Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Droogs-STONE COLD WORLD LP (Plug 'n Socket)

Here's one that's been neglected for far too long, an old fave that did prove that there was way more to the eighties musically than post-disco new wave, featherweight metal and self-conscious hardcore emote. Of course the Droogs had been at it for quite a long time before this 1984 longplayer debut finally made its way out, and they were to have a few more foot longs under their belt before they finally called it a day in the nineties. However,  its inarguable that the eighties were the decade in which the Droogs matured into a solid rock 'n' roll outfit who would equal the likes of the Sidewinders and Hackamore Brick (amongst many others, natch!) in creating that GREAT AMERICAN ROCK 'N' ROLL ALBUM, and what's more they released an entire series of 'em that continue to stand up to the test of time and for that the Droogs surely do deserve a giganto 21 gun salute, dontcha think?

Old timers already knew about the Droogs back in the mid-seventies thanks to the tireless hype of folks along the lines of Greg Shaw as well as a string of equally self-produced singles that not only helped solidify the Droogs' standing with rock fandom but helped push the entire NUGGETS credo into the consciousness of disaffected mid-Ameriga. The sixties "revival"/paisley underground movement did help out, at least to the point where the Droogs could exist on a string of albums that kept 'em in the public eye until that fateful day the team of Albin/Clay (and whoever was doing the bass and drum work for 'em at the time) decided to finally hang up their guitar straps, but even then the Droogs seemed to get lost under the weight of some of the more popular acts on the scene who just might've had a little more push and oomph! directed their way. Too bad, because even with the strong Sonics/Seeds influences that seemed part and parcel to the eighties garage revival scene the Droogs were forging their own path in rockism and (thankfully) not "taking on the superficial aspects of the quest" which had plagued many other groups of the day.

They certainly weren't wearing their sixties influences on their sleeves like the rest of the so-called "Paisley Underground" that was givin' 'em so much competition at the time. Even back then many of us more "in-tune" fans and followers (even myself to an extent) could tell they were much better than many of these groups who might have had their heads on right yet wore extremely thin...of course I must admit that I really didn't cozy up to the likes of the Long Ryders and Rain Parade (or even some of the more directly sixties-mirrored aggregates playing at Greg Shaw's Cavern Club) as much as I perhaps should have, but for some reason that I can't exactly roll off the tip of my tongue there was somethin' about those groups that didn't set right with me. Maybe they were too little too late and a denouement after the high energy rage of the late-seventies. But it wasn't like I was rushin' out to buy their records with a great zest like many of you readers were especially with Tim Warren reissuing the real meal deal material via his BACK FROM THE GRAVE series which only proved that whatever some addled teens could do in their attics in 1965, they sure could do it better.

At least the Droogs, like the aforementioned Sidewinders, Hackamore Brick and many of my seventies faves, were reaching back to a sixties ideal back when images of teenage fun and jamz were still fresh in our collective mindsets. A good twenty years of wars, drugs, distrust, chattering-class snobdom, venereal disease and overall kulturkampf hadn't quite erased our minds or shielded the fact that the sixties were the last years of real fun and games unless you were some sorta goof or deformed or somethin' like that, and naturally the Droogs were smart enough to evoke those fun times only with the next two decades of rock 'n roll ACHIEVEMENT, the promise of the Velvets, Detroit and New York underground tossed in making their sound one that took the past and molded it for the present, hopefully pointing the way towards a bright future where kids once again could live free w/o the dread ghost of UP WITH PEOPLE and Malcolm Boyd ruining their upstart existences.

Yeah, nothing turned out that way which is why I kinda pity some of the teens I see (the rest I couldn't give a shit about) who never had the chance to listen to high energy rock or pour through old rock mags and discover everybody from Amon Duul II to the Fugs like I did. No, I don't wanna spin any of my faves for 'em...that would be almost as bad as when I was like ten and oldsters would indiscriminately play everything from Kay Kyser pap to Ray Noble along with the gutsier stuff along the lines of Charlie Barnett and Count Basie in one big pile of mulch to the point where I grew to hate it all because, once I sat down and thought about it, I felt that I was being proselytized to. Stuff like that ruined music for me for ages...that's one reason I never could stand opera after my mother practically crammed it into my head around the same time. Given my experiences I'd never wanna subject some adolescent within my grasps to one of my listening sessions..."yeah kid, I saw Pere Ubu in this run down bar back when I was about your age and this is a real killer of a just gotta listen to that musette wail!" Sheesh, if that kid don't think of me as some old fogey hasbeen living-in-the-deep-past doof then he would be crazy...after all, all of you readers surely think of me in these terms, dontcha?

I know that the reason you tune into this blog is to get these li'l kibbles 'n bits sagas about my own personal views 'n travails which is why I dish 'em out to you this way! And of course by now you avid biographers would already know about my love for the Droogs, even to the point where they got a cover spot on the twelfth issue of my very own crudzine. Supposedly this was the first time they were featured on the cover of any magazine crud or not, and I gotta say that if in fact this is true then I am really tickled pink about it y'know, having done something RIGHT for once in my born days. Of course the occasion for that particular Droogspiece was the arrival of KINGDOM DAY which for me remains the Droogs' shining moment, their BACK IN THE USA or LOADED and as soon as I dig my copy out I'll jet another review of it your way. But for now at least I have STONE COLD WORLD handy and the way that 'un takes sixties accomplishment and remolds it for eighties ginch tastes remains a classic, and not only that but it lacks the cartoonishness that many of the eighties garage revivalists could have wallowed in at time as well as the precociousness of much of the post-new wave era underground and if anybody could pull it off with elan it was the Droogs.

Ya want me to dribble off a track-by-track analysis of this? Go %#*$ yourself if you do. Elliot Murphy was right about stuff like that makin' rock 'n' roll almost as bad as chemistry class and besides, I'm pecking this out at work and my rekkids are back home so I can't exactly slip it outta the pile to give you a detailed rundown on every shard and minutae to be found, can I? However, I will say that STONE COLD WORLD's a funtime summer classic that suits me the same way SHAKE SOME ACTION and NUGGETS did summer '78 (both of 'em top notch cutout cravings!), especially the way the former re-phased the mid-sixties for the post-Vietnam clime and the latter gave us an inkling of what life was like BEFORE that great shift in planetoidnal balance that wreaked havoc for just about every human on the face of this earth (and if you don't think the current trends in world-wide amorality and barbarism aren't the bitter fruits of the Cataclysm then may I call you part of the problem?). A winner with tracks such as "Set My Love On You" ramming the mid-six-oh basement-recorded single mentality into the midst of El Lay decay the same way the Stooges took Hollywood and stuck a death mirror up against its sagging jowls. Rock w/o the innocence and altruism recorded in a way that evokes the better aspects of an era that exuded such charms.

If that doesn't whet your appetite/whistle, would a cover of the Sonics' "He's Waitin'" do the trick? Yes, this is the album I could only have dreamed of picking up at the flea market, only a good five or so years before it was made!

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