Jan 5, 2009

Diggin' In The Crates "Historical Impact" Edition

Kicking off 2009 and YODC's new schedule...

Stumbled across this one last month during an eBay search: A bootleg LP containing demos by legendary first-wave American punk band The Screamers.

Artist: The Screamers
Title: Demos 1977-78
Label: unknown (bootleg)
Vinyl: standard black vinyl

(Sorry for the quality of the photos today, my camera's batteries died and I left the spares in my fiancee's purse this past New Years' Eve. These are from my Blackberry.)

So sayeth Wikipedia:

Included among the first wave of LA's punk rockers, the label "techno-punk" was applied to the band by the Los Angeles Times in 1978.[1] The Screamers are widely cited as the pioneers of a genre now known as "synthpunk," and might also be classified as art punk. The Screamers were notable for their unusual instrumentation, featuring electric piano and synthesizer, while omitting guitars. Additional musicians, including violinists and a female vocalist, were occasionally incorporated into their performances.

The group featured a highly developed theatrical presentation that centered around a manic lead vocalist, Tomata du Plenty, whose stage persona one early commentator described as "a psychotic Mickey Rooney."

Though they developed a substantial following and generated considerable press coverage, the Screamers never released a record. In the Don Letts-directed documentary Punk: Attitude (2005) singer Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys cited the Screamers as a key influence on his group, and as one of the great unrecorded groups in rock history, a sentiment echoed by Brendan Mullen, who ran the punk club The Masque.

Unfortunately, the only legitimate release of the Screamers is a live video shot by the good folks at Target Video during the band's heyday (highly recommended by this author, and presently available on DVD thanks to MVD); the opening cut of the video, "122 Hours of Fear", is featured below. The only audio evidence of the band can be found on bootleg LPs like this one, which features the band's 1977 and 1978 demo recordings; according to Jello Biafra, the band was holding out for a major label deal which never came. Imagine the impact the band would have had if Columbia or Warner Bros. had taken a chance.

I haven't played the record yet (I just got it in my PO Box today) so I can't vouch for the sound quality of it. However, given that I was already a fan of the band via their Target Video DVD and knew of their reputation for years beforehand, this was a hell of a lucky find.


Anonymous said...

LOL iono how or y but somehow that video is AWESOME

Rangudon Argeru said...

aw..so happy to see Diggin in the Crates back