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All Systems Go 2

Rocket from the Crypt

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Album Review

More than many so-called punk bands of the '90s, especially as corporate release structures took precedence over fun and music, Rocket From the Crypt celebrates the original spirit of releasing single after single, in its case via a huge number of labels. Indeed, the band was productive enough on that front to be able to release a fantastic compilation of its various 7" and comp appearances after only two studio albums. All Systems Go contains what for many are the group's best early efforts, tightly wound and fiercely performed garage/punk monsters that burn attitude and sly intelligence all at once. John Reis leads his merry crew with all the power needed, as well as writing the often hilarious liner notes explaining where everything originally came from. (His conclusion on the Italian label that put out Rocket's debut and then ripped the group off: "[They're] still pressing copies of this inferior punk product — Thank you. Indie Rock Lives.") Self-deprecation aside, "Live the Funk" and "Bad Song Ninja" appear in smoking re-recorded versions, and from there the band careens from one happy blast to another, soul shouting and call-and-response choruses as much a part of things as chunky riffs and slamming drums. Add in the smoking horns of Apollo 9 and all is raunchy bliss. Listening to "Jumper K. Balls" and "Pigeon Eater" is as solid a way to get charged up about something without the use of illegal stimulants, and there are even slower grooves here and there, like the semi-anthem "The Paste That You Love." One great rarity is a cover of Adam & the Ants' "Press Darlings," which Reis sounds almost apologetic for in the notes, but which still kicks major butt. Then there's the goofy "Chantilly Face," which takes the Big Bopper's early rock classic and does rather strange things to it. On a technical note, All Systems Go initially appeared in Japan as part of a tour promotion; demand for it back in the States prompted its American release, with a slew of extra tracks. However, four songs from the original release didn't make it — two finally ended up on All Systems Go, Vol. 2, but the others are still in limbo, including a damn good version of the MC5 rarity "Gold" that ends with Reis puking on the mic!


Formed: 1990 in San Diego, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Pledging to never play a venue with a stage, singer/guitarist John Reis formed San Diego's Rocket from the Crypt in the summer of 1990 after becoming disillusioned with his then-current hardcore punk band, Pitchfork. Bassist Petey X, guitarist N.D., drummer Sean, and backing vocalist Elaina joined the band's initial lineup, and Rocket from the Crypt released Paint as a Fragrance in 1991. While the debut increased the band's profile, a lineup change ensued as Sean and Elaina left the...
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