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Claw Hammer

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Biography

Purveying a music squarely located at the more brutal end of the hardcore punk rock spectrum, Clawhammer were formed in Los Angeles, California, USA, in the mid-80s, taking their name from a Captain Beefheart lyric. Among their earliest releases was a track-by-track cover album cassette of Devo’s Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! They made their debut in 1989 with the Poor Robert EP, followed by a self-titled debut album for Sympathy For The Record Industry a year later. The engaging Double Pack Whack Attack EP, meanwhile, included versions of material by Patti Smith, Pere Ubu, Brian Eno and Devo once more. However, it was not until the mid-90s when the band, which features Jon Wahl (vocals, guitar, ex-Pontiac Brothers), Chris Bagarozzi (guitar), Rob Walther (bass) and Bob Lee (drums), first achieved mainstream prominence. Pablum, released on Epitaph Records in 1983, attracted rave reviews, but immediately afterwards they moved away from the label to Interscope Records, though they retained the services of Epitaph head Brett Gurewitz as producer. Their debut for Interscope, Thank The Holder Uppers, was another devastating blast of angst-ridden punk blues, with Wahl’s unhinged vocals and irresistibly macabre lyrical images holding centrestage.

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