WELCOME TO PITTSBURGH… DON’T MOVE HERE compilation LP

Cruel Noise Records

Welcome to Pittsburgh… Don’t Move Here compilation (Cruel Noise Records)


I love Pittsburgh. That’s it, I love Pittsburgh and I appreciate that they’re asking me not to move there and I respect that. One of my favorite times and first time(s) ever going to Pittsburgh was coming into the city from the South and cutting into a mountain, going through a tunnel, and being barfed out into the center of a huge metropolitan city. That feeling was felt like living in a sci-fi movie as if I  was docking a ship and walking into a secret moon colony. From that second forward I loved to visit Pittsburgh. My second time in Pittsburgh that stands out was a time I was driving in from the North, as I grow closer to the city, the four-lane highway is, on each side of me, completely empty. This is the middle of the day. I first I thought it was just an odd unique traffic happenstance but then I started to worry. I started to think in ways that a brain does when things are so beyond the norm that you completely think the worst has happened; an airborne toxic event, a mass aeromedical evacuation, did I miss an air defense warning condition alert, did I drive into an active decontamination area of military significant fallout, was I in a blast wave diffraction, a cataclysmic global life removing quirk that I somehow avoided when I stopped for Thai food, an earthquake, a plague. I drove into a parking lot, went inside the nearest store and found all of the store customers and the employees around a tiny black-and-white TV watching the Steelers play. It melted my heart and further increased my love for the city of Pittsburgh. Why did I tell you those two seemingly unrelated stories? Well, it’s because I think that those two stories go hand-in-hand with the theme of this compilation. This compilation is moving, from outer space seemingly, terrifying, and charming. The mix of music and styles from the city is unique and perplexing and certainly fits in line with the complex life we have here in the rust belt/middle west. The desperation that each of these bands have as well as a camaraderie and a uniqueness that really makes me wish that they would let me move to Pittsburgh. Starting off with Heavy Discipline the song “Lockstep” really is a perfect tune to set the pace of this record. Living World is pure brutality and mayhem. Loose Nukes pop in with “Roundhouse“ and it’s a pretty great straight up hard-core song with a nod to New York 80sHC and lyrically focused on the injustices of the justice system. Speed Plans is next with another forceful song. I’m betting that Speed Plans are a band that everybody’s friends with considering the picture on their page of the booklet is a dude just holding a beer. He seems like he’s the life of the party.  Peace Talks with Tyna’s vocal delivery is really pushing this song over the top. Rat-Nip and Necro Heads close out side one with two blasts of chaos.  Detainees hit us with a snotty hardcore brilliance similar to Career Suicide. Invalid jump in with “Stupid Pills” which is a scathing look at society. De Rodillas come in with powerful tune similar to Peace Talks. No Time is an Oi mid tempo stomper that toss in a little bit of Sheer Terror. Chiller is off the map with an unstable kinetic energy. White Stains with “Let’s Die” plop in for some nihilism in a 77 kind of way. And closing out the LP is S. L. I. P. with “Daddy‘s Little Girl part two“ and it’s a herky-jerky weirdo creepy terrifying song and I love it. 

The only setback I have with this is that only 5 of the bands contributed lyrics to their page in the booklet. Whatever, right? Their call but in lieu of me aligning to what they are angry about or position on issue or what have you, I’ll have to make their absence of vocal clarity bend to what I want so I’ll decide to assume that every line I can’t make out must be about eating boo-berry cereal and farting on their bed pillow before they go to sleep…. works for me  ¯_(ツ)_/¯  (JD)


Don’t buy this here because it’s sold out. Try discogs or some junk.

