(Get Hip) GUEST REVIEW BY GENTLEMAN JOHN BATTLES
After re-releasing the celebrated Dallas Punk band's one full length studio LP*, and three rare singles (reviewed last ish), Get Hip presents a carefully curated collection of cool obscurities and favorite songs by the feared and revered Nervebreakers. The Nervebreakers rose from the ashes of a band called The Idiots, fronted by T. Tex Edwards, ca. '73. The Dallas club scene was like a lot of others, at the time. Cover bands and pedestrian Hard Rock music ruled the roost. But, two shows by The New York Dolls shows seemed to indicate which way the tide was turning. Besides The Idiots, bands like The Toys (who'd survive to share bills with The 'Breakers), and, apparently, Maniac (led by an early Iggy wannabe, we're told), were feeling the Glam influence and laying down the Proto Punk foundation. Nothing could change the shape of things to come. By 1975, The Nervebreakers had emerged, fully formed, and ready to tear Dallas a new asshole (I lived there in The 80's. There were still plenty of 'em left). Armed with a two guitar attack, a pummeling rhythm section, and a not-so-secret weapon in frontman, T. Tex Edwards (about whom Buddy magazine said "He's not the greatest singer, but that didn’t stop Alice Cooper, or Jim Dandy, or Helen Reddy”) and inspirations as disparate as, say, The Ohio Express, The Troggs, Bo Diddley, George Jones, Kevin Ayers, The Chocolate Watchband, The Seeds, The Small Faces, The Pretty Things, Johnny Horton, The Kinks, The Doors and The 13th Floor Elevators, The Raspberries, The Bay City Rollers, and, of course, The Velvets, The Stooges, The Dolls and The MC5, The Nervebreakers were open for business, and it was their business to be Punk Pioneers for The Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, and anywhere else that'd have 'em . Their (Mis)adventures would take them as far as San Francisco and even New York City, while laying down the foundation for a healthy local scene that would go on to include The Skuds, The Infants, Plastic Idols, Quad Pi, The Telefones, The Dot Vaeth Group, Superman's Girlfriend, The Ft. Worth Cats, The Ejectors, The Teenage Queers, The V.D. Generates, and, last, but not least, The Vomit Pigs, who had actually started life as a Boogie band, we're told, in Dangerfield, Texas, in 1974. The Nervebreakers not only had great taste in covers, but, they led the pack as dynamic songwriters, carving out such Punk anthems as "My Girlfriend is a Rock " (covered by Metal Mike Saunders, Jessy Drastic and The Mess Me Ups, The Dirtbags, and Spector 45 as "My Girlfriend's in Iraq"), "Why am I So Flipped," and "Hijack The Radio," all of which appeared on their first two 45s, and kick this package off, as well. The early days, before the band discovered, and opened for, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols and The Clash, are represented by two tracks from 1975, when the band had Pierre Thompson on bass and Psychedelic keyboardist, Walter Ray Brock. "Missa Moses,” a rare group instrumental, featuring Brock, suggests what "Funhouse" could have sounded like with a jeyboard player instead of a saxophonist. But, being as how Don Galucci, original Kingsmen and Don And The Goodtimes' organist, produced "Funhouse,” you don't even have to tax your brain so hard. "Part of My Love,” though recorded in 1977, invokes the dreaded spectre of Bubblegum, at least, when The Troggs did it ("Hip Hip Hooray"). An early version of "Hijack" (two versions appear here), and of "I Love Your Neurosis" (which first turned up in 1979, on the indispensible Dallas Punk comp "Are We Too Late For The Trend?,” along with the tuff Power Pop rocker, "So Sorry,” sung by Barry Kooda, which also appears here), and "I Wanna Kill You,” were also recorded in '77, and prove The 'Breakers knew the writing was spraypainted on the wall, before Dallas even had a Punk club, namely DJ's, The Hot Klub and the nearly forgotten Random Scam (aka " Rancid Scum '"), to spraypaint them on. A more melodic, though thoroughly rockin' "Beyond The Borderline" also emerged from that mythic year (which, for most of us, too young and too unhip, also meant the year of Fleetwood Mac, Kiss, Frampton, Star Wars, and skateboarding in it's first major comeback, before being inexplicably co-opted by punk, years later). Bassist Clarke Blacker appears on the earlier "Neurosis" and "Everything Right,” but would leave the group, later turning up in Stickmen With Rayguns (on guitar), but, the classic, and still-active, lineup is (drumroll, please...) - Thom "Tex" (better known, today as T. Tex) Edwards - Vocals, Mike Haskins - Lead Guitar, Vocals, Barry Kooda - Guitar, Vocals, "Crusher" Carl Giesecke - Drums/ Percussion, and "Barbecue" Bob Childress - Bass. This is the lineup that welded Rockabilly, Garage, and the emerging Punk sounds like The Dead Boys, Heartbreakers, and Dictators, as well as The Ramones and The Pistols, into something uniquely theirs, uniquely Texan, something that'll appeal to record collectors and fans of what Truck Driver and former Nervebreakers Roadie, Pope Coleman, calls '' NO NONSENSE, BALLS OUT, FOUR ON THE FLOOR ROCKn’'ROLL!!!” The 'Breakers are for you. Eliminate the middleman. But, this collection of originals (and one cover song, The Troggs' "Strange Movies,” leaning heavily, though not entirely, on the "clean version" The Troggs performed on David Bowie's Midnight Special 1980 Floor Show) is just the beginning. There are more volumes on the way, we're told.
Plus, there's a whole album's worth of newly recorded versions of Nervebreakers classics that were never recorded at the time, such as "I'd Rather Die" and "Face Up To Reality" (The title track), and, while I can't act as middleman I suggested we eliminate, if anyone has any ideas, as to where to direct those highly toxic tracks, I can get the message to the right parties.
* The Nervebreakers ' studio album "We Want Everything" was recorded in 1981, and released on Existential Vacuum, about a dozen years later, on vinyl. Get Hip picked it up, later, on CD, and released it, recently, on 180 Gram vinyl, the plural of which is still vinyl, as in " Ryan Richardson and Greg Kostelich each released
The Nervebreakers' album on vinyl, but, the vinyl was released at two different times. " . Vinyls, it's not a word. Sorta like "Yo ! ".