Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Pure Hell-NOISE ADDICTION CD & DVD (Welfare)

OK, I'm gonna keep this short and sweet because really, either I can rave about this new package with a few quick and shallow words of praise, or I can blab on for hour upon hour on end about every little insignificant piece of trivia pertaining to me and my upbringing and my musical tastes whether or not they have anything to do with Pure Hell directly or not, and frankly I think I'd do you readers a disservice either way so lemme just give you a nice, detailed yet not too brainy (me, brainy?) dissertation as to why you should scarf this sucker up post haste before it's lost to all eternity and you're gonna hafta perform unnatural acts upon certain well-known rockscribe collectors (not counting ME) in order to procure a nth-rate burn that you'll all cherish nonetheless.

Anyway, for the uninitiated...Pure Hell were an all black punk rock & roll band from Philadelphia who formed in 1975 and almost immediately got a prestigeous Big Apple gig at Max's Kansas City that very same year, and until at least 1980 (last ref I can find of them via a gig listing at Max's very early in the year) they sorta made waves on the NYC scene and elsewhere getting some nice incidental press in the meanwhile. A single ("These Boots Were Made For Walking"/"No Rules") on the British Golden Sphinx label even earned them a short English tour in '78, and considering that they were also opening for Sid V's Max's gigs that very year you could say that these punks were at the height of their power if not popularity during that cream o' the punk crop time. However, after all of this hubbub Pure Hell decided they didn't wanna be known as punks anymore and started considering themselves a heavy metal outfit, but whichever way you wanna categorize the band they still come off as top high energy noisemakers who still sound up-to-date three-plus decades down the line which is more than I can say about some new aggros who sound stillborn upon launch. And face it bub, a lotta the all-black groups who made it superduper big in the nineties owe more than a pat on the back to Pure Hell, who I am told reformed (with a white bassist, so maybe they don't count anymore!) in the mid-nineties even getting some label attention from the folks at Mercury Records of all places!

So, you're probably wondering whether or not Pure Hell are punks or metal mongers, right? Well, like all of the great BLOG TO COMM faves I've rah-rah'd over they years all I gotta say is they sure straddle the boundaries in a way that seemed oh-so-normal in the early/mid-seventies when the folks at BACK DOOR MAN and DENIM DELINQUENT were more'n anxious to utter the names of such bands as Aerosmith, the Stooges, Blue Oyster Cult and the Dolls in the same breath although boundaries seemed to be more or less, er, defined as the decade wore on. Guitarist Preston Morris III (aka Chip Wreck) can thunder along with the heaviest of them all, but he's also a power-chord master par-excellence inna Tommy Ramone vein. Vocalist Kenny Gordon reminds me of a whole slew of black punkers from Hiawatha Bailey (Cult Heroes) on down with his cock-sure approach, 'n rhythm section Kerry Boles and Michael Sanders (nom-de-punkques being Lenny Still and Spider resp'v'ly) seem about as ham-fisted good enough for such an endeavor, Spider somehow recalling the likes of one Scott Asheton in the addled thud department. So really, the whole punk vs. metal question is superfluous, since like the best groups from both camps there are probably more similarities than differences and besides all I care about is what's GOOD (read: high energy and nerve-twisting) and what's ATROCIOUS (weak-kneed music especially when it's played by people who think they know enough for all of us!) and really, given all of the musical inbreeding that has gone on for ages are "labels" really that helpful anymore (other'n to give the prospective buyer a little leeway in knowing what he's gonna be in store for when he gets home, unwraps the shrink and submits himself to some of the worst prattle to pass as rock & roll extant???).

Naturally the single sides are here (their "Boots" almost as good as Destroy All Monsters if not on the same sainted plateau) as are a whole lotta other studio wonders which all have that hot late-seventies punk-a-rama thrill-chill to 'em that reminds me of the feeling I'd get (1978) picking up some hot Stiff-label cruncher before that company gnu-waved itself outta existence. Yeah, I'm sure there will be quite a few naysayers out there who think all the songs "sound alike" just like they did with ? and the Mysterians, but if they all sound good and sound alike, what's wrong with that. And besides they DON'T...I mean, just take the song "American" which starts off with this wild "LA Blues"-styled scrangacronka (well, could YOU think up a better word?) as Stinker recites his own Pledge kinda coming off like David Peel doing heavy metal! Believe you me, it's enthralling enough even if you've heard all the seventies punk reissues and rehashes that have been clogging up the Bomp! catalog ever since those sainted days of TRUE ROCK ORIGINALITY!!!

