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V/A TOOTH AND NAIL- Compilation LP (Upsetter Records, USA, 1979)

It’s incredible that this compilation has never been officially re-released in full (or then, I’m too stupid to google it). Not only does this feature some of the greatest music ever recorded, it’s also a landmark in the continental shift of music that changed it all. Immediately after the Punk explosion of 1976-77, the media effects of it stroke back: A group of individuals, bands, labels, promoters, activists from all over started to pick up the tools and turn in the screws a little deeper. At least that’s how it seems to me in retrospect. The effect of this process of radicalisation was intensity in popular music like it hasn’t been there before.
«Tooth and Nail» is one of the compilation albums that document this process like few others. In fact, it’s kinda hard to think of any other compilation album of this intensity at all. That’s how I see it, that’s how this compilation affects me when I put it on and play it through. It’s one of these moments, when you sit there, glued to the speakers, when you totally focus on the sound, the songs and you wish you could shoot it all up your veins, sniff it, eat it, breath it, drink it. I spent years and years thinking about where these problematic phantasies of wholism come from, what it is that makes me feel music so physically, but I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that I cannot explain it in one single phrase and any explanation I could give, would seem implausible to myself the next day, so I better leave it be and don’t bore you to death with it.

«Tooth and Nail» starts off with the three best songs in their best versions that the CONTROLLERS have ever recorded. Of these three, “Jezebel” has got to be one of the secret hits of the century (it’s an original and not a cover, right?): Melancholic, powerful, creepy, lascivious. It may not sound “Hardcore” when you hold it against the typical Thrash sound of the 80s, but man, this band has got exactly the Hardcore feeling. Of the same caliber are the songs from FLESHEATERS – easily the best stuff this exceptional band has ever recorded. “Word goes Flesh” – what a song. And then you get “Pony Dress”. Fuck me. Can this be real?! “Your an axe cage screaming from justice, roaming in the alleys, crying in the dark, you’re breaking up breakdown, my big day against the house, I’m stringing along the city to upset sex, expecting to end but marked to live, I’m gonna trip my holster, draw the bell spur, blur with with the ringing in your pony dress”. Fuck fuck fuck.
Next up is UXA with two songs that can also be found on the band’s essential LP, “Illusions of Grandeur”. NEGATIVE TREND ram a full dose of anxiety and said grandeur down your throat with “I got Power” and yet another version of “Mercenaries”. You’ve heard the band’s EP here, haven’t you. The MIDDLE CLASS turn up the speed and deliver the best song they ever recorded in the phase prior to the band’s new direction, “Love is just a Tool”, followed by “Above Suspicion”, a song that always reminds me on certain passages on “Boston not L.A.”, don’t you think? The GERMS(GI) contribution to this compilation is exclusive and cannot be heard anywhere else, I believe, and it’s never been re-released. Three hard hitting versions of three classics. The standout is one of the few songs I know that scare me – “Manimal”, especially in this version here, is one of the most intimate yet aggressive recordings. Not only are the lyrics of an exceptional literary quality (Darby must have had R. M. Rilke’s popular “Panther”-poem in mind when he wrote “Manimal”) – the screaming part runs chills down my spine when I hear it. So lost, so lonesome, so locked in. “Dragon Lady” and “Strange Notes” close this compilation LP, leave you breathless. What a journey into anxiety «Tooth and Nail» has been and, to me, still is.

Collector note: There seem to be two different pressings of this. The first one is featured here – it comes with a printed innersleeve and this pressing is pretty hard to find. Than there’s another press from the ca. early 1990s. The innersleeve is missing, nd there are additional numbers pressed onto the run out grooves. It looks like the pressing tools were the same as with the first press, which is weird. The cover print of the 2nd press is of lower quality, probably because the original films were not available anymore.

Download the complete «Tooth and Nail» compilation LP here. Ripped with love. Please somebody re-release this with extra liner notes and all (and a careful remastering job! Both the U.X.A. and the Flesheaters songs have some background noise and generally, the levels are very poorly balanced). This is one crucial document of time and it deserves all the attention it can get.

