“Back From The Grave: Volume One
1. The Elite – “My Confusion”
This Fort Worth, Texas group started in 1963, blasting frat-rock and surf fro 2 years before recording their first 45, “On Potato, Two Potato”, a crazed instrumental in the “Surfing Bird” style. Next up in ’66 was this high-speed punk raver, all ’bout the effects of a BAD GIRL. The Elite ruled the frequent Fort Worth battles of the bands, not only due to their ravin’ sounds but also due to the volume level of their all-girl, 200 member fan club.
2. The Jujus – “Do You Understand Me”
The second and last release by the famed JuJs, this one without Ray Hummell, the mousey-voiced singer on “You Treat Me Bad”, who left the group in ’66 to form the Traffic Jams with Ray Vasquez of the Legends (last group on this side). The wild and mysterious buzzing noises on this song were made by a motorcycle brought into the studio and revved up for “special effects”. The shattering glass heard after the crazed guitar break was a Coke bottle that got in way of the bike during its strip across the studio.
3. + 4. The Alarm Clocks – “Yeah” “No Reason To Complain”
I’d say “grosp George Gell’s ace Rebel Teen #3 zine fer the FULL A.C. story”, but it’s LOOONNG outta-print so here’s a brief lowdown. The Alarm Clocks sprung forth in late 65 after guitar-slingin’ Parama, Ohio teen Bruce Boehm tired of his prior band, The Perceptions, spent time with another local combo, the Night People, as a sit-in cat, and at last found the right musical bond with a high school pal/neighbor, Mike Pierce, who swapped his guit for a bass and brought in skinsman Bill Schwark, and started rehearsing tunes and playing shows. Trained on the usual Stones, Kinks roots, the Alarm Clocks always promised to take their sound one step beyond anyone else around, pumping an intensity and loudness into their covers. One early day in ’66 they drove to Sound Ideas Recording studio in Cleveland and recorded both sides of this, their only release, a monumental feat defining WHAT 1966 teen punk really was. They pressed up three hundred copies of the 45, sold’em locally, continued to play gigs, but by late 1966, inner-band tensions caused the Alarm Clocks to break up. After a few months of off-time, the band reformed in early’67, adding a full-time singer, Frank Rescok, and became The Purple Haze.
5. The Fabs – “That’s The Bag I’m In”
Although thought of as a Texas group, the Fabs were a Fullerton, California teen combo, who formed in ’66 and were “discovered” by drummer Bob Ellis’ mom’s boss, who owned a bunch of hair salons and her own make-up line,. A business associate of hers from Dallas, Texas like the Fabs too, and they decided to put out a 45. So the odd poem “Dinah Wants Religion” (BACK FROM THE GRAVE 4) and a Fred Neil folk song with great lyrics were FAB-ulized at United Studios in Hollywood. The managers in Texas put it out on a Dallas-addressed label, COTTONBALL, and it was released in test areas in the Southwest. With some local radio play, the Fabs started getting a lot of gigs, playing at such places as The Salty Cellar in Huntington Beach, arine Palace, the Anaheim Bowl, The Danny Kaye TV Show and in the KRLA radio Halloween Monster Freak-Off opening for the Seeds, Rain, Davie Allan & The Arrows, and played lots of battles of the bands, including among others, the SLOTHS! – a primal outfit you can hear on GRAVE 4.
6. The Malibus – “Cry”
Great punker from Providence, Rhode Island, home of Satans Breed, the deranged Shawkey S’eau, and Others. This cool grinder is the flip to an outrageous cop of the Zombies’ “Leave Me Be”, which has an earlier ’65-ish “surf” feel. A later 45 by the group had a re-recorded “psychedelic version of “Cry”, and needless to say, it blows.
7. The Bel-Aires – “Ya Ha Be Be”
Here’s a real poundin’ organ punker issued in early ’67 on the DISCOTEQUE label. That indistinguishable shout at the beginning is “1,2,3,4” in ARABIC, and “Ya Ha Be Be” is Arabic for “pretty Baby” – the guitarists’ grandparents were of Arabic descent. The group were all pals in Wyoming High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and rose pretty quickly to dominate the local teen-band circuit with the JuJus, and with competition bearing names like QUICK AND THE DEAD, it musta been pretty grueling.
