Recorded by four Cleveland expats in a pre-gentrified-Brooklyn studio in 1992, !!Destroy-Oh-Boy!! may be the closest thing to an iconic Columbus record there is. While many of the albums highlighted in this blog haven’t received their due and could be described as “obscure,” “unsung,” ”overlooked” or “under the radar,” here’s an album that had both local and national critics tripping over themselves to find the right superlatives. The New Bomb Turks’ !!Destroy-Oh-Boy!! in many ways solidified the Columbus music scene’s national reputation as a garage/punk/underground rock hot spot.
Crypt Records – CR-032
As vocalist/songwriter Eric Davidson has noted in interviews and his book We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001, Cleveland had a handful of great college radio stations to listen to and discover non-mainstream music. This is significant as, here in Columbus, the one college radio station (WOSR, where Davidson and guitarist Jim Weber worked as students) could more or less only be heard in the dorms.
The New Bomb Turks met and formed in Columbus while attending Ohio State University, but Cleveland culture undoubtedly informed the sound and direction of the band. Cleveland’s post-punk band Death Of Samantha (DOS) was an influence on Davidson, in particular, and DOS guitarist John Petkovic wrote the liner notes to the 20th-anniversary edition of !!Destroy-Oh-Boy!!. Wouldn’t you know, cleveland.com even calls the New Bomb Turks “Cleveland punk legends.”
But there’s no doubt that the New Bomb Turks are a Columbus band. They cut their teeth on High Street - Stache’s, Bernie’s, Apollo’s… They had Columbus tastemakers on their side from early on. Musician, writer and former Used Kids co-owner Ron House not only helped finance their first release, a Datapanik split single with Gaunt, but also helped make sure it ended up in the right hands - talking the Turks up to his contacts in the biz and as a writer in The Other Paper. In a scene where consensus is rare, and support rarer still, House helped create a buzz around New Bomb Turks. Soon enough, influential German label Crypt Records agreed to record an album.
On August 26, 1992, New Bomb Turks holed up in Brooklyn’s Coyote Studios and, legend has it, cranked through 20 songs and five cases of beer in 9 hours. Producer Mike Mariconda wisely had them play live together in the same room with minimal direction. The tempos were faster than ever. Some vocal overdubs and guitar leads were completed the following day and !!Destroy-Oh-Boy!! was born.
Released early in 1993, !!Destroy-Oh-Boy!! stood out. Davidson’s lyrics are intelligent but not too serious. Another Used Kids alum, Bela Koe-Krompecher, puts it best in his excellent memoir Love, Death & Photosynthesis: “Their songs were… laced with irony, almost as wordy as Elvis Costello songs. Words pushed and crammed against one another as if the entire song had to be forced through a two-minute miniature funnel.”
Critics were smitten, including, most crucially, the punk tastemakers at Maximum Rocknroll.
“Amazing adrenaline-inducing originals… this is not regurgitated punk rock posing; it is what raging punk rocknroll is all about. Album of the year, maybe of the last 5 years!!” - Maximum Rocknroll, February 1993
“This album roars out of the gate with explosive guitars, crashing drums and Eric Davidson's manic singing.” - Columbus Dispatch, February 11, 1993
"The only band I can think of lately that even attempts to play (punk) as the rock 'n' roll it was meant to be…” - Spin Magazine, May 1993
“If ever there were a time to believe the hype, this is it. Columbus' New Bomb Turks could be the most intense live band in America.” - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette February 11, 1994
!!Destroy-Oh-Boy!! Is a uniquely well-documented Columbus record. For those interested in more, check out Columbus Alive’s excellent and thorough article marking the album’s 20th anniversary (in 2013) here.
I noted in my introductory Quiet One post the Columbus ethos of not taking anything seriously that takes itself seriously. This particular line of thinking is nicely summed up in We Never Learn, which quotes Scat Records founder Robert Griffin, “Hey if you’re going to fail at least you won’t look stupid for it, because it wasn’t like you were trying to be successful.” I don't know if the New Bomb Turks were going for success - everyone defines success for themself anyway. One thing I do know: any look at Columbus music that omits !!Destroy-Oh-Boy!! is incomplete.
A2 Tail Crush
B3 Mr. Suit
B7 Sucker Punch
Distributed By – EFA – 11560 08/26
Copyright © – Crypt Records
Published By – Quiente Blues Music
Published By – Carlin Music
Recorded At – Coyote Studios
Vocals – Eric Davidson
Guitar – Jim Weber
Bass – Matt Reber
Drums – Bill Randt
Producer – Mike Mariconda
Engineer – Albert Caiati
Cover – Jay Brown
Insert – Eric Albrecht
Written-By – New Bomb Turks (tracks: A1 to B2, B4 to B7)
Cover Art – Arturo Deleon