Like a bad habit, long-time local promoter Tom Bowker is back on the scene with a show featuring his favorite virus, Antiseen. In true South Florida do-it-yourself fashion, Bowker is flying his own personal "punk-rock gods" down from the Carolinas as a 30th birthday present to himself. It is bad journalistic practice to let promoters pass off praise for bands they are puffing as though it were steely-eared music criticism, but whatever. If you are not a promoter or otherwise in the pay of some band or club or record label and can write snappy prose on relevant music topics, please send some story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime here's Bowker.
15 Minutes of Fame ... 15 Years of Infamy
Box sets are the antithesis of punk rock. Punk has no room for filler. Ass-kissing liner notes, rough mixes, and alternate takes are not welcome in the land where eagles dare. They certainly have no place in the foothills of North Carolina, from where the Antiseen hail. For those of you who think the Top 40 stylings of Green Day and Blink 182 have anything to do with punk rock, it's time to introduce you to the most brutal band that has ever walked the Earth.
The first of these two releases is a reissue of both of Antiseen's seminal albums, Southern Hostility and Eat More Possum,on one CD. The aptly titled Southern Hostility seethes hate and rage with every note. Song titles like "Death Train Comin," "My God Can Beat Up Your God," "Kick in the Head," "Kill the Business," "Slice You Open," and "Hate for Power" are a mere hint of the brutality dished out by singer Jeff Clayton's evil growl and guitarist Joe Young's slash-and-burn feedback-laden assault. It is damn near impossible to listen to this record without opening a can of whup-ass on someone -- save for the track "Watch the Bastard Fry," a pro-death penalty ode that President Bush would appreciate ("I want to be the one/To pull the switch/Kill, kill, kill/The son of a bitch").
As fabulous as it is to see Southern Hostility back on the shelves, it's the return of Eat More Possum that truly is a cause to celebrate. Ruined by the cheap bastards at Zuma records who refused spend an extra $500 to properly master the recording, Eat More Possum went from a masterpiece that would have justifiably crowned Antiseen as the greatest punk band of all time to just another poor recording by a band that deserved better. By remixing and remastering Eat More Possum, Man's Ruin literally has set the record straight. Now for the first time, listeners can feel the monstrous wallop behind Antiseen anthems "Destroy Them All," "Glad I Am the Way I Am," and "Trapped in Dixie." No longer will they have to turn up the volume to hear B-movie-hero Jack Starr's words of wisdom interspersed between tracks. Most important, the definitive version of Antiseen's theme song closes the disc. "Fuck All Y'all" reflects the laser right off the CD and burns right down your ear hole: "So you think you've heard it all before/Listen up, here's a little more."
The little more in this case is 15 Minutes of Fame ...15 Years of Infamy, a CD collection of out-of-print vinyl releases and live tracks that spans the length of Antiseen's career and documents its revolving-door rhythm section. The third track,"Destructo Rock" -- a term coined by an angry redneck club-owner after the Antiseen set off a fireworks display onstage and smoked out the patrons: "You guys aren't rock and roll -- you're DESTRUCTO!" -- perfectly captures the Antiseen's beginnings: One minute of fury, then get the hell out the door. Track 21, "Violence Now (Assassinate the President)," is a dueling duet with the late punk demigod GG Allin. But the best reasons to buy 15 Minutes are the six cover tunes. Destructo retoolings of Talking Heads, Jumping' Gene Simmons, Screaming Lord Sutch, Stooges, Roky Erickson, and the Troggs smash down the walls between rock's genres, thus proving there is only one brand of rock and roll that matters -- and the Antiseen plays it better than anyone.
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