Excited to watch this doc by Bill Perrine about the onslaught of imperative hardcore rock to come out of San Diego between 86 and 96. Sticker reads, “THE STORY OF SAN DIEGO’S LEGENDARY 90S MUSIC SCENE FEATURING DRIVE LIKE JEHU, ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT, THE LOCUST, ROB CROW, HEROIN, BOILERMAKER, TRUMANS WATER, THREE MILE PILOT, NO KNIFE, CRASH WORSHIP & MANY MORE” Thanks to whoever sent it to me!
Comas are no fun. I don’t recommend them. So, what’s been going on for the past three plus years? Oh… really? OH, YOU’RE FUGGIN’ KIDDING ME! That sounds… pleasant…
While the recovery process checks all its much-needed boxes, let’s dig into some prudently groovy ear candy, shall we? Have you heard the PLOSIVS record? Swami John Reis (Rocket from the Crypt, Hot Snakes, The Night Marchers, Pitchfork, Drive Like Jehu) and Rob Crow (Pinback) collude on 10 tracks of easy listening anarchy. Something your ol’ lady might actually dig, if she’s the Jose Gonzalez or Jesca Hoop type. Let’s see, what else is there? Lovage reissued their groundbreaking album (we’ll explore that later), and They Might Be Giants have been busy issuing colored vinyl versions of their back catalogue. Hope you’ve saved up your money, kids! The International Voice of Reason is dead, or quit, which is as good as dead (RIP Nightmare Fridays), and as per usual, there’s a hefty stack of “need to listen to” records on the floor. SIGH! Well, (says, in the attempt to convince himself) let’s do it to it!
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.
Stumbled across a slew of gig flyers, randomly sprinkled throughout various storage boxes the other day. I attended the Rocket from the Crypt / Sahara Hotnights show at Chicago’s Metro back in 2001, I think? We made the trek from Milwaukee and the show was not a disappointment. Interesting to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and … Trail of Dead on this same flyer, both bands I would come to admire AFTER acquiring this little memento. Anyway, more flyers to come!
Fresh from October, 2001 is this flyer for Champaign Illinois’ Highdive. A buddy and I drove from Milwaukee to Champaign to see these guys (Rocket from the Crypt)… some 226 miles with a CD boombox and a fresh package of batteries. I had the next day off, but my buddy had to work. We didn’t get home until 6:30am the next day. Gotta love Chicago rush hour. Anyway, the show was (obviously) well worth it, and I even got the chance to shake Speedo’s hand… something I’ve held in high regard for the past 16+ years. I just happened to stumble across this flyer while digging through the Jenga closet. Happy I hand the foresight to tuck it away.
Gold is a single-sided 7″ released by Drunken Fish Records (Santa Monica, CA) back in the summer of 1992. It contains one song, Gold, and was limited to 500 copies. The name of the band is Rocket from the Crypt, and although the color in the photo is a bit misleading, the sleeve is actually red, while the record is actually a yellow-ish, gold-like color. This copy, just obtained, came with Mardi Gras-esque beads, as it did upon its initial release some 25 years ago, though I have reason to question the legitimacy of these beads. No matter, as we’re now one step closer to completing the (never-ending) Rocket from the Crypt discography!
Yet another fantastic Live From Camp X-Ray reissue from Vagrant Records. What was once the last word from the world’s best live band, is now a casual weekend listen. The band recently posted Instagram photos of the team back in the studio, so HOPEFULLY, Camp won’t be the last after all. Fingers, toes, laces, and everything else is crossed.
Santa Ana kicked some solid ass and brought out some heavy, legendary hitters. Featured here is (insane / genius / crazy person) Jello Biafra with his Guantanamo School of Medicine. For only $20, we witnessed not only the best live band of our generation (Rocket from the Crypt), but also a few Dead Kennedys classics. I wasn’t expecting, or remotely prepared for the latter. Good day, indeed.
For (what seemed like) an eternity, Rocket from the Crypt’s 2002 album, Live from Camp X-Ray (their 7th studio offering) was the last, resonating voice any of us heard from the world’s best live band (2003’s 2-track On the Prowl was nowhere to be found, at least as far as rural Wisconsin was concerned). As a ranking place in their catalog, it sits near the bottom (1998’s RFTC bringing up the rear), but it stood out, if only for the obvious reason, that it was the last-new Rocket thing heard. Since their hiatus, the band has released a handful of (mainly single-sided) 7″ records, in addition to a live recording of their “last” show from Halloween, 2005 and another All Systems Go compilation (their third), but Live from Camp X-Ray (not a live album) still stands as the band’s last studio album. Anyway, Vagrant Records still has copies of their 20 Years series up on their site. Nab these color variants while you can. This album, with all its faults, is still a classic.
(Very) likely acquired from Atomic Records (Milwaukee, WI) around the summer of 2001, this perfectly preserved Rocket from the Crypt logo sticks prominently on the office “coffee table.” A few other random bits and bobs linger around and throughout (needed to keep that organic Dole sticker), but this off-center design is one of my favs. RIP Atomic Records, and thanks for the free schwag!
Side note: I’ve reached out to Vagrant Records to see if there are any plans to release vinyl versions of Rocket’s R.I.P. and All Systems Go! III. We’ll see how it plays out.
So, it appears that Vagrant Records is doing a 20th anniversary vinyl rerelease series, and its two Rocket from the Crypt records are showcased. Both 2001’s Group Sounds (one of their best), and 2002’s Live from Camp X-Ray (not a live album, and neither 20 years old) are featured. The record to the left isn’t part of that series (I only just ordered the lot this morning), but instead was sold at both the band’s 2013 European reunion tour, and on 2013’s North American Record Store Day. Here is the Vagrant link if you fancy a look.
Not bad what $4 can get you when you’re in a savvy mood. www.rftc.com, kids.
Finally got my red vinyl copy of On the Prowl by Rocket from the Crypt. I’d stupidly passed it up at Amoeba the last time I was there. $35 and something like 6 months ago. Lucky for me it was still there on Saturday, and the price had dropped to $30. Not bad considering roughly 100 – 200 were pressed. Pette has it valued between $75 – $100, so not a bad find.