MIDWAY “UP THE REBELS / MUM AND DAD AND KNIVES” 7″
(SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA- OWN LABEL, 1981)
Well, here’s an obscure one. It’s nice to know in 2009, more than 20 years after the first Killed By Death comp came out, that there are still some unknown records turning up. So it’s great to know that every stone has not been overturned yet, which of course begs the question “What other records are waiting to be unearthed?”. There’s gotta be some more. There is no mention of this Midway 7″ in the great Volume 3 Discography of American Punk on the equally great Collector Scum site. From all accounts, this 7″ never came with a picture sleeve (my copy doesn’t) so I know next to nothing about the band (and I cannot comment on their looks or potentially corny fashion choices, darn). The A-side is credited on the label to a “P. Carraber” and the B-side is credited to “Henry Castro” but Google searches on those names led me nowhere.
Now this is NOT a wild, frothing, barnstorming KBD classic but it’s not bad- I’d put it on the Reserve Team, a little after my B-Team bands but definitely not A-List caliber. But it’s rather catchy and hummable with pretty good female vocals and has a “So Cal punk” feel to it. After listening to this several times, I am guessing that the band was possibly trying to create a “hit” and toned things down a bit for the single instead of throwing all caution to the wind and playing with reckless abandon. Because of their competent playing, maybe the band consisted of “musician types” who discovered punk and did this one-off stab at it (?). This is all speculation, folks- if you know anything about Midway please post some comments.
There is definitely a Brit influence, not only musically but with a song title like “Up The Rebels” and also by saying “Mum and Dad” on the B-side. I was born and raised in the U.S. and the American way of speaking does NOT include calling your parents “Mum and Dad” at all, folks. Nor do we say something like “Up The Rebels”- in 2009, we in the U.S. would probably say something like “Give It Up To The Rebels”. Or in 1981, “Allright! Let’s hear it for the rebels! Rebels RULE!”
Like I said earlier, Midway plays in a more melodic manner on both sides and the highlight of “Up The Rebels” for me is that guitar that comes through loud and clear at the 1:50 mark and which hits a high point at like the 2:20 mark- they did let loose there, thankfully. And then again in the last 40 seconds of the songs with some tinnitus guitar, which always makes for a nice ending. Um, the B-side is full of acoustic guitar playing. Usually I run far away when the guitar goes acoustic but I think it totally works here for some reason and they get a happy, campfire sing-along vibe going with the male-female shared vocal duties during the chorus. For me, the downside of “Mum and Dad and Knives” is the bass solo (?!) at the 2:25 mark. Bass solos usually do nothing for me, especially in a supposed punk song (er, EXCEPT for KFC’s incredible one in “Kriminalpogo”, but I digress). To me, bass solos symbolize unnecessary instrument wanking done by “musicians” and I always picture them done by a bass player with closed eyes and a cornball look on his or her face while the crowd lets out a “Wooooo!” during said solo and throw up the horns or something. Without the bass solo, the B-side would have left a much nicer taste in my mouth. But overall, a nice and happy flipside.