bands can’t play.”  On top of all that, you have liberal loudmouth yahoo, Eric “Jello Biafra” Bouchard’s quivering, clown like vibrato caustically waxing about a dystopic future dominated by corporate interests, where the average American is nothing more than a cog in a machine and enters the workforce only to be spit out the other end when his productivity has expired.

In addition to bashing corporations and Republicans, Biafra takes swipes at “jocks”, “goons”, “hicks”, “racists” and basically anybody who is white and male.  Before I even read The Redneck Manifesto, I found it strange that, for someone who allegedly cares about the “everyman”, Biafra sure likes to make low-ball attacks on the po’ white folk in songs like “Winnebago Warrior” or “Goons of Hazard.”  Hell the latest album by his current band, Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine (oh, ho ho!), is called White People and the Damage Done.  What’s with the formalities?  Why not just call it Kill All the White People?  Or maybe that’s so unsubtle that people would think it’s a joke.

But, I do respect the man and his band’s uphill struggle against censorship.  I also find it ironic that it’s someone on the left who tried to destroy his career after the Dead Kennedys inserted the H.R. Giger painting, Landscape XX, into the sleeve of the Frankencrhist LP.  I found it doubly ironic that he’s spent his career defending free speech in an era when it was people on his side that are trying to kill it with political correctness.

And then he pulls this shit.  “Nazi Trump Fuck Off”?!  Like are you fucking serious?  For those not in the know, the Dead Kennedys song “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”, a minute long blast of raging hardcore that attacked assholes on the scene who liked to start fights and beat people up in the pit, was originally released on their 1981 EP In God We Trust, Inc.  Later on, as Nazi Skinheads became a regular fixture in the punk, hardcore and metal scenes of the 80s and 90s, the song seemed actually kind of prescient and important.  By 2016, as occurrences of neo-Nazi gang beatings are practically non-existent in most punk scenes, the song has lost all relevance outside of being a fun blast of hardcore with a well meaning, but otherwise, completely safe message.

So, then I have to ask: is Biafra THAT stupid or is he so damn desperate to keep the pulse on the finger of the young “punx”, a subculture that’s nearing its fortieth year and has all but been turned into a leftist recruitment tool, that he’s willing to pull out Godwin’s law, internet-meme level, stupid tropes like “Trump’s a Nazi” in order to keep the spiky haired fan base tuned in?  And on top of that, are they so stupid that they actually believe him?

Don’t answer that question.

Anyone who pays attention to what Trump has said knows that that man is not only NOT a Nazi, he doesn’t even care about abortions, gay marriage, marijuana or transgender issues;  he literally answers questions about all of these topics with something along the lines of, “I will, but I won’t, but I care, but I don’t.”  Translation: “I just want close the border, end trade deals and not let Syrian refugees in the country.  Other than that, do whatever the heck you want.”  In fact, many strict, hard-liner evangelicals say he’s not conservative enough.

Trump’s contentious views regard illegal immigrants, most of whom are Mexican, and Syrian “refugees”, most of whom are male and Muslim.  No matter how Biafra wants to cut and slice it, most Americans feel the immigration system is broken; they don’t like sanctuary cities, immediate citizenship upon birth or how their cities are turning into Spanish speaking barrios; they wouldn’t like it if their cities were turning into Polish speaking ghettos either.  On top of that, many Americans don’t feel comfortable with letting 10,000 Syrian refugees, people who have values quite different from those of the West as evidenced by, oh, I dunno, incidents in Europe ranging from the raping of a bunch of women in Cologne to the blowing up of the Bataclan in Paris, into the United States.  It’s apparently “racist” now to want to keep your family safe.  Except that Islam isn’t a race; it’s a religion.  Wasn’t it Jello Biafra who wrote “Religious Vomit”?

All religions make me wanna throw up
All religions make me sick
All religions make me wanna throw up
All religions suck
They all claim that they have the truth
That’ll set you free
Just give ’em all your money and they’ll set you free
Free for a fee

They all claim that they have ‘the Answer’
When they don’t even know the Question
They’re just a bunch of liars
They just want your money
They just want your consciousness

[Chorus]
All religions suck
All religions make me wanna throw up
All religions suck
All religions make me wanna BLEAH

They really make me sick
They really make me sick
They really make me sick
They really make me sick
They really make me sick
They really make me ILL

ALL religions, Jello.  I get it; in your estimation, ALL religions just means “Christianity and ALL of its derivations.”  But to us, Jello, that is, the people who aren’t brainwashed by cultural Marxism, “ALL religions” means you can’t play favorites.  As far as we’re concerned, there’s ONE religion that we need to watch out for.  Here, let me give you a hint there, buddy:

muhammad

See that guy?  If you’re a gay person or a woman, that guy is not on your side.  If you’re a Jew, Christian or atheist, that guy is especially not on your side.  Trump wants to ban 10,000 people who believe in that guy from entering the United States, and he’s the Nazi?

I really love the Dead Kennedys.  In fact I think the rest of the band are a bunch of buffoons for hiring scabs like Brandon Cruz, Jeff Penalty and that one guy from that one band to take your spot.  I really love the records you made with Mojo Nixon, Tumor Circus, Nomeansno, D.O.A., the Melvins and even your latest band with the really stupid name.  Hell, I saw you guys twice, and Andrew Weiss killed it!  Jello, if you read this, I’m the guy who was at the show at Small’s in 2010, whose mouth you stuffed one of your rubber gloves into and then rudely shoved a mic in my face asking if I had anything “intelligent” to say.  Well, I didn’t at the time, but I do now.

You’re a coward.  Your buddies in Conflict, who wrote that great, anti-Muslim song “An Option”, on the other hand, might share your retarded, anti-Capitalist sentiment, but they at least understand that letting more Muslims into their country will increase the risk of getting killed.

The Eagles of Death Metal were performing at the Bataclan and watched people get blown up.  Gavin McInnes interviewed vocalist Jesse Hughes, who some publications have banned because of his contentious views towards Muslims.  HE WATCHED PEOPLE DIE, and now people are calling him racist.  He’s pro-Trump and he’s anti-Muslim, which means, in this day and age, he’s anti-death and pro-survival.  He’s got balls, and you don’t.

