EXHUMED: Bold Chicken CD

posted Tuesday Dec 19th, 2006

When a left-field recording like Bold Chicken surfaces in this era of instant musical gratification, it's such a shock to the system that you just have to stop and do a double-take. Akron, Ohio proto-punk? sounds good to me. Including one of the founders of the Rubber City Rebels? Sounds even better. A singer so insane that even the weirdest audiences couldn't hang with his overly odd and strangled vocals that would seem to send anyone 'normal' running for cover. The only band of the early 1970s to openly embrace their 'itch' and scream 'fallopian tubes' at the top of their lungs? Yes, it seems they were. A real anomaly here, and with a sound that foreshadows the Gizmos work four years later, along with those inane vocals that could suggest a Mentally Ill connection, this is one uncovered treasure that's sure to get people scratching their heads.

Formed around 1970 by Buzz Clic and Ray Forsyth as Dead Leather, they crawled from the primordial Midwestern ooze and started gigging around Northeast Ohio, carefully interweaving their bizarre original songs among the standard cover fare of the day required to get gigs. As members came and went over the next year or so, a major change took place when Buzz discovered vocalist Sam Leo while on the clock at a children's psychiatric hospital. They became quick friends and Sam joined the band on keyboards and lead vocals, which truly broke ground and made their sound complete. Their first four demo tracks that make up the beginning of this CD-only release on Smog Veil are unbelievably recorded in 1972, and sound like nothing else of the period, and again, I'd bet Gulcher dudes Eddie Flowers and Kenne Highland had to have known about them, given the time and the place. Regardless, this is a top-notch find in the vastly unpopular world of Midwest bad glam-punk in a pre-Ramones America. Not as art-bent as Debris' and not as straightjacket-worthy as the nearby Electric Eels, this is more a quality studio recording of a 'far-out' drunken quaalude party, (complete with obviously fake, limp-wristed backup vocals) that you weren't supposed to know about. It can definitely stand on it's own with anyone else hitting their stride in '72, as it's heavy, but not metal, crazed, but not psychedelic, punk but not prog, and even dumber than the Stooges. Really though, you have to chalk it up to that it's just part of that magical something that was going on in Ohio musicin the 1970s. Classy song subjects that range from wretched hookers ("Streetwalkin' Queen"), disgust over frustration about 'social-diseases' sung by evil gremlins, even right down to the mundane world of the laundromat, it's a mixed bag of out-of-proportionately great vocals mixed with a subdued, straightforward, yet primitive soundtrack of jokers in the background. Months later, the band members went different directions but Buzz Clic hooked up with his old friend Rod Firestone and formed King Cobra, an early version of what was later to become the epic Akron band, the Rubber City Rebels. Pick up a copy of Bold Chicken's CD HERE.