Would someone please tell me why The Grip Weeds are
not riding the top of whatever substitutes for charts these
days? I've been a Grip Weeds fan for a few years now and I tell
people about these guys and a glaze comes over their eyes and
they change the subject. I don't get it. These are the same
people who say they are looking for music like it used to be,
music that isn't bieber-ized or auto-tuned and yet when I point
to the obvious, they shut down. Little do they know that when
they shut out The Grip Weeds,
they're shutting out a band which could jumpstart just about
any hippies' memories of the past. For myself, it jumpstarts
memories of Brit Rock, jangly twelve-strings, spacey harmonies,
psychedelia and a whole lot more.
If The Grip Weeds
were not already one of
my favorite bands, they would be now. One time through Speed
of Live has
me convinced that they are one of the best psych/retro rock
bands playing today. They have a sense of the past without
falling into the trap so many retro bands do--- excluding all
but the retro. Seriously. We don't need bands which copy
sixties or seventies psych note for note nor do we need a
rehash of all that once was. What we need is refreshing modern
day music with those roots we all love. The Weeds give us that
here, in spades, starting with a crunching rocker, Every
It's the perfect opener. After listening to this album numerous
times, I think it might be the perfect opener to an almost
perfect album. It's not really psych, but it's loud and solid,
powering its way into your consciousness before you can resist.
A lot of what is on this album is not really psych, if you want
to get technical. It is rock--- crunchy sixties-edged rock with
just enough of everything needed to make it exciting but not
overbearing. Crunchy guitar, both rhythm and lead--- check.
Power drumming--- check. First-rate vocals, lead and
harmonies--- check. You couldn't ask for much more.
they do enter the psych mode, though, they do it with
confidence and a vengeance. The vocals on Strange
for instance, which scream everything from Strawberry
Alarm Clock to
The odd chord structure of Speed
The speed-driven cover of Rock
n Roll Star.
The San Francisco-influenced Sun
And the song which convinced me years ago that The
Grip Weeds were
worth their weight in incense: Astral
albums are pretty much hit and miss, to my mind. Most have been
record company attempts to cash in on the hits and nothing more
and, on the whole, not worth the vinyl. Others were acceptable
substitutes for mediocre albums which contained a hit or two
(you string tracks from three or four of those together and you
might have enough decent material to warrant live versions---
it's either that or a Greatest Hits album). And then there have
been the amazing few--- albums which contained material well
worth the effort--- Cream's
Wheels of Fire,
for instance, or Cheap
Trick At Budokan or
Kick Out the Jams.
You can add Speed of Live.
studio albums are topnotch, to my ears, understand, but the
live treatment here is something else.
There used to be a sticker record companies would put on their
rock albums occasionally which said “Recorded loud to be
played loud.” Play this one loud. Then you'll understand.
Frank O. Gutch Jr.