Monday, January 15, 2007

FANG - Landshark/Where The Wild Things Are CD (Boner/USA)
It's the year 2007 and here I sit with my new-ish Fang CD I bought from eBay a few weeks back. I can't believe I just said that. I turn 35 next week, and yet it's taken me 'til now to discover the awesome musical majesty of the band Fang. I've known of the band for a good 20 years. Read the old Flipside interviews, saw the Maximum Rock 'n' Roll ads. I figured they were some nth-rate dumbo punk/metal combo and gave them a wide berth. How wrong was I!

In recent times I seemed to've seen their name pop up in unusual places. Name-dropped by hipsters and noise freaks, even that Kurt Cobain fellow apparently liked them (along w/ Mudhoney and Metallica(!), all of whom covered a Fang song here and there). This CD combines two EPs from the early/mid '90s, adding up to a 40-minute slab of degenerate fun. San Fran's Fang, much like the musically/philosophically/aesthetically similar Flipper, have a troubled history. Rather than the singer ODing, Fang took the route of the main guy, Sam McBride, going to the clink for several years in the early '90s on a manslaughter charge. You can read an interview with him from June '93 (conducted by Shane Williams) here. In it ye shall find such pearls of wisdom as this...

Sammy's definition of punk rock: "Punk rock to me is a state of mind. It's walking down the street getting into a rumble because people don't like your clothes or hairstyle or earrings. It's slamdancing at 10th St. Hall, stage-diving at the On Broadway, fucking a punker betty from the valley backstage at the Elite Club, shooting speed in the Mab's bathroom, brawling in the parking lot next to the Sound Of Music".

Right fuckin' on!

But let's get to the music. Fang's music deliver where Drunks With Guns only ever promised. Hey, you own their records, too, right? Me too! Haven't played 'em in over a decade, but I've still got 'em. Sounded good on paper, kinda bored me in the flesh. Fang take the scuzzbag/fuck-up/junkie/punker persona of Flipper and musically tread a similar path in a kinda downbeat mid-tempo scuzz-punk manner, though it's mixed up a bit w/ some raging punker action in the form of such gems as "Destroy the Handicapped" and other family favourites. Their most well-known song (apparently) is the opener, "The Money Will Roll Right In", a crude ode to raking in the cash in Hollywood, a song which, as mentioned, has apparently been covered by Nirvana, Metallica and Mudhoney (anyone ever heard these versions?). I'm pretty sure the Melvins took a few notes out of Fang's book, too. Musical similarities aside, they did also release their first three or four albums on the same label, which, coincidentally, happens to be run by Tom Flynn, Fang's guitarist.

Fang have/had a killer logo. See it? A crudely drawn skull with the name "Fang" scrawled underneath like, err, fangs. Then there's the band credo: We Are Cool / Give Us Money. The verdict's in: Fang were one pretty fuckin' OK bunch of punker psychos, and this CD kicks my ass into next week.

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