Read Hard’s Classic Pop Punk Picks #18: Groovie Ghoulies- Appetite for Adrenochrome

Posted: January 22, 2015 in Read Hard's Classic Pop Punk Picks

It’s been almost a year since I wrote the first “Classic Pop Punk Pick” which was Wiggle! I’ve had a lot of fun writing this column and I am quite happy with some of the picks, and sort of embarrassed by others. I don’t know how many people actually reads this column, but I’m always stunned that someone reads it at all! So I was extra stoked when I actually got a request! I was asked to do a Groovie Ghoulies album, and it’s not really a band I’ve listened that much to, but I’ve listened to Appetite for Adrenochrome some and even the covers on the album I really like what Kepi and the gang did with them! I’ve always wondered what it would be like to pick a Me first and the gimme gimmes and write about famous pop songs, but I’m going to try for this album and as well write about Kepi’s originals that are pretty good too. I think the album Fun in the Dark is good as well, especially the songs “(she’s got a) Brain Scramblin’ Device”, “Carly Simon” and the cover of New York dolls’ “Lonely Planet Boy”; in fact, I think that cover is better than the original. I still like Appetite better even if I hate the album the title is based on.

Appetite for Adrenochrome was released in 1989 on Crimson Corpse records. The album cover is pink and has a monster sneaking its head out of a hearse. Usually when I think of horror punk I think of Misfits and dark images, but the Ghoulies mix this with something light and happy, and even childlike, and that makes the album cover very appropriate.
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1. “Lost Generation”: A punk rock opener! It almost has a Bad religion meets Social D meets the Ramones feel to it. The song starts a theme in the Ghoulies Horror-Punk repertoire, apocalypse and human decay. It’s a song where the protagonist fears being destroyed by radiation and that what lies ahead is destruction and that the generation will be the “lost generation” and how people are apathetic to this: “Maybe if we don’t talk about it, it will just go away”.

2. “Do the Bat”: “The bat” sounds like a fun dance. The song continues in the tradition of songs about dances, sometimes the song even starts the dance, I’m not sure if this is true for “the bat” or if people actually do the bat. It continues in the tradition of “do the twist”, “do the dog” and others. The song is about someone taking their baby out to dance, doing the bat. The song both adds to the pop punk retro oldies theme and to the horror theme, because bats are freaky. This dance seems rather unpleasant and bloody.

3. “Armageddon 2000”: A slower tempo and a really good song! The song continues all the themes of the previous numbers, the apocalyptic one, the horror one and the dancing one “then the world is gonna rock steady”. The song predicts the apocalypse of the new millennium 10 years before it (Gosh, we’re getting old, this is 25 years ago). The next song also predicts the new millennium, even it is a cover that goes way back.

4. “2000 man”: A cover of the Rolling stones from their weird and underrated Her Majesty’s Satanic Request. Kepi’s Mick Jagger impression is pretty cool! The Stones song was a look into the future and what the “2000 man” would be like. The Ghoulies version is a little closer to the “new” millennium, but still 11 years away. He sings “My wife still respect even if I really misuse her/I’ve been having an affair with a random computer”, this futuristic science fiction look of our time seems strangely appropriate.

5. “My Computer Says “Kill’”: This album has some similarities with the Screeching weasel album “Anthem For a New Tomorrow” as a theme from the previous song continues in the next, in fact there seems to be ongoing themes throughout the entire album. The idea of computers taking over in the future continues and goes even further: it says we will become extinct like the dinosaurs and pre-historic beings and computers will take over. We’ll just be mindless bodies who do what the computer tells us. The protagonist in the song just follows instructions and kills. I don’t know if this prediction has any truth in it, but how much computers are affecting our lives seems to be foreseen in this track. I don’t know if we’ll ever get to the point where the computer says “kill” and we say “all right” and then take a selfie, though.

6. “King Kong”(also known as “The King Kong stomp”): A cover of Gene Moss (singing as Dracula), the original is in the same genre as Dickie Goodman (who had songs like “My Baby Loves Monster Movies” and “Dracula Drag”) and Boris Pickett (who wrote and made the “Monster Mash” famous), horror-inspired comedy songs. The Ghoulies versions starts off with jungle beats and the arrival of King Kong. The song is simply about the giant gorilla monster King Kong causing destruction. Like “Monster Mash” the title is also a parody of popular dances and a pun, “the stomp” both referring to a dance and to King Kong actually stomping.
7. “No Blood”: A little love song, about how this girl is everything to this dude and that he would melt down a ring for her if he was a king, but he is not. She is also his link to sanity. She is all he is worth! He has no blood without her. A pretty good song.

8. “Don’t Go Out Into the Rain (You’re Gonna Melt)”: A cover of Herman’s Hermits, which is a band I love. The original of this song have, however, always seemed a little tame to me, but the Ghoulies cover is pretty much perfect and they even made a music video for it. This is the best thing the Ghoulies did in my opinion! It’s miles ahead of the original and to me this is a perfect recording. The nature sounds in the beginning are rad!

9. “The Blob”: The song continues the monster theme. The protagonist is likening someone to the Blob and seems like kind of a bitter song about someone seeming OK in the beginning and then becoming shitty. The song could easily have been a Sham 69 song and there’s a cool drum solo in it. One of my favorites on the album!

10. “Dead End”: This is probably my least favorite on the album, it’s not really great or terrible; it’s just there. What is interesting about it though is that he sings “I can go out into the rain” which alludes to the Herman’s hermits cover.

11. “Blood Beach”: This song also has that Social D sound to it, but has a super catchy chorus more reminiscent of the Ramones or the Queers. The song is about a beach where everyone gets killed by zombies. It’s also a super short song. The drum intro also sounds a lot like Tommy Ramone’s drumming in the Ramones. The song has the kind of the depressing lyrics “there’s nothing on the beach that isn’t dead”.

12. “Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow)”: A cover of the Monkees, and though I heard the Ghoulies cover first, it’s my favorite Monkees song. It’s written by Neil Diamond, so no one can say that boring dude can’t write awesome tunes! The song is about someone who has to choose between two girls, Mary and Sandra, but he can’t because he loves them both and he wishes tomorrow will never come. The song starts off like the Ramones’ “the KKK took my baby away”.

13. “Ghoulie Chant”: Every band needs a dance or a stomp or a chant, Ghoulies seems to have them all! This is maybe the weirdest song on the album! And the slowest. I can’t even make out the lyrics, even Satan is in the song! Some weird stuff is going on in the song and the bass line is pretty sweet. The song is their weirdest, not sure if that’s a good thing in this case.

14. “Beth”: A cover of Kiss. No use for a name did a better cover of this Peter Criss “classic”. It’s one of the most loved and most hated rock ballads of all time and NUFAN and the Ghoulies both did punk versions of the song. The best part of the Ghoulies version is the outro! Which is also the outro to the entire album. Kepi says afterwards “Stop, What where those “oh’s” like? Where they off?”

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So overall this record is pretty damn good, Kepi is still going strong and he even made albums for kids and I think he wrote a book! This was the first Ghoulies’ album and I think they went on until at least 2007. The next album will be an older one, Love bites by the Buzzcocks! Going back to those old classics is always fun!

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