30 August 2016

CHAINSAW KITTENS


The importance of this band in my rock 'n roll upbringing is no secret to even the occasional Escape visitor. And as I've said before, in early '90s Norman, Oklahoma, there were two bands: the KITTENS and THE LIPS. That was it. And you probably loved 'em both. We all knew that one of them was gonna be huge. We knew it...not just because they were ours and we loved them, but because they were fukkn great. THE LIPS signed with Warner and did Hit To Death..., and then they got huge (that EP is still probably my favorite release of theirs, and yes I still pay attention, and yes I know that Wayne left Planet Earth many years ago). But you see, before that EP came out, CHAINSAW KITTENS had already dropped Violent Religion, which is as close to a perfect power pop/punk/alt rock record as I have ever had in my collection, and their live shows were straight fire. It's not a contest, and I know that THE LIPS had a decade long legacy before the turning point that I'm speaking of...but the point is that this was most of The Mainstream's introduction to both bands...and we were all paying attention. CHAINSAW KITTENS got swept up in the major label post-NIRVANA subculture mining when Mammoth made some arrangement with Atlantic...and the result was their second full length getting way more exposure than Violent Religion, including a closing spot on 120 Minutes for the debut of the video for "Connie, I've Found The Door" (will always remember the crew of people in my house watching that video premier...my roommate was older and had way cooler friends than me, I was blown away that all those people were in my living room). I don't remember if The Masses cared about this record, but I know that I was disappointed at the time - there are some tracks, to be sure, but it felt like there was too much filler. Maybe we had just seen and heard the tracks from Violent Religion too many times? Maybe the Butch Vig production was too slick? Who knows...but even though "Connie..." might be my overall favorite KITTENS' track, it opened the record (wisely) and I felt like things went downhill from there. "High In High School" was cheesy, "Shannon's Favorite Fellini Movie" seemed like an attempt to recreate the great ballads on the first record, plus they had snagged the bass player from FOR LOVE NOT LISA (wasn't he in BLEMISH too....? I might be wrong on this) and I had the probably irrational feeling that the dude was a butthole - irrational or not, he helped give the band a bro-ish vibe - a departure from Tyson's flamboyance that was a legitimate revela(u)tion in 1990s Oklahoma. In retrosepect, and I've listened hundreds of times over the years, Flipped Out In Singapore has some of the band's best material - "Hold," the burner "My Friend Delirium," the proto-grunge "She Gets" are all certified creamers...but a few years after their shot, CHAINSAW KITTENS seemed little more than a footnote to those outside of Oklahoma. Those of us who paid attention though, and especially those of us who were there...we got it. We still do. Now will someone reissue this thing on wax?!




1 comment:

Adrián Osorio said...

first time listening 2 this.
really nicey
thanks!