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Tuesday, 24 March 2015



by Angel Spent

It’s 2015, and the Spents are back. Yes, the Spent Idols come again. The San Diego's punk rock legends are commemorating their anniversary. It's been 20 years since the band's formation, and to celebrate this important event, a killer album, Land Of The Lost, has just been released last December in Venezuela. It’s the Spent Idols first Latin American release. Additionally, the band is ready for gigging again. The CD release party in the U.S. is due to take place on March 20, 2015 at Til-Two Club, San Diego, CA. 

The album is a Rawkunroll/ Spentcity Unlimited co-production, comprising previously un-issued original studio tracks, and in the good tradition of Lousy Rock N Roll, mono no-fi old wave songs. 

Land Of The Lost is a pretty radical album, in which Mike Spent has accomplished a powerful concept, to wit, the whole idea of being in a punk band is that you are the same as your fans, trying to turn all events into enjoyable experiences. As a result of putting in action this idea, I had the chance to participate in all the phases of this exciting project. This is a true DIY effort, a musical revolt that revitalize the DIY ethics.

Originally, Mike and I chatted about producing a vinyl release in Venezuela, maybe a single or an EP, but I found out that vinyl records are not being made in this country anymore, and to produce them in the States, was not a viable option either.

Considering the above, Mike and I move quickly, and decided to issue a full album here as a CD format. The album was made in the midst of a chaotic country with constant inflation, food shortages, no plane tickets, long lines to buy anything, and restricted credit card use for international buys. Ooh ooh ooh, complete control!

It is a decisive moment in history when the Land Of The Lost album is being issued. Because of the intense political and economic situation, thousands of companies have gone bankrupt or been expropiated. However, there was still a Company left alive where we could press some CDs. 
The album’s realizing process has really been an amazing experience, even if everything was done step by step on account of the restricted resources available. 

The final product, Land Of The Lost, came out as a limited edition press of 310 copies, consisting of two sides, a two in one CD, the same as the band’s release from 1996, Hugs ün Kisses/Tonight! 
Side one is my side, the one containing the unissued studio rarities. Side two is Mike’s side, the one with the rehearsals, which were taken from cassette masters. In a way, this CD is a collection of old material recorded from 1990s-2003.
The album presents a brilliant  art design: it has two front covers, so you can choose one or another as top. The old picture depicting a policeman that suffocates a girl turned into Mike’s cover. For mine, I selected a Spent Idols’ pic, which I placed upside down, not book matched, and painted a tricolor as the Venezuelan flag on it.

I used the Stooges-type fonts for the band's name and album's title. The fab artwork on the insert is a collage by punk artist Kenney Sahlugg Garrett. I put the lettering over the black & white collage in red. The back cover was inspired on the blue stripe generic groceries from the 80s. They can be seen in the Repo Man science fiction comedy film from 1984. This album is dedicated to Jesse Spent (Jesse Adam Rivera Valadez), who passed away on May 26th, 2012.

Featuring almost all previously unreleased studio tracks, side one opens with “Land Of The Lost,” the title track on this album. This tune is Mike’s version of Land Of The Lost (1974-1977) TV Series’ ending credits theme. It has real original seventies punk sound, and was inspired from the 2001’s Bubble Boy comedy film version. This track has received radio airplay by Mickey Bradley, on his BBC Radio Ulster showRecorded in 2003, with Blaine on guitar, D. Nile on Bass, Gordon on drums, and Mike on vocals.

The second track, “Stolen Heart” is a newer song. “My take on bands like 20/20 and the Romantics, in a kinda Bouncing Souls tempo… To me it's also homage to the Ramones, and I throw in a Joan Jett reference,” commented Mike.  

