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Askew Review 15

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BERT SWITZER- 1977-2002 (Site) Drummer Bert Switzer has compiled a bunch of songs he’s played on over the past 25 years, and there are definitely some keepers among them.  Most of the tracks are from his days with Boston punk forefathers The Destroyed and these are the highlight of the disc.  I think my favorite is “Power” from 1978.  It’s a dirty, nasty groover that sounds sort of like early Iggy meets The Trashmen, and there ain’t nuthin’ wrong with that.  Another one that stands out is “In the Room,” a Joe Rainbow song Switzer drummed on in the late ‘70s that had it been recorded 10 years earlier would have surely ended up on one of those great Pebbles or Nuggets compilations.  I’m not so thrilled by his 1977 collaborations with his friend Henry Kaiser when they were recording as Monster Island.  Arty, “mind-bending” instrumentals just are not my cuppa.  Bizarrely, ol’ Bert has included a 10+ minute jam/cover of “Crazy Train” that he recorded on a boom box with his then-13 year old neighbor in 1985.  It’s sorta interesting of him to do this, but I can honestly say I couldn’t make it all the way through it and have promised myself never to listen to it again.  Bert opens and closes 1977-2002 with a couple drum thrashers recorded in 2002 that show he ain’t lost none of his chops.  More power to you, Bert. –Ben Hunter

THE DESTROYED- Outta Control (Site) If I was a mule I think I’d kick this goddamn thing right through the goddamn wall.  The first 6 tracks on this 20-song CD are a reunion between Destroyed band mates Bert Switzer (drums) and J.D. Jackson (guitar & vocals), who first started playing together in the late ‘70s.  While I definitely liked some of Bert Switzer’s previous compilation that had a bunch of old Destroyed songs on it, this new stuff is droning, boring and pretty much blah all the way through.  It’s perfect fodder for the argument that most old rockers should just give the hell up trying to write new stuff after the age of 29.  Switzer also hooks up here with his guitarist pal Henry Kaiser for about 5 minutes of self-indulgent noodling, and it’s only marginally better than the first few songs on Outta Control.  The disc ends with 10 Stooges/Nuggets-esque sounding cuts from The Destroyed’s glory days, and despite the vacuum cleaner quality of these original cassette recordings, they have their moments.  Still smarting from part one of this disc, I don’t think I can give them their proper due, though.  Maybe I should have listened to these songs first so I wouldn’t have turned into such a crabass.  Bonus points for the CD’s cover, which partially features Bert looking for all the world like a deranged old fucker, standing behind a cannon.  I unequivocally like that part! –Ben Hunter

 

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