Face Rakin Rock Tracks:
R E V I E W S
The Noise, December 7, 2000THE MIGHTY IONS Dino Records
Face Rakin’ Rock 24-song CD
Yet another humdinger from those loopy lads at Dino. If I started a label myself, this is the kind of stuff I’d put out—in this case, long-thought-lost material from back in the day. Starting in 1980, The Ions were among the first to forge a true rock-n-rasslin’ connection, before it became a cute (or marketable) thing to do. I remember seeing them at the Inn-Square Men’s Bar, with actual ring ropes and turnbuckles around the stage, while videos of George “The Animal” Steele destroying some poor slob with a huge wooden table played on the tube. Something clicked, to say the least. Along with their friends, they even made a sports talk show on WMBR not only bearable, but essential listening, and I hate sports. How much of the record’s appeal today is pure nostalgia? Pretty much all of it, for me, and that’s fine.
While there are no generation-defining anthems here, there’s spirit, attitude and humor to the Nth galore. The inlay card photo under the disc sums it up nicely: A Rat (the club) t-shirt, a Buzzy’s Fabulous Roast Beef T-shirt (from when it was true greaseball heaven), and a Dictators album cover. Bloodbrothers, of course. It should also be mentioned that these guys played with some of the heaviest hitters of the era, including Unnatural Axe, La Peste, The Hopelessly Obscure, The Lyres, even an early incarnation of GG Allin & The Jabbers. A lotta you 20-year-olds won’t give a hoot, and I suppose I “understand.” But for grizzled old beasts like Kenne Highland and myself, this blows the ass offa all the angst-laden, make-up-wearin’ alt-schmaltz currently glutting the collective cultural brain-pan. In the words of their notorious fan, Bill Tupper, “Unmitigated majesticity, Daddy!” (Joe Coughlin)
Rocktober, December 2000The Mighty Ions
Face Rakin' Rock (Dino)
Fans of wrasslin rock will go off the top rope for this reissue of an amazing punk band's output. Actually, to be accurate, it's not a reissue (most stuff was unreleased) and they're not punk...and not new wave, not h/c, not anything with a name. They're just some kind of dumb/smart raw music that seems to mesh with body slams and beer perfectly, with a singing voice like Deke Dickerson, and a love for mat stars like George The Animal Steele, The Claw, and Pedro Morales (in a bizarre pun cover of 'California Uber Alles'). Craziest is that they had no good recordings of some songs and had to do re-recordings...and you can't tell! They didn't get better or worse after decades of inactivity! That's talent!
San Francisco Bay Guardian, December 6, 2000The Mighty Ions
Face Rakin' Rock (Dino)
The Mighty Ions – overlooked, obscure, and in fact totally unknown outside of a handful of Boston clubgoers – were one of the first rock and roll bands to fuse the lunacy of garage punk and a love of professional wrestling. Sure, the Dictators and Foreign Objects (the latter also Massachusetts lads) were mining the same lode, but this whacked-out quartet was even cruder and sillier – and catchy as a jeans commercial on almost every one of its three-minute romps.
How could you not love a band whose retrospective disc kicks off with a paean to English-teacher-turned-pro-wrestling-icon George "the Animal" Steele? Or one that features a parody of "California Über Alles" as "Pedro Morales"? Yes, it is dumber than a bag full of hammerheads, but it's also umpteen times less self-conscious than the testosterone punk of its era (1980-83) and a pretty fair distillation of its influences – not only do they cover the Dictators, but they roll like the sons of Thunders, the Ramones, and the Troggs on every cut, even the poppy love tunes.
This album is slammed to the metaphorical mat for 20-plus songs – all revved up and ready to go. It's an exhausting and exhilarating experience. And screw every modern-day bandwagoneer who sees dollar signs in the billion-dollar WWF and then hitches a ride on it – the Ions were there for love not money back in the dark ages. Pay 'em some respect, hear? (Johnny Angel)