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Rubber City Rebels Pierce My Brain

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Tuesday, September 23, 2003 @ 12:02 AM


(Smog Veil Records)

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Akron, Ohio is known for two great rock ‘n’ roll exports: Devo and the Rubber City Rebels. Most KNAC.COM fans are not likely big Devo fans, but anyone who likes high-octane, kick ass rock ‘n’ roll should definitely be checking out the Rubber City Rebels new one, Pierce My Brain.

Formed in the mid-‘70s by singer/guitarist Rod Firestone and lead guitarist Buzz Clic, the Rubber City Rebels were the Dead Boys’ favorite band and one of the best of the post-Ramones wave of east coast punk bands. However, like fellow lost-in-the-shuffle torchbearers Tuff Darts and DMZ, somewhere along the line the Rebels got left behind as the New York Dolls, the Ramones and the Dictators rose to punk infamy. However, it ain’t due to any lack of firepower, as the Rebel’s prove here on their first full-length album since their 1977 debut.

Hilariously, rather than trying to sound like a bunch of 19-year-olds again, the Rebels embrace their codger-dom and lament about the good old days and how the kids nowadays have it easy. On “Punk Daddy,” Firestone blasts his wimpy punk offspring and reminds them of how the big boys used to do it in their day (“Never mind the wrinkles / better than pimples!”) “I Don’t Wanna Be A Punk No More” finds Firestone retiring from his throne to hand over the spit-scepter to the younger generation (“I don’t like your spit / I don’t like your hate / I need more than 10 / People to think I’m great”), while on the title track he blasts the piercing generation by daring them to go on step further and pierce their whole goddamn brain!

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It’s all funny, fun stuff, yet the band doesn’t come off as old fogies and the lyrics don’t feel like a bunch of dudes bitching. They are simply punk lyrics for old school punk who wanna have something to really relate to, or young schoolers who wanna taste of the old days. One glimpse of yesteryear comes in the form of “Dead Boy (Eulogy For Stiv),” a tribute to the late, great Dead Boys frontman. “Pinhead” shares a similar sentiment about the Ramones.

The best tunes though are the ones that simply rock like the first Rebels album, such as “Grip of Fear,” “Blowout at 108 (mph)” and “Your Television Lies.” These gems find the band in absolute top form, sounding as young, loud and snotty as they ever did and every bit as hook-laden. Buzz Clic blasts out stellar lick after lick as new guys Mike Hammer (dums) and Bob Clic (bass) pound away in a rhythmic frenzy. If the radio actually played real rock ‘n’ roll anymore, these tunes would be mega-hits. The metallic “Warlord,” the epic “Born Dead,” and covers of Music Machine’s “Talk Talk,” and Status Quo’s “Paper Plane” round out the set and keep things movin’ and shakin’.

A reminder that growing old doesn’t meaning getting lame and that real punk rockers never die, they just write better lyrics, Pierce My Brain is a much needed dose of vintage ’77 punk rawk and a welcome addition to any rock fan’s collection. Go buy or go die!

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