Friday, August 23, 2013

The It*Men: Cleveland Rocks Down and Dirty

Cleveland, Ohio, the home of blistering garage rock history with such great alumni as The Pagans, The Outsiders, The Choir, and 90’s live-fast-die legends the TKO’s. Now joining the illustrious cast of the perpetual dirt grinding music machine of that famous area is The It*Men. I’m talking about a band that rips the roof off with a destructive brew of Dead Boys aggression and Deep Purple “Machine Head” era hard hitting anthems, saturated in lewdness and underhanded catchiness. Prerequisites for hard garage rock that makes no excuses in its sucker punch delivery. The double vinyl is available now and will eat you and your whimpering White Stripes collection for breakfast. At the end of my ranting here I’ll leave you with the choice cut, “Come and Get Some”, to make my point. Listen to the whole album while you’re at it and get on the insanity train to Cleveland.

The stripped down and sonically caustic production comes courtesy of the band’s rehearsal space. This garage bombshell could’ve been a long, lost reissue and I would not have known the difference. We have their 2004 release of the same name combined with six new time bombs. “Greatest Its” is a worthy addition to your secret vinyl hideaway and will give the current trend of psychedelic power pop garage rockers a run for their inheritance money. Spin this angel dusted double play like there is no tomorrow, you probably won’t care about it after listening to the It*Men.

I remember my first show and visit to Cleveland with my band The Prostitutes at The Euclid Tavern. Actually, the greatest show I ever played and the night just cruised with such rock n roll ease to make for one of those memories you embellish over and over again. Packed house, broken air conditioning, fans that knew the lyrics, and we actually received a nice payout at the end of the night while smoking a joint on a festive rooftop with the vibrant locals receptive to outlandish misdeeds. I almost vomited that night from singing my guts out while throwing myself around on stage in an alcohol induced state of mania. My last visit consisted of a 2-day stay in a prepaid hotel with my wife at the time (early to mid-2000’s I think) on a low budget bender courtesy of our last $40 bucks. The strange trip ended in a claustrophobic car ride home with a family of three while I had non-stop anxiety attacks and insidious claustrophobia for the 90-minute duration back to Columbus, OH where we lived from place to place at the time. I’m not sure where that interlude came from but I’ll keep it in here as this collection lays down the framework for distortion laced memories.

I began writing back in that time period for Now Wave magazine and if recall correctly from my first essay/piece, don’t’ answer the phone, don’t answer the door, forget the world and lose yourself in the negative feedback loop that is known as rock n roll. See you around…

-Kevin McGovern, Fear & Loathing in Long Beach