I never (ever) thought I’d see someone wearing a RAMONES t-shirt, and wanna kick their fuckin’ weak arse. But that’s where I’m at, as I see casuals walking around my town in their retro-RAMONES shirts, just cuz they’re deemed a hip ‘n trendy item of clothing to be wearing right now. What a joke!!! I never followed ‘the crowd’ and I don’t understand herd mentality. So back off – poseurs. An equally worrying thought is that as I was wearing RAMONES t-shirts way (way) back, does that mean I am in fact a ‘tend setter’, cuz the whole Jeans, T-Shirt, and Converse combo is pretty damn popular right now. Me… a ‘trend setter’… now that’s funny!!!

Anyways, you can be sure the fakers won’t be sitting down to watch the ‘RAMONES Raw’ DVD, a mighty nice looking package that contains a rocking silver disc of on-the road, and live gig and TV clips from the Brudders, shot during the Eighties and up until their demise. Produced by Marky Ramone, and with a bulk of the filming taken from his personal archives, you can be sure that this is first hand footage, with lots of onechewfreefour Punk Rock, plenty of humour and banter, plus a little bit of craziness. Well, what did you hope for from Dee Dee??!! The section where he attempts to get money from the tour manager to purchase a Rolex watch is damn funny - as is the video for the disastrous Dee Dee King project with Dee Dee trying his hand at being a rapper. Gawd help us!! The RAMONES reputation and god-like status in Latino countries is legendary, and there are some wild scenes of the band on tour in South America, and having to literally flee from manic rapid fans. And hearing the band freaking out in the melee at tour manager Monte Melnick is fuckin’ hilarious!! There’s a bunch of ‘extras’ including stacks of TV appearance, and a live show from Italy 1980 in the grounds of a cool looking fort. I can definitely recommended ‘Raw’ for all you RAMONES heads.

Sticking in a retro-mode - I just treated myself to THE SAINTS ‘All Times Through Paradise’ 4 x CD box set (EMI) Without a shred of doubt, the early music of THE SAINTS has been in my top-ten ever since I picked up a copy of their second album ‘Eternally Yours’ for 75p in a bargain bin. 1980 was that glorious year. ‘All Times…’ features their first 3 albums; ‘I’m Stranded’ their ripping proto-Punk explosion debut platter, the poorly received follow up ‘Eternally Yours’ with it’s brass fuelled, energised R’n B and some of my favourite songs – ever!! Lyrically, ‘Eternally Yours’ saw all the pent up frustration and disillusion at the UK Punk Class of ’77 vented in epic caustic salvos. The latter platter saw a shift in the ranks, with Alasdair ‘Algy’ Ward (one of their roadies’ younger brother) joining singer Chris Bailey, guitarist Ed Kuepper, and drummer Ivor Hay, following the departure of original bassist Kym Bradshaw. Algy would later play with THE DAMNED during the seminal ‘Machine Gun Etiquette’ era, and then form his own band TANK. The trilogy is completed by the long forgotten and out-of-print ‘Prehistoric Sounds’, their musical evolution taking Soul and Jazz influences onboard. The album bombed commercially, and although not a regular fixture on my turntable, it’s still a record I spin now and again, and was their most adventurous recording. THE SAINTS disbanded in its wake. All 3 of the studio album discs are ramped up by the addition of single versions, b-sides, outtakes, and also tagged on to ‘Prehistoric Sounds’ are 6 tracks live at Paddington Town Hall, Sydney in ’77 when they managed to rattle gig headliners RADIO BIRDMAN, with Chris Bailey sarcastically thanking the ‘local chapter of the Hitler Youth’ – in reference to the BIRDMAN logo backdrop, and the members militaristic stage wear. Disc 4 is 14songs recorded at the Hope ‘n Anchor, London in ’77 – fans will note that ‘Demolition Girl’ from this set was included on the ‘Hope ‘n Anchor Front Row Festival’ double album that came out in ’78. It’s a smoking set, and captures the band at the peak of velocity. So, there you have it - an absolutely essential collection as far as I’m concerned. Funnily enough, even after numerous plays of these remastered CD’s, in my head I can still hear all the scratches and bumps from my battered and now-retired vinyl copies, songs deeply embedded in my memory banks. Ach, the end of an era!

And there’s been some new sounds pumping on my stereo too; SIGNAL LOST ‘Children of The Wasteland’ LP (Prank) – a female fronted outfit from Portland, Oregon and sounding like JINGO DE LUNCH goes Crust – a captivating record. Unlike its beer and bacon, Denmark has never been that renowned for its musical exports, but all that gets blown outta the water by the storming NO HOPE FOR THE KIDS and their self titled album, which I’ve actually read described as possibly the best Danish Punk album ever! Well, all I know is that these guys have got a gutsy CLASH-styled punch, and are armed with a strong melodic Eighties Euro-Punk style that recalls the likes of KINA (Italy) and SLAM (Sweden) Throws in some early TOXIC REASONS, and on final track ‘The Ride’ there’s no mistaking the MISFITS vibe. I’m playing this CD heaps. JED WHITEY ‘Mongoloid Cage Match’ CD (Manic Ride) has the Aussies going some way to reclaiming the RocknRoll crown from the Scandinavians, but being influenced by their Northern European cousins at the same time. Their heady power crunch of TURBONEGRO and HELLACOPTERS trading-AC/DC riffs at a BORED! show, with the COSMIC PSYCHOS and ONYAS playing upstairs is gonna give you good head! Does me! The additional ‘enhanced’ tracks of DIY song videos are damn funny, especially ‘I’m Okay – You’re Fucked’, and neat sleeve cover work by Ray Ahn of the HARD-ONS. I just got the latest SPERMBIRDS CD ‘Set an Example’ (Common Thread) – it’s pretty solid collection of 14 new songs from these German veterans, and Lee Hollis’ snotty vocals are still ruling. Finally, and keeping up the Euro-mainland theme - SKITKIDS ‘Onna for Pleasure’ LP (Kick n Punch) is primo Swedish hellfire, D-Beat meets ‘Ass Cobra’ era TURBONEGRO that drops in like a depth charge - totally fuckin’ explosive.

Plug time - The latest issue of my zine ZONkED! is out, featuring Canadian elder statesman Joey Shithead (DOA – ya chump!), Belgium hardcore outfit SUNPOWER, travel reportage from France and the USA, an on-the-road reportage with Dutch legends SEEIN’RED, a column from your very own Steve Scanner, and a stack of music reviews to strain your eyes to. Write me if you’re interested in a copy and we can talk money, zine trades, Kalashnikovs or stolen artwork. Name your currency. And contributions for future issues are always welcome. So feel free to drop me a line.

Okay, that’s all for now.
Ciao Amigos – PETE (19-01-05)