By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
The Rock, it never seems to stop, at least when you're the Supersuckers or the New Bomb Turks, two punk bands that have been juggling a handful of chords for the duration of the '90s, never gaining the attention of the bigger, dumber bands but nonetheless succeeding in managing to reconfigure that finite number of chords into wet-behind-the-ears punk stunners despite the mathematical impossibility of such an achievement this late in the game.
If nothing else, the Supersuckers deserve a wet kiss and a tongue in the ear for writing and recording "Born with a Tail," a song that, though breaking no new ground musically, contained the boss refrain "You know I'm in league with Satan!" The song, which appears on the group's Sub Pop record (all but their first are on the Seattle punk stalwart label) Sacrilicious, continues, "There can be no debatin'/I'm on a hell-bound trail/I was born with a tail." Were you to toss those words in a time machine and address it to Skip James in the Delta, circa 1931, the song would arrive intact.
Unlike most of the Sub Pop guitar bands that played the same formula over and over again, somewhere along the line the Supersuckers discovered the glories of country & western and proceeded to release the somewhat-lame-but-we-can't-blame them-for-trying Must've Been High. They recorded with both Willie Nelson and Steve Earle (and appeared as backing band on Earle's El Corazon, on the phenomenal "NYC") along the way. The title of their recent collection, The Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the World (Sub Pop), is obviously a misnomer; that award goes to, of course, the Alan Parsons Project, but the Supersuckers sure can kick it.
So can the New Bomb Turks, who have been recommended highly in these pages every time they've played St. Louis. They're the best punk band of the '90s, bar none, though they're a singles band. Each of their half-dozen-or-so records contains two or three true miracles, as well as a half-dozen small wonders. Anything else said would be redundant: great live band, boss singer, fury, the whole bit.
In all, this is an evening of real-deal rock & roll, born with bad breath, B.O., greasy hair and, of course, a tail.