Back into the garage! I Rat-Hearted VS Gear-Grindered on the (in the?) Rebellious Jukebox a long time ago, but St Louis garage rock 45’s come out almost as often as St Louis punk rock 45’s, so my work here will never be done, thank Lumpy!
Until I get my hands on my own copy of an X-Treems or Aardvarks 45, the best I’ve got for St Louis garage history is Bob Kuban & the In-Men. Best known these days for playing oldies concerts in the park & having that one blue-eyed soul hit The Cheater, it’s easy to dismiss them as square old people music, but those square old people were once rebellious teens, the British Invasion was influencing a ton of kids to ditch folk music & play stripped down rock-n-roll (the Brits themselves having been influenced by the earliest wave of American rock rebels, of course, & then selling it back to us in a more exotic package), & Bob Kuban & the In-Men were knocking ’em dead at school dances & teen-towns, releasing a bunch of 45’s, & generally just doing that thing they did. They weren’t the Standells, hell, they weren’t even Paul Revere & the Raiders, but if all you’ve ever heard is The Cheater (and no slight to The Cheater, by the way), you might be pleasantly surprised by the horn heavy fruggin’ & chuggin’ of songs like 1966’s The Pretzel & it’s b-side, Pretzel Party. A promo release put together by some enterprising upstart toy company looking to look hip, it ain’t garage, but it’s close! I’d dance to it. Apparently all I need to do is buy this plastic pretzel-shaped thing, step into it with my partner, & then we can do all sorts of crazy dance moves. My copy of this record still includes the instruction book!
Whereas the In-Men were the fresh faces of a baby boom generation ready to take on the world, Black Panties are the sound of a post-American promise that’s fucked & full of hate. The Black Panties live show is an inspired mess of un-inspiration, with band members not knowing the songs, audience baiting at a maximum, & feedback reigning supreme. Their newest record, the “Everyone” 45, shows a healthy respect for chaos, as well, but beneath the squealing is some great, Jay Reatard-ish power pop well worth the dig. Mostly solo recorded by main Pantie Luc St Louis (here on the/in the Jukebox, we respect the pseudonym), with some amazingly out-of-place sounding, yet somehow perfect, horns added by Andy from Gibbous/Trauma Harness. I hope some enterprising upstart dildo/gimp mask company hires them to write & record a promo 45 for them. I hope my copy doesn’t include an instruction book.
Bob Kuban & the In-Men-The Pretzel
Black Panties-Broken Brain (earlier recording, no horns, boo)