Procrastination has always been one of my strong suits. Next week, that will be neither here nor there. Presented here “today” is the handwritten insert, well, the copy of a handwritten insert to Drive Like Jehu’s 1994 math rock monument, Yank Crime. Like with most releases involving Swami John Reis (Rocket from the Crypt, Hot Snakes, Pitchfork, The Night Marchers, etc.), the lyrics to each song are painfully scrolled out in almost picture-perfect illegibility. While this gives a false sense of personal touch, it does weave together the incoherent and brilliant works of the mad genius that is Mr. Reis, and his merry band of mischief-seeking, and equally talented thugs. Yank Crime would be the 2nd of two albums that Jehu would release, and if you don’t already own it, make sure your used copy, if that’s your thing, contains this insert. If not, save the photo and print it out. You’re welcome.
Dug into the 7″ records last night and shoveled out a few of the greats. Starting with Diesel Boy’s Strap on Seven Inch, followed by Drive Like Jehu’s Bullet Train to Vegas, we then weaseled our way through Nation of Ulysses (Nation of Ulysses and The Birth of Ulysses Aesthetic), then on to Beastie Boys’ Polly Wog Stew, and finally concluding with Can We Be Mature? by The Dismemberment Plan. It was an interesting evening, to say the least. Can’t wait to do it again.
Rumored to have been recorded for only $600, At the Drive-In’s first album, Acrobatic Tenement harnesses the bombastic, melodic shrieks of Drive Like Jehu into a steel-solid collection of instantly-classic, post-hardcore ditties. Originally released by Flipside Records solely on compact disc in 1996, the album didn’t debut on vinyl until this 2013 reissue from Twenty-First Chapter Records, the band’s own label. If you have the stomach for aggressive adventures in and out of post-hardcore shadows, Acrobatic Tenement is certainly not one to miss.
Comp albums by the world’s most popular musical act are nothing new, exciting, and / or controversial, but double, colored LPs are a horse of a different color. While going to school up in Ventura, CA some years back, a record store, whose name I cannot recall, went out of business and was celebrating with a storewide ½ off sale. Among some German Simon & Garfunkel, clear vinyl Drive Like Jehu, original pressings of Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, I acquired both this, 1978’s 1962 – 1966, and the blue vinyl sibling, 1967 – 1970 for $10 each. They had a Spinal Tap picture disc displayed on the wall… I wish I’d gotten that guy too. Anyway, there is a time and place for compilation albums. I’ve yet to find that hour and location, but I’m sure they exist.
A gorgeous Christmas gift from the SO, this 2x gift cert from Donut Friend (Mark Trombino’s Los Angeles-based sweet-house… the drummer of Drive Like Jehu, k’mon), will afford this here guy a delicious “Chocolate from the Crypt” and a “Drive Like Jelly.” A proper post to follow, post-donut-consumption, but all are happy campers here at the PG with this amazing, sugar-laced gift cert.
So, after 19-years, the universe is one, once again. It wasn’t without the help from organ queen, Dr. Carol Williams, and Pinback alumni, Rob Crow, that Drive Like Jehu was able to reload their one-off reunited arsenal of post-hardcore wizardry. The venue, San Diego’s Spreckels Pipe Organ Pavilion at Balboa Park, was serene and picturesque, while the crowd, aging warriors with golden ears and eager offspring were many, and ecstatic.
Tonight’s installment was all set and scheduled for Still Bill, the 2nd studio album by the rug-tappin’ soul-funk master, Bill Withers… that was, until I found out that Drive Like Jehu was reuniting for a free, outdoor show in their hometown of San Diego after a 19-year hiatus. Needless to say, I’m beside myself with childlike excitement (to put it mildly). San Diego road trip in little over a week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Before breaking Lou Brock’s coveted career Major League stolen base record of 938, a very young Rickey Henderson had to steal his first base. Before The Beatles could release the immeasurable Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, they had to play backup to Tony Sheridan. All legacies have a beginning, and before the Hot Snakes, the Obits, Drive Like Jehu, the Sultans, The Night Marchers and the crème de la crème, Rocket from the Crypt, before modern day rock ‘n’ roll emerged from the heavens and established itself as “the majestic sound from the Gods,” there was Pitchfork.
Rick Froberg, meet John Reis. Get through your handshakes and your pleasant introductions quickly, because over the next 25 years you’ve got four singles, one EP and seven albums to write, record, produce and release under the heading of three different bands: Pitchfork, Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes. Get busy boys… the world is waiting.