8. The Legends – “I’ll Come Again”
The Legends were a group of Holland, Michigan teens that formed in ’64 and began playing all over western Michigan high school dances after getting their big break by winning the Holland Battle of the Bands in ’65. They recorded this ingenious garage pop gem in early ’65, but the record label didn’t release it til 1967, long after the group had split up. Two members of the Legends joined the Traffic Jams to back up Ray Hummell, ex-singer of the JuJus on his 45 “Gentle Rain/Fine Day”. Back to the Legends: one night they were on their way to appear on a local TV show and were late, so they drove 80-90 mph down the highway, and when they got to the station they realized some of the equipment on the roof had fallen off. The TV host asked them about it during the show and over the next hour people called the station telling the group that they had found their stuff on the road. And they got everything back.
1. The Rats – “Rats Revenge Part One” “Rats Revenge “Part Two”
The GREATEST garage punk record ever!! GREATEST coz 1) The Fuzztones will never cover it 2) No dickweed intellectual “rock critic” will never be able to appreciate, analyse, or understand the absolute GENIUS behind a record like this 3) IT FUCKIN’ RULES! Period. The Rats were actually an Akron, Ohio group called the Decades, who started in ’63 as an instrumental combo, playing against locals like the CAPS (“Daddy Dean”, “Red Headed Flea”, etc.) and releasing their first 45, “Strange Worlds”, a weird outer-spacey instro, and “Come On Pretty Baby”, a vocal. Local radio played this debut, attracting the interest of a producer, Terry Rose, fresh off the MYSTICS’ “Snoopy” sessions (see GRAVE 2). Terry approached the Decades and proposed a recording session for a musical tribute to the REAL HERO of the AIP beach party flics, Eric Von Zipper & The RATS Motorcycle Gang. After 10 straight takes, Terry told’em to light up & fool around for the last take, supplying lead vocals and insanity himself. Nothing was heard of the project or Terry until 2 months later, when the 45 was released to an unwanting public. Most of the 500 copies pressed ended up in a garbage dump in Kent Ohio, and both the Decades and the Rats vanished.
3. The One Way Streets – “We All Love Peanut Butter”
One hot summer day in 1966, two mom-driven station wagons pulled ip outside Sunrise Studios in Hamilton, Ohio and out piled 4 insane teens, While their moms set up a table on the lawn outside and played bridge and drank lemonade, the One Way Streets were inside the studio shredding their way through 2 songs they felt would create a major disturbance. As a finished touch to their wild afternoon, they ripped off an eighty dollar mike on their way out the door and haven’t been heard of since.
4. Larry And The Blue Notes – “Night Of The Phantom”
A truly cryptic song about an evil soul who cuts in on a teen couple’s fun at the local lovers’ lane. These Fort Worth legends started their career in ’63, but did not cut anything until ’65, when they cut “Night of the Sadist”. This was to be released on TIRIS, but their producer freaked out & had ’em overdub “Phantom”, cuz “Sadist” seemed a little too touchy for squares. (Hear the UNRELEASED “Sadist” version on GRAVE 4!). The group released a batch of 45s, the best bein’ the high-speed fuck anthem “IN and Out”.
5. The One Way Streets – “Jack The Ripper”
The Ohio terrors return, this time with an insane rendering/mutilation o’Screaming Lord Sutch’s tune. It speaks for itself.
6. The Swamp Rats – “Psycho”
Pittsburgh’s finest at their doggoned wildest !! Jeezus, wotta noise fest !!! These guys were the most inspired cover band back then, overlooking the obvious and searching out and recording FRANTIC, LOUD, FAST covers o’ then-obscure cuts by the SPARKLES, GOLLIWOGS, & this SUPER-SICK thrashing of the SONICS tune! If this doesn’t provide prof positive that all heavy metal is contrived, limpdick bullshit, nothing will!
7. The Cords – “Ghost Power”
An ultra-cryptic, super-stupid instrumental is the only way to ease off the pain of the Swamp Rats’ screeching vocals, and this baby seems appropriate. Recorded in ’67 not far from Ole Ed Gein’s stompin’ grounds in Wisconsin, and no doubt influenced by evil ghosts blowin’ about the wooded hills.