It’s a curious thing why certain bands—even those with genuine talent and the best of intentions—wind up doing pratfalls through the cracks in history and landing in punk’s dustbin of forgotten souls. The curious case of the Lewd is a prime example of just such a band. Surprisingly, even having one of their songs covered by Turbonegro couldn’t seem to save them from the brink of oblivion. Maybe memories of the Lewd still sit sacrosanct like manger scenes in the minds of older punks in and around the San Francisco area, but here in the midriff of the country, the Lewd is mostly just a name passingly referenced in those-were-the-days Punk Histories. And that’s just plain not right. The early Lewd (circa ‘78) had a scummy, crotch-rottish larval punk sound somewhat similar to the Dead Boys and giving off a seamy aural odor not unlike a can of molting night crawlers. The early ‘80s phase Lewd, featuring the late Olga de Volga on bass, vocals, and leather porn suits, took on a more hardcore sound, shifting their malodorous garbage truck of sonic filth into a speedier realm of reckless abandon, comparable to DOA in the Hardcore ‘81 days. In both modes the Lewd proved up to the task of bringing the classic sounding punk that you immediately sense was Frankensteined-togther in seedy basements with stale cigarette smoke, spilled beers, and fruit flies. Lyrically, things occasionally get ham-fisted to the point where the punk-by-numbers wordsmithery strains between near-rhymes and “shock value” so much that you can feel your coccyx twitch with a flutter of embarrassment. But this was some thirty years ago. This was back when the neonate anti-art art form was first sprouting snot-filled lungs and pulling itself out of the primordial slop swamp of vapid ‘70s AOR/arena rock with spindly little arms that hadn’t so long before been swaying fins in the current of mediocrity. So I can cut the Lewd all sorts of slack for a cheesy lyric here and there. There weren’t many T.S. Eliot types involved with the punk scene back in those days and—let’s be honest—there aren’t many around now either. I guess now we have bigshot Broadway musical Andrew Lloyd Weber types—like that Green Day guy, for instance—but I’ll take J. Sats Beret’s lyrical output any day over Billy Joe Cyrus or whatever his name is. Kill Yourself…Again is just plain solid old school trash punk and, to quote Baron Von Raschke, that’s all the people need to know. I’m not sure just why this lost gem is suddenly back in circulation again, but I’m not going to pick the nits out of a gift horse’s mouth or however the saying goes. The Bottom Line Good News: shoveling out large piles of cash for a rare collector’s copy is no longer your only option. But get one while you can. You never know when it will disappear again.
–Aphid Peewit (Self-released)