Hey folks, I know that it's been about freak fuckin' ages since the last post of this one, of the ''AMERICAN Oi! HISTORY SERIES'', came along the way up here, hm, but anyhow, now it's not only really about time and for far too long overdue but also now the time is up, the next one is coming right in through and like announced back then in the days of 2011 this time our journey leads us up to Boston, MA/U.S.A. back to the end of the 1980's and the ly beginnings of the 1990's and its very prominent and well-reputated scenery of Oi!, Hardcore, Streetpunk and Punkrock and its legendary American Oi! heroes of STARS & STRIPES, the - if you want or like to say it so - pure thru and thru Oi! Oi! Oi! sideproject of Choke from SLAPSHOT. I really love this band - or to say it precise: I loe both bands - since I discovered them for the very first time ever back then. A stand alone and damn great band, that should be also interesting for the Hardcore silverbacks out there that know about their roots and heritage. But before we go ahead on futher deeper into the subject of this very post I have some few general words for you all interested in the U.S. side of Oi! music to tell, so here we go...
I've started this posting series pretty much directly in 2010 (more or lessdirectly) when I started this blog as some sort of a resumption of my then pretty much dead printed fanzine of the name of "MANSLAUGHTER FANZINE BAD HARZBURG" and while I don't want to go any deeper into it because the reasons why this blog was born, the "MANSLAUGHTER THUG LIFE" blog, and why not finally a new printed issue came out again some day I have explained pretty much back then with the vey first post ever up here and so and also because this isn't the place for it I will spare me and you every word more about it even thinking about it that this goes now on for already more or less three years in a row makes me a little bit proud not at least because the amount of readers was over all the time very good and pretty high on a regular basis and this all for a blog that offers absolutely no downloads beside some download links that had been already officialy up by the bands or labels itself, yes, I think that's not that bad at all, especially when I have the very weak second half of 2011 in my mind and the very slow restart in 2012, so yes, not that bad after all, and thans very much especially and first and foremost to you, my dear readers, thanks for your respect and support and appreciation, thanks. Also to all the fellow bloggers who linked the blog and the work of me up here on their great sites, like Bernando and his great blogs up there ("THE U.S. OF Oi! OF SWEDEN" - http://usofoiofsweden.blogspot.de/, "VHS-PLOITATION" - http://vhs-ploitation.blogspot.de/?zx=d681035182c8e01e, and "FUCK YEAH!!!!!! - VOL. II" - http://bernandofuckyeah.blogspot.se/), the D.U." crew (http://downunderground.blogspot.de/), the great guys of SUFFER THE PAIN (can't wait for your new demo to finally come out - http://sufferthepain.blogspot.se/), Ryan of CRUCIAL CHANGE and - hopefully some day back to life comin' - the "THE SPIRIT OF YESTERDAY" blog (http://thespiritofyesterdayoi.blogspot.de/), the "CRUST DEMOS" crew (check the great http://crust-demos.blogspot.de/ blog out asap) and the others I now maybe have forgotten about, thanks guys. So, okay, after this ''global words'' and now some general words about the future of the ''AMERICAN Oi! HISTORY SERIES'' up here. After now something like a full year used to pass me and you by I thought over it all a little bit then and now here and there and after first thoughts go like this should be the final and very last post of this posting series at least for now I finally changed this view on it quite a bit...
I started this series of posts back then because, yes, because of the very simple reasons that American Oi! music was and is and still is and surely will remain one of my personal favorite styles of music ever, as well as Oi! beside Hardcore was and is exactly this for me, my personal absolute favorite kind of music (even not in all its foms), and American Oi! is simply my favorite of it, period. Over the first two years I started to want to go more and more into some sort of a somehow ''complete'' and especially chronological affair... and this was in contrast of what I wanted to do in the first place... just post the bands that mean the most to me and pay them some honour, or at least try to do so, and now that's exactly what I will do from now on again. Giving a fuck about any correct timeline and also not trying to be anyhow ''complete'' up here, just paying tribute and giving some honour to my own personal favorites and so especially this post about STARS & STRIPES is a great restart that could not had been anyhow better, it's great, period. Anyone looking out for some pretty complete, of course always subjective, not chronological and very frequently ongrowing and very deep going detailed overview on the U.S. of Oi! should go to the already above mentioned great "THE U.S. OF Oi! OF SWEDEN" blog (http://usofoiofsweden.blogspot.de/) and will find a lot to discover and there also including downloads of all the stuff. So, okay, the diretion is now that I don't know what will come up next, maybe again a band of the golden 1980's, or one of the amazing and legendary 1990's of American Oi!, or one of the militant first decade of the 2000's or maybe also a current active band, we will see how the story finally will go on. This means not that the posts so far had been done at least partially just for the record or history books or so, no, from U.S. CHAOS to DOC. MARTEN (the so far last entry of this very series) it had been favorites of mine that found their place up here, some more, some less, for sure, but they all have a special place in my record collection. But I headed to realize a more ''complete'' and especially chronoligal done approach and this I decided to cut and return to the original idea behind this posting series, so this is all meant. So, okay, after I used to figure this out for myself I am finally pretty curious about continuing this very posting series here again, and even I don't have a clou how frequently and regular new posts of it will after this one later on again come up here I hope and think that the posting pause in this category won't take a year again, trust me upon this. Btw, and I'm also very happy that now with this post finally again something with more weight is coming up here again, not only reviews of records, zines, and movies, not only video postings or some news lines or so, no, finally something more is coming up here again, and you know what, it's pretty overdue, at least if you ask me. And now onward with this post...
