mutant R&B trashgarage noise destruction
Fueled by boredom, vinyl and Thunderbird ESQ, the Gories played a crude, lo-fi blend of out-of-tune '60s garage rock and the freaked-out pop-art/autodestruct R&B of British Mod groups like the Yardbirds and The Who, delivered with punk energy and attitude. The band was formed in Detroit, MI on January 3rd, 1986 at precisely 10:43 PM by Mick Collins (lead guitar & vocals) and Dan Kroha (rhythm guitar & vocals); Margaret Ann "Peg" O'Neill (drums) would join shortly after to complete the three-piece.
Throughout their existence, the Gories were largely ignored in their homeland, and were in fact voted the worst band in Detroit two years in a row by an annual poll in a local music zine. However, the band's legacy has increased considerably since they broke up, and their primitive, bassless sound has had a lasting influence on Detroit's garage/punk scene, including bands such as the Hentchmen, the Demolition Doll Rods, and the White Stripes.
The first LP, Houserockin', released in 1988, is by far their rawest studio effort. At the time of its recording, the band members were still very much beginners at their instruments -- in the liner notes explaining the song "Boogie Chillun", Mick Collins writes: "This was one of the first songs we ever learned, because it only has three notes. When we first started, any songs with more than nine notes in it was usually too complicated for us." This relative lack of technical skill, combined with a murky, no-fi production mixed messier than a Cass Corridor homicide investigation, forms the core of the Gories' trash aesthetic. They take after the Lester Bangs school of musical appreciation: chops are for squares, passion is everything.
The band's sophomore release, I Know You Fine But How You Doin' -- produced by Alex Chilton of Big Star fame -- sounds considerably more refined than Houserockin' while still retaining the basic core of the Gories sound. This album is more soulful and R&B-influenced next to the manic, off-key solos and drunken Back from the Grave ecstacy of Houserockin'. Mick Collins' vocals are vastly improved on this record, still wild and howling, but with less cartoonish guttural growling and an increased capacity for carrying a tune. Stand-outs on this one include "Thunderbird ESQ" -- Collins' ode to his favorite rotgut wine, with one of his catchiest choruses ever -- and the Suicide cover "Ghost Rider", begins as a mutant John Lee Hooker-esque R&B romp that eventually degenerates into a violent noise freak-out with enough random feedback to feed Frankie Teardrop's wife and kids.
By the time the Gories recorded and released their third full-length album, Outta Here, they had already broken up and reformed half a dozen times and had a small but growing, enthusiastic fanbase in Europe. Outta Here is considered by many to be the best all-around Gories LP, a distillation of everything that was great about the first two records into a more cohesive songwriting structure and a crisper production that gives Collins' and Kroha's songs a more visceral edge. Peg's drum sound is a lot bigger and more distinctive than on the previous two albums, and her beats are more danceable and varied than before. Songs like "There But For The Grace Of God Go I" and "Telepathic" show that the Gories have matured significantly since Houserockin'. This would be the Gories final album; they broke up for the last time while touring Europe in '93.
After the demise of the Gories, Mick Collins formed the garage noise collective Blacktop, which recorded about 30 songs altogether during its brief lifespan. In the mid-90s, Collins formed the Dirtbombs, which has been his main project continuing through the present day, releasing 3 LPs and surviving through over a dozen lineup changes. He was involved in a number of side projects throughout the '90s and '00s, including the King Sound Quartet, the Screws and the Voltaire Brothers. He also played guitar on the Dirtys first single and produced their only LP, You Should Be Sinnin'.
Dan Kroha went on to join Rocket 455 for a short period of time, playing guitar on the first two singles. He eventually left and and started the Demolition Doll Rods in 1994 with one-time Gories roadie Margaret Doll Rod. They've been active ever since and released their 3rd LP during the summer of 2004.
Peg O'Neill played drums on several '68 Comeback releases, and is currently playing drums in The Darkest Hours.
- Houserockin' LP/CD (Fanclub Records/New Rose, 1989/90, FC 077/NR 340)
produced by Len Puch, sleeve/photos by Steve Shaw.
700 Wanghead copies made
I Know You Fine, But How You Doin' LP/CD (New Rose, 1990, Rose 219)
produced by Alex Chilton
- I Think I've Had It
- Charm Bag
- Boogie Chillun
- I'll Go
- Hidden Charms
- Sovereignty Flight
- You'll Be Mine
- You Done Got Wrong
- Sister Ann
- Give Me Love
- Let Me Hear The Choir Sing
Outta Here LP/CD (Crypt Germany, 1992, crypt-030)
- Hey Hey We're The Gories
- You Make It Move
- Detroit Breakdown
- Goin' To The River
- Early In The Morning
- Thunderbird ESQ
- Let Your Daddy Ride
- Six Cold Feet
- View From Here
- Makin' Love (CD-only)
- He's Doin' It
- There But For The Grace Of God Go I
- Outta Here
- Can't Catch Up With You
- Stormy (LP-only)
- I Got Eyes For You
- Trick Bag
- Rat's Nest
- Hey Bo Diddley!
- 48 Hours
- Idol With The Golden Head (The Coasters)(CD-only)
- Ichiban (The Jaguars) (CD-only)
- Nitroglycerine 7" (New Rose, 1990, NEW 141/NR 100)
black vinyl only
Here Be The Gories 7" (In The Red USA, 1991, ITR 003)
first issue on non-transparent purple vinyl,
second issue on black vinyl
- Makin' Love
Give Me Some Money 7" (Subpop USA, 1992, SP 134)
first 100 copies on transparent red vinyl,
next 1500 copies on non-transparent blue vinyl,
last 2900 copies on transparent pink vinyl
- Hate (The Stoics)
Baby Say Unh! 7" (Estrus USA, 1992, ES 724)
first edition (for the Estrus Crust club) on clear vinyl
second on black vinyl
- Give Me Some Money (Spinal Tap)
- You Don't Love Me
To Find Out 7" (Giant Claw Australia, 1992, GCS-005)
100 copies: promo-edition on black vinyl
900 copies: normal edition on non-transparent brown vinyl
- Baby Say Unh!
- Idol With The Golden Head (The Coasters)
You Little Nothing 7" (Get Hip USA, 1995, GH-173)
black vinyl only
- To Find Out (The Keggs)
- Ichiban (Nick and the Jaguars
- You Little Nothing
- Casting My Spell
- Charm Bag
much thanks to http://www.grunnen-rocks.nl for amazingly detailed discography information & misc. info nuggets