A case for treatment
They’ve done more for rock ’n’ roll uncertainty than anyone since ? And The Mysterians, but Therapy? are pretty sure of where they’re going, as Michael McKeegan told Alastair Mabbott.
Are you punk rock or new wave'.’ Yes. that was the catchphrase on every trend-conscious schoolboy‘s lips for about eighteen months when I were a lad. (It were all fields rotmd here then.) Since you didn‘t get battered either way. I never knew what the right answer was supposed to be. I suppose that just asking it was an attempt to make sense of the confusion and blurred boundaries of the time.
I only bring this tip because lrislt three-piece Therapy'.’. currently enjoying an enviable profile with their single ‘.\‘owhere‘ and the new album 'l‘mub/eeuni. have sparked a similar dilemma. To wit: are they a grungey indie band or fire-breathing rock monsters with the blood of Metallica ﬂowing through their capacious and manly veins‘.’ They like a bevvy all right. but then so did Joy Division. whose song ‘lsolation‘ they cover on the album. So that doesn‘t get us anywhere.
Stateside and. to some extent. over here. Therapy? have been attracting their fair share of punters wearing Judas Priest merchandise alongside the Sonic Youth and Suede shins. And Beavis and Bullhead. inatticulate ligureheads of bonehead sexist metal. have been heard making encouraging noises (like ‘uh' and ‘hch‘i about them on MTV. Michael McKeegan. 22-year-old bassist for the trio isn‘t worried by that at all.
‘You‘ve got to take it as a compliment. A lot of
people take Beavis and Butthead too seriously. but to me it‘s almost like two big fucking cool art critics sitting reviewing things. I find it quite funny. But it probably would have been funnier if they‘d taken the piss out of it. making fun of the guy with the beard or whatever.
‘We never want people HUI to come to our concerts.‘ he continues. no doubt thinking of Kurt (‘obain‘s
contempt for the air-punching metal contingent that Nirvana unwittingly attracted. ‘because I don‘t think you can afford it. Too many people are elitist about
their music. and to me that‘s a form of fascism.
You're not cool enough to like our band or your cardigan‘s not nice enough or your hair‘s not long I enough. That‘s all terrible shit.‘
By no means ‘terrible shit‘, although the overly critical might find it a little one—dimensional for all the claims that it‘s frontman Andy Cairns‘ most personal record yet. is 'li'oitb/egum, which McKeegan reckons is 'much. much more representative of the band‘s sound. I think in the past a lot of the band‘s
energy has been pulled in different directions. but I
Therapy? think this time we‘ve managed to focus it all in the same direction fora couple of weeks. We cut out a bit of the bullshit. I think there‘s more energy in there and we‘ve gone a bit harder on the guitars and vocals as well. It sounds much rawer.‘
And McKeegan feels confident that his band will coast the slings and arrows of outrageous hipdom.
‘We‘ve never had a strong visual front or we‘ve never had some big strong message or we've never been part of the scene as such, so we haven‘t really given people the chance to knock us down because we‘ve only really been about music. Too ntany bands have a big doctrine of life. and when that passes no one‘s really interested any tnore and they get shot down for it. We keep our heads low. It‘s not like this is our first album and we‘ve got our pictures on the front covers of all these papers. lt‘s our fourth album and we‘re not particularly arsed about it.‘
And the answer to the schoolboy question? Well, it turned out that the kids had been closet A(‘/l)(‘ fans
; all the time. Naturally.
’I'lu’rupyf’ play The Burrow/um]. (I‘lusgmr (Ill Fri 25.
A ‘Yessongs’ album is hardly the way to bring a rock band together, but that’s what happened to Raging Slab back in 1983.
Legend has it that whilst 08685 in New York was becoming a stage tor bands like Anthrax and Bad Brains, Raging Slab was dragged into being by guitarist/vocalist Greg Strzempka and slide guitarist Elyse Steinman to the sound at that triple Yes LP - some birth!
Raging Slab is a truckers’ term for ‘wide open highway’, and much of the band’s image is derived from that
milieu: their 19805 release ‘True Death’ boasts a transcontinental driven by a Grateful Dead-style character in a stetson, with a Georgia State flag daubed across the grille.
But let’s not get too carried away by the Lynyrd Skynyrd imagery. Strzempka’s lyrics are too of! the wall to be ‘down home, raise hell, redneck’ rock’n’roll. When RCA launched their 1991 album, they screamed, ‘Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Metallica’ — they should have added ‘meets Cheech And Chong’ too. This band has a true taste for the bizarre - check out the buckskin suits.
Their most recent release — and the reason tor their debut gig in Scotland - is ‘Dynamite Monster Boogie Concert’ on net American. Fortunately,
found their niche.
maturity in this lot’s case doesn’t mean ‘copping out’ and coming across they’ve recorded a song inspired by a like .38 Special, but they’ve certainly
‘Liie imitates Spinal Tap,’ says guitarist Mark Middleton. ‘Why drums? nothing to plug in,’ says drummer Paul Sheehan. ‘DMBC’ was recorded on a freight trailer pmpped up on breezeblocks and two-by-tours
The Slabs rage out in the middle of nowhere and
guitar owned by Billy Gibbons 0t 22 Top (‘Pearly’). What more could a bunch ot self- , respecting oddballs do? (Alan McCrorie) Raging Slab play King Tut’s, Glasgow on Sun 6.
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,_ _- ,. .- _J The List 25 February --l() March NW 27