I know you’ve got a career to maintain, but, if you’re going to take on the easiest, wussiest, least edgy political stance of all time in order to keep fourteen year old kids coming to your shows, can you at least not insult my intelligence with your bullshit?

 

 

Meet My New Co-Conspirator

I’m starting a blog called Right of the Dial with my new co-conspirator Lucy McGoldbergstein.  She used to teach economics and shit, and she thinks Detroiters “need to pay for their fucking water.”  I’ll continue to update SavageHippie, and like a true Jew, will save shekels by moving some of the best stuff from here to Right of the Dial.  Expect economic insights, current events, beauty tips and Holocaust denial.

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I Do Wanna go Back 50 Years and Do It Over.

me_pet_sounds_paper_backsI was discussing with my coworker whether, if it were 50 years ago, I would be into the music of the day.  My guess is most likely not.  I would imagine that a 32 year old version of me back in 1966 would have been married with a couple of kids, working a standard or above standard job, living in a nice house and buying my kids the paperback books you see me holding in the picture.  After all, if we’re going by what the culture was like back then, I probably would have outgrown “popular music” by, I dunno, 1952 at age 18 and focused entirely on either getting a career or going to college, back when having a college degree actually mattered.  The only reason I’m bringing all of this up is because I saw a Facebook post reminding me that the legendary Beach Boys album, Pet Sounds, was released 50 years ago, and it got me thinking about how art, culture and society have evolved/devolved in half a century.  So, let’s start with the topic I know the most about.

1966 is probably the most important year for rock ‘n’ roll.  The album took precedence over the single, and many of the most important albums were released that year.  Rock showed the establishment that it too could be taken seriously as a form of art.  Older, established bands were no longer content to just entertain an audience; now they were officially “artists.”

On Revolver the Beatles experimented with Eastern, Sitar sounds (“Love You To”) and backwards, psychedelic tape effects (“Tomorrow Never Knows”). On Aftermath, the Rolling Stones threw in baroque arrangements into “Lady Jane” and also used Eastern influences on both “Paint It Black” and “Mother’s Little Helper” – the former on the American version of Aftermath, and the latter on the European version.  And on their album, A Quick One, the Who performed the first “rock opera” (nine minute “A Quick One While He’s Away”).  On top of that, there were all of these wonderful, unique and creative albums from new bands; Black Monk Time by the Monks, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators by the 13th Floor Elevators, Freak Out! by Frank Zappa and his Mothers of Invention and both The Seeds and A Web of Sound by the Seeds, just to name a few.

One could say it was a gosh darned renaissance in pop music!  New ideas, new drugs, new open sexuality – the world was throwing off the shackles of the previous generation.  However, one album stands out among all of the other classics of ’66 for what sounds like a lamentation of all this “moving forward” that society was doing.  Okay, you could talk about how the Kinks sang about the loss of the old way of life to modernity, but for the sake of argument and because they’re British, let’s ignore them and focus on the album I’m holding in the picture: Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys.

If I’m not mistaken, most hipster people don’t think much of the Beach Boys because the group’s early surfin’, cruisin’, drag racin’ and tail chasin’ (okay, that last one was a bit of an exaggeration since their songs are pretty wholesome) world view reflected a macho, retrograde, capitalist, consumerist and all American culture that these days is all but a quaint memory.  That’s probably why the only Beach Boys album any of them seem to talk about is Pet Sounds.  And, I’m assuming that has more to do with Mike Love’s experimentation with orchestral flourishes, than what the group was singing about.  We want to turn on, tune in and drop out, and you’re singing songs about marriage?

When did the 60s actually start?  Well, obviously 1960, but 1960 was really no different than 1959.  We didn’t see any real spike in cultural upheaval until a few years after that.  As far as I’m concerned, the 1960s that Dennis Hopper says you weren’t in if you claim to remember it didn’t really begin until 1966.  Sure Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 put a damper on America’s soul, the 1964 Civil Rights Act rearranged how private businesses were allowed to operate, the 1965 Hart-Celler act fundamentally changed the American demographic from majority white to god knows what from god knows where and the 1965 Watts Riots led to the start of white flight from major cities to their neighboring suburbs, but a couple performances by some British rock bands on American TV in 1964 and 1965 didn’t exactly represent a rapidly shifting cultural zeitgeist as many would like to think.  In fact, if the clip that I saw of a couple of young people complaining about Jim Morrison’s onstage social/political rants are any indication, there were plenty of people from that era who viewed mainstream rock and pop music as nothing more than entertainment.

The true cultural shift began to manifest in about 1966.  Hollywood studios “broke the code” by releasing movies like Mike Nichols’ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, with blatant references to “humping”, and the Michelangelo Antonioni film Blow-Up, which has a bunch of nudity in it because, like, nudity is cool.  Anton LaVey launched his Church of Satan because traditional religions are for the birds.  Bra-burning feminists hit the scene.  Black Panthers began to patrol the streets of major cities.  The kids were being told to not trust anyone over 30.  Hair was getting longer, sex was getting looser, movies were getting smuttier, music was getting druggier and American society was embroiled in one of the biggest cultural wars it had ever faced since, I dunno, the Civil War?

angry_bikersAnd so, it’s 50 years later.  I’m a HUGE fan of pop-cultural ephemera, music, films, magazines and books from the 60s.  I wonder if it’s possible for all of this stuff to exist if the culture hadn’t taken such a massive nose dive; would there even all these cool sexploitation films and biker films and John Waters films and Satanic films and women in prison films and excessively violent Spaghetti Westerns if there wasn’t a society to reflect off of?  Granted, the gangster and crime pictures of the 30s through the 50s were already reflecting the darker side of American culture, and of course there were horror movies.  Companies like American International made sensational movies like Teenage DollThe Wild Angels and The Trip so that the average Joe could experience “the other side” without having to join a gang, get into a violent brawl or drop a hit of acid himself.

