Matt Gimmick's insanely great legacy re-issued
Detroit Renaissance 79 - Matt Gimmick (HoZac Records)
The penny dropped somewhere on the Road to Damascus exit, just off I-94, but there was no need for a conversion. The revelation that this band Matt Gimmick was a by-product of The Punks, a Detroit outfit active in the mid-‘70s whose overlooked recordings have been posthumously released a coupla times over, sparked a run to the shelves to dig out their release. If you don't own a copy of The Punks' "The Most Powerful Music On Earth" CD, or subsequent re-releases on vinyl, your life is diminished.
The Punks were unashamedly in the thrall of the Stooges. If solo Iggy had sounded like The Punks we would have been spared “Party” and the Pop would have ended up a rich man much earlier in life for delivering what fans of his old band expected all along. Or so the fantasy goes, because for most of the '70s, nobody actually cared.
Anyway, The Punks vocalist Frantic and guitarist Alan Webber ended up in Matt Gimmick. Their EP was locally released and gained a reputation as one of those things that more people had heard about rather than heard. It’s four songs - two originals and two Stooges covers. The latter fact is noteworthy and the souce of its notoriety.
The back story goes that band members went to a 1970 Stooges show in Birmingham, Michigan, by the Williamson-Asheton twin guitar line-up and taped it, appropriating the previously unheard songs for their own bracket. The good folks at Chicago label HoZac have now re-issued it on vinyl.
Title track “Detroit Renaissance ’79” is an original and a solid piece of metal-tinged scuzz with a hook you can hang your dog collar on. You may know “Rag” (aka “Fresh Rag” - and a few other titles that usually reference "pussy") from Easy Action’s “You Don't Want My Name You Want My Action" box set. Australo-UK band The Dry Retch recently had a lash at it. Here, it's preceded by a vote of thanks for Iggy for knocking his own teeth out, before shuddering to life. There's a bit of ad libbing by Frantic who sings his guts out, but the song's most notable for giving full vent to Webber’s furious guitar.
Another lost Stooges gem, "You Don't Want My Name", is on the flip - this time heralded by a call-out to the freshly dead Sid Vicious. Weber handles everything but drums and gives a heavily credible Ig impression on vocals. Frantic is back behind the microphone for "Cry", an original that's very much in the spirit of "Open Up and Bleed", with its relatively sophisticated arrangement and some added sax. There's fluidity in the line-up and Steve Rockey supplied guitars for this one.
Recording quality is hole-in-the-wall but don't be put off. This is not a homage but a committed recording by a bunch of young punks who drew inspiraiton from a wellspring that few others gave a rat's arse about at the time. This lives up to its reputation of being insanely great and you do need it.