Battalion Of Saints

Live fast, die constantly
*special introductory paragraph!
*Fighting Boys EP
*Second Coming
*Muscle of Love 7"

Way back in San Diego times, there was a group of young men who enjoyed the punk rock music of today's hottest rock and roll stars. George Anthony was his name, and Battalion of Saints was his bame. These "Brats In Battalion" of Saints played a speedy, fuzzy brand of American hardcore with its feet in Britain and its body in good old Southern California (or Northern, if that's where San Diego is). Then they all died of drug overdoses, car explosions, speedboat overturns, machete accidents, television misnomers, cricket green poisoning, Trident gum disease and eggs. In the meantime, however, they recorded one EP, one LP and one guy joining Kraut, another punk rock band you may have heard of somewhere recently. He died though. The only remnant, George Anthony, later reformed the band with the reincarnations of all of its original members (three of which were now BIRDS!) as "Battalion Of Saints A.D." Theoretically I suppose I should buy that CD too and review it here, but whatever. A guy only has as much money as he can steal from other peoples' bank accounts at the financial institution for whom he's employed, and crack cocaine doesn't grow on trees. If it did, the projects would be in the middle of a forest!

What the hell did that mean?

And was it racist? It sounded pretty racist.

Fighting Boys EP - Nutron 1982
Rating = 7

When I first saw this record at my local store, I thought it said "Fighting ROYS!" Ha ha! Can you even picture it? A bunch of Roy Clarks running around fighting each other? I bought it immediately and threw it out the fuckin window when it turned out to be nothing of the sort.

Years later, while examining the medical records of my favorite liver patient, I happened across another copy of Fighting Boys. "Hmm," I wondered. "If I were to give this another chance, would it THIS TIME impress me with its fuzzy orange guitar blasts (and occasional cliched lead licks), speedy tempos, likably gravel-voiced singer, and Punk And Disorderly-sounding chord combinations? Would the speed-throat down-and-back bass line of 'I Wanna Make You Scream' make my fist pump in Ramones-inspired glee? Would the low-E scitter-scatter and eight-chord chorus of the manic 'Modern Day Hero' lift my feet to belt level in an impromptu 'slam mosh'? Would the GBHy happy title track where you can't hear the drums at all suddenly intrigue me with its Dustbuster guitar tones? And most importantly, would 'E/B' still sound completely shitty and forgettable?" These were the questions that haunted me. Indeed, the questions that haunted me were these. These haunted me, the questions that were.

Then I put the record on and a bunch of Roy Clarks started running around fighting each other! Blood spewed endlessly! Limbs engorged on contact! I pulled my AK-.357 out of the washable Tea Sock and made a desperate run for the door. Don't look left! screamed my senses. Don't look right! shouted my sensibilities. Don't look back! sang Brad Delp. Don't look now! starred Donald Sutherland. Suddenly, without warning, I reared back and

Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion of "Mark Prindle's Battalion Of Saints Vs. The Fighting Roys!," brought to you by The Rather Jolly Tea Company's washable cotton Tea Socks. The washable Tea Sock is placed over the mouth of the tea pot and loose tea is placed into the sock for the brewing process and removed when ready. Ideal for catering or domestic purposes. You'll be "rather jolly, tea company" when you use a "Rather Jolly Tea Company Washable Cotton Tea Sock!"

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Second Coming - Nutron/Enigma 1984
Rating = 7

There's an old phrase that goes something like this: "Let's talk turkey." I don't know what it means, but if it means getting down underneath it all back to where it began and outlining the underlying thematic/post-thematic accentuations re: Nietzschean subversive transgression in terms of pre-theorized transgressive subversion, then let's not do that. Instead, I'd like to discuss the whole concept of "speedy punk rock."

I love "speedy punk rock." It's fast, energetic, fuzzy, yelly and filled with beans. However, due to the amateur nature of most of these musicians and the difficult tempo of the music, most "speedy punk rock" is built upon simple chord sequences. Generally BAR chord sequences. And, depending on how long your guitar is, there are a limited number of these BAR chord sequences from which to choose. As such, many of these "speedy punk rock" bands end up using the same BAR chord sequences that have been used by other "speedy punk rock" bands in their own material. As further such, whichever "speedy punk rock" songs you hear FIRST are most likely to have the greatest impact on you, simply because you haven't already heard their BAR chord sequences played in fifty other "speedy punk rock" songs by other bands. Then, as you venture further and further into the non-existent "speedy punk rock" genre, you'll begin hearing those same BAR chord sequences employed over and over again by both newer bands and older bands that you just hadn't had a chance to hear before due to the economic situation and President Bush being an asshole. These later or earlier "speedy punk rock" records are then much less likely to appeal to you than the first batch you'd heard, which had excited you like kissing a girl. And sure, some "speedy punk rock" bands are smart and talented enough to play actual notes and weird jazzy chords and what-not, but the Lyons' Cher are just dumb kids on weed.