When all was said and done, the majority of people didn’t participate in the lunacy and cultural degeneracy of the 1960s; they worked jobs, got married and had kids.  The ones that were part of the counterculture either became burnouts or were absorbed into academia and various parts of government, taking their views with them and forcing them onto future generations.

I’m sure many of the geriatric counterculture types who were alive in the 60s would never have guessed that we would have men in women’s clothing trying to use women’s restrooms or girls excusing their sluttiness with such clever labels as “polyamerous.”  The craziest yippie, hippie, degenerate freak of the 60s never would have even considered gay marriage a possibility.  Many “freaks” I talk to, who were around back then, still love the music, but now have way more conservative views.  Yes, these were degenerate freaks; but they were mostly heterosexual, degenerate freaks.

And so we have the first verse of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, the opening track on Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys:

wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
then we wouldn’t have to wait so long
and wouldn’t it be nice to live together
in the kind of world where we belong
you know it’s going to make it that much better
when we could say good night and stay together

Can you imagine such an antiquated notion as asking someone to marry you marketed to the kids of today?  Forget the kids; what about the 36 year old sluts who are getting pumped and dumped for the umpteenth time by some guy in his early 30s, who doesn’t want to commit to an over the hill broad that still thinks of herself as top shelf in the sexual market place?

Jesus, don’t even bother with these lines:

Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true
Baby then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldn’t do
We could be married
And then we’d be happy

Praying?!  Why that sounds like something those stupid Christians do!  Pet Sounds came out 50 years ago right about the time the culture was “changing.”  We’re now seeing a mirror image of the 1960s.  The hippies, radical feminists and Black Panthers have been replaced by Occupy Wall Street, “free the nipple” feminists and Black Lives Matter thugs, and, with the ascendancy of Donald Trump, the growing discontent of the American worker, the trend in single motherhood, increasing inner city crime, the desire to end trade agreements, overbearing political correctness and a stronger nationalist sentiment, I have a feeling the next generation may be clamoring  for a reversal of 50 years of “progress.”

Braving the Slut Mine of OKCupid

okc_profile_pic_3.0What a stud!  With the weather warming up, my shedding a few pounds, and women shedding a few layers of clothing, it’s time to get back into the dating game.  Since I’m a tech tard, and I don’t have a tinder account, and since I don’t really have enough patience for pickup artistry, yet I want to guarantee that I’ll be able to sleep next to a warm body more than once every three months, I don’t typically go to bars with the hope of picking up ladies; after all, with the flowing booze, mixed signals that women send, and the cost of liquor, it can really be a liability. Don’t get me wrong; I HAVE picked up women at the bar before, but the “going out and seeing if I can get laid” investment seems to have hit the point of diminishing returns. Therefore, it seems like the only practical choice is braving the slut mine of OKC in spite the fact that it seems to have all but entirely been picked clean of anything worth picking.

And because I’ve become the expert at OKC dating with a reasonably high success rate, I’ve come up with this handy guide on how to work OKC for maximum results.

Your entire purpose of getting onto OKC is to convince a complete stranger to meet up with you so that the two of you can fornicate; I actually have to thank many of the ladies who haven’t been spooked by all of this rape hysteria out of letting me pick them up at their homes.  One thing is clear, though; if a woman doesn’t sleep with you the first night, she absolutely is not interested.  Even if she DOES sleep with you the first night, that’s no guarantee that she’ll be interested.  So, let’s just say, the whole purpose of getting onto OKC is for you to find someone who wants to fornicate the night you meet her; all you have to do is not give her a reason not to.  You can worry about what happens between the two of you later; that’s not what OKC is for.

Next, you have to get it out of your mind that you’re looking for anyone in particular.  Getting a girl from OKC or getting a girl in general these days is less contingent upon what mutual interests you have and more based on whether or not you’ll feel disgusted with yourself after waking up next to her the following morning.  In other words, if you message three girls because you see that they’re all huge Magma fans or they’ve seen all of John Cassavetes’ films and you think you’ve found the love of your life, you will rarely if ever get a message back.  In the dating market and basically in every other aspect of life, women have the upper hand.  The market is saturated with lonely and horny guys, so you have to be open minded even if she is a Harry Potter fan.

You have to have an iron will.  Your hunt for women has to be completely emotionless and based purely on your desire to find someone who will let you put your penis inside her, and you have to send out message after message after message to God knows how many women before any respond.  Getting pussy is like looking for a job.  You don’t send out two resumes to your favorite jobs and hope one of them bites.

Best bet is to have a template that you have saved, so you don’t have to keep typing the same stupid message over and over again.  For example:

“I see that you’re a big fan of _____.  What do you think of _____?  I’m actually a really big fan of _____.  Do you have any thoughts on that?”

If you see she’s a fan of horses, you can write:

“I see that you’re a big fan of horses.  What do you think of saddle sores?  I’m actually a really big fan of Freddie Got Fingered.  Do you have any thoughts on that?”

Or, if she’s a collector of old lawnmowers:

“I see that you’re a big fan of lawn mowers.  What do you think of riding mowers?  I’m actually a really big fan of hiring illegal immigrants to do my yard work.  Do you have any thoughts on that?”

Or, she comes from a family of taxidermists:

“I see that you’re a big fan of taxidermy.  What do you think of having your own body stuffed when you die and having someone put it on display for people to commemorate your life?  I’m actually a really big fan of filling dead cats up with lard.  Do you have any thoughts on that?”

That shows that you have read the profile so you’re not JUST going off of what she looks like.  Unfortunately some women have so little imagination that they put things like “hanging with my friends”, as if you assumed that she doesn’t have any friends.  Also, most women these days claim that they’re “sarcastic” or that they’re really good at “sarcasm.”  What that really means is they have carte blanche to say any disgusting, obnoxious or unpleasant thing they want and, if you want some sugar that night, you had better put up with it, bub!  I talked to one women who said that, if she didn’t like me, she would pretend to go to the bathroom and leave me.  Oh, that is SO funny and totally not indicative of something she actually does.  I did, in fact, tell her that that “joke” was quite the turn off and cancelled the date.  See, ladies, men can be put off by things that YOU say as well, and we’re not the ones buying all the Prozac.  So maybe learn some manners, k?

