Yessss! The Bags! After reading that LA punk book (you know, that one) my respect for Alice Bag and The Bags of course grew exponentially after the part where she beat up Darby Crash. Despite how much I like The Germs, this tid-bit stood out to me as quite awesome. Really, from all I've read in books, I’m not sure I would have really liked Darby Crash... On the other hand, I’m fairly certain that I would have gotten along with Alice Bag verily well. In fact she has recently in Cincinnati reading from her book, Violence Girl (Feral House, 2011), about how punk-rock (with the dash) changed her life, a story that has similar overtones with the 'regular' punk aesthetics of but its still a story you never really hear enough from. Violence Girl is Alice's story. I read select excerpts from the book and if the rest of the book is as good as the free sample I read was, then add it to your list.
So this album starts off strong, as one may imagine, with the famed Dangerhouse material. Good shit. Time tested, motherfucker approved. The songs are exhibit A examples of all the unusual-usual punk ethics that still sound poignant today: alienation, social, political, good old fashion teen angst, violence and other various emotional overflow as like much other punk-rock music. I had actually yet to hear a standout track to me "We Don’t Need The English" and wow, that was a real treat in itself worth the LP's asking price (But let's keep that between you and me)... Overall, there’s no big surprise with this studio stuff. I knew it would be good from the few songs I had previously heard. Yeah, on vinyl… Warm sounding… All that shit. Blah. Blah. Blah… No, the true test of this collection, as I figured, would lay with the quality of the other stuff.... Live recordings... Band demo's... Outtakes... Shit like that. Danger indicators that tell the difference between a good must have release and the whole 'of course these tracks are on the B-Side cause they are filler' thang...
I will say though, before addressing that worrisome B-Side, that the insert of the album has detailed information and other funfacts about the songs and how they survived to make it on the record. That kinda stuff is always a great read with me. A good document of what the atmosphere of the LA Punk scene was inspired, or more likely pushed by and/or thru. A time that no written document can truly capture such an intensity. An intensity and time that has as many different views about the same thing that’s still be written, as well as played out, over and over again. A thing that is so trivial really: it's punk-rock not rocket science! Why is it so fucking interesting to schleps like me? What the fuck do people talk about besides punk-rock? Fucking NASCAR? Al Quida? How green their fucking lawns are? More importantly…
Brendan Mullen from The Masque also has a large write up about meeting the band and more of his take on the LA scene as an insert. You can ask ‘What more can be said about that time that wasn't already said by him in his work on the book We've Got The Neutron Bomb (Three Rivers, 2001)?’ and that’s a valid question. Once more, that’s the twisted grand drama punk-rock story still playing out. The same stuff, but yet different things to different people at different times… Despite geography, it’s everywhere and anywhere. Under every punk-rock, a forgotten golden turd that still smells like shit but smelling oh so pleasant too.
You know, like how your own shit doesn’t stink to you (usually) but to others they really make a big fuss over it. “Dude, your shit stinks!” but then you say, “I’m sorry my shit stinks, unlike you, my shit does smell.”
As it would turn out, the live stuff and the outtakes/extras are good too. All Bagged Up I find, is not only listenable, decent and favorable, but damn near a necessity to own. Not a waste-release at all. Whew… Like many others, I will admit: I was totally taking a chance with this one. Its not that I like, or prefer lo-fi recordings... I appreciate them for the same reason that I think others do. They usually mean unreleased recordings that for whatever reason, the band didn’t record 'professionally' which is a word I use verily loosely. This happens to be the case with All Bagged Up too.
Standout live/outtake tracks include "Car Hell” a rager if ever I heard one... "Disco's Dead" which was a project with some other guy for a contest associated with an anti-disco theme idea put on by KROQ. There are 20 tracks total here... If you enjoyed Rave-Up's Lost Punk Nugget stuff then this is right up your alley... Not one bit disappointed even though I will have to admit, earlier versions of this piece I had went back through cause I was being a bit harsh on Brendan Mullen a bit. Don’t blame me, blame society and that big golden turd stuck up my ass.
RIYL: Avengers, Killed By Death, Rave-Up Records Punk Nuggets, Punk-Rock (w/dash), LA Punk-Rock.
Get it: Undergroud Medicine