This lengthy preface is intended to reflect my own personal experience with Saccharine Trust or whatever the hell band I'm reviewing. At age 15, I heard the Ramones for the first time and my musical life changed 4eva. After eva and i broke up, I started listening to punk rock, filling my ears and mind with the classic sounds of such genre giants as the Sects Pistels, The Clash, Dead Kennedys, Suicible Tendancies, Bad Brains, Miner Threat, 7 Seconds, Agnostic Front, Dayglow Abortions, The Smelly Shoes, Jonathan Fink and the Rumpelstilskins, Burnt Butt, Corpse Smeller, Political Dogdoo Nose, The Subhumans, DRI, GBH, MDC, TSOL, AOD, SOD, MOD, FOD, OCD, RBI, TCBY, YMCA, CSE, BIF, AIB, EBI, BED, BIG, HIF, EIB, The Misfits, and James Johnson's Revolutionary Black Person Store. Now how I ask you is this: What am I supposed to do when I'm 29 years old (much older than 15, almost 200% as old) and I hear Battalion Of Saints for the first time? Oh sure, they recorded these songs more than twenty years ago and were contemporaries of every band I just listed, but how could their songs possibly excite me at this point in my strife? It's the "Same Old Chords" ("S.O.C.") that I've heard fifty-bajillion times for the past 17 years! Unfortunate, yet somehow truthful. That's the sad, sick conspiracy of it all.

On a lighter note, let's review the album now, but with the caveat that I didn't hear it until I was 29. Now I'm 31 and I've heard it nearly three times. The production is much stronger than that of the EP, with wonderfully fuzzy guitars (one in each speaker!), good bottom-end bass, and double-recorded vocals so you can hear George shout everything on one note twice at the same time. They sound more Californian now than British, sharing the sunny angry approach of other great early 80s Californian punk Gods like the Adolescents, the Descendents and Bad Religients. Some JERK keeps playing wankass lead guitar solo jerkoff Johnny Thunders buttfuckery, but he's buried pretty deep in the mix so you can ignore his masturbatory faggotass. Every song is the same speed -- hardcore fast 4/4 -- but being who I am and where I've been in life, too many of the songs just sound like "generic high-speed punk" to me. None of the tracks are necessarily BAD (except "No More Lies," which ickily tries to bring Hendrix blooz-metal into the white hardcore age); they're just similar to other songs I've already heard a megasplatillion times.

Having said that, the fact that they're still able to coax an honest 7 out of a jaded old bowel movement like myself means they must have been doing something right. And they were -- they really did come up with some great hooky energetic pissed-off material well worth your listening while and beguile! I even made a list of the songs I love. Here, let me share it with you:

"Sussudio," "I Can't Dance," "In The Air Tonight," "

No hang on, that's my "Why I Hate Bald People" list. Here are my ACTUAL favorite songs on here: (If you own the album, compare my favorites with yours. And to make it more fun, whoever wins gets to screw your daughter!)

"My Mind's Disease," "Animal In Man," "Holy Vision," "Second Coming," "Too Much Fun," "Solidarity Is Fun," "Doomed World."

Aren't they great? Aren't those songs great? Even the titles are great! You can tell just by looking at the titles that all of these songs are going to be great!

Speaking of fucking little kids, have you heard of this book Immediate Family by Sally Mann? Yikes! It's enough to make you think to yourself, "Maybe I should publish a book filled with photos of MY children running around naked!"

"Hell, MY children? Why not MY NEIGHBOR'S???"

"Shit, there's this poor neighborhood downtown where I bet I could find HUNDREDS of little kids who'd pose nude for a few baggies of heroin! Heck, I might even get my DICK sucked!"

"See my new book? No no -- it's ART!"

Then Art Garfunkel would show up and ruin everything like he always has, does and will. "Bridge Over Troubled Water"? Yeah, more like "Ridge Over Bubbled Slaughter"!

"Art Garfunkel"? More like "Fart Karbunckle!"

Hey! Who moved my cheese?

Reader Comments
I knew those guys. When my San Diego punk band, the Bad Clowns, recorded, we went into this studio in a little-used industrial park. The guy, James something, had set it up to just play around but was more than happy to record other bands to help make the rent. He wasn't a punk guy, but we got him into the music, and the next thing we knew, he was the bass player for B.O.S, whom we had introduced him to. Is this the record he appeared on?
You know that EBI and EIB are the same band with a different singer, right? Dude, HIF is one of the most intense bands I've seen live. At their show in Oscota, MI I punch their singer for grabbing my girlfriend's tits.

