ALL HAIL MILWAUKEELate last month in Milwaukee was the Lest We Forget concert/showcase/mini-festival, featuring reunited bands from the '70s/'80s such as Sacred Order, Tense Experts, Lubricants et al. I wasn't there, of course, though I sure wish I was. For one, a reunited Die Kreuzen played, sans guitarist Brian Egeness. I was iffy when I heard he couldn't make it, although subsequent views of their performance at the show have allayed all fears. They picked up the Jay Tiller from '80s metallic post-HC rockers, Couch Flambeau, to fill in, and his playing is absolutely spot on. And considering the sheer fuggin' righteousness of Egeness' string-plucking on those 'Kreuzen discs, that's no mean feat. I'd heard that the Oil Tasters were tipped to play, when the idea of the show was first floated about a while ago, but tragically singer/bassist Richard La Valliere passed away earlier this year (read an obituary/article here) and it wasn't to be. I have never actually been to Milwaukee, but some of you may know that I have, through strange circumstances which were never really planned, been "connected" to the music scene there for a while, mainly through having written this article for Perfect Sound Forever many eons ago, but also having re/issued several recordings by Milwaukee outfits on the Lexicon Devil label: F/i, Boy Dirt Car, Vocokesh and the Oil Tasters. Some interesting developments have taken place of late: other than DK playing a reunion show, both F/i and Boy Dirt Car recently played together and are even set to release a split LP (not by me!) as a kind of commemoration of their original split on the RRR label all those years ago (I did reissue that one). One of the great things which came out of the Lest We Forget show has been the abundance of clips which have recently sprung up on Youtube. These clips were originally played at the concert and have subsequently been leaked/shared for the world to see. Some of these are below.
These Oil Tasters clips are hot, hot, HOT... and I'd never seen 'em 'til this week. One interesting tidbit I found out this week whilst messaging back and forth w/ Joe Carducci (who originally released their sole LP on his Thermidor imprint): Black Flag wanted the Oil Tasters to tour w/ 'em in '82, but it never happened because OT split, and Ginn & Hank were so enamoured w/ the group that they considered releasing a Black Flag cover of the 'Tasters' "That's When The Brick Goes Through The Window" on 7" as a kind of fuck-you to Unicorn (whom they were involved in legal disputes w/ at the time... as you know). Huh!
Whilst yer at it, check out the Couch Flambeau clips below. I really gotta get onto their case, and toot sweet. Heard about 'em for years - Byron & Jimmy at Forced Exposure always dug 'em - but have never bothered investigating their wares (and only via Youtube clips!) until now. A sad (and strange) state of affairs, especially considering my long-running fandom for Milwaukee sounds, but sometimes life has other priorities. FE always compared 'em to MX-80 Sound - a kind of post-punk avant-metal, if you will - and they hit the nail right on the head there. This is crunching, demented metalloid art-rock shit and I need to grab me some. More on them in the future...
And rounding this off is a few clips from the mighty Haskells, who featured Richard La Valliere and Guy Hoffman, both pre-Oil Tasters. Again, heard the name for years, for obvious reasons, but never investigated. My buddy Rich, when I mentioned their name to him just this week, gave me an eye-roll and a duh!, as if I'd been asleep on the issue for a dog's age. Obviously, I have. The Haskells have been a notorious Killed By Death band since that series began, a series I remain sadly ignorant of (I always use this excuse for my ignorance, take it or leave it: by the time the series began, I was too bored of "punk rock" in general to care about the zillions of allegedly great small-town bands who released a killer 7" in their brief lifespans being belatedly documented via KBD for the semi-masses whom I should apparently know about. Does that make any sense? Probably not, and I guess that makes me a lame-arse). Anyway! Their vaguely Groovies-style garage crunch sounds unreal to me in 2012. Go figure. Enjoy.