U.S. Roughnecks - Twenty Bucks and Two Black Eyes (Cover Artwork)

U.S. Roughnecks

U.S. Roughnecks: Twenty Bucks and Two Black EyesTwenty Bucks and Two Black Eyes (2004)
Hellcat Records

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:

Contributed by: adamAdam
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Reviewing street punk, Oi! and 80s style hardcore is notoriously difficult, but not for any of the usual reasons. There's not really any originality or fresh ideas left in style, there hasn't been in years, but it's important to understand that for some bands that's by design. Street punk, presented.
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Reviewing street punk, Oi! and 80s style hardcore is notoriously difficult, but not for any of the usual reasons. There's not really any originality or fresh ideas left in style, there hasn't been in years, but it's important to understand that for some bands that's by design. Street punk, presented like this and not in some of it's more goofy incarnations, is purposefully traditionalist. There's more a sense of "let's do something well and get the crowd going" rather than "let's do something new for the sake of art."

U.S. Roughnecks certainly subscribe to the former philosophy and while we've all heard material like this before, Twenty Bucks And Two Black Eyes is generally well executed and benefits from a bit heavier production than one would expect. All the elements are here: the buzzsaw guitars, the growling gavel voiced lead, the gang vocals... and it's all just as fun and catchy and dumb as it ever was. The record reminds me of The Forgotten's Keep The Corpses Quiet in that the pace never drops from it's brisk speed and lead guitarist has stronger classic rock n roll chops than one would expect. Big Jay, known for his work in Lars Frederiksen's more high profile band The Bastards, sounds particularly good on this record and his bass is prominent in the mix.

Of course there are less inspired moments on here. The lyric sheet for "Serve And Protect" actually says "CHORUS FUCK THE COPS X7." There are more than a few songs about fighting in the streets and a good number about life as a skinhead. Sure it seems a bit silly to me as I sit in an armchair and rattle away on my laptop, but I suspect it all plays out far better in the excitement of a live show.

Whether this record will appeal to you or not really depends on your opinion of the whole genre it represents. Fans of The Forgotten, The Unseen and either of Roger Miret's bands should be feel right at home with this. My tastes have expanded over the years but I haven't forgotten how to enjoy a band like the U.S. Roughnecks; However I can't really blame those of you that have moved on and left this sound back in the 80s.

U.S. Roughnecks - Saturday
U.S. Roughnecks - Short Haired Rock-N-Roll


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (November 25, 2005)

sing with me http://www.trinitytc.com/888/casino-directory-2005.html

Anonymous (June 1, 2004)

These rednecks are hacks. booooring.

Anonymous (May 31, 2004)

what the hell does that have to do the roughnecks? go start a new forum on how you wear nazi symbols in protest of nazis and dont support bands because your not a "fashion punk" and are confused as to why people wanna beat you up?... i dont think the roughnecks are a right winged band, i didn't really hear any politics on this record at all. you are an idiot.

Anonymous (May 31, 2004)

I have no respect for this music since last night.

I was at a local show with some friends, and had a shirt that said "Void" (great band) on the back, and the Panzer symbol on the front. Under the Panzer cross, it said "HOGAN YOUTH". If you've ever heard Hulk Hogan's early 90's masterpiece "I Wanna Be a Hulkamaniac", you'd get the joke.

My collars had backwards SS bolts on them. During WW2 to wear backwards Nazi symbols was a sign of disrespect to authority, and often that one was in the resistance. Usually these people would be executed by the local police force. My great aunt fought alongside Tito in the Yugoslav resistance... None of my family endorses bigoted ethics. Better yet, neither side of my family was in America when slavery was still legal. They were too busy being slaves in the Balkans.

Some of the bands on last night's bill were skinhead Oi/hardcore bands who were scary and rightwing. At first I thought the title of one song, "The Strong Will Survive" was a joke. Thru offstage fan banter, I learned it was not. These bands are far rightwing and conservative, but don't want to look like Nazis, which is understandable in itself.

Since they are not educated, they mistook my backwards bolts for actual Nazi endorsement. Some people were there taking pictures for local zines, they didn't want to look like Nazi bands, even though they openly support the unjust Iraq war and sing about fighting people unlike themselves.