STARS & STRIPES - "SHAVED FOR BATTLE"
"OUR HEADS ARE SHAVED FOR BATTLE AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE GONNA DO!!!"
- PATRIOTIC AMERICAN Oi! FROM BOSTON, MA/U.S.A. -
"COPS ARE WAITING AT THE STOP, WE'LL BE HEADED TO THE TOP, TIME TO DO THE SUBWAY STOMP!!!"
STARS & STRIPES - "DROP THE BOMB"
Okay, so here we finally go again, "Oi! Oi! Oi!" and so it goes: The legendary and infamous SLAPSHOT had been alredy around for quit a while when around 1989 Choke and some of his friends decided to start a thu and thru American Oi! band and so it happened that one of the very best ever and also one of the most controversial and most hated and heavily discussed bands ever saw the light of the day, the almighty STARS & STRIPES. The rumors go that they recorded under this name because they did music that would not had been tolerated or accepted under the name of SLAPSHOT, so they named it all STARS & STRIPES. After SLAPSHOT had always been a at least controversial and surely not politically correct band (but had also never been anyhow a bullshit anyway WP/NS/what-so-ever crap band, lightyears away they had been and are from this retarded scumbags, even most of the whole oh so brave german AFA nutjobs as well as a lot of the brain- and buttfucked NS/WP idiots over here refuse to understand this simple thing) I think this interpretation is pure bullshit, even music-wise STARS & STRIPES are clearly an Oi! and not an Hardcore band, that's also pretty damn clear. The legend goes that Choke always loved Oi! music right from the start (listen to SLAPSHOT and you get this pretty clear as well) and so he found in Jordan Wood (a.k.a. Griggs) and Andy MacKaye two equal minded friends that thought and felt the same way and so STARS & STRIPES were born. Like they should sing it shortly after this in their anthem "AMERICAN Oi!" where the words went respectively go like this:
"Red alert and the 4 Skins were always our favorite bands,
but all the bands we listened to were from foreign lands.
We needed something to call our own, something to listen to.
We'll borrow what they started and make it Red, White & Blue.
AMERICAN Oi! - AMERICAN Oi! - Answer the call!
AMERICAN Oi! - AMERICAN Oi! - You know we'll never fall!
AMERICAN Oi! - AMERICAN Oi! - The ground work has been set!
AMERICAN Oi! - AMERICAN Oi! - You ain't seen nothin' yet!
Well, now we've got our Skinhead scene and it's strong as it's proud.
You know our bands play real hard and you know they play it loud.
Soon there will be so many of us, heads will turn our way.
You're living your greatest nightmare, yes, we're here to stay."
STARS & STRIPES - "AMERICAN Oi!"
