Firstly, I have some notes about this album that I wrote on a bubblegum wrapper. Hold on a sec. OK, here we go. Now let me see if I can make this out . . .
"Album is a collection of the band's Dog Tired album and some various singles material."
"Punk rock. A bit more "punk" than some of those other bands. Who am I kidding? I only like the Clash."
"Try to get the brunette's phone number."
Hmm. Well, at any rate we have here Dog Tired . . . And Then Some by The Workin' Stiffs. Wait a minute . . . what brunette? Where was I when I wrote that? Did I borrow that wrapper to make my notes on? Ah well. The band hails from San Francisco and on the inside of the CD sleeve, there's this ginchy railroad crossing symbol (the X in the O, y'know) with the letters S, P, R, and F written into each section and "SAN FRANCISCO PUNK ROCK" written around it.
All right, perhaps I'm reaching a bit here. I feel like it's 3rd grade all over again and the teacher has suddenly called on me while I had been daydreaming . . . or looking at that brunette! Man. That wrapper can't be that old, can it? Yes, Mrs. Lee. I heard what you said. Yes. The Workin' Stiffs. They . . . .
Well first off, they have a song here called "1974". Lead singer Dave Musolff spews out "Sometimes I wanna go back to 1974". Wait . . . these guys look younger than me, and I was born in '72. Yearning for the womb and not the tomb! Raise your fist and punch your oi! Musolff does the fake trashy Euro accent with much aplomb. After all, this is street-punk and not pop punk.
Also included is the Stiffs' covers of songs by formerly well-known punk acts. Take your pick from the Cockney Rejects' "New Song", a new arrangement of Sham 69's "Borstal Breakout", and G.B.H.'s "Give Me Fire". Do they rock as good as the originals? No, I can't say that they do. "Give Me Fire" is especially weak. I suppose it all has to do with Musolff's voice. He seems to be doing the Johnny Rotten thing just a bit too much for my taste.
That is not to say the band itself doesn't rock. Mike Winter's guitar riffs are tight and fast, and Eric Bird'' drumming is of the good old bash-bash-bash variety. But hey, I guess if I wanted some toned down "punk", I could go dig on some Sugar Ray, right guys? Seriously, though, the band does rock furiously on cuts like "On the Air", "Petaluma Riot City" (propelled by Mundo Murguio's bass riffing), and "Down With The Show". But on the other hand, the Stiffs' songs all start sounding the same after the second tune, "Wiggum", so there's not a hell of a lot of variety here.
I admit, I do like variety. There's just so much screamed vocals, fast beats, and 1977 wannabe melodies that I can take. If this is your kind of thing, then I'm sure you'll no doubt enjoy this reissue of the Stiffs' first music. It's even been remastered, and I do have to say that the sonic qualities of the disc are nice and bright. However, as stated earlier, I do enjoy the Clash a lot, and never was much of a Sex Pistols fan. (Yeah, I know, what about the legacy and all? Keep it. Enjoy it for yourself, if you dig 'em.) But honestly, this album is just one big chunk of repetition, even if it does manage to rock itself into oblivion most assuredly.