Monday, January 26, 2015

Stark Raving Mad - "Social Sickness" 10"ep

Stark Raving Mad's "Amerika" 12"ep is one of my most fav hardcore releases ever.  The music is super fast hardcore, but they had a lot of charisma and originality in their sound.  The offbeat song structures, the interesting progressions, and the bizarro-Biafra vocals all contribute to the appeal.
They started off in Houston in the early '80s as Pissed Youth!, featuring Sponge Oid on vocals, Barry DD'Live on bass, Charles on guitar, and Steve (who was married to Colleen, Spike Cassidy of DRI's sister, who helped them get started and set up shows) on drums.
They actually toured and moved around a lot, and while living in the infamous Beer Vats of San Francisco (home to many old punk bands such as MDC and  Condemned To Death) Barry jumped ship to join RKL.  Undaunted, they came back home to Houston and got Sam (from Doomsday Massacre) on bass.  After Charles quit the band they renamed themselves Stark Raving Mad and relocated to New York for awhile.  There they recorded their first 12"ep (which was self titled but most people call it "MX" because of the cover art) which was a blistering slab of hardcore thrash along the lines of L'a'rm and early DRI.
They moved back to Houston and refined their sound a bit, recruiting Raidy Kilowatt (who would move on to the more tuneful hardcore band Reason To Believe next) on bass, adding some quirky touches to their thrash blasts, and Sponge becoming even more manic and cartoonish with his vocals.  They re-recorded 6 songs from "MX" plus 13  new ones and put out the "Amerika" 12"ep in 1985 (only 2 of the re-recorded "MX" songs would make it onto "Amerika").  Their artist Jack outdid himself with the beautiful oil painted cover.
They toured the country supporting "Amerika" in a beat up van with Colleen and their cat Onyx, but finally packed it up and  played their last show at CBGB's in 1986.
There was a short reunion in 1995 without Sponge (and with Colleen on bass) however tragedy struck and their longtime drummer Steve Hershon overdosed on heroin before they could record anything.
Both of their 12"eps were self released, however the German label Nuclear Blast (which is now a big metal label) re-released them both on an LP along with 2 bonus tracks (2 of the re-recorded "MX" tracks that weren't on the original pressing of "Amerika").  They also released a 10"ep called "Social Sickness" which had all of the re-recorded "MX" tracks except for one ("FTA") on one side and their last show on the other.
Swedish label Just 4 Fun Records re-issued both 12"eps on CD in 2007, which is still in print and fairly easy to find.
Here we are providing the out of print "Social Sickness" 10"ep.  Enjoy!

1989 Nuclear Blast Records

1. No Reason
2. Capitalist Cunts
3. Life Or Death
4. Chaos
5. Mr. Hardcore
6. Mr. Hardcore (live)
7. Capitalist Cunts (live)
8. Chaos (live)
9. Happy People (live)
10. Judge & Jury (live)
11. Set Them Free (live)
12. FTA (live)
13. Waking Up Is Hard To Do (live)
14. Life Or Death (live)
15. Problem (live)

DL: Stark Raving Mad - "Social Sickness" 12"ep

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