The Beast 999 Presents The Electric Eels In Their Organic Majesty's Request
A HARSH TRUTH FOR YOU. The Stooges' 'Raw Power' was not the biggest, toughest and ugliest recording of the pre-punk '70s.It was, by comparison to Cleveland, Ohio contemporaries The Electric Eels, the work of namby-pamby asthmatic tabby cats, who couldn't rock if their field-mousey little lives depended upon it.
Cyclotron / Agitated 7" (Rough Trade 1977)
100 Records That Set The World on Fire while no one was listening
An unbelievable slab of primitive art damage from the deep Cleveland underground. Recorded in 1975, the incredibly itchy-scratchy quality of the vocals, instruments and recording give the songs a crumbling edge that is the mark of only the best sub-underground murk. When this single appeared (on Rough Trade of all places) it challenged every outsider notion of the American pre-punk scene. If Pere Ubu was avant garage, what on earth was this? Could it really have been recorded in 1975? The primitive instrumental raunch dynamics combine with Dave E's aggressive sissy-boy vocals in a way that should have made every dada-loving teen start a group immediately. If not sooner. And it seems to me that the versions of these songs on subsequent archival issues of Eels material are not as raw and disturbed as the ones on this single. Jesus, what a sound. BC
The Wire Issue 175 September 98 (UK)
The Beast 999 Presents
The Hate Parade the unfortunate band who anticipated punk and ended in violence.
The Electric Eel's operated in a no-man's land that now seems fascinating: that mid-70's moment between glitter and punk rock. It wasn't as though they flourished: none of these 20 hate-filled, acidly humorous cuts were ever released in the group's lifetime (1972-75); as Michael Weldon says in his sleevenotes, "The Eels were too real and uncompromising to last."
If you want nasty white boy rock ("pasty faces, amyl nitrate on the ground"), this is the real deal: singer Dave E - he of the perfect vicious adolescent whine - would appear on-stage festooned in rat-traps and clothes pegs; guitarists John Morton and Brian McMahon would "go to working class bars and dance together, waiting for the fights to start"; their last show ended in violence. With Cramps drummer Nick Knox and CLE celebrities Paul Marotta and Jim Jones, the Eels perfected a trebly, abrasive, punk jazz - the perfect setting for Dave E to spit 20 years of Bad America back in your face.
There are so many classics here. Take the double negatives of the one-minute No No and all three versions of No Nonsense; famed Rough Trade single, Agitated/Cyclotron; the lisping Bunnies; the drones of Giganto; the high-octane invective of Your Full of Shit; the wonderful moment in Cyclotron when Dave E lost for spleen, starts screaming about refrigerators; "Kelvinator! Kelvinator! Kelvinator!"
"Hope no-one sees me in this accident, with my feet down through the floorboards and my head up through the busted glass, my face smashed against the dash." It's no use. The group surges: "Let's go see who's in an accident, ah ha nyah," and people stand around commenting on the action ("someone said it was a reckless U-turn"), while traffic backs up. Here it is, the ultimate Midwestern carnival: "There's no attraction like a fatal crash."
For anyone interested in America, punk rock or extreme avant-noise, this is an essential release.
Jon Savage MOJO issue 54 - May 1998