Alastair Mabbott has seen rock ’n’ I roll future and its name is Rocket i From The Crypt. Ho hum. Or could he be right this time?
At this time every year. it always feels like a good idea to introduce a band that seems destined to sweep l the country like Lottery fever in the coming months. Most such predictions are so off-base that the best they can manage on their way back to obscurity is a I slot on NME's ‘On' page. but San Diego's Rocket From The Crypt deserve much more. i
in stark contrast to the grunge. post-grunge. i nouveau punk or lo-fr groups that have been fed to us I over the last few years as the cutting edge of : American rock. Rocket From The Crypt have re- I introduced the crucial element of R ‘n' 8. But that 3 doesn‘t make them Dr Feelgood or The Fabulous : Thunderbirds by any stretch of the imagination. it I just makes for great. contemporary rock ‘n' roll. reinvigorated by a warmth and spirit that‘s been absent for too long. For what it’s worth, last year‘s Hat Charity was arguably the best record of its kind since The Saints‘ Eternally Yours, or since The Stooges dropped their sax player.
‘I don't know why people don't do it any more than they do. 'cause it's a really cool thing.‘ says their drummer. who answers to the name Atom and will eoyly describe his band as having ‘an average age of around 23'. ‘I think that whole side of rock ‘n' roll is neglected in l996. But it has been for a while. People think that they're past that. they’re into “new rock" or whatever. So. without sounding nostalgic or retro, it's just looking back and drawing from those things
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out to be "different". lfyou start out with that
review oftheir new album. Scream. Dracula.
that were cool.‘
Not that they're on a mission. ‘I don't think we really have a cause to educate. We have a drive for ourselves. and everything, but l don't think we set
attitude. it‘sjust gonna be really contrived and it's not gonna work — I would think. I've never done it. Lucky for me!‘
The band play with punk energy — one recent
Scream. compared them with The Clash — a fact addressed by lead vocalist Speedo (his other band is
Wouldn’t Smashing Pumpkins, for instance, kill for the credibility that would come from touring as support to legendary jazz maverick Sun Ra?
Rocket From The Crypt did it without even trying.
Drive Like Jehu) on that album‘s sleevenotes, which concluded with the ominous slogan ‘punk is dead'. Atom can't speak for Speedo. but he does have a clue where the singer was coming from.
‘You gotta look at what‘s going on today,‘ he says. ‘If someone asked you. what is punk rock to you right now. where do you stand on that? Everyone's gonna have a different answer, and there is no punk. So it's like. this is rock 'n‘ roll, that's where we stand. To call us punk is a mislabel. I think we have a lot of punk in us. if you wanna go back to the traditional two-four beats. but. i dunno. it‘s kind of a loaded phrase.‘
As if it weren't clear enough by now. Rocket From
Rocket From the Crypt: cool as a qultt on Ice
The Crypt don't ﬁt the normal psychological profile
of an up-and-coming alternative rock band. Wouldn’t .Smashing Pumpkins. for instance. kill for the
credibility that would come from touring as support to legendary jazz maverick Sun Ra? Rocket From The Crypt did it without even trying.
‘lt was amazing! What happened. basically. was that we were booked into this college centre and we didn‘t know what part. We went to the wrong place and set up and started playing. It was his show, and he ended up really liking what we were doing. So we kept in contact, and then he said he was going on the road and wanted to know if we would go. And we were like: Yeah! Totallyl'
With something like 25 singles behind them. Rocket From The Crypt have now fulfilled the essential requirement ofany great rock band by having their own legendary lost album in the vaults: the original version of Scream. Dracula. Scream. on which all the tracks were linked by little interludes played by an
eleven-piece string section, making it a continuous.
er. suite or something. Sadly, the idea was better than
the execution. and the interludes between the tracks were scrapped. One for the bootleggers. then, unless
Rocket decide to release it later on. ‘No. it‘s not ever going to be released as long as the
band are together. Maybe at some point sometime.
someone will dig it out and release it, but it's not
scheduled by any means. It didn't work. after it was
ﬁnished. as well as we thought it would. it was pretty cool. and much more majestic and everything. but it didn‘t "read" as well. It was neat. though. it was fun to do. and that's what we look for in everything we do.’
Rocket From The Crypt play The Venue. Edinburgh on Tue [6.
The List l2-25 Jan 1996 37