Street Talk - October 25, 1979
captured live at tube
By Peter Goddard
Tube Records WRC 1-926
Every city has a club like
Yonge Street's Picadilly Tube, pragmatic, frill-free joints devoted to the
drinking of beer and the playing of hard-nosed, all-amps-on-high rock 'n' roll.
Critics ignore them, and the new wave views them as rather tacky. But night
after night, rock thunders there, louder and louder.
In Toronto, though,
there are fewer of these places as musical styles change and five-minute guitar
solos are no longer in vogue. The Imps' live recording at the Picadilly Tube - a
nasty little album called In The Tube - comes at just the right time. The El
Mocambo had the Stones record; the Horseshoe had The Last Pogo. Now the Tube has
The Imps, a band that could be Max Webster's mean kid brother.
Now, there's a punk quality to the Imps' singer-guitarist Frank Soda,
bassist-singer Charlie Towers and drummer John Lechasseur that has nothing to do
with that other kind of punk (the arch, self conscious kind) you've been hearing
so much about. There are punks and punks, and The Imps are the inner-city kind
who aren't likely to end up at Bemelman's after their gig. Theirs is biker-chic
- easy on the tire irons, boys, and hold the boots.
As such, there is no
real concept to their music, no dominating artistic attitude that for most of
the new wave, no-wave bands frames each song like so much gilt around a
painting. This makes it difficult, for some I suppose, to understand The Imps
because there's nothing there - aside from the music itself - to understand.
It's just rock, not rock-with-a-theory-attached.
Don't be mislead - there
is an ideaology of sorts to The Imps material. With a song such as TV People,
they meet nitwit media blandness head on. Elsewhere their material deals with
that time-honored equation that rock offers the escape and cheap thrills nothing
But the point of The Imps' music is in the sheer sound of
the music itself. As produced by CHUM-FM deejay Larry Wilson and musician Robert
Connolly, In The Tube is as "unproduced" an album as you'll find. And I don't
mean this in a derogatory way. It might have been tempting for Wilson, in his
first time as a producer, to show some credentials and bring some particular
viewpoint to the album. But he has stayed in the background here (of course the
band may have warned him to do this, or else) and let things happen as they
The album mirrors what you'd find in a club like the Piccadilly
Tube; some good moments, a few even great, some weak, and some that are almost
embarassing. In The Tube, then, reflects a certain kind of reality which,
whether you like it or not, is at the heart of the rock 'n' roll
Rating: 3 Stars