Agony Shorthand

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

POISON IDEA are one of those bands like MOTORHEAD or BLACK SABBATH that have always sounded better on paper than they actually have over a full album’s worth of brutality; the hits are always bone-crunching and the music’s a total face-wash, but until I heard “Pick Your King” this month I admired the ‘Idea more for their generous girth and on-paper power than I had for anything I’d ever actually ingested by these Oregon beef boys. Yeah yeah, I know, “King”’s been everyone’s favorite for years – I’ve just been real real busy, you know what I’m saying? But when they called this 1983 dozen-plus 7-inch a “hardcore landmark”, "they" weren’t kidding. Razor fast, angry, louder than even my all-time favorite brute force 45, the NEGATIVE APPROACH EP. It blows by with total g-force fury, and makes stuff like NA’s “Ready To Fight” sound about as dangerous as MDC or THE RED ROCKERS. It's also thirteen songs on a 7" -- the only (decent) record I know of with more tracks than that is that first DRI single ("I Don't Need Society"!!!), one I'm sure you all have, right?

I guess I missed the “blurred stage” in this band’s early evolution and had them filed more on the fist-pumpin’ speed metal side of the aisle. And going on that late 80s/early 90s stuff, some of which is still pretty balls-out, I don’t think I was too wide of the mark. But I implore you to listen to the next fella that tries to get you to listen to “Pick Your King”, a rule I chose not to follow to my eternal disgrace for over 20 years. And can someone let us know how many of these gentlemen are still alive? I used to get a real vicarious kick out of reading about their drunken hijinks and shenanigans.