Published Apr 27, 2008Okay, so it's not a new record, but this full-length pass at some of the band's best songs (recorded at Toronto super-studio Metal Works with a fucking Ramone pounding the skins) is still totally worth picking up for fans of one of Canada's best known first-wave punk bands. They'll probably be a few die-hards unable to put aside the requisite "why bother?" hand-wringing but Teenage Head with Marky Ramone is a solid addition to the band's catalogue, bringing together 12 songs from their past and adding a modern punch to them that won't hurt in winning some new fans from younger age brackets. With Ramones (and Misfits, and Doughboys, and Richard Hell) producer Daniel Rey behind the boards, songs like the classic "Let's Shake" sound fresh and immediate, while "Teenage Beer Drinkin' Party" is ready to inspire a whole new wave of underage alcoholism. Frankie Venom's voice sounds as strong now as it did almost 30 years ago, and the rest of the band keep pace with his continued energy. Hopefully this entices some new listeners, which will in turn entice some new tunes. But for now, this will do.
You guys recorded these songs in 2003. What prompted you to release them now?
Guitarist Gord Lewis: It just feels right. When we did it, it was an opportunity that presented itself at that time, and we never intended to do something with it right away. We just wanted to bring this stuff to the rest of the world, because a lot of our catalogue is hard to get outside of Canada, and we wanted to it with a 21st century approach.
Do you like any of these versions more than the originals?
"Picture My Face," "Let's Shake" and "Top Down" — there are actually quite a few I like better. Or maybe not better but I really like how they've turned out. "Picture My Face," though, was supposed to sound like this on day one. Daniel Rey just grabbed it. I'm happy. Thirty years later, we finally got it. Good.
What about new Teenage Head material?
Very likely. We've re-released our debut album and now we've released this, and those were both things we really wanted to do. Now it's time to move on. We're actually going to go both ways: we've got recordings from before the first album that no one's ever heard before and we've already started writing for a new record. I mean, an album of completely new songs? That would really freak everyone out. (Sonic Unyon)