Monday, April 18, 2011

New Wave for the New Week #120

The old Punk Rock slogan "The kids will have their say!" was never truer than in the case of first wave Londoners Eater.  Formed in 1976 by school chums Andy Blade (vocals), Brian Chevette (guitar), Ian Woodcock (bass) and Dee Generate (drums), they initially drew attention for their ages: Blade and Chevette were 16, Woodcock was the old man at 17, and Dee Generate was easily the youngest regularly working musician in the Punk scene at the time. Depending on the source you choose, his age was reported anywhere from 13 to 15.  They went to school during the day and played Punk Rock at night, often in clubs which they were not old enough to legally enter had they not been the band; they wrote their earliest singles, "Outside View" and "Thinking Of The USA" (which was named one of the most essential Punk singles of all time by a 2001 UK magazine poll) while they should have been paying attention in chemistry class; they said Johnny Rotten was "too old" back then!

Yeah, they were snot-nosed kids, but man could they play.  Their sonic buzzsaw attack was not without merit, despite reviews at the time that dismissed them out of hand as more novelty act then legitimate band.  Their originals were certainly less lunkheaded than many of their contemporaries' songs, and real pop structures lurked beneath the lound-n-fast black leather fuckitall pose.  Their choices of cover songs were telling: Alice Cooper's "18" (smartly reworked as "15"), Lou Reed's "Waiting For The Man" and "Sweet Jane," David Bowie's "Queen Bitch."

All of these were included in Eater's 1977 album, The Album (released, naturally, on The Label), along with the excellent "Lock It Up," which was one of the earliest Punk Rock singles to catch my ear back when I was but a kid myself.  They followed a year later with a four-song EP called Get Your Yo-Yo's Out, but by 1979 they called it quits.

Eater's material aged far better than anyone at the time would have expected, and has been collected numerous times over the years in various compilations, all of which essentially recycle the same song list.  The Compleat Eater, released in 2004, is the currently available version, and well worth picking up.

For this week's NW4NW entry, enjoy these two audio-only clips: first, the classic "Thinking Of The USA," and then the wonderful "Lock It Up."  Enjoy!

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