Chances are good that many of you haven’t seen all the bands from which Get Action’s members hail; so it may not seem so “super” to you after all. But that doesn’t mean these groups weren’t important in the local scene. Suppose there was an accident, a fatal mishap during a Get Action show that electrocuted the entire band or something. A catalyst like frontman “Wild” Bill Bunting clambering up outdoor electrical boxes during a Blackbird Buvette show a couple years ago comes to mind. Just one such calamity could wipe out a huge chunk of local punk and rock and roll history. The moral is: Better see these old guys while you can. How old? Let’s just say I’ve known one of them since he was underage and sneaking into Launchpad shows back in ’96. (We’ll come back to him later.)
Chances are good that many of you haven’t seen all the bands from which Get Action’s members hail; so it may not seem so “super” to you after all. But that doesn’t mean these groups weren’t important in the local scene.
Get Action debuts a two-song 7-inch on Friday night. It's a rockin’ slab of blue vinyl complete with an obligatory download code for youngsters and a free sticker for old punk rockers. The record's a tad less unruly than their live act, which is not unusual. The excitement of playing for a crowd gets lost in the studio—especially sans Bunting climbing the walls—but to be fair, live recordings don’t always hit the musical mark either, technically speaking. Mastered by Frankie Medina (The Angel Babies) at Tone Deaf Audio in Santa Fe, this record negotiates a fine sonic compromise. The catchy “Tryin”—“To write this song/ But all I have to say/ is whoa, oh, oh, oh.”—is backed by the harder-edged, almost sinister “Bed Of Nails.”
Get Action debuts a two-song 7-inch on Friday night. It's a rockin’ slab of blue vinyl complete with an obligatory download code for youngsters and a free sticker for old punk rockers.
Bunting has screamed his way around noisy outfits like Ten Seconds to Liftoff and Dynamite Kegs for over a decade. Using this band as an excuse, he returned to Albuquerque in 2012 after self-imposed exile in Las Cruces, which always has a decent, if underexposed, punk scene. Conveniently, ex-Liftoff guitarist Scott Brown had moved back a few years prior. Despite his familiarity with Bunting’s shenanigans, he was still conned into jumping aboard with his snarly and snaky Stratocaster leads.
Get Action co-founder Ashley Floyd channeled everyone from Dead Milkmen to The Lords of the New Church when he formed the Gracchi in 2004 with folks like ex-Scared of Chaka drummer Jeffrey Jones (a founding ex-member of Get Action). Floyd's a class act; he even proposed to a Gracchi bandmate/now-bride onstage. In Get Action he’s not nearly as classy, but he still plays a mean rhythm guitar with hot leads.
Bassman Zac Webb is best known from the whammy-glammy Foxx. That band reminded me of The Sweet covering ABBA. Webb's also been featured in the obscure post-punk of The Phase and neo-psych of Jealous Gods. Get Action is the closest Webb has gotten to thrashy punk since his juvenile delinquent band Fuck Taco Bell in the mid '90s. (Remember that Launchpad story above? Right.)
Joey Gonzales has thumped for every type of band you can shake a stick at. The list goes on for days. He’s currently the stickman for Red Light Cameras and The Porter Draw, but it’s his work in garage-psych (The Dirty Novels), pop-punk (Pan!c) and catchy heartache (Lousy Robot) that's echoed here.
So what does this conglomeration add up to? Some damn fine raucous n' roll that will raise your blood pressure in the best possible way. Rumor has it Burt’s Tiki Lounge renovated the stage—moving it back to its previous Dingo Bar configuration—for the express purpose of preventing Bunting from swinging from that lighting rig ever again. Rocking out to Descendents or Gas Huffer, he’s been risking life and limb on skateboards for years, so I’m not convinced that will stop him.
Opening act Shitty and the Terribles are similarly raucous but are closer in tone to Boss Hog or Yeah Yeah Yeahs. (No, the latter isn't overrated. In fact, their overrated-ness is itself overrated.) Lead guitarist Terrible Tripp is only involved in tasteful bands, like, um, Terri Schiavo Dance Party and Bob Seger’s Electric Penis. His wailing leads reach past garage territory toward bands that haven’t yet been reverently resurrected by hipsters but were the sort championed by Creem magazine, like Alice Cooper or Rush. With her best Johnny Ramone chops, Soni Reducer (The Phase, The Deadtown Lovers, The Shamones) backs Tripp up while solid drummer Rudi Thornburgh demonstrates his versatility; you'd never know his true love lies in the techno beats of his other outfits Super Public and Clocklife. After years of DJing, it’s vocalist Bea Shitty (in her very first band) whose membership steals the spotlight, as she vogues and does the Hully Gully all over.
Then there’s Austin’s OBN IIIs, which is chock-full of anthemic 1980s muscle rock. Their band persona is a little “bro,” if you know what I mean. I can’t quite tell whether the collective is tongue-in-cheek or if it's a put-on or not. Regardless there are some out-and-out rockers in their repertoire. Listen for echoes of Radio Birdman. And that brings us back full circle, as those seminal Aussie rockers are cited by Get Action as a founding influence. There's nothing wrong with starting up down under.