HUMPERS, THE: War Is Hell/My Machine: CD

I occasionally troll the internet for records I can’t afford; guess I like to torture myself. I found this disc on eBay for like twelve dollars, thinking maybe it was a cheap bootleg. Last time I checked, The Humpers first album, My Machine, went for upwards of $150 and there’s no way I’d pay that much for any record. And what is this War Is Hell? I’d heard this was the long-lost second Humpers album, so I had to go for it. As a quick aside, I long had doubts that My Machine even existed, as information about The Humpers was non-existent until maybe 2007. I stumbled across their MySpace page as the band was preparing for some reunion shows in 2007 and interviewed vocalist Scott Drake, who confirmed the existence of My Machine. At a 2009 show for his current band (Scott Drake And The World’s Strongest Men), Drake asked me if I’d ever heard of this alleged second album and that he was hoping to someday release the first two on one disc. Apparently, this here is a legitimate release from Europe’s Devils Jukebox Records (I know, it makes me uncomfortable too that they don’t put an apostrophe before the “s” in “Devils”). Liner notes, written by Drake himself, detail the circumstances of both albums (recorded for Yugoslavian label Listen Loudest, but War Is Hell was shelved due to the Yugoslavian Civil War). Many of the songs from War Is Hell would go on to appear on The Humpers next album, Positively Sick on 4th St, re-recorded, of course. Apparently, both albums were recorded live to DAT and to today’s ears they have obvious limitations, but don’t disregard this disc! Remember that technological innovations have greatly improved chances of bands with no recording budgets to record a decent sounding album. For those who don’t know The Humpers, this is rock’n’roll (yes, like The Kids song says) from one of the greatest (and my second all-time favorite) bands. Imagine if Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers took uppers instead of downers.

 –guest (Devils Jukebox)