“You’re gonna love this band.” That’s what a mate said when he handed me this record. I get excited when this sort of thing happens. It’s the anticipation and the possible thrill. Just like being handed a cassette by the coolest kid at school, it reminds me of the days when we killed the music industry by pressing play and record on our tape decks. Let’s just say I love a new dirty rock ‘n’ roll discovery. And so, am I late to the party here? You bet! All the, ahem, cool cats are late to the party though, right?
After a bunch of 45s over many years, JJ & The Real Jerks released their debut album Back To The Bottom in the summer of 2017. The band hail from the grimiest parts of Los Angeles, and boy does it show. Straight off the bat you’re hit with Out Of My Means. It’s a track that has all the punk rock balls of The Saints with its wailing saxophone over old school rock ‘n’ roll licks and tricks.
Fizzy garage punk is the order of the day and it’s delivered with ripped blue denim jeans, beaten-up Chuck Taylor’s and a truckload of reckless abandon. Damaged Goods enforces the point as Joe Jennings exclaims “I’m at my wits end, I’m down in the dumps – aww, shucks.” Images of Johnny Thunders spring to mind; leaning on a Bowery lamppost whilst chewing gum twenty to the dozen to stop that drug gurn.
With Chuck Berry guitars, Mr. Good Enough is another highlight full of energy and spike. The track features on the cover disc of this month’s Classic Rock magazine. I’d give my right bollock to be a fly on the wall when a beard stroking prog rocker gets to JJ & The Real Jerks’ turn on the compilation CD.
I love an album that’s short, sharp and to the point. At 9 tracks long, Back To The Bottom is just that. Whether it’s the sleazy groove on Ice Queen or Them era Van Morrison turned harmonica punk on Back in Business, this is an album that contains no filler. As the title track closer rings out with some uber cool keys from Greg Kuehn of T.S.O.L / The Joneses, it’s time to re-spin and do it all again.
Like a cross between Rocket From The Crypt at their most commercial with the RFTC album and much missed New Jersey punks The Disconnects on their …Wake Up Dead LP, JJ & The Real Jerks have enough razor sharp rock ‘n’ roll with pop sensibilities to rival their garage contemporaries. It looks like my record lending rock ‘n’ roll comrade was right. I BLOODY LOVE THIS BAND! Ginge Knievil.