DMZ Live At The Rat

Back before he launched the Lyres, Jeff "Monoman" Conolly headed up a little combo called DMZ. They had a goal of sounding like the Chocolate Watchband crossed with the Stooges, and in this life it's the rare man that achieves his goals so successfully and completely as Monoman. This 50-minute, 20-track set was recorded at the Rat, Boston's answer to CBGB and ground zero for the local punk scene. Eight of the tracks come from a September 1976 gig, which had 15 bands on the bill (including other local institutions like Willie "Loco" Alexander and the Real Kids) for the princely sum of two bucks - there's a reproduction of the gig flyer in the booklet, along with a bitter and rambling rant from Conolly and a more lucid remembrance from guitarist JJ Rassler. At the time, DMZ had a lad named David Robinson, late of the Modern Lovers and not yet a founding member of the Cars, on drums. The other dozen tracks come from a one-off 1993 reunion show. The sound for both sets is suitably raw and variable, kind of like a good bootleg, but that roughness only enhances the already fierce quality of originals like "Boy From Nowhere" and the covers from the Stooges, Sonics, and Thirteenth Floor Elevators. These guys didn't follow the Ramones, they were contemporaries in the truest sense, and it's a damn shame that they didn't get equal acclaim. (Bomp)