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Death-R-Us - Taang! 1995
Rating = 8

This CD doesn't just include the Fighting Boys EP, the Second Coming album and five bonus tracks. It ALSO includes

This CD doesn't just include the Fighting Boys EP and the Second Coming album. It ALSO includes five bonus tracks! And it's these five bonus tracks, plus the excitement of saving money in today's shitty "Bush Is An Asshole" economy that drags up the disc's overall score to a low, low 8. These five songs are good! Hell, three of them are, as Tony The Tiger might say, "GRRRRRRRRRRR-tastic!" Two are by Battalion of Saints AD, and show that band to be a more metallic take on the band's traditional speedy punk sound -- still, "Thru With You" is awesomely grim, catchy and fastarole! Then there's the awesome headbanger "Cops Are Out" and the awesome cop-out "Head Banger." And in "which world" would you find a song called "Witch World"? Christ, this review is terrible. Somebody rewrite it and shove it up my ass.

No, no! Not that ass!

Reader Comments
I remember in 1984 as a 15 yo hardcore punk that didn't give a fuck. Battalion of saints came to Lincoln NE twice. Me and my buddies couldn't get enough. Getting stoned with the band in their van in the parking lot is one of the most memorable things in my young punk life. They played a hellacios show in the basement of a bank. Crowd of about 200 with room for about 100 and everyone moshing. A great time and a great band. They don't come like that anymore.
you are an idiot.
i like the way you say shit fucking funny shit!

hahahah bush!!

your review was the best!!

Ted Olson of Battalion Of Saints

I am/was the original drummer in the BATs. I was and still am Ted Olson, I am not dead as most of the other members of the are. I left the band in ’85 because Chris and George were trying to screw me over because their heads got too damn big.

On the album, Second Coming, Chris played all guitars and bass. We had gone through so many bass players that the guy thsat played bass for us when we recorded couldn’t play the songs well enough, so Chris did the bass. (Brian Stegner)
I loved the Nutrons (or was it Neutrons? shit, the memory is the first thing to go...). I was older than those guys, back then. I played guitar in a couple of bands in SD, mostly with this oddball Claude Christansen, who had a band called Claude Coma & the IVs. I loved the Nutrons. George was heavy, you know, a real nice, polite guy who had this 'aggressive' persona onstage with the band, Ted was a fucking good drummer, and I just loved Chris.

The scene was healthy back then. The Zeros were around, there were a lot of good bands, dedicated fans, and it was good.

I am not a historian, my sense of time and what day it was, all out of whack, but I think they had just changed their names to the B of S, and were gonna do a gig at the Union Hall joint in North Park, opening for the Dead Kennedys on 4th of July. I was a big DKs fan, and East Bay Ray was still in the band, and I loved 'our' guys, so I dropped some acid and went down to the show. And The Battalion was just fucking perfect. Man, they could play.

Many years later, I had gone back to Montreal, and was a junkie, playing in blues bands as a drop-in 'guest' and shit, and really gone into the heroin thing (I'm 10 1/2 years clean now). Chris Smith was on tour with the UK Subs. They were coming into Montreal to play a jazz club (believe it or not) downtown, and I had heard from a buddy (Dougie in Manhattan) that Chris was with the band...maybe their regular guitarist was in a rehab or something, don't remember, didn't care.

I didn't think Chris would even remember me, and I was way in the back by the soundboard. After the first set, Chris came back to get out of the glare, saw me, and went hey man!!!! And we just picked up like that. He liked the way I played (he came to some of Claude's shows at the Spirit, etc). But he was in his own league.

Chris was doing junk, too, then, and we were both either slightly 'high' or slightly 'dopesick', or both, that night in the Sun, and at one point he said, "Marc, you know what gets me?" And I asked him, "What?" And he said, "I miss those days when we would be at Dan's (McClain's) house, in the backyard, and we were happy just to smoke pot."

And he was on it, on point. And we knew it. Heroin was like a job you couldn't quit. Well, Chris stopped using, years before me, but not long after he stopped he was at Dougie's place in New York, and (if I heard right) slipped and fell in the shower, and fucking died. It was a heartbreaker. I wondered, "Why Chris of all people?", for years after that. I miss all those guys. and I know there were other bands, and bigger 'stars to be' around, but the Battalion of Saints were just plain fucking great. Period.

They all did not die,,I believe George still plays in a band that plays under Battalion of San Diego.

Barry Farwell the original bass player is dead...died, but not an overdose Chris Smith the lead also dead...more or less could be classified as an overdose..but he actually fell in a shower or bath tub and died Ted the Drummer.. hasnt played with George for years
Back in late '84 or early '85 Batallion of Saints played a show in my local area (Lehigh Valley, PA) that locals still talk about to this day. It was amazing. The band stayed at my house that night and were some of the coolest guys I ever talked to. The guitar player asked if he and his girlfriend could take a bath and when they left there was one of the most horrible rings around the tub ever seen by anyone ever. The rest of the band sat around telling stories about the road and recording stuff from my record collection (Hanoi Rocks and Holst - The Planets). They were thrilled to have the chance to listen to something besides Black Flag and the Circle Jerks again. This night was always one of my great memories until a couple years ago when my mom told me somebody in the band had stolen a couple of pieces of her jewelry. Nothing expensive or sentimental but it kind of killed the memory for me. Awesome band though. (Bill)
This was sure an interesting thing to find. I used to hang out at "The Boy's Club", the house where the Battalion of Saints lived/practiced/partied and just thought this was pretty right on. Memories.... I was friends with Chris and he ended up with this girl I used to date, Shannon.

