Monday, October 31, 2022

Ears are pounding with a fresh six pack of Toxic Reasons discs

From the There's Something Hard in There archives.

By Andy 

Diehard punks have continuously inquired, and the noise boys of Toxic Reasons have followed through with some deliverance.

It's a five-pronged attack of remastered discs from the band's 40-plus-year raucous career that was recently slapped into fans' weathered yet sturdy hands and wedged further into their welcoming ears.

The offerings from Audio Platter are all fucking winners: "Kill By Remote Control," "Within These Walls," "Bullets For You," "In the House of God," "No Peace in Our Time" along with a "God Bless America?" new 17-song compilation of critical Toxics' tuneage with two previously unreleased numbers ("Unholy War" and "AGRO") tagged on for good measure. The band's sound ping-ponged between the punk and rock realms during its lengthy, jackhammering existence, and the guys are still tirelessly pounding away to this day.

Sept. 16 was release day and bassist/vocalist Tufty Clough laid his four-stringer and mic aside for a bit and opined on the albums being cannoned back into the world: "I (am) so glad they are getting reissued, maybe it will help bring people out to our shows. I do think they have an impact although some perspectives change with age."

Clough feels some of the crucial songs off "Kill By Remote Control" are "Destroyer," "Limited Nuclear War" and "No Pity," while "Dreamer" off the mellower follow-up record, "Within These Walls," still strikes a chord with him.

Guitarist/vocalist Bruce Stuckey mused about the reissues and people's reaction: "Not sure how it will impact (listeners). Have to wait and see. I’m sure most of the songs are still semi-relevant. The world is still basically the same."

The Toxics' present world includes Stuckey, Clough, longtime drummer JJ Pearson and guitarist Vess von Ruhtenberg compiling the lineup, which has signed on to hit UK shores again at the Rebellion Festival slated for Aug. 3-6, 2023, in Blackpool.

Pearson got the proverbial ball rolling -- with a nod of approval from Jello Biafra -- by licensing the reissues to Audio Platter's Steve Beatty. The band's seminal "Independence" album is not part of the package because Pearson feels that three re-releases is enough on that gem that put Dayton, Ohio, on the punk map.

The drummer unleashed his unbridled enthusiasm in a recent message to this blog.

"So here we are. A bunch of our music that really was never going to see the light of day again (is) available all over the fuckin' place. We have no delusions of grandeur but our hard work of many years is finally available if anyone wants to hear it, and it’s on all the streaming thingies as well. We’re definitely chuffed!" Pearson said.

Pearson praised Stuckey, Clough and former guitarist/vocalist Rob Lucjak's lyricism on a heap of songs, tagging the Toxic men as wordsmith geniuses.

"Rob’s 'It's So Silly' from 'Within These Walls' could’ve been written last week and be right on track with the now. Tufty’s 'Killing the Future' definitely fits what’s going on right now. Bruce’s lyrics on 'Sons of Freedom' fit what’s going on today," said Pearson, adding that the band's defiant songs still ring of validity in 2022 just as they did back in the Toxics' heyday.

The Toxics made an impact on people during their musical journey all over the world, Pearson said. He's filled with gratitude for being able to experience the whole deal.

It's important for Pearson to know that everything they put forth was worth the immense effort, "All the hard work, playing, starving, recording, traveling, not having a home, no long-term relationships, all that I did with a bunch of bandmates that I couldn’t love any more if they were my real brothers."

** Lucjak relayed some robust insight on the Toxics reissues:

What's your reaction to having these albums reissued after all this time? 

My reaction is like, 'Wow these guys made six albums and I was part of the legacy.' Kudos for them for sticking it out and still playing together -- how amazing is that? Longer than some people's marriages and lives! The Rolling Stones of punk. It’s just great to see the albums side by side and in artistic display. They (and myself) left some art and commentary in this world. And despite the grind, and the hardships, I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything. I was chained to the hips with those guys for a lot of years. I didn’t get to complete the story with them, but I still feel connected. 

Do you feel they still make an impact on yourself and listeners?

Well, despite maybe the quality of the recordings, these could be construed as new releases and totally relevant in this climate, lyrically and musically. So yes, for younger fans getting to know these songs, I think they can relate and maybe be enlightened by some of the lyrical content. I still become affected by art throughout the course of history that I newly discover, be it music, culture, architecture etc. You can never stop learning and searching for truths. 

What are some key songs that still really resonate today?

Some albums you’ll find a few good songs, but albums become great when the whole album rocks. 'Kill By Remote Control' I think is a whole great punk album of its time because we were all writing songs and presenting our personal best ones to the group. Then the other guys just added their spice and we made some good gumbo (funny, 'cause we all know how to cook), I mean we were a rolling commune. Living off the grid, traveling the world, observing how humanity operates, how societies work, how corrupt and beautiful we can be. It was a critical time in the development of our young lives, reading and researching, and learning how to make records and surviving ourselves. We were in the groove. That album and 'Within These Walls' mean a lot to me. 

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