A Naked Green Hurricane

17 Apr

THE PEDESTRIANS – “Tropicana” (from An Evening at “Pearl’s” Hurricane, San Jacinto Records, 2000) A few years after Nicky Cacavas regaled me with the story behind Tucson’s first punk show, I finally get around to hearing the recorded evidence. And lemme tell ya: I am blown away by the sheer depth of this 31 year old cassette recording. At this point (July 7, 1979) this sweaty, stringy-haired group – made up of guys who’d go on to form bands like GREEN ON RED, GIANT SANDWORMS, NAKED PREY – were still honing skills, finding voices, and sticking primarily to cover tunes. But the teen spirit at work here is fucking powerfully indeed! The rage fuelling their versions of CLASH and STOOGES songs is barely containable, and the moxie it took to make TALKING HEADS and DEVO tunage their own shows just how inspiring kids playing their first real gig can actually be.

Listening closer: Billy Sedlmayr’s histrionically modern vocals remind me of Fritz Fox from SF’s THE MUTANTS, while still sounding totally his own. John Venet’s gtr leads are damn near as powerful as they would be 15 years later in NAKED PREY, and Dave Seger ain’t too shy to push his bass up front ‘n’ center when called for. Chris Cacavas can already toss off DOORSian keyboard cascades with the effortless ease of a natural born musician. And self-penned songs like “Tropicana” display that burning gnarl we all came to love about great 80’s Tucson rock bands, albeit without the roots/Americana moves many later groups traded in. Ultimately, I agree with ex-SUSPECT Brian Smith in his liners: THE PEDESTRIANS weren’t so much Tuscon’s first punk band as they were the first group ballsy enough to incorporate punk influences into an identifiably-regional rock form. Little wonder, then, that decades of beautiful AZ rock and roll can trace its origins back to this heated moment.


7 Responses to “A Naked Green Hurricane”

  1. Dave Lang April 18, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Sounds good! I gotta hear this. Speaking of regional punk, Drag City has just issued an Endtables LP/CD which collects their singles, live stuff etc. I have a 7″ of theirs – I’ve written about it before – and it absolutely fucking rules. I think you’d dig them, too, assuming a Wipers/Pere Ubu hybrid sounds up yer alley.

  2. mrowster April 18, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    Yes that Bold Beginnings Louisville comp. (w/ cuts by THE ENDTABLES) did spring to mind when listening to THE PEDS yesterday. Thanks for the tip – will have to hear their full-length.

  3. Anton April 24, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

    SST Obsevatory Newsletter: I’m holding an arty book called ”Sonic Youth etc.: sensational fix”. It seems (I’m not reading it: 720 pages!) not to have much SST related info. But it has a couple of things: Watt on how his and Boon’s minds were blown by SY in 1983 or maybe 1984 and specially a very good photo by Dan Graham which reads ”Kim Gordon at a Black Flag concert in Polywog Park, Orange County, 1979”. You get to see the opposite perspective of the incident. Take care.

  4. mrowster April 24, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    Anton: SY played out in the middle of the Mojave desert with The Meat Puppets in ’84 – that was a pretty big deal show at the time, could imagine Boon & Watt were there.

    Interesting to hear Kim G. was at the Polliwog Park gig. I know Jeffrey Lee Pierce was there, he reviewed it for Slash mag – but I always figured it was predominantly locals who attended that. But hey Kim does like her weird rock and roll, so it figures.

  5. Anton April 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    Hi there. Watt writes that the SY gig was at the Anti Club in Hollywood. First mention to that venue on the SY web is for 01/17/85 http://www.sonicyouth.com/mustang/cc/011785.html set list included. Kim grew up and studied Art in LA. On that 1979 photo she is looking exactly like on the first SY album http://www.sonicyouth.com/mustang/lp/ep01a.jpg LA light suits her better than the NY one, though.

  6. maria christensen May 7, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    Check out The Endtables on Facebook. You gotta hear the new re-release on Drag City.

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