LITG Superspy Matthew Specktor has discovered a mysterious website which hosts five MP3s by eighties Ohio's masters of garage revivalism, the Boys From Nowhere. In addition to their celebrated namesake DMZ cover are fine takes on the Kinks, Wailers, Sparkles and Music Machine. Matthew called main Boy Mick Divvens to inquire as to the provenence of this goldmine, and learned that Mick doesn't even remember recording these songs, but reckons they must have been laid down circa "Beg." And "Beg," for them that don't know, is just about the rawest slice of teenpunk animosity ever captured... or why don't I just let Matthew tell you all about it, in his essay from Lost in the Grooves?
The Boys From Nowhere - The Young Lion 45s
The Highway to Hell is paved with bad imitations. Discarded tubes of lipstick and the sloughed-off leathers of Stooges-wannabes stand by to warn the hopefuls who stagger along the time-honored—and widely dishonored—passage. In the late eighties, the LIE and Mass Pike were crowded with bands who fancied themselves the new Stones, or Dolls (allegiance shifted around 1985 from Pebbles comps to MC5 reissues), but these outfits disappeared in the hair-apocalypse that was Guns N’ Roses. Which is a crooked way of approaching Boys From Nowhere, the greatest garage band you’ve never heard.
While Lyres and the Chesterfield Kings were trying to drag us back to sacred-mono, Mick Divvens was shaking his mane to Uriah Heep records. While Jeff Conolly was struggling to accept the world hadn’t ended in 1967, Mick was on about the merits of Ratt’s first 45. Yet brushing aside specious punk notions of purism, the fact remains that Divvens recorded some of the finest singles ever waxed by a guy named Mick. Vaulting over the usual obstacles— slack-jawed drummers with lucrative sidelines in armed-robbery, feckless sidemen too busy griping to show up for practice—Divvens did it the hard way, playing organ, guitar, duck-call and hair-on-fire screaming for a series of self-released singles that needed to be heard to be believed.
Combining the pant-pissing heaviness of the best Detroit thug-rock with prime sixties ‘tude, these were a far cry from the fey recidivism of bands I won’t name, unless I already have; “Beg,” “Jungle Boy,” and (especially) “I Don’t Bother” approach Stooges-like levels of intensity without sacrificing melodic interest, and—with that duck-call—nodding towards the retarded art-punk of fellow Ohioans Pere Ubu. These were subsequently reissued on a series of Spanish, German and Australian 12-inches that sounded as if they were mastered in a laughing-gas factory. Tinny, cruddy (the original pressings were both, in a good way) and sped-up, they led some to wonder what the fuss was about. An album on Skyclad followed. But the best are still those early singles, and it’s a crime against humanity Divvens still has boxes of ‘em in his garage. He ought to be sending children to college on their backs. Maybe then someone could come forward to show the Hives, White Stripes, etc. how it’s done. (Matthew Specktor)