Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Gun Didn't Know I'd Suck Eventually

click for enlarged view

When Bullet Lavolta's "Baggage" demo (which I think started out as a radio tape, actually) came out in '87, the buzz surrounding the tape from whomever got their hands on it was immediate. And no wonder-- "Baggage" was a raw punk classic, like "Sonic Reducer" if it got revved up by the Zero Boys, and it slayed just about everyone who heard it. Most of the other songs on the tape were decidedly not so great, but whatever; it was just a demo, and "Baggage" was so mindblowing that there was bound to be a bunch more good songs later on...

Only there wasn't. Even Kenny Chambers joining the band didn't help, and Bullet Lavolta quickly flamed out in a pile of cheesy metal riffs and stupid lyrics. When I saw them at Maxwell's towards the end of '87 (possibly on a bill with Government Issue, though I don't really remember), I wasn't all that impressed. Bored, I started yelling shit at the band during their set, which wasn't too bright on my part, as it was probably the one time in my life that the singer on stage seemed close to actually punching me.

I bought a copy of their Taang CD, "The Gift", sometime afterwards, just to try to figure out what went wrong, and it was all there-- the clunky tempos, the squirrely guitar fills all over the place, and Yukki Gipe's self-infatuated, wannabe-punk-god posturing. Nothing all that good, just a lot of wasted potential.

As sort of a meaningless side note to all of this, I didn't realize when I was buying the CD used that the inside of the booklet had been autographed by the band. At first, I figured the signatures were just a pre-printed part of the booklet, in the same way that I can imagine bands like Kiss and Motley Crue would have on their record sleeves-- big fake "Paul Stanley" and "Nikki Sixx" stamped in factory-printed scrawl over the top of their photos-- and I thought, "What a bunch of rock star douchebags." But it turns out that they're actual signatures, because I can see where the tip of the ballpoint pen left indentations on the paper. Who knows, I might be the owner of a Bullet Lavolta CD that originally was a leftover 5th-place consolation prize from some dorky WBCN radio contest in 1990, or whatever.

In any case, here are the two best songs from Bullet Lavolta's various 1987 demo recordings, some of which was later pressed as "The Gun Didn't Know I Was Loaded" ("Baggage" is a must-hear, if you've never heard it), as well as the opening track from 1989's "The Gift", which I'm including just to show how things had gone downhill afterwards ("The Gift" was eventually re-released on some stupid major label).

Bullet Lavolta -


"Dead Wrong"


(these files are now listen-only)


Anonymous said...

I had honestly forgot all about Bullet LaVolta! I think the first time I saw them was in Boston with (maybe?) Jawbox's debut out of DC/MD? One of my prize negative scene point moments was going into one of the dozen record stores that used to populate the landscape in beantown, and selling back a CD copy of "The Gift" because I had the album..the guy behind the counter was really curious why I'd want to sell back such an "awesome CD"...turns out it was Yukki Gipe himself (mine lacked the rn'r signatures too!). Any chance of some Moving Targets popping up on here?
-Sean / Wires In The Walls

Brushback said...

Moving Targets, definitely, although about the only stuff worth posting is "Burning In Water" and the earlier demo/compilation tracks (some of which I have)...

I've got a copy of "Take This Ride" on CD, but I'm pretty sure nobody wants to hear that.

Anonymous said...


BLV were opening for Jawbox (that's why you were confused as to whether G.I. were the headliners) at Maxwells in 1990. I was with you at this show and you started heckling the band, not realizing that Kenny and Yukki Gipe/Kurt Davis were drunk off their asses. I think I still have the tape I recorded of this gig. You yell, "Is there any part of you that's real?" And Kurt/Yukki says "My hair. Look at my hair. That's real!" A few years later, I read an interview with those two and they said that show was when they realized they both had to quit drinking - i.e. go stone cold sober. So unknowingly, you saved two people from a lifetime of alcohol addiction.

BLV also remains one of only two gigs I've gone to where a member of the band has offered to buy the t-shirt I was wearing off my back.* At another BLV show at Maxwells a few years later, Yukki/Kurt wanted my Wire shirt; at first I thought he was kidding but then he said he wasn't. I declined, must to his chagrin but I told him the record store in Northampton, MA where I got it (it was the one where Eric Gaffney of Sebadoh worked, can't remember the name of the place now).

* The other time was at a Pelican show in Lawrence, KS where guitarist Trevor deBrauw wanted the Bedhead shirt I was wearing. Again, I declined the offer.

Brushback said...

"Is there any part of you that's real?" That's a great heckle-- I'm proud of that one.

Anonymous said...

wow, i really like this band esp during this time period, the circuits ep which is tacked on to the taang cd and the gift were great, wasnt so impressed with the later major label record which i saw listed for 1 cent on amazon....lived in bosotn 88-98 and getting out of hc in late 80's erly 1990 i saw and dug all these bands, moving targets blv etc....maybee its nostalgia mk

Brushback said...

Hey, sorry, but the mp3 files on this post are now listen-only (non-downloadable) files. You can probably still buy the CD from Taang!, though.

Rob Hufter said...

Saw the band somewhere in the early 90's in my hometown (Den Bosch, The Netherlands). They blew us away - an unforgettable explosion of energy and vitality. Till this day I keep buying BL-vinyl and cd's when I find any (not that it's a BL-addiction, I do that with at least 20 other bands ;-)

Anonymous said...

Clean your ears Bullet Lavolta was/is great.

Brushback I never saw your face anywhere at or outside a Boston hardcore show 1990-92 stop fronting. You probably only went to Gang Green and Slap Shot shows LOL (two bands who were washed up back then.)

Brushback said...

I think up until a few years ago, the last punk show that I saw in Boston was Slap Shot and Gang Green at the Paradise in like 1988. So you're probably right.