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Cuts – Taang! 1996
Rating = 5

Retrospectively ignore that special introductory paragraph, because it’s 2011 and I’ve decided to review the Battalion of Saints A.D. material. I’m now 402 years old (okay, 37) and have heard approximately 200 more hardcore bands than when I last touched this page (thank you American Hardcore and illegal downloading!). As such, my tolerance for generic patterns of high-speed bar chords has decreased significantly. And hooooo boy is this thing full of em aplenty.

I know what you’re thinking: “Oh, it’s easy to criticize!” Well…. yeah. That’s why I do it. If it were hard, I’d do something else.

12 of these 13 songs are fast and heavy punk tunes consisting of basic bar chord patterns and a double-tracked, Cyco Miko-sounding George shouting every word on the same note. Its monotonous monomania would be torturous at any other tempo, but thankfully the energy never wanes and the record remains pleasantly predictable (rather than loathsome) all the way through.

Well, until track 13, when they slow down and play those two “1970” chords over and over for six boring minutes. Until then though, it’s speedy speedy speedy run fast go!

Bassist Tezz Bones (formerly of Discharge and Broken Bones) has been credited with bringing a more metallic tone to the material, but it’s still pretty nondescript stuff. Trouser Press calls it “disappointing.” Punk Rock Academy says “this made me feel ill.” BabySue raves, “Mix Cheap Trick with Jane's Addiction, add a gram of crystal speed and what do you get?” Umm… a reviewer who’s never heard a punk rock band?

“I Don’t Like You,” “Stand Up” and “Faster Faster” are so jubilant I can’t help but love them, but the only tune that actually throws in a few unexpected chords is the off-kilter thrasher “Love.” With more songs of that caliber, the album could’ve been a real blah blah blah who fucking cares

Which got me to thinking: what if ALL our favorite speeches from throughout history had ended with the speaker deciding that nobody cared? I think it would look something like this:

Abraham Lincoln: ”Four score and seven years ago, blah blah blah free the slaves fuck you”

Martin Luther King, Jr: ”I have a dream! I have a dream that one day ahh this is bullshit, let’s go watch ‘Lassie’”

John F. Kennedy: ”Ask not what your country can do for you -- blah blah blah I’m a donut fuck off”

Richard Nixon: ”People have got to know whether or not their president’s a crook…. And that’s all I have to say this evening, good night. Pricks.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt: ”So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear... is a crippling paralytic illness (*weeps softly, alone*)”

Patrick Henry: ”I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty…. or whatever, I don’t give a shit”

Jesus Christ: ”Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit blah blah fuck you here’s a plague” (*billions of locusts descend*)

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Muscle of Love 7” – Taang! 1997
Rating = 5

I have to tell you about this adorable thing that Henry The Dog did yesterday. He’s sort of a jokester – always running around barking when it’s time to go outside and so on – and yesterday he pulled a gag out of his tail that was so cute, my brain almost turned pink and rode a girl’s bike.

So I’m sitting there on the sofa listening to the first Today Is The Day CD for review (Watch this space!) (not this exact space) when Henry starts batting at my computer bass speaker sitting on the floor. Understand that I wasn’t listening to the CD on my computer, but on my stereo. So he wasn’t batting at the speaker due to noise. And he just kept swatting at it with his paw! I tried lifting it up in case a liver treat had fallen beneath it, but no – and when I put it down, Henry went right back to smacking the daylilies out of it. Finally – and this was his gag all along, because he’s a genius – I heard myself exclaim, “Henry, why are you trying to play with my woofer?” !!!! Henry the Dog made a visual pun!!!

For this reason, I hereby name Henry The Dog “Best Dog In The World, And U.S. President.” So get ready for a kibble-based economy!

As for this single – Battalion of Saints A.D. is a band with absolutely no personality, so the chances of a successful Alice Cooper cover were pretty slim from the getgo. I give them credit for faithfully recreating the original’s swoopy bass noise (though the chuck-chucking guitars bury it a bit), but all their version proves is how uncompelling Alice Cooper would be if he shouted every word on the same note.

Side B is another average punk song, and both sides are way too trebly. And that’s my review of Henry The Dog.

Reader Comments

Joseph Visco
Holy crap….best review ever!

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