34 Comments

  1. Jerry B

    You forgot to mention how good the sleeve is, one of the strongest punk rock designs imo, completing this as a perfect package.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Jan-09 at 12:53 | Permalink
  2. ::beatMe::

    I’ve been looking for this baby FOREVER. Thanks. greatgreatgreat!!!!!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Jan-09 at 13:51 | Permalink
  3. demonst

    Can you upload the photos of the printed innersleve, i ‘ve just realised that i got the second pressing

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Jan-09 at 16:44 | Permalink
  4. demonst

    Here i’m again, i ask if can you upload better photos of the printed innersleve

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Jan-09 at 16:47 | Permalink
  5. Jay Thurston

    I bought this upon its release and believe it or not…I still have it!! It is one of those records I didn’t trade in after listening to it 20 times. It is a fabulous record and does deserve the attention you gave it. Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Jan-09 at 18:33 | Permalink
  6. This is such a great comp through and through! And very well-written musings about it!! I wish all blogs had great write ups like this. My favorite Controllers song on it is also “Jezebel”. The Flesheaters song “Word Goes Flesh” is just pure intensity. Both songs made it onto my Top 250 Song list that I put on my blog a while back. I also agree that “Manimal” has some of the most intense Darby Crash singing he ever did. But I am not scared of that song ;) [Did the movie from last year “What We Do Is Secret” about Darby and The Germs ever make it over to Switzerland? Not bad for a Hollywood movie] I guess overall we are on the same page about this comp, tho. I have a copy of the 2nd pressing that came with only a plain white inner sleeve- I bought my copy in June of 1989 for $10 from good old Dr. Strange Records when they only did mailorder, before their label existed. So it came out prior to the 90’s. Well, the *rumor* I heard is that Upsetter record head/Flesheaters singer Chris D had a drug habit at the time and put out the 2nd pressing of this LP to raise money for the habit. Who knows… I got out my magnifying glass and spotlight and here is what is in the dead wax says on mine- Side 1 = “UP-J-1″ / “L-32481″ / “MCA/LB”. Side 2 = “WR-C-2″ / “MCA/LB” / “5-29-79″. The dead wax on Side 2 also has a very small drawing of a heart with an arrow through it. I actually found a copy of the 1st pressing with the printed innersleeve here in Chicago about 12 years ago but thought, “I already have a copy of this- why spend 10 more dollars for another one?” Yes, only $10– to quote Homer Simpson, “Doh!!”. That I would pass up a copy shows how plentiful late 70’s punk records were in Chicago the mid-to-late 90’s.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Jan-09 at 02:58 | Permalink
  7. Adamski

    Yes, yet another classic. I have the later pressing which I stole from a record fair back in 1990 or so. Hey, what can I say, I was a little thief! I wouldn’t have the guts to do that now, of course.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Jan-09 at 03:30 | Permalink
  8. Excellent writing as always. How many times have I said that? Not enough times I guess. What a comp. this is. I think Flesheaters are a bit stronger that the rest of the contributions here and the only real let down to me is hold and behold GERMS! I think Darby sounds too tired and uninspired. Like the old drunk round the corner rambling into the mic. But the piano part in Dragon Lady is top notch!

    Tony, I’m a bit worried about you:”Not bad for a Hollywood movie”. PLEASE tell me you’re joking dear old Tony :D. The only good thing that movie did to me is that I felt like throwing up while watching it.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Jan-09 at 10:30 | Permalink
  9. Jumped all over the download of this one. Thanx for your time and energy.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Jan-09 at 15:27 | Permalink
  10. I love this recordings of the Germs, they are even referred to as their new name Germs (GI), for Germs Incognito!

    Jezebel is of course a cover, their are many versions, my favorite is Ricky Ricardo’s version on I Love Lucy! (not Ricky Retardo of the Schizos!)

    Rik L Rik still using the Negative Trend name on this lp, then he used his own name when he rerecorded for Beach Blvd just a little later.

    Flesheaters rerecorded Disintegration Nation from their first single as Version Nation, which is nice, but not as crazy. This version of Pony Dress though is great. Chris D rerecorded it for American Youth Report a couple of years later. I didn’t think Chris D had drug problems, thought he was a school teacher?

    The UXA tracks are earlier rawer versions than the Posh Boy lp!

    But once again, these Germs tracks!!!!…., the first to feature Don Bolles, and you are right, they weren’t included on MIA! I think they are amazing.

    The only slight drawback to this lp, is the thin sound, it always hurts your ears at high volume. The mixes to the Flesheater tracks were fixed and added to the Flesheaters first lp CD, I hope someday someone does the same with the Germs tunes!

