There is something inherently punk about the rat. I believe that of all of nature’s creatures, rats truly refuse to give any fucks.
Blame the plague on them? Rats carry on carrying on.
Try to drown them? They swim for days.
Try to contain them? Their ever-growing teeth will set them free.
Stick them in a maze? They’ll figure it out, swipe the treat, and make you feel awfully stupid for trying to trick them.
Stick a rat into some lyrics? Universal mages of finks, undesirables, nefarious mustache twirling villains, gypsies, tramps, and thieves, float to the surface of the collective unconscious brain muck….but in Providence RI, our favorite Rats wear neon green, grin fiercely, and prove themselves queens of the flat track.
This, of course, is not to shun the other teams on Providence Roller Derby, but every one has a favorite. You align with rats? I’m suddenly a fan.
It’s a quirk.
This month, I’m not singling out a specific novel (listen and hear some recommendations) or playing all the best rat anthems (there’s more than a few on the cutting room floor), but here it is…in time for the 2015 Home Team Championship.
Special thanks to those who tossed out their favorite rat tracks.
The Runaways – Neon Angel and the Road to Ruin
Ratt – Round and Roud (Requested by Estlin)
King Salami & The Cumberland 3 – I Smell a Rat
Dropkick Murphys – Good Rats
Guana Batz – King Rat
King Kurt – Do the Rat
Los Benders – Rat Fink
Mercury Four – Commie Rat Stomp
Messer Chups – Mickey Rat
The Misfits – Rat Fink
The Henchmen – Rat Bones
Mono Men – Return of the Rat (Requested my Mina)
The Pogues – Gartloney Rats (Requested by Annie of Swallowing Black Stars Blog)
Black Sabbath – Rat Salad
The Rats – Rats Revenge
Abjects – Rat Race
Groovie Ghoulies – Rat Race
Strychnine and the Rat Traps – I’m a Rat Trap
Rancid – Red Hot Moon
Rat Holic – Fat Rat Surfer
Reverend’s Revenge – Rat Happy
Jack Oblivian – Rat City
Fleshtones – Rats in my Kitchen
Xray Spex – The Day the World Turned Dayglo
This week The Novel Sound is highlighting collector Alf Berg about his amazing collection. I met Alf Berg through Instagram and immediately intrigued, not by the size, but by the uniqueness of the items in his collection. These pieces move beyond multi-colored pressings and get right to the DIY fury that was the Misfits. All photos courtesy of Alf Berg.
I got into the Misfits probably around junior high ’92/’93. I used to see the kids in the older class wearing crimson ghost shirts and misfits shirts. It took me a bit to be able to tie the two together. I’ve never heard them but was immediately attracted to the art and style. One day I was at my uncle’s house (he’s a big music fan) and he had the Misfits Beware the singles collection boot album. I was instantly drawn to the ‘look’ and ‘image’ of Glenn, jerry and doyle on the cover. Ive never seen anything like that before. It was the first time seeing a devilock. I had to hear the album. My uncle let me borrow it and that night I must’ve listened to the album about a dozen times. I was instantly hooked.
I got into the collecting aspect of the Misfits the day Static Age album came out July of 97 I was about 18. I was at a record shop by me strictly there to get the album. As I was browsing the shop I came across the SA albums and I had noticed the cabinet underneath the album rack was slightly open and a copy of static age was slightly showing thru. I slid the door open a little and I had noticed there was a sticker that said ‘purple vinyl’. I snatched it up and brought it to the register and bought my first misfits color vinyl (only 500 pressed). After that I was hooked and made it a mission in life to one day have an original single by the band.
It’s going to be hard to narrow down just a few favorite pieces but here goes.
Probably the coolest misfits related item I have and a personal favorite is this Horror Business table top stand up. This was hand made by GD and taken to Venus Records in NYC in 79 when the Horror Business single came out. It was used as a promotional display for the single. A few were made but I believe this one to be an early one as its an actual screened and painted Max’s Kansas City poster cut and mounted on cardboard. Later ones were a different screen and used as show promos. This was in Venus records till they closed and an employee took it home and eventually sold it to the person I got it from.
Green Earth AD. Only 100 of these pressed and it’s on slime green vinyl. How can this not be anyone’s favorite item?
