I get the sense that in 1978 there were only a handful of punks who truly took IGGY & THE STOOGES seriously, to the point of learning their lessons and applying them appropriately. The Stooges might have been name-checked a bunch, but I don’t think there was a real post-breakup Stooges groundswell going (and the sort of popular recognition they deserved) until the mid-80s, when Australian bands and US garage punk bands began covering them & playing like them in an ape-like fashion. One band that will never be accused of passing on a chance to do tribute, however, were Rochester, NY’s DISTORTED LEVELS in 1978. Their sole 45, “Hey Mister/Red Swirls” is one of the all-time ludicrous rock classics, so insanely over the top that it’s at least ½ comedy. I guess it all depends on how you look at things. On one level this is the bottom of gutter-scraping primitive shit rock, and I certainly say “bottom” in the best sense of the word. All screams, grunts, overloaded socket-squealing guitar, and the like – somewhere between “Raw Power” and ½ JAPANESE’s “Half Gentlemen Not Beasts”. On another level, it’s almost poseur-ish in its intentional amateurism, yet I’d probably have to dismiss that claim outta hand with the “1978” trump card alone. In 1978, with thousands of kids picking up guitars and drumsticks for the first time, we hasn’t really yet graduated to “ironic, intentionally amateur” stabs of rock and roll. Anyway, this single totally rules – and now it’s yours.
Play or Download DISTORTED LEVELS – “Hey Mister” (A-side)
Play or Download DISTORTED LEVELS – “Red Swirls” (B-side)