Skull Control

Radio Danger

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Skull Control, as the name implies, started out as a revival band featuring members of late-'70s L.A. punk legends the Skulls and the Controllers. From this lineup, it appears ex-Skulls such as Billy Bones have since dropped out, leaving ex-Controllers leader Kidd Spike (later in the Gears) and hot drummer Karla Mad Dog to continue the new/old fight. Lacking prominent indie labels in 1977-1979, L.A. punk bands went criminally under-recorded, and the Controllers were certainly no exception, leaving behind only eight songs on two singles: "Neutron Bomb" and "Slow Boy," and a great, rare compilation called Tooth and Nail (Skulls fared worse, releasing only one song on a 7" comp, plus another song on a posthumous comp). So the best thing here is to finally get a number of older Controllers rockers, albeit recorded later on and without original bassist Johnny Stingray (who must still be a pal -- he arranges the version here of Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"). Having never secured a good bootleg of unreleased Controllers songs live or in a studio, it's of course enlightening to hear these credibly performed versions (totally in the original spirit/sound, as if in a time warp) of songs such as "Building Models." The band also redoes two of the previously issued Controllers songs, "Suburban Suicide" from the "Slow Boy" 7", and a sassy, crazed, and deranged look at the band's all-time classic "Electric Church." There are a few recently written cuts, too, such as "Smells Like Bad Nirvana," which puts a spin on the phony alternative scene in the wake of Nirvana's breakthrough. In fact, it's bands like the Controllers that founded this whole thing, light years before Pearl Jam and that ilk, and they have a right to feel betrayed that their happy musical revolution has been so badly co-opted, cheapened, and bloated. Then and now, this is a zippy LP.

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