The Makers: The Devil's Nine Questions

An album just packed with 50s garage instrumentals by Spokane's bad boys! Wondering what this might sound like--especially without Mike Maker's golden voice crooning on the tracks? Think of Link Wray's rockabilly mentals--except that these are faster and more sinister. Although The Makers don't have Link Wray's finesse (and who does?)--this stuff has its own flavor and is well worth a listen.

And since you asked--yes, a cornucopia o' mentals is offered up on this here collection. "Kushticaw" serves up a tweaked Middle Eastern dish--Dick Dale on meth? PCP? And, "The Red Headed Beetle of 1000 BC" has such a quirky chord progression that it honestly does transport the listener back to Hammurabi's palace-call it dessert.

While "Last of the Yahi" and "Abby's Bounce" have a more traditional rockabilly feel to them, "Wait Until Spring, Bandini" could have been used on the otherworldly soundtrack of most any 50s B Sci-fi flick. Although far superior, of course. "Sixgun" borrows from spaghetti western soundtrack Duce' Ennio Morricone, but still makes it seem like Morricone owes The Makers.

If the great music isn't enough for you superficial types, the superb cover art by Art Chantry is the frosting on this cake. One can't go wrong. By the way, don't expect nothin' fancy on this lil' jewel of the Nile--on the back of their album The Makers claim that "these here poor quality tunes were written and recorded in two days…for less than you probably paid for your shiny black shoes."

Estrus Records: PO Box 2125\Bellingham, WA 98227 USA (ESD 104)

Write to The Makers: PO Box 10174\Spokane, WA 99209 USA

The Makers: Howl

Retro RAWkabilly RAWnch. The title track on this album makes Ginsberg's poem "Howl" seem like an afternoon at the coffee shop. Basically an instrumental filled with screaming, Mike Maker sounds like he's hollering for his life from the deepest bowels of a wet, wretched well. Short, simple songs written and performed by angry young men with no concern for production finesse is a potent formula for great rawk music.

Remember when surf went to hotrod went to monster rock? (Johnny "Big Hand" Bartlet covers this genre wonderfully in Gearhead #3.) Well, "Death of Mr. Monster" might be the best monster music mash ever hashed. Hopefully, monster drag king Gary Usher has a copy of this song hisself. And while the whole song gets me hoppin', their use of "Walk, Don't Run," for the chorus--played wet and rawnchy--will just make you shiver.

This was the first Makers album I went crazy for. It was also my first Makers album, coincidentally. Howl combines rawness with vitality in a way that sparks my own cynical optimism. This band doesn't simply borrow from the genre, they add to it and make it better.

Estrus Records: PO Box 2125/ Bellingham, WA 98227/USA (ESD 1212)

Write to The Makers: PO Box 10174\Spokane, WA 99209 USA

The Makers: The Makers

Who woulda thunk these fellas could do better than Howl? More frenetic, and with a great fuzz geetar thang that my buddy Johnny P. can't get enough of, the kings of juvenile 50s garage have outdone themselves. Johnny reckons that they've moved up to a mid-60s sound. One thing that we can count on-they'll never digress into 70s classic jack-off.

"Lil' Piece of Action" kick starts this splendid collection and sets the revved-up tone and style for the album overall. And while "Do What I wanna's" attitude reinforces The Makers' overall world view, "Waste of Flesh" and "Please Kill Yourself" add essential nuances to their well-hewn cosmology.

Those committed to the slightly more traditional 50s, early 60s sound of their other stuff might not like this latest sound, but I just love to hear that fuzz thing inserted here and there into the songs. Few manage to add so much to established genres and make them sound so fresh and alive.

These guys continue to consistently produce raw, simple, tightly wound, angry rawk. If R&R expresses the libido, then The Makers' libidos must be twitching in overdrive.

Estrus: PO Box 2125/ Bellingham, WA 98227/USA (ESD 1227)

Write to The Makers: PO Box 10174\Spokane, WA 99209 USA

The Makers: Hip-notic

Read the liner notes about the Makers' Hip-osity and find out just a lil' bit about their "unholy union." Then, pull out that 10" piece o' tar and play it loud. Although not as amazing as their new self-titled release, The Makers, Hip-notic is a rawkous piece of trash that needs to be kept close to your turntable.

Lissen to those great opening vocals on "Inside lookin' out." The songs are more like the stuff on All-Night Riot than on Howl, although I'm not sure when Hip-notic was recorded. Their cover of The Blue Stars' "Social End Product" is great, as is most everything else on this baby. I picked this up just recently and I didn't at first like it nearly as much as their newest album, but this is great Makers shit to be sure.

CAUTION: only for the hippest- this album be round, not square!

Write to The Makers: PO Box 10174\Spokane, WA 99209 USA

Sympathy for the Record Industry (SFTRI 251)

The Makers: Live (at Jabberjaw, 2/96)

As my buddies and I neared the club, we saw a grumpy Makers roadie wearing a neck brace. This sight got me immediately excited and I hoped a riot would erupt during The Makers' set.

What is it that makes one enjoy watching violence? Why do humans cause so much physical pain on their earthly brothers and sisters? Are we simply beasts with a thinning coat of fur? Perhaps the lizard brain does control our actions…

Well, we'll get to the Nietzsche later. A self-appointed philosopher myself, I'll just get right to the point: The Makers sure know how to provide so much of what degenerates enjoy.

Known for instigating violence against themselves and the venues they play at, I hoped to see The Makers lay waste to Jabberjaw. Managing to get themselves kicked out of last year's Garage Shock for wreaking extreme havoc, The Makers had earned my perverse respect. Although their skinny frames pack more attitude than action heroes, the spontaneous, delinquent nature of the thing comes off as refreshing and new- at least fundamentally human, rather than contrived promotional hoopla. I'm sure their starkly apolitical stance helps to set them apart from the pompous, teeth-grinding glares we always get from the hard-assed Rollins, Jorgensen, et. al, set. Unconcerned with self-promotion, these guys just HATE.

Oh yeah, the show itself. Tight 50s garage, this music causes the listener to jerk spasmodically. Singer Mike Maker challenged hecklers to do the robot. Those in the audience familiar with The Makers' shows tried to anger the band (i.e., start a riot), but since an all ages ballroom like Jabberjaw can't serve up the alcohol (i.e., beast juice), we had to settle for a bloodless, stellar 40 minute set.

And stellar it was--The Makers twitched like Disney band robots getting too much electricity to their circuits, as they played heaps of songs from their new album. In true punk fashion, they ripped through one song after another, not pausing to talk about gang warfare or the Superbowl-a trick used all too often by classic rock bands to give their guitar players time to tune all twelve strings to perfection. But I say: "lo-fi or no-fi!"

Oh yeah, how does Mike Maker do that great, one-legged balancing act?

Write to The Makers: PO Box 10174\Spokane, WA 99209 USA

Send me Virtual Abuse

Retro Metro -- Mission Control