Agony Shorthand

Monday, July 18, 2005

I'd always heard that FREESTONE were LA hippies who were actually mocking the then-early (1978) punk sound on their incredible retard classic "Bummer Bitch". With some intrepid detective work, I've found this explanation from Freestone member Billy DeMoya, who confirms that it was indeed meant to be "taking the piss", and yet for so many of us this is a high water mark for berzerk, revved-up dumb rock. A total happy accident. It not only kicked off the second "Killed By Death" LP upon that comp's release in 1989 (and made me a fan for life upon the first opening bashed chords & tinkly piano), but it's now one of the most collectable punk 45s around. It literally defines KBD, along with a few other heavy hitters like the NERVOUS EATERS' classy "Just Head" and THE EAT's "Communist Radio". Many a night I've lain awake wondering about that A-side "Church". What wonders or horrors would await me when I finally heard it? Well now that I have, it's apparent this San Francisco-based group really had their hearts set on prog -- make that really badly-played, pseudo-"Bats in the Belfry" Tull prog, albeit with some quite blasphemous lyrics (which are always a treat). It's awful. In reading DeMoya's tales of free shows in Golden Gate Park, I have to wonder if they were bold enough to bust out "Bummer Bitch" at top volume and instantly ruin the goodtime freak vibe. I'm sure with various tellings the tales get taller by the year. On the evidence here, Freestone just happened to get lucky once, for two minutes flat, and created a monolith of foul, tasteless punk rock lunacy. Hear hear.