The first recorded ANYTHING by both Froberg and Reis (their musical rookie card), Saturn Outhouse contains the same melodic, in your face, sky-high level of energy found in Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes, and like those bands, sees Froberg on vocals and Reis on lead guitar. It’s evident, as seen from Reis’ more recent work, how much he is influenced by mid-60’s obscure garage rock, but Saturn Outhouse sounds more like an Ian MacKaye-headed Fugazi than anything released by the Seeds.
To the causal listener, Pitchfork can easily, and understandably, be confused for Drive Like Jehu, and vise versa. The two bands have striking similarities (scratching vocals by Froberg, piercing guitar by Reis, melodic, drawn-out landscapes), but the difference lies in the level of maturity exuded by both Froberg and Reis between Pitchfork’s demise (1990) and the birth of Drive Like Jehu (later in 1990). I haven’t matured that much in 33 years, and these guys crossed that mark in their early twenties! Quiet simply put, Froberg and Reis were adolescents, yes, but they were also music legends in the making.
Containing the tracks, Thin Ice, Goat and Sinking, this little necessity of music history can be had for a surprisingly cheap amount. Starting at only $6.54 over at Discogs, this gem can, and should, be sought after by any, and every fan of the majestic, modern day rock ‘n’ roll sound.
I am a sucker for antique record paraphernalia. Be it cheesy “as seen on bad 70’s TV” record cleaners, random manuals to record players I’ve never owned, or in this case my 1966 Philco High-Fidelity All-Transistor Stereophonic Radio-Phonograph.
Nearly a decade ago back in film school I was prop shopping for a 1960’s period short film I was involved with. Now, thanks to my mother I’ve always been a frugal shopper, so when digging around one of Ventura, CA’s many antique shops I immediately perused the booths near the back of the store that featured items at 50% off. While on this hunt for cheap, yet relevant 60’s era props I came across this pristine phonograph. At first glance of this beautiful cabinet record player, and without even seeing the price tag, I was instantly fixated on becoming its ultimate and inevitable owner. When I saw the price tag of $80 I nearly wet myself. $40 + tax later she was mine. I called my buddy Omar, who had a flat bed and we hauled it off to set. It didn’t have a dominant presence in the final short film, but when the shoot was over I found myself the proud owner of an amazing piece of stereophonic machinery.
The LP on the platter is Johnny Cash’s 1957 debut Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar, which would have been just 9 years old when this High-Fidelity All-Transistor Stereophonic Radio-Phonograph was manufactured and sold.
For nearly 10 years ol’ Philco has moved with me a total of five times. She’s always dominated every living room she’s inhabited and still sounds as good today as she did the day I brought her home. Not bad for being 47 years old.
I enjoy imagining what the manufacturers at the Philco Corporation back in 1966 would think of the music I play on this phonograph now. I doubt they’d be as much into N.E.R.D., The Revolting Cocks or Drive Like Jehu as I am.
In the wake of my esteemed excitement for tonight’s The Night Marchers show, I’ve decided to showcase one of the grooviest looking records in my collection, Rocket from the Crypt’s 1998 UK single, When In Rome (Do The Jerk!).
Speedo (John Reis), who helped form Rocket from the Crypt and acted as lead vocalist and guitarist, recently formed The Night Marchers (and was previously a principle member of Pitchfork, Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes). So for those of you know didn’t know, now see the connection.
This picture disc shaped like the (Rocket from the Crypt) RFTC logo (as you can plainly see) consists of three tracks: When In Rome (Do The Jerk!), Tarzan and Tiger Feet Tonite and was the first single released from their 1998 album, RFTC.
RFTC, and its first single, When In Rome (Do The Jerk!) saw the band at odds with themselves as well as with their (then) label Interscope Records. Record sales were less than expected, which led to the band’s departure from Interscope in 1999. Longtime mainstay RFTC drummer, Atom left the band shortly thereafter to become a tour roadie (drum tech) for Weezer, before joining The Offspring, Angels & Airwaves and touring with Social Distortion and Alkaline Trio. Atom had been with Rocket from the Crypt on their previous five albums (all but their 1991 debut, Paint As A Fragrance).
When In Rome (Do The Jerk!) acts as a sort of tombstone-like visual representation of the high-water era of this incredible band; an era that many would argue to be their most prolific period.
This is an absolute must for any RFTC fan simply for its eye-catching shape and instantly recognizable RFTC appeal. It goes for a reasonable sum on discogs and comes HIGHLY recommended by The Prudent Groove.