TSOL – Dance With Me

20 Sep

TSOL
Dance With Me
1981 – Frontier Records
Dance With Me
Producer Thom Wilson

Jack Grisham – vocals
Ron Emory – guitar
Mike Roche – bass
Todd Barnes – drums

01 – Sounds Of Laughter
02 – Code Blue
03 – The Triangle
04 – 80 Times
05 – I’m Tired Of Life
06 – Love Story
07 – Silent Scream
08 – Funeral March
09 – Die For Me
10 – Peace Through Power
11 – Dance With Me

If I were to create a list of my desert island top ten punk albums, ala Tower Records Desert Island Discs, TSOL’s Dance With Me would sit at the top of this list.

I wrote this review back in February of 2008, but couldn’t find the right way to describe this. My brother and I once had a conversation about not wanting to loan people certain albums we had grown up on, for fear that the other person’s reactions would be negative, or they just wouldn’t get it. When you’ve listened to an album for twenty plus years, there is more built into it than just some good songs. Who you met along the way, trips you made, everything that had happened to you in the last two decades – those songs came with you. That’s why, since 1981 only one other person has listened to my Dance With Me album. A few months back, I sent a copy for my brother. Once he got it in San Diego (where he was living at the time) he called my place, and my wife picked up, and my brother tells her “Mike sent me a CD with songs about doing the freaky with dead people.” Like I’ve said for years, Code Blue was done in a very tongue-in-cheek way, but unless you’re familiar with them, you could be shocked. Another reason this album stayed hidden until I moved away from home.

I hate to admit it, but when I first bought their, now classic Poshboy Records EP, with the songs “Superficial Love” and “Abolish Government,” I didn’t dig them so much. I was still into the garage sounding hardcore that bombarded you with excessive feedback, and ridiculous shout-outs at the beginning of the songs. So, when I put on the EP, I discovered they could play their instruments, and Jack could sing. There were tempo changes and vocal arrangements – who needed that? So, I traded the EP to my Uncle Rick for something or other. About a year later I picked up Dance With Me, and loved it, I guess my musical tastes had evolved because this wasn’t your typical Hardcore album. After seeing TSOL live several times, and getting hooked on the songs from the EP, I went back and picked it up – AGAIN!

TSOL blasted onto the scene in 1979, with white face paint, and blazing anthems, they were a shot in the arm for the scene. The release of their first EP enabled them to open for bands like The Damned and The Dead Kennedy’s. By the summer of 1981, the band released Dance With Me, on Frontier Records, which propelled them to the top of the California punk scene, and had them to headlining 3,000 plus seat venues, like the Hollywood Palladium, with bands like Bad Religion, Social Distortion, and the Adolescents opening.

I have to admit to loving the lyrics on this album. The lyrics for Silent Scream were written as if Jack had somehow channeled Edgar Allan Poe:

This is my favorite album of theirs, it’s a punk masterpiece. The music is raw, catchy, and full of life. Get a copy of this album for someone who doesn’t own it, they will thank you. I always come back to this one. Did I gush enough? Did I make it clear that I liked their album?

Todd Barnes, the band’s drummer, died on December 6, 1999, of a brain aneurysm at the age of 34.

If you don’t own it, go and buy it, stop reading! Go buy it.

Rating: *** three out of three stars

 

 

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