STARING AT THE RUDE BOYS OR IS IT RUDE BOIS?
The Ruts’ “Staring At The Rude Boys” is one of my favorite singles of all time—hell, even with the not-nearly-as-great reggae flip of “Love In Vain.” The band’s shining moment, from the staccato riff that starts the song to the amazing chorus which will have you chanting along “we’ll never surrender” before you even have a chance to think about it—and I wonder if Blitz got the idea for their song from that chorus. I could put all the elements of this song under a microscope and point out the brilliance of each but that’s for the punk rock academics. I just think it’s an indisputable classic.
This record was out around the time of vocalist Malcolm Owen’s untimely (is it ever timely?) heroin overdose on July 14, 1980. He was only 26 years old. Sadly, another original member of the Ruts, guitarist Paul Fox, died from cancer this past October. While the band had
I’ve been meaning to write about this for awhile but two recent Ruts-related events had me asking some questions, offering some criticism and getting into a few arguments over it. The first was a recent cover of the song by the much-hyped
But Gallows are being touted as the next big hardcore band. Big Warped Tour stars. Hyped in Rolling Stone. Brett Gurewitz from Epitaph Records says Gallows' album is "the best punk rock record since Refused's "Shape Of Punk To Come." Which begs the question as to when was the last time Brett actually listened to a punk or hardcore record? A writer named Dave Jaffer from Hour Weekly Montreal says Gallows "are the best and most important English punk band since the Sex Pistols." Good grief. That means he dismisses the Ruts themselves. Check out this video:
A rapper named Lethal Bizzle shows up in the middle. I have no idea who this guy is but he’s apparently behind some genre called “Grime.” Don’t care, don’t wanna know and no rapper belongs in a Ruts cover. It’s bad enough they change the lyrics, it’s bad enough the vocalist doesn’t have 1/100th of Malcolm Owen’s talent, but then this guy shows up, wearing a shirt with his own fucking name on it. He’s being “that guy,” as I wrote in Blog #52.
The other event or situation was a Ruts reunion, where the three original members—Fox, Segs Jennings and Dave Ruffy—got together for the first time since the early 80s to do a benefit show for Paul’s family and cancer research. On a message board, I mentioned that it was a shame that Rollins did the vocals because I felt he was the wrong man for the job. I don’t know—you tell me… what do you think of this video?
A woman named Sarah, who said she was the Ruts’ press contact, scolded me when she saw my comments. She said the following: “the benefit gig is a fitting tribute to Paul now so please do not taint what is a fabulous and fitting tribute with ill informed comments” and she also mentioned that Rollins “stepped in at his own expense.” I did feel somewhat badly because the intent wasn’t to dismiss the reunion/tribute but merely comment about Rollins’ suitability. In the scheme of things, I suppose she’s right about it being a fitting tribute and it would have been exciting to see the three members play again, especially since it ended up being Paul’s last musical appearance. It’s certainly nowhere near as egregious as Gallows’ bastardization.
In the meantime, here's the REAL THING. I couldn't find a live version and it's lip-synced but it'll give you an idea of their greatness:
CITIZENS PATROL-Sick Routine EP (
A Dutch band with an old-school American hardcore. Pure thrash in short blasts and with the requisite out-of-step with the world (where have I heard that before) sentiments plus fatalistic observations, concluding with the declaration “it’s the end of the world; we’re all gonna die.” Maybe that’s bombastic but y’ever get that feeling, anyway? On Brandon from Direct Control’s label and Citizens Patrol definitely share a musical kinship with those guys. (
COCOCOMA-s/t (Goner, CD)
DAILY VOID-s/t (Dead Beat, CD)
Formed from the ashes of the Functional Blackouts (reviews of two CDs worth of material are reviewed below) there’s some serious head-fucking going on here. (Dead-Beat,. Their brand of obnoxiousness comes from a nervy, artsy, minimalist ’77 inspiration. This is a tad more accessible than the Blackouts. Of course, everything’s relative when it comes to accessibility and it’ll still be noise to the squares—would you have it any other way? All you need to know is the songs here will worm their way into your skull with their gnashing, bashing assault and the frayed string bending generates sparks. (
THE FREEZE-Rabid Reaction /Live From
One reissue, another an unearthed live performance. “Rabid Reaction,” from 1986, was their second full-length. While I think “
FUCK THIS/STATE-Split (Gnarly Slaughter/Punks Before Profits, 7” EP)
FUNCTIONAL BLACKOUTS-The Severed Tongue Speaks For Everyone (Dead Beat)/Best Of The Monkees (Dead Beat)
Two discs of heady swill by this now-defunct
LEGION DCLXVI-Black Goat Armageddon (Schizophrenic, LP)
Another vicious blast from this
SKITKIDS-Beskövet Vid Krubban (Not Enough, CD)
Hot on the heels of Skitkids’ recent split with Nightmare comes this 7 song ripper. Motörhead-ized amphetamine savagery coupled with Dis-inspired hardcore. Locomotive tempos that seldom waver, except for the more-pounding “Visste Jag Lycklig.” In other words, these guys bring it. I’ve seen music of this style (in fact, many styles) dissected and analyzed until the differences are petty and enter the realm of geekdom. I don’t need to write a two page dissertation. Just crank it loud, get mesmerized by the brawn and power and marvel at how well the shit-hot metal licks enhance the experience, without devolving into wankery. (Sofiagatan 13, 214 45 Malmö,
VARIOUS-No Bullshit Vol. 3 (
A solid lineup for the third installment of these 7” comps—the bands being Life Trap, Socialcide, Double Negative, Out Cold, Acid Reflux and Chronic Seizure. The no bullshit description fits the approach to these bands’ music and there’s definitely a commonality in that regard. Some of these bands have better material elsewhere (particularly Out Cold and Life Trap) but any record that has this collection of bands is still worth a spin or three. (
WARTORN-In The Name Of The Father, The Son, And The Holy War (Crimes Against Humanity, LP)
The vinyl is a light bluish/white and that doesn’t really fit the less-than-lighthearted musical and lyrical content here. An ominous intro punctuated by a guitar making a warning signal and acoustic strummings. And you know what comes next—fast, angry crusty hardcore. Harsh dual vocals wedded to songs delivered with a raw, streamlined aggression. The cover of the Cro-Mags’ “Survival Of The Streets” came as a surprise since I didn’t glance at the LP cover beforehand and it fits well with the rest of the pillaging songs. Laments about the state of the world that follow standard themes—fuck Bush, fuck the cops, fuck religion, fuck Wal-Mart, plus a rumination on anti-depressants. Wartorn don’t push the boundaries of this style in new, dynamic directions but rip through their songs with a convincing amount of brute aggression. (
YOUNG OFFENDERS-s/t (Parts Unknown, 7” EP)
This is an impressive debut. A jumpy post punk-inspired sound with solid hooks underpinning everything. Not easily pinpointed but early Gang of Four and Cure figure into the equation, along with the driving tuneful music spawned by the Carbonas, Beat Beat Beat and the like. High, caffeinated-sounding vocals with backing vocals darting in and out. The non-distorted guitars jab, given perfect accompaniment by supple bass-lines and solid drumming. I need to go back and find their first 7”. This one belonged on my best of ’07 list. (