North American punk 45s from Sado- to Sore-

Hyped to Death wanders through the U.S. & Canadian alphabet of punk more or less letter-by-letter, beginning with "R" singles. H2D #31 & 32 wrap up the alphabet, then H2D#41 starts back at "A". Perplexed? Grab'em all and you won't be sorry OR confused. In the meantime, here's probably the least erudite liner notes of the entire series: there's plenty of mysteries, so you'll have to endure more than our usual display of opinionated ignorance. More info as it surfaces...

California and the West
People tend to take the class-warfare aspect of first-generation California punk way too seriously: the much-publicized fights between punks and surfers had far more to do with differences of appearance than anything socio-economic. And lyrically, there wasn't much that could pass for serious social [pace John & Exene] or political [the Kinman brothers, anyone?] insight. And race? Something from another planet. But there WAS violence -however aimless and unfocused- and nowhere, apart from the muddy mix of The Decline and Fall, was it better documented than on Snuky Tate's immortal "Stage Speech." A live, all-time top ten punk-tune with gobbing and beer-bottles breaking on guitar-strings The B-sides are brilliant, too. The backing band is most of the San Francisco Mutants, who sadly (or perhaps wisely) failed to lend their services to Snuky's Offs/Funktionaries-style follow-up, "He's the Pope."

The earliest of the L.A. contingent on this volume of H2D is Shock's underrated second 45, "We Were That Noise." Like their classic first, it came Dangerhouse-style, with a 3/4 sleeve on colored vinyl. (Their first was red, this one blue, and the unreleased 3rd was to be on white...) Actually, an entire LP's worth got left in the can (reissued soon?*). Steve Reina went on to the L.A. Silencers -no relation to the major-label pop band. His bandmates there became Legal Weapon. Social Unrest debuted with 1981's "Making Room for Youth," then added a 12" and a pile of LPs. Their latest (featuring both their singers named Jason) is "New Lows" on New Red Archives -who've also reissued the 2-CD "Social Unrest: Complete Studio Recordings." Here's a nice Social Unrest fan-site. Scream released a classic punk-core EP in 1982, then abruptly had to change their name, so they reissued it with almost identical artwork as Rebels and Infidels, who later put out an LP and a cassette on the Fowl label (Legionnaires Disease, Fuck-Ups). Ron Hamilton and Jerry Lawrence next did the Siamese Triplets (2 cassettes). You can sample Ron's CDs and his current project, "A Hank Williams Story" at his website. Also from 1982, the Sins' sole 45 appeared on White Flag's first label. Guitarist Tony Fate is ex-Reactors [H2D #1], pre-Grey Spikes & Bellrays.* Soon after Orange County metalcore punks Saigon recorded "Life is So Fun" in 1981, Legal Weapon swiped their rhythm section, Adam 'Bomb' Maples and Eddie Wayne. Adam got tapped for Guns & Roses just as they broke up, and later did the Sea Hags and the Earthlings. Look for Jesse Bingamon's Hip Bottle in '03.

The Schematix started off life in Santa Cruz as the politically-charged X-Dreamists (they're name-checked on the Deaf Club comp LP), but after a founding member split for the UK, they became the Schematix. There's an LP's worth of recordings, but their 3-song EP with "Nothing Special" and "Second Story" was all they released before they broke up. Jill Fido joined the Holy Sisters of Gaga Dada (on Bomp!) and now teaches college history (by way of her band The Other Woman): look for her book on 20th-century women's intimate apparel in late 2002. Marco Mysterioso sadly died of AIDS in 2000 while working to organize a national rent strike.* Another keyboard-damaged masterpiece is the Sewers of Paris: punk collectors first discovered them in San Francisco, and the faux-commie label and creepy I'm-not-a-child-molester lyrics might suggest the Bay Area as a likely home base, but surely, someone there should have remembered them Finally, "Show Me the Rules," a monster-riff punk-core rave from Sorex, who hailed -briefly- from Redondo Beach. Leader Andy Kreature was an SST scenester, and 1984 found Sorex sharing practice space with Black Flag, SWA and the Descendents. Only 200 copies were made of their "Portrait of a Prisoner" EP.

Up the coast, the 'S Nots (as in "Is Not!") and the Silly Killers bookended a rather thin Seattle punk scene, which was quickly overshadowed by a regional monsoon of artwave and postpunk sounds. The 'S Nots EP covered a number of genres [see also Homework #2], and despite the "No Pictures Necessary" title, a certain number of their sleeves did come with pasted-on images, and others with inscriptions by the band... The Silly Killers were the last of three terrific punk bands on the excellent No Threes label to share a drummer named Duff McKagan. His later career in Guns'n'Roses probably kept more punks from checking out "Knife Manual" than it attracted Leader Chris "Slats" Harvey now helms a band called Pain Cocktail. More info shortly.* Portland's Sadonation cut a great female-vox punk 45 for Greg Sage's Trap label and a decent LP in '82. A couple of'em also played with the Jackals. The Soreheads sole EP appeared in 1986 -well after the heyday of the Vancouver punk-scene, but its time-warped artwork and proto-slacker suicidal-oops-it-worked lyrics are fun anyway...

