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Blast From the Past: Gotohells - Demolition

Gotohells - Demolition

(Stiff Pole Records)

In honor of Richard "Big Stiff" Konwinski, who passed this past July in Tampa, I'll be juggling between the County Grind and Crossfade blogs doing my Blast From the Past thing on the record label that he founded, Stiff Pole Records, that, in my opinion, came to define an exciting era in Florida's punk-rock scene.

Formed sometime in the early '90s in St. Petersburg, the Gotohells had a redneck savvy from the get-go on their take on four-on-the-floor punk rock 'n' roll. We're talking cowboy hats and shit-kicking boots here. Blue jeans and cheap beer. I always kinda felt like they were the Crumbs' brothers in spirit from across the state. On this debut album, Demolition, the Gotohells rip through roughly 26 minutes via 13 tracks of straight-up, guitar-driven rock with an excellent rhythm accompaniment.

Vocal duties are shared by drummer Hunter Oswald and guitarist Darryl Marsicovetere, with additional vocals by guitarist Edward McGrady. The bass duties are handled by Tim "the Grease" Lynch. Let me paint you what I'm talking about so you can appreciate the tongue-in-cheek chauvinism of these dudes, because believe me, it is all in good fun: racetracks, grease monkeys, checkered flags, Schlitz, small breasted beauties in tiny denim shorts, and the tropical fleece of the Gulf of Mexico.

Opener "Sedan Deville" gets the party going with gusto, followed energetically by "Beach Drive" and "Time to Go." Things get sappy with "Co Dependent" and "I Heard" before mellowing out with "DUI Blues" and "Nothin' Special." The real kicker is the midway fun of "This Is Not a Ska Song," which totally is a fucking ska song! I guess this was their joke at the nascent fourth wave of ska occurring in Florida in those days, but they turn in a flawless instrumental ska song that can fit nicely into ska comp of the time period.

The album closes out with some decidedly more drunken rock 'n' roll numbers like "9 Outta 10," "That Girl," and "Rock N Roll Star" before closing with the ambiguously hootenanny-ish "The Real Sam."

This disc was recorded at Panda Studios and was mastered and mixed at the always awesome Morrisound by Scott Burns. I have it on good faith that the recently revamped Stiff Pole Records online catalog has a few of these beauties left for the miserable charge of $13, so don't pussyfoot and get yourself one. This is an album for people who like cold beer!

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Abel Folgar

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