Friday, January 8, 2010

40 Las Vegas Punk Bands 85-95 Cassette Compilation

    Here's an audio time capsule from 1995.  Pretty entertaining listen with meaty tracks cozying up next to mediocre tracks.  This only makes it more charming.  While I'm glad I'll never have to hear the full demos from 25 C-Gars or Jenn's Cancer it's pretty cool to put them in perspective within this collection.

    This compilation was made by Clay Heximer circa 1995.  If you found your way here chances are good you know Clay or his work as a drummer in numerous Las Vegas bands including Fried Green, the Heroines, and the Mapes.  He made this compilation as a result of sustaining an injury and being laid up in bed on painkillers.  That's the information I gleaned from the cover photo pictured above.  We can all be thankful he got hurt or else this fine document of the Las Vegas underground wouldn't exist.

    A good cross section of scenes and cliques many of which somewhat overlapped and some of which come from left field.  I would have never considered hearing the hippie stoner band Doom Snake Cult being played alongside alternative groups like Cardboard Mansion or the weird metal/borderline nu metal/dreadlocks flailing sound of Hemlock next to the drugged up... whatever you call it that the Wholes were perveying.  I'm damn glad Clay didn't try to make a compilation with a specific genre in mind.  But all these bands deserve the title punk.  What else can you call it?

    I got a few stories about the bands with which I am familiar.  I used to go to school with this guy named Rick who was a strange Mormon skater with pretentions to become a punk rocker.  Weird guy.  I ditched school with him and we got busted at Circus Circus when he tried to steal tips off the table at the buffet.  We got lead into the inner sanctum of the Circus Circus security office where they took our pictures and waited for metro (the police in Vegaspeak) to pick us up.  In a fit of inspired punkness I ran from the office and somehow escaped!  I took my jean jacket off and held it as I tried to inconspicuously move swiftly through the casino.  I had to take the CAT bus to get home since Rick drove us to the strip.  I ended up at home as soon as school got out and I ran into Rick!  Turns out the security guards let them go with a warning and were just trying to sweat us acting like they'd called metro.  
    That's what Rick said.  I like to think the security guards felt stupid because I got away from them so they cancelled the call to the cops.  The truth will never be known.  

    Anyway, Rick was in the band Propeller featured here.  I saw them once or twice and I gotta say they were pretty good.  With a sound and lyrics not unlike the pop punk of bands like Cringer or Fifteen.  Upbeat, filled with hope, naive.  There weren't many Vegas bands around like them at the time.  Last I heard that Rick moved to San Diego which somehow makes sense.  I'm sure he's still got puffy red cheeks.  You know that skin disease where a person's cheeks are always red.  
    Bent Tool was one of the only regular gigging bands around back then.  I think it's hilarious they do a song called "Be Yourself" and yet they use the theme from "Rocky" at the end of this song.  For some reason several hardcore bands throughout the 90's would play that theme song somewhere in their set.  Maybe because it's such an easy riff?  I must have seen a good half dozen bands pull that eye of the tiger shit between 91-98.  Weird.  Stupid.  

    Boba Fett Youth were a pivotal band for the scene at the time thanks largely to the efforts of Boyde Wenger.  I think the song here might be from their first demo tape.  

    I never cared for the Righteous Pigs back then and cared even less for the death metal grind crap that ensued when the guitar player from that band went on to join Napalm Death.  I remember the joke being that I "hope they die in a hotel fire."  It's an inside Vegas joke.  Don't ask.  Still the track here is actually pretty good and makes me think twice about talking so much shit about em.  I saw these guys play once at the Elks Lodge in Henderson.  They put out a record or two if I recall correctly.  

    I want to say The Reform later became The Redemption.  I think they may have had some ties to the band Poor White Trash who started in the late 80's but I may be mistaken.  In any event all three bands suck and these tracks here do nothing to redeem their good name in my book.  Hey- it's just my opinion.

    Doom Snake Cult were a hilarious (unintentional?) anomaly in Vegas.  Really strange  metal/stoner rock that ended up being well ahead of their time considering that there is currently a huge scene for "Stoner Rock."  Something I still don't quite understand even though I get high still.  These guys came across as less educated hippie types who were really just trying to have a good time without having any connection to the greater underground scene.  The lead singer's name was Ace and he was a hell of a nice guy who obviously didn't give a fuck.

