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The Panics: 1980 - 1981: I Wanna Kill My Mom (CD)
(Gulcher): This comes
courtesy of Gulcher Records, historians of the
Bloomington, Indiana punk scene, which until 1982 or
so may have consisted only of The Gizmos and The
Panics, so the mission's quite doable. The
Panics were a garage band who played a handful of
outdoor shows and a bar or two, reforming for a
one-off live reunion in 2000. There's a quality to the
recordings that make you think it's retro circa
early 70s, except they're giving Sex Pistols covers
the Angry Samoans treatment. Was 1980 that long
ago? Is Bloomington a time-warped kind of town? Ya
gots me.

They put out a 45 that was thusly reviewed by Village
Voice music critic Robert Christgau: "I'm
pleased to report the best L.A. punk single I've ever
heard comes from Indiana--the Panics genuinely
funny yet genuinely abrasive (and annoying) "I Wanna
Kill My Mom"/"Best Band"/"Tie Me Up, Baby!"
It's a snotty group of songs from a snotty group of
skinny high school psychos, and if they did live in
L.A. they would've been well received, or at least
brought upon their own heads the same love/hate
treatment as the Samoans.

This 24 track CD is a mix of studio and live tracks,
and the sound quality is surprisingly good. Their
signature song, "I Wanna Kill My Mom", is based on a
guitar lick from Bowie's "Hang Onto Yourself".
The song title itself is an iconic example of what the
world thinks a snotty punk song is and should
be titled and about. It covers all the bases and
should make appearances on garage punk comps for
centuries to come.

The live tracks are mostly covers, heavily leaning
towards the The Sex Pistols' The Great Rock N Roll
Swindle album. Nothing revolutionary is going on, but
it sounds like they're having great drunken
stupid fun. The band history, written by lead Panic
John Barge, is beautifully written and funny as

Maybe a thousand bands have 24 tracks worth of
material to release as a CD, but very few of them
get off their fat asses to do so. There's no money in
it and it's a lot of work besides. Even if only 100
copies of this are sold, and they're bought by family
and friends, it's great to see efforts made to keep
creative work in the public's eye and to do it
professionally. This isn't a "great" CD, but it's
good. What it is is an excellent snapshot of a young
band from a small place following their twisted
rock and roll muse all the way to the other side of
town. That's the stuff of memories, and after the
fact that's all we really have. (6-30-01)