Some of my favorite stories about the early-mid-80’s St Louis punk scene good old bad old days, just before I started going to shows, are about the gauntlet of angry locals that the punk rockers often had to face getting in & out of the Turner’s Hall shows on the near north side. Generations of inbred white families in this tiny enclave had refused white flight, not out of nobility or racial unity, but out of sheer spite & orneriness, & they weren’t about to let some goddamn punk rock pukes ruin their neighborhood either. Fights were rampant & apparently violent. Legends have it that the one band that could always just waltz through the crowd unmolested by either side was Whoppers Taste Good. Too punk to be metal, but too long haired & scuzzy to be punk, the Whoppers just were.
On their 1989 six song 45, Haunting White Castle, the Whoppers ride the line of what I guess people call “thrash” these days. The songs are short, the usually funny lyrics are shouted at breakneck speed, the guitars chug, & if there’s time, they throw in a solo. Most of the songs mention beer or partying, but that idea hadn’t quite been done to death in 1989, so it sounds genuine. The closest they come to a mission statement is on the song Prove A Point, which makes fun of metal guitar hero purists who look down on punk rock. The Whoppers were too busy getting drunk & making fun of everything around them to look down on anybody for anything, which is probably why they didn’t get beat up.
The lines between hardcore metal & hardcore punk are more blurred than ever in 2018, so it makes sense that punk band Sweat Shoppe & metal band Hell Night can put out a split 45 (on Encapsulated Records) & nobody bats an eye. Hell Night play that screaming, pummeling, yet not without groove style of metal that I always like live, but can’t super get into on record. It’s totally my problem, not theirs. The singer of Hell Night I guess used to be in some other nationally known metal band. Who knows? I don’t know anything, but he does sound like he knows his way around a howl. Sweat Shoppe feature Tim Jamison of Ultraman on vocals, along with a band of scene vets. Every band Tim sings for is going to sound a little like Ultraman, it just is, but their three songs are blisteringly angry blasts that rank up with the most aggressive things I’ve ever heard him do. No guitar solos on either side, though. Boo.
Here’s Whoppers Taste Good promoting the Haunting White Castle ep on St Louis public access:
Here’s some Sweat Shoppe. This song isn’t on the 45, but it’s a pretty good video:
And here’s some Hell Night, also not from the 45, but also a pretty good video: