Monday, December 6, 2010

Rollins Band - I Know You

Ah, Hank. What to say about him? There's something I really like about this guy, and how could you not? Being huge, tattooed, outspoken and the vocalist on Black Flag's Damaged gives you some pretty good punk rock street cred. At the same time, he could write some pretty insipid crap at times. He was always smart enough to have an interesting band behind him though, both in the later era punk rock meets jazz fusion Black Flag, and then the slow and heavy steamrolling, ass-kicking machine that was the Rollins Band.

There's this ongoing debate on this music website about the merits of  Black Flag's "My War" LP, and one post in particular sums up my take on Rollins.
"This is a totally ridiculous album. Rollins' screaming baby thing (as aptly described by BER) is utterly over the top... The vinyl might be one of the worst sounding lp pressings ever. The second side is turgid, overblown and slow. The lyrics are juvenile. The production is terrible. I love this record. Love it."
This was a Sub Pop Singles Club release from July 1990. That's before I joined, though I scooped it up at a Newbury Comics. I managed to find a fair amount of the 1990 stuff in the bins at the time. It's on very cool bubblegum pink vinyl. The A-side is a spoken word piece, where Hank tells us that he knows we're all a bunch of losers and misfits, because he's one of us. Uh, OK. We all know that people drawn to this stuff back in the day were a little different. It's not exactly a stretch. But the B-side! The glorious B-side! The Rollins Band takes on Cheech and Chong's 1974 hit "Earache My Eye", part of a comedy sketch that made fun of glam rock. It was also later used in the film "Up In Smoke", in the battle of the bands scene*. This version is slow, heavy, and fantastic.One of my favorite things in this entire collection, and one I really wanted to get into a digital format.

A: I Know You
B: Earache My Eye

* Recurring theme alert: The Germs auditioned to appear in this scene, but were thrown off the set for starting a food fight.

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