Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Good Rats

Okay, listen to this:

Right, if you're still with me the listen to this next:

I'm loving The Good Rats today. My love for this New York based band from 70's/80's is based on the fact so few people know who they are that I make regular converts of previously blissfully unaware people happy in the knowledge that they've heard everything they need to hear. People who insist that they're immune to feelings of "what the fuck was that?" and "can I hear it again, NOW, otherwise I will stab your face" when considering new music (and by 'new' I mean 'new to the listener').
Have we got so used to information access that we forget that access is limited to our own experience?
Experience, itself, being concept that should be in a constant state of flux, by its very definition.
Isn't experience that which hasn't happened yet? Like everything exciting that is going to happen to you for the rest of your life.
Few things are as thrilling as hearing a new band, and then discovering that they're armed with a rich mine of material it'll take you the best part of fucking ages to track down and fall in love with.

I think this was the first Good Rats song I fell in love with:

I saw a photo of the strangest band I'd ever seen, on a record in a second hand record shop-in the bargain bin, and gambled the 2 quid on what could have been a slightly disappointing listening experience and a brief bout of regretting that I hadn't spent the money on ten Number 6 instead.
I can't even say that I loved the whole album instantly, in fact I almost certainly grew to like this album over the next year or so, but it made this little music hound go searching out more Good Rats stuff, just in case, y'know, maybe these bozos were onto something.

The next purchase was "Tasty", an album who's cover yelled "buy me" more than any album since the inner gatefold of Kiss Alive 2. Once that red and green headache of a cartoon cover had made its way back home with me the album started to befriend me in a way I was entirely unexpected for. The opening track (that you can find at the beginning of this missive - surely one of the best opening songs of any album, ever) aside, the harmonies and dueling, snarling guitars lured me in like the sweetest trap this young gormandizer had been subjected to in his brief tenure on this ball of nonsense that calls itself earthville. This title track, for instance?!?!?

Sure it rocked, which was the deal maker, but it made me think in a way that Kiss hadn't. Hell Kiss STOPPED me thinking. The Good Rats were forcing my brain to actually engage in a way that only punk had previously demanded. I was young, I didn't want to think if I had a choice in the matter. Dammit.

So here I am, 16, thinking about music, how it can fuck with your standards, challenge your politics and, sneakily, shape the player you're about to blossom into.

The Good Rats made me realise that Punk is a moral and political stance, and not just an excuse to play lousy guitar. Rock is the extreme nature in which you present yourself as a performer, and not a reason to avoid listening to anything that your mates might be afraid to approve of.

The Good Rats made me choose my own personal side of the fence.
How many bands/artists force you to make this decision? Wouldn't it be a better place if music forced you to choose? Aren't you tired of feeling slightly deflated in response to a band that someone is forcibly championing like a belligerent floon? Maybe you even feel slightly deflated at The Good Rats themselves?

That's not the point I'm making, and you know it.

The point I'm making is that if you aren't satisfied with the sounds you're hearing today then dig deeper, dig a LOT deeper. If choons were better when you was young, and it all seems a bit samey n' stuff, then do your damned research, delve into the vaults of music history and check out some bands you've otherwise/innocently avoided until now. Do the grunt work. Make the effort. Get off your dissatisfied arse.

Don't let music lose you. Don't give up on it, baby.

It really is your best friend, be nice to it. Let it lead you. Steer those two odd shaped vessels either side of your head into strange, unchartered waters and expect nothing but great adventures and wonderful experiences.

Hey, begin with The Good Rats, why dontcha?


  1. These guys have been floating around my radar for years, and I have never checked them out. I'll correct this oversight.

  2. You're so right Ginger about re-discovering the old stuff. Today's R & R is lame to the N'th degree as compared to what I was brought up on. Too much studio/production wizardry, i.e. Auto-Tune---quite possibly the worst invention ever for music--do you think Lou Reed would ever use AT?! I think not.

    I firmly believe in going 'backwards' to find an artist. Mott The Hoople is a perfect example. When 'Dudes' hit, I went looking for the LP and everything was sold out except Brain Capers and Mad Shadows, both LP's recorded prior to Dudes of course. When I heard 'The Moon Upstairs' and the line--'you're too fucking slow' .. and Ian's vocals...HOOKED the same way Shadows did it for me. Ian's still kicking and putting out quality music at 70!! that puts most of todays bands to shame. The point being, I became a lifelong fan of that particular artist by digging into the past.

    I must admit I'm really late to the party concerning The Wildhearts---sorry G. But since you've become involved with Michael Monroe of Hanoi Rocks (another history lesson), I've tried to locate as much of your product as possible and the conclusion being...Why the hell weren't WH huge?!? I think I broke my neck banging to 'Earth VS'. Rock and roll that moves me and I'm in my late 50's.

    The whole point to this ramble is that if you like an artist/band, check to see what the musicians on that LP have done previously...a guitarist or drummer may have guested on an obscure LP that might be right up your music alley.

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  4. wow you never stop surprising me in regards to the depth of your mind let alone how much you yourself make me think and challenge my own mind into rethinking in a new direction.You do the same whether you're writing a blog or a piece of music.Please don't ever stop keep it coming and keep giving it to me flooring me every time.....damn that sounded a bit kinky.None the less don't stop;)