Saturday, January 24, 2009


45 Grave were an adventurous gothic punk band that came out in the very early 1980's . Not to be pigeon-holed in the gothic punk genre, they also played devastating hardcore, psychedelic rock, experimental incidental music, and surf rock, held together with a campy love for horror. All of these things wrapped up together formed 45 Grave's sound. 45 Grave were led by the piercing, blood curdling yet addictive vocals of Dinah Cancer and the psychedelic yet brutal guitar playing of Paul Cutler of The Consumers, and backed by the solid bass playing of Rob Graves and drumming of Don Bolles of The Germs. The band broke up in 1985 and reformed in 1990, only to break up again after the death of their bass player Rob Graves. Currently they are re-united, touring heavily, and working on a new album.

Personally, 45 Grave is my favorite punk band next to The Misfits. I love their stuff. The first album I bought by them was "Debasement Tapes"1993), a compilation of unreleased material and bizarre excursions into noise art. It blew me away. I loved the rawness, the anything goes adventurous quality of the music, and the creepy vibe that the whole CD exuded. I went on to get "Only the Good Die Young"( 1990) a live reunion album. Not quite as rough around the edges as 'Debasement Tapes" but infinitely heavier. 45 Grave are a force to be reckoned with live. Lastly I picked up their only full length studio album "Sleep in Safety"(1983). It was strange hearing 45 Grave on a studio recorded album. Much more polished, with some of the edge taken off Dinah Cancer's voice, but just as effective.

45 Grave is perhaps best known for their song "Party Time", which was on the "Return of the Living Dead" soundtrack. Not their best song, but it is what they are most famous for. 45 grave has many great songs, too many to catalog here. I will do my best to bring you the ones that are the most representative of their sound. A difficult task, but hopefully these four songs will suffice: "Riboflavin", "Black Cross", "Violent World", and of course, "Party Time".

Where to start if you want to hear more? Start with "Sleep in Safety" then pick up "Debasement Tapes"(recently brought back into print as "A Devil's Possessions"). After hearing these two you will be addicted and you'll want to track down their live material and other odds and ends. One 45 Grave compilation album I'm still trying to get is "Autopsy". I had a digital copy of it a long time ago and now it's gone.

To learn about what is going on in the world of 45 Grave click here.

No comments: