Street Talk - October 25, 1979

Imps captured live at tube

By Peter Goddard

The Imps

In The Tube

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.

IN THE TUBENow, 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 else provides.

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 should.

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 process.

Rating: 3 Stars