   DSC had a connection to another strange Vegas band named Goatlord who were actually successful enough to release a few albums and tour Europe in the mid 80's.  A few years ago I saw a fancy expensive re-press of their album with a huge booklet detailing their history.  Super bizarre and somewhat mediocre "metal" with satanic leanings.  I am astounded that there was enough interest to re-press this music so expensively but what more can you say about the metal tastes of Europe?  

    The Grrr Meyows were originally called Pinball I think.  I remember liking them more when they were Pinball as they later seemed more polished and kinda rock star like as the Grr Meyows.  Pinball was more sloppy and original sounding to my ears.  The track here isn't too bad.  Maybe they did become rock stars eventually?  It would be funny to find out they later became Panic at the Disco.  I wish Clay had included Attaboy Skip.  They were sucky 90's ska but the punchline is that members of that band later became the Killers.  At least that's the rumor I heard.  The Killers are one of the worst bands ever to buy their way into the limelight.  I wouldn't be surprised to find they have a loyal fan base in Vegas.  Vegas gets what Vegas deserves.

    Perturbed was... uh I don't know kinda hardcore pop stuff?  I went to UNLV with the singer around 95-96.  It was pretty funny seeing a guy with the full punk rock outfit (patches,pins piercings, etc) walking around UNLV.  Something tells me that it's not so unusual to see there now. The entire world is punk now and we're all worse off for it.  Funny song by them here, an inside joke which I am still on the outside of.

    Scrubs were a really good band, more of a jazz band than anything else.  This song is a perfect example of their sound.  While I always respected them I never quite found a groove with em.  I was too much into death metal, hip-hop,  and I cringe to say it but industrial music when Scrubs were at their peak.  This stuff kinda fell flat to me until I started getting into Firehose and No Means No.  Definitely a band that could hold their own with the likes of those two bands.  Although as usual with this style the vocals and lyrics were often third or fourth on their list of things to do within the songwriting.  But I'll admit the lyrics for this song are dead on.  So glad I don't fuckin smoke cigarettes anymore.

   So funny that Clay included Hemlock on this comp.  I'm glad he did.  I think he mainly did it because Hemlock was from Henderson.  What a weird scene they were.  Dreadlock metal that was hard to pin down.  It was pre-nu-metal, that's what I'd call it.  Some thrash elements but also a lot of groove.  I'm glad they developed a following although I was never among those numbered.  They frequently played and sold out the Huntridge.  Their homemade signs posted near freeway onramps all over Vegas.  Pretty smart PR campaign if you ask me.  Maybe they're still around?  My hats off to em if they are.  Keep that freak flag flyin bro!    

   S.M.A.H.A. stands for Scratch My Ass Heart Attack.  Another great/awful name.  I vaguely remember them but I'm sure I never saw em live.  Sounds like borderline Faster Pussycat kinda shit.  Which I would normally think is shit but it's a good counter point to the other styles on this tape.  I wanna say Ruckus Rob was in this band but I dunno.  

   A few interesting details:  Morgan's Orange and Surprise Guest were projects featuring Ron Benway who owned the only cool record store in Vegas back then: Benway Bop.  I guess he is a regular busker on the streets of Seattle nowadays.  Which is fine so long as I don't have to hear it.  Jenn's Cancer featured Jenocide on vocals.  I'm sure she wishes this song was never recorded cause it really blows.  

    I'm just crackin funnies by being overly critical describing these bands.  That's just how I'm reacting to it today.  Maybe I'll change my mind if I ever go back and listen to this shit again which might not happen for another 10 years.  If you get all butt hurt because I bad mouthed your go-nowhere hardcore band that broke up 20 years ago then please be advised that even you forgot about that shitty band until I found this tape and digitized it.  And c'mon part of you agrees with me anyway right?  If not speak up fuck-o's.  