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA

FOXES (1980) / SUBURBIA (1984)

FOXES (1980)

Directed by Adrian Lyne

Starring Jodie Foster, Cherie Currie, Scott Baio, Kandice Stroh, Sally Kellerman, Marilyn Kagan, Randy Quaid

SUBURBIA (1984)

Directed by Penelope Spheeris

Starring Chris Pedersen, Bill Coyne, Jennifer Clay, Flea, Timothy O’Brien, Wade Walston, Maggie Ehrig

HEADCHEESE • LP

Neon Taste Records

Headcheese • LP (Neon Taste Records)

Holy crap! Stay off my lawn you little snot-nose kids! I am pretty certain that these guys are dads that are just fucking frustrated with the day today of all the banal globs of garbage that we go through. Their music is refreshing and nuanced hardcore that harkens back to the early days when it was cool to go outside the lanes. “I Don’t Care” starts off with ripping guitars and then the chorus “who are you?, I don’t wanna know” I feel it and agree. I was talking to my pal Will last night and I told him I have enough friends. I don’t really want to meet or make room for new people and somehow Headcheese was able to fit that entire sentiment of that conversation into 52 seconds and capture the tone and emotion perfectly. By the time they get to cut 3, “Po Po”, all bets are off, all guard rails have been removed. It just explodes with an amazing and ridiculous and Animal-esque TM perfect drum intro which feeds right into “you got a dad, and he’s the best, he got you ice cream, when your aced test, he’s wit the Po Po, that’s a no- no”. “12 years of working fucking hard, and the only thanks I get is when I manicure a yard” from the song “Invalid” addressing school and jobs and the lies we’re fed as children and adults wherein if you work hard you’ll “be the best”. Here’s the thing about this that put it a cut above a lot of hard-core and music in general right now. It has an aggression to it that is rooted in the despondent and boring life. The energy of the music is the chaos of the universe and the lyrics are arranged in a way that is self conflict between wanting to do more /be more and also giving in to your life as the arc of time decides where you’re going to be no matter what you thought in the beginning. It’s as though the endless boredom has given way to a biped stumbling from a dried riverbed’s alluvium on its way to harness the dim power of it’s larval pin sized brain funneled into “day in and day out” to feeling that it can be more and bigger but in the end, it is
what it is.  Seriously, I got this record and I heard it and I loved it so much that I ordered another one for my buddy Derek. I feel like Headcheese would be best buddies with the Thee Elder Gods from Kalamazoo, MI. 


If you’re reading this and you are a citizen of the United States do yourself the most patriotic thing you could possibly do and buy this Canadian record. HERE. (JD)

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA

GROUPIE • Ephemeral LP

Handstand Records

First things first, I’m a total jerk. Hands-down, I’m not covering anything, I’m not going to hide behind the pandemic. I’m not going to hide behind the fact that someone nearly stole my identity, I’m not going to hide behind guns shipped in my name across the United States, I’m not going to hide behind any family illness, I’m not going to hide behind moving, I’m not going to hide behind anything. I received this record over a year ago and simply due to my laziness, I have not addressed it in the respectful and proper way that it should’ve been addressed. So, without any further ado, let me tell you about this Groupie Ephemeral LP. For starters the cover has me completely perplexed. I can’t tell if these are dried little mushroom caps, flower petals or over priced healthy beet chips from your local over priced grocer.  They are maroon and bruised in color and it’s haunting and compelling at the same time. The record itself (as you can see from the photo) is also maroon. Here’s the juice of it, the music is haunting and unique but familiar. Calling this post-punk, although accurate, does a disservice to all the other things that it’s not and all the other things that it is. This LP has a mid to late 80s 120 minutes feel to me with a little bit of mid era DC crossover stuff like Jawbox. I get a little bit of a feeling that they think of themselves as rockers but in my opinion they are far better than that. They are not dazzling or overpowering with riffs. They just belt it out, earnestly, with passion filled and uniquely poignant lyrics. Groupie starts right in and blamo! gosh, I don’t know who exactly is singing (is it Ashley or Johanna) but regardless, when they get to the lyric “give up on perfection“ it socks ya right in the chest. By the time you get to the song “Industry” they’ve taken on a slight swagger, an almost Patti Smith feel in the cadence and delivery. We’re still on the first side when “Thick as Glue” comes on with a haunting guitar and lyrics that seem to cut to the heart of misguided macho and hipster male worship that comes at young women. It’s partially because I have a young daughter that is continually subjected to this type of junk but also, it’s because Groupie is quick to leave the fashion hero worship garroted in a pile that I like this sing so much. This is certainly worth a listen and who knows, now that shit is getting back to normal, we might get the chance to see them live somewheres.  (JD)

Buy this by simply clicking this fuggin’ link.

