Versus carries with it a strong connotation… perhaps it should be more like, The Music Machine as respectfully interpreted by Rocket from the Crypt, or The Music Machine who you’ve never heard of because you suck and don’t know shit about good music, but we do because we’re Rocket from the Crypt. However you label it, if labels are your thing, both The Music Machine’s debut LP, 1966’s (Turn On) The Music Machine and Rocket’s 1995 5″, Plays The Music Machine are a perfect pair of connecting puzzle pieces that help to line the interwoven fabric of the great rock n’ roll battlefield. This particular copy of Turn On is a RSD exclusive from last year, where both the Rocket 5″s were released by Sympathy for the Record Industry (original releases, both of them). If you’re into garage rock, own a garage, or hell, can SPELL garage, you need to check out both The Music Machine and (damn near) anything by Rocket from the Crypt. Happy Friday, kids.
There are some that will say that the best one-two punch-in-consecutive, one-two-tracks-on-an-album are something Zeppelin, or Beatles related. To them, this disclaimer is (likely) not accurate. For me, and mine, the KO comes from either RFTC’s Scream, Dracula, Scream!, or George Thorogood’s George Thorogood and the Destroyers. Find this out for yourself, I suppose.
Newly added to the collection is this Dancing Birds 7″ from 1999 (or 2000 by the back cover). Limited to 200 copies, this yellow / black mix is the least common among the following others: 2000 on black, 550 on red, and another 1650 on black for the 2nd pressing. One overpriced 7″ at a time, the RFTC discography is slowly taking shape. We didn’t have time to spin / digitize this guy this morning, so it looks like our Tuesday evening plans are already set in motion. On a side note, how the hell is it already April 25th? I don’t expect an answer, that was a rhetorical question… carry on.
The cover to the 1994 reissue of RFTC’s Boychucker captures the short-lived fad of mid-90s youths with custom, RFTC cutout Pogs. Remember Pogs? Nah, neither do we. The back cover comically spotlights Speedo (Swami) furiously destroying a couple of grade school infants at this forgotten and aggressive activity. Get the original, but checkout this reissue. LONG LIVE POGS!
Haven’t listened to it yet, but the latest addition to the virus of a collection is the 1992 split from Rocket from the Crypt and Dead Bolt titled, Smells Like Grease for Peace. One more record to check off the RFTC checklist, and one more that wasn’t gobbled up by the strict and deviant void that is the United States Postal Service. Still waiting on my Time Hardin and Rocket 45s, you rat-bastards!
The artist’s signature looks to be either a forgery, or an afterthought, but really what the hell do I know. Likely some child relation to Speedo based on the last name. Anyway, on a completely unrelated note, binge-watch your shows responsibly!
If you find yourself aimlessly wandering around the Santa Ana area off Harbor Blvd on Saturday, August 8th, pop into The Observatory and check out Screeching Weasel, The Queers, and The Mr. T Experience. Fools were handing out these fliers after Saturday’s Rocket from the Crypt show and I thoughtlessly threw this guy in my back pocket. He emerged this morning while cleaning out the ol’ pockets. If you missed Rocket, you missed another mind-blowing experience. Happy Monday.
Introducing, into the fold, the format family of hi-fidelity folly, Rocket from the Crypt’s 1995 release, a covers release if you will, and, for now, you will, Plays the Music Machine. Music-wise, these are covers by the world’s most prolific rock’n’roll band (RFTC) paying homage to the 1966 release by The Music Machine, (Turn on) The Music Machine. So (Monty Python’s “get ON with it” rings fairly true, here), RFTC’s 2-track offering is, in fact, because I now own it, pressed on 5” vinyl. So, depending on which photo your eyes navigate towards, here is the spectrum of sizes this, to my knowledge, format covers. 5” – 7” – 10” – 12”. Enjoy your weekend, you savage bastards (he said lovingly)!
(Clean your keyboard, fool!)
With its jaw-breaking (and previously unreleased) b-side (Ciao Patsy), 1995’s unforgettable 7” single from RFTC’s flame-thrower, Scream Dracula Scream was, unfortunately for us Yanks, released only to the luxurious fields of the UK market. One of the band’s more prevalent tracks (mainly regarded by part-time Rocket fans as their pinnacle achievement*), Born in ’69 is as perfect as it is bewildering, and as rawkus as it is musically delicious.
* Lack of evidence supporting this juvenile claim.
Actually, it’s more orange than red… RFTC, Rocket from the Crypt’s 1998 album (and their 5th studio offer overall) contains the following Rocket classics, Dick on a Dog (hence the title of this post), Panic Scam, When in Rome, and Lipstick. It’s difficult to say, but to be honest… well, let me back up. I own 98% of every song Rocket released. I consider them the best live band I’ve ever seen, and it’s a toss-up between them and The Kinks for the coveted, “my favorite band” honor. That having been said, RFTC is, by far, the band’s weakest effort. How can you consider it weak if it contains the above classic tracks (you likely aren’t asking yourself)? The answer to this hypothetical is blindingly simple: the rest of their catalog is so damn good, that RFTC acts like skipping scratch on the pristine record of their discography (or something like that).
There is no bad Rocket from the Crypt lyric, yell, riff, beat, song, or album, but RFTC simply doesn’t compare to the likes of Circa: Now!, Group Sounds, Paint as a Fragrance, Hot Charity, Scream, Dracula, Scream!, or even Live from Camp X-Ray (not a live album). So, this brings us to the point (GET ON WITH IT). If I had to, as of right now, here is how I’d rank Rocket’s 7 studio albums (not including either EPs, for obvious reasons). The only criteria by which I form this humbled opinion is a) analyzing the album as a whole (instead of the sum of its parts), and b) how does it stand up to the band’s other releases. So, here goes:
1) Circa: Now! (released in 1992)
2) Scream, Dracula, Scream! (released in 1995)
3) Group Sounds (released in 2001)
4) Hot Charity (released in 1995)
5) Paint as a Fragrance (released in 1991)
6) Live from camp X-Ray (released in 2002)
7) RFTC (released in 1998)
Seeing this list in black and white scares the shit out of me, but I stand by it.
Listen, I know I sound like a broken record here, but I’m stuck under a Rocket from the Crypt sized cloud without an umbrella and it’s friggin’ POURING! Do you hear what I’m saying?! A stronger man may be able to control these things, themselves, but by God, I am not a strong man.
VIVA LA CRYPT!!!
(Photo taken from inside gatefold of the 1994 Rocket from the Crypt / Bloodthirsty Butchers split 7”, so, there you go.)