THE SILLIES America's Most Wanton cd 2002
1 Break Loose / 2 Sex For The Handicapped / 3 No Big Deal / 4 Apparition / 5 Heavy Breathing / 6 If Your Girlfriend Still Loves You When Your Car Breaks Down / 7 Fresh Flesh / 8 Lesbo Love / 9 County Fair / 10 Real Live Love / 11 Love You To Death / 12 Punk Rock Girl.
Produced by S. Campbell.
The Sillies: B. Waugh: guitar, vocal, drums (6,7,9,10), alto sax (2) mellotron(3), synth (5,8),keys (3,7,12), bass (6,7,11) / Kurse-Ten: piano (4,5,9,12), vocals (1,9), D. Denizen: bass (4) / K. Kaos: drums (4) / M. Profane: bass (1,2,5,12), lead guitar (2,6) & lead vocals (6) / S. Marx: bass (9) / C. Sercombe: drums (1,2,5,12) / E. Mich: hammond organ (10) / D. Bloxson: drums (9) / S. Edwards: vocals (10) / K. Garza & L. Gizzi: backing vocals (6) / Bootsey X: drums (3) / T. Kilowatt: lead guitar (1,3,5,9,12) / T. B. Wilson: piano on (2) +
+ Wayne Kramer plays twin guitars on "Punk Rock Girls" &
Dennis "Machine Gun" Thompson plays drums on "Punk Rock Girls" also !
"Art Punk" is such an exclusionary term - at least to these ears - that many bands who use it as a means of self description sell themselves short. Sure, it's in the ear of the beholder, but how many Stooge-deprived punters, brought up on the stun guitar-driven Destroy All Monsters of Uncle Ron's vintage, mistakenly tracked down that band's back catalogue only to be sorely pissed off with the, um, seriously, avant garde model featuring Niagra and the Miller brothers? Was GG Allin "Art Punk", at least on the score of gross offensiveness? All these are questions that can disappear up their own post-modernist arses. Fear not, Fans of Real Rock Action, we won;t bore you with philosophical arguments. And you can rest easy when Detroit's Sillies bandy about the (F)art Punk label. This disc rocks righteously with roots solidly placed in left-of-field English '70s pop-rock and 60s punk soil.
The Sillies' main claim to fame seems to be that they were the first Dee-troit act to consciously use the term "Punk" to brand their music. (Brave thing, when you think about it, as this was a term originally coined for cellmates who bent over to retrieve soap.) The "punk" term eventually became devalued with the onset of the sickeningly bland "New Wave", but early in the piece using that label was hardly a stepping stone to commercial success. As if The Sillies gave a shit - but it was enough to get you excluded from most cover band venues. The band turned to promoting their own shows at places like Bookies, the club they opened, and shared stages with the likes of Gang War, DAM, the Dead Boys and the Rob Tyner Band.
A quarter of a century later, The Sillies are back (at least, playing with long-time members Ben and Kirsten in the ranks) and their first album is here. Long time between firsts, I know, but the verdict is that the disc is worth the wait. Exactly what sort of music The Sillies play is open to speculation. "Art Punk" might have been a means for separating the Truly Offensive from the Ramones Clones back in the '70s, but doesn't quite cut it. Singer-guitarist Ben Waugh is the one constant on this disc and his Asheton-ised guitar is a gritty counterpoint to the alternately bar room band piano/keyboard bed. He also lays down some bracing noise ("If Your Girlfriend Loves You", "Heavy Breathing") that will more than satisfy.
Much of this disc is retrospective material, being the work of several line-ups. Some of it's live. The variety underlines the fact that this was probably a band intent on not being pigeonholed. Some of it is distinctly low-fi ("Apparition" was recorded via two open mics, while "County Fair" is another contemporary recording that fights to be heard) and while it might sound like a patchy approach, it actually knits well.
Highlights? "Sex for the Handicapped" barrels along on the back of a boogie piano line, courtesy of Dylan sideman Throbbing Bob Wilson, while "Lesbo Love" is a candidate for theme song at the next Mardis Gras (the Dykes on Bikes would love it.) "Real Live Love" might have garnered Cure and Joy Division comparisons when originally released (as a virtual Waugh solo song in the '80s), but sounds for all the world like it fell off a disc of Nuggets outtakes. "Love You to Death" gives any number of necrophillia songs a run for their money (we're interpreting big time here, and how many punk records incorporate a harpsichord solo?) "No Big Deal" shows a band that could really play (as opposed to one that made noise for noise's sake - not always a Bad Thing, of course, but limiting in the places it can go. We are more Rock than Punk around these parts.) And did I say that Wayne Kramer and Dennis Thompson guest on the sizzling closer, "Punk Rock Girl"? I have now. Source: The Barman in I-94 Bar
Buy it HERE !