Born a rocker, die a rocker. It ain’t about money, or bought and paid-for popularity, following trends, or fitting in. For every big name, show-biz institution like say Trent Reznor, or Green Day, or Nirvana or whoever, there are numerous complete unknowns making outsider art because they have to, not just because they can. Many times, the real innovators and path finders, originals and most unique and dashing characters never attain name recognition, usually because, they are the ones writing songs and living them, not the trust funders single mindedly aligning themselves with the trappings of fads, celebrity, or chasing wealth and fame. The genuine article rockers are saying their thing in small rooms, mostly oblivious to pig-media hype about Moby, or Skrillex, or Lady Gaga, or Lil Wayne, ya know? It’s always been a stunning mystery to me how someone like Gass Wild, who had led the most rocknroll life of all the rocknrollers, frequently goes unknown by even lifelong underground rocknroll aficionados. Izzy Stradlin has a song called “Here Before You”, Gass was here well before Izzy, and is still treading the boards, blasting out his own signature dirty rocknroll motherfuckery for an audience of signed on for life dedicated rocknrollers. A few people know he drummed for the proto-Pretenders, and Chrissie says, “without whom…”, I think he may have even dated my seconds favorite guitar player, James Honeyman-Scott’s, sister. He played with a Hollywood Brat in the Mannish Boys, recorded with Jimmy Miller, and summa his old glitter groups, Lightning Raiders and Mannish Boys, counted Lemmy as a fan, and even played big festivals, and shared bills with bands like Hanoi Rocks. I think Sami Yaffa mighta been a Love Pirate at some point, Gass also apparently drummed for Johnny Thunders. He knew Marianne and Keith, the Pink Fairies, Razzle, Lemmy, all of ’em. Lately, I’ve been listening to summa his tunes and wanted to make sure my little circle of reprobates and diehards have a chance to familiarize yourselves with his work. I’ve no idea how shark infested show business works, at all, AT ALL(!!!) or how a lonely planet of London Quireboys and Jacobites fans managed to mostly overlook this charismatic Lower East Side Legend. He’s the kinda cat who lives and breathes pure rocknroll from the black button atop his leather newsboy cap to the bottom of his leopard print winklepickers. “Life Is What You Make It” is a seedy, ramshackle affair in spite of it’s positive affirmations, it still reeks of bourbon, hairspray, cigarette smoke, and just has a real funky Rolling Stones in a wet basement blues feel, shades of all the usual suspects like Crybabys and Dogs D’Amour. It’s a real raucous, vital and alive sounding, reckless barroom romp, kinda reminiscent of Bowie‘s Jean Genie meets Exile On Main Street! What more could you want? Top stuff. As soon as you hear it, you’ll dig it, get that old feeling, like when you used to wanna dance, or get dressed up and make some merry with your friends-and it’ll stay lodged in your brain for awhile. If you’ve ever been to a rock show in NYC, you’ve seen Gass, and he is usually the most dashing rake in attendance. “Miss Smartypants” will probably remind you of Walter Lures’s best stuff with the Heart Breakers and the Waldos-it’s pure sleaze with pop harmony vocal accents, real cool, I love this kinda stuff! It’s just so Wild! “Skeleton Crew” takes me right back to Saint Mark’s Place back in 1984-block after block of warzone shambles and decay, and dirty hives of scum and villainy like Downtown Beirut, King Tut’s, the Holiday, and the Pyramid, when everybody was still dressing up like Texacala Jones or Candy Darling and gunfighters and pirates and Sigue Sigue Sputnik. When Skin N Bones and Angels In Vain were the next big things and revolution was in the air. I don’t bother reviewing much new music anymore, because it all seems so gutlessly half hearted and formulaic, watered down and second hand. When you hear a burst of music with this real youthful energy that is infused with so much heart, and has that exuberant old time passion for the proud form, it is really rejuvenating, reenergizing, makes you wanna do something besides wait to die. “Powder Plague” is a cautionary tale from the wrong side of the tracks about the perils of a live fast die young lifestyle, that leads you to nowhere.
Gass Wild lived in Boston during the golden age of the Rat’s cool as fuck garage punk revival, and it must have rubbed off on him a little, because you can definitely hear some of that bratty Real Kids and Lyres juvenile delinquent defiance on this one. “Attitude” is all snarling Johnny Thunders or Joey Pinter like guitar snakeiness and sneery, taunting, Jayne County vocals. The Love Pirates make really fun, playful, raunchy rocknroll, like the NY Dolls or Hollywood Brats. “Rockinderblooze” is a wildcat fifties jungle boogie like the Stray Cats, Bo Diddley, Link Wray, or the Cramps. “25 to Life” is a Johnny Cash style morality fable about a good friend gone wrong, the guitars are just fabulous, I can listen to this kinda music all day, in a certain mood. Even the gloom and doom stuff is somehow still uplifting. “Love Gone Mad” kinda has a sixties baroque pop mood, like something from the Rolling Stones “Flowers” or “Aftermath”. Not quite psychedelic, but rose tinted and flower powered. Like the Stones pop art singles, circa 65-67. Wolf howls and outstanding Little Walter style blues wailings. “No One’s Got A Hold On Me” reminds me of JT‘s “Que Sera Sera”-songs like, “Short Lives” and “Endless Party”. It’s another cocksure , self sufficient declaration of independence, Gass lettin’ the go go girls know he ain’t waitin’ around for their approval or acceptance, they don’t own him. “All-Time Low” sounds like it’s gonna be a morose downer, right? But, no-it’s a rage against the dying of the late night neon, an absolute barn burner-you should seek it all his available stuff out, if you ever loved the Heartbreakers, Fleshtones, Jacobites, or Chuck Berry. I really thoroughly dig the background vocals on this one. Gives it a real power pop feel.This skeleton crew can really play.”Midnight Rambler” is a sleazy, slow burning, down and dirty, wine soaked, juke joint, back alley, ace of spades rendition of the Stones classic-approximately as good as when the Beasts Of Bourbon covered “Cocksucker Blues” It is filled with danger and irresistible allure, like that girl you used to know. Too bad the Rolling Stones don’t write songs this dirty, anymore. Gass has the perfect voice for this kind of stuff. They kill it. Hats off to these silver blades and rum thieves and swashbuckling scallywags, they really do make you wanna hoist the Jolly Roger, one more time. “Apocalypse Blues” is a protest song very much in the same spirit as Johnny Thunders and The Oddballs heartfelt and inspiring, folky protest music. It paints a stark and harrowing picture of sellout and ruin, disgraceful and dehumanizing injustice, and serves as a socially conscious call for us all to put our Netflix surfing channel changers, and $1,000 I-Phones aside, and rebel against the fix is in, jackbooted, dystopian rule of the Brave New World meets 1984 predator class, at the top. Maybe we can’t all make Molotovs at the barricades, but we can all do something, like maybe go see a live show, or go visit a real person, in real life, give some money to the homeless veteran, or freezing immigrant family, on the corner-we can all do something positive with the time we have remaining. All in all, the Love Pirates do what all the best rocknroll is supposed to do-they remind us that we are still alive and it ain’t no crime to want to feel things deeply and sincerely, to share some laughs, to sing and dance, to have a real cool time tonight. So fill up your boots, me hearties.