Thursday, January 21, 2010

This Tape Sucks!!

If you like early-80's punk rock that is loud, loose and preferably recorded on lousy cassette boom boxes, then this just might be what you’re looking for. Some bonfide boom box "hits" here, along with some cuts recorded in crude (and cheap-as-possible) studios.  No one had much money back then, and what little there was needed to be spent on beer and potato chips, NOT slick recording facilities.

"This Tape Sucks" was a 1982 N.E. Ohio cassette compilation that was released by Oops! Records, a label that sprouted from Oops! fanzine. Both were enterprises that yours truly had a heavy hand in back in the day. Several years ago I transferred these wonderful artifacts to compact disc, thus creating "This CD Sucks.”  Now I guess they can be referred to as "This Download Sucks." Throughout the digital process, you can be rest assured that the crap-tastic sound of these recordings has been preserved. You couldn’t improve them if you wanted to.

A few of these bands managed to stick around for a while and even put out records, for what is was all worth. Also for what it’s worth: some of this doesn’t really suck, although that’s just my opinion.

If you were there, then you can skip the rest of my B.S. and just listen again, if you care to. Info provided below is for people who weren’t “lucky” enough to know THIS TAPE SUCKS firsthand.  Songs are presented in the same order as they appeared on the original tape.


A couple of these recordings actually ended up on an Offbeats retrospective CD & LP put out by Smog Veil Records, still available for sale, so go there if you are interested.
An Offbeats bio can be found at:  More free Offbeats downloads can also be found at:

Offbeats - “Why Do You Hang Out?”
Offbeats - “Hey Mate Ahoy”
Offbeats - “Society”
Offbeats - “Look At Em Go / Go Away”
Offbeats - “M-16”

An Athens, Ohio college punk band (later known as "One Man's Head"). LAF's Douglas Enkler later joined the Offbeats, bringing these songs along with him for us to play. Trivia: "Sad" was re-recorded by the Offbeats (in a real studio) for the “I Can See Your House From Here” EP. It was also later covered by Scrawl on their "Plus Also Too" LP. Mr. Enkler later went on to a stellar career as front man of Prisonshake.

Loud as Fuck - “I Don't Bathe”
Loud as Fuck - “Shit My Pants”
Loud as Fuck - “Sad”

A Cleveland punk “super-group” almost, featuring Robert Conn, formerly of the Pagans (see "Six and Change"), and now of  Chelsea Hotel.  The band also included Bob Sablack & Johnny Korosec, later of the Plague; Bob is now in the Chromekickers.  “Life So Fast” actually has pretty decent recording quality.  It was an outtake from the sessions that produced their “51%" b/w "Hello From Berlin” 45, a record that usually brings big bucks on Ebay. The Defnics also have stuff for sale from Smog Veil Records. A Defnics bio is at:

Defnics - “Life So Fast”
Defnics - “Governor's Daughter”

The Zero Defex (aka ODFX) preached and tried to live the anarchy lifestyle to the hilt; they came closest to that ideal during their brief 10-to-15 minute live sets. These guys were so intense it was almost comical. They also managed to single-handily spit the N.E. Ohio scene in two - you either loved 'em or hated 'em. I thought they were fun. More about ODFX can be found at:

Zero Defex - “4”
Zero Defex - “Do Not Pass Go”
Zero Defex - “Die Before”
Zero Defex - “Drop the A-Bomb on Me”
Zero Defex - “No More Control”

An Idiot Savant is someone who is a genius at one thing only. In the case of this band, it was making a noise that sounded like an unbalanced washing machine stuck on spin cycle. Idiot Savants bio:

Idiot Savants - Looking in the Mirror

Almost pop sounding compared to some of the other offerings on TTS. In reality another bunch of smart-ass Cleveland punks, except with some actual musical ability.  A Dissidents career retrospective CD was released on Smog Veil Records, so go there if that sounds like something that might float your boat. A Dissidents bio is at:

Dissidents - “Modern Emotion”

“Tra-la-la-la” pop/punk gibberish.  This was actually a recording by a little known Cleveland outfit called the "Generics,” who later evolved into the Offbeats. For some reason the band thought it would be fun to invert their new name and attach it to this almost-good-quality studio recording.

Beatoffs - “Ad Liberation”

One of the few punk bands on this comp that never managed to make an actual record. Also a much better band than this crude recording suggests. Too bad they weren’t around in the late 70’s when record labels were signing up anything from Akron. They could’ve been a contender.

Urban Mutants - “Not Living”

Some referred to this band as thrash/metal, but this just sounds like revved-up punk rock, played in an echo-y basement, and recorded into a very cheap boom box cassette machine - which was exactly what it was. Later Agitated studio recordings were the unlikely subject of yet anther Smog Veil retrospective CD & 7" EP.

Agitated - “Almost Straight Edge”
Agitated - “In This Room”
Agitated - “Blissful Ignorance”

A group that managed to stick around (on and off) for the next 10 years, longer then anyone else on this comp.  Perseverance, or simply too plain ornery to quit?  This is the embryonic version of the band. Later proto-grunge 7” singles and full length LP’s sounded almost nothing like this, and included almost none of the original members. Presented below is pure teenage HC angst served up by actual teenagers. More about SA:
More SA downloads are at:

Starvation Army - New Black List
Starvation Army - Pain
Starvation Army – Fun

Is it just me, or is this stuff just a little bit affected? They obviously tried very hard to sound idiotic. The National Lampoon of the early 80’s punk scene. Closest comparison might be the Angry Samoans, except with none of that band’s musical ability. They never put out a record, and a quick glance below might give you an idea why. Dumbshits:

Dumbshits - “Hey Devo”
Dumbshits - “Turds with Corn in 'Em”
Dumbshits - “I'm Lost”
Dumbshits - “Bald Guys Fartin'”
Dumbshits - “This Tastes Like Fuckin' Shit”
Dumbshits - “Weird Fuckin' Noise”


jim lanza said...

you need to either burn the tape in a fire or on a cd so i can get one.

Tom and Denise Miller said...

How about if we burn the tape in a fire, throw it in a bucket of water, bury it in the backyard for a month, dig it up, and then burn it on to a CD? Oh wait, it already sounds like we did that.

Sean said...

I think the tape sounded like that when it was brand new in 1982... The past near-30 years have given it a fine, aged smoke flavoring, though. Mmmmmmmm... punky.

Brad Warner said...

Thank you for posting this. We should reform all these bands for one night only and play the entire This Tape Sucks from beginning to end. The show would be called This Show Sucks and tickets would be $65 each!

Mike Kole said...

Hey Tom- I burned 'Shed Your Pride' to digital format. Preserved the glorious tape hiss and all. You may have already done this, but if not, I'd be glad to send you a copy. Just let me know. mikekole(a)

Anonymous said...

Maybe,riot 101....