I know there's better rips of this tape out there-- not to mention last year's re-issue from the same label that puts out shitty Yeasayer records-- but I'm going to post it anyway because I own it and I feel like listening to it again. I bought this at Brass City Records in '84/'85, back when it first came out, and I think the main reason why I still have it when most of the vinyl I bought in those same two years is long gone is because stores generally aren't interested in letting you trade in old tapes, so unlike the records it made more sense just to keep it.
Not that this isn't a great tape, of course; in fact, there weren't too many other releases I owned back then that screamed "punk rock" better than this one. The Zero Boys were one of the first U.S. hardcore/punk bands to have really solid, meaty-sounding recordings, so while a lot of the other better-known bands at the time were putting out records that sounded relatively tame (I'm dumbfounded that there are people who claim to like Circle Jerks "Wild In The Streets" and the first Fear LP), the Zero Boys were practically made to be blasted out of a set of car speakers with the windows down. I used to carry a bag of tapes with me whenever I'd take the train to New York or Boston to see shows, and one day in particular I was riding through Boston in Al Quint's car with a punk rock friend of his who was from Europe but wanted to hear something American (since I guess U.S. punk rock was pretty scarce where he was from), so we put my copy of "History Of" in the cassette player and cranked it up. Nothing sounded more like good ol' American punk rock to me.
Throughout the late '70s/very early '80s it wasn't unusual for bands to start out playing slower early in their careers and then begin to veer towards faster tempos (after '81 or '82) once hardcore started to catch on, which is kinda funny since it's sorta the reverse of what bands do now. You can hear Zero Boys doing the same thing on this tape; some of the songs on the second side are pratically full-bore thrash, but it's still their chunky mid-tempo stuff that I think kicks ass the most. Another thing that's kinda funny in a reverse sort of way is the tape's packaging-- the address of the record label was rubber-stamped onto the sleeve, with the title hand-written on the spine in ballpoint pen, and the cassette labels were hand-colored using crayola markers on both sides-- which was probably a low-budget necessity at the time, but nowadays would be considered ultra-rare and limited edition, of course.
Zero Boys -
(these files are now listen-only)
"I Need Inergy"
"Dingy Bars Suck"