Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: “Repo Man”
Secondhand Vinyl Album (Purchased at Total Drag Sioux Falls, SD)
Original Release Date: 1984 San Andreas Records
(My Rating: 5 Stars)
Repo Man (Iggy Pop)
Tv Party (Black Flag)
Institutionalized (Suicidal Tendencies)
Coup D’Etat (The Circle Jerks)
El Clavo Y La Cruz (The Plugz)
Pablo Picasso (Burning Sensations)
Let’s Have A War (Fear)
When The Shit Hits The Fan (The Circle Jerks)
Hombre Secreto (Secret Agent Man) (The Plugz)
Bad Man (Juicy Bananas)
Reel Ten (The Plugz)
I would like to begin this review by making a confession. “I know virtually nothing about the genre of punk music.” There, I admitted it. I can finally stop nodding my head in agreement while people spout off about how influential bands like the Dead Kennedys and Bad Religion are. Now that the cat’s finally out of the bag I can say, “Uh…I’ve never heard those bands before.” Yes, it’s only taken me 36 years to fess up to the fact that my experience with the punk rock scene has basically been limited to three bands; The Clash, The Ramones, and The Misfits. As I’m writing this I can’t help but wonder why this statement is true. While my exposure to punk has been embarrassingly limited I will say the bands I just mentioned are all, “5 Star,” artists in my book. Considering I hold all of these bands in such high regard one would think I would’ve tried to expand my horizons on this movement. However, it always seemed daunting to me. I never knew where to start. I wish someone would’ve given me the, “Repo Man,” soundtrack a long time ago and said, “Here kid, get a little nuts.”
I remember when I saw the cult classic movie, “Repo Man,” for the first time. Even as a small child, (who was probably not supposed to be watching such oddities), I remember thinking, “this is definitely a little nuts!” Somehow I stored that thought away in my admittedly easy to distract mind and have always regarded this movie as fascinating. Keeping this in mind when I spotted the, "Repo Man," soundtrack on vinyl I snapped it up in a hurry. This was regardless of the fact that the entire album is basically an homage to the 80’s LA hardcore punk scene. “It’s about time I check this out,” I thought.
All I can say now is, “Boy, was I right!” One of my favorite songs on the album is, “TV Party,” by Black Flag. I remember while in high school always crushing on the boys that wore the Black Flag t-shirts. I honestly had no idea what the band sounded like but figured with a name like, “Black Flag,” they had to be bad ass. Now, nineteen years later, I’ve finally heard one of their songs and guess what, I didn’t find them bad ass at all! If anything I found their version of rebellion more of the tongue-in-cheek variety. An example of this can be found through this song's lyrics. Here Black Flag chants in amazingly fun, sing song style, “We’ve got nothing better to do. Than watch TV and have a couple of brews.” It soon became clear to me that Black Flag had constructed the ultimate anthem of under achievement. No wonder I was crazy about it.
Returning to the word, “crazy”, another notable song on this soundtrack is, “Institutionalized,” by Suicidal Tendencies. During the song this band expresses a fantastic release of angst while relaying through spoken word a questionably fictitious story about the mental health of a juvenile. While listening to this song I couldn’t help but think, “Where the heck was this music while I was going through all of my teenage grief?!” I felt so passionate about missing out on this song the first time around that I mentioned it to my brother who quickly responded by perfectly reciting the lyrics back to me. Apparently, he was in on all the original angst.
At this time I would also like to mention how surprised I was at the number of songs on the album, “Repo Man,” that were recited in spoken word. Initially, I would’ve guessed this occurrence was a result of the cliché idea that, “Punk musicians can’t play their instruments.” However, the more I listened to the songs on this album the more I realized that this statement is simply untrue. Songs like, “Pablo Picasso,” by Burning Sensations and, “Let’s Have A War,” by Fear both contain impressive saxophone solos that left this listener mystified by how wrong she’d always viewed this genre. Note to self, “The most punk rock dude in the joint may have started out by playing, “Louie Louie,” for the pep band.”
Finally I would like to define my favorite group featured on this soundtrack as, The Plugz. Before hearing this album I had no idea who this band was. Now that I’ve been introduced to three of their songs I can’t stop talking about them. According to one of my favorite websites, allmusic.com, The Plugz are considered to be the first Latino punk band. Considering they don’t speak any English during these songs, all I have to base my opinion on is their instrumental music. As a result my opinion is, “Their music is awesome!” I would describe The Plugz style as a hybrid of rockabilly, ska, and get this…ambient music?! The specific songs presented on this album feature talented musicians playing saxophones, guitars, and synthesizers. Combine the skill of these rock artists with the enthusiastic yips and howls typical of classic mariachi music and you’ve got The Plugz, a.k.a. one hell of a fun band to listen to. I guess this rather novice listener always thought punk rock was only about being angry. I forgot being angry can sometimes be a lot of fun.
"Hombre Secreto" by The Plugz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdbF6nEc8LE