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA Heath Row: HR

REGIONAL JUSTICE CENTER • Crime And Punishment 12″ 2021

Closed Casket Activities

Well the wait is finally over. This is the second 12” from these Seattle pounders and it has me nodding along to the really slow sludge parts, then playing air drums to the ripping fast parts.  The drums are what really make this band/record for me. Dude is a machine. Vox are stellar as well… I know I should really read the lyrics but I literally don’t care what this cat is screaming about, I just know it’s angry and mean.  At first listen I was a little bummed on how short this 12” 45 is, but I’m on my third listen (to digest it and review it) and I feel like it’s the perfect length for a band of this style. I know a lot of people hate the term in which the style of music these folks are playing, but its pretty much PV that does not completely rip off or steal a sound from a specific band. Yes they probably like Crossed Out, MITB and Infest but it isn’t a direct rip. I’d really like to see them live someday if the world of shows ever opens up again. The label that put it out is from my old ‘hood of Albany /Troy NY so I’m proud that Closed Casket Records got on board to make this record happen. More kick ass art work from my brother Mark McCoy, the images are perfect for this platter. (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA Heath Row: HR

NUART – reopens!

Places are starting to reopen here in California. I have no idea how long that will last, or if we will ever close down again at all. With the vaccines getting around, and after a year of “we’re turning a corner” only to see the numbers rise it’s tough to be positive about much at the moment.

That said, the Nuart opened it’s doors up last Friday, March 19, 2021. No idea when the midnight movies will return, but I’m looking forward to that moment when I can sit in my seat, finish my soda and candy before the trailers finish, and watch whatever classic horror is projected onto the big screen. It will be epic. (MA)

HARD FOUL • demo tape 2020

HARD FOUL demo tape 2020

625 Productions

So cool to see Dan from Spazz, Funeral Shock, etc., still doing HC and being productive after years and years. Other band members also come from Plutocracy, Agents Of Satan, and Funeral Shock. Eight raging tunes that seem to be heavily themed on NBA basketball. I love this shit, and wish there was a lyric sheet so I could get the full scope. The tape starts off sounding very East Coast HC… then by song 2 and forward the true powerviolence starts to kick in. Loud bass riffage, Dan’s killer guitar riffs and fast blasts and bursts keep it fun. I’m sure Dan prolly hates the term PV by now and cringes when it’s used to describe his projects… but you can tell by his playing that it’s just stuck there in his blood forever. The other side of the tape is a really well done live set from a radio show. Oh, and the demo side is recorded at none other than Bart Thurber at the legendary House Of Faith.  Cool stuff. Support. (NW)

Hit me up on Instagram if you want to send me your release for review at: nate_gloom

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA Heath Row: HR

NOTA • Moscow 7″ EP

NOTA • Moscow 7” EP

Artcore

Being from Oklahoma NOTA is like Black Flag or Agnostic Front for me. They were/are that important, and had a huge impact on me and my friends. I didn’t really start paying attention to punk until around 1981, after all, everyone was saying it was dead. I knew of the Sex Pistols, I caught the news story about their show at Cain’s Ballroom on the local OKC channel 5 10pm broadcast, and it was the craziest thing I had seen at that point in my life. As the teen years started to come on, and the need to define myself among the masses, The Clash was the first punk band I got into. The whole notion of punk happening in a place like Oklahoma seemed inconceivable to me. That would soon change though. By 1982 I decided it was time to get off the fence and be punk, thinking I was probably the only one in the state. My best friend down the street, Dallas Vickers, got on board, so that made two of us. A short while later we discovered KGOU one night while looking to see if there was anything else on the radio other than the crummy top 40 stuff. We suddenly discovered we weren’t the only punks around (though we were not dressing the part at that moment in time). I stayed up listening to see what else there was, and discovered shows like My Tunnel, which played hardcore punk, and would inform listeners of shows in the area, and what local bands were up to. My mind was blown. There was a punk scene happening in Norman, just south of me, and in Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. Local bands like No Direction, Brown 25, Diet of Worms, Death Puppy, and others. On top of all that, there was this band from Tulsa, None of the Above, or more casually, and shortened, NOTA (pronounced No-duh, but say it quickly so you don’t sound like you’re saying, “No duhhh…”). All the previously mentioned bands were great, but NOTA were on a “whole nother level.” They had an intensity that blazed like no other. They’re on the classic Welcome to 1984 comp with bands like Rattus, Stalin, Raw Power, Upright Citizens, BGK, Crucifucks, and Terveet Kadet , so that’s says something of the level they were at. I’m of the opinion that everything this band did is worth picking up. Their output from Live at Crystal Pistol (you can get the vinyl and CD versions through Prank) on to that first album on Rabid Cat are essential.