Silkscreen posters. These posters were hand screened by GD and used to promote the shows. Some were ‘modified’ as in this Hittsville was actually an unused Ritz poster. The blank spot where Hitsville is written is where the Ritz logo was screened on. This one was hanging in a record store in Passaic NJ promoting the Hitsville show on Dec 25th 1981. Also is a ‘modified’ Irving Plaza NYC poster and a Piast Club Jersey City poster.
Bullet shirt. These early original shirts were screened by GD and the band, this one was Doyle’s personal shirt.
Fiend Club Evilive 7″. These evilive live 7″ were made specifically for members of the fiend club. There were either 800 or 1000 pressed, I had heard both numbers. What makes these unique is these were actually hand stamped and numbered by GD. They also came with those cool inserts.
Fiend club package. If you were a member of the fiend club, you’d most likely get something like this in the mail. Envelope, button, order form, newsletter, and a sticker.
Original setlist for Clutch Cargos in Pontiac MI 4/1/82. Hand written by GD. Not many of these exist.
I have a few items from a girl that used to hang around the misfits back then. She passed away a few years ago from MS and I was able to get some items from her mom. This is a box constructed by GD and sent to her in the mail postmarked Nov 17 1982 from Lodi NJ. On the front it has a crimson ghost stamp from the evilive 7″.
Lastly, I would say by getting into the Misfits and collecting I have met a lot of very cool people over the years that I became pretty close with.
In 1977, when Johnny Rotten was working on his King Lear leer and nastiest snarl, Glen Danzig and Jerry Only were creating one of punk’s greatest horror shows. Some of the first tracks obsessed over the death of Marilyn Monroe (the band’s name is taken from her final, and best, film), later themes would shimmer with B-movie blood. Over the course of their brief career, the band would suffer numerous line-up changes, but Danzig, Only, and his brother Doyle, would create of the most iconic, and most widely loved, groups in punk history.
But it wasn’t simply the music which appealed to people, the creation of the Fiend Club built a fan community with limited 7″s, t-shirts, buttons, flyers, and (seeminly) anything that Danzig could fit in an envelope. The band, and fans, adopted skeleton shirts and jet black hair pulled into ‘devil-locks’ and a legion was born.
In 1983, at a Halloween show, Danzig announced his departure from the band. An era was over.
After, 1983, Jerry Only would reform the band and Danzig would create the cult Samhein and Rick Rubin produced Danzig albums. The legacy of The Misfits is evident in the numerous covers which are found on this 2 episode series. Various bands of various genres each take their turn to expressing the morbid poetry of The Misftis. When heard in their original form, these tracks shine with horrid brilliance, but the glory comes from how easily these tracks bridge the gap between genres.
What I have acquired in Collection I & II are some of the best covers possible. Below are my thoughts, reasons, and rationale, including my rationale as to why the Misfits (from ’77 – ’83) is one of the most important bands in modern music.
The Misfits – Spook City U.S.A
From the Box Set comes this Song Shop Studio session C recording. I’m not really sure what that all means, but it’s a great track from the B-side of the Who Killed Marilyn 7”.
Braineaters – She
There aren’t many covers of ‘She’ out there, but this is the best of the best. Dig it.
The Hellacopters – Bullet
Texas is the reason for the Misfits’ fascination of the assassination that changed American history.
Superchunk – Horror Business
From a free download online, Superchunk always does a great job with cover songs.
Backyard Babies – Teenagers from Mars
This is one of those songs I would sing on my way to school as a kid. There is something unifying about yelling “Teenagers from Mars/ And we don’t care” to make adults really look upon you with disdain and confusion.
88 Finger Louie – Night of the Living Dead
I think I first realized the Misfits were only semi-serious when I was in 8th grade. This track was like listening to Evil Dead II.
Bratmobile – Where Eagles Dare
A particular favorite of the Lovely Hannah T.
Chief Ghoul – Vampira
Some of the best covers are the ones that strip down the heaviness of the music and reveal Danzig’s lyrics. I’ll most likely say this again, but he put words together and they just seemed to work. It’s a strange way to write a song, but for him it always seemed to succeed.
Jason Ricci & New Blood – I Turned into a Martian
Again, I’m not sure how you write these songs with a straight face, but I’ll be damned if they aren’t perfect.
The Lemonheads – Skulls
This folk-version is one of the campfire greats at Camp Crystal Lake. At least in my mind.
I’m also convinced Frank Miller borrowed heavily from this song for Sin City.
