Friday, June 5, 2009

Scurvy Dogs

Scurvy Dogs were an underrated San Francisco HC/punk band that existed from 1999-2005, if I’m not mistaken. I first heard them while reviewing a pile of shitty demos for Gilman booking about ten years ago. Since it wasn’t often that good bands sent us anything, it was something of a shock to my system. (Incidentally, that demo was recorded live at the Pyrate Punks’ annual Libertatia campout.) There was also a dearth of good straight punk bands in the Bay Area; at least bands that didn’t draw an asshole chaos punk crowd that would cause problems for the clubs. With that in mind, it seemed important to get behind Scurvy Dogs and support them.

But at the same time, their drummer Mike Klosoff had another band called the Phantom Limbs. Because they had a lot of stage presence and played something different than the norm, the Phantom Limbs got a lot more notice and became one of the more popular bands in the local music scene. Scurvy Dogs seemed to fall by the wayside without nearly as many show opportunities. They became more of an active band when the Phantom Limbs broke up, but never really regained the momentum they had early on. But the records are damn solid, influenced by the likes of Poison Idea, Negative Approach, and Battalion of Saints.

This CD was self-released in 2001, and I believe all eight songs were re-recorded for their full-length a couple years later. I don’t think this CD was meant to be circulated very much—original bassist Evan “Pops” Beckert told me recently that they’d just done it on a whim. If I recall, their debut 7-inch had gone out of print and the label didn’t have money to repress it, so I imagine that they did this CD to have some sort of a recording to sell at shows. At any rate, here’s an opportunity for you to get acquainted with a great band that didn’t get the notice that they deserved.

Also included is a Scurvy Dogs live set from December 2002 at Burnt Ramen Studios. If only I had a video of this one—Matt was drunk and acting the fool, which was typical of their shows. But I guess Mike had put up with enough of his drunken antics, because he literally jumped over his drum kit to tackle Matt and beat him up. It was hilarious watching those two spill off the stage in a tangle of arms, legs, and mike cords as Sam and Evan could only watch and laugh with the rest of us. As is the case with all Burnt Ramen live recordings, this set is all on one track.

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