Monday, March 10, 2008


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)


Brushback said...

Never heard this one before-- darn cool. And, yeah, funny too.

Anonymous said...

Bonafide Records also issued it as a split 7" with Tar Babies: Rejected at the High School Dance.. any chance of that getting added?

D said...

yep, leaps up, grabs you by the throat & knees you in the balls while abnging your head against a wall in the same way that Funhouse does. I have it as the split 7" with the future? Greg Prevost band -Tar Babies. yep that song Rejected at the High School Dance does the same but twice as hard & fast. Fundamental stuff. So can someone explain why I also have it as a Mean Red Spiders 7"? I want/need more of this, right now

John Marr said...

Methinks the lack of overt Stoogie influence was strictly a matter of availability. Until the Stooges & the Dolls records were re-released around 1981 or so, they were strictly the province of well-heeled record snobs, lucky thrift store crate diggers, and old people.

Hectorvadair said...

Hi Jay !

No way to get again this cool 7“ ?
I'm a true fan of the Chesterfield kings, and would appreciate to listen to this old one.

Thanks in advance !

Holly said...

A re-up of Red Swirl would be beneficial to all of humanity :-)