Moscow was their first release on vinyl, and it wastes no time getting down and getting loud. Kicking off with “This Country”  and keeping it at 11 all the way through “The Enemy,” “Taking Away Your Rights,” and the title track (check out that guitar riff!). It never lets up for a second! The guitars roar and snarl, and the vocals match. The bass is heavy and dark, while the drums are surprisingly catchy, despite the speedy tempos. I remember the day I got this and listening to it over and over, and my friend Dallas coming over and we cranked it until my mom pulled up in the drive way. There’s a reason we adorned our clothes with their name, and copped the art from Rusty Short to put on the back of our jackets and Oxford button up shirts. Timeless music right here. 

Artcore fanzine fortunately rereleased Moscow, remastered from the original tapes. The sound is more full, and somewhat heavier than on the previous pressing(s). The packaging is pretty sweet as well, with a history of the band, some flyer art and photos, as well as lyrics and the back cover art for the original Unclean pressing included (though slightly altered). It’s part of issue 40, which includes interviews with Strike Anywhere, The Chisel, Vicious Dreams, and Septic Death, Jawbreaker, and Iconoclast in the Vaultage section. You gotta get this by all means.  (MA)

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Justin Dratson:JD Nate Wilson:NW  Matt Average:MA

ADDICTIVE • Kick ‘Em Hard 2xCD

ADDICTIVE • Kick ‘Em Hard CDx2

(Tribunal Records/Divebomb Records, 2013)

Late last year from Shadow Kingdom Records in Ohio, I picked up a copy of the Tribunal Records/Divebomb Records 2013 two-CD reissue of two late-’80s/early-’90s thrash metal albums—and more!—from the band Addictive in Sydney, Australia.

Despite some slightly goofy cover art by Oxx (AKA Simon Cooper) that’s slightly reminiscent of Adam Siegel’s Infectious Grooves lizards, the two records and assorted bonus tracks shine spotlight on a metal scene and band I have never heard or thought about before. Not that I’m fully well versed in all things international metal—my knowledge of Australian rock was pretty much limited to INXS, Midnight Oil, and the Hard-Ons before listening to this double CD—but the ‘80s Sydney metal scene is a scene with a history worth exploring. So explore I did. 

The two-CD reissue includes Addictive’s 1988 five-song demo, Ward 74; 1989 album, Pity of Man; and the delayed 1993 album, Kick ‘Em Hard (perhaps a riff on Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All); as well as an unreleased cover of “Crazy Train”—Kick ‘Em Hard producer Bob Daisley co-wrote “Crazy Train” with Ozzy Osbourne and Randy Rhoads—a 1990 demo of one of the first songs the band ever wrote; and the 1995-96 demo of a song intended for an unreleased third album.

Interestingly, the CD set leads with Kick ‘Em Hard, a 1991 recording finally released in 1993 after 18 months of delay—and after the band’s heyday was perhaps over and done. While an able effort, it is the 1988 demo and 1989 album that make the CD worth checking out. Both are excellent local examples of late ‘80s thrash and hint at what must have been an interesting—and very fun—time for metal in Sydney. There are definitely discernible influences in the music, particularly Metallica and Megadeth (which shouldn’t come as a surprise; Greg Smith’s vocals at times remind this listener of James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine), but other influences can be gleaned from the T-shirts worn by band members in photographs featured in the insert. Such bands include Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Metallica (natch!), Sacred Reich, S.O.D., Def Leppard, Cycle Sluts from Hell, Destruction, the Australian band Slaughter Lord—also from Sydney—and the underground comix character Mickey Rat.

