In Downtown NYC, Brian Morgan is probably best known for slinging guitar for the Disruptors, the last of the great, pre gentrification, CBGB’s sleazy gutter punks, but in the Midwest, the guy is a legendary hero among the record store loiterers and sneering delinquent teenagers of all ages, for all his early garage-land bands like Subculture, Aural Sects, Big Bone Lick, and Gut Pistons, bands that inspired waves of other kids to first start listening to the groups that influenced his many, many underrated, highly influential Ohio musical ventures. He introduced generations of younger kids to music like the Cramps, Gun Club, Suicide, Deadboys, the Damned, the Clash, and old Alice Cooper. He is probably single handedly responsible for generating more small town Ohio punk bands than anyone else. Born in Van Wert, home of Brownsville Station, Morgan had an eight inch Mohawk in 1977, grew up reading “Search & Destroy”, “East Coast Rocker” and all the weekly English music mags like “NME” and “Melody Maker”, and forming a long list of brothel creeper and cowboy shirt wearing, black leather punk bands, creating fanzines, and organizing basement shows, when that was just not done, in those viciously intolerant hick towns. Not merely pre-internet, but pre Black Flag, ya dig? As a bored teenager, he looked just like Charlie Sexton and dressed as cool as the Clash or Stray Cats.
In his early twenties, he dedicated himself to a more Anti-Nowhere League, proto Zodiac Mindwarp biker-glam image, that provoked outrage among furious, flyover state rednecks, and total devotion from his growing cult of goth and grebo, scruffy crust-punk, and rejected weirdo, hangers on. Even his paintings and sleek band logos inspired copycats. His guitar style is like a mixture of Buxton and Bruce, Thunders and Chrome, Derwood and Brian James. A Warhol-esque scene-maker, he could be considered the Phillip Salon of Middle America, in that his after hours salon would regularly fill up with many hero-worshipping adolescent runaways, dropouts, Siouxsie and Madonna wannabe’s, cross dressers, hooligans, malcontents, and would be beat writers, who would sponge up all his bone-art-jewelry, creepy paintings, obscure imported records, sinister humor, innovative style, and rocknroll expertise. In addition to his ferocious space-cowboy guitar styling’s, and formidable songwriting ability, he was an early mentor to countless legions of Oi boys, hardcores, rockabillies and glam kids, who all went on to perform in various groups you’ve probably heard of. After lending his fiery talent to many NYC underground groups like the Disruptors, Black Bators, and Sunset Strippers, he forged an alliance with the talented Lynne Von Pang from Da Willys and Flipside faves, Trick Babies, and their distinctive sound is as Lower East Side as it gets. Part sixties girl group, with a Ramones sense of fun, X Ray Spex malt-shop saxophones, vintage Waldos attitude, and a call to style, like Blondie and the Heartbreakers.
“Everything You Do Is A Travesty” comes in an ace cartoon sleeve with a boss as hell skateboard sticker, as everything the Carvels do is invested with an infectious spirit of fun. Lynne Von Pang can really sing her heart out! Brian Morgan was friends with Amy Wichmann from Miniskirt Mob, and you can feel her smiling down on this classic bubblegum and trashy rocknroll record. “Questioningly’ is all timeless true romance, and Phil Spector and Brian Wilson pop-opera longing, showcasing Von Pang’s soulful pipes and the Carvels understated mastery of dreamy and free Blondie-esque rocknroll. Surprising that Little Steven has not picked this track as his “Coolest Song In The World”. If I was Rodney on the Roq, this would be my pick to click! It transports you straight back to your long gone “Pretty In Pink” youth you wasted pining hopelessly, with a helpless crush on a short skirted, roller-skating waitress in the parking lot of Frisch’s Big Boy. “You Make Me Wanna Be Alone” is a righteous kiss-off to some time-wasting, loser boyfriend. “It Wasn’t My Idea To Break your Heart” is another pop gem, sure to please fans of the B-Girls and Nikki Corvette. Steve Pang and Steven Fallon are a Pretenders solid rhythm section and Dave Spinley’s Psychedelic Furs like saxophone playing makes me miss my own brief stint in Manhattan, going to see NY sax stars in scuzzy bars, like Jamie Heath and Danny Ray. “I Don’t Know How You Do What You Do” features Brian Morgan’s James Honeyman Scott like, exquisitely tasteful soloing. All in all, it is a really fun, sunny, upbeat, and energetic, soda fountain of youthful, teenage-spirited CD from some very seasoned old school veterans. I don’t know how they do what they do, but I hope they keep doing it. (-Vega Death)