Featuring the Ramones, Patti Smith, The Modern Lovers and some undiscovered treats


Born Innocent
SMOKE 7, 1982

Snarky teenage stoners Jeff and Steven McDonald were early Black Flag acolytes, but the trashy Born Innocent shows how much Red Cross differed from their South Bay neighbours. The only fruit of Red Cross’s two-girl, two-boy lineup, it is a blizzard of off-colour wisecracks from “Linda Blair” (“In The Exorcist baby, you were really insane/You got busted for cocaine”) to a cover of Charles Manson’s “Cease To Exist”. “We did it just because it was funny and irresponsible,” smirked Jeff McDonald, who – along with his brother – kept the bad taste coming with the rebranded Redd Kross. JW


The Record
SLASH, 1982

A Kurt Cobain favourite, the first album by Fear built on the bad-boy reputation the LA liberal-baiters gained after being invited by John Belushi to appear on the Halloween 1981 edition of SNL – with predictably chaotic results. Occasional fancy time-signatures on The Record out Fear as 30-something Zappa-heads with a mean sense of humour; frontman and sometime singing waiter Lee Ving admitted later: “I wanted the boneheads to think that I was completely serious.” Metallic KO “Let’s Have A War” and No Wave riposte “New York’s Alright If You Like Saxophones” still sound darkly, dreadfully convincing. JW



“They were never part of the punk thing,” said Bob Mould, summing up Hüsker Dü’s biggest Minneapolis rivals. “They were like a fast bar band.” True enough, but their second outing pitched America’s drunkest group at a pace even the most ardent straight-edgers could enjoy. The Side One track listing suggests standard-issue, blue-collar hardcore – “Kids Don’t Follow”, “Fuck School”, “Stuck In The Middle”, “God Damn Job” – but as strident and speedy as the EP is, any band with a lyricist as stylish as Paul Westerberg or a guitarist as idiosyncratic as Bob Stinson could never do generic. JW

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