    The truth is all these songs work great together, almost like an art project.  It's an entertaining listen taken as a whole with more than a fair share of amazing tracks by Hellhounds of Harmony, Lady, Atomic Gods and many others.  Plus lesser known tracks by great bands I've never even heard of such as Dead Batteries, Decisions, and Inebria.  

    Super glad I found this tape in my collection and now I wish more people had made similar compilations.  Thanks again to Clay for breaking his leg and making such an entertaining piece of history.  Let's hope he breaks another leg sometime soon.  

     Feel free to take the cover art from this page.  The ones posted above are easier to read.

    Special note: Clay got the order wrong on side two.  He shows Lady being last but they weren't last on the tape.  I guessed as to what tracks were what for the last four tracks on side two when I digitized this tape.  If I got anything wrong let me know.

 Download each song individually below without even leaving the blog!
Side One
1. Decisions "You Talk" 
2. TPU- "Lethal Injection"
3.  Propeller- "H.A.G."
4.  Bent Tool- "Be Yourself"
5.  Grey Mayonaise- "Lollapalooza Blues"
6.  M.F.I.- "SARD"
7.  Righteous Pigs "Misconduct"
8.  Hellhounds of Harmony- "Protest Song"
9.  Cardboard Mansion- "Raingirl"
10.  Catapult- "Nonchalant"
11.  Pumpkin- "In Heaven Everything is Fine"
12.  THE Reform- "Sterotyped"
13.  Wholes "Evil Dead"
14.  Poor White Trash- "Silly Rabbit"
15.  Doom Snake Cult- "Carnival Freak Show"
16.  Atomic Gods- "Needle Freak"

Side Two
1.  Surprise Guest- "Jerk"
2.  Dead Batteries "The Trap"
3.  Intentions of Hate- "Bombardment"
4.  Fried Green- "Cars Go Fast"
5.  25 C-Gars- "I Could Be A Jedi"
6.  Perturbed "Bitch"
7.  Lethal Injection "Divorce Court"
8.  Scrubs- "Smokers Delight"
9.  Jen's Cancer- "Numb"
10.  Grrr Meyows- "Teenage Porn Star"
11.  Zub Zub - "Dirty Diapers"
12.  Leap Frog Society- "Rotten Tank"
13.  Hemlock- "Frowns of Fortune"
14.  Heroines- "TV Wasteland"
15.  Morgans Orange- "Princess"
16.  Smack My Ass Heart Attack- "????"
17.  Schizoid- "Hey" live
18.  5150- "Murder 101"
19.  Your Mom- "Looking Down"
20.  Inebria- "1985"
21.  Spork- "Through the Park"
22.  Lady- "1:30"


  1. thanks for posting this. Can I thank myself? Forget it.

  2. I'm definitely sad my band was recorded, but what the hell I was 14. So weird to listen to it now, it's been at least 10 years. Thanks to Clay for making this and thanks to you for a SERIOUS blast from the past. Such a bizarrro but accurate time capsule of where we were and what the hell we were all on...

  3. Not sure why the Boba Fett Youth song is fucked up. I tried uploading it again with the same result. The song is too ludditeish?

  4. Fuck-n-ell... this IS a blast from tha proverbial past... NICE!

  5. Wow, I used to have this tape. Brings back a ton of memories for sure. I still have a Pinball demo "how's about nice hawaiian punch in yer nose" which I can't seem to part with even though I don't have a tape player anymore. If you'll digitize it I'll send it to you. :) I might have some other old Vegas gems you're looking for too.

  6. Very fucking awesome. I have a lot of old shit from back in the day, but I haven't posted any of it because I want to clear it with all the bands first. But thanks for doing this!

  7. ha ha. my hubby is rick (the guy you talked about ealier up on the website). i confirmed with him that it is him you got in trouble with at circus circus.

  8. Found this while searching for anything on Scratch My Ass Heart Attack. Loved Vegas in the late 80's.

  9. fkn crazy,got any more INTENTIONS i.o.h. ? wasn't malicious intent from vegas? the kids that were called TOLERANCE back in 93 ...

  10. great comp by Clay, as his roommate I was annoyed that he never put one of my bands on this comp, now that I am old I know it was for quality purposes