A Fistful Of Rock N' Roll Volume 1
Tee Pee Records, 2000
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/05/2000
Rock & roll isn't dead; it just smells funny.
I don't remember who said that (or if I might be taking some license with the original statement), but it really is true. Despite all the silicone-enhanced, tight trouser, label-approved pabulum that dares to call itself rock, there are some bands out there who plow through the whale shit and groove out for the sheer love of true rock. Many of these bands will probably never be household names -- in fact, most might never rise beyond local bars -- but as long as they're staying true to rock's roots, they don't much care.
One such person is Sal Canzonieri of the band Electric Frankenstein, who has spent a great deal of time putting together a compilation of these bands. The end result, A Fistful Of Rock N' Roll, is supposed to take up about 12 volumes. If the first disc in the series is any indication of what we should expect, then it seems like Canzonieri has done his homework well.
First, a word to the less adventurous: If your idea of rock music is Hootie And The Blowfish, unless you like the idea of music serving as a coffee enema, you'd best stay away from this disc. If, however, you have enjoyed at some point in your life the work of groups like The Sex Pistols, Black Flag, Motorhead and others, then A Fistful Of Rock N' Roll Volume 1 is going to be like a walk in familiar territory, albeit an enjoyable walk.
Canzonieri makes sure that his band gets some promotion on this first volume - but Electric Frankenstein's contribution "Speed Girl" is so strong that you don't mind or care if it's a conflict of interest. But what is interesting is that so many other bands blow Electric Frankenstein out of the water -- not an easy thing to accomplish, based on my one-song experiences with all 15 bands featured on this disc.
Who can't appreciate the 59-second orgasmic blast that is "She Destroyer" from RC5? Who can't enjoy the energy of Candy Snatchers's "Burn It To The Ground" or Pizzle's "Slop City"? Who would dare turn their noses up at "One More Beer" from Mud City Manglers (gee, I bet someone watched "Rocky And Bullwinkle" as a child), "On The Strip" from Rocket City Riot or "Mystery Train" from Zeke? If you answered that you would to any of these questions, you're either dead, or you're Michael Bolton. 'Nuff said.
The only weak moment is "Changing Colors," the disc-ending track from Bell Rays. It has nothing to do with the fact the band is fronted by a woman; rather, this is the only song that just doesn't make me want to get up and trash my office for the hell of it. It's a bit anticlimactic of an ending for this compilation, but it makes me hungry to hear what is on other discs. (I have the next three volumes sitting in my inbox at the Pierce Memorial Archives -- and something tells me I'll be pissing off the neighbors with this stuff real soon!)
A Fistful Of Rock N' Roll Volume 1 is more than just a collection of tracks from 15 bands who may never be given the chance to reach the top of the charts - and in many cases, that alone is a damn shame. It's a testament to their dedication to their craft and to rock's non-commercial roots. It's also a wonderful way to spend 41 minutes -- and might get you digging through your music collection to find bands like Husker Du just so you can hear that excitement all over again.