Sunday, May 27, 2012
Youtube has made everyone's attention spans so damn short that the likelihood of watching even a 12-minute clip all the way through, from the start to finsh, is getting rarer by the day. I weep for the future, truly. I just stumbled across this live BIG BOYS clip from 1980, and its 12-minute duration skipped by far quicker than I'd liked it to. For fans - and that means me and hopefully you - it's the bomb. It's the band in their original incarnation with Steve Collier on drums (prior to percussive hero Rey Washam joining in a year or so) semi-professionally filmed whilst playing the "New Wave Street Dance" on the 23rd of April of that year. It really is an ace snapshot of the embryonic days of hardcore. The band doesn't sound "hardcore", of course - they didn't really get musically "heavy" and/or "thrash" until their '83/'84 period, and even then they only dabbled in it - the Big Boys at this phase of their career sounded like a sloppy garage/power-pop outfit w/ scrappy punkoid influences and a low-end bass rumble anchoring their tunes. They certainly didn't sound much like anything else which was happening in the US of A at the time. It's a real sight and sound to behold, and if you take your fandom for this period of underground American rock & roll seriously, to the point of being almost scholarly about it, it's a treat. Along w/ Decline Of Western Civilisation and that footage of the Bad Brains playing at CBGBs in '79, you can see the start of something new a-brewing across the land. Chris Gates has a friggin' mullet, fer crissakes, and Randy "Biscuit" Turner, one of the Holy Trinity of '80s behemoth frontmen (the other two being Gary Floyd and D. Boon), is rockin' it hard in a crocheted pink singlet and hot cowboy boots. It also ably shows off their party-band roots, w/ them ripping through covers of "Do The Twist" and "Wild Thing", both of which were never properly recorded and released. And check out that crowd! It's a strange mix of punkers and new wavers, curious dorks, Texan party dudes, frat boys and what appears to be a few cast members from Ghost World. The Big Boys really were one of the best there ever was. Dig it.