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Rocket From the Tombs To Release First-Ever Studio Album

By Sefany Jones, Contributing Editor
Monday, January 19, 2004 @ 9:20 AM


Rocket From the Tombs To Relea

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ROCKET FROM THE TOMBS’ STUDIO ALBUM TITLED ROCKET REDUX SET FOR FEBRUARY 2004 RELEASE

Reno, NV – Art punk legends Rocket From The Tombs are set to release their first-ever studio album. Repertoire for the new album was drawn from their classic retrospective release, The Day The Earth Met Rocket From The Tombs (Smog Veil Records). The album titled Rocket Redux is slated for a February 24, 2004 release date. Marketing and radio promotions are being handled by Smog Veil Records. Smog Veil is distributed by Revolver, Get Hip, Southern, Scratch (Canada), Choke, Carrot Top, Disgruntled, Subterranean, Forced Exposure and Surefire.

The album was produced, recorded and mixed by Richard Lloyd in the summer of 2003 at EGB Studios. EGB is Lloyd’s project studio based in mid-town Manhattan. For each recording that takes place there, the studio is given a new moniker. Recent Lloyd productions include his own solo-album, The Blondes.inc, Squirrels From Hell, Bibi Farber and The Inevitable Break-ups. “Rocket Redux is exactly the set list from the live show recorded in the studio,” Lloyd explains, adding, “It’s supposed to be as if you are at the greatest rehearsal or sound check and you are two inches tall and standing on the singers tongue surrounded by the two lead guitarists.” “Everything we do is at full speed and up on two wheels,” David Thomas adds with regards to the recording experience.

On the Pere Ubu website, David Thomas, Rocket From The Tombs’ front man explains how the studio recording and the fall 2003 tour dates evolved out of their summer 2003 tour: “The genesis is as follows: Following the hugely successful June tour we decided to undertake a tour out west to complete a circuit of the country. In order to satisfy a stream of requests after every show, we decided to record the current set of material with the new band and sell it as a concert merchandise only item. Richard Lloyd engineered, produced and mixed the new recordings at his studio over a couple lost weekends. Along the way we got excited about the outcome and decided to release it commercially through our friends at Smog Veil.

“Clearly, credibility is stretched now on the official line that this is not a reunion. Nevertheless, it continues to be the case. Here are the unadulterated facts: (1) We really like playing these songs with each other -- it is satisfying; (2) The mix of personalities is about as stable as nitroglycerine; (3) We actually like each other as people and enjoy each other's company so the 8 flaming rows that erupt each day we are together in the same place at the same time are quickly forgiven; (4) It will not be a "real" band until we start writing new material; (5) This group of people may not be able to write new material together; (6) If we can't write new material of proper quality and nature, we don't want to feel like we're stuck together -- we simply part our ways and say to each other, "It's been fun."

Rocket From The Tombs debuted in 1974 at the Viking Saloon, a rock club in downtown Cleveland. David Thomas had previously acquired a measure of local celebrity writing for Cleveland's Scene magazine under various aliases. The most prominent of these, the wonderfully named Crocus Behemoth, evolved into a full-fledged alter ego to front the new band. With a mound of wild hair, Behemoth earned himself a reputation as a crazed, completely unpredictable stage performer. Their first set consisted of nearly all of the Kick Out The Jams album, plus an early version of "What Love Is."

Founding members Laughner and Behemoth eventually morphed into Pere Ubu whilst Cheetah Chrome and Johnny Blitz went on to form The Dead Boys.

Songs like "Life Stinks" and "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" (both later recorded by Pere Ubu) are indicative of the anomie, and restlessness felt by Cleveland's pre-punk punks. But it’s tracks like "Final Solution" and "Sonic Reducer" that shine as two of the most important anthems to come out of punk's first wave.

Describing the summer 2003 shows, David Fricke, editor at Rolling Stone magazine, wrote, "No on else in American rock, underground or over, in 1974 and '75, was writing and playing songs this hard and graphic about being f**ked over and fighting mad. No one else is doing it now." While Greg Kot from the Chicago Tribune wrote, "Rocket From the Tombs is not just the great lost proto-punk band of the '70s. It's one of the best bands of the 21st Century, too." And the Cleveland Scene wrote "After years of anonymity, Rocket From The Tombs has come to represent the match strike for the entire worldwide punk explosion."

Rocket From The Tombs’ line-up on the album and on the tour dates features David Thomas (RFTT, Pere Ubu) on vocals, Cheetah Chrome (RFTT, The Dead Boys) on guitar and vocals, Richard Lloyd (Television) on guitar, Craig Bell (RFTT, Saucers) on bass and vocals and Steve Mehlman (Pere Ubu) on drums. The 12 tracks on Rocket Redux are: 1. “Frustration,” 2. “So Cold,” 3. “What Love Is,” 4. “Ain't It Fun,” 5. “Muckraker,” 6. “30 Seconds Over Tokyo,” 7. “Sonic Reducer RFTT,” 8. “Never Gonna Kill Myself Again,” 9. “Amphetamine,” 10. “Down In Flames,” 11. “Final Solution RFTT,” and 12. “Life Stinks.”

Smog Veil is an independent record label based in Reno, NV (founded in Ohio). Other releases on the label include Rubber City Rebels, California Speedbag, Clepunk.comp, Pere Ubu and more. Visit Rocket From The Tombs online at http://www.projex.demon.co.uk/rftt.html and http://www.projex.net/rftt.html, and the label at www.smogveil.com for more information and tour updates.


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