This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Screamers

The big post has been abandoned for the nonce. Not only is it taking an ass-long time to do, I realized that I don't know enough about the subject to really do it justice. Maybe it'll be resurrected one day, but it's dead for now.

In other news, Nick Feratu and his merry band of zombie greasers the Limit Club have recorded a new song called "The Kids Are All Dead," inspired not only by the prospect of nuclear annihilation, but also this here audio blog. Check it out; it's pretty rad. Tell Nick I said "BOO!"

Anyway, on to today's band. It's going to be short and sweet since I have a forty and the new Simpsons DVD set calling my name.

The Screamers were one of the first punk bands on the west coast, and they were contemporaries of such seminal early California bands as the Dils, the Avengers, the Germs, X, and the Weirdos. Unlike those groups, however, there's nary a guitar to be found. Instead, they go for broke with two distorted-as-hell synthesizers and a drummer. Before even Devo, the Screamers were incorporating electronics and video into their stage show and probably the only band of the period that approached the multi-media anarchy of The Exploding Plastic Inevitable.

Fronting the band was Tomata du Plenty, the only dude with a stage spazz that was spazzier than Jello Biafra. Wildly, um, "eccentric," (pssssst! he was gay!), du Plenty often performed while jumping up and down like a kid with rickets on a sugar rush. Despite the lack of guitar and bass, the sound of the group was often hard-edged and didn't resort to using the synthesizers to create atmospherics like most of their contemporaries. Instead, the two synths are a kick in the gut.

The band played their first show for 500 people because they were so wildly hyped by Slash! on the basis of their early demos. They quickly became one of the biggest draws in Southern California, often selling out two or three night stands at the biggest clubs in the city. Unfortunately, they never recorded a proper studio released, not even a single. All that remains of their short history is a series of demos they recorded between 1977-1978 and a few live bootlegs of piss-poor quality. Any reunion hopes were dashed when du Plently died of AIDS-related complications in 2000.

They were really the first punk band to use synthesizers, and you can hear their influence in modern-day groups such as the Epoxies. Get rockin', Chester!


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