SCHLEPROCK: Learning to Crawl: CD

The East L.A./San Gabriel valley punk scene has long been one of varied sounds and bands both good and, um, not quite as good. Schleprock was one of the better ones—a band that took the hardcore they were raised on and used it to fuel a post-oi punk rock monster with loud guitars and catchy choruses. They were popular in the ‘hood long before the rest of the world caught on, so as surreal as it may have been to hear one of their tunes in a Budweiser commercial, it wasn’t surprising in the least to those of us who had seen ‘em come up. They were a good band, one that deserved the attention they received, and while they took it as far as they could before imploding, they always managed to keep one foot planted firmly in the home scene and did their best to help out their peers when they could (one particularly embarrassing memory involved, at the insistence of our singer, Pogo, hounding a patient Doug to discuss the logistics of the Black Jax touring with Schleprock when I knew full well the Black Jax weren’t in any condition to be touring anywhere). To that end, this collection of assorted demos, b-sides, and other rarities intended as a tribute to their guitarist Jeff Graham, who died a few years ago of an overdose, is also a fine retrospective of the band itself. Unlike many other comparable collections, the sound and performances on the tracks culled here are consistently top notch and showcase the band at their finest. True to form, it is also meant to serve as a benefit for Jeff’s wife Monica. Good guys, them Shleppers remain. Recommended listening.

 –jimmy (Fiend)