    I agree, can you please post scans of the inner sleeves with the lyrics? I didn’t know this lp came with those. They are not in my copy and I don’t recall them in my older brothers copy either. I would love to see the lyrics! thanks heaps!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Jan-09 at 19:19 | Permalink
  11. Federico

    Thanks Erich for making this available with your trademark quality rip, as well as your insights concerning the importance of the record.

    I agree with Peter, the movie about the Germs was lame and boring, and I’m not saying that for nerdy reasons such as the pathetic band “playing” Black Flag (although that was bad enough…). It almost seems like they made a conscious effort to leave out everything that was interesting in “Lexicon Devil” (the book by Brendan Mullen the film was based on) in order to end up with a “made-for-TV” style film about rock’n’roll cliches.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 26-Jan-09 at 00:06 | Permalink
  12. Thanks for comments, guys!
    Will add large photos of the printed innersleeve soon.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 26-Jan-09 at 02:20 | Permalink
  13. I agree Erich that it is amazing that this one hasn’t been reissued. I had this on ready to go up on my blog but you obviously beat me to it lol.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 26-Jan-09 at 07:33 | Permalink
  14. mrpoopy

    “Jezebel” was originally done by Frankie Laine in the 1950’s, you young whipper-snappers. Performed the song in front of the Queen of England on his live LP. A common thrift store find.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 26-Jan-09 at 18:15 | Permalink
  15. Jon-Lars Sorenson

    Ahh, you made me go pull & play the copy I kept from my performing days. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 26-Jan-09 at 19:26 | Permalink
  16. @ mrpoopy: “whipper-snappers” :-D that’s great, never heard it before. 1950? wow, you’re my dad’s age, I reckon!

    jon-lars: what performing days?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 27-Jan-09 at 01:05 | Permalink
  17. behjan

    Thisa record which I RE-SOLD WAS ALONE WORTH FOr the __mutants___` 2ND SONG mONSTER oF lOVE !!!!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 27-Jan-09 at 04:57 | Permalink
  18. mrpoopy

    Nah, you’re a couple years older than me. Got the record from my mom! Not able to send mp3’s at the moment but you can find that song in most record stores that carry oldies–it was a big hit at the time.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 27-Jan-09 at 15:18 | Permalink
  19. Chris G

    Goddamn i love this lp
    highlights for me (and this is really saying something considering the power of this album): all three Flesh Eaters tracks, Middle Class’ Above Suspicion, Neg. Trend’s I got Power (with the badass chorus), and Strange Notes (germs)
    i’ve seen cd’s of it at various times, and i saw the legendary lp itself for 48 bones at Radiation Records. Wish i could have been 17 in the 70s and paid 4 bux for it.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 27-Jan-09 at 17:51 | Permalink
  20. eddie

    Middle Class, Flesheaters, and Controllers have good tracks but i never really got into this. i remember back in ’83, Pat Smear was selling copies of this record to Second Time Around record store in hollywood. i bought one and liked it at first but then got tired of it since i was spoiled with so much hardcore going on then.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 27-Jan-09 at 22:30 | Permalink
  21. Dearest Peter- yeah, I kinda liked the Germs movie- it was better than I thought it would be. Yeah, there were some lame, melodramatic parts, sure. But not too bad for a Hollywood movie I thought. It’s very far from being my favorite movie of course, but I thought it was OK. Can we still be friends? ;)

    [Reply]

    Posted on 29-Jan-09 at 19:25 | Permalink
  22. Marco

    Thank you for being such a big philantropist!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 08-Jul-09 at 10:37 | Permalink
  23. One of my favorite samplers ever! Bought it when it came out. The Controllers’ “Jezebel” is really fine, but it doesn’t come near Gene Vincent’s version… Love the Middle Class. Does anybody know the EARCOM 3 sampler (on Fast Records I think) with their “Out of Vogue” on it?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 07-Mar-10 at 00:07 | Permalink
  24. Ciao Rolf! You mean the double 7″ comp with the orange cover? I’ve passed this up several times in shops.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 07-Mar-10 at 08:29 | Permalink
  25. Yes, that one. You should have bought it! It’s got among others the Middle Class, DAF, and a kid punk band named the Stupid Babies on it. All three Earcom samplers are great! Found this link on the Internet: http://dieordiy.blogspot.com/2009/11/various-earcom-1-2-3-fast-product-1979.html. You can even download them at the end of the page…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Mar-10 at 11:44 | Permalink
  26. germsburn

