Poison Idea – Darby Crash Rides Again: The Early Years
Released by: Southern Lord
Released on: January 30, 2012.
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It’s hard to believe that seminal Portland, Oregon hardcore band Poison Idea have been around for thirty years now – a fact sure to make some of us who have been following them for a while now feel pretty old – but it’s true. If they never got the respect of their peers, bands like Minor Threat and SOA on the east coast, they’ve never the less completely earned the following they’ve amassed over the years. With that in mind, it makes good sense for Southern Lord to delve deep as far back as they can into the PI catalogue to kick off their series of Poison Idea reissues with the material found on this, the first CD in the run.
What will instantly make this material of interest to long time fans is the fact that a lot of it has been out-of-print for ages, some of it never having been released at all (not officially, at least). On top of that, however, there’s the fact that each and every one of the twenty-nine tracks on the disc have been re-mastered from the original tapes by Jack Control at Enormous Door Mastering – and they sound great, the fruits of Mr. Control’s labors obvious to anyone with a functioning pair of ears attached to their noggin.
The CD kicks off with the Boner’s Kitchen demo, recorded rather primitively in 1981 and then offers up the Darby Crash Rides Again demo, which the band released on their own in 1982. From there, the entire unedited live-to-air performance from a KBOO radio benefit, held in 1983, plays out and the disc then closes with a collection of outtakes from the Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes recording session. As to how this stuff holds up today, it’s interesting to hear the band evolve over the roughly two year period during which these recordings were made. The Boner’s Kitchen demo plays as one long multi-song take, complete with band banter between songs and presents a very rough group still learning to function as unit, while the later material gives a more cohesive sound to the music without sacrificing any of the anger or intensity for which Poison Idea became known. The KBOO material is more humorous, not because the band doesn’t play well – they do – but because in between songs we get oddball pledge requests not to mention a cover of Hawkwind’s Motorhead. By the time we get to the Record Collectors sessions, there’s a bit more control to the chaos, with Poison Idea having shed some of the sounds their influences delivered and finding their niche. The upgrade in sound quality over previous issues of this material (when it was available) is obvious to anyone who has heard this material before and this, coupled with the never before released material, makes this pretty much an essential purchase for anyone with an interest in the band or eighties hardcore in general.
If twenty-nine tracks of blistering and completely fierce punk rock weren’t enough, inside the keepcase for this release is a nice little booklet contains liner notes that detail the early years of the band and detail how Jerry A. came to start Poison Idea. Additionally, Jerry himself provides some notes on when and where these recordings were made, providing some interesting facts about each session. Some very cool old flyers and photos from the band’s archives are also included inside the booklet – which rounds out this package very nicely.
While Tom ‘Pig Champion’ Roberts passed away in 2006, the same year the bands last album ‘Latest Will And Testament’ was released and drummer Steve "Thee Slayer Hippy" Hanford was arrested for robbing some pharmacies in Oregon two years later, Jerry A. has more or less managed to keep Poison Idea going. With some recent shows having been played on the west coast with NOFX and the Southern Lord reissues series now officially in full swing, hopefully more of that out of print material will resurface and the band will find their place alongside other equally influential, if better known, hardcore acts like Black Flag.
The complete track listing for this release is as follows:
Boner’s Kitchen Demo:
01 – Theme / 02 – Poser / 03 – Death Pact / 04 – Swallow It / 05 – New Right / 06 – Give It Up
Darby Crash Rides Again Demo:
07 – Give It Up / 08 – This Thing Called Progress/In My Headache / 09 – M.I.A. / 10 – Think Twice / Bounce the Rubble / 12 – All Right / 13 – Underage / 14 – Castration / 15 – Pure Hate /
16 – Young Lord
Live On KBOO:
17 – Typical / 18 – Legalize Freedom / 19 – Spy / 20 – Motorhead / 21 – (I Hate) Reggae / 22 – Think Fast / 23 – Ugly American / 24 – Bounce the Rubble/All Right / 25 – Rich Get Richer / 26 – Pure Hate / 27 – Thorn In My Side
Record Collectors Are Pretentious Assholes Outtakes:
28 – Town Hall / 29 – Motorhead