For those who came of age on this scene during the '90s, the Drug Czars were a happy medium between South Florida's excellent punk rock past and the then-current state of affairs.
The band represented the lore of the '70s and '80s with members of The Eat and Roach Motel leading the charge.
Formed in the mid '90s, the Drug Czars' 1996 five-song EP is a classic from the second the needle drops into the first groove. And from there, it's ten minutes of garage punk rock with twinges of hardcore and psychedelia.
Opener "Paranoid Delusion" quickly establishes the deranged sense of humor that's an innate part of these players. Next, you get an raucous ode to the Magic City, "Cry Miami." And then the A-side closes with one of my favorite tracks of all time, "Special Friend," sung by powerhouse drummer Chris Cottie in his trademark thuggish sprechgesang. It's a close reminder of the rhythm and vocal work he did with The Eat.
The flip opens with a condensed and rocking cover of Jefferson Airplane's "Eskimo Blue Day" with some sweet buzz-sawing, echo-y guitars from singer-guitarist Michael O'Brien and guitarist Jeff Hodapp. "God's Got a Gun" brings this little record to an end leaving you wanting more. And for a year there, you had to keep listening to this slab of wax until the band's split with the Gargirls came out in '97.
The official Drug Czar lineup was Michael O'Brien on vocals and guitar, Jeff Hodapp on guitar, Chris Cottie on drums, and Buddha on bass -- though I kinda remember Kenny Lindahl pulling bass duties around this time. Also, Chuck Loose would eventually take up the drums after Cottie who would unfortunately pass away in 2004.
Personally, I would like to see these guys do a reunion this year. Let's get a petition going!