Monoshock - Walk to the Fire 2LP
S.S. Records is proud to announce the reissue of Monoshock’s Walk to the Fire double album. Long considered a classic by music freaks and much sought after by modern psych nodes, the remastered reissue of Monoshock’s monster has been anticipated for quite some time…and now it is here. Monoshock’s roots lie in Ilsa Vista, a charming student ghetto stuck on California’s Central Coast. It was there that Umbilical Chords, a punk quartet who shot snot on the year 1987, were born. Scrappy and snotty, the Chords were led by guitarist Grady Runyan (who also made a short film on them [see you tube
. By 1988 the Chords were gone and Runyan, Scott Derr, and Rubin Fiberglass formed Monoshock taking garage blargh into realms previously occupied by the Stooges, Amon Duul II, Hawkwind, Blue Cheer, and other proponents of punkoid psychedelia or psychedelic punk or just good and loud rock & roll music. Later joined by Aluminum Queen on saxophone and Doug Pearson on all things Doug Pearson, Monoshock recorded three singles (on Womb, Blackjack, and Bag of Hammers) and a now legendary double album called Walk to the Fire (Blackjack). The 1995 release of their magnum opus also coincided with the end of the band. Praised a handful of people at the time, Walk to the Fire didn’t really start getting its due until Julian Cope featured it on his website Head Heritage, bands such as Comets on Fire and the Wooden Shjips started referencing Monoshock as an influence, and S.S. Records assembled a CD anthology of Monoshock’s singles, compilation tracks and demo recordings (2004’s Runnin Ape-like from the Backwards Superman).
Since Runnin Ape-like’s release, the band and S.S. have periodically batted around the idea of reissuing Walk to the Fire. In 2011, that talk finally became reality. And, really, why not? Since its release Walk to the Fire has been hailed as a “barbarian classic” by Julian Cope (who also wrote that ”Monoshock was to rock’n’roll what those Miles Davis 1975 wa-everything Japan-release-only double-vinyl monsters (Get Up With It, Agartha, Dark Magus) were to jazz. That is, superfluous to the fucking intellectuals but spiritual carbohydrates for the ones who knew”). It attracted the attention of one Steve Mackay – sax man on the Stooge’s Funhouse – who would later play in Runyan’s post-Monoshock ensemble Liquorball. Mojo magazine featured it as a “Buried Treasure.” Brian Turner of WFMU calls it one of the best records of the era. Ripley Johnson (Wooden Shjips/Moon Duo) says Walk to the Fire was fundamental in forming his musical tastes/style. And Mitch Cardwell? Well, we know what Mitch Cardwell thinks.
The S.S. Records reissue of Walk to the Fire has been lifted from the original tapes by Monoshock’s Scott Derr, digitally remastered by Josh Stevenson, and mastered to vinyl by John Golden. The result is a much better sounding record than the original pressing. Gone are a couple layers of mud, replaced by shimmering guitar, heaviness, and a nice warm sound – well as warm as a tank rolling through your living room. The cover art is as the original, but the reissue includes an insert with liner notes and photos.
On July 14, 2012, Monoshock played S.S. Records second festival, SS2, astounding the crowd with a stunning set. In Fall of 2012, they will be included in Julian Cope’s book/3 CD set Compendium.