The Untamed Youth Interview Themselves
Mother of the Month
This Month:
Joey Ramones Mom

Life After Oblivian;
An Interview with
The Oblivians

The Botswanas
Go Español

Making Up With
The Donnas

General Smith
Record Reviews

This Ain't
The Partridge Family
Pure Rubbish

60 Second

Officer Friendly


Table of

Illustration by
Fran Leadon
General Smith USMC
The Cream of the Crust
by General Smith, USMC

OK, listen up people!

General Smith USMC R emember the satanic red velvet get up that Jagger wore in Rock N' Roll Circus? From Elvis' light blue jump suit and The Kinks S&M publicity shot to The Velvet Underground's S&M publicity shot, Rock N' Roll has always been about costume and a kind of fantastic elitism which everyone secretly wishes they could capture. In 1998 with our Vietnam-esque music industry, where all the bands dress exactly alike, where all the resources are spread into a million little self-referential experiments and spearheaded by knuckleheads like Sonic Youth, The General is very angry. Of all the garbage spewed by undisciplined, A&R morons across this great USA, The General was able to cull a couple of venerable products which are truly deserving of commendation.

Upper Crust: "Decline and Fall of the Upper Crust" (Emperor Norton)

F the Decline and Fall of the Upper Crust lawless and disciplined, beautifully dressed in velvet knickers, frilly white shirts and bright, shiny buckled shoes, the Upper Crust are operating at a level so far above most bands that they deserve The General's special award for outstanding achievement in a world where mediocrity is praised and genius regularly marginalized. On their second album, The Upper Crust have created their own elite universe replete with monstrous kick-ass guitar riffage and they actually write songs and develop thematic content. Thank you Lord Jesus for sending us an album without a single song about personal relationships, black nail polish, self-loathing or whiny, tiny girls who look like rock stars but play hippie folk music (e.g. most of the other records made in Boston

"...self-loathing or whiny, tiny girls who look like rock stars but play hippie folk music..."

nowadays). Personal favorites include "Cream of the Crust," which spins an elaborate John Donne-like parallel between excellence and love jism, and "Vulgar Tongue." The intelligence and creativity behind this band is pretty awesome so The General advises "progressive," "experimental," and "alternative" types to avoid this at all costs. Believe me, you will hate this record as it represents everything you seek to abstract and diffuse. Unfairly, the band is mistaken for novelty: you won't see many reviews of Upper Crust records, of that I'm sure. 99% of so-called rock critics don't have the education or artistic background to understand them.

Hear the Upper Crust

The Donnas: "American Teenage Rock N' Roll Machine" (Lookout!)

T hough highly derivative, and mysterious songwriter-wise, The General approves highly of teenage girls forming bands to play Rock N' Roll. These kids sure must stand out in their high school. Most teenagers I know have enough cloth in one pant leg to outfit the entire Donnas group for a year. The group is in fact so damn cool looking and sounding that The General took a special shore-leave to NYC and enjoyed the girls live, raw and in the flesh! Yes, the girls play very well live and Donna R. really smokes on guitar. Enough gushing, The General must now regain some composure. On this album all the songs are really pretty great. Any band that writes lyrics including The General's "magic seven" Rock N' Roll images is by definition going to give a rise in the ranks: (Action, Satisfaction, Shake, Leather, Wanna, Machine, Radio). The Donnas cover Donnas Cover all the bases and sound very sincere and passionate about it. I just can't figure out how these teenagers can be so friggin' hip, (could there be an older gentleman behind the curtain?) it's the 90's for God's sake!! I bet these chicks sit up and just giggle all night about how their stupid classmates are into "electronica" and "ska" or some other lame sub-genre spew from that mighty fountainhead of Rock N' Roll. It must be a lot of fun to be in a band like The Donnas.

Hear the Donnas

The General's 10 South Pacific desert island discs for the month:

  1. The Rolling Stones "Exile On Main Street"
  2. The Kinks "Village Green Preservation Society"
  3. The Kinks "Something Else"
  4. The Botswanas "Mockers and Rods"
  5. The Upper Crust "The Decline and Fall of the Upper Crust"
  6. Lorrette Velvette "Lost Part of Me"
  7. The Sweet "Desolation Boulevard"
  8. Lyres "On Fyre"
  9. Chuck Berry "The Great 28"
  10. Mott the Hoople "The Ballad of Mott, a Retrospective"

"...cannot be argued hippie-style by any reader of this column."

Remember people, The General doesn't care what you think about his opinions. All statements made in this column are statements of pure fact and cannot be argued hippie-style by any reader of this column. Please do not send The General records to review as he will most likely hate them. If there are great Rock N' Roll bands out there The General will find them himself.

All reviews based on listening levels of at least 95 db through The General's high-grade, military spec tube stereo system. 1998 General Smith, USMC