R.I.P. Mark E. Smith, 1957-2018
"New Facts Emerge" came out in late July last year; the singles box (Seven discs! Eight hours!) came out four months later; they're my Christmas present from me to me.
"New Facts Emerge" - it merits seven bottles, if not eight. Bludgeoning, bruising, then it takes you on a short cruise: bloody hell this is good. It also grows on you with repeat listenings. However - and this is critical - while many long-term Fall fans seem contemptuous of the band's turn to powerful cranking rock, most Fall fans would find it difficult to come up with a Top 10 of the band's best 10 songs - you won't have that problem much with Judas Priest, or Alice Cooper, will you?
This one's an undiluted broadcast of a red-hot show by the Coop and the boys at the Mar Y Sol Pop Festival in Puerto Rico in 1972. That's to say, the original Alice Cooper Band, and not the crack session players and paid employees who followed.
Crank it. What you're hearing is the Alice Cooper Band at the peak of their powers. They're band in all senses of the word and a gnat's dick away from world domination with the release of their "School's Out" album.
The back story is the band was on a festival bill in Puerto Rico with the likes of Al Kooper, the Allman Bros, Emerson. Lake and Palmer, the Faces and David Peel and went on at 5am. You can't tell from the energy levels. A review at the time describes a festival beset by chaos, numbing humidity and massive financial losses. They would say that, wouldn't they. Let's hope the bands got paid.
What do you get when you mix two veterans of the SoCal punk rawk scene with a couple of its UK equivalent’s most storied names? This here disc, guv’nor, and a fine slice of rockin’ psych-tinged pop it is.
Sometimes worlds collide in the best way possible and here’s a prime I’ll-have-one-thin-and-crispy-with-the-lot-and-don’t-forget-the-anchovies example. Genres are less a restrictive tag than a challenge for these guys.
Alfie Agnew (a real-life maths professor) and Sean Elliott (he’d be the madman) are the US-based principals in Professor and The Madman. The pair played together in D.I., a long-running off-shoot of the Adolescents and Social Distortion, the former being from where Agnew came.
Rat Scabies, of the (stillborn but legendary) London SS, The Mutants and of course The Damned, was co-opted as a recording member after guest-playing “Smash It Up” with Agnew and Elliott at a US show. The hook-up with Paul Gray - surely the best bassist The Damned ever had (and he’s back with them now), whose prior form includes Eddie & The Hotrods and UFO - came via Facebook.