Speaking of punk covers (as I was just the other day in regard to Me First and the Gimme Gimmes), I just got in The Rocky Horror Punk Rock Show, which is just that: a multiple-artist punky version of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
I never really warmed to the whole Rocky Horror phenomenon: although I am predisposed toward the humorous cartoony horror milieu, I am perhaps even more strongly predisposed against camp and drag, and the whole midnight movie scene of rigid audience participation struck me more as regimentation than freedom. Ick.
So other than the “Time Warp,” which I was forced to play hundreds of times at parties over the years as a DJ, I haven’t thought much about the actual music from the show in close to 30 years. My mistake – a lot of it is really good.
In this raw, stripped-down, rocking setting, many of the songs come alive: the afrementioned Me First and the Gimme Gimmes do a rousing version of “Science Fiction/Double Feature, an homage to cinematic escape that begins and ends the disc (the Ataris turn in an affecting acoustic version for the finale).
“Dammit Janet” becomes a ripsnorting statement of punky love from Love Equals Death. The Groovie Ghoulies (who else?) are the perfect choice for the centerpiece “Time Warp,” which retreats back to being a song as opposed to a production number.
I love the Cramps-meets-farfisa garage-retro of both the Independents’ “The Sword of Damocles” and the Phenomenauts’ “Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul.” Coming from another direction entirely is the trippy ska-and-dub “Once In a While” by Big D and the Kids Table, with fat horns and bass, reverb unto eternity, and a sweet, melodic vocal – an instant classic.
The Swingin Utters turn in a Gaelic-punk version of “Eddie’s Teddy” so Pogues-like, I’d swear they borrowed Shane MacGowan’s teeth. Also noteworthy are Stunt Monkey, Gametime and the Migraines – the tunes are there, who knew? I may even watch the movie again in this lifetime, and not just for a young Susan Sarandon in her underwear.