Local record store Utopia Import Records—opened in 1978 by record collector John Cotter, and still active today—served somewhat as an epicenter for Sydney metalheads because the shop imported most of the NWOBHM and similar metal that inspired the Sydney scene. Bands active at the time included Detriment, Mortal Sin, Fester Fanatics, Massive Appendage, the Hard-Ons, the Melbourne-based Hobbs Angel of Death, and others. Shows occurred at local venues such as the Seven Hills Inn, Lewisham Haunted Castle, Kardomah, Springfields, Penshurst Den, Marquee, and Sutherland Royal. Mortal Sin might have been the biggest metal band to emerge from the scene, opening for Metallica in 1989 during the Damaged Justice tour and featured in Australian metal magazine Hot Metal, as well as the British magazines Kerrang! and Metal Hammer. Addictive, in turn, toured with Mortal Sin multiple times and rehearsed at the same studio—earning its own coverage in Hot Metal.

Four band members recorded Addictive’s demo and first album—Joe Buttigieg, Matt Coffey, Smith, and Mick Sultana—and Coffey left after Pity of Man to be replaced by Steve Moore for the 1991/1993 album. Both recorded at Sound Barrier Studios in Sydney, Ward 74 and Pity of Man are excellent recordings—and the highlight of this release. The demo—released in two pressings of 500, one hand labeled—featured cover art by Oxx depicting two healthcare workers and a long-haired, straitjacketed patient. A sign states, “You are now leaving Ward 74. Have a nice day.” One of the two workers says, “Why do you spose he keeps tryin’ to escape, Doc?” The doctor responds, “Beats the shit out of me, orderly. I love this place!” The original Survival issue of the Pity of Man LP featured a fantastic painted cover by John Marten depicting a robot dropping people into a giant hourglass as a woman consults a glowing orb in the distance on a desert planet. (The people might even turn into worms at the bottom of the hourglass; email Bad Transfer and let us know what you think is going on!) Despite deprecating comments in Vlad Nowajczyk’s interview with the band in the CD’s liner notes, the songs—and sound—are awesome.

Lyrical content and song themes on Pity of Man addresses conformity and control, the End Times, ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect, the Holocaust, mental institutions, parental expectations, alcoholism, and the threat of nuclear war. The instrumental introduction to the song “Come Before the Storm” is wonderfully energetic, and “The Forge”—ending the first side of the album—is itself a worthy instrumental. All five songs on the Ward 74 demo were rerecorded and included on Pity of Man.

Based on enthusiastic response to the demo and first album, later reissued on CD with new, less interesting cover art at the behest of the European distributor, the band’s second album—Kick ‘Em Hard—was fully intended to help Addictive join the ranks of Mortal Sin in terms of international attention. Mortal Sin even name dropped Addictive in a Hot Metal article, and Addictive opened for Motorhead in June 1991 at Hordern Pavilion as part of the Legendary Muthas of Metal Australian Invasion, or MetalFest, as part of Motorhead’s 1916 tour.

To produce Kick ‘Em Hard, the band enlisted Bob Daisley, an Australian musician who played with Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Uriah Heep, and other notable bands. Daisley’s songwriting credits with Ozzy Osbourne would later be the impetus for a dismissed lawsuit seeking back royalties. A video of the band playing the song “Crazy Train” with Daisley is available on YouTube. The resulting album, however, was delayed for 18 months, arguably causing the band to miss its window of opportunity for wider spread attention and success because of mysteriously missing master tapes. The tapes might have been taken to the United States by an engineer—on the encouragement of the band’s management—in search of a better recording contract. (Absconding with those tapes also led to legal action.)

With its higher production values, Kick ‘Em Hard is more polished and professional, which—though fun—isn’t always necessary. The differences between Pity of Man and its successor are as stark as the differences between the ‘80s and the ‘90s. Being recorded in 1991 and not released until 1993, the second album sits at the cusp of the decade, serving as a bridge between the two. And the band is in fine fettle. Perhaps slightly more Megadeth-like now than Metallica—Smith’s vocals are a little more pronounced and affected—the band’s technical chops are also more polished. 

Song content on Kick ‘Em Hard addresses societal injustice, personal strength, medical experimentation, the environmental impact of overpopulation, addiction, uncertainty, military action and natural disasters, suicide, and relationships gone wrong.

