Industrial Amusement 2017
Four generations of rebel-rouses bring a quintessential punk album to life to seal its immortality.
THE HEARTBREAKERS’ “L.A.M.F.” has always been a restless record, appearing and reappearing in various versions for four decades now, long after Johnny Thunders’ demise. The only aspect it remained bereft of was a stage performance, a situation that guitarist Walter Lure, the quartet’s sole surviving member, decided to rectify – which took the help of prominent friends who could do justice to the gem, without compromising its integrity by exerting needless reverence. Enter Clem Burke from BLONDIE on drums, MC5 axeman Wayne Kramer and THE REPLACEMENTS’ bassist Tommy Stinson: seasoned players from different eras sharing passion for a rebellious lick and, as this live document – available as CD and DVD – shows, easily eliciting delight from enthusiastic crowd that know the source material through and through.
Lure’s red jacket, a contrast to the rest of the band’s black outfits, and his audience-augmented delivery of “Get Off The Phone” and “All By Myself” – where the ensemble’s blues core is bared – may make the veteran the focus of attention, yet there’s an inspired musical camaraderie on display. The players apply immense instrumental tightness to “Baby Talk” where Burke’s drums – that also drive “One Track Mind” to rock ‘n’ roll delirium but give a slight slack for him to sing “Can’t Keep My Eyes On You” – lock in with Stinson’s bass, the latter’s drawl and punk-patented sneer complementing the previously concealed punch of “Born To Lose” while Kramer’s riffs give sharpness to the overall picture
It’s augmented by the group’s guests. Liza Colby pitches a riot grrrl vigor into “I Love You”; Cheetah Chrome enhances the front line for the rumble of “Pirate Love” and grabs lead vocals on “Goin’ Steady”; Jesse Malin gets down to the punters – some of them seem to remember the CBGB’s scene – and whips “I Wanna Be Loved” into a frenzy. He also picks up an acoustic guitar to strums away on “It’s Not Enough” to add a delicate transparency to it which may seem so un-punk, yet this piece captures the very essence of Thunders’ romantic nature. There are sweet harmonies on “Do You Love Me” and collective singing of “Chinese Rocks” that sees Kramer smile throughout before kicking out the jams off “Let Go” and letting loose to capture the very spirit of “L.A.M.F.” and give it a new lease of life.
More performances of the album would follow. Consummated on stage, it fully arrived now – eventually.