PEOPLE GET upset by the Angry Samoans. It’s not just that this feisty five-piece group trashes every cherished ideal of the middle class in language so directly obscene even so-called punks get offended, but that they match verbal audacity with a powerhouse attack that blowtorches your ears as well as your preconceptions.
Guitarist/vocalist Mike Saunders delights in cutting down already brief material to an under-two-minute mark that is a vital part of the Samoans’ style. They play hit-and-run with the audience, asking ‘Are You a Square?’ one minute, demanding ‘Gimme Sopor’ and the crowing ‘I’m in Love with Your Mom’ the next.
The attitude of full-out assault has endeared the group to some and infuriated others, to the point that the Samoans have been banned at various clubs, have been harassed by club owners and have generally been kicked around. No matter what, like Wile E. Coyote after he goes over the cliff, they come back with stunts and songs even more funny and outrageous; Their completely reasonable ‘Get Off the Air’, which demands the utter destruction of one well-known diminutive radio personality, has caused them any number of problems; their response has been to make the track a part of their upcoming EP, which Samoans Saunders, Greg Turner, Todd Homer, Billy Vockeroth and P.J. Gallahan recently completed with the help of Fear’s Lee Ving, another maniac whose sensibilities have cut a swath through L.A.’s club scene.
The Samoans originally got together when the notorious Vom broke up, leaving Saunders and Turner with a half-dozen good songs and the desire to turn controversy to their advantage. Virtuosity on their instruments isn’t a Samoans goal, but their predictably crude wall of noise has buried within it more than enough good ideas to make each song memorable. There is a great deal of humor, most of it scatological. ‘Too Animalistic’ contains a monologue more at home with Lenny Bruce than The Ronettes. The band is also able to resurrect the odd Black Sabbath riff en route to their own off-center blitz, or perform a Ramones ditty with the pogo-power of the originals.
Unfortunately, their orgiastic, snide set of tunes has not had much opportunity to be heard in Los Angeles due to the various grudges they’ve inspired, but you’ll have your chance June 6 at The Fleetwood and June 19 at The Troubadour. The wise-ass tone and cleverly self-conscious stupidity of the shows will no doubt bang another rusty nail into the coffin of laid-back L.A. pop.
© Mark Leviton, L.A. Weekly, 13 June 1980