Friday, April 8, 2011

Bummer Bitch

There wasn’t much about punk rock that could be construed as “serious” in the early days, so it probably shouldn’t come as any great surprise that one of the most sought-after San Francisco punk singles is a 45 that was originally recorded as a joke. As the story goes, Freestone was a punk-inspired power pop band who had gone into the studio to record their pop gems and wound up making better use of the leftover studio time than they expected. Both “Church” and “Bummer Bitch” were intended to be joke songs making fun of the nascent punk movement, recorded in one take. Unfortunately, when Freestone decided to release a 45, the label picked the last-minute jokes over material meant to be taken seriously enough for vinyl. I don’t know what that really says about Freestone as songwriters, but this is a fun little platter, joke or not.

From what I’ve noticed, most of the Killed by Death crowd who loves this record hates “Church.” I hate church as much as the next guy, but totally disagree on the song. Fortunately, this is America, where we have a god-given right to be totally wrong about things like taste in music. “Church” is a fucking great song. I don’t know what those people are talking about. It’s more like stupid prog rock played badly on purpose. I don’t know how else to describe it right now, but it’s a two-song single…listening to both songs won’t kill you. “Bummer Bitch” is, of course, the Killed by Death classic that is completely poking fun at everything punk appeared to be about back in 1978. It’s fast, simple, and stupid with lyrics to match. When the singer whines, “Bummer bitch, suck my dick! Eat my ass! LICK! MY! BAAAALLLLSSSS!” you kinda find yourself yearning for the days when things weren’t so complicated.

Whether anybody likes it or not, these are two songs that have managed to wedge themselves into the history of early San Francisco punk rock. Maybe you were too busy buying stupid Wolves in the Throne Room or Fucked Up records and missed the repress of this stupid 45. How’s about you quit being a bummer bitch and click here ‘cause you’ve got nothing to lose.

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