August 17, 2001
Audibles: David Coonce
Panics discography … finally
Gulcher Records, the legendary early-'80s Bloomington label, has continued their series of re-releases with the Panics: 1980-81: I Wanna Kill My Mom!!! The CD, which compiles every song the band ever recorded, including their New Year's Eve 2001 reunion show, stands as a perfect time capsule of the magical early years of American punk rock, when simplicity, humor and energy were more important than musical ability or lyrical sophistication.
The CD is heavy on covers of bands like the Ramones, The Kinks and the Who, treated with as much reverence as possible by the four-piece, who were barely out of high school at the time. The CD also features the classic title track and the immortal "Best Band," which proclaims "We're the best band in Bloomington; The Gizmos are too old!" A bold statement, but in those heady pre-Reagan days, when punk rock was still full of possibility and wonder, bold statements were the only currency bands like the Panics had to trade in.
Panics vocalist John Barge and guitarist Ian Brewer went on to form the
long-running Walking Ruins with fellow Bloomington legends John Terrill and Kevin Loyal; Barge then went solo as The John Barge Society, offering a unique take on politics and folk music.
It seems fitting that this retrospective is released now, as Barge departs Bloomington, marking the beginning and end of an era. This reissue, with its meticulous liner notes (by Barge), provides a little peek into that era, and a little slice of history nearly forgotten.
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