Fang - Landshark / Where the Wild Things Are (Cover Artwork)


Landshark / Where the Wild Things Are (1997)

Boner Records

Rounding out the list of semi-obscure punk bands from the glorious 80's hardcore era is Fang, a bunch of earsores from Berkeley, CA whose perturbed band history had caught up to their music. Before lead singer Sam McBride went acid-berserk, killed his girlfriend, ran from the cops for 6 months and served 6 years in prison (obviously forcing Fang into a long stint of indefinite hiatus), Fang was playing some particularly incendiary, gloomy yet creepy style of hardcore to the unwashed masses.

This record, a combo re-release of two records (Landshark in 1982 and Where the Wild Things Are in 1985), is probably the most representative of their music, probably the best Fang CD, and yet the only one most widely available. You may ask: "What are the chances?!"

Landshark/Where the Wild Things Are has Fang at it's best: an incidiary, yet mildly creepy and gloomy, punk rock characterized by these three factors:

1. Sam's vocal range which varied from totally-nasal, barely-audible, almost monotone moaning to a loud, fat, crusty, yet completely-thrashed voice (strangely reminiscent of Rancid's Matt Freeman).

2. Incendiary, nihilistic lyrics that projected as much rampant silliness as obscenity: "I've Got the Disease" recounts a fascination with beastiality, raping and mutilating animals with chainsaws whereas "Destroy the Handicapped" chides the crushing burden and the overbearing-societal inconvenience of accommodating the handicapped: "Gonna push 'em down the stairs, they get in my way, they make the gov't pay..."

3. The actual music which ranged from creepy dirges like "G.I. Sex," the mockingly-ghoulish " Diary Of A Mad Werrwoulf," to moaning, yet catchy pop-like songs like "The Money Will Roll Right In" (Kurt Cobain covered this song with Mudhoney once) to fast punk screeds like "Drunk Crazy," "They Sent Me to Hell C.O.D." and the dope fiend's delight "Junky Dare." "The Money Will Roll Right In" is an ode to nihilistic jealousy and resentment for materialism: "I would give you some, if you'd only treated me nice, and you'd wish you did, You'll feel pretty stupid!" "I Wanna Be on T.V.," a drum-heavy screed, is Fang's special retort to the glam-publicity-Studio 54-shit scene (also covered by Green Day on their Shenanagans CD).

Indeed, Fang contributed a special flavor to the 80's hardcore scene: a flavor of punk rock that communicated sullen despair, self-mockery mixed with crude, crass banality and happenstance nihilism that spurned the ultra-sensitiveness of ultra-P.C. Berkeley, CA (i.e. "Berkeley Heathen Scum"). Recommended.