Toilet Boys

The Early Years

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

For all the inspiring, important, and enduring music that was spawned during the 1990s, that decade will quite likely be remembered as the most humorless, self-doubting, no-fun decade in the entire history of rock & roll. Be that as it may, Generation X'ers who feel disturbed by their downbeat legacy can still wipe their grungy brows with relief thanks to that rare, fun-loving band like the Toilet Boys. The Early Years is a collection unearthing some of the New Yorkers' earliest studio and live recordings circa 1996 and 1997; a time when their lineup was still relatively in flux (save for ever-present and ubiquitous androgynous leader, Miss Guy), but the group was already shocking audiences across the five boroughs with their combustible s shows and some memorable glam rock nuggets. Their music was still very much in flux, too, though: with live numbers running the gamut from the campy cabaret of the "Toilet Boys Theme," to the furious, Bad Brains-like hardcore of "Pist"; while studio offerings included the likes of "Paul Stanley (Was a Lady)" (pure punk rock madness culminating in the riff from Kiss' "Strutter"), the innuendo-fest of "Mail Itch," and even borderline serious, biographical venting on "Be a Man." Elsewhere, less fully realized creations like "Phly," "Stalker," and "Good Girl" reveal a band evenly torn between the Ramones' punk austerity and Poison's glam rock decadence (there's the requisite cover of "Talk Dirty to Me" here), yet still unpredictable enough to knock out Motörhead obscurity "Vibrator" -- if only for the sexual connotations. But even though it all seems hopelessly accidental, at times, one can actually see how the Toilet Boys might have come to inherit the New York Dolls' glam queen tiara under only slightly more favorable circumstances. After all, the Dolls were hardly any more successful in their own time, and Miss Guy's natural, sculpted beauty sort of represents the natural, '90s progression of David Johansson's caricatured, almost grotesque '70s drag, if you think about it. In any case, and deeper philosophies aside, this highly entertaining set truly begs the eternal question: "whatever happened to all the fun in the world?" No wonder the Toilet Boys felt the need to set things on fire! [The disc's CD-R portion contains several archival goodies, including he promo clip for "Mail Itch" and a bootleg-quality video of the band's punked up cover of Culture Club's "Karma Chameleon," performed at their first ever gig!]

blue highlight denotes track pick