Matt gets surrounded in a singalong by the Anthrax crowd, Photo courtesy of: Matt Warnke
Not everyone loves BOLD. Some people think Speak Out is terribly recorded. Some are just downright scathing in their criticism of this band and anyone who is a fan. On top of that, I've been told that I give this band way too much attention and that I've already written too much. But having done Double Cross for a year and a half now, and to have never really mentioned much about Speak Out (one of my favorite hardcore LPs), I'm going to give myself a pass here.
Speak Out is in fact a weird record. The packaging and whole design of the record is one of the greatest ever. The gatefold layout is splashed with bright color, animated action shots, big slogans, and is essentially a design template for how to perfect the look of a SEHC band's album (unfortunately many bands would subsequently also cheezifer, bastardize, and butcher this great style). But here, it is crisp, clean, loud, and well...bold. One would expect the music to have production value on par with something like Screaming For Change - real bright, cutting, clear, and heavy, but yet "heavy" mainly by virtue of the power of the songs themselves.
In actuality, the record sounds like it was recorded underwater in an old pillow (and is not anything like Break Down The Walls, despite the same studio, same drummer, and similar time period). I got car sick once, and I started to feel like maybe I was upside down and had a vice closing up on my intestines and had huffed ether, and even though I was half out of it and doubled over, it dawned on me, "wow, Speak Out is the sonic equivalent of how I am feeling right now." For songs that are uplifting in message and pretty driving, the whole vibe is super depressing and unstable.
Zulu and Tim Brooks all Niked out at CBGB's, Photo courtesy of: Matt Warnke
There's some other weirdness surrounding the record: Matt's voice is totally different than I have ever heard on live audio (it sounds like a pubescent voice where shit gets really deep and awkward before maturing and evening out, and the Cappo influence is strong), the back-up vocals I am convinced are slowed down (or they got carny neanderthals to do them), the guitar tones are generally underdriven and marshmellow-like, and Drew's drums (snare included) are basically all detuned to the same general note, ending up with a resonance that you would also achieve by hitting drum sticks on a dusty boot.
Still, sometimes I put it on and it sounds like a hard, raw recording that I talk myself into digging. After all, the songs are classic, awesome BOLD tunes, some of the best hardcore songs ever written. Other times I give it a spin and start falling asleep and taking Xanax while livejournaling about rare demos for My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless." In a nutshell, my overall opinion on the recording is day-to-day.
One song on here which I think is absolutely perfect sounding for this Electric Reels recording is the INTRO, which opens Side B and segways into Change Within (a GREAT song with such a killer ending). It blows my mind that people don't love this intro. Even more, I have heard people say they think this is "the worst intro of all time," and similar things. Seriously? To quote Mr. Hand, "what are you people? On dope?!" If I think about this too long I can feel my blood pressure rise and my eyes get really squinty.
Drew carries the BOLD beat, Photo courtesy of: Matt Warnke
But yeah, the Intro...anyone who loves this and "gets" it always talks about how it is simultaneously brooding and triumphant...it's like the soundtrack for a gang of Straight Edge warriors riding into the majestic night on white stallions and jumping over a moat because the enemy has destroyed the drawbridge. It seems like it could be played by suburban high school kids from middle class New York State, but only in the dead of winter at 1am in a dirty club with the lights turned completely off while each member of the band is really pissed at one another.
In fact, there are some videos in existence of BOLD playing this live. One that comes to mind is from summer 1988 (pre-LP release) at the YesterYears (or at least that's what I always thought it was called) in California. They do it as a five piece with Porcell and Al Brown on guitars. This is the same show Underdog played (cover of the "Demos" LP) with Hard Stance and Chain Of Strength (one of their very first shows). In the video, BOLD opens with it and just erupts. It's a little loose, but the energy is awesome...Alex Brown is going off, the SoCal crowd is skanking like crazy, the Sloth Crew is piling on top of one another and rocking out on stage. It's a great video to track down.
Crippled Youth era Tim Brooks, Photo courtesy of: Matt Warnke
Another video where BOLD opens with this intro is about six months later with Tom Capone and Zulu (wearing sunglasses) on guitars at The Anthrax on January 7, 1989. In this video Drew is excessively using double bass (Sammy's kit), and things are a bit sloppy, but it's a crowd favorite and sounds ultra heavy.
What I love about the intro is that when combined with the THC-laden murky production, it sounds so desolete and ugly. I mean, let's get real here, I'm not making it out to sound like this is some obscure Scandanvian black metal record with a purposly "craaaazy" dirty analog production. The reality is these guys got a bum recording by accident. But considering the clean and glossy look of the LP layout and what everyone thinks of the band and their whole image, the recording and the actual Intro music is pretty effed sounding and still a head scratcher (again considering Youth Of Today came away significantly better only months prior at the same joint).
The point of my writing this: go listen to the Intro! Even in light of the sound quality, the Intro is such a disrespected piece of hardcore gold that works perfectly on this record. Maybe it won't wind up in the same breath as We Gotta Know or Rise And Fall, but it is still awesome. I've always been more of a stage diver than a mosher, but years later, every time I hear this, I want to mosh.
Matt and Zulu with BOLD at the Anthrax, Photo courtesy of: Matt Warnke
*If it turns out you don't like BOLD and I just wasted your time, allow me to leave you with this bit of greatness from Anchorman so as to redeem myself:
Brian Fantana: [about Veronica] I'll give this little cookie an hour before we're doing the no-pants dance. Time to musk up.
[opens cologne cabinet]
Ron Burgundy: Wow. Never ceases to amaze me. What cologne you gonna go with? London Gentleman, or wait. No, no, no. Hold on. Blackbeard's Delight.
Brian Fantana: No, she gets a special cologne... It's called Sex Panther by Odeon. It's illegal in nine countries... Yep, it's made with bits of real panther, so you know it's good.
Ron Burgundy: It's quite pungent.
Brian Fantana: Oh yeah.
Ron Burgundy: It's a formidable scent... It stings the nostrils. In a good way.
Brian Fantana: Yep.
Ron Burgundy: Brian, I'm gonna be honest with you, that smells like pure gasoline.
Brian Fantana: They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time it works, every time.
Ron Burgundy: That doesn't make sense.
Brian Fantana: Well... Let's go see if we can make this little kitty purr.
BOLD in Rhode Island, with Alex Brown and Porcell stage side, 1988, Photo courtesy of: Matt Warnke
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Posted by DOUBLE CROSS at 8:09 PM