Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Holez / The Monkeywrench - Germs split single

OK, this wasn't selected at random. I couldn't resist the temptation of following Courtney Love with, well, Courtney Love. This is the first of many split singles, with different bands on each side. This one features a couple of grunge era/punk rock supergroups. The Holez is Courtney Love's Hole with Pat Smear (who also recorded/toured with Nirvana around this time) of the Germs added to the lineup. The Monkeywrench is Mark Arm and Steve Turner of Mudhoney, along with Tim Kerr (Big Boys, Poison 13) Thom Price from Seattle legends Gas Huffer and Martin Bland (Lubricated Goat) on drums.

Both bands are playing Germs covers, so having the actual Germs guitarist on hand for one song seems like a good idea, and they copped the Germs album art with the black cover/blue circle. I was pretty excited when I saw this (in Main St Records, Northampton, apparently, the price tag is still on it) it had all the makings of something great. Interesting lineups, and some fun early, messy US punk that you could really do something with.

It's not bad, but it didn't meet my outrageously high expectations. I guess there's something about the Germs that only the Germs should do their material. How do you take on Darby Crash's vocals? Should you? Hearing Courtney Love sing "I'm Dar-by Craaash!" on "Circle One" just seems...wrong. Her voice is really flat, too. Say what you want about the unintelligible vocal stylings of Mr. Crash, but he brought some serious psychotic energy to everything he did. Musically, it's perfectly fine, nothing special though. The original is one of the Germs' best, too. Oh, what might have been.

"Shut Down" isn't one of the Germs' best. The original is a sloppy, rambling directionless nine minute long punk song (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one), and The Monkeywrench do a nice job tightening up the music from the original with Tim Kerr adding a bluesy slide guitar to it, but unlike Courtney Love, Mark Arm goes over the top with his Crash vocal impression. It ends abruptly, as if they ran out of tape. At least that kept it under nine minutes. I did say that I like the experimental nature of the 7" record, and I live by that, but that means you've got to die by it sometimes too. The Monkeywrench cut one really fun LP, "Clean As a Broke Dick Dog", which I also have on vinyl. I'll have to rip that some time.

This was apparently released in late 1995, despite being recorded in 1992, and these songs appeared on a Germs tribute album. This is probably one of the last things I purchased in this collection.

A: The Holez - "Circle One"
B: The Monkeywrench - "Shut Down"


1 comment:

  1. I think the 7" itself was actually released in 1993, even though the tribute album wasn't released before 1996. And the recording session for the Holez was 12/18/92