BERLIN BRATS : Believe It Or Rot (CD & LP)
The most neurotic DJ of his generation, but probably also the most visionary of them, and one of the most influential, Rodney Bingenheimer, of KROQ, once said about the Berlin Brats that the band was "the first West Coast punk band ever". Back in the days we can say that it was a little bit overstated, but, in fact, this compilation shows us the image of a bunch of disrespectful wankers ready to destroy everything they could see in their way. But the world "punk" can be used for the Berlin Brats like it was used for the Stooges, MC5 or the New York Dolls, just like a semantic distraction because it was just impossible to rank all those guys in a more appropriate way. In fact, the Berlin Brats remind us of their East Coast brothers, the New York Dolls (singer Rick Wilder showed us a kind of genuine androgyny intensified by make-up and misunderstood posture in the Mick Jagger or David Johansen manner), with this pre-punk music mixed with glam-rock, directly inspired by the late 60's early 70's Rolling Stones, probably the best period of the Stones, for lack of being "punk" (since "Satisfaction" in 1965 they were not punks anymore). During their brief career the Berlin Brats released only 1 single, with a totemic A side, "(I'm) Psychotic", and an orgasmic B side, "Tropically hot", and that's all. The band was from Hollywood, and what if Kim Fowley, not only interested by pre-pubescent Lolitas (and I surely don't blame him for that, no question), had became the Berlin Brats manager, driving them on the road opened by the New York Dolls... or the Runaways... who just appeared when the Brats disappeared? Nobody can rewrite history, so let's just have an ear for the music of the Berlin Brats, a not so conventional band of the California scene. Some years ago, Rhino also released a compilation with the Brats on it, but it wasn't so interesting. Of course the CD includes the two songs of the single, as well as the same songs as demos, with three other studio tracks, not released at the time, all Berlin Brats numbers, and to complete the track-listing (13 songs all in all) there are also half a dozen live songs, recorded in 1976 at the Cabaret, a strip club in Hollywood, including a third version of "(I'm) Psychotic", as well as covers of "It's My Life" (Animals), "Surprise, Surprise" (Rolling Stones, what a surprise !) and "Bye Bye Johnny" (Chuck Berry, unfortunately prematurely cut down). The sound is really correct, including demos and live tracks, which is a good thing, no crappy stuff here. Coming from Hollywood, the band also appeared in a Cheech & Chong movie , the crazy comic duo, "Up in Smoke", certainly not a masterpiece, but... When the Berlin Brats disbanded (in 3 years, 3 bass players and 3 guitar players can be heard on the record), Rick Wilder and drummer Rick Sherman put together the Mau-Maus, who became more famous, and were a little bit more punk as we can say (in between Wilder spent 1 year in England, and it was in 1977, so...).

Lionel - 442 eme Rue Magazine (France)