Friday, October 3, 2014

When Punk Goes Bunk #666

T.S.O.L. – Hit & Run - Enigma Records
I admit I talk about this album quite a bit, it was one of the first “punk” albums I bought with my own money. I was in Jr. High at the time, skipping lunch, & saving up my lunch money to buy whatever punk, thrash, or hard core cassette was waiting at the Hungry Ear (Kailua, Hi). At the time there was no internet to verify if a punk band was still punk, all I knew is that when my fellow skate punks and I discussed music T.S.O.L. was often brought up, I heard the praise of how they were, “punk as fuck!” So, I filed T.S.O.L.’s name away into my memory & planned to pick up one of their releases. Fast forward a few weeks & I was browsing through the Agnostic Front & SNFU tapes at the Hungry Ear, when the Record Store clerk informed me that T.S.O.L.’s latest album just came in & that it was pretty good, the clerk was wearing a Suicidal Tendencies T-shirt so I thought he was legit, turns out he probably never listened to the album. Before I bought the cassette I stared at the cover, something seemed very wrong, but I bought it any way. At the time I didn’t know that punk bands could go shitty, at this point in life I didn’t even know that Family Man by Black Flag existed.
 As I skateboarded around Kailua I popped Hit & Run into my Walk-Man, & I quickly grew disappointed. What I heard was not “punk as fuck” what I heard sucked. I forced myself to listen to the entire tape, hoping for at least one punk tune, but sadly there were none. What I was treated to was a bunch of blues inspired rock that reminded me of the Cult. Fuck, do I hate the Cult. Frustrated that I wasted my lunch money on a piece of shit, I popped the tape out of my Walk-Man & popped in the World Class Punk Cassette, even the shitty songs on that tape (Under The Sun by Warriors Of The Last Day) were fucking awesome!

 When I returned to school, I told one of my poser friends about the T.S.O.L. album I recently purchased, & he told me, “Oh, yeah you got to be careful buying their shit, some of it sucks!” Mother fucker, now this dick tells me. He then told me how he bought an amazing album by some band called the Spermbirds, he said he had no idea who they were, but took the chance on them because they had “sperm” in their name. He raved on about how they didn’t sound like the Cult!

 Over the years I would occasionally give Hit & Run a listen and even found a couple of songs I didn’t hate. The song Hit & Run, was the first to grow on me with its lyrics about getting too drunk & getting too loud! Music wise it was still that blues rock I think sucks, but it was more upbeat & catchy. The second song that grew on me was Sixteen which was a bit heavier than the other songs, & also featured crash & burn lyrics. At times Sixteen reminds me of the Alice Cooper tune I’m Eighteen, barf! The majority of Hit & Run are tracks that could have been out takes for Appetite For Destruction (Guns n Roses… duh!), by the last two tracks T.S.O.L. has given up on even trying to rock out, and they turn things down a notch with the sensitive track, Stay With Me. Judging from the singers admissions earlier in the album the woman he begs to stay has a lot of reasons to leave, at one point in the album he even taunts her with such lines as, “if you don’t like it then don’t hang around”, then he has the nerve to beg her to stay, fuck off douche bag! By the last song, T.S.O.L. is down to just an acoustic guitar & a guy whining that he is filled with sorrow or some shit, fuck off!

When I heard this album, I was so put off by it that I waited 2 (or 3) years before picking up anything else by T.S.O.L. by that time I was a veteran of punk rock, over the hill, & a walking encyclopedia of underground music (I was probably 14). Up to this point I probably lost a good $40 to punk bands that started playing shitty metal & holy fuck was it almost always shitty metal. I got into punk because I hated “good” metal as well as “shitty” metal. So I knew what to look for on a punk record, so when I saw Dance With Me at Odyssey Records (Las Vegas) I knew it was a safe buy. Dance With Me, was the album I was hoping Hit & Run was… I quickly forgave T.S.O.L. and went on to purchase more records by the band, which at times left me more confused than ever.

 Sure Hit & Run is no punk album, but compared to other rock artists at the time such as Krokus, Y & T, Raven, and Triumph, you could have certainly heard worse. If you have heard Change Today or Revenge you could tell they were already heading in this direction. I am sure if you have some uncle who listens to KOMP, you can throw Hit & Run on and he will think it is the perfect jam to smack his wife to. For the record, fuck your uncle & his ties to the KKK. Also for the record I do appreciate your uncle buying us Crazy Horse beer when we were too young to buy it ourselves, sure your uncle thought I was a, “silly beaner” but he still did us a solid, whatever!

 Some may argue that Hit & Run, only features two original members of T.S.O.L. & I would counter argue that those were two original members that should have known better! Also, judging from Cathedral of Tears & Tender Fury it would have made no difference how many original members were still in the band. T.S.O.L. have since reformed into a punk band and now sound like Jack Grisham’s post T.S.O.L. band Joykiller, which is OK with me since I loved their Static LP.

 Well, I am drunk as fuck & I will now attempt to listen to Grave New World by Discharge, or a newer Misfits LP…

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