The DVD that's included's taken from some unknown-to-me gig (unless the credits are too small for mine eyes) and captures Pure Hell in a fine state of big-intensity punk bliss. And it's a professional two-camera job too unlike a lotta the hand-held videos being shot in clubs back then, and what's great about the whole schmeer is that when the picture starts getting all weirdo and distorted (otherwise this looks about as fresh as the day it was video'd), someone had the keen idea to use the chromakey effect to give the picture a weird psychedelic edge that come to think of it does fit in with the wild proceedings going on on camera. And in front of an appreciative (if polite) audience Pure Hell are totally frenetic with more'n a few references to various past masters black and white, and if anything can be said about Pure Hell it's that these guys sure knew how to WHIP UP A CROWD which is more'n I can say about a good portion of the so-called amerindie/alternative drek I've had the misfortune to see live back in the eighties when the independant music decay was only beginning...

Supposedly this NOISE ADDICTION set was released in a very limited edition (1000 only!) so before it dries up totally (and you have to resort to certain unspeakable crimes in order to latch onto your own copy) I'd click on the label link above and getcher credit card number handy while yer at it. Can't say that the reissue/exhumation scene has been that hot this year, but if this one is any indication...

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great stuff! Pure Hell also opened for the New York Dolls during the 'Red Patent Leather' shows at the Little Hippodome which marked the last gigs by the original Dolls in NYC.

Anonymous said...

Spider also filled in for a mysteriously absent Jerry Nolan (according to McLaren that night, he was "in the hospital") at the Dolls' final NY area gig before they left for their ill-fated Florida tour with Chaka Kahn in spring 1975, the one that ended abruptly with Thunders and Nolan quitting the band. The gig was at a place called the New Bell on Rte 4 in Hackensack, and they played half-heartedly for about 25 - 30 people.

By the way, there's an error in your CD review. Tommy Ramone didn't play guitar; Johnny did. Other than that, nice job.

Christopher said...

How that mistake lasted one and a half years before being spotted by anyone is amazing. Thanks for pointing it out and embarrassing me to all hell!

Anonymous said...

Just heard it. Unbelievable. Best unreleased punk album I've heard since Negative Trend's Pop Sessions or Chi-Pig's Miami.

Anonymous said...

I lived down the street from what you call the nEW BELL ON RT 4 in Hackensack NJ- It was Called "THE LIBERTY BELL".I Check back on it. I saw them at an A7 REUNION at the Knitting Factory, NEW YORK CITY somone told me it was booked by Brian S. I saw him talking to the infamous punk producer Marty Munsch. Munsch supposedly coarsed "Mental Abuse" (East Coast version of the Germs but way meaner) to not play the bill and payed them a huge sum of 3500.00 bucks cash up front, to play his venue in New Jersey only a month later with U.S. Chaos, another historic group. he's some land barron in Hoboken, NJ so he has all this cash to toss around. From What I hear he's on "quite a few" Builderberg lists too..

