Friday, January 02, 2009


The “alternate version” is the modern hook to get you to buy a CD that you don’t need because you already have the LP (granted, no one’s buying CD’s anymore, so even that statement is about two years out of date). The alternate version might be the take that nearly made the cut for the LP or 45, but was shuffled to the side for a better take – or was, for whatever reason, considered ill-suited for the band’s purposes. Maybe it was too noisy. Maybe someone missed a beat. Maybe someone’s voice cracked. Who knows. Sometimes these alternate versions end up trumping the ones you’re familiar with – or by offering a different feel to a song you’ve heard a bazillion times, ends up being your new “favorite” version. Such is the case with the three crackers I’m posting for you today.

The first is an alternate take on “Hot Wire My Heart” by CRIME. This could have been their first 45 in 1976, but was trumped by the version you know & love. It made its appearance on the “San Francisco’s Still Doomed” reissue LP/CD in 2004. It’s amazing. It doesn’t sound like “Ricky Tractor” missed his drum intro this time. The second example is from THE MISFITS“Static Age” posthumous LP/CD, which is far and away the finest thing they ever did, and one of the great punk rock records of all time. This version of “Spinal Remains” did not make it onto the box set version of “Static Age”, but when the lost LP was reissued on its own, there it was. It hands-down blows away the version that was on the 1980s posthumous collection “Legacy of Brutality”. That’s what I think, anyway.

Finally, we have “Thirsty and Miserable” from BLACK FLAG from the infamous Licorice Pizza 45. It was bootlegged recently on “Freak Flag” records. When Black Flag was weighed down in court over the not-yet-released “Damaged” LP, they illicitly leaked this thing out in small quantities. Of course it totally rips – it’s the five-piece lineup with Dez Cadena on guitar. Jesus. People I know who saw this version of the band are still yammering about how great it was. If I could go back in time……seriously. Gotta be in my Top 5 bands I wish I’d seen. Enjoy ‘em all – and happy new year to ya.

Play Crime “Hot Wire My Heart (alternate version)”

Download CRIME – “Hot Wire My Heart (alternate version)”
Download THE MISFITS – “Spinal Remains (alternate version)”
Download BLACK FLAG – “Thirsty and Miserable” (Licorice Pizza 45 version)”


Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for that... big time alternate version pedant myself. There is a lot of confusion about where those Black Flag recordings originate from (the version of 'Thirsty & Miserable' is not the same as the Target Video as some people say). I presume these are outtakes or rough mixes from 'Damaged', right? Pretty cool... Rollins is still trying to ape Dez at this point, his vocals are the weakest point also they are a notch slower than the final versions; but give an good idea of how 'Damaged' should have / would have sounded if it was properly produced. I bought 'Damaged' more or less when it came out in the UK (1984) and sounded fine on vinyl over on a crappy stereo, but on CD it's defects are glaring i.e. too thin, bottom end is an indistinct rumble, entirely mixed down the middle of the stereo field except for the drums which stagger like an old wino from left to right and back again. I suppose the whole idea was to give a sort of 'stun' effect but they shoulda retained Geza X... did the best donkey work with Black Flag, you can actually hear Dukowski on the stuff he produced.

Anonymous said...

Goddamn that sounded good. I hadn't bought this yet, since I already have San Francisco's Doomed and the Hot Wire singe (and on vinyl so I don't have that as an excuse), but it looks like I'm gonna have to consider myself out $17 to buy this. (Yeah, I could download it, but I don't have an MP3 player)

Pig State Recon said...

Great post and thanks, Jay - never have heard any of these. Though methinks Ricky "Tractor" Williams hadn't yet found his true calling.

Anonymous said...

man danzig's vocals (i fucking hate calling him that) are so much clearer on this take, strange the difference reverb can make

speaking of great alternate takes, the rough version of Rik L Rik's Atomic Lawn on 'Do the Nihil: the Archives' is another superior stepchild