KRIS METHE AND THE MISTAKES “THE SUSPECT” 3-SONG 7″EP (ATLANTA, GA- BOMBAY, 1982)
I don’t have a vinyl copy of this rarity so I had to borrow this
picture of the sleeve and vinyl from Popsike, so ‘scuse the eBay
picture logo stamped in the lower right-hand corner
Here is a GREAT 3-songer without a hint of hardcore in it, even though it came out in one of the “latter years” of the KBD era when HC was beginning to dominate the land and bands who played in a straight-ahead punk style were quickly disappearing. First thing I like about the band is the name- I love band clever band names with an “and” in it that links together two related concepts: Kris Methe and the Mistakes, Gang Green and the Amputators (LOL!), Ebenezer and the Bludgeons, Jack and the Rippers, Dad and the Boys, Jack Tragic and the Unfortunates, Johnny Vomit and the Dry Heaves, Jackie Shark and the Beach Butchers, etc.
Anyway, Kris Methe were from the Atlanta area and Atlanta- and Georgia in general- is one of these areas that did not spawn a lot of records during the ’77-’83 KBD era (see also other cities like St. Louis). The Collector Scum discography only lists about a dozen (!) records from late 70’s/early 80’s, pre-HC, non-“college rock” Georgia and that’s a pretty small number of discs. And, judging from the Collector Scum reviews, ’bout half of em sound like snores to me. Perhaps there were more good bands but none of them released a record (?). From this very small pool of discs, though, I have some songs in my personal Top 250 like DDT’s psych-punk monster I’m Walking Down The Psychopath (from 1983, no less!) and the Swimming Pool Q’s raunchy, quirky, stupendous Rat Bait (but only the 7″ version from ’79, NOT the re-recorded 1981 LP version!).
I’m getting off topic like I always do, so back to the Kris Methe EP as I am trying to make this a relative short posting. I think they got it right on all three songs (which we all know is a feat for some of these here KBD records)- the two songs on the B-side, “Autopsy” and “Celebreakdown”, are very catchy and hummable but pack a wallop and are still driving (a rare combination sometimes). When I talked about Autopsy in my Hooked on Junk posting last August I even called it “bouncy”- that melody lures me in during the first few seconds. I’m not sure what the lyrics about, maybe I am missing some obvious movie reference or something, but with them talking about an android getting an autopsy, “They mean it, man!” like when they passionately say “Examination…ON THE TABLE!!!”. And dig the faux Brit accent. There are many U.S. punk songs with fake British accents (see Pagans’ What This Shit Called Love for one) but rarely from the Southerners, who ALREADY have a distinct accent from the rest of the U.S.
Anyway, the more I listen to this record I’m torn as to whether Autopsy or Celebreakdown is my favorite track on the EP. Both have great guitar work, especially Autopsy, and it has some nice growl to it but Celebreakdown has these great freakouts during the breaks that jump right out at ya. Please also note the very tight drumming on Autopsy which is one of the highlights for me- no sloppy stick work there! All that drumming practice paid off when it came time to go into the recording studio, eh. The song on the A-side, “Suspect” has a long lead in and is slower and moodier (and longer- clocking in at the non-Peter-approved length of 4:00! Horror!). But at the 1:00 minute mark those drums kick in and I’m happy. Great bass plucking on “Suspect” and a degree of snottiness to the vocals too, which is nice. For my ears, the playing is KIND of thug punk-ish which is always a plus.
Now, onto to the stamp collector details so get out your magnifying glass and a notepad and make sure you adjust those horn rim glasses on your nose. The band name of the sleeve (which is very rare by the way- check out this 2008 eBay auction with hammered vinyl) says Kris Methe and The Mistakes but the disc labels just say The Suspex. Kris Methe’s MySpace page lists all the band members and you can see that there were some lineup changes that went along with the band’s name change, but the site does not have a detailed history of the band or anything which disappoints people like me who crave all of these details. Like, when did they change their name? Why? Why did certain members leave the band? Why’d ya break up? What you do get from the band’s page- which is nice- are streams (not downloads) of three unreleased songs from back in the day. All of them have rough sound quality and are played in a similar vein to the songs on their record but I’d have to say they smartly picked which songs went on the EP. Apparently the band played a handful of reunion shows in late 2008 and early 2009 in Atlanta which is interesting. On the band page you also get to see a number of vintage pictures of the band (chuckle at some of the early 80’s outfits and hairdos), some recent pics of the band, some cool old flyers and several videos from the semi-recent reunion show. If you know more about Kris Methe, pressing quantities of the EP or even want to give me a free spare copy with sleeve post some comments.
Many thanks to blog commenter Aaron for hooking me up with these clean, upgraded rips!