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Sunday, 13 April 2014


By AngeLo Ruggiero

I’m afraid I can’t get enough of the Prostitutes’ vicious punk rock. On the lookout for Kevin McGovern’s beginnings as a musician we have to go back to the late eighties.
Kevin was the bass player for his school band, Crippled Gypsy. The other band's members were Dave DeSanto on drums, Andy Guise on lead guitar, and James Ross on vocals and rhythm guitar. Crippled Gypsy didn't make any recordings, but it surely was Kevin McGovern's starting point as a brilliant composer.

“Crippled Gypsy was our very first band. I played bass and sang on some Johnny Thunders songs we did and a few Motorhead songs.  James was the main vocalist and the band primarily covered New York Dolls, The Cult, The Ramones, TSOL, and Hanoi Rocks.  We were all about 13 when we started the band and we were just learning our instruments.  We always played out of tune but practiced all the time” said Kevin, when I asked him on his early days as an artist.
“I wrote a few songs. The first song I wrote I co-wrote with Dave was called “Trendies” and I wrote another one called “Dead Cold.” James and I both sang together on these songs as neither one of us really knew how to “sing” so we shouted the lyrics,” Kevin told me, after I asked him about his early compositions, and his first song ever. “The lyrics were about kids we didn’t like in school because of trend following and also about serial killers and psychos we would see on late night TV in the late 80s.” 

Following Crippled Gypsy, Kevin and Dave began another amazing band. “Mainliner was the first time Dave and I were able to start making songs that we thought were worthy of recording. I always wanted to sing and play guitar instead of bass,” said Kevin about the formation of Mainliner in 1991.
In addition to Kevin and Dave, Mainliner also included Eli Yerusalim on rhythm guitar, and Brian Shuey on bass. This early version of the band, found a way to record a 10-song demo tape. The actual release was put out on cassette and called 10 Ways To Kill Your Lover. The cassette was professionally packaged and the pressing of 100 sold out very quickly at our local record store” said Kevin on the band’s first recordings. “The college kids loved it for some reason. We were all about 19-20 years old at the time. It came out in 1993, I think.”

Tim McCoy replaced Eli Yerusalim on rhythm guitar, and Mainliner recorded their first and only 7” in April 1994 at Studio 213. The 3-song 7” Rock And Roll Animal was issued on their own Instant Failure Records label. “Suburban Nightmare" is the main track of this record. It is backed by "Hate You”, and "Pathetic Teenage Life" on the B-side. What we have here is three great songs of dirty Harrisburg, Pa punk and roll. Only 300 copies of the single were pressed, featuring a weird cover art.

I was curious to know who the guy on the front cover of the Rock And Roll Animal 7’’ was. “The guy on the front cover is a photocopied picture of someone’s son who died from a drug overdose or something like that,” said Kevin, after I asked him about the unusual art of the single.  “It was hanging up in a VFW we would always play shows at.  We were sick of looking at it, Dave tore it down, and we kept it in the basement where we practiced.  We had no idea what to put on the 7” cover, so we just thought we should do something weird.”

“We began playing shows on a regular basis with local hardcore bands and others touring through the area within a two-hour radius.  We even played a gig with Fred Armisen’s Trenchmouth to an audience of about five people" said Kevin, "We played out at least once or twice a month and eventually did a mini-tour half way across the U.S. with FYP who wanted us to open for them. After the tour in the summer of 1994, we eventually broke up the band because we were burned out and needed a break.”

After Manliner broke up in 1994, Dave DeSanto drummed for the Disappointments and later started the solo act Tortured Tongues. Tim McCoy played with the Disappointments. Kevin McGovern and Brian Shuey started the Prostitutes.

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