REVIEW I kept wanting to play the first track over and over. Driving balls-out pure bar-scene energy.
Then the band quickly settles into an unsettling groove that absolutely pulls no punches.
“Gone” is the first track about a possible murder, and a relationship gone down the toilet. And this is the fun tune.
It’s amazing what you get when you least expect it. The album is “Menace” by, I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch In The House on the In Music We Trust label. I requested the album thinking it would be some kind of Dread Zeppelin or Weird Al spoof record. If not that, a light-hearted rap record.
I could not have been more wrong.
The music bruises Tom Petty, Buddy Holly, Charlie Daniels and System of a Down, with songs written by Oklahoma native Mike Damron, a former boxer and, for three years, a soldier in the 101st Airborne / Air Assault. (And not to be confused with this guy)
This background is perhaps even more surprising to some, in light of the type of songs that follow.
I apologize in advance to the 99.99999 percent of readers who won’t follow me on this – but these guys reminded me most of the English group, Dogs D’Amour. From the cartoon-artwork, to the scratch-abilly roots-rock vocals it was an unexpected reminder of a sincere band that had grudging respect. (See also Love / Hate and Life, Sex and Death and Hanoi Rocks)
This is especially true of “Pauline” a cayenne-gargling, Pogues-like diapason for perhaps a child’s second love – grandma. You can substitute your own Pauline who might have, “taught me how to die.”
“All life’s mysteries got answers
If you look hard enough
All life’s illusions taken from you
When you get buried in the ground
Pauline taught me how to die
When I was 17.”
Damron is the elder of the group of group of 20-somethings (like a solo Ozzy) that includes guitarist “Handsome” Jon Burbank, bassist Mole Harris, drummer Flapjack Texas, and harmonica player David Lipkind.
It’s amazing to hear such quality from a band few have heard of – though I guess that’s how most bands start.
Politics is part of the mix, with a decided anti-George W. Bush stance. However, in interviews, such as one from Ink 19 (Sept. 2003), he professes no love for any party, any politician. Period. Still, some listeners will be faced with a singer that doesn’t like their views.
This starts with Track 8, and the song, “Rachel Corrie.”
Rachel Corrie was, simply put, a woman run over and killed by an Israeli bulldozer while standing in front of a Palestinian home suspected of housing anti-Israeli terrorists. Without getting into the politics of the situation the song mourns Rachel’s loss:
“Stand up and be counted, throw your fist toward the sky
Folks walk around like they’re already dead
Long ’fore they ever die
I’m guessing this isn’t the type of song you’d expect from self-identified southern-rockers. I hear Toby Keith may cover it soon. I may have heard wrong.
About three of the songs have a clear stance against the shape of American governing in the 21st century, and against the type of hate that’s existed since Year Dot.
Fuck Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church. Fuck him long and hard until his rectum hurts.
With those lyrics I expected the song, “Westboro Baptist Church” to be a full-throated death metal rage. Nope. It’s a toe-tapper. A sing-a-long. I really wonder how it goes down live. Does everyone clap to the beat?
Menace is the third album from the band, that takes its name from boxer John L. Sullivan’s boast. In support of the record, they’re out on a West Coast tour, starting with a CD release show this Friday, Sept. 17 at Dante’s in Portand, Ore. More Dates
Menace – Track
2. Thousand to One
3. A Good Day to be a Bad Husband
4. I Be Ready
8. Rachel Corrie
9. Regrets and Greyhounds
10. Westboro Baptist Church
11. Fall Down
12. Dust and Sun