Slags "3 Song EP" 7"
Side A: Sally Sue, Baby Baby
Side B: Maybe Baby
Anyone interested in punk rock call me͟ stated the classified ad Dave Propp responded to in early 1979. This ad, seen in Fresno͛s Valley Music News, was placed by Rickey Reneau. Propp, had drifted into town from Portland, Oregon, where he was active in one of that city͛s earliest punk rock bands: TerrorWrist. While flipping through the punk singles at Tower Records, Propp had recently met Richard Wineland. The trio attempted starting a band. The only problem: The Slags couldn͛'t find a drummer. Still, they recorded a demo tape without one. ͞After a few fruitless months, Propp went back to Portland to join the Bop Zombies and Sado Nation. Reneau and Wineland started the Subtractions, which became Fresno͛s first working punk band.
There are 2 (slightly) different covers.
"As seen in UGLY THINGS! Raw proto-pre-punk from some wild humans from FRESNO, CA .. soon to be folded into killer outfits such as SADO-NATION & SUBTRACTIONS... edition of 300... A gritty, street-level release! Silkscreen cover, 2 different (very similar) designs, 6x6 insert. Truly beautiful DIY release, and not long for this world!" - Goner
A short set was worked up and recorded (without drums, naturally) in the living room, using a standard cassette deck, powered by a stereo receiver (which, under the circumstanc-
es, sounds amazing). A room mic was placed on one side, to capture the amplified guitars,
while vocals were sung directly into the deck's built-in microphone (to nail that perfect crud-
fidelity sound). These recordings weren't circulated to more than a few close friends. Mostly
they were used as reference for the band members, as well as fuel for daydreams: "We'd drive
out in Richard's parent's Cadillac, get stoned and listen to our tape," Rickey recalls. "We'd
say, 'Goddamn, we're good!" Still, without a drummer, the Slags were stunted and unable to move forward and never made a live appearance. In hindsight, the band existed to amuse themselves. Absolutely nobody saw them play, with the exception of a few female fans allowed to hang out and party with the band during practices.
This Slags demo tape consists of five songs-the band's entire repertoire. It's simple, lo-fi, Velvets / Dolls / Ramones-inspired punk, played in 4/4. The sloppy "Lethargy Attack" is the speediest of the bunch, manically played and sung by Wineland. Reneau takes the vocals on "Sally Sue", an excellent, straight forward, slower song. It's crudely melodic and recalls Crime. "Baby, Baby" is a tight pop-punk rocker, also sung by Reneau, as are the rest. "Maybe Baby", the Buddy Holly composition, sounds fresh when played at a solid Ramones tempo.
The final track, "Celebrity", is loose, slightly awkward and features creepy subject matter
about an abducted girl. This song is built over an eerie riff of Propp's, giving it a post-punk vibe, Surprisingly, due to Reneau's competent rhythm guitar, these songs hold up without
drums. Overall, this is a cool tape that showed great potential.
During my search, it was recommended that I call the owner of a reputable record shop
in Memphis, Tennessee-that he might know someone. Before hanging up with him I was given the number of an associate of the infamous Orgone Toilet label. This is a tiny record company run by genuine hillbillies, notable for releasing the rad debut of Louisiana's Buck Biloxi & the Fucks, as well as a ripping skate- punk single by Michigan's No Bails (these two great bands do to the Spits what the Spits did to the Ramones: dumbed down dumb even dumber). I placed the call and discussed the tape with an individual that spoke harshly, through what I assumed was an Electrolarynx, the device a person uses to talk with after smoking enough cigs to fry their real larynx. But yes, they were looking for another recording to release. Rough MP3s of the songs were sent over, an agreement was made and I booked studio time to have the tape transfer done. This session would be done at Oakland's JT Recording, my favorite hole-in-the-wall studio, famous for recordings by No Bunny, Midnite Snaxx, the Primitive Hearts, etc. I would be concentrating on three Slags songs only: "Sally Sue", "Baby, Baby" and the Buddy Holly cover. Each of these translated well as rhythmic punk songs despite the absence of drums. The other two tracks, "Lethargy Attack" and "Celebrity", were too unfinished, in my opinion, and suffered from timing issues. That, and the fact that the Sub- tractions later tightened them up and recorded killer versions of each (which can be heard on an upcoming Subtractions release with Going Underground Records).
-CORY LINDSTRUM, Ugly Things #45