Make sure to say enough about yourself in your profile so you legitimately seem like an interesting person that a woman would want to hang out with, and make sure you look cool in your pictures.  Get a female friend to snap a few good shots for you.  Some tips I have are don’t smile in any of them and make sure to have at least one where you’re actually doing something so girls think you’re an active person.  Oh and, if you can’t figure out NOT to put something like “all you women are looking for is a good time with my money, why am I always friend zoned, wah wah wah” or “why do you bitches always go with the the assholes when I’m such a nice guy” on your profile, then you probably should have your internet taken away from you and be forced to interact with real people.

The girls on OKC can be broken down into three basic categories; attention whores, horny trollops without children and horny trollops with children.  Let’s expand on these:

Attention Whores: Basically, if a girl is super, fuckin’ hot, like an eight through a ten, and she’s on a dating site, she’s an attention whore.  There’s literally no reason for her to be on OKCupid other than to continue to feed her narcissism.  She never responds to messages but always “complains” about how her inbox is full, and she’s got tons of little satellite men who are more than willing to be friend zoned by her to catch a whiff of her anal vapors.  Yet she doesn’t go out with ANY of them because none of them have been truly able to scratch that itch.  You have to be like someone super important, like the creme de la cock to be with this type.  In other words, she’s the most chaste person ever until a popular indie rock band comes to town.

Horny Trollops Without Kids: Believe it or not, these ladies actually might want a relationship.  The highest level of attractiveness any of these ladies ever reaches is a seven, but since when was a slightly overweight, curvey seven, who is also really pretty, that bad or shameful to be with?  Or a girl with a hot body, but has the face of ET?  Especially in the age where better than average looking guys have to settle for less and less.  My only tip on how to get these ladies is just learn to be fun and sociable, learn a tiny modicum of game (like, I mean, don’t be a pussy and go for the kiss) and don’t unload your spergy, in depth knowledge of every Hawkwind album on her unless her OKC profile explicitly says that she’s a huge Hawkwind fan, and you’ll be in like sin.  I’m not kidding; when I put the work in, I can nail someone about every other week to once a month and, if one doesn’t work out, I just go for another.  The only exception is during the cold months.  Then women tend to flake more often, either not answering your texts or coming up with bogus excuses to not meet up with you, since they’d prefer to snuggle by themselves under a blanket, than go out for a couple hours and end up snuggling with another human being.  And once they break the date, don’t try to reschedule because, if a woman is “too sick” to go out that night, she just isn’t interested.  At least she spent 20 seconds to come up with an excuse and didn’t just stop responding!  Don’t take it personally.  Women can’t even stay loyal to their own friends, let alone someone they’ve never met in person.  It’s pretty tough these days for me to take what a woman says at face value unless she’s giving me directions or something trivial like that.

Horny Trollops With Kids: You might think that, because a woman is a single mother, she would want a man in the house to help take care of and raise the kids, ya know, so the kids are raised by a complete family.  You would be wrong.  You just have to ask yourself where the actual father is and why she didn’t stay with him.  The answer: what difference does it make where he is as long has his check arrives on the scheduled date and he can play babysitter every other Saturday?  Believe me: single moms LOVE this arrangement.  They get to play act at being moms – i.e. be “heroic” –  a few days a week, then get to slut it up on the weekends.  The last thing they need is a long term relationship to screw up that arrangement.  But at least you get laid!  Too bad these mothers are raising a generation of neurotic freaks.  Also, they tend to flake a bit more; ya know, “couldn’t find a babysitter.”

You’ve been advised about how to OKC, you’ve been given the crash course on how to start a conversation and you’ve seen the three types of women you’ll meet.  The rest is up to you.

Here are three, final tips before I depart:

  1. Be EXTREMELY wary of a woman who looks surprisingly good, yet is overly eager to go out on a date with you.  She’s either aged severely or put on weight since the pictures on her profile were taken and assumes that once you’ve had enough alcohol or weed in your system, that you’ll overlook these minor details.  DON’T BE TRICKED!!!
  2. Although this seems obvious, overly eager guys, of which I’ve been at times, seem to forget; if a woman ONLY takes closeups of herself and doesn’t have a single full body shot, she is fat.
  3. Although your level of tolerance might be higher than mine, I’d highly suggest avoiding women who use words like “polyamorous”, “pansexual”, “non-binary”, “cis-gendered” or “heteronormative.”  They’re just fancy ways of saying, “daddy didn’t love me, and now I’m getting back at him by being a slut.”  Obviously avoid feminists.

And there you have it.  If you’re willing to put in the work, you should soon be having sex with moderately attractive women, some of whom have real jobs and real concerns, who you’ll be able to maintain a relationship with for at least a few weeks.

 

Let’s Raise a Toast to John Wayne!

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Let it be known that, while what you get caught saying on camera or online can cost you your job and tarnish your reputation, that what you said nearly half a century ago under an entirely different context, will also forever tar and feather you.  Therefore, if you do want to have a legacy in American or Western history, your best bet is to never have said anything then, that would be considered unthinkable now.  Since time machines have yet to be invented, we’re not likely to get an apology and recantation out of John Wayne.  Therefore May 26th will not be John Wayne Day in Sacramento, CA.

For you see, California lawmakers voted 35-20 to not honor John Wayne’s birthday because he made the following statement in an interview with Playboy magazine back in 1971:

With a lot of blacks, there’s quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent, and possibly rightfully so. But we can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks. I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people.

Whoopdi-fuckin’-do!  This piece of “hate speech”, which was said back in an era where civil rights/women’s lib/hippie long hairs/soon to be future leaders were clashing with old timey hard hats, who remember the good ol’ days, is the sole reason that Sacramento won’t honor American film icon John Wayne.  I don’t agree with this statement; I don’t think any group should have supremacy over another, but does that alone warrant not honoring one of America’s most enduring cultural icons?

