Saturday 12 March 2011

Desert Rat - Home From The Front LP Champagne CHA 7002, 1978

An old friend used to engage in a party game designed to test the wits of unsuspecting houseguests: ambush said visitor with a copy of Blue Öyster Cult’s Secret Treaties LP, and request the back-story to the before/after sketches on the front and back cover. Why does the plane's pilot bear a striking resemblance to Skeletor? Who and/or what is Lopez? How did Eric Bloom’s Alsatians meet their demise? And most importantly, how did five BÖCs, four dogs and a skeleton fit into a two-seater jet?

The back cover of Desert Rat’s Home From The Front LP presents a similar vehicular seating conundrum, but the real mystery concerns drummer John Drak. Who slammed his foot in the car door? And why? Perhaps, like most drummers, the guy just had it coming to him.

Though the sepia-tone image on Home From The Front’s inner-sleeve is reminiscent of Secret Treaties (substitute the plane with a tank), that’s where the similarities end. Yes, both bands peddle a brand of ‘70s hard rock, but Desert Rat’s is more leaden and less conceptual. That is to say, it’s kinda plodding and more than a little bit dumb. F’rinstance, Eric Bloom plans to steal your wife, pick your brain and spend your money; in Rock And Roll Lady, Desert Rat’s Jerome Speldewinde has already had his way with your wife, but rock and roll has made him so braindead he can’t even remember her name.

Desert Rat’s members had already been around the block a couple of times by the time of the LP’s release - guitarist John Moon and bass player Ian Ryan had both been in Buster Brown (with a pre-Rose Tattoo Angry Anderson and a pre-AC/DC Phil Rudd), among others. Though not featured in the line-up that recorded Home From The Front, Stephen Lazaros' tenure is also worthy of note. Lazaros had previously played with Wallaby Beat gap-fillers Lois Lane/The Benders, but more significantly, would later be re-christened as Smeer and feature prominently in Melbourne's hardcore punk scene as guitarist for Depression and drummer for Gash.

The level dumbness is fairly uniform across the LP, but there are moments that are less plodding than others, highlighted by side one's closing track, Take Me On. Home From The Front also spawned a single (Need Your Love / Reach For The Sky [Champagne CHS 603, 1978], both on the LP), the A side of which is presented below.

Need Your Love

Take Me On

"This will teach sir not to play 20 minute drum solos". SLAM!


Anonymous said...

this was the first album l every brought actual l got the cassett in 1978.some one please put up all there songs so l can listen to them again still got the tape but l can barely use the computer.

Anonymous said...

there is a film clip out there for need your love single
l think gil mathews of the aztecs our producer of the time may still have it
cheers johnny drak Drummer.