The Vendettas “The Vendettas” 1997. 360 Twist Records. Psychobilly garage punk from the late 90′s (and not to be confused with many, many other groups with the name The Vendettas including a cover band from Ireland, a hard rock band from Australia, a wedding band from Liverpool and a thrash metal band from Germany). This album has been sitting in my to-do box for so long I can’t remember if it’s something we picked up relatively recently (ie in the past year) or if it’s been in the Vault for awhile and we’re considering getting rid of it. Anyway, it’s pretty good, if somewhat repetitive, rockabilly with a snotty punk edge, the alternating male-female lead vocals recalling, at times, X’s John Doe and Exene Cervenka. The bright, twangy rockabilly guitar style makes the album not as dark as psychobilly kings The Cramps (though one track is very Cramps-esque: “Gasoline”), more along the lines of Reverend Horton Heat, just a bit slower (not much though, a good example is the track “Better Living”). There are even some gently swaying rockabilly ballads like “Please Kill Me” – though the title and vocals belie the romantic sentiment of the music. I’ve been unable to find any audio links for those songs, or any other on the LP.
The Vendettas was the band’s only LP recording but it looks like the group put out a 7″ in 2004 on Bang! Records. Its members were or are now involved with other bands: singer and rhythm guitarist Buffi Aguero recorded with Subsonics (on drums), The White Lights and Tiger! Tiger! (most recently in 2018); drummer Susanne Gibboney is also in Tiger! Tiger! and recorded with Lust in ‘99; and lead guitarist and vocalist Johnny Vignault was on the same Lust record and also was in The Lost Crusaders (most recent recording from ‘08). On the album Craig Bower is credited on bass and organ but no mention is given to him on what he may have done since.
Germs “What We Do Is Secret” 1981/2018. Slash Records. I have the original from ‘81 but because I will literally buy anything Germs-related, I just picked up this Record Store Day Black Friday reissue on blue vinyl. As I wrote about a few years ago, What We Do Is Secret was my vinyl holy grail in the 80′s. Pre-internet ease, I would scour every record store I came across for this out-of-print EP until one day in ‘93 while visiting San Diego, there it was on the wall of Off the Record (cue the halo of light and chorus of angels).
Slash Records released What We Do Is Secret soon after Darby Crash’s suicide in 1980. All the songs were available on other releases but the EP had a couple of different versions and live tracks. The version of “Round and Round” was recorded in ‘77 for What Records. The “Lexicon Devil” version on What We Do Is Secret is the slow version and my absolute favorite. That track, along with “Circle One” and “No God” were recorded in ‘78 for Slash Records and were produced by Geza X. “Caught in My Eye” comes from the GI sessions on Slash with Joan Jett producing. “The Other Newest One” and “My Tunnel” are live, recorded in late ‘80, just days before Crash’s death, at the Starwood in Hollywood and Crash is rude, obnoxious, a complete mess and completely awesome.