By all accounts, John Wayne represents an America which is all but long gone, existing in little pockets of the country that get laughed at by “enlightened” urban elites.  Hell, as mentioned by Jim Goad in his latest piece for Takimag, which I more or less ripped off, Wayne and cowboys in general are used as a symbol for all that was wrong with America.  The hardcore punk band Millions of Dead Cops even have a song called “John Wayne Was a Nazi.”  This was their way of saying that he represents racism because a lot of his film characters fought Indians, who were bad guys.  I’d put the blame on directors like John Ford and Howard Hawks or their screenwriters, but that’s just me.  It’s also ironic to call John Wayne a Nazi when he was in several World War II movies, fighting for the Allies.  But, I highly doubt Millions of Dead Cops were concerned with any of that.

The point I’m making is that John Wayne and Westerns in general are not liked by very many young people these days.  Most old films aren’t liked by young people these days.  I get it; they’re slow moving, the acting is old timey, the dialogue is often corny since the actors weren’t allowed to swear and had to use words like “buster” instead of “bastard” and you never actually saw anyone bleed when they got shot.  But, of all the genres, Westerns get shit on the most.  Millennials can totally eat up classics like Psycho, with the violence, pathos and psychosis and they have no problem sitting through 12 Angry Men, in which one juror tries to convince the other eleven to acquit a wrongly accused youth, who it was implied was being accused almost entirely due to racial prejudice.

Hell they’ll watch Spaghetti Westerns since the characters are all a bunch of ambiguous assholes out for their own personal gaines – though I wonder how they feel about Sergio Leone’s sympathetic treatment of the confederacy in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  But the classic Westerns, in which John Wayne plays the all-American, gun-slinging hero are looked at as corny, representing values that most young people simply can’t relate to.

Personally I love John Wayne’s films.  In Red River, he and Montgomery Clift guide a herd of cattle across the rugged countryside, facing whatever dangers that come their way.  In Rio Bravo, Wayne plays a sheriff of a town and helps his buddy Dean Martin kick his drinking habit, after which, the two of them, along with Ricky Nelson, have a wild shootout with some bandits.  In The Searchers they genocide Indians… juuuuuuust kidding, but that’s what my friend Brian said during the climactic shootout when he, Kristen and I watched it.

If you want to trace how I got to where I am today, blame it on the movies!  That’s right; blame it on liberal ol’ Hollywood.  In 2005, I was an overnight film convert.  At first, I watched nothing but old monster pictures, the horror classics of the 30s and 40s – I literally watched The Mummy’s Hand, The Mummy’s Ghost and The Mummy’s Curse in a single evening – then moved into old science fiction films with the flying saucers and the giant rubber monsters that crush cities, then onto the gangster pictures and film noir and lastly onto the Westerns.  And of course I’ve seen the what’s what of classics; Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, etc.

I basically viewed old cinema as a window into another time and another world.  Nothing too surprising there; old cars, old buildings, old streets, old sidewalks, old etc. etc..  And, man oh man, did I enjoy the exploits of the private dicks Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon and Philip Marlow in The Big Sleep.  I got a kick out of watching Burt Lancaster and Yvonne DeCarlo double cross a gangster played by Dan Duryea in Criss Cross.  I enjoyed watching Paul Muni become the biggest and most violent gangster in Chicago, only to get his comeupponce when he gets his brains blown out by the cops in the original, 1932 Scarface.  I enjoyed watching Richard Widmark and a bunch of underworld scum going after a piece of mircofilm in Sam Fuller’s cold war thriller Pickup on South Street.  And wowee, did I like watching Mike Hammer grab the one guy who was tailing him by the collar, slam him into a wall and slap him around a few times in Kiss Me Deadly.

I enjoyed watching the American military blast down the flying saucers in the surprisingly titled Earth vs. the Flying Saucers.  I felt bad for three explorers watching all of their gold dust blow away in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.  I can’t honestly say I was frightened by Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but I can say it was disturbing watching the people of that little town being replaced by zombified replicas of themselves; I think the fright factor was removed by the fact that the movie was framed as a flashback, so you know that it ends well.

That one’s always a trip; liberals and conservatives are always arguing about what that movie is actually saying. Liberals say it’s about conformity in middle America brought on by consumerism.  Conservatives say it’s a red scare warning, that you never know who might be a commie fink.  I say, “who cares?”  It’s a great, compelling little thriller.  The fact that Don Siegel went on to direct Dirty Harry still doesn’t indicate anything; after all, you could be against middle class conformity, yet still believe there’s a class of criminal that doesn’t deserve due process.

But this piece is supposed to be about John Wayne and why young people don’t like him.  He represents old timey values and traditional masculinity, but what’s interesting to note is that many of the above movies have plenty examples of those values as well.  Who is Ralph Meeker (Mike Hammer) if not an alpha male?  Or Humphrey Bogart (Sam Spade, Philip Marlow)?  My thinking is that, though these characters are still tough guys who settle their scores with a bullet or a fist, the movies throw them into morally ambiguous situations, and young, nihilistic liberals love that.  Good guys and bad guys?  Fuck that shit; everything’s relative.  I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these young dipshits calls The Thing from Another World racist because the crew stationed at the arctic decided to defend themselves against the creature, rather than capturing and studying it.

In John Ford’s 1962 classic, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, John Wayne goads the city boy lawyer Jimmy Stewart into punching him in the face.  He laughs it off, but the implication is that he made the lawyer throw his first punch, making him settle things the old fashion way, and thus turned Stewart into a real man.  After all, what kind of man are you if you haven’t thrown a punch or two in your life?  Sometimes I think the same about shooting a gun, and I wish I could take one or two of my liberal friends with me to the range, and help man them up a little more.

Anyway, Cheers John Wayne, I’ll have a drink for you on May 26th.

 

Musical Genres Are the Stupidest Thing Ever: Punk Rock Part 1

sex_pistolsIn 2016, telling someone you listen to punk or punk rock is pretty much about as vague as saying you listen to rock.  Punk has been around now for 40 years… or is it 50 years… or 60?  What is or what counts as punk rock?  Is punk rock just defined by bands with stupid, obnoxious names, who play two to three minute rock songs that consist of a few chords and are played at a fast tempo?  Is punk about having a “don’t give a fuck” attitude?  Is punk the musical front for a leftist/anarchist revolution?

