Hitmen [2007]

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The Australian Hitmen (not the U.S. one) began as an offshoot of Radio Birdman, the group backing up friend/MC/backing vocalist Johnny Kannis in 1977, that became a serious band after Birdman fell apart in 1978. First Chris Masuak and then Warwick Gilbert joined the suddenly serious post-Birdman band that sounded not unlike its parent. (Many others passed through 1978-1984, notably Saints' drummer Ivor Hay and ex-Fun Things/future Hoodoo Gurus' guitarist Brad Sheppard.) Although both Hitmen albums found major label release, mainstream Aussies were still not ready for heavy-rocking Detroit punk with metallic punch built on the ‘70s Stooges, second LP MC5, and Blue Oyster Cult (whom they covered), so 1981's The Hitmen for Warner Brothers proved more influential on the masses of Down Under punkish rock bands than the actual masses. This 47-song (!) deluxe edition takes the original 10-song LP, with such notables as "I Don't Mind" and the more subtle "Mercenary Calling" and "Gimme Danger"-like "In Your Eyes," adds four non-LP tracks, six demos, and 27 live tracks (12 from a hot radio JJJ recording), with lots of covers (Iggy Pop, Magazine, Flamin' Groovies, etc.), and makes you wish you were there.

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