Bryan Small & The Hangmen are the Witnesses For The Defense. Still scroungy, after all these years. Hard livin’ street trash, just barely gettin’ by, in that rat’s nest apartment above the Mission.
Gettin’ high, and daydreamin’ in the A:M about all the lost loves, and dead friends, again. And you know what they say–that dreaming men are haunted men–big dreamers never sleep, no they don’t. All those old records, traded for dollar bills, outta desperation, to that greedy, smirking, yuppie prick at the “rockabilly” record-store: Sea Hags, Only Ones, Uncle Sam, Johnny Thunders, even that Coma-Tones e.p.! It’s all gone, now. Along with the red hollow body guitar ‘his ex- girlfriend gave him, traded, in a short-sighted impulse, right after the break-up, for drinks, and less than half of one month’s rent. Michael Rank-from Snatches Of Pink, was right, when he said it gets harder and harder, to come by suitable musicians to form rock groups with, as you get older. All your old cronies die-off, give up, get mercenary trying to go pro, or just drown sadly in their I-Me Ego-Shows, proudly dominating control of the channel-changer, alone. Meanwhile, the new people you encounter, most often, in emergency-rooms, bus-stations, and waiting in lines, at various government agencies, don’t always appreciate the subtler nuances of art and poetry, cos they’ve all been force-fed a false bill-of-goods, their whole lives. Desperation makes us meaner, not stronger. Old habits die hard, but dreams die harder. You can’t help but notice how all those people in the expensive cowboy shirts who liked Devil Dogs and Social Distortion so much, seem to own several souped-up automobiles, and their own homes, with all the fat cash they made off their tattoo shop, when they got out of rehab, supposedly, ten years ago. ‘You wanna come over and look at his campy collection of imported religious trinkets, velvet paintings, and vintage jukeboxes? No, me, neither.
THE HANGMEN still make music for those of us who are too broke to even THINK ABOUT paying for new tattoos. On his last album for Acetate Records, “Metallic I.O.U.”, Bryan Small covered the Lords Of The New Church classic, co-written with Tony James from Generation X, “Russian Roulette”, and none other than the Great, Brian James, endorsed this band, on the promo-sticker. This time, he covers Stiv’s “I Will Stay”, and while I’m often particularly critical of groups who all-too-frequently, just desecrate Saint Stiv’s songs; he does it justice, with as much soulful authority, as anyone, besides Michael Monroe. This e.p. was produced by the Poster-Boy Of Reformed Old Reprobates, Mike Ness, who seems a suitable sponsor for these still mangey Hangmen. Every last jack-ass who dyes their hair blue/black has a website, record deal, and hard-luck story, nowadays, but the HANGMEN still live and breathe dirty rock’n’roll. From the gutter, but more importantly, from the heart!