Who are the punk bands bands?  Are the Stooges punk?  The Ramones?  Black Flag? Nirvana?  Green Day?  Sonic Youth?  Napalm Death?  Nausea?  Dropdead?  Richard Hell and the Voidoids?  Cockney Rejects?  Pissed Jeans?  Halo of Flies?  Butthole Surfers?  X-Ray Spex?  Devo?  Oingo Boingo?  Cro-Mags?  Dinosaur Jr.?  Nobunny?  Discharge?

To the average interloper, this may seem like a complete waste of time and trivial garbage.  But, it’s worth noting that, as much as genre distinctions are dumb, even John Derbyshire notes that there is some interest in exploring how there’s very little cultural cohesion, even under what allegedly seems to be the same cultural umbrella; in this case, punk rock.

If I’m not mistaken, the term punk rock was first used to describe the debut album by the Deviants, Ptooff! from 1967.  The Deviants were a group of quasi-anarchists from the bohemian Ladbroke Grove district of London and were led by counter cultural mouthpiece Mick Farren.  Musically the album is a solid mix of Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd and Zappa-style wankery along with social satire.  The term “punk” was used literally to imply “no good jerk” or “asshole.”

The term was used again to describe the self titled debut by the Stooges; as in “the music of punks cruising for burgers.”  Iggy Pop wasn’t too happy about this classification because it implied that he’s dumb, something that tends to happen when your album consists of three-chord garage rock songs with titles like “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “No Fun”, and has minimalist lines like “1969, okay/all across the USA/another year for me and you/another with nothing to do/last year I was 21/I didn’t have a lot of fun/now I’m gonna be 22/I say ‘oh my’ and ‘boo hoo.'”

The term came up a third time when Jac Holzman of Elektra records and future Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye assembled the Nuggets box set.  They used the term to describe the music of mid-1960s garage rock groups like the Sonics, the Monks, the Seeds, the Count Five, the Zakary Thaks, the Blues Magoos and the 13th Floor Elevators.

By 1974, the term was being used by journalists rather liberally, but without attaching it to any particular sound.  That year a journalist asked Aerosmith if they were “punk rock.”  Were they?  Personally speaking “Rats in the Cellar” tears it up as much as any Ramones, Sex Pistols or Damned song.  But, “punk rock” didn’t exist as such when Aerosmith came out, so they were relegated to “hard rock.”

Retroactively the Velvet Underground, Stooges, MC5, New York Dolls, Modern Lovers and Dictators were labeled as punk, but because they came out before 1976, they’re “proto-punk” or something.  Uncovered recordings by the Electric Eels, Mirrors, Rocket from the Tombs (all from Cleveland), Death (the black guys from Detroit, not the death metal band), the Gizmos and Simply Saucer reveal more music that roughly fits the “punk” category as already defined by the other bands; well, except for the MC5, whose classic debut, Kick Out the Jams, sounds more like the heavy acid fuzz of Blue Cheer, but that’s another story.

Mainstream critics say that “punk rock” truly “started” in 1976 when the Ramones released their self-titled debut.  Did it, though?  By that point the Sex Pistols were already eight months into their existence, and the Saints had been together in some way, shape or form since 1973.  In 1976, if you exclude Patti Smith and Blondie, the Ramones were the only band that really sounded like a punk band as it was later defined.

However, in 1976, there weren’t any other bands out besides the Ramones, so labels threw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and AC/DC into the punk genre.

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The term “punk” was also used to describe an early Suicide gig, even though Suicide is an electronic duo.  “Punk” soon began to describe a scene when John Holmstrom, Eddie “Legs” McNeil and Gedd Dunn, three pussy chasing, drug using, degenerates, started the magazine Punk in 1975 after listening to Go Girl Crazy by the Dictators that Summer for the same reason most people started magazines at the time; free gigs, free booze and free records.  Back then the world wasn’t saturated with people who cheaply assemble xeroxed zines in order to receive gimmedats.  And, while Go Girl Crazy! is considered an early punk classic, it’s actually more of an early mix of punk and metal and has lots of crazy leads from soon to be Manowar guitarist Ross the Boss, along with humor to boot.  I can’t imagine a band today getting away with releasing songs with titles like “Back to Africa” and “Master Race Rock.”  Google the lyrics before you throw a fit.

Of course Punk magazine was hardly a “zine.”  It was printed on glossy stock and mass produced, not photocopied and sold to a few record stores who were in the know.  You know what was though?

 

heavy_metal_digest_iggyMeanwhile, in London, the Sex Pistols had garnered enough of a following of their weirdo, freak fans, who whore bondage gear, swastikas, torn clothes and spiky hair, that people felt a movement was in progress.  When they first formed, the only bands on the local club scene were called “pub rock”, which was more or less a cross of rockabilly and 70s boogie rock – Kilburn and the Highroads, Dr. Feelgood, Ducks Deluxe, Bazooka Joe, the 101ers (who featured Joe Strummer when he was in rockabilly mode) and Eddie and the Hot Rods – essentially revivalist music, and the Sex Pistols wanted none of it.  Their first show was supporting Bazooka Joe, who featured Adam Ant on bass.  When the music started to go in the Pistols’ direction, a few “pub rock” bands, mainly the Stranglers and the Vibrators, sped up and toughened up their songs and became “punk.”  In punk’s first few months of coverage by the underground press, Eddie and the Hot Rods were included under the punk umbrella as well before being unceremoniously jettisoned.

In New York in 1975, there was something resembling a cohesive underground music scene as well.  There was of course the Ramones, the Heartbreakers – featuring former New York Dolls Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan and former Television bassist Richard Hell; NOT the Tom Petty band – Television, Patti Smith, Blondie, Wayne County and the Back Street Boys, Talking Heads, Suicide, the Miamis, the Mumps, the Shirts, the Tuff Darts, Mink Deville, Sun, Steel Tips and Sic Fucks among others.  By 1976, there would be Richard Hell and the Voidoids (after Hell left the Heartbreakers) and the Dead Boys.