R. Wretch said...

Great mention! I am Rich Wretch of the Violators (the real nyc Violators with the N.Y. Ripper b/w My Country record which you might be familiar with) and to give you some real deal info from that era and currently. These guys (Pure Hell) are and were the real deal...straight tight rocknroll chops, tight, pros and real punks which i'm proud to say we had the honor of doing many gigs with them at Max;s, Botony, One Under, A-7, Club X etc...Nice stand up fellas! We did alot with them at Maxs and are gonna be releasing some unreleased live stuff from the heyday...Anyway, My bandmate, Jim Revenge is in touch on and off with Lenny and when we do our reunion gigs with the reissue of NY Ripper and new and great live stuff, some or all of Pure Hell will be joining us as well as some guest stars which will blow everyone away! I always consider them friends, real pros that were one of the handfull from then that were real from the heart musicians and rockers, unlike alot of bands who couldnt even even keep simplefast 4/4 time! Which brings me to a correction yo your listing U.S. Crayons..i mean us choas who never were a punk band (still are not except for a phony bio) and they never were around NYC or Maxs, etc. cos they didnt exist until mid 1980s (late 1984-5!!) They were just little hangers on who neverplayed, still cant and have no affiliation with Pure Hell and the Violators...lies we needed to clear up! Our official website is www.Violators.us Any other is illegal and using pirated logos, photos and songs!! Please pass it on that our fans and the curious stay away from illegal sites which we hope will be taken down soon! Anyways, the Violators are and have been together allthese years like Pure Hell and can't wait for our first gig with them in ages (probably Irving Plaza/Fillmore East) it looks like Lenny Steel is on board with Pure Hell, Some or all of the Smithereens ( who also did some early gigs with us and Pure Hell), Bobby Steele of the Undead and many others! It's called "the Violators Wrecking Crew Project:Headquarters" p.s. our friends and fans now and thru the years our known as 'Violators Wrecking Crew Members" Be part of the "Wrecking Crew" today!!! Anyways, a splendid time is guarenteed for all!!! Keep checkin our only official authorized site WWW.Violators.US ...Also, i was just readin this post on here talkin about a marty mouse..er munch and u.s. crayons and $$$..This is just misinformation from these wanna bees who never were and are legends in thier own fake bios to impress girls i gues! They never were around or even on ours or Pure Hells or any other NYC Clubs guest list from late 1970s till never!! Well thanks for letting me keep things up to date and again major kudos to you mentioning Pure Hell!! What great gigs we used to have when they were on the bill; our friend the late Johnny Thunders came on the stage with us (Violators) and we joined him and a couple of guys from Pure Hell (definately Lenny) and it was one of the best jams that could only happen in heaven but here we were @Maxs Kansas City, 3:00A.M., with Thunders playin it to the hilt perfectly and even Mark the head guy who ran the clubs band bookings said "Shit, the place is in ruins, people were pusing to get in upstairs thru the sold out crowd where can we get a movie crew here NOW!!" 'Violators Punk Party Record Release Show W/special guests Pure Hell, Legionairs Disese" from texas..great guys too!..we just released N.Y. Ripper b/w My Country. Who knew if Mark from Max's got any film, from some local news crew guy he knew that i think showed up at the end of the Thunders/Violators/Pure Hell Jam finishing with Chinese Rocks and our version of Bits & Pieces!! Shame there are these zillion kids who have zero talent, get a computer midi software program ,record some nonsense and call it RocknRoll or Punk!! 95 percent of these indie kids have no chops, no fire in thier belly, no talent and this is the sad state of of the currentunderground for years now. Theses kids need a simple course in R&R 101;just take one somg by Chuck Berry, Ramones, Beatles, Animals, Pure Hell, Undead, Violators,Smithereens and learn to play it note for note backward & forward up,down,sideways and eat talk and sleep with your guitar droms micraphone until you KNOW your ready to write and play your own stuff with a zen like confidence on stage with the best chops and tightest sound any group you've wanted to know the secret of how they got thier(our) sound!! Now THAT'S the so-called secret!!(You can quote me on this previous message to new bands)....That's how we all got it down bleeding hands, sweatin all the time and bloody broken fingers, no sleep for days, and knowing your one of the best at what you do and you can back it up live not thru some bullshit software techno crap!!! There is NO shortcuts,kidz! Anywayz, thanks and kudos for great blog and thanks for lettin me set the record straight and keep you up to date!! BTW, you are the first media outlet that we have shared officially about the "Violators Wrecking Crew Project: Headquarters" Peace! and Keep On Keepin On! Happy Holidays & Happy New Year! God Bless !!-From Rich Wretch & Jim Revenge of the Violators

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mr. E said...

Dear Christopher, as a Fan of your writing/review style and also being in the music business for years I must protest the remark of above ANON. poster who has something terribly wrong with them for slandering a beloved, missed family member who had passed away and just was forwarded this as it made the family members brought down to tears!!! Please remove above post as I pray you are a decent human being and should not tolerate such hate and slander of a person who passed away from a horrible illness in reaction of hate and fear of retribution legally and otherwise the family lawyers are looking into!! The page of great information and participation of Pure Hells Friends and fellow Music Artists was/is greatly disgraced! Please remove this cowardly hate-mongers post! The Family of the deceased will appreciate this! Thank You and God Bless!! I hope to speak to you in the near future regarding your writing skills and possible contribution to book and liner notes on another topic. Thanks for your anticipated cooperation of removing this above post which has put a Family in tears of which I doubt they will ever recover..peace & God Bless-Mr. E.

Christopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher said...

Mr. E-Comment is deleted. Sometimes these things slip by and I am not always as diligent as I should be. In all fairness, if the deleted commenter would like to rephrase his views to fit the proper tone of the commenting, he is free to do so and it will be printed on condition that it is within the proper bounds of acceptability.