It’s 72 degrees and sunny here today. Perfect for some organized chaos in the elegant form of The Dave Brubeck Quartet. Take Five was one of those tracks I’d known before I knew what it was. A cool jazz standard, I’d always thought. That was until a buddy of mine (quite strongly) urged me to nab it at a small (and very dusty) San Diego record shop. $8 for this album is an absolute steal, I’d come to find out, and I keep the secondhand price tag on the outer sleeve as a constant reminder of my, let’s say, uneducated days. Take Five. The perfect soundtrack to an early Spring day. (Apologies to my friends and family on the East Coast and in the Midwest…)
It’s certainly not often that one’s favorite band, once considered obsolete (mainly due to the final, RIP concert one attended some 10 years back), releases a new track, then limits said song to a 440 7″ pressing only available at a recent Denver, CO show. As a Los Angeleon, I was excited to hear said news, but very worrisome of the avenue with which to obtain it. Thank you Discogs and your reasonably priced sellers. More Rocket, yeah, that’ll do.
This 1998 UK release on Elemental Records by the sultans of sleaze, San Diego surfers Rocket from the Crypt, is the latest checked mark on the slowly shrinking list of remaining Rocket records. This journey to acquire their discography will likely take me another decade to achieve, but the full result will have been well worth the wait… or so I’m telling myself each and every day I search for my missing, spinnable links.
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!
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.)
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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2002, and the 365 days inhabiting its sultry innards showcased, for me, a laughable “everyday” but, managed to offer an extraordinary, and fulfilling foundation for, what’s turned out to be, a lifelong appreciation for Rocket from the Crypt. Why was 2002, some seven years after having seen them live, a turning point for me and this prolific band? Well, as a Wisconsinite, lamenting over a San Diegan band, 2002’s Live from Camp X-Ray, represented a short, but welcomed, fresh breath.
The inevitable soundtrack to that Fall’s pizza delivering extravaganza, Live from Camp X-Ray scarred me with the maturity I didn’t necessarily know I was ready, but eagerly waiting for.
This jobber is a reissue on “Ltd. Edition Colored Splatter Vinyl.” I can’t sing the endless RFTC praises enough… if they can help me through my questionable adolescence… they can help you through anything.
I’ve been accumulating a fairly decent slipmat collection these days. The most recent addition is this deliciously clever little number from Permanent Records, a quaint little shop in Eagle Rock, and very tiny record label.
I’ve never been a DJ, but have always gotten a devilish kick out of clothing my turntables. Forever and a day ago, I posted about my newly acquired Grand Royal slipmat lot, and right now, under my More Charlie Barnet album (currently spinning on the platter), is a slipmat with the mummified RFTC logo from their “last show” in San Diego back in 2005 (they’ve, obviously, gotten back together since then, so the “last show” novelty has all but worn off… but the slipmat is killer!).
I passed up a Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde slipmat the other day. Clearly NOT a necessity, I’m contemplating going back to pick it up. A steady stream of rotating slipmats makes the grooves happy, I find. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself these days.
Please excuse the lateness of today’s post. It was for a legitimate, and vinyl related cause, I assure you. Here’s the skinny: So yesterday, on our way back from our 6th year at Comic-Con (in San Diego), my vinyl collecting doppelganger and I hit up Lou’s Records in Encinitas, CA. We’d read a few reviews and decided to check it out. We were less than impressed with the selection, as it was really kind of picked through. Apparently Lou’s is a famous little joint. My doppelganger informed me that Pearl Jam used to play there, but I didn’t pay it much mind, since I don’t care for PJ and/or much that comes from this guy’s face. So, after only about five minutes, and upon quick realization that all the grooves we were looking for could not be found, we decided to bounce. On our swift escape, something caught my eye. It was… a clear vinyl version of Pitchfork’s first EP, Saturn Outhouse. Limited to only 100 copies on clear vinyl, this little 7” also happens to be hand numbered. This copy reads: 6/100.
So, like the intelligent and forward thinking chap that I am, I passed it up. I left it there, got back into the car, and headed back to Los Angeles. Late last night, an itch started, and it wouldn’t let up no matter how much I attempted to ignore it. I began searching for any info on this clear vinyl release on the inter-webs, but couldn’t find much of anything on it. The black vinyl version can be found just about anywhere, including amongst the 45s in my collection, but I’d never heard of this version, and since it was the first ANYTHING released by Rocket from the Crypt mastermind, John Reis, I’d felt I’d made a HUGE mistake by not picking it up.
Fast-forward to this morning. After reading a thoughtful post about this clear vinyl release, I started to feel bad for this guy. He’d been hunting all over for this particular record, up to and including contacting the band, and he ended up finding one for a hefty $250. I thought, hmmm. It took this poor guy 18 years to track this record down… and I know where I can get one for a cool $25. So I called Lou’s to make sure they still had it, hopped in my rocket ship and drove an hour and a half to Encinitas. I just got back (traffic was a bastard on the northbound 405), so, yeah. Today’s post is late. But look at what I have!!!
Rock ‘N’ Roll gets kicked in the teeth with this fire-themed gauntlet of raging energy. Led by Speedo’s spitting vocals and Petey X’s stabbing bass work, the glorious Rocket from the Crypt, over just six songs, show everyone within shouting distance why they’re helmed as the best Rock ‘N’ Roll group ever to walk the Earth. The State of Art is On Fire, and Rocket from the Crypt lit the match.
The State of Art is on Fire was the first in a trilogy from RFTC (Rocket from the Crypt) in 1995, followed by August’s Hot Charity and October’s Scream, Dracula, Scream!. This particular release is, well, a bit peculiar since side A plays at 33rpms and side B plays at 45rpms. It should also be noted that this EP was the first to feature JC 2000, the band’s trumpeter, and also included a lyrics sheet, which was rarely included in releases by this band.
The hair-raising back-to-back shots from Rid or Ride and Human Torch are arguably the best one-two punch by any band on any album ever. I know this statement is subjective, but you’re wrong if you think otherwise. Like a violent flame, this album starts to burn your ears, your neighbor’s dog’s ears, your feet, the pear on your kitchen table, your memories of Senior Prom, and the blood flowing through your veins, and it doesn’t let up until the needle breaks on the final groove. The State of Art is on Fire is an experience. One that is not quickly, or let’s face it, EVER forgotten.
Only 300 copies exist of this blue marbled staple of Rock ‘N’ Roll awesomeness. Currently none are for sale of either this or the pink marbled version, but the black version can be had for only $8 at Discogs.
Art has been burning now for 18 years. Sit back and enjoy the flames.