The Ramones were of course the big boys on the scene and signed with Seimore Stein’s Sire label in the Fall of 1975, releasing Ramones in April of 1976.  To the mid ’70s rock crowd, who were used to longer songs by well trained “musos”, the album was really left field.  The group performed 14 basic songs in under a half hour with barely a guitar solo on any of them.  The lyrics are about beating up annoying kids and similarly annoying girlfriends, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, sniffing glue and Nazis.  And the album cover photo has the guys on the front looking less like a band and more like a group of derelicts who’ll mug you outside the liquor store… in an era of arty prog rock with elaborate cover paintings of fantasy landscapes, who wouldn’t listen to that?  In hindsight, it seems as the though Ramones, with its all down strummed bar chords and similar sounding two minute songs, had less of an impact on the groups that immediately followed and more of a direct influence on the hardcore punk and thrash metal bands of the next generation.  Although Ramones songs still had the 1-4-5, Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran style riffs that other punk bands used and plenty of oldies-style pop melody, there was a stridently, aggressive, militantly metal approach to Johnny Ramone’s playing; he even admitted that he copped his entire guitar style from the “da-da-da” approach of “Communication Breakdown” by Led Zeppelin.

It’s almost ironic then that this 28 year old Republican was a direct influence on a bunch of antisocial 15-18 year olds of the soon to exist American hardcore punk scene, but that’s another story for another post.  Since there wasn’t a wide circuit of underground venues for the Ramones to play, for their first tour, they were forced to bring their loud, fast and primitive sound to the audiences of bands like Boston and Blue Oyster Cult.  Needless to say the crowd reaction in most cases wasn’t great.  However, when they played London on July 3rd and 4th of that year, the who’s who of the punk scene attended their gigs.  They were originally set to play before their Sire label mates, the Flamin’ Groovies, who first decided it would be best if the Ramones headlined, then changed their minds at the last minute.  Needless to say, the Ramones performed in front of 3,000 people at the Roundhouse, and the Flamin’ Groovies performed in front of a nearly empty house.  For the historically obsessed, the Stranglers opened the gig.

Since people love to compare the Ramones with the Sex Pistols, the Pistols’ songs are all longer and slower than those of the Ramones. Johnny Rotten might have had the more brash, snotty and typically “punk” voice with his “nyeah-nyeah”, overly anunciated sing-shouting, but Steve Jones was a much better guitarist than Johnny Ramone, Paul Cook is a tight and solid drummer and, for cryin’ out loud, Glenn Matlock tried to teach the rest of the Pistols Beatles chords; Sid Vicious was a talentless joke and was rarely even plugged in when he played live, but hey! Listen to anything by the Pistols and tell me they’re not a tight, hard rock band. And no, the band never sang about being on the dole and they weren’t “assembled” like a boy band; they were an organic band who wrote and performed their own songs. If you’re looking for “assembled”, that would be “jail bait rockers” the Runaways. Malcolm Mclaren seemed too stupid to ever manipulate people the way Kim Fowley did.

Thanks to the Pistols and, spefically Johnny Rotten’s spiky hair, torn up t-shirts and blazers, safety pins and snotty delivery, by late 1976 the 100 Club became punk central and London now had a number bands that mimicked the Pistols in either look or sound.  The Clash copied the sound of the Ramones, threw in some Who riffs and spewed Marxist drivel.  The Damned played fun party songs about well… I still have no idea what “Neat Neat Neat” is about!  Summer of 1976 in England was considered the “Summer of hate” by some.

Manchester featured the Buzzcocks, Slaughter and the Dogs and the Drones, and the Saints were imported from Brisbane Australia after their self-released, debut single “(I’m) Stranded”(b/w “No Time”) caught the ears of EMI.  While merely a curiosity in the States, in the U.K., punk “went viral” in December of 1976 when the Pistols appeared on the Today Show with Bill Grundy, and guitarist Steve Jones cussed out the talk show host for his gross, drunken behavior.  Next day the Pistols were public enemy number one, and all but three of the group’s nineteen U.K. dates with the Clash, the Damned and Heartbreakers were cancelled.

As for independent labels vs. major labels, my thoughts on this are as follows: as mentioned before, the Saints put out their first single themselves, and it lead to a deal with EMI.  In the States, the dinky Ork label released the Richard and the Voidoids EP Another World and Devo released their first single “Jocko Homo” (b/w “Mongoloid”) on their own Booji Boy label, so I’m still stumped as to why the Buzzcocks get all this credit for spearheading “D.I.Y.” with their first release, the Spiral Scratch EP; especially since they soon signed a major label deal and other bands had already released their own singles or had been on independent labels.  Hell, in the States the art-pop performance group the Residents had always released their albums in limited runs on their tiny Ralph label.  It’s also worth noting that, while technically the Ramones were a major label band, that’s only because Sire was bought by Warner Bros. almost immediately after they signed the deal.  Prior to that Sire was actually a pretty small label that handled garage and bubble gum music.

By 1977 “punk rock” was being marketed by bands, labels and ‘zines such as Sniffin’ Glue as the new genre/movement that the kids were into.  The Ramones toured as support for the Talking Heads, who Johnny Ramone hated because he thought they were wimps.  The Dead Boys toured the States and the U.K. with the Damned, the Clash toured with Richard Hell and the Voidoids and the Stranglers with the Dictators.   And sooo many excellent records were released in punk’s halcyon days.  Here are a bunch you should buy or steal:

