Turns out I wasn’t the only one over in Brooklyn obsessed with the seven inch record.
Danny got in touch a couple weeks ago as a fellow seven inch fan from Germany to propose we post reviews on each other’s site. Danny picked a great East German punk single DIE SKEPTIKER which you can read about over on my cleverly named blog '7INCHES'. My pick here is also a punk relic from 1981, a North Carolina band, The Village Pistols with their first and only release reissued on Last Laugh Records.
Listen to me ramble about more records every week on the 7inches podcast.
Punk has always been about pissing people off and if you can piss off the punks, then you’re really doing something right. The Village Pistols started out as a prank band by friends in the North Carolina punk scene in the dawn of the ‘80s. Disco had just ended and their local scene was suddenly infiltrated with shitty out of town bands at their favorite venue. The only way to take the scene back was to come up with this fake band (The Village People + The Sex Pistols …) who would play incognito as trashy and as obnoxious as possible complete with faux English accents and smash a Lynyrd Skynyrd record before running out the back door of the club. The band received instant notoriety and in an effort to piss off all of the ‘legitimate’ bands who had been playing for years without landing a record, they put out a seven inch of the mythical band. A shitty version of their hit 'Big Money' was the A-Side and the icing on the cake was the blasphemous (or sincere?) cover of "Strawberry Fields Forever" on the flip and they promptly sold no more than fifty copies.
It’s no surprise that Harry from Last Laugh Records would agree that is a tragic amount of people to have heard this lost gem from an almost forgotten scene. Mike Nicholson from the band further elaborates over here. As usual from Last Laugh, it’s a record with an even better story behind it, faithfully reproduced in every way and a small pittance of it’s original ebay value (who’s pissing off who now?).
"Big Money" strikes a gritty static chord over a pounding kick drums with heavy vocals from 'Sid Rose' which sounds like a tough aggressive hardcore act for 1981? Damn. Sid has one of those gruff deep deliveries that's plastered in a massive reverb, like that mess G.G. Allen. One of those vocals that's on verge of shredding itself. Call and response vocals on the chorus from the rest of the band and it's fast as hell ham fisting through the chords. Awesome guitar tone from 'Felipe'; a jangly high treble shrill metallic before it hits that distortion. Sounding like a bunch of guys to steer clear of, you might not want to find yourself in the front row of this. They'd have to come off like frantic mental patients just to make sure they could make it out of the venue alive. The audience will think they’re crazy enough not to mess with. Even recorded, this does the trick.
B-Side "Strawberry Fields Forever" not only sounds NOTHING like the original (thank god) but also more than alienates the 99% of a music loving audience, it antagonizes. What better than for a bunch of masked maniacs to take on a sacred track like this and completely destroy it. Not through nonsense experimental feedback but in a Wesley Willis precursor speeding through their own ill devised riffs while Sid delivers a mentally ill manifesto with a whole new meaning to the lyric:
Strawberry Fieeeelllds / NOTHING IS REEAL!
Maybe the joke is on these guys ultimately becoming a real touchstone for a place and time in early ‘80s punk.
For extra credit check out all of Last Laugh Records - this is the tip of the iceburg, these guys have been pissing off first pressing, near mint A++ nerds for years.