For tonight’s musical digression, we have tune damage from a couple of punk bands I ain’t listened to in a long while. Numero Uno: OG punk purveyors the Damned.
With personnel sporting monickers like Rat Scabies and Captain Sensible, how much more Punk Rock can you get?
Next up, an ironclad confirmation that, my unalterable cisbinaryheteromisogyrapist capital-O Oppressor status notwithstanding, I have not a single homophobic bone in my worn-out old body. Folks, I give you the great Turbonegro:
Turbonegro is—or was, I have no idea if they’re still active or what—a musical aggregation of out-and-proud (not to say fucking militant) gay guys from Norway, purveying some of the most muscular and aggressive (not to say fucking vicious) punk ever. These boys come dangerously close to out-Ramonesing the Ramones, and you know I would never be flippant about such a thing as that. Turbonegro’s slashing, bashing, stripped-down attack is almighty powerful and exhilarating. In short, they’re everything anybody ever wanted from an old-school punk band.
Back when I resided in Atlanta, some friends of mine had a band that did a Turbonegro tribute show at the good ol’ Star Bar a couple of times. Wish I could remember what they called themselves for those shows; I think they lifted the title of a song or album from their Norwegian doppelgangers, but I might be wrong about that. Anyway, they were just fantastic. Being militantly straight themselves (not to say a bunch of shameless pussyhounds, like most of us seedy musician-type reprobates), they had set themselves a difficult task. But they buckled down (not to say “nutted up”) and made the thing look easy. There’s probably a hidden, deeper meaning in there somewhere, but damned if I’m gonna poke around looking for it.
If you’re moved to look for more Turbonegro stuff, be warned: some of y’all may find the lyrics to some of their more in-your-face material, shall we say…problematic (ahem), featuring as they do some fairly raunchy celebrations of the joys of anonymous anal sex in bus-station men’s rooms and other such-like topics. Obviously songs like, oh, Rendezvous With Anus or Don’t Say Motherfucker Motherfucker are going to be NSFW in any mainstream office setting. I ain’t much disturbed by ’em myself, since I’m usually listening to the guitars more than anything else anyway. Hell, there are songs I’ve been in love with since the mid-70’s that I STILL have no idea what the lyrics are, and don’t care enough to find out.
All that is a moot point anyway: the only correct way to listen to bone-breaker RAWK like this is at skull-shattering, ear-bleeding volume—bass and drums pounding, guitars screaming in agony—which ain’t a-gonna fly in any workplace more genteel than foundries, smithies, open-air firing ranges, or Harley shops. But aside from that small caveat: enjoy.
Blackface update! Just scanned their Wiki entry and therein found a funny road-story:
By the winter of 1994-1995, the band had reclaimed the name Turbonegro, but had a new look referred to as the “Al Jolson schtick”, though it did not last long. Happy-Tom summed it up with an anecdote, “So there we were backstage with our black faces and wigs and little hats, smoking pot with our all-time heroes the Bad Brains, and the absurdity just didn’t cross our minds. I mean, those guys didn’t mention it, they were probably just embarrassed on our behalf.”