PLAIN JANE AND THE JOKES “THE JOKE’S ON YOU!” 8-SONG 12″EP
(NORTHERN CALIFORNIA- SICK SOUND, 1981)
Here is a rather rare one from a post-Insults band- the guitarist was Richard B. Shively (aka “Richard Sikk”) from the Insults, along with his wife Deborah on vocals. It is also on the same label as the 2nd Insults record, which was the snot”Stiff Love” 3-song EP (which you can check out here on the always great KBD Records site).
Of course there is also a bass player and drummer in Plain Jane and The Jokes, but I don’t know who they are since I only possess rips of this rarity instead of a vinyl copy so I can’t check the credits on the back of the sleeve or anything. Perhaps it was the other ex-Insults (?). If you happen to know this, or any other information about Plain Jane and The Jokes, please post some comments.
If you are familiar with and a fan of both great Insults 7″s from 1979, you will definitely recognize the similar guitar sounds emanating from Mr. Shively’s instrument. But while both Insults records were full of wild, off kilter guitar noodling, the playing on this Plain Jane record is a bit more restrained me thinks. They do cover the Insults’ “Zombie Lover” (the B-side of their 1st 7″) but I prefer the original over this redone version. There are also two other covers, a funny short one of the Velvet Underground’s long opus “What Goes On” as well as one of the first punk cover songs, that of the Dils’ immortal “Class War”. Funny cover there, full of sloppy playing and the singer chanting “You asshole, you asshole, you asshole” at the end. Kind of lightens the mood of the serious and overtly political original if you ask me. [Speaking of the Dils, I think THEIR live cover of “What Goes On” (see the “What Stuff” comp) was very moody and much better. But I digress…] Plain Jane was “rediscovered” when their version of “Class War” was included on the beloved Bloodstains Across California comp way back in 1993. And that probably set off a fire storm of sorts amongst collector scum and sent the price skyrocketing after it languished it dollar bins for 12 years before that. But such is the nature of record collecting, eh.
Probably my favorite song on this pretty good 12″ is the last one, “I Hate”, which- given that they play three other cover songs- you may assume is a cover of White Boy’s killer 1978 song of the same name (from the mostly-great “:30 Over DC” comp LP which, incidentally, was reissued by Henry Rollins’ 2.13.61 label a few years back). But Plain Jane’s “I Hate” it is an original, uh, “composition” as are the first four tracks. This 12″ is definitely not one of my favorite records but overall it’s a fun, somewhat sloppy record that is definitely worth a few spins. The vocals are bit monotone and Deborah really can’t sing all too well but I think that adds to the charm of this disc. Thought I’d post it because I haven’t seen it on any of the other 3,000 punk music blogs currently out there.
I Got Fired
What Goes On