They took what they loved and made their very own U.S. American Oi! thing out of it. STARS & STRIPES started playing and writing their first songs and soon they should release their debut record, the 7'' single "DROP THE BOMB", headlined by the infamous anthem "DROP THE BOMB", a brilliant song that should hurt their reputation pretty much at least in the ranks of the self proclaimed leftwingers and P.C. appeaser cowards. But thankfully they gave and give a fuck about it and them. No matter if you like this offending lyrical assault about bombing the middle east to solve the terrorist problem once and for all, but even some might can discuss about the words it sung in, but hey, it's Oi!/Streetpunk/Hardcore/Punkrock musick and no Shakespeare lyric stuff, and maybe some could also dislike and refuse to agree on what they sing about and discuss the by them proposed solution to this topic but if you like it or not you can't deny that they hit the nail right on its head, and I bet that deep down inside you can't silence the voice that knows and tells you that they were and still are totally right with this... and last but not least no one cared and still no one cares that even MANOWAR back then used to know and sing this as well. Just remember "WARLORD"?!? If not, hm, then lisen to it, you stupid nutjob, and this you can do here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmQx10GFD-k!!! But maybe it's just the old story again, that goes like if Skinheads sing about things like this in a drastical militant and non-P.C. way then they are all promptly labeled Nazis and Fascists and scum like this, but when - for example - a bunch of leather wearing Metalheads sing about the same topic in the same way no one cares because they are allowed to do so because of their long hair, clothes in shining leather, and stuff like this, hm, or something like this... it sucks... so better don't care about it and just forget about it as well, point and fact. (But, btw, the mentioned MANOWAR song is a true anthem as well, and even far more non-P.C. than the one STARS & STRIPES had done, haha;-)!!!) The "DROP THE BOMB" single was a two song - or should I better say a two anthem - release,with the title track on Side A and the great also pretty patriotic "TIME TO LIVE, TIME TO DIE" on Side B of the single album release. Both songs are damn anthems and totally larger than life, and so it won't make anyone wonder about the fact, that "TAANG! RECORDS" took both songs and used them as bonus tracks on the rerelease of their amazing "SHAVED FOR BATTLE" debut album (primarly released in 1989 as well as the 7'' single) back then in 1998. Btw, the 7'' single "DROP THE BOMB" was released on the legendary and for all what I think to know today sadly enough pretty dead "VULTURE ROCK RECORDS" label and this, yes, like already mentioned, in 1989.
STARS & STRIPES - "NOTHING TO FIGHT FOR ANYMORE"
This, their debut album, "SHAVED FOR BATTLE" was also released in 1989 and this on Chokes very own label "PATRIOT RECORDS". There also a great act like FORCED REALITY released their stuff, also one hell of an amazing band that will also become a part of this "AMERICAN Oi! HISTORY SERIES" up here one day, as well as the roughnecks from Boston in THE BRUISERS that for all what I think to know also were on "PATRIOT RECORDS" for a while back then and will also one day become a - prominent - part of this very posting series up here, I'm just looking for some sources to get some proper informations about them both from some reliable ressource(s) - what is especially in the case of FORCED REALITY pretty hard (so if you have some stuff to or about them just drop a line and get in contact with me). Time will tell, back to the topic. With this album they took the aggression and heat and tension and decided to piss all the mentally amok running folks even far more off, with militant and battle-scarred patriotic lyrics that are also clearly aimed against all scumbags, against liberal appeasers and conservative traitors and of course against commie activists and this whole ''djihad-ists" out there, pro veterans and pro nation and constitution... and this was and is enough for some mentally retarded nutjobs to also often still somehow labe them as Fascists, Nazis, Racists and a thru and thru hate band of the far right. Too many bullshit idiots out there, period. This album is very outspoken and patriotic, militant and also for sure filled with some aggressive conservative views, no doubt about it. Also no doubt that they meant and still mean it all very serious. But also this album is so far over the top and ironical as well as self-ironical that it's pretty clear that it is also in parts a pretty open exaggeration of all what they got attacked with, also no doubt about it. If you are into SLAPSHOT and Chokes lyrical work you know that he's a master of this tongue-in-cheek exaggeraion and knows to work with this to its perfection. And so he does or did with STARS & STRIPES. As far as most of the critics on this album don't get this also a lot of the supporters of this album don't get this as well. It's a great thing to keep this true and real and authentic attitude and deliver the message as well as make jokes out of yourself and your supporters as well as critics that don't get the point and also include a self-ironic approach to it. Brilliant!!! That's, beside the phenomenal music, is why I love this album so incredible very much, a groundbreaking album, lyrical and musical, period. Back then during their original or first stint as a band STARS & STRIPES only played one single live show, together with the other American Oi! legends in FORCED REALITY and their Boston mates of THE BRUISERS. For this show they needed to recruit some friends to their ranks and the flyer to this legendary show you can see somewhere above in this very post. After this short period it should become more and more silent around STARS & STRIPES and pretty soon they went seperate ways for many years. But their legend and legacy became more and more immortal and lived on around the world and every Oi! addict knew and know that they created one hell of an stand-alone groundbreaking album. And all had been left desperately waiting and being left thirsty/hungry for more and demanding for it... Btw, like already above mentioned, in 1998 their debut was finally rereleased via "TAANG! RECORDS".
