Saturday, January 10, 2015

Revolting Cocks - “You Goddamned Son Of A Bitch” 2xCD + DVD

All-time great electro-rock

Ah, this is classic Revco, recorded live at the Cabaret Metro in Chicago in 1987. Originally released as a single disc by Wax Trax!, this double-CD format simply adds a couple of live tracks from the later “Beers, Steers, & Queers” CD single, and expands it all over 2 discs. It’s basically the same package as Rykodisc’s 2004 reissue, but with most of the original artwork restored. The distinct lack of liner notes, and some glaring errors (like the back stating that Chris Connelly is from Killing Joke. Hah!) are both unforgivable and lazy. It’s this lack of historical notes or credits, and the fact that it’s housed in a cheap case that’s easily broken signals a quick cash job on the part of Jourgensen (who recently sold the rights to this to notoriously shoddy Cleopatra Records) and MVD Audio (whose label and name is attached to the packaging, rather than Cleopatra’s, oddly).

Anyway, the music sounds as good as it ever has. This was Connelly’s inaugural release with the band, and thus began a long partnership with Cocks/Ministry members Jourgensen, Barker, and Rieflin, all of whom feature prominently here alongside Belgian pop star-slash-madman Luc Van Acker. 

Opening with the droning noise and murderous caterwauling of the title track, the band pushes into the massive “Cattle Grind” — a sinister, murderous rampage that also showcases a young, brash, and hungry Connelly (literally and figuratively — check out how skinny he was in the video counterpart. Hah!). A series of punishing electronic rock assaults follows, with iconic cuts like “38”, “TV Mind”, and “No Devotion” being even more aggressive live than their studio counterparts. This, as I’ve said already, is seriously classic industrial rock, both hypnotic and stomping with a perfect melding of live instrumentation and electronic programming. 

The huge, pulsing “Union Carbide” opens the second disc, and the wild rampage continues through “Attack Ships On Fire” and “No Devotion” before giving way to the 1991 live tracks that do flow rather seamlessly, despite the difference in venue, era, and personnel. Mr. Connelly’s impersonation/performance “as John Lydon” on the cover of PIL’s “Public Image” is perfect and spot-on!

The DVD release (oddly sold separately from the music) also shows a curious and alarming lack of care and attention. Having never been available on DVD, this was always part of a Ministry/Revolting Cocks fans’ bucket list. But MVD (or Cleopatra)’s shoddy packaging again seems slapdash and careless. The transfer is merely adequate, possibly from a VHS source (most certainly not cleaned up in any way), and the art and labeling echoes the same misinformation as the CD (Connelly being from Killing Joke, etc.). 

All said, a lackluster treatment given to an album and video that remains, at least to me, a near-perfect representation of everything the Cocks ever stood for — unbridled hedonism, excess, and stainless steel precision. It’s a shame to see this great album and video treated so poorly, though I am quite happy to have an “YGDSOB” on DVD officially after all these years.