On This Date, April 2nd in 1981: The Penelope Spheeris-directed Punk Rock Documentary, The Decline Of Western Civilization debuted in Southern California. Capturing the ferocity of the thriving and wildly influential LA and Orange County Punk music scene, Decline featured live performances from Black Flag, The Circle Jerks, Fear, Alice Bag Band, X, Catholic Discipline and The Germs, whose now long-deceased lead singer, Darby Crash graces the movie poster. Many of the film’s live performance scenes were shot at The Fleetwood, a cavernous live music venue near the pier in Redondo Beach, which I believe was formerly home to a Bowling Alley or Skate Rink.
On This Date in 1980: Darby Crash (born Jan Paul Beahm), lead singer of The Germs, died of an intentional heroin overdose at the age of 22. For anyone curious about Darby, The Germs, and the LA Punk Rock scene of the late 70s/early 80s, I highly recommend the bio pic, What We Do is Secret. Despite a lot of criticism from people who were there; to be honest, I was there also, and I think the film got a lot of things right. Favorite Germs Song: “Richie Dagger’s Crime.” RIP Darby.
Back in 1995, The Posies – being for all intents and purposes the ridiculously talented core duo of Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow – contributed a cover of “Richie Dagger’s Crime” to the CD A Small Circle of Friends; a Germs tribute collection put out by the now-defunct Grass Records. The Posies chose to interpret one of The Germs’ most – by extremely loose-definition – “Pop” tunes by reworking it as a sort of hybrid of The Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” meets “You Won’t See Me” – right down to the “Ooh, la la la” harmonies. It was a genius move, and something only The Posies could have pulled off. You know Auer and Stringfellow were high-five-ing and slapping each other on the back for at least a couple of weeks over that idea.
While I’d bet a million dollars that only a handful of the most hardcore Germs or Posies fans, or rock critics that were lucky enough to get a review copy of A Small Circle of Friends, ever even heard this track, it’s nevertheless the song that comes to my mind first whenever anyone mentions The Posies. Because, gee whiz, these guys have huge balls and the talent to back up those balls. In the intervening years, The Posies have broken up and reunited a few times and generally avoided becoming the household name they deserve to be, but if you’ve ever heard any of their music, you know this is a band to pay attention to when Auer and Stringfellow decide to get their shit together and record a new album. That time has come again after a five-year wait, with the impending release of Blood/Candy ; a twelve-track collection of amazing songs that revives a classic Posies sound while taking their power pop vibe to the next level.
Blood/Candy is exciting not because it sounds modern at all – it emphatically does not – but because it sounds so sublimely retro; like the best of the 60s and 70s radio pop/rock that anyone over 40 grew up listening to and losing their minds over. Jesus, I could listen to “For The Ashes” over and over again and never get sick of it. Definitely one of the five best albums released so far this year, Blood/Candy belongs in your collection if you dig The Beatles, Jellyfish, The Hollies, America, Blur, Peter-Gabriel era Genesis or any band that reminds you of any of those bands. It’s that pure and yet that eclectic. I love this album.
Blood/Candy (Rykodisc) will be released on September 28, 2010. In early November The Poises embark on a US tour with co-headliner Brendan Benson. I’d say this is a tour not to be missed.