Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Coloured Balls-HEAVY METAL KID CD (Aztec, Australia)

Yes I'm doing quite fine thank you. Of course I could always be doing better, like grabbing hold of alla the more pertinent recordings to help sate my never-ending hunger for new and obscure high energy jamz and of course the Golden Age of Fanzine/Rock Writing jones seems to be getting stronger and there's no new/old issues of HYPERION in sight to sate my habit, but at least I still got the latest UGLY THINGS and that's enough to help me get through the fact that I'm living in 2007 faster'n you can say "jayhinmanisaputz"! Yeah, even stodgy ol' I's gotta admit that the most recent endeavor from Mike Stax and Co. has still got me all goose-pimply agog to the point where #25 (that's how many of these Stax's put out!) has pretty much replaced those OUT OUR WAY and OUR BOARDING HOUSE books that have been taking up most of my just-pre-beddy-bye kick uppa feet 'n relax time! And let me tell you that it's certainly an exhilarating experience combing through this ish of UGLY THINGS discovering more and more things that seemed to pass me by upon first perusal sorta like those Bill Elder comics you used to read in MAD, HUMBUG and HELP! I was particularly "struck" by the really crazy story that appears near the back of the ish about this Steve Kaczorowski/Martin/Drake guy and those bogus vanity albums he had pressed up in order to (I guess) somehow bolster/assuage? his own rockstar aspirations/ego! It seems that repeated SGT. BILKO reruns must've affected this guy's bean to the point where he thought he could pull off a big scam fooling friends and family alike into thinking he was a superstar of grandiose magnitude by releasing low-circulation discs featuring his own supposedly suspect singing over/with already established rock tracks which blows me away to no end! Sorta reminds me of those oldtimers you still come across who actually (and successfully) con close friends and local newspaper reporters into thinking they used to be in THE LITTLE RASCALS! Anyway I must say that this piece impressed me to no end and the fact that I've read the thing through three times already only goes to show ya that I have a strange taste for the macabre (at least as far as seventies mock albums go) just like the rest of ya!

Yes, this new UGLY THINGS really is the ritz, which is why I'm still ranting and raving about it after giving the thing an already top-notch write-up a few posts back! It also inspired me enough to submit a few reviews of my own to this esteemed pub, the first time in over fifteen years come to think of it and who knows, if those go over like a bowl of pastafazoola I might just actually get into high gear and start the next issue of my own pub BLACK TO COMM in honest earnest! Of course I'll have to sell a whole load of the albatross known as issue #25 before I could even think of publishing another snot-packed ish, but that's my problem, as Imants Krumins so aptly put it. Naturally you readers can take up your part of the White/Black/Brown/Yellow Man if you so desire's Burden and buy a whole bunch for yourself, thus ensuring a solid and steady rockism future for us all in the face of boring blogitude oft seen on the web even in this enlightened age because frankly, I need the cabbage in order to pull another BLACK TO COMM off myself!

Only one review today (the likes of Lou Rone's PLASTIC PISTOL, Home Blitz and Noah Howard's THE BLACK ARK are still ruminating in my fertile mind waiting to ripen a bit!) but dontcha worry, because after I get those discs committed to pixel I plan on getting a few more worthies into my collection to tell all you anxious anal retentives about, and not only that but I have planned writeups of some classic vinyl offerings both old and new that should come about once I get some time to go downstairs and dig into the ol' collection once again. In fact (and keep this between you, me and the bedsprings), I hope to take on a few rival bloggers at their own sick game with pertinent posts on groups that they think are part and parcel of their own "intellectual" property! Yes, even after three years I can still fight back with unbridled passion!

But for today let's talk about the Coloured Balls. Y'know, when Balls leader Lobby Loyde croaked a few months back his death meant about as much to me as Christopher Reeve's (well, a lot more because I really do loathe that pampered upper-crust faux Superman to the utmost), but for some odd reason various correspondants/collaborators all of a sudden started asking me about these Coloured Balls guys after their leader had left the carbon cycle which I found rather Johnny-come-lately on both mine and their parts. I mean true, I heard the name back when I was trading issues of my magazine for tasty Australian booty via Au Go Go (a company who I will never have anything to do with again because of a certain somebody in their employ, or one who is at least a friend of the family so to speak---and they owe me money which only goes to show you how proud I stand on this issue!) and they were selling a buncha Coloured Balls reissues which seemed enticing enough to an unaware rube like me. But it's not like I was gonna chance any credit on my part trying out some new group of early-seventies hard rock heritage which for all intent purposes coulda been a huge dingo in the collection! However, as of late I must tell you that I needed a little more heavy metal in the bloodstream and since Rick Noll namedropped these Balls in an email to me let's just say that I decided to take the bait and with some trepidation ordered their first two albums from noneother'n Forced Exposure, another frightening name from the past but at least I won't let it bug me this time!

