MYSTERY DATES “EASY ACTION” 3-SONG 7″EP (SAN ANTONIO, TX- BEEHIVE, 1983)
I got a sleeved copy of this record a while back, and I finally got around to
uploading the below scans of both the front and the back of the sleeve.
Apparently, some copies of this EP (not mine, natch!) came with the above picture sleeve and were sold as a double pack that included their 1st EP. And that is singer Frank Pugliese in the middle on the front cover.
Here is the Mystery Dates’ second of two EP’s that were released while the band was around on the Beehive label, which was run by singer Frank Pugliese’s brother Joe. Two out of the three songs are nice, catchy melodic punk in the same vein as their 1st EP (which the always-reliable Good Bad Music blog posted about 3 years ago).
See, the problem for me is that I heard the Mystery Dates in “reverse order”, and I feel like that kind of skewed my perception of the band and- initially- made me less receptive to the two EP’s they released while they were around. ‘Cuz the first thing I heard by the Mystery Dates was the barnstorming, unreleased posthumous EP that the great Existential Vacuum released in 1996 (and which I posted a few years back). Hot damn, they played some loose, unrestrained, speedy HC that still retained a hook-y punk edge. Wonderful! So when I later discovered via The Texas Punk Discography that the band released two EP’s during their existence I assumed it was in the same vein… until I heard the first EP. I felt a bit let down because it was NUTTIN like that EV disc. But, time heals all wounds, and I have come to appreciate the two EP’s for what they are, which is nice melodic punk with lots of cool guitar noodling. Er, for the most part– the third track on this “Easy Action” EP is a stinker of a wanna-be ballad but I included it here for sake of completion. But “Easy Action”- my favorite track on the record- is really great and catchy with nice, happy guitars not unlike Ground Zero’s Controversy. Listen closely to the lyrics of these horndogs- ladies, as long as you gave it up to these boys your girth was of no concern to them. The second track, “Borrowed Time”, has really cool layering to it and nice interplay between the two gee-tars. Overall, the band sounded like a pretty cohesive unit to me. Now, just make sure you listen to their three EP’s in chronological order.
The Mystery Dates were from San Antonio, Texas- y’all are familiar with great punk from other Texas locales like Austin (Big Boys, Dicks, etc.)and Houston (Really Red, Legionnaire’s Disease Band, etc.) but perhaps not San Antonio. Here is what the liner notes to the cool Taco City Rockers comp LP from 1995 of all San Antonio bands from the 80’s and90’s had to say about the city, which is pretty memorable:
“San Antonio is exactly one six pack south of Austin, and one long evening at 75 miles per hour to Houston, one late night drive after closing from the Gulf of Mexico, and too far to even think about going to El Paso.Damn! As another sidenote, the Taco City Rockers comp was the first place that one of the barnstorming, unreleased HC tracks by the Mystery Dates appeared (“Man In The Middle”). This was about a year before that tune- and four other unreleased ones- were released as that 500 copy EP on the sorely-missed EV label. Taco City Rockers also unearthed a great song from the Rejects’ 1980 7″- also about a year later, that band was immortalized on Killed By Death #12 and their 100-copy EP become a want list stable for basement dwellers across the world. Taco City was a legit comp, with great liner notes, packaging and an especially cool sleeve which is a collage of actual menus from Mexican restaurants. I’d have to say it’s the only record I own with a cover like that. Plus, I found an unplayed copy in a bargain bin a few years after its release. Here is what the cover looks like:
San Antonio is half Mexican, half white. It is three quarters poor,and 90 percent who gives a shit. Oh yeah, living is great. If you don’t like it leave. Somebody will take your job, because we don’t have many. Go to Austin to be hip, go to Dallas to get rich, go to Houston to gag on the air…
It don’t get cold in San Antonio, except for enough days in January and February to kill the bugs and keep Disney from building something here.And in the summer, it’s too hot. Why get out and try to make something of a band? Wait until dark, fill up on bean and cheeser tacos and relax.”
Back to the real topic at hand- the Mystery Dates. I am a fan of their warbler Frank Pugliese- I think he has a great, unique singing style. And he’s still doin’ it in 2010 with his longest-running unit, the garage-y Sons of Hercules. However, his voice on this “Easy Action”EP is too restrained- its uniqueness comes out a smidge on last track, but that tune is my least favorite track musically. Frank could get pretty loose and wild on vinyl- the Existential Vacuum posthumous EP is full of it. His earlier warbling in The Vamps had some perfect examples on his great singing style- check it out in these two great tunes and ‘specially dig the great blood-curdling screams near the beginning of the first track.
/files/98398-90993/Vamps__Carving_Knife.mp3″>Vamps- Carving Knife.mp3 (1980)
Overall, maybe both of the Mystery Dates EP’s on Beehive sound restrained but- according to stories- their on-stage behavior was anything but sometimes. Here is what the Taco City Rockers liners had to say:
“The Mystery Dates’ singer was known for his habit of bending over and rubbing the microphone around his anus on stage. Nobody wanted to sing after him. They put a t-shirt out featuring the singer in his famous pose. He was also in The Vamps, who opened up for the Sex Pistols at Randy’s Rodeo.”Er, if ANYONE has that T-shirt they are talking about, I would love to have one.
By the time Frank was in the Mystery Dates he had already been in “the scene” since the beginning with the Vamps, who musta formed around 1977. Well, it must have been 1977 or earlier since the show at which they opened for the Pistols was January 8, 1978. It was the third date of the Pistols U.S. tour and on the infamous Southern portion. There is actually a website for the old venue Randy’s Rodeo and below is a portion of what they had to say about the show here:
“The band arrive in San Antonio to play Randy’s Rodeo, a ballroom that has sold out its 2,200 capacity. As soon as the band take the stage,they are pelted with beer cans, hot dogs and popcorn. Vicious tells the crowd, ‘You cowboys are all a bunch of fucking faggots!’ When a young cowboy tries physical retaliation, Vicious hits him with his bass. The show is stopped for several minutes while the cowboy is taken away by police. He later denounces the Pistols as ‘sewer rats with guitars’ on TV.”We all debate about how “punk” the Pistols really were but taunting a crowd full of riled-up, good old boys in the South took some real cajones. And not something that most people would do in 2010, let alone 32 years ago.
Make sure you also visit the San Antonio Texas Punk Rock Archive, which includes lots of old, cool flyers.