When I was in high school in the early 80s, a DJ named Ransome Youth on college radio station KFJC in the San Francisco Bay Area used to give up an hour of his slot every week to a “guest DJ”. In order to be considered, you had to submit a list of 10 songs you might play. I was 15 years old, but I knew what I had to do to get considered – pick the coolest, strangest stuff out of KFJC’s current programming lineup that I actually dug, and tell them that I’d play that. I remember leading my list off with “Aspirin” by GREEN ON RED, a wheezy, druggy psychedelic pulse-rusher from a new Los Angeles band that was getting a lot of press at the time as being part of some “paisley underground”. I got the gig, and I think my lead track actually helped out quite a bit. (For what it’s worth, other songs I remember playing were “Happy House” by Siouxsie and the Banshees, "The American" by Simple Minds and “Goo Goo Muck” by The Cramps). I listened to a tape of the show a while back and it’s a hoot. Nervous, jittery high-voiced fifteen-year-old rushing through his back-announce just to get off the air as soon as possible. Maybe someday I’ll post an mp3 of the thing.
That first six-song GREEN ON RED EP on Steve Wynn’s Down There records from 1982 is still my favorite record of theirs, though they had a pretty good run of drunken Americana records up into the 1990s. That first one, though, is a cool trip through a flickering, late-night Los Angeles where speed is plentiful and troubles come in bunches. Chris Cacavas’ keyboards are put way up in the mix and are just dripping with treble, and the result is that wheezy, carnival-like soporific psychedelia that stands proud to this day. I figured I’d post a couple of tracks from it, ripped straight off my 80s-vintage vinyl, so that you could hear it.
Play Green On Red, “Death and Angels”
Download GREEN ON RED – “Death and Angels”
Download GREEN ON RED – “Aspirin”