After Addictive folded, Buttigieg and Sultana eventually joined Mortal Sin, and Moore joined Dungeon and played in other projects, including Dark Order, Enticer, Ilium, Redeemer, and Vaticide. Oddly, vocalist and bassist Greg Smith, the front man of the band, was not included in Nowajczyk’s interview. Where is he now? What is he doing? Despite Moore’s extensive band lineage, Smith seems to be the driving force behind Addictive—even if band members shared songwriting credits. (That might not at all be the case, but if any readers know where he ended up, I’m curious. I’m especially curious who wrote the lyrics.)

The band’s artist, Oxx, is also interesting creatively—and seems to have been a lynchpin in the Sydney metal scene. An artist and musician, Oxx drew cover, flier, and poster art for multiple bands, including Cruciform, Dearly Beheaded, and Fester Fanatics. He also frequently contributed artwork to Hot Metal and played drums in multiple bands, including Fester Fanatics and Massive Appendage. He was profiled after his death in Unbelievably Bad #10.

All in all, this is a wonderful archival release by a little-known (outside of Australia) band that could have been bigger globally, perhaps, had the timing of the release of their second album been better. As it is, we have labels like Tribunal and Divebomb—and fans such as Nowajczyk—to help bring bands like this increased attention, even if well after their most active days. 

I find that kind of fan archive activism… addictive. (HR)

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Justin Dratson: JD Nate Wilson: NW Matt Average: MA Heath Row: HR

THE MAN FROM HONG KONG (1975)

The Man from Hong Kong, aka, The Dragon Files

1975, Australia

Starring: Jimmy Wang Yu (Inspector Fang Sing Leng), George Lazenby (Jack Wilton), Hugh Keays-Byrne (Morrie Grosse), Roger Ward (Bob Taylor), Sammo Kam-Bo Hung (Win Chan)

Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith

Viewed: Streaming

Transfer Quality: Excellent transfer!

Don’t worry about what he might have said.

Don’t worry about gathering evidence..

Aww, no man…just POW!

I was all geared up to review the killer soundtrack for this, but then my damn amplifier conked out. Can’t do a proper review listening to a YouTube rip, so I decided it was a good excuse for a re-watch and review of the actual film.

Ozploitation meets Golden Harvest in this perfect marriage of unbridled action and absurdity from Dir. Brian Trenchard-Smith of Turkeyshoot and BMX Bandits fame. You certainly know you’re in for a wild ride when a two-pronged chase scene breaks out before the opening credits even roll. On the one side, drug smuggler Win Chan’s (Sammo Hung) bellbottoms are flying in hi-karate action as a narc pursues him to the top of Australia’s Uluru. On the other, a motorized chase between a helicopter and car ending in a massive explosion and the untimely demise of bad guy #2.

Enter kung fu legend Jimmy Wang Yu (One Armed Swordsman, Master of the Flying Guillotine) as inspector Fang Sing Leng—imagine Henry Silva, but Asian and with other-level martial arts skills—to extradite Win Chan to Hong Kong for justice. However, Chan is soon taken out by a sniper, and the Aussie narcs (who you’ll recognize as Mad Max’s Fifi, Roger Ward, and the Toecutter, Hugh Keays-Byrne) can’t keep a leash on the titular man from Hong Kong. It’s no slow, all go for the inspector as he mows down countless henchmen to get to the man behind it all, Jack Wilton, who kind of looks a bit like Dennis Parker in his prime.  The inspector is not just a fighter, though, he’s a lover too, with an array of uncomfortable gettin’ it on scenes to prove it.

To say this is an action movie is an understatement as it’s almost impossible to stay on top of all the car chases, kung fu battles, deep tongue lashes, and explosion after explosion after explosion. Although Sammo Hung’s character is offed pretty early in the film, he makes his indelible mark behind the scenes as the martial arts choreographer here. His top-shelf action really has an impact, as most Western movies tend to go a little soft in the kung fu department.

Legend has it that producers dropped 20% of the film’s budget on the rights to use Jigsaw’s Sky High as the theme song, but that’s a story I’ll save for when I get my amp up and running again.

In the meantime, don’t shy away from this classic…even if you have to drop $1.99 to watch it streaming.

(DC)