About 10 years ago, while still an ink-stained newspaper wretch, I received a photo custom-framed by sometime Angry Samoan (and future sometime Voice critic) Metal Mike Saunders, featuring Russ Meyer and a young woman in a pink leotard. Superiors seized it, and wrote me up for bringing inappropriate furnishings into the workplace.
This year, instead, I got a CD entitled Surf City or Bust by “Metal Mike, Alison, & Julia.” But it isn’t really about Alison & Julia, who play on it only a little and are doubtless very nice people with haphazard taste in clothing; it’s about “The Rockin’ Blewz”—a/k/a adolescent Saunders brothers Mike and Kevin—and their summer-of-1969 garage band recording. But the Blewz aren’t even mentioned on the outside cover unless you read the fine print!
However, the best guitar rock times of my life have always been the ones stumbled into, usually in somebody else’s shack or local beneficial society bar—out in the underbrush in states people only make fun of. So “The Rockin’ Blewz,” recording in an Arkansas basement, are almost all the way there already.
Right off—well, after Alison, Julia, and Mike whistle some short introductory tunes—”The Rockin’ Blewz” charge up the guitar and drums and rip into “Roadrunner.” Then it’s time for an inspirational take on “Mother-in-Law,” complete with backup vocal from Herman’s Hermits and guitar solo from Dick Wagner. Trees turn to stone and someone can’t get enough of his goyl’s stony lips as the band boogies through the front door on “Petrified.” But the real corker is “Love Potion #9″—psychotic ranting and epistaxis set to a Fender amp barking and feeding back while drums get happy feet. There’s merry organ (hey! More people should use merry organ!), stereotypes who wind up as material for “The Stoned Age,” and ongoing jokes about a teen heartthrob. The music reveals the Bros. Saunders to be closet Annette Funicello fans, but they look like they walked off an Elf album cover. They have a lot of stones.
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