STARS & STRIPES - "HERE'S ONE FOR THE LADS"
Lyrically and musically this was some sort of the end of the first era of this band named STARS & STRIPES - surely more was just about to come but it took one hell of a long while before so - with creating hard knocking, fury stomping and heavy beating Oi! music full of hard, sharp, dry and just heavy and pretty diverse guitar work, rumbling bass and military style storming drumming. And above all throned Chokes amazing and incredible characteristic and hard and smart, pissed off lead vocals, backed up by some healthy doses of massive back up chants. Only a very slightly Hardcore influence is to be noticed and the songwriting as well as the skilled playing of the instruments had been and still are damn fucking bloody great, and for miles far above your average run of the mill bullshit wasted on a drink pseudo "Oi!" music. In every way a truly groundbreaking album, I would proclaim it a "decade making album" if you know what I want to say with this words. I think to the lyrics and their lyrical approach I already said or written enough and so I will spare me the words here and now. Instead of this we will go on in time and history, because the time of STARS & STRIPES wasn't back then in 1989 already ran out through...
STARS & STRIPES - "SKINHEADS ON THE RAMPAGE"
It should take thirteen years for STARS & STRIPES untill they should come together again in 2002 when Chris Lauria rejoind SLAPSHOT and with them also refiring STARS & STRIPES where he now should play the bass and the band decided to come back, recording a new full length album that should be finally released in 2004 on "I SCREAM RECORDS", announced right after the release of the brilliant "DIGITAL WARFARE" (''comeback'') album of SLAPSHOT. To point it out and say and set it straight right from the start: I love this album of the very name of "ONE MAN ARMY"!!! They got a lot of heat for or because of this album, again you might can say, but this time not because some clueless retarded weak hearted felt offended by the political lyrics and its messages (beside some AFA nutjobs who will never get it in their selfrighteous way of living their lies called lifes), but because a lot of guys attacked them because they refused to make a "SHAVED FOR BATTLE" Vol. II. But insetad singing again over the top patriotic Skinhead anthems they rather decided to sing also damn self-ironical Hooligan hymns, and this was too much for all the self-proclaimed ''die hards'' and ''hard knocks'' out there. The lyrics were great, point and fact, especially the self-ironical-exaggation was and is totally great again and also the lyrics are damn authentic especially if you keep in mind that Choke pretty much surely never was involved in a real Hooligan gang fight. Also musically they changed a little bit the direction, and while the back then very slightly to be recognized Hardcore influence was totally gone they also played it all more a little bit more melodic and with a bit Streetpunk influence in it, but still standing true to their american idea of Oi! and that's just great. Fuck the "die hard" and "hard knock" critics on this album, clear your mind and forget any expectation of getting a "SHAVED FOR BATTLE" Vol. II and you will enjoy this great album. Okay, that it can't beat "SHAVED FOR BATTLE" anyhow should be clear right from the start is not a failure of the band and is making this album not in a single way worse and was also pretty clear right from the start, and so their decision to make something really new was even more right and deserves even more respect.
STARS & STRIPES - "HANG ON TO YOUR DREAMS"
This is it for now, the end of this post as well as the end of the story so far of STARS & STRIPES. SLAPSHOT still use to play STARS & STRIPES songs live on stage sometimes these days and maybe we will see a thrid full length album of this great ''project''-band some one day. I would cheer up to it, for sure. For now I just hope that you've enjoyed reading through this article at least a little bit as much as I enjoyed writing it finally down. Even it turned out to be a hell of a lot of work, haha;-), I can tell you. But that's nothing wrong with anyhow. Closing this article I will very soon give you some more videos of STARS & STRIPES anthems beside the ones already watched/viewed by you or so, so you can enjoy this almighty legends from the States directly through their music, because not at least that's how it's meant to be. Don't know when the next "AMERICAN Oi! HISTORY SERIES" article will follow this very one here up (surely it won't take a year again, to set this straight) and I am also not so sure who will be the next ones that's being payed tribute to up here by me. But there will come for sure more some day, maybe soon maybe not so soon, we will see, but it will come, you can take my word on this. So, okay, that's it for now, more soon the next days again. Cheers & Oi! Oi! Oi!
STARS & STRIPES - "THE POWER AND THE GLORY"
STARS & STRIPES - "TIME TO LIVE, TIME TO DIE"
(PS: This article isn't read over, wrong spellings will be corrected in the near future or so.)