SCRAPS “GOSSIP / STRIKE THREE” 7″ (CHICAGO, IL- SCRAPS RECORDS, RECORDED 1980 / RELEASED 1981)
CHICAGO AREA SERIES, PART 3
Band members (in no order related to the above picture) were
Pat Deane (vocals); Glenn Miller (guitar); Joe Minor (guitar);
Greg Malick (bass) and Rob Martin (drums).The shirt on the far right
is time appropriate for 1981, for sure. The blond helmet haircut
(second from right) was also a hot look back then (I had one back then
for too many years!). I make jokes but last year on eBay two sleeved
copies sold for some coin- one for over $400 and another for over $500(!)
The hand-scrawled style band logo looks rather punk, though, and reminds
me of similarly written ones like the Teen Idles, even though they were
worlds apart musically of course.
Here are the handstamped labels. Bet that took some time!
I am impartial to handstamped labels, ahd they are a favorite
of mine right next to silkscreend sleeves.
Scraps were not a punk band, but they fucking nailed it with some great punk n’ roll with “Strike Three”. The flipside, “Gossip”, ain’t bad either and has grown on my over time even though it’s a little too “rock” for my general tastes and preferences. For me, what makes a good punk n’ roll song is the ability to successfully ride the precarious fence sometimes between punk and rock. Some other bands’ songs stray too far on the rock side and bomb in my opinion. Some songs, like “Strike Three”, properly mix and best of the two worlds and produce a classic, catchy ditty. The “rock” part of the equation comes out clear with the riffage that pops up, like at the 1:22 second mark of the song where I kinda picture the guitarist doing windmills. But then the punk part comes out clear for me through the whole song with the nice and very catchy “dinka dinka dinka” guitar hooks and near the end (the 2:09 mark) where the singer growls “And you’re out!”. Creative lyrical concept, too, with the whole baseball analogy- she gets three chances and then she’s outta there!! And the length is EXACTLY 2:36, which follows Peter’s punk-song-length rule to a tee!
How the Scraps 7″ became so damn rare and expensive is unclear to me. I know that it was pressed on their own label and, as we all know, typically records pressed on a band’s own label are maybe 2,000 copies max but usually in the range of 500 to 1,000 copies. So it’s not like it was a micro pressing of only 100 copies or something, unless all copies were intended as business cards/promo copies for radio stations. Scraps appeared to be a band who wanted to kinda “make it” in the rock world so I am guessing that they pressed as many copies as they could of their 7”. Is there some dramatic story as to why copies are so hard to find, like a fire or flood or a symbolic tossing into a body of water?? You tell me. I- and many others- discovered Scraps in 2000 when “Strike Three” was included on Chuck Warner’s fine Hyped To Death #2 comp. That no doubt created a fair amount of demand for copies, but did that alone drive the record up to the $400 or $500 price range??
From some info I found on the internet, the band was around between 1979 and 1982 and were possibly based out of the city limits of Chicago instead of the ‘burbs. They left the Midwest for a while and ended up being based out of Hawaii for a while (!?). They sometimes played at a place called Haywire’s (formerly known as Harlow’s) which was located at 80th and Cicero on Chicago’s Southwest side. Scraps also released the “Hits!!! / Temporary Love” 12” in 1981, again on their own Scraps label. It sounds very different than their 7”, and personally made me gnash my teeth, but if you’re curious to hear it you can download it at the band’s official site, along with some unreleased tracks.
Before Scraps, some members were in some bands called Ants and also Quarry both of which I have never heard of, or heard anything by (and both of which have un-Googleable band names!). With a name like “Quarry”, though, sounds like they were a straight-ahead “rock” band, har har. After Scraps broke up, drummer Rob Martin was in a band called Wrong Boys.
Scraps also had a track called “New Robots” on the Chicago Rocks II live compilation LP that was recorded in August of 1981 (and then probably released in late ’81 or early ’82). The track is too rock for my tastes and veers in some heavy metal-ish territory which is not for me either (nor is most of the LP, although the artsy Bohemia are on it as are, curiously enough, the Spitballs who released a rare kinda punk-ish 7″ in 1982). The Scraps tune can also be downloaded on the band’s official site if you are curious to hear it though. What is more interesting to me than the music on the comp is the snapshot its picture sleeve provides of “old Chicago”. See, the LP was recorded during this thing called “Rock Around The Dock” was part of the huge 500,000-person strong Chicagofest which was a precursor of sorts to modern day Taste of Chicago. It was held at the old run down, pre-renovation, pre-tourist trap Navy Pier on August 3rd and 4th of 1981 and the sleeve pictures shows some pictures of the pier in all of its rundown, er, glory. The bands literally played on a dock that was in the water at the far Southeastern end of Navy Pier. The event was sponsored by The Chicago Tribune and the dreaded Loop FM 98 radio station. If you’ve watched the great You Weren’t There documentary, you know that The Loop was symbolic to many early 80’s Chicago punks of lunkhead, ass-kicking punk haters who wore black T-shirts with the corny station logo on it.