Punk Rock's Radio - The Compilations Part 1
Let me put on my old man hat for a minute, OK, Uggchaakosdsem, right, back in the years before the internet and before punk rock was played the radio, you had to seek out music. You couldn't sit on the couch and let it come to you, like a hunter gatherer you had to get out there into the wilderness and dig, prod and generally take chances. Even those that were in the know, rarely had heard the records they were seeking. Maybe they had a clue based on other things the band had put out or maybe one of the guys was in this band or that. Maybe they read a 20 word review of the band in Flipside or MRR or some other Fanzine. Maybe they heard the band's name come out of one the hip guys at some party. Regardless, it was pay to play in most cases and often you were just going off the picture on the cover.
This is why I always loved Compilations. You always got more bang for you buck and you could limit your risk. If there was one artist on there, you had a pretty good chance that even though you had no idea who the other bands were, that there might be good there. Plus most collectors for some reason or other under valued the compilation. Which always struck me as odd. Often the artist appearance was their first one and expressed the rawness of their early work. The track often were the only release of that recording or song. So, in some ways to a true fan, pure treasure.
The other advantage was the discovery of bands that you never heard of or never been exposed to. At their best compilations are a representation of scene at a set time. A little time capsule of a movement and style that is grouped together in an easy format. A group of bands that might have made up a Saturday night bill.Often I would start my night out by listening to one of these compilations to set the tone for an evening on the town. I think the Tooth and Nail Comp b side spun on my turn table for about six months.
So, for the first installment of my Playlist blog, I thought I would start a new series that has been festering in my mind for some time. Since, some of these comps are long out of print or simply not on the streaming services, I'll do my best to find tracks that are close to the original releases. I hope to at least create some that represents them.
Maybe one of the most collectible Punk Compilations. Not just because it was the one first representations of the Hollywood Punk Scene but the release itself. They wanted the release to be a picture disc and lacking the funds or maybe the know how, they decided to take a completely straight forward D.I.Y. approach to the release. One side of the clear vinyl record was pressed with the other side left untouched. Then Pat Garrett's design was hand screen printed on the non-music side. This created a number of mis-prints and variations in the design that, like most truly hand made art, insured that no two copies were the same. In some cases the printing was done on the music side which made the record completely un-playable.
The comp itself represented a small portion of the Hollywood punk scene that had exploded 1977 and 1978. Though only six bands with one song each, you get a clear impression of each band have it's own style, sound and approach to what was punk. It's a beautiful example of how Punk wasn't and isn't a style as much as it was a home to outsiders music. I wasn't a photo copy of what had happened in New York or London, it was it's own thing. Thus the jab at New York in the name as a reaction to the No New York No Wave Compilation that had came out the year that it was released. From the Bags - We Don't Need the English to the much less polished version of X's Los Angles, it's a clear statement that this is a completely different thing here. Though the release was kind of a last cannon shot for the Dangerhouse Records.
Tooth and Nail
Started by Chris D, the Upsetter Label was a that mainly D.I.Y. label created to release his Flesh Eaters Records. Chris was at Punk central in LA as a writer for Slash Magazine and worked as A&R and in house producer for Slash Records throughout it's existence. The comp represented a shift in the punk scene, on one side you have the more experimental side of bands like the Flesh Eaters and the new building Hardcore Punk scene with tracks from Middle Class, the Germs and Negative Trend.
Sadly when I was putting this list together, there seems to be no version on Spotify of the U.X.A.'s Social Circle and the Germs tracks we remixed versions by Chris D and other than the M.I.A. release can't be found anywhere else. I would have loved to included them but it's not on Spotify. Though all of it is on the google playlist.