Monday, June 13, 2011

Nervebreakers "Politics" EP, " Hijack The Radio" b/w "Why Am I So Flipped"

(Get Hip) (Guest Review by Gentleman John Battles) Get Hip originally did the CD version of the Existential Vacuum release of "We Want Everything,” The Nervebreakers' posthumously released debut album. Reissues of local Punk pressings were barely in vogue in the early Nineties, and the Punk Revival's lone safety pin was being used to hold up it's diaper. Don't believe me? Then I wish you could have joined me and all 150, or fewer, punters at The Dictators' 1990 Chicago gig. Anyway, The Nervebreakers recorded voraciously all through their career, but it took a few years to release their debut, a four track 33 1/3 RPM EP called "Politics.” The title track is NOT a Punk Rock political call to arms. Far from it. The song sneers at politics, especially when used for self-advancement. "It's politics, not what you know, but who....No more politics! No more politics!” Of course, real Punk bands like The 'Breakers were soon nipped in the bud by more politically minded Hardcore bands, but, as Babe Ruthless from Ft. Worth punkers, Cringe once asked me, "Remember when it was just Punk Rock? It was a lot more fun, back then. "I Can't Help You" carries on in much the same way, dealing again in personal politics. Both songs bear a nice sharp crust to go with the engaging melodies. The Nervebreakers' roots ran deep (you would have been hard pressed to find a band in the late 70s-early 80s who could claim The Troggs, George Jones, Kevin Ayers, and The Chocalate Watchband as influences), and a hint of 60's melodicism runs through these numbers. Perhaps their best-known track, "My Girlfriend is a Rock" is more of a nod to then-modern kingpins like The Ramones, The Sex Pistols and The Clash (all of whom The Nervebreakers opened for), with their own unique sense of humor. “All the neighbors stop and stare, can't understand what she's saying there, they don't understand Rock! It's only Rock, Rock....My girlfriend is a rock, she looks like a piece of chalk, she really likes to pogo to the beat, dances pretty good for a piece of concrete, what the heck, she's just a rock.” “My Life is Ruined" is a complete departure, with an obvious "Spaghetti Western" feel, acoustic guitars and even castanets. It builds up a head of steam, as it goes. It's not a pretty picture, but, maybe, a word of warning to any would-be badasses who think they're immortal.  "Hijack The Radio" is The Nervebreakers' big "anthem" song. Radio was in a sorry state at that time (You mean, it isn’t, still?), especially in primary markets like the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex. Disco was only a small part of the problem, regardless of what revisionists think. The Rock stations were saturating the airwaves with Boston, Journey, REO, Fleetwood Mac (Without Peter Green.) and Pink Floyd (Without Syd Barrett.), and even The Stones and The Who taking a backseat to Led Zeppelin. And, New Music? Forget about it. DJ George Gimarc was just getting his thing together when this record came out. Gimarc, a good friend of The 'Breakers (He'll even admit he knows me, too) had THEE only radio show that would play Underground music at the time in Dallas. There was no local public Radio, yet, nothing remotely similar to then-progressive WXRT, and College radio had a long way to go. The Nervebreakers swore that only Gimarc and his program, "The Rock'n'Roll Alternative" (that word used to MEAN something.), would be spared in the Revolution against The Radio. OK, so it happened,  but as a statement of purpose, "Hijack The Radio" beats 100 Che Guevara backpacks every time, from the updated New York Dolls two guitar attack from Mike Haskins and Barry Kooda  to T.Tex Edwards' spitfire delivery to Kooda's hilarious Rock DJ rap ( Don't  make me call the station manager!). "Why am I So Flipped,” you may have read my comments about, before, when it appeared on the Rave-Up Records Nervebreakers comp from Italy ("My Girlfriend, She's a Rock, No?"). But it's got to be the most crazed thing the band ever did, or, at least, it's in the top three, I'd wager. "Crusher" Carl Giesecke plays so hard and fast, you'd  swear you could hear bits of his drumkit hitting the floor. Bassist "Bar B Q " Bob Childress anchors this unholy mess like The Grim Reaper with a score to settle and a quota to fill. Once more, The Kooda/Haskins Guitar Aggression Pact makes sawdust out of the air, and an ass out of any young   punk upstarts who figure they can match their draw.  Edwards, meanwhile is propelled, the wrong way on Central Expressway, by the barely contained musical chaos. Someone even blows a whistle, but, it's too late. CAR CRASH!! Don't you love our Western ways?
It's a pretty surefired bet you won't be seeing the reformed Nervebreakers at Morrissey's Meltdown or even All Tomorrow's Parties with lyrics like this, but...Nervebreakers Walk Among Us. Be a-scared. The original band, since reforming in earnest (T. Bass) a few years back, have played out in Austin, Ft. Worth, and their native Dallas (where Jack Ruby may have languished in prison, but, Porno Theatres and adult book stores took up much of the downtown landscape in the heyday of Punk and Post-Punk.), and have had a new fished album, "Face Up To Reality" in the can for some time. I've heard a good portion of it, and, dammit, I want more! Somebody, pick this up, pronto! 

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