Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Rocket From The Tombs - The Day the Earth Met Rocket From The Tombs (1975)
Formed in the early 70’s by the monstrous Crocus Behemoth (aka David Thomas), Rocket from the Tombs represented Cleveland’s dying factories and urban wasteland just as the Detroit pre-punks had done in regards to their decaying city. After sometime, the group caught the eye of guitarist Peter Laughner. Laughner joined RFTT and along with bassist Craig Bell, drummer John Madansky, and guitarist Gene O’Connor, the lineup was solidified.
From the beginning, tensions ran heavily through the band as Behemoth’s vocals were unlike anything heard before (save Captain Beefheart) and could only be tolerated by Laughner. What’s more, RFTT had a thoroughly artistic approach to their music and Laughner and Behemoth, strongly influenced by Lou Reed and later Television, had an even more artistic direction they wanted the band to head in. This clashed with the other members’ loud/fast ethos that fell more in the vein of the Electric Eels and The Stooges.
In late 1975 the group would split into two radically different beings. Laughner and Behemoth (now Thomas again) would form the highly artistic punk/experimental band Pere Ubu. Meanwhile, Gene O’Connor and John Madansky would change their names to Cheetah Chrome and Johnny Blitz respectively. They in turn recruited a young man named Stiv Bators (born Steve Bator) who had once auditioned for RFTT as lead singer.
"Before the Dead Boys, there was Rocket from the Tombs. Most of the stuff on this CD you'll recognize from Young, Loud, and Snotty. Songs like "Sonic Reducer" "What Love Is" and "Down In Flames" were pretty much all written before the formation of the Dead Boys, with slight variation. Peter Laughner essentially penned the original lyrics to these songs, though they were later re-written and re-arranged by Stiv Bators. Cheetah Chrome and others later left Cleveland for New York City where they reformed the band and began playing as the Dead Boys.
This is a great collection of RFTT's only available material. Despite never having formally recorded, only one rehearsal demo and these two sets are known to exist, the sound quality is surprisingly good. The whole thing is real gritty and raw with a total Stooges/Alice Cooper/MC5 vibe to it. "Ain't It Fun" is especially great. Super mellow and strung out, like something you might hear while shooting up in a drug den somewhere. "Never Gonna Kill Myself Again" is a total Rolling Stones floor stomper and maybe has the coolest song title ever. Lots of stuff on here to keep your interest."
ain't it fun?