Disaster Control - The Goodbye Johnnys (self released)
The shadow of the original Saints looms large in most places where people give a toss about punk rock but Switzerland seems the most unlikely. Think Switzerland and banks, cuckoo clocks and expensive chocolate spring to mind before “Nights in Venice” but then you’ve probably never heard of The Goodbye Johnnys.
The Goodbye Johnnys are named after a Gun Club song and hail from Zurich but Petrie Terrace, Brisbane, (circa 1976) is their spiritual home. Their LP sounds a lot like the early Saints with less sonic leakage and a few rough edges filed off.
The Saints were a unique collision of rock and roll roots (‘50s and ‘60s) music, downstrokes, attitude and youthful ennui. The Goodbye Johnnys are too old for much of that and couldn’t be expected to replicate it. What they do well is churn out chunky and uncomplicated songs that will appeal to old school punks and people who wish they were.
There’s more underground music in Switzerland than you might think and the country’s geographical location and commercial nature invites outside influences. So it is with The Goodbye Johnnys whose background tells a tale.
Expat Scot and sometime Australian and London resident Crawford Smith vocalises and plays guitar. Bassist Michael Hertz is a crime novelist who’s worked in drug harm direction. Drummer Peter Baldinger used to play in an Alex Harvey tribute band among a hundred others. Second guitarist Manual Kobel is a newish addition.
“Disaster Control” has 10 songs and they’re musical enough to avoid being lumped in with the output of all those anonymous second wave UK punk bands. As you might expect of guys who have been around the block a few times, The Goodbye Johnnys can play.
There are no surprises on “Disaster Control” but there are some good songs. Opener “Pay For The Crime” sets the pace with “London Nights” and “Year Of The Zombie” other stand-outs. Production is a bit sterile with Smith’s vocals right up front so you won’t need a lyric sheet.
It’s an LP but The Goodbye Johnnys have a Bandcamp where you can listen before buying (name your own price) and your choices are vinyl or a download.