Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Richards-Demos

Around 1994, a punk band called the Phuckers started playing shows in Joplin. They were somewhat lacking in technical ability, but their vocalist Dan managed to hide this fact with his incredibly energetic stage act. Imagine Jello Biafra on speed. They eventually got a new bass player, changed their name to the Richards, and greatly improved their playing and songwriting. They recorded three demo tapes of varying quality during their existence as a band. The tracks here are taken from two of those, both recorded in 1995. The first five tracks are from a recording originally included on the “A Boy and His 4-Track” tape compilation, while the final two come from the “Lets Go to Michigan” demo tape released by the Joplin-based label Reality Impaired. While music recordings cannot fully capture the intensity of the band, there are some really great songs here: “120 Seconds” is a deft parody of the then-popular MTV program 120 Minutes, “Loretta” describes the late-night antics that often occurred at the Joplin Denny’s, and “Conform or Die” has to me always perfectly encapsulated the desire of young punks to maintain their individuality in the face of the stifling cultural wasteland of small town America. Three of the four members of the band later went on to form U$MC, in which the insanity of the Richards was transformed into a razor-sharp punk maelstrom.

1. 120 Seconds
2. Loretta
3. Conform or Die
4. No More Room
5. Let’s Go to Michigan
6. Cops
7. She’s an Idiot