Ghoultown – London Dungeon
Most great novels were written in or about prison. Why not music? What is it about incarceration that brings out the artist in people? I don’t want to find out, I just want someone to tell me. Also, Dig that trumpet in this version.
Culpables Directos – Ghouls Night Out
The best thing about this song is that it is based on Night of the Ghouls starring Tor Johnson and ‘written’ and ‘directed’ by Ed Wood.
Hellblinki – Astro Zombies
There are a few covers on this mixtape that I’m completely in love with. This is one of them – It is kitschy, whimsical, and still sincere. I love the way they harmonize. I secretly believe that Danzig wanted the Misfits to be more 1950’s rock sounding. This could easily be from the oldie’s station.
The Fiendish Thingies – Die, Die My Darling
Shakespeare’s worldwide is the ability of his plays to mirror, so closely, the internal working of mankind. The musical equivalent is, obviously, the Misfits. This is a jazzy klezmer number that proves the unique universality of the Misfits early sound.
Marco Polo – Death Comes Ripping
A jaunty number that’s fun to sing along to.
Broken Toys – American Nightmare
My favorite Misfits song. It is a pet theory of mine that the original is how Danzig wanted the band to sound – a punk Elvis with devil-locks and go-go girls. Real danger and a great cover.
Pajo – Angelfuck
I use two tracks from Pajo in this project. I originally selected the Ted Leo version, but, after hearing this for the first time, knew you would be ok with hearing this guy twice. He actually makes these ridiculous lyrics into something of poetry. Dark magic is certainly at work here.
Ripfits – All Hell Breaks Loose
“Evil is as evil does”.
Elfpower – Hybrid Moments
Even indie-rock can’t resist the power and glory of the Misfits.
Yonder Mountain String Band – 20 Eyes
Country banjo and hollerin’ make “20 Eyes” a bona fide country hit. I repeat, the Misfits are universal. I expect a No Play soon.
Los Meesfits – Mami
Mariaci Misfits. This band sings in Spanish, plays amazing mariachi music, and appear twice in this set. Their version of Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight is inspired. True beauty and free irony. If I only played this track, all my points about the genius of the Misfits would be proven true.
This month of This Island Surf, DJ MORTON takes you to the open ocean. A vast sea of cover songs from some of the best surf rock bands around.
Understanding that most of the world doesn’t celebrate the Fourth of July, it’s best just to imagine this as an episode dedicated to one of the greatest summer films ever made: JAWS.
This drink for this episode is, appropriately, The Shark Bite, a delightful little number worthy of staying out of the water for. Now, I know what you are thinking, “Why not just tell me what a great beer Narragansett is and how Quint drinks it?” Well, if you listened to Episode 3, Kirsten Alewife covered that ground with her review of the Narragansett/Del’s Shandy.
To best experience this show;
Download the episode
Mix up a Shark Bite*
Crank up your stereo
Dance around your living room until you need a refreshing drink
*The Best Shark Bite Recipe
3/4 oz spiced rum
3/4 oz light rum
1/2 oz Blue Curacao liqueur
1 1/2 oz sweet and sour mix
3 drops grenadine syrup
Fill a shaker with ice. Add all your fixin’s. Shake the ingredients like it owes you money. Let the oceanic blue mixture cascade into a tumbler of choice. Let three drops of grenadine drip onto the ice cube and mix with the drink…You’re gonna be chummin’ for fun!
The Skurfs – Jaws Theme/Misirlou
Los Coronas – Paint It Black
Man or Astroman? – Destination Venus
The Crimson Ghost – Attitude
The Wet Tones – Surfin’ the Casbah
The Anacondas – Guns of Brixton
Dinosaur Ghost – Push It
Johnny Aloha – Last Resort
Retrofoguetes – These Boots Were Made for Walking
The Crimson Ghost – Some Kinda Hate
The Secret Samurai – Istanbul
Los Straightjackets – Smells Like Teen Spirit
Fabulous Planktones – Surfin’ Holiday in Cambodia
Los Tiki Phantoms – Kalifornia
Surf Report – The Trooper
The Metalunas – Scooby Doo
The Revelaires – Theme from Star Trek
Hawaii Samurai – Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Man or Astroman? – Mystery Science Theatre 3000
Johnny Aloha – Gangster’s Paradise
Way back in Episode 7 I started to create soundtracks from the collected volumes of Harlan Ellison.
