At times of great need there are some of us who just go to pieces (I can be relied upon to do just this, at the drop of a hat) or those of us who calmly take stock, screw their courage to the sticking point and simply do what needs to be done. In 1992, the world was finally facing up to the fact that there was a shortage of truly great Ramones LP’s. The Dow Jones plummeted as the UN held a special session of the security Council as tensions ran high, Mondo Bizarro was a game attempt by the Ramones, but just didn’t quite cut it. Faced with the prospect of hipsters, punkers and metalheads uniting to pillage and riot across the continent the National Guard were placed on standby.
Enter angular alt-hardcore Canadians NoMeansNo. They quickly all adopted the surname Hanson, redesigned the Ramones crest to feature a hockey stick and head cheese and cut the LP Gross Misconduct under the name Hanson Brothers (in tribute to the brothers in the brilliant film ‘Slap Shot’) bundled in a pastiche Road to Ruin cover and the world breathed easily again.
It’s brilliant, a razor sharp, ice-hockey obsessed tribute and it makes me smile from beginning to end. This LP has it all – Zambonis*, masturbation, road kill, robotic girlfriends, head cheese, gloves-off fighting (NOTHING GROWN UP AT ALL !!) and is the only LP I own to mention both Wetaskiwan and Saskatchewan. I’ve said it before but what’s not to like? unlike a lot of bands who ‘do a Ramones’ the Hanson Brothers realize that they are in fact a really difficult band to copy well and so add bucket loads of their own wit and melodies to the mix. I enjoy the way they do the soppy Ramones as well as the speedy Ramones, ‘Lovesick’, ‘You Are Not For Me’ and ‘A Night Without You’ – I have always had a real soft spot for soppy Ramones.
Now I only have vague notions about what ice-hockey actually entails, mostly based around fond memories of cheering on the mighty red machine during the Calgary Olympics in 1988 – chosen solely because I thought they looked really cool and menacing and all my friends chose the US. This LP handily lets me know that in fact ice hockey is all about fighting, psychosis, general sociopathic behaviour and long coach trips – isn’t culture brilliant?
Need additional persuasion of this LP’s life-affirming qualities?
My Girlfriend’s a Robot: We went for a swim one night / she came out rusty where she went in white
Road Pizza: Breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks / Nothing like dinner lyin’ dead in your tracks
No More Head Cheese: I’m too sick to speculate / Something’s Moving on my Plate
All this and it is on one of my favourite labels, Alternative Tentacles and came with a bonus 7″ with three bonus tracks and nifty illustrations of each and every track on the inner sleeve, total childish joy has rarely come so well-packaged.
As the brothers, Hansom not Ramone, say on the last track:
You know who you are
You know what you are
I know where you are
*I love that word unreservedly even though I had to wait from February 1993 (when I bought this) until last year to actually look it up to see what it meant – before that I genuinely believed it was a pasta dish of some sort.