Monday, April 27, 2020

Gods of the Hammer - the Teenage Head Story by Geoff Pevere

I don't really remember when I first became aware of the band Teenage Head, one of Canada's first "punk rock" (a term they didn't care for) bands, but when I heard them, I certainly dug their 70's punk via 60's garage stylings. Classic songs like the oft-covered "Picture My Face" (which I think I mistook for a 60's tune by the likes of the Ugly Ducklings rather than an original when I first heard it), the power-pop-ish "You're Tearin' Me Apart" and the oddly-named "Lucy Potato" positively struck a rock'n'roll power chord with me. In this book - the title a play on Led Zep along with their hometown Hamilton, Ontario's nickname "The Hammer" - Pevere, a huge fan of the band, does his best to bring to life their story.

The members are all about my age (interestingly enough, as is Kim Salmon, whose bio I also just read) and grew up with 60's rock'n'roll and pop music thrilling them as it did countless others and convincing them that they needed to form a band. As usual, there were a few false starts, but the gentlemen found each other while they were still teenagers and remained together, through thick and super-thin, for decades afterwards.

In America, this band, no matter how much they may be revered, are basically a punk rock footnote but in Canada, it turns out that they were huge - platinum records, touring to sell out crowds, headlining in front of 15,000 people, etc. - and put out a number of albums, most of which I have never heard. The usual story of mismanagement, money disputes and substance abuse eventually cause the original members to split, but as of the book's writing in 2014, the band - a version of it anyway - is still touring and, while not selling lots of records, still filing clubs.

While brief - a mere 131 pages - Pevere does his best to flesh out the tale with plenty of interviews with the members and those who worked with the band and keeps it interesting'n'entertaining from start to finish. A fun read that will make ya wanna search out more from these cats.