from Cranked Up Really High

An Inside Account of Punk Rock by Stewart Home

There are other 'important' punk covers of "Louie Louie" missing from both Marsh's discography and his book. Take, for instance, the Angry Samoans, whose June 1981 set at the 700 Club in New York concluded with a version of "Louie Louie." This was released posthumously as part of "Return To Samoa" by Shakin' Street in 1990. Without doubt, the Angry Samoans were one of the best West Coast punk bands of the early eighties, with short catchy songs and the ability to get right up the noses of the music business establishment. Perhaps the group's greatest achievement was "Get Off The Air," a character assassination of LA DJ Rodney Bingenheimer. The radio personality made himself look like a complete jerk by threatening legal action over lines such as:

      He can't read
      Baby he can't walk [sic:  talk]
      He's LA's favourite punk rock jock
      Glitter bands and Bowie's ****
      Are his ideas of new wave rock
      You're just a ****ing piece of **** now Rodney
      I don't think you're so hot
      You make me laugh with those clothes you wear
      and those lame brain teeth you've got
      8 PM and Rodney's on the air
      He's ****ing off in Joan Jett's hair
      Christmas Eve and what have you got
      Four hours of Phil Spector rot
      Get off the air
      Get off the air
      You pathetic male *****
      You don't impress me
      Get off the air
      You're just a jerk as far as I can see

Homophobia recurred frequently in the Angry Samoans lyrics, to such an extent that it became a fixation. The group's sneering attitude towards the musical establishment and straight society in general was something they were only able to match in sheer intensity with these obsessive references to a love that dare not speak its name. Whether or not the band were ever able to give physical expression to these urges, there can be little doubt that they knew the etymological origins of the term PUNK and that the frisson this created gave them quite a thrill. The Angry Samoans managed to combine their two major interests yet again on a reworking of their song "Steak Knife," which they retitled "Posh Boy's ****." For the benefit of those not already in the know, Posh Boy was the name of an LA based punk rock record label, and the lyrics ran:

      If you wanna make a record
      If you wanna rock
      Just grab a hold of Posh Boy's ****
      Three big inches long and mean
      Posh Boy's **** is on the scene

Such tortured expressions of sexual desire are common among the more 'guttersnipe' brands of PUNK ROCK, and relate very closely to the pleasures and pains associated with rituals of male bonding. This can be witnesed not only in song lyrics but also in the mock violent interaction of the audience occupying the pit immediately in front of the stage at PUNK ROCK concerts. While it should be clear from what I've already stated, this form of sexual expression is rarely given open verbal articulation outside that particular strand of Punk Rock known as Queercore, such boundaries are occasionally crossed by individuals who are less confident about defining their own sexuality but nevertheless feel compelled to address the issue because their ideological beliefs necessitate the transgression of all social norms. The fact that the Angry Samoans did not come out of the closet is one of a number of factors that led me to the conclusion that they were a punk rock, and not a Punk Rock, band.