Total Glory” is 1997’s last Spent Idols song. They played it the last few months before the band split, and Mike finally recorded it in 2002, with help from his bassist D. Nile, who polish it to a killer song.
“… 1950s songs were a kind of theme going, like “Baby Baby” by the Vibrators, and “Silly Thing” by the Pistols. On Sid Sings and The Swindle record, Sid does "Come On Everybody" by Eddie Cochran… Little Richard was a type of proto punk. Whitey robbed him some of his songs but that guy pushed the gender bender limit, and openly sang about fucking in the segregated America in the 1950s. He went to jail, and shit well, guys like Bobby Darin watered down the tempo but kept the subverted fuck theme going. American bandstand was still on TV when I was a kid. It's how we saw the new bands, the pop ones,” explained Mike, when I asked him about the Bobby Darin song covered on this CD. 

“Queen Of The Hop” is a song about early groupies wearing short shorts and Rock n Roll shoes, you know, blue suede ones,” he continued. “…it's a bitchen song about young girls. I just brought it out of the closet, and sang what bobby meant openly!”

Two versions of “The Living Dead” are featured on the album. I like a lot the new version, the 2003 re-do on side one, but also killer is the practice version (recorded in 2002 with the Frankenstein Monsters intro) on side two.
Also on side one, we find a great cover version of “Chatter Box,”  the well-known Thunders-penned New York Dolls track. It was recorded by Jack Daniels at the Spent Club, Carlsbad, CA, in February of 1995, featuring the classic line-up of Mike, Gabey, Henry, and Jesse.
''Bummer Summer'' was recorded by GI Bleeds, a 2002 short-lived local San Diego punk band that Mike did. The GI Bleeds comprised Melanie on drums, Jake on Bass, Blaine on guitar, and Mike on vocals. “It was written for Duane Peters when we were young. When we skated the Fruitbowl hung out in New Port Beach in 78-79. Cukoo's Nest Days,” revealed Mike in a recent conversation we had. “We said things like bummer bitch as a response to much… So I wrote it for him, never got to give it to him though.”

The greater part of songs on side two are rehearsals, lost practice cover songs the band did, all recorded in the nineties until 2003. THERE ARE SOME LOST GEMS HERE!
Side 2 starts with a spoken word track by Mike called “Feel Fortunate MOFO.” I mixed a pair of the band's songs on the background of the main track.

The follow-up to MOFO is “I Wanna Be Your Dog”, a cover of the Stooges punk masterpiece. It's off a cassette of lost practice songs the band did.  “It's really punk, like hearing Sid’s version on Sid Sings,” said Mike about this track.

Emotional Wreck”, the old wave version, is an early Mike Spent tune recorded in February of 1994 in Vista by Rick Lee Barrick, who also plays keyboards. The musicians involved in this song were Henry on bass, Jesse on drums, Lurch on guitar, and Mike on vocals.

“Baby Baby” is another early period Spent cover song. Mike is a hard Vibrators fan, and this is one of his preferred tracks on the album. " ''Baby Baby'' is one of my all time favorite songs. When I bought the new Vibrators record and spun it around 1978 or so, it was the tempo I dug,” declared Mike about the love tune. 
“When they broke out Baby Baby it reminded me of old 1950s love songs. I always wanted to write a song like that, but at least I got to cover it.”
On side two, we also find splendid rehearsal cover pieces like “Join The Professionals,” the Professionals 1981’s classic track from their third single, and Richard Hell’s “Love Comes In Spurts."  

What About Me” is a Dee Dee Ramone song, another lost forgotten recording the Spent Idols did, also found on a cassette master. “I'm a huge Dee Dee fan, I was introduced to him by Nina Hagen,” revealed Mike about this track.

“Millenium Meltdown” is an unreleased song that Generic of Dead End Kids, wrote for Mike. “It's an awesome song, like the Dead Boys, very Ohio sounding, very Mid West meets NYC,” said Mike.

Written by Bobby Troup, “Can't Help It” was originally performed by Little Richard. Recorded by Gar in December 1994, with Henry on bass, Jesse on drums, Gabey on guitar, and Mike on vocals. 

This is the ultimate Spent Idols release. A twentieth anniversary CD, made up of terrific songs that prove the Spent Idols have always been real. It was done against all odds, and created from devotion of punk rock. This is for all the fans of the Spent Idols and punk rock. 

1 comment:

  1. The holy trinity of the new-wave of punk 77:
    Spent Idols, The Stitches and The Prostitutes!!!