Rocket From The Tombs: Debut Album, Tour Dates
U.S. TOUR STARTS DECEMBER 7 IN CHICAGO
The received wisdom (at least in America) goes that punk rock was invented in New York by The Ramones who reconfigured midwestern hard groove rock and 60s garage singles into a formula that defined punk: short, fast, catchy, and unstoppable. But in some weird parallel universe, punk might have traced its roots to Rocket From The Tombs, a Cleveland band that lasted less than eight months and never made a studio recording.
Three things went wrong for Rocket From The Tombs: a level of drug and alcohol abuse to worry even Keith Richards; a band volatility that rivaled that of The Troggs; and a turnover of drummers that would’ve flummoxed Spinal Tap.
One thing went right: in those eight months they wrote songs that would become punk anthems: “Ain’t It Fun,” “Sonic Reducer,” “Final Solution,” “So Cold,” “What Love Is,” “30 Seconds Over Tokyo,” “Amphetamine.” And they played them like there was no tomorrow. There was no tomorrow. They’d used up tomorrow. The band blew apart in July 1975 after an apocalyptic soundcheck that scared the bejeebers out of headliners Television. One faction went on to create the avant-garage rock group Pere Ubu, the other punk stalwarts The Dead Boys.
That might have been the end of the Rocket story except that over the next 25 years a frantic international trading of bootlegs bestowed on the band a legendary status. An album of live and rehearsal tapes, The Day The Earth Met The Rocket From The Tombs (2002), led to a nervous reunion in 2003. The core of the band – David Thomas, Cheetah Chrome and Craig Bell – remained from the old days. They were joined by Television’s Richard Lloyd who replaced Peter Laughner (died 1977). Pere Ubu’s drummer Steve Mehlman was drafted.
“We got that bad attitude thing in our blood,” singer David Thomas said. “Can’t shake it. But at least we’re not young, loud and snotty anymore. We’ve moved on. Now we’re old, loud and snotty.”
Taking that attitude in the studio produced Barfly, an unreconstructed, unapologetic re-affirmation of the power and glory of guitar rock: guitar solos traded between two masters of the craft, an inventive rhythm section devoted to midwestern groove mania, and a singer who learned all there is to learn from channeling Rob Tyner and Don Van Vliet.
Barfly delivers a sound that’s not dated or restricted to any passing fad or marketing infatuation. These men are ugly, old, and have not mellowed in any conceivable way. Catch the band on tour this December at the dates below.
Barfly Track List:
1. I Sell Soul
2. Birth Day
4. Butcherhouse 4
5. Romeo & Juliet
6. Sister Love Train
7. Love Train Express
8. Good Times Never Roll
9. Six And Two
Rocket From The Tombs Tour Dates
12/07/11 Wed Empty Bottle Chicago, IL
12/08/11 Thu Southgate House Newport, KY
12/09/11 Fri Beachland Ballroom Cleveland, OH
12/10/11 Sat Thunderbird Cafe Pittsburgh, PA
12/12/11 Mon The Bell House Brooklyn, NY
12/13/11 Tue Maxwell’s Hoboken, NJ