    Thanks for posting this, my favorite punk album, basically did not leave my turntable for all of 1979. Don’t why Desjardins never re-released it, maybe a copyright dispute with the artists. Anyway, thanks so much for this…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 15-May-10 at 22:28 | Permalink
  27. Nathan G

    The Flesheaters tracks alone make this LP a must-have, while the rest of it is an awesome bonus!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Apr-11 at 15:49 | Permalink
  28. @Fred

    You wrote :

    “Rik L Rik still using the Negative Trend name on this lp, then he used his own name when he rerecorded for Beach Blvd just a little later.”

    Chris D. mixed from the same 2″ tape that the Beach Blvd. recordings had already been mixed from at the same studio, Media Art in Hermosa Beach . I regret my generosity is permitting him to do so.

    The group who recorded was most definitely Negative Trend with L Rik singing.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 05-Sep-11 at 08:54 | Permalink
  29. @Tony

    You wrote :

    “Well, the *rumor* I heard is that Upsetter record head/Flesheaters singer Chris D had a drug habit at the time and put out the 2nd pressing of this LP to raise money for the habit.”

    This was exactly the same thing I heard every time a batch would surface. Formal distribution was impossible. He sold the records the same as one would bootlegs.

    His agreement with me expired in the 1980’s and he avoided me thereafter. He has never accounted for any sales, nor paid any mechanical royalties for the songs I control.

    I never expected him to survive; yet, if he has taken the 12 steps, he has made no attempt to contact me to put things right.

    @Erich

    The 2 Negative Trend recordings belong to me and you are welcome to post them. If we can locate the original mix tapes, I’ll give you the mp3’s to post.

    [Reply]

    Robbie Fields Reply:

    The original master tapes for the album are with Byron Coley in Massachusetts.

    Apparently I tracked them down to him in 1990 but forgot all about it until he reminded me this week.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 05-Sep-11 at 09:07 | Permalink
  30. mike böllinger

    seems like robbie fields likes you blog :-) and I love Posh Boy. best label ever for me.

    [Reply]

    Robbie Fields Reply:

    Mike,

    I like the people here. Willing to exchange knowledge to form an accurate historic view. I, for one, can’t remember all the details and welcome my memory(ies) being jogged.

    Mitteleuropa was good to me several times in my life. In this era, the income has vanished but the passion and appreciation for the music is still there. Witness all the old PB bands touring Europe this past summer.

    Without the records, I doubt these bands would have an audience, so all power to them for reaping some reward.

    Robbie

    [Reply]

    Posted on 05-Sep-11 at 09:36 | Permalink
  31. Semmel

    OM FUCKING G! I have been looking all over for the tooth and Nail compilation. Thanks so much for posting it

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-Jan-12 at 02:55 | Permalink
  32. GT

    Great blog and writing. I have a copy of the 1978-79 issue of Tooth and Nail (it has the printed inner sleeve and in good shape), any idea what it’s worth?

    Thank you

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    check popsike.com

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Jan-13 at 03:01 | Permalink
  33. rezcowgirl

    Thanks for posting. This is awesome & I have loved it since 1979, managed to get it downloaded from my album & have it on my iPod. I love Electric Church. I love Mercenaries.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 05-Jun-13 at 00:59 | Permalink
  34. hey robby is will shatter on this recording ? even though i’m not crazy about rik l rik , this is the best version of Mercenaries I’ve ever heard , its actually probably my top 5 favorite Negative
    Trend songs ,NG was underrated they were more important than the sex pistols i personally believe, they were like the punk version of pink floyd , btw do you have any news on ricky williams Toiling midgets side project TG is awesome they are like sleepers MK2 with more hijinks lol , i’m actually surprised ricky williams had so much material between sleepers and toiling midgets hell i love him more than john lennon i’m not dissing lennon though hes great but his solo stuff was “ugh”,i liked his collaboration on harry nilssons album but the whole yoko phase was a bit dawning on strange and boredom

    [Reply]

    Robbie Fields Reply:

    Graham,

    That’s a good question. I’ll ask Jay regarding whose bass lines were used for the T&N versions.

    Craig Gray is still around. There’s a facebook page that is probably connected to him :

    https://www.facebook.com/toiling.midgets

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-Oct-14 at 03:26 | Permalink

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