Ozzie Android Love b/w Organic Gardening 45 (Make Me, 1977)
Every town has their vintage punk idols, at least one band that has a rep nation/worldwide. The general music listening public may not know of these bands, but record freaks will. In my hometown of Sacramento, California, the "legend" is the Twinkeyz, a great psych punk combo who released 2.5 7"s and an LP. The Twinkeyz are not much of a secret to the punk/proto-punk underground, thanks to the work of Karl Ikola and his record label, Anopheles, who has reissued all of their stuff. (The Twinkeyz are, however, unknown to most of their hometown. When Ikola reissued the complete Twinkeyz discography on CD in 1998, no local publication reviewed it. Anopheles vinyl release of assorted Twinkeyz tracks never received notice in the Sacramento area's press. Even our so-called alternative weekly ignored it.)
As most towns have a Twinkeyz, they also have their Ozzie, a cool underground band that either didn't catch on "back in the day" or hasn't been championed by anyone since. Ozzie formed about 1974, when a group of musicians and music freaks got together and started jamming. Like many folks across the US, Ozzie were moved by the freakier side of Sixties/Seventies rock and roll. Their turntables were loaded down with Captain Beefheart, Bowie, Roxy Music, and the Stooges, as well as assorted ESP platters and various English prog records. Their bookshelves were filled with avant art books and absurdist plays. They dressed up and glammed out. And then there was the drummer, a greaser into Jethro Tull and Alice Cooper.
Ozzie's music reflects their influences. Songs range from rock art/theater pieces that are soaked with satire to out and out proto-punk glam rockers. Unfortunately, very little Ozzie saw vinyl (two 45s and one 7" ep) and what was released tends more toward the band's Tubes meets Zappa meets Manzanera than proto-punk. By the time of the band's third release (under the name Anonymo, as to avoid threatened legal action by the other Ozzie), they had gone "new wave," adopting an Oingo Boingo goes prog sound.
And then there is their first single, Android Love b/w Organic Gardening, one of my fave Sacramento records. To be honest, it is half the record I am crazy about. The song Android Love is one of my favorite glam punk rockers ever. The songs starts off with a small drum roll, a simple bass line, a synth squall, some accented guitar and away it goes. The mid tempo rocker hits the verses like a mutant Troggs song and slides into a driving chorus punctuated by the craziest, out of control, over the top drum rolls. A guitar kicks in over a sung verse, soloing in a style that remotely sounds like Lou Reed meets Mick Ronson. And then the topper, a bridge which consists mostly of tom rolls and vocals into a "rock" guitar solo and the Roxy Music - For Your Pleasure - style ending. The vocals have a faggy glam quality to them and the song is about having an android as a girlfriend.
The flip is a Tubesesque prog rocker, with a punk punch. It is mostly instrumental - the band chants "organic gardening" at the song's end. Organic Gardening is not as immediate at Android Love. It does not have the glam vocals or whacked drumming. But repeated listening does it justice and makes it a very strong b-side. Musically it is a better song than Android Love, but the a-side is the a-side for a reason.
The 45 came out in 1977 on Make Me Records, the label of Sacramento punk/new wave promoter, Bo Richards. It was produced by David Houston, who was a member of the now-legendary Public Nuisance and also produced the Twinkeyz. One thousand were pressed in five different sleeves (each band member had "his own" sleeve). These are not common and did not receive very good distribution outside Northern California. In fact, many collectors don't even knows this exists. As the glam/prog side of punk and proto-punk has yet to catch on among collector scum, you still have a chance of stumbling across one of these gems.
Email to scans@ the site above.
I've got this record and the 7" 33 with "Mars Needs Women"...I didn't know about Anonymo!