N.Y.C./ Northeast

H2D #2's prize rarity is probably the Sinatras' "Teddy Crashes Blond Dies", a '79 recap of Teddy Kennedy's early '70s woes with Mary-Jo Kopechne, etc. -timed to coincide inconveniently with Kennedy's presidential primary run against Jimmy Carter, Wally Mondale, et al. It's their only record, then they became the Slumlords. Most then went on to punk'n'rollers Fun No Fun. After the [initial] demise of the Corpse Grinders* (H2D #51) ex-New York Doll Rick Rivets joined Ray Jalbert & Larry Lazerz in the Slugs for two excellent 45s -also on Andy Doback's fine Whiplash label. Neither originally came with a sleeve, though Andy had one planned: he used it in the early 80s when he later sold the leftover Slugs 45s as a deuce-pack. Comprehensive Slugs/Whiplash retrospectives are imminent.*
The first Saucers 45 may have been the loudest item to come out of the New Haven punk-scene, although they weren't exactly home-grown. Craig Bell (Rocket from the Tombs, Mirrors: "Muckraker" was an old Mirrors tune) and Seth Tiven (Dumptruck, kid brother of Jon [Prix, Chilton, Yankees*]) did two 45s (their second A-side appears on Teenline #2) and cut several additional tracks soon out on Grand Theft Audio CD.* An hour north in Western Mass, the Scientific Americans mined punk, new wave, and 1960s pop-culture (pro wrestling, the TV Jetsons' "Eep Op Ork Ah Ah") over the course of this EP, three flexis, at least two full-length cassettes and a German split 45. Wildly erratic, but all sorta interesting: there may be a Sci Ams compilation in the works (see also Homework #2).

The Shirkers "Drunk & Disorderly" is a trash-punk masterpiece, but the sound, well, it's either wall-of-mud (H2D has no particular problem with that) or a cleaner but almost guitar-free remix on the Best of Limp comp. They only played one gig, and broke up shortly after the 45. (There are 500 copies each of two sleeves, both released at the same time.) Tom Kane (Slickee Boy Kim's bro) did time in the Dark and the Velvet Monkeys [Homework #4 & 5], Jeff Zang played in Kim Kane's Date Bait, and Libby Hatch went on to Tru Fax & the Insaniacs [H2D #12, 21]: she died in an accident in 1997 or '98. R.I.P. The Serfs released their surf-punk take on the Munsters' theme on a split single with D.C.'s Young Caucasians. There IS a PS The Shreds remain a mystery: it's solid F-vox punkwave from 1980, but never had a PS: N.Y.C. or Detroit?

The Midwest

The Sillies took their name quite seriously: "Is there Lunch After Death" was only par for the course. "Ben Waugh" hollered lead and ran their label, Nebula (see Homework #7 & 8), but the rest of the band was in more or less permanent flux. Their only 45 featured Bob Mulrooney & Vince Bannon ex-Coldcock, and an entirely different cast appeared on 1981's Detroit on a Platter. They reunited in 2002. There's an online history at Scott Campbell's site and some Sillies MP3s available for your listening pleasure... Scooter & the Worms recorded two cool hippie-punk EPs in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1980-82? "Sharon" is from their first: for the FULL story, see their website...* The Scraps assembled themselves in Chicago from the "scraps" of two earlier bands, the Ants and Quarry. "Strike 3"'s a fine obscure 1980 punk'n'roller, and they've got three other MP3s available online through IUMA. Another song with the same title comes from 63 Mönröe's final effort, an unreleased 1985 demo-tape. It's a major improvement over their 45s, but they never recaptured the snotty brilliance of their 1980 "NFG" EP [H2D #21]. There's a lengthy bio at their new website.*

The South

The Skinnies were the debut release on New Orleans' first punk label, 'Lectric Eye. Unlike most others in the N.O. scene, they never turned up anywhere else Up in the state capitol of Baton Rouge the legendary Shit Dogs spawned and cut their first, then moved to the Big Easy for their second and their spotty-but-under-rated 1983 LP. Assuming that their hippie-punk live show HAD to be less murky than their recordings [marginally tuned up for H2D], this bunch of committed Three Stooges fans must have been great fun to watch. The Skunks* track comes from their second (and third) single [it appears on their first LP as well] that was released in a variety of packages, either with a gatefold PS, a poster, or clear-plastic sleeves with stickers... There's a great live CD out now on their own label and a vinyl retrospective on Rave Up. Finally, from Tallahassee, Florida, Sector Four pressed one EP on Roach Motel's "Destroy" label and added two tracks to the We Can't Help It EP. Maximum Rock&Roll caught them talking with Ian McKaye, but they never made it out of Florida. Drummer/vocalist Paul Suhor went on to Harley Krishna (who re-made a bunch of S4 songs) and now records in his own studio and teaches stop-smoking hypnosis at Rainbow gatherings. Web-site and MP3s coming soon...

* Hyped to Death liner notes: #1 #2 #11 #12 #21 #22 #31 #32 #41 #42 #51 #61 *
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