Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Led by “Mono Man” (Jeff Connelly), so named due to his infatuation with monaural records, DMZ was a 60’s-inspired troupe that mined these references to create a modern garage band. They did use a more current buzz-saw guitar attack, as opposed to a cleaner/reverbed 60’s sound, but while many “punk” bands covered one or two 60’s hits, these cats were playing and emulating Sonics and Chocolate Watchband tunes – something practically unheard-of at the time. They were definitely the precursors of the 80’s garage scene, which included Mono Man in a more traditional 60’s sounding group, the Lyres.

I know that some people complained about the production of this debut album, apparently because it was not raw enough, but I think that it sounds incredible. The guitars and drums are huge, the energy is damn near out of control and it sounds like they are blasting out right in front of you! Some of the other releases quite frankly sound a little wimpy to me in comparison due to the bad production.

“Mighty Idy” leaps out at you right from the start with Mono Man shrieking and the band flailing away at super speed. Simple, but damned effective and a monster intro to this band of wild men! The drums are just gargantuan and the guy doesn’t let up for a second – this is like the Sonics on steroids!

Mono Man’s keyboards show up in “Bad Attitude”, which is practically a one chord wonder! Still frantic in the extreme, with Connelly’s exhortations of “1,2..3,4, whoo!” pushing the band along. These guys are tight as hell and something this simple could have failed, but they pull it off mightily! Sounding again like a Sonics outtake is “Watch For Me Girl” with machine gun drums propelling this into the stratosphere!

Speaking of the Sonics, their “Cinderella” comes next, which is probably the first recorded cover of this fantastic rocker. They pull it off and again, Jeff gets to show off his keyboard skills and his convincing interpretation of Gerry Roslie’s scream!

The menacing “Don’t Jump Me Mother” sounds dark as hell with its pounding drums and repeated licks. Back to high speed insanity with “Destroyer”, which I always thought was about a robot that Captain America fought, but maybe that was just wishful thinking on my part. But the huge group vocals on the chorus are fantastic and this is damn near a recorded explosion!

Getting downright goofy for a couple of minutes, the keep a good backbeat going for the riff-rock of “Baby Boom”, while Mono Man sings things like “goo goo, ga-ga, baby boom”! Maybe he was taking after Willie Loco Alexander at this point! But back to the serious business of copping perfect 60’s garage-rock tunes with (Sonics counterparts) the Wailers’ “Out of Our Tree”. This has terrific stoned-out lyrics and lets Jeff wail out “out of our treeeee!”

Stealing an MC5 title, they create a psychedelic-surf instrumental in “Borderline”, a nice change of pace from the rest of the craziness. But, they are ultra frenzied in “Do Not Enter”, though this is not one of the stronger songs. The finish up with a Ramones-styled rave-up of the Troggs’ “From Home”. Most likely you wouldn’t know what the tune was by just listening but it’s still great and a fitting close to this wild r’n’r record!

I absolutely love this LP and its power and energy and sound! Shows what can be done by mixing the best of 60’s and 70’s rock’n’roll!