Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Economic Downturns, Garbage Trucks, and the Cheater Slicks
Despite the economic slump and the dog days of August, I’m really enjoying New York City since my recent relocation. Mind you, it’s no picnic tho. I’m still hunting for a job in a rough market, money’s still tight, and today I got a dizzying noseful of what might have been the rankest, ripest, drippiest garbage truck in the entire city. Still, for these past few days the place seems to be alive with sweat and rank smells and overheated people, just as it should this time of year.
As a consequence of the currently shitty job market, I’ve resorted to trimming a little fat from the record collection. One recently auctioned item was the fairly rare first Cheater Slicks LP On Your Knees. Not everyone’s cup ‘o tea, the Cheater Slicks are known for “reinventing” 60’s punk with their relentlessly brutal, feedback-drenched takes on obscure old nuggets from that era, and for their odes to losers and rejects. Now, the Slicks have long since established themselves as a bassless band, with brothers Tom and Dave Shannon leading the twin guitar attack, and Dana Hatch on drums and caterwauling vocals. However, On Your Knees⎯released in 1989, the year I bounced the last time I lived in NY⎯captures an earlier, more formative phase, with Murder Junkie Merle Allin playing bass. Merle wasn’t even the Slicks’ first bass player, either. Prior to him, they got a little help from the late great Allen “Alpo” Paulino, formerly of the Real Kids.
Before shipping the record to its buyer, I ripped a couple of my favorite tracks, "Bruno's Night Out," and, in honor of my glamorous new life in the big city, "Weirdo on a Train."
The Skidmarks collection of rarities, released by Crypt, also contains much of this first LP. The Slicks released a slew of great singles through the 90s, and really came into their own on the 1993 LP Whiskey, on the In the Red label, particularly on the track "Thinkin' Some More," a 26-minute freakout à la “Sister Ray.” The Cheater Slicks continue to make records and occasionally still play live.
Finally, here's a live clip, circa '88, Middle East Cafe, Cambridge, MA.
Artwork by Dave Shannon