Angry Samoans: Gazzarri’s, Hollywood CA

The Players: Todd Homer, bass; Billy Vockeroth, drums; Gregg Turner, guitar & vocals; Mike Saunders, guitar & vocals; P.J. Gallaghan, guitar.

Material: Outside of Fear, there’s no L.A. band this consciously, hilariously obscene. Their love of the Ramones and Black Sabbath shows in the slamming punk stance, and the lyrics and general attitude recall Roadrunner cartoons, in which the coyote is destroyed and resurrected time and time again. Everything — from ‘Too Animalistic’, ‘Are You A Square’, and ‘I’m In Love With Your Mom’, to the blindness song ‘Light’s Out’ — is deadpan, tongue-in-cheek send-up.

Musicianship: Virtuosity is the last thing the Samoans are after, and the instrumental approach is predictably crude and bashing. Their mix — with extra-loud triple guitars and alternating shouted lead vocals — unfortunately buries many of the clever lyrics. When cranked up, the sound is great overkill, but the band seems a little afraid of its own intelligence, as if a show of blast-furnace stupidity is the best way to come across every time.

Performance: Difficult to gauge in this context, as only a handful of people braved the heavy rains to see them. And they were doomed to open for two heavy metal rejects that drew zilch on their own. The performance was thus disinterested and fairly bland, with the group seemingly uninterested in showing their unruly selves in full glory at such a “down” gig.

Summary: While they have the riffs down pat and write some great lyrics mocking every aspect of California culture from Steve Garvey and Kim Fowley to surfing and sex, the band is obviously headed toward a more “controlled” sound, one that won’t harness their energy and will allow them to emphasize their strengths without fighting their own talents. We need more wise-asses like them.

© Mark LevitonMusic Connection, 3 April 1981

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