Although I ordered the first two (and only?) Coloured Balls (and no, I will not make any jokes about Dave Lang and testicular cancer!) disques only the second, HEAVY METAL KID arrived at my doorstep. Well, good enough I thought, since if I hated this 'un I saved an additional X amt. of moolah not having that 'un clog up my Cee-Dee collection, but sheesh, since I was on an early-seventies metal jag I sure coulda used it no matter what sorta chances I may be taking with this band. And so I slap HEAVY METAL KID onto the laser launching pad and what do I get but...some pretty good heavy metal, metal in the early-seventies pre-schmooze/pre-PRE-all out bludgeon style which means you're gonna get your share of power ballads true but this is such an all-powerful cruncher that I don't even mind the obligatory fifties rockers that were slapped in to sate the AMERICAN GRAFFITI crowd!

In fact, this is such a metallic whomper in the classic sense that I could easily have seen HEAVY METAL KID mentioned amidst those Amon Duuls and Stooges albums that made their way into those early-eighties CREEM "Heavy Metal Specials" they used to toss at the unaware Dokken crowd at stop-and-robs nationwide. Loyde's singing is great trash throwaway in the classic British style (and Australians have always been torn between wanting to be English or American, which is why they're suffering such an identity crisis down there!), and although I was expecting this to sound something more akin to Kongress when they had Australian Geofrey Crozier as a frontman (and sounded like some late-sixties/early-seventies Australian garage band for all their troubles!) I gotta say that HEAVY METAL KID has the good sense to come off like a true Australian answer to T. Rex with a lotta that proto-punk madness that injected more energy into the seventies'n a lotta politically-bent naysayers would want you to believe!

True some of HEAVY METAL KID drags on...the fifties-oriented tuneage (including a campy-yet-competent cover of "Baby I Don't Care") doesn't inject the same kinda rose-colored lookback something like Hackamore Brick's "Radio" might, while the ballad "See What I Mean" predates Alice Cooper's similar trek into lounge schmooze by three years. But still there are the outright winners like "Dance to the Music" (not the Sly Stone quap, but a good Bolanesque boogie!) that wash all of those tame moments made for the more inhibited amongst us, and heck you can always program the week-kneed material outta your own personal listening orgy if you so desire! But hey, I even liked "Just Because" which some might tage "Doors-y" but I'd say's more or less just the typical West Coast sound of the late-sixties...filtered through Australia that is!

And oh yeah, "side two" (using obsolete elpee lingo!) is a suite of sorts having to do with the Amerigan Indians and their travails with the calvary or something like that. Interesting enough (though if these Australians wanted to shed a few PC tears why didn't they just look in their own backyard and sing about aboriginies?) especially with the tom-tom drum lines and the heavy riff rock which leads to...acoustic interludes? And maybe it does sound a tad better'n Sir Lord Baltimore's "Man From Manhattan" even with the inclusion of some sappy mellotron to progify the thing a bit, but did they have to add those synth swishes on "Custer's Last Stand"???

What else can I say other'n HEAVY METAL KID is a top echelon offering that lives up to its title (and oh those single sides which actually come painfully close to...Crushed Butler?!?!?!), only it weren't no kids who put this megamonster out! Hmmm, it's good enough that I just might seek out the first Coloured Balls disque a lot sooner than I had originally planned. In fact, if I get rich enough maybe I'll even take a trek down Australia way and meet up with the surviving members of Coloured Balls, amongst other things (don't worry, I can always buy a gun when I get there!). After all, such obsessive devotion is certainly worth it!

If you're still contemplatin' whether or not to buy any Coloured Balls even after this headstrong rah-rah, just take a gander at the following Youtube offering straight offa Australian tee-vee (which I guess was still broadcasting in b&w well into the seventies judging from this clip!). If you're not convinced as to what the Balls could do after giving this 'un a try, then may I call you Karen Quinlan?

AND IN CLOSING, let me just tell you that an interesting bit of obscure Velvet Underground esoterica has recently popped up on the CHRONICLES website of all'll find the obscure mention in question after scrolling down to the end of Dr. Thomas Fleming's fantab posting right before everybody starts chiming in with their various comments. Now don't go sayin' I don't do anything good for ya!


Anonymous said...

I bought Ball Power a month or so back, assuming it to be the pick of the two albums. Have to confess, I haven’t played it too much, but enough to know that the instrumental G.O.D is the standout track. Terrible title for a track that, G.O.D, and it seems to be a common error with these boys – there are quite a few ‘babes’ and ‘mamas’ strewn about. Several of the tracks seem to be chugalong bluesy romps which I guess sounded pretty boss at the time. Certainly worth a punt for the curious archival researcher, but not a lost proto-punk classic.

Anonymous said...

I have to say I disagree with anon’s assessment. I really think Ball Power is stronger than Heavy Metal Kid and ranks up there with Kings of Oblivion for some ’73 era long haired crunch (though it is short haired rock and roll in this instance). Yeah, not earth shattering but “Flash” is up there with “City Kids” for the lead off track of ’73 that is non-Bowie or Rundgren related), and the lp sits nicely alongside the first Montrose lp, first two BOC (and maybe the first Kiss lp – yeah Chris, I know Kiss is verboten though I am with the Gulcher dudes for the first few lps) for some teenage kicks of the non “punk” variety. I can probably think of five other great heavy metal lps of that year as well. Who would think it would take almost 35 years to bring these CB lps to the masses of America.