The Exterminators' "Product of America"
Formed in '77 by the Clark brothers, Doug (aka Buzzy Murder, guitar) and Dan (aka Johnny Macho, voxxx), the Exterminators were part of a nascent punk scene that included the Consumers and the Liars (who morphed into Kray-Zee Homicide, and whose drummer Don Bolles wound up replacing OG Exterminators drummer Doug Goss). They played a handful of shows before Bolles and bassist Rob Graves decamped for L.A., leaving the Clarks to continue their punk odyssey with bands like the Feederz, the Brainz, and Mighty Sphincter, sometimes including songs from the Exterminators' unrecorded repertoire in their setlists.
Earlier this year, the Clark brothers and Bolles met up in a Phoenix studio with Meat Puppet Cris Kirkwood handling bass and production chores, and bashed out the tunes they'd played as teens, live and raw ("either first take, or as close as possible," Bolles writes in his engaging and informative liner notes). We can only imagine what the Exterminators sounded like in their youth, but as mature men, they attack the tunes with sabre-toothed fury and lots of fire in the belly, Dan Clark shredding his vocal cords while brother Doug blasts out crunchy chords and shrieking leads over a slamming riddim section that just won't quit.
Some of the songs on Product of America -- short, sharp shocks of adrenaline, vitriol, and bile -- echo the hard rock of the time, while others predict the heavy music that would follow. The titles tell the story: "I Hate You" (credited to "Some Kid From The Neighborhood"), "Destruction Unit," "I Don't Give A Fuck," "Sometimes I Don't Know." The closing "Serena II" is a surprise: a poem from Samuel Beckett's Echo's Bones, declaimed with dark menace by Dan Clark with guitar sound painting by his brother in the manner of Saccharine Trust. A cathartic rush from start to finish; highly recommended.