Pioneering Ohio Band Readies Debut LP

In the history books, credit for the invention of Punk Rock often goes to The Ramones. But, like most great inventions, the New Yorkers had quite a bit of help blazing the trail. The seeds of Punk were planted around the world by bands that, if they had debuted in 1977, would have been instantly declared "Punk," but in their time were just known as weird, raw rock and rollers. The Ramones popped up in ’74, on the heels of Iggy and the Stooges and New York Dolls, and eventually popularized the music, but in Ohio at the exact same time, five guys in Cleveland formed an equally "Punk" band, Rocket From The Tombs. Unlike The Ramones, though, the Rocket flamed out quickly, due to severe in-fighting and drug abuse. RFTT split just eight months after birth, with half forming Pere Ubu and the other half forming The Dead Boys, two equally important bands. What makes RFTT's influence so amazing is that they never recorded a note as a band; their legend grew via bootlegs and versions of songs made famous by the "splinter groups." Now, 37 years after imploding, Rockets From The Tombs is set to release BarFly, it's debut LP. Click above to hear the track, "I Sell Soul," a different version of which came out as a single last year.—-

In 2002, a collection of live recordings from shows and rehearsals was issued, leading to a reunion run on the road, where they reportedly got along infamously, just like the old days. (The two tours included a stop in Newport at the Southgate House in December of 2003). A live album from the tour was released, but, perhaps due to the mixed response to the tour and album (few completely hated it, but many felt it was lacking), the band responsible for Punk chestnuts like "Sonic Reducer," "Final Solution," "Ain't It Fun" and "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" decided to prove they could be more than just another old band getting together for some quick cash (hello, Pixies) and entered the studio.

If the "I Sell Soul" track is an indication, the Rocket is ready for take-off. The track has neither the slicked-up sheen nor lackluster performances that usually mark such "comeback" albums, showing RFTT can still make sparks fly. It might not be in line with "Sonic Reducer," but it's still impressively reckless and odd.

In the press material, singer David Thomas says, "We got that bad attitude thing in our blood … but at least we're not young, loud and snotty anymore. We've moved on.

"Now we're old, loud and snotty."

Look for BarFly on Oct. 11 from Fire Records.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles
Join the CityBeat Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.