Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday Night Violence: Spazz

Up there with the rest of the guys, Spazz made their name known through the 90's as one of the best, most endearing and important power violence bands. If Infest, Capitalist Causalities, and Dropdead were a bit too serious for you and all you wanted to do was skate and talk about kung-fun movies, Spazz was, and still is, there for you.

Started in 1992, Spazz quickly set out to record numerous splits and EPs as well as a handful of LPs in the short span of a few years.Beyond the actual band, drummer Max Ward's 625 Thrash as well as bassist Chris Dodge's Slap-a-Ham record labels became two of the best, and most important labels for the burgeoning hardcore/power violence scene (and very relevant today as harboring some of the best and rarest releases around). Beyond the history, the band never slacked on quality and consistently released energetic, fun, and spontaneous music.

Like the previously mentioned bands Spazz were an act that helped define the genre and scene that had come about. Beyond that, Spazz developed their sound to embody the up-beat nature of the 80's Californian skate punks that became lost as power violence moved towards the heavier and more serious realms of things. This isn't to impose absolutes, or define quality, but rather to say, in the end, that Spazz found a special place in my heart (and no doubt others) with their goofy brand of skate punk influenced power violence.

Of course Assholeparade comes to mind, as does Charles Bronson when Spazz's style is called into analysis, but no band nailed it as perfectly as our favorite movie quoting West Coasters whose penchant for hip-hop and skate culture mixed with kung-fu movies and an unending sense of humor and aggression made the band perfect for all occasions. Crush, Kill, Destroy is infallible as it has the perfect mixture of inane 90's anti-gangster PSAs, one of my favorite vocal ensembles and some completely ripping music that is as brief as it is attention grabbing and fun. "Let's fucking go" is an inside joke of sorts as it sample's Man is the Fatherless Son's song "H.S.M.P," and goes on to be better than anything the band without a father has done.  And while sometimes innumerable amounts of samples becomes a distraction from the music, Spazz never fell prey to this as they had you laughing right into a severe case of whiplash only to find yourself still smiling and excited for more.

The employment of random instruments, whether sampled or not, offers a complete curve ball in the silly mess that is Spazz. "Turnbuckle Trechary" has big bandeqsue horn, bob up and down out of no where.

The humor isn't just limited to the nonsensical song titles, boss samples from anything from The Simpsons and Airplane!, to obscure black metal bands, melodramatic public service announcements and nearly everything in between, but also the Barneyesque bellowing yells and the playful compositions and dramatic shifts in individual songs that can be found throughout their discography. Few bands possessed the ability to instill a sense of invigorating energy and humor without getting tired and trite.

For a band that's not so serious, I shouldn't be either. I fucking love this band for their consistency and movie taste.

"Billy... have you ever been in a Turkish prison?" 

My goal in life is to write an accompaniment to Spazz's discography that highlights the material sampled. One day...

Essential Listening
Crush, Kill, Destroy
Possessed to Skate Compilation
La Revancha
Sweatin' to Oldies Compilation


Arekusu said...

Great post!
I just got hit with some old school powerviolence knowledge.

Shanetera said...

You forgot to mention Max Ward played drums for Hirax, that's where the Katon De Pena references come in!
But Spazz fucking rules. I love "Let's Go"!

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