Re-Erected Viletones Play Toronto

Viletones Live at CBGB's 1977 photo by Nicky  L.
Viletones Live at CBGB's 1977 photo by Nicky L.
posted Tuesday Oct 17th, 2006

The Viletones have recently reemerged and will perform this Friday at Lee's Palace, in their hometown of Toronto. In their heyday, The Viletones were one of the few bands in Toronto at the crest of the punk craze during the late-seventies. Along with Teenage Head, they played clubs in Toronto and in the US, making their contributions known, and were even featured in the 1978 short film “The Last Pogo,” filmed at one of the city's longest running clubs, The Horseshoe Tavern. During their tenure, they released a couple of singles and a live album, but it wasn't until decades later that they made a shallow splash with their anomalous sound. Their raunchy and lewd delivery not only reflected the collective attitude of the punk genre of that time, but it roused the sexually obverse demeanor that later became their earmark. Where would The Cramps be without the same sexually demoralizing veneer? Though they didn't invent the sexually mischievous charge of rock'n'roll music, The Viletones certainly were aware of it.

Thankfully, the recapitulated and reissued material that appeared on A Taste of Honey pumped life into the nearly forgotten late-seventies act. Released by Other People's Music in 1994, it consisted of their debut single and material from their Look Back in Anger EP recording session from 1978, but to the disappointment of many, didn't include some of the hard to find hits of the latter, namely “Back Door to Hell” and "Dirty Feeling." A Taste of Honey, for many, was the Electric Warrior of the mid-nineties, even though ironically recorded 2 decades earlier. The infectiously venereal beats and lustful guitar riffs found a new audience with a wanton ear for rakish rock'n'roll. I'm sure there are just as many illegitimate tots out there that are the product of the lustful tone that A Taste of Honey gave us as there were for Electric Warrior. The song “Dog Style” is even a complete parallel to “Bang a Gong (Get It On).” Instead of using car metaphors as Marc Bolan did to describe the anatomy of a glitter ridden teenie-bopper dream date and what he'd like to share with her, Steven “Nazi Dog” Leckie proclaims she “like[s] to fuck dog style.” It was hardly subtle, and more lascivious than adoring as opposed to T Rex, but it's potency, along with it's message was nearly the same.
Be sure to catch The Viletones this Friday in Toronto, more info here. You can download their first single here, and check out a clip from them performing "Danger Boy" here: