The Rattlers

Look at that girl! She's wearing a skimPY THONg and a RonCO BRA. I hope it won't CONSTRICT OR suffocate her! Whoa! Her clothes busted and now sh'eS NAKEd!

If you'd like an entire book of my hilarious bawdy snake jokes, take $50 out of your wallet and shove it up your ASP

* Rattled! - PVC 1985. *
Rating = 10

Hey, you'd be rattled too if your band put out an album this great and nobody noticed because they were too busy celebrating your brother. It happened with Frank Stallone when the press was going gaga about Over The Top, it happened with Mark Wahlberg when The New Kids On The Block were on every magazine cover in the country (including a nude centerfold on, it happened with Sonny Bono when his brother " " released the Joshua Tree album and it happened in 1985 to Mr. Mitchell Leigh Hyman, better known to the world by his pseudonym "Joey Ramone's Brother."

Which is - no joking here - an extreme injustice. Yes, The Ramones are my favorite band of all time, and yes that is what drove me to purchase this album in the first place, but both of those facts are secondary to the reality that Mickey Leigh has created one hell of a great pop/garage punk album that has been all but ignored by musical historians of the day. And he did it without copping his brother's band's sound AT ALL. If there's one thing this Rattlers album is NOT, it is "Ramones-influenced." Instead, it is a collection of ten great clean-guitar-and-keyboard driven garage pop and rock songs that sound straight out of my Dad's old 45 collection (and believe me - that's a VERY good thing. As long as you skip over the "Dick and DeeDee" record and abominable SHIT like that.).

There's a bit of a new wave feel to the album, but I think that mainly comes from the boom-chick tight sterile drum attack in a few of the songs, because the tunes themselves don't bounce around like idiots at all. Rather, they use really neat, creative guitar chord sequences, delightful little keyboard embellishment and Richard Hell-style NYC vocals (I know, you'd think he'd sound more like Julian Lennon; nevertheless..) to address a wide variety of moods that a person might feel during one's day. Psychologists believe that we have four basic emotions - fear, joy, sadness and anger - and it's no doubt that Mickey and his co-horticulturists address each and every one of those through the course of this album. Fear? What could be scarier than a bad LSD trip that makes you start singing "Now I Wanna Be A Good Boy"? Joy? Could a man be more joyful than the narrator of The Nightcrawlers' world- famous obscurity "My Little Black Egg"? How about sadness? Well, how would YOU feel if a radioactive creature from the ocean came out "On The Beach," grabbed your girlfriend and drowned her? And anger? Let me tell you something, Jack. Mickey Leigh "Won't Be Your Victim". anymaw.

But what about those other tracks? Do I detect a bit of sarcasm in "For Johnny's Entertainment"? Wasn't it a certain Mr. Johnny Ramone who insisted that Joey Ramone "better not smile" because it would hurt the "punk" image of the band? Was it perhaps this same Dr. Ramone, Johnny, that forced the Joe-master (little name I made up for him just now) to "pick out (his) clothes" to fit the "punk" image of the band? And didn't self-same Johnny Ramone, Esquire insist that Joe-Joe-Be (little name I made up for him in 1962) be "smellin' like a rose" and off the crack when they sailed around the world in their Tour Ship? Yes it was! Is this the Johnny that Mickey is singing about? I have no idea! But it makes for an interesting paragraph in my upcoming book Just Shit I Made Up Out Of My Ass. Enjoy the chapter about Billy Joel's balls shrinking and dropping off of his body from years of non-use!

Rattled is kind of a short little album (only three and a half hours in dog years), but it's long on great goddamned songs! I don't hand 10s out like candy, and I'm not grabbing your ass on this one. The band do eight great originals, two great covers and one pathetic album sleeve.

"Wait! I've got it! It'll be like. a businessman but like. with a big detonator instead of a head!!!!! Then on the back, we'll have the guy in the leather jacket giving himself a testicle exam!"

A lot of times people don't realize that I'm recording their every conversation, but I am. How else do you think I caught John Ashcroft murdering all those black children in Atlanta?

Reader Comments

Jim Hull
Great album. I discovered "Little Black Egg" here, and wow--what a cool song. Mickey does have a Joey-esque vocal tone sometimes, but he's a major talent in his own right. "For Johnny's Entertainment"...probably my favorite track on the album. Weird, funny, cool record. 8.

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