Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Imperial Dogs - Unchained Maladies - Live 74/75

The Imperial Dogs are, of course, Don Waller's LA based 70's band that originally wrote "(This Ain't the) Summer of Love" that Blue Oyster Cult re-arranged and covered on their breakthrough hit album Agents of Fortune. The Dogs were short lived, as pre-punk LA was not ready for anything this recklessly insane, but Australia's Dog Meat Records compiled some live (at Gazarris - later to be home of the 80's hair metal scene - where they were banned after this debut appearance) and practice tracks for this pink-vinyl release.

Heavily influenced by the Stooges (especially), the MC5, the Velvets and great garage combos of the 60's, they open with a ferocious take on "'Til The End of the Day" and then follow with Iggy/garage neo-classics like "Midnite Dog", "Contradictions" (a particularly garagey tune introduced by Don with "we're just a bunch of of middle class kids trying to come on like some homosexual junkies"), a minor-key junkie drama, "Needle and Spoon", and side one closes with the original, "This Ain't The Summer Of Love", done relatively slow'n'sleazy'n'downright scary, here more like something off of Raw Power, with a couple of double-time, rave-up sections, than the cleaner, pop-metal (but still great) BOC version.

Side two has them running through their set songs as a practice for a gig at Rodney's English Disco, with Detroit-influenced numbers like the trash-anthem "The Bad and the Beautiful" (that supposedly Iggy wanted to cover but he ran off to Berlin with Bowie instead), "13 Sons of Satan" (which, ironically, sounds very much like an early BOC song), "Amphetamine Superman" is frantically fueled ("I Got A Right"-styled), "Rock'n'Roll Overdose" is another bit of Detroit riff-laden high energy and they conclude with fast, dynamic, 70's r'n'r singalong run-through of Lou Reed's "I'm Waiting For My Man".

As I said, it was no surprise that this freaky combo scared the crap outta bookers and onlookers alike in the pre-punk days of '74, but for fans of high energy Detroit combos, these cats were certainly LA's answer to the Stooges. It's a shame that they never got into a "real" recording studio, as these tracks are pretty raw, but really not all that bad considering they were recorded on a cassette player! Definitely worth it - great stuff!