DRIVERS "JOHNNY'S DYING / I'M NO MORON" 7"
(SANTA CRUZ, CA- OVERDRIVE, 1980)
3D- whoa! Er, this homemade sleeve looks pretty dated to me. However,
I would still love to have a vinyl copy of this record for cheap
instead of this price point. Both sides of this 7" were included on a
regional comp LP called Surf City Undergound, so the budget-minded can
hear them on vinyl that way.
I had heard of this record about a year ago but never actually heard what it sounded like until a few weeks ago, so many thanks to the blog commenter who provided these rips!
The oceanside cities outside of San Francisco, like Santa Cruz, are not really known for a lot of KBD-ish type over-the-top, frothing-mad records, save OF COURSE the snotty Insults who were from nearby Watsonville. Perhaps the proximity to the beach and a mellow lifestyle but, more importantly, a hippie-friendly environment in Santa Cruz precluded this lean towards quirky new wave in other bands from the same area. [For skate fans, of course there was/is Santa Cruz Skateboards which- from the late 70's through the early 90's- was branded as THE skate punk company. The ubiquitous Santa Cruz red dot logo shirt can be seen in many a picture from early 80's punk shows. But I won't get started on Santa Cruz the skate company and Steve Olson, Duane Peters, Jason Jessee, Tom Knox et al...]
Anyway, I think this Drivers 7" is very good- for me, the highlight is "Johnny's Dying". The guitar on it is very LOUD and in your face and begs to be cranked up. The playing on it is very tight and "professional" like this trio really knew how to play their instruments- check out that tight, rapid-fire drumming too. I have gotten so used to sloppy playing over the years on many of my favorite records, that bands like The Drivers almost sound TOO professional, too polished, too tight. But they pull it off nicely, including that tinnitus guitar solo, and wrap things up before the 2:42 mark, only 6 seconds past the "no songs over 2:36" rule. And it's got a rather tense quality underlying it which is always a good thing for me. Had the Hyped To Death CD comp series way back when made it to a volume dedicated to the letter D then I could see "Johnny's Dying" fitting nicely on it.
The B-side is a little goofier with the vocals and less serious and leans towards "new wave punk", but has a nice, in-your-face guitar solo that jumps out at the 1:09 mark. There is also some nice "chugga chugga" guitar in the beginning too. And things are over by the 1:37 mark- now IF it had lingered on much longer than I might have filed it under "annoying B-sides".
Im No Moron.mp3
Here is the band (l to r): Kevin Loose (guitar and vocals), Michael Litton (drums) and Dan Waller (bass). According to this site, the drummer also joined the hardcore band Scapegoats in the Fall of '81. Their song "Shitcan" appeared on MRR's iconic 1982's Not So Quiet on The Western Front double LP comp, and they also had a few songs on Version Sound's Meathouse cassette comp around that same time. But please know that Mr. Litton drummed for the Scapegoats AFTER their appearance on the MRR comp- thanks to the blog commenter who pointed this out.