Welcome to The Lazarus Pit, a biweekly look at should-be classic metal records that don’t get nearly enough love; stuff that’s essential listening that you’ve probably never heard of; stuff that we’re too lazy to track down the band members to do a Hall Of Fame for. This week, we tackle the best band to share a name with a Powerpuff Girls villain (sorry, HIM): Gang Green and their 1986 debut full-length, Another Wasted Night (Taang!).
The early 80s brought us the birth of straight edge. Minor Threat, 7 Seconds, SSD. Classic bands, classic message: no drugs, no alcohol. And then there was Gang Green, a revolving door lineup of Boston drunks and miscreants with pretty much the opposite message. These dudes fought for their right to party! And their right to skateboard and break stuff and hit on cute punk lasses. And while that didn’t make them as legendary as the buzzkill crews, it did make them a hell of a lot more fun.
These guys were one of the early skate punk acts – their first recordings, seven quick bursts of idiocy on the This Is Boston, Not LA compilation, were released pretty much concurrently with DRI’s Dirty Rotten EP in 1982. That was from the first incarnation of the band, when the members were a whole 17 years of age. Then they dissolved. Band main man Chris Doherty went on to play and a few other acts, and then returned to his original stomping grounds with a motley Beantown wrecking crew in tow. That lineup would unleash some of the snottiest 18 minutes you’ll ever hear.
The big thing that set these guys apart was the fact that they weren’t afraid to go for the big classic rock licks. The title track, the song they start the original US release off with, has bits that sound like their punk predecessors, sure, but it also has a very Motorhead groove and an almost southern rock thing going on behind the chorus. “19th Hole” has a definite Van Halen guitar bit in the middle. “Voices Carry” is an utter defilement of the ‘Til Tuesday song, complete with incompetently played synthesizers. “Alcohol” is the big mission statement/anthem, its off key vocals telling the tale of an epic bender, and it’s been covered by everyone from Tankard (obviously) to Impaled Nazarene (not so obviously). Not that everything is weird – “Skate to Hell” and “Hate” are both pretty bitching slices of skater shred. Subsequent CD issues add an additional nine songs (and 17 minutes) to the track list, providing even more fun to be discovered!
For whatever reason, Gang Green don’t get as much credit as various other crossover acts like DRI, COC, etc. Maybe they were too fun? At any rate, even though they were more punk than metal (and got more metal after this album when they went to Roadrunner) you can pretty much draw a straight line from this to Municipal Waste or SSS. You could probably also draw a straight line from this to the hospital or rehab, but that’s beside the point. The point is, if you like skateboards, beer, metal, or punk (and chances are that, if you’re reading this, you like at least one of those things), you need to spend another wasted night with these guys.