So one of the band members of a band that had already finished a few hours earlier approached me, and grabbed my collar. "What's this shit?" "Look, I'm not a Nazi. Those are backwards" "TAKE IT OFF OR I'LL TAKE YOU OUTSIDE!".

He didn't work at the club. He was threatening to fight me, not kick me out of the show. He was obese, I weigh under 150 lbs. It would have been a very short fight, and I would not have even bothered throwing any punches. I've believed in Pacifism for as long as I remember.

Somehow the thumbs up he gave me when I changed into my friend's overshirt was not too reassuring.

I'm disillusioned with oi and the scene in general. If he had simply heckled me, or if he had asked why I was wearing SS bolts, I could have explained to him what it meant.

But the bottom line is, these boneheads don't care. Freedom of speech and obese American guys who wish they were English soccer thugs don't go together.

I'm not a fashion punk. I never pay for band shirts, and don't dye my hair. I don't dress up in leather gear, and don't buy boots or Chuck Taylors. Nor do I wear stupid ass patches.

It's not often that my clothes ever make a statement about my beliefs, but when I do, I wouldn't expect the punk scene to be down on me because they don't understand it.

In the end, it wasn't the punk scene that was against me. It was the scene that calls themselves "hooligans".

Yeah, I changed my shirt. I even got a thumbs up from the skinhead who'd threatened me. In my mind all I could imagine was him giving a thumbs down to freedom of speech.


Anonymous (May 31, 2004)

this is great

Anonymous (May 28, 2004)

awesome cover

Anonymous (May 27, 2004)

To the kid below, go listen to your DriveTru shit groups!

Anonymous (May 27, 2004)

is it on hell cat? well, rest asured it's some stupid shat!

Anonymous (May 27, 2004)

im not going to lie to you kids, i really am digging this Weakerthans cd.

lushj (May 27, 2004)

Sounds like BLITZ. Decent oi, a.k.a. "short haired rock and roll".

BSD (May 26, 2004)

Fuck you. For me, it's Spazz and Law and Order. Just shut up!

Anonymous (May 26, 2004)

you all probably listen to pop punk anyways.

BSD (May 26, 2004)

I've seen every single Law And Order regular and SVU on USA and NBC, but TNT is showing some regular L&O's I've never seen before. Lt. Briscoe iz pUnX.

sjoipunx (May 26, 2004)

This was a good review and I agree with it. If it's your bag then you will most likely enjoy this album. Jay Bastard's bass playing really does stand out. I hope the Roughnecks' second album will be even better than this.

Oh yeah, the Beltones are one of the best, most underrated bands i've heard in the past 5 years. "On Deaf Ears" never left my CD changer and I went out of my way to see them every time they came to the $F Bay Area.

Anyone know what happened to them? Last I heard they got signed to BYO.

Anonymous (May 26, 2004)

generic all-purpose punk band name:
U.S. City Roughnecks 41

Anonymous (May 26, 2004)

"isn't a u.s. roughneck a marine?"

nah. that's a leatherneck. roughneck's a bit more of a cowboy.

Anonymous (May 25, 2004)

the few songs i've heard seem pretty good

Anonymous (May 25, 2004)

isn't a u.s. roughneck a marine?

Anonymous (May 25, 2004)

beltones were so fuckin great, like thos unknown

this album is pretty good, not perfect, but yeah damn good

ElVaquero (May 25, 2004)

I miss the Beltones.....

SOYBOMB (May 25, 2004)


How about having different colors for the stars when the rating is below a perfect score?


FortyMinutesWest (May 25, 2004)

Thanks for saving me the trouble of reviewing this, Adam.

Anyway, the first half is pretty cool, but towards the end it lags a bit. It's worth a listen every now and then, but I don't think it would make it into my regular rotation.

Anonymous (May 25, 2004)

You haven't seen Law & Order: SVU until you've seen the episode where Ice T exposes the black homosexual subculture to his white partners.

"Brother, you on the DOWN low. You gay!"


Saw that one. Ice-T rules on that show.

BSD (May 25, 2004)

You haven't seen Law & Order: SVU until you've seen the episode where Ice T exposes the black homosexual subculture to his white partners.

"Brother, you on the DOWN low. You gay!"

TheOneTrueBill (May 25, 2004)

I'll never look at Ice-T the same way after producing Hasselhoff

BSD (May 25, 2004)


What do you want to be when you grow up?


Good choice...

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