ROCKET 808- S/T LP
Following a late 2018 debut 7", 'Rocket 808' is the eponymous debut LP from the latest brainchild of John Schooley, a guitarist with an impressive resume in the American underground going back a couple of decades with bands including but not limited to the Revelators, the Hard Feelings, John Schooley's One Man Band and Meet Your Death. This, however, might be his most daring gambit to date.
Combining the primitive analog drum machine of Suicide with the snarl and twang of Link Wray and Duane Eddy, Rocket 808 has created a unique aesthetic mixing minimalist proto-punk noise and roots guitar into a new futurism, finally giving us the tomorrow with flying cars we were promised in 1950s EC Comics, Blade Runner, and back issues of Popular Mechanics. If Martin Rev had produced ZZ Top’s 'Eliminator', or if Ry Cooder’s score to "Streets of Fire" was instead heard on "Sid and Nancy", you’d have an idea of how Rocket 808 blurs the lines between guitar-heavy styles and eras using artificial percussion.
Just as The Cramps updated their 45 collection for a new generation, Rocket 808’s cover of Suicide's "Ghost Rider" exists alongside rockabilly classics like Ersel Hickey’s "Goin' Down That Road", while the band name conjures images of both Ike Turner’s supposedly “first rock n’ roll song” "Rocket 808" and the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer, the world’s most famous drum machine. Orville Neely of OBN IIIs and Bad Sports provides live drums, and hotshot Mike Molnar of the Bellfuries adds guitar on a few songs alongside Rocket 808's Schooley, which lets you imagine what Johnny Thunders trading licks with James Burton on an Alan Vega solo album might have sounded like. Rocket 808 has deconstructed the 1960s guitar instrumentals of Dick Dale or Santo and Johnny into Angelo Baldimanti soundtracks for David Lynch films that haven’t been made yet.