Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Evil Stig

Interestingly enough, one of my favorite Joan Jett records is this project with the remaining members of the Gits (Evil Stig is Gits Live backwards). She got involved after singer Mia Zapata was brutally raped and murdered. Of course, her involvement brought a lot of attention to the case and with the help of America’s Most Wanted, the killer was finally apprehended.

I was never very familiar with the Gits (and still am not, which I should rectify) but Jett’s style fits in perfectly and this record is a wonderful slab of catchy, melodic and super powerful punk rock. Opening with “Sign of the Crab”, you know what you are in for! Super loud guitars (and fine production), intensely fast punk rock, Joan’s tough vocals and terrific melodies and harmonies.

“Bob (Cousin O.)” is almost unnaturally catchy pop, while still retaining the strength and toughness of the band. Really good guitar accents throughout and the harmony singers are always right on. It’s always hip to hear a female who is not afraid to talk about imbibing and “Drinking Song” has a memorable “here’s to all of my friends” chorus (possibly influenced by Barfly?).

Mia wrote a fierce indictment of rape in “Spear & Magic Helmet”, spookily predicting her own vile end. This is pure, ferocious hard core, spouting out her rage at the scumbags who hurt someone else. Heartfelt, intense and frightening in its vision…

Jett co-wrote “Last to Know” with the guys in the Gits and it is another terrific piece of memorable punk with trade-off “yeah, yeahs” and plenty of loud guitars. Another Gits tune is “Guilt Within Your Head”, again showing Zia was a superior lyric writer. Using a semi-reggae beat to start “Whirlwind”, the band then blasts into a monster chorus. They continue to play with verse-chorus dynamics to good effect and create another cool tune.

Drinking is the subject again for another of the album’s highlights, “Another Shot of Whiskey”. Truly exceptional melodies at work here while the band continues to play with dynamics though never letting up on the intensity. Great, great stuff!

Faster-than-a-locomotive punk backs up the personal lyrics in “Second Skin” and they never manage to lose the nuances of the song as they build and build to a sudden stop. Jett’s own “Activity Grrrl” starts with a neat, almost discordant riff and then becomes a powerful pop-punk number that could well have described Mia. Another of her songs, “You Got a Problem” is equally fitting and with its descending “Boots Are Made for Walkin’” styled progression, it is hard to forget!

The band does a stripped down take on Jett’s version of “Crimson and Clover”, which is great, and then the record closes with an updated “Tequila” – a powerhouse instrumental that stops occasional so that the band can shout the title, “Drunks”! Funny and a fun ending to an emotional release.

(There’s actually a hidden track that I had forgotten about but I didn’t turn off my player right away. I believe it is another Jett song and appropriately enough it is called “Go Home”! (I think.) Another good tune!)

If you dig Joan or just dig well written punk rock this is one to own! Proceeds initially went to fund the investigation in Mia’s murder, but I believe that they are now going to another woman’s group.