DEPROGRAMMER s/t LP (LOS ANGELES, CA- MYSTIC RECORDS, 1982)
The inspiration for this posting came after KBD Records posted the 2nd of two Deprogrammer 7″s, the semi-good “Instant Passion” 7″.
I saw “semi-good” because I cannot get into the slower, rockier, moodier flipside on that record, “80-81”. This points to a bigger fact that, overall, Deprogrammer is a mixed bag for me quality-wise. I have never heard their first record, the very rare “Discipline” 3-song EP, so I cannot vouch for the quality of that one. But for what I have heard I say “mixed bag” ‘cuz Deprogrammer leans too much towards the rock part of “punk rock” for me. I cannot call them a “punk n’ roll” band- a style I usually get into– because, to me, that term means that you lean more towards the punk side than the rock side of the fence and I do not think Deprogrammer accomplishes that specific mixture. Not that they strived to in the first place.
Anyway, on this, their only LP (and their last of 3 records), which was released on the (in)famous Mystic Records label, they churn out 3 good songs for my ears. The rest of the tunes plod along and during those, I lose my interest and my mind begins to wander so I am not posting the whole LP. Plus the style of the singer is not really my cup of tea and kind of annoys me after a while, to be honest. The great Texas Punk Discography had me intrigued for the last 10 years since someone on that site called the LP “great guitarpunk chugs, nicely influenced by the Avengers and Flesheaters”. Ummmmm, I guess we all hear different things in records, ya know, cuz the best Avengers or Flesheaters songs I know sound a lot better than what this LP has to offer. But maybe that’s just ME.
I will get on a more positive vibe here and tell you why I like the 3 songs that I do on this here record. The leadoff track, “Heroine”, is a fine choice to start the record- it’s a slow grinder with the ‘ol double entendre that is a thinly veiled homage to smack, dope, Lady Junk, whatever you want to call it. With such a lovingly sang ballad were these dudes really junkies or just singing wanna-be “junk rock”? Someone who was around back then post some comments and let me know. The next song I posted, “Denmark”, is a catchy ditty that is rather hummable. But my favorite song on the LP is the last one I posted, “No Way”, which leads off Side 2. It’s a rather tense affair with some great guitar work, nice punchy drumming and some neat tempo changes, especially at the 1:52 mark- great! “Denmark” has the “punk-friendly” length of 2 minutes- the other two are- gasp!– about 4 minutes long each which is way longer than I usually tolerate but I like em both for some reason.
If you want to hear the whole LP, search eBay- I found my copy on eBay for just under $15 last Fall so it won’t dent your pocketbook too much. I mean, the sleeve on my copy is a little beat up (as you can see in the above photos) but the vinyl was extremely clean. The sleeve is rather thick cardboard and the artwork is just plain and Spartan and kinda blah. The budget-minded vibe continues on the back of the sleeve where the lyrics to all songs are printed so no separate insert had to be pressed up. And the labels are in the “classic” Mystic style- flat-looking black and white with just the band logo and, of course, the Mystic logo we all know and love. Perhaps the plainness of the sleeve caused it to be overlooked by the record buying public and caused it to fade into obscurity. I mean, damn, with a better looking sleeve more people mighta picked this thing up in 1982. There were a lotta records out that year, a lot of which had much cooler sleeves that jumped out at ya.
Like I mentioned before, Deprogrammer was listed in the Texas Punk Discography but they were really Texas folks who transplanted to California- I think the only record they released while based in Texas was their 1st EP from 1980 (which, again, I have yet to hear) on the band’s At Last label. Their 2nd release, the “Instant Passion” 7″ from 1981, was on the same label but the address is in Los Angeles. The story is that all band members were- except for San Diegoan and singer Richard Scott (aka Scott Shannon)- from Garland, TX which is just outside of Dallas, home of many great late 70’s punk bands. Deprogrammer moved to L.A. after the “big” record deal with Mystic and sometime after the “Instant Passion” 7″ they went from a 4 piece to a 5 piece with the addition of rhythm guitarist Jim Littleton. Er, considering that this LP was the band’s last release we can only guess that things did not work out so well with old Doug Moody’s Mystic label. I am curious to know more, so maybe someone from the band will post some comments and tell more firsthand stories of what led to the demise of the band- was frustration? Was it smack? Was it your Mom? Inquiring minds would like to know this (and an estimate of how many copies of the LP were pressed).