Alien Sex Fiend

Drive My Rocket: Collection, Vol. 1

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The first of two ASF anthologies released by Cleopatra in America, Rocket benefits by including prime cuts and rarities both, which -- along with fun liner notes from Mr. and Mrs. Fiend and a neat introductory essay -- makes it a fantastic release for neophytes and longtime fans at the same time. Drive follows no chronological order, kicking off with the snarling "Nightmare Zone" from Another Planet, then offering up the legendary (and legendarily rude) early B-side "Drive My Rocket (Up Uranus)," establishing the basic back-and-forth pattern for the collection as a whole. Evidence of the fan-friendly care that went into Drive can be seen by some of the song choices -- "Back to the Egg," which originally appeared only on the Liquid Head live album precisely because the band's Japanese record company wanted a new original song to help sell copies, appears here, as does another obscure and brilliant B-side, "Attack!!!," which sounds just like what it was called. Other rarities include a fine 12" mix of "Now I'm Feeling Zombiefied," "Crazier Still," from a 1987 Christmas single, and an exclusive mix for the album of Open Head Surgery's "Stressed Out." More familiar numbers like "Isolation" and "I Walk the Line" get the nod here, while the various stories the Fiends tell about the songs are revelatory and hilarious both, including early encounters with longtime producer Youth and sneaking in children's TV show themes into their remake of "Hurricane Fighter Plane." Crisp sound, appropriate ghoulish pictures, and a slightly watery but still groovy new cover painting by Nik himself round out this entertaining collection.

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