The first two went off without a hitch. When it came time for the third installment I balked. I couldn’t find the right songs in the right order. It just failed to work, so I tossed it aside an moved on.
When I reviewed Hard Case Crime’s reprint of Web of the City, I felt that itch. The one in at the base of my brain that constantly rubs when I leave a project incomplete. So I dug down deep, reread The Glass Teat and produced this: One of my favorite episodes to date. Yeah, I’ve used some of the sound clips before. Sue me (not you, Harlan, this is simply to work of a fan). As I mentioned before on other episodes, the parts that are Harlan speaking can be found at Deep Shag Records (vol. 1 – 3 are especially mesmerizing) except for the bit from “Welcome to the Gulag”. Harlan’s fiery words become incendiary when spoken.
Enjoy the show and Rage Well,
Some people have asked for a look into the process and the hows and whys song are chosen. Since I tend to write notes anyway, I’ve decided to start typing them up for each podcast.
I Hate the TV – Violent Femmes
I pulled the Violent Femmes from my Fan Service 80’s podcast in exchange for this one. I’ve been battleing with The Glass Teat podcast for a year now. I originally said it would be out last summer, but I never found the right mix. My worry with this track is that it is too obvious, but the line “I hate the president” (which was a Reagan line) only hit me when I remembered that it was Reagan who put Harlan on a rabble-rouser list with poets and artists alike.
Old Square Eyes – The Mobbs
This one made the very first set list. I particularly love the lines which focus on the computer and playstation. Harlan’s last word on the subject of The Glass Teat, an audio recording called “Welcome to the Gulag”, turns the argument toward our dependence from TV to the zombie-esq allure of our phones and other devices. It is a trap: A dangerous one which tricks us into believing that we are living life simply because we take an instagram of it.
TV Screen – Thee Spivs “What are you watching?” seems to be, in my life at least, the grown-up equivalent of the teenage “Who are you listening to? The image of wanting to punch out your eyes from the back of your head makes me chuckle constantly.
TV Soup – The Singing Loins
“Let’s watch someone else’s revolution…” and the passivity of action versus inaction.
Colour Television – Eddie Currant Suppression Ring
ECSR gives a Velvet Underground-esq attack on the propaganda we see on the ole boy. I like to think that the drone in this song is the white noise of TV and the ‘million hypnotized’. I can’t tell you how many times I’ll be half way through a show with not clear idea of what I’ve seen. I get lost in the drone and lose the thread of the story.
A few weeks ago, I reviewed the epic that is Sean Murphy’s Punk Rock Jesus. The tale follows the months before a clone of Jesus (J2) is born and continues into J2’s teen years. Sean is one of my favorite Hellblazer artists so, obviously, when I heard about this book I jumped on it. It has it all and knows how to use it; a IRA tough guy, political debate, religious conflict, cloned polar bears, great characterization, and PUNK ROCK!
There is so much information in this book, that the jumps in scenes can sometimes be a bit jarring, but the overall strength of the narrative is so compelling that it is completely forgivable. Hell, I’m amazed that Vertigo let Murphy do the series. I guess what I’m getting at is that 6 issues is too confining but this story needed to be told and I’m impressed with Murphy’s skills at working with what he had. In a perfect world we may see an expanded edition. It would be worth the price tag.
Episode 33 – Punk Rock Jesus
Anarchy In The U.K. – The Sex Pistols
We Did Alright – Tim Timebomb
Rip ‘Em Off – Showcase Showdown
Propaganda By The Deed – The Pinkerton Thugs
Product of My Environment – Circle Jerks
Bring Out Your Dead – Anti-Flag
1000 More Fools – Bad Religion
Filler – Minor Threat
Values Here – Dag Nasty
Live Free – Youth Of Today
Zero For Conduct – OFF!
Jaded – Operation Ivy
Real World – Hüsker Dü
Ideas Are Bulletproof – The Pist
American Nightmare – The Misfits
Send Me Your Money – Suicidal Tendencies
Wasted Life – Stiff Little Fingers
Innocent – the burdens
1 of the 2 – The Damned
Cats And Dogs – Gorilla Biscuits
You Should Never Have Opened That Door -The Ramones
New Wind – 7 Seconds
Dance of Days – Embrace
Punk Rock Ist Nicht Tot – The Buffets
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – F.E.A.R.