Leave Home – Ramones
Rocket to Russia – Ramones
Road to Ruin – Ramones
Never Mind the Bollocks… Here’s the Sex Pistols – The Sex Pistols
Damned Damned Damned – The Damned
Music for Pleasure – The Damned
Machine Gun Etiquette – The Damned
Rattus Norvegicus – The Stranglers
No More Heroes – The Stranglers
Black and White – The Stranglers
The Raven – The Stranglers
L.A.M.F. – The Heartbreakers
So Alone – Johnny Thunders
Young, Loud and Snotty – Dead Boys
We Have Come for Your Children – Dead Boys
Pure Mania – The Vibrators
V2 – The Vibrators
Manifest Destiny – The Dictators
Bloodbrothers – The Dictators
Marque Moon – Television
Adventure – Television
Pink Flag – Wire
Chairs Missing – Wire
154 – Wire
Blank Generation – Richard Hell and the Voidoids
Talking Heads ’77 – Talking Heads
More Songs About Buildings and Food – Talking Heads
Fear of Music – Talking Heads
The Modern Dance – Pere Ubu
Dub Housing – Pere Ubu
(I’m) Stranded – The Saints
Eternally Yours – The Saints
Prehistoric Sounds – The Saints
Radios Appear – Radio Birdman
Aspirations – X (Australian band)
The Clash – The Clash
London Calling – The Clash
Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! – Devo
Duty Now for the Future – Devo
All Skrewed Up – Skrewdriver
Another Music in a Different Kitchen – Buzzcocks
Love Bites – Buzzcocks
Singles Going Steady – Buzzcocks
A Different Kind of Tension – Buzzcocks
Live at the Witch Trials – The Fall
Dragnet – The Fall
Real Life – Magazine
Public Image/First Issue – Public Image Ltd.
The Scream – Siouxsie and the Banshees
Cut – The Slits
Do It Dog Style – Slaughter and the Dogs
Germfree Adolescents – X-Ray Spex
Can’t Stand the Rezillos – The Rezillos
Crossing the Red Sea with the Adverts – The Adverts
Tell Us the Truth – Sham 69
The Feeding of the 5000 – Crass
Another Kind of Blues – U.K. Subs
The Undertones – The Undertones
Inflammable Material – Stiff Little Fingers
999 – 999
Separates – 999

A cursory listen will reveal that “punk” was pretty darn diverse, and while some might take exception with me throwing the Talking Heads or Television into the list because they’re “art rock” or Public Image Ltd., Magazine and the Fall because they’re “post-punk”, I feel the Fall are sufficiently punky, especially since I’m including Wire and Pere Ubu, who are in the same “art-garage” wheelhouse, and I focused on the “punk era”, which falls between 1977-1979, not the strict “punk genre.”  Also what if a band like the Slits started as a punk band, but became “post punk”?  It’s clear that some bands thought of punk as a throwback to 50s rock ‘n’ roll with edgier lyrics, some thought of it as a springboard into the future and some didn’t consider themselves punk at all, but had no problem scoring points with the spiky hair set.  Some bands, such as the Saints and the Clash could be classified as punk on their first albums, but then moved onto something else entirely and began to establish new audiences and/or lose their old ones.  I also deliberately excluded the second Clash album, Give ’em Enough Rope, from the list because, frankly, it sucks.

As mentioned, while punk seemed to make a splash in England, it didn’t mean shit to the average American, who would rather buy albums by Pink Floyd, Foreigner, the Bee Gees or Fleetwood Mac.  Independent labels, major labels?  It really didn’t mean much to the average music consumer in the late 70s, and later the Damned bitched that they didn’t make a single cent off of their first album, which came out through the tiny Stiff label.

By 1979, it became clear that punk was going NOWHERE as far as the record buying public was concerned.  The only hits that came out of it were mainstream crossovers like the Patti Smith/Bruce Springsteen duet “Because the Night” and pop/disco hits by Blondie.  The college art crowd dug the polyrhythms and African inspired, new wave funk of later Talking Heads albums like Remain in Light, while Devo scored a hit with “Whip It.”  The only other thing that came out of punk was mainstream power-pop.  To the average American, the Cars and the Police were punk bands.

The Sex Pistols U.S. tour in early 1978, where they only toured the South until they hit San Francisco, made some good copy, but it caused the average American, who tuned into Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, to think that punk was nothing more than a sick joke imported from the U.K., a second British invasion, but one where they wanted to send the invaders back.  It also didn’t help that, after seven concerts, the Sex Pistols broke up, causing labels to lose interest in promoting American punk bands.  The Ramones were kept on Sire until 1992 more or less as a tax write off.

By 1979, as far as American labels were concerned, the punk rock “movement” that they helped foster in the traditional way was dead.  Of course, what’s dead in the mainstream grows and festers in the underground.

 

 

20 Punk Songs Your Newbie Poser Ass Hasn’t Heard

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Rolling Stone magazine released this list of the top 40 punk albums.  Unsurprisingly their list has a few questionable choices and seems intended to appeal more to the casual interloper, rather than the hardcore fan (and I don’t necessarily mean the fan of hardcore punk).  Then THIS guy had a bitch fit over it, babbling like a nerdy, bespectacled hipster about how certain bands don’t sufficiently count as punk rock and are actually part of sub-genres like ball-scratching-disco-wave or proto-post-riot-grrrl-menstro-core.  After that he claims the Stranglers, who sound like the Doors with an Oi! singer, ARE punk, while Gang of Four and Devo are not.  What are his criteria?  Who cares?  If you don’t know these songs, you’re not punk.

“Killer Man” – Gasoline

“Suck Suck” – X

“Freeze” – The Models

“I Wanna Be Rich” – Coldcock

“Rather See You Dead” – Legionaire’s Disease

“Ain’t Been to No Music School” – The Nosebleeds

“A Life of Our Own” – The Undead

“Can’t Stand the Midwest” – Dow Jones and the Industrials

“Hijack the Radio” – Nervebreakers

“Cola Freaks” – Lost Kids

“You’re Full of Shit” – The Electric Eels

“Dead End America” – The Pagans

“I’m a Bug” – The Urinals

“Faggot in the Family” – Aryan Disgrace

“Amerikan Story” – Cult Heroes

“Amerika First” – Gizmos

“Hillside Strangler” – The Hollywood Squares

“Gacy’s Place” – The Mentally Ill

“I Hate Punks” – Geza X and the Mommymen

“Kill the Hippies” – The Deadbeats

“Suicide a Go Go” – Big in Japan

“Panik” – Metal Urbain

“Slash Your Face” – The Dogs

“Baby You’re So Repulsive” – Crime

I think that might me twenty-two; fuck you!  Also, don’t cry to mommy about the Aryan Discrace song; the singer for the Cult Heroes is gay and black, so like, lighten up, fag.