Herman Brood – Rock And Roll Junkie

Since Herman Brood came up on a blog I posted a few days ago, I’ve been thinking about why I like his tune Rock & Roll Junkie. There are elements within it that on their own I would normally hate. Somehow the super-dumb boogie-woogie keyboards manage to become a non-irritating element in the overall racket. Brood’s voice is acceptable but nothing special, with his cracked English lyrics and pronunciation being a definite plus element. I guess most listeners will connect the lyrical content to Brood’s own life, since he is Holland’s most famous rock and roll junkie. That said, the words relate most immediately to music and only secondly to drugs:
“Rock & roll addiction is a festerin’ habit
you gotta keep on playin’ like a paranoid rabbit
you can hook me on your tail, penetrate my soul
make me feel the sting of rock & roll
I’m a heart & soul, rock & roll, heart & soul rock & roll junkie”
This came out as a single in 1977 and then appeared on the 1978 album Shpritsz. It sounds more blow wave than new wave to me, and since Brood began his music career in 1960s beat groups, it isn’t really surprising that he’s more interested in good time rock and roll than the punk ‘revolution’. But that didn’t stop assorted record companies promoting Brood and this tune as ‘punk’ back in the 1970s. In reality Brood strays dangerously close to Bachman-Turner Overdrive territory, but what saves Rock and Roll Junkie is the overall mix of elements – and in particular the restrained sax and female backing vocals. The guitar solo is horrible but in a so bad it is good way.
And in retrospect we know that Brood really did ‘meant it man’.  He jumped to his death from the roof of the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel in 2001, lending extra poignancy to the otherwise risible couplet : “but when I do my suicide for you, I hope you miss me too.” I really shouldn’t like this tune but I do. And it reminds me of a couple of other songs that groove me – Savage by The Fun Things and Rock N Roll Resurrection by Wayne County. The Fun Things were a bunch of Brisbane teens when they released Savage in 1980, and the lyrics are about on a par with Brood:
“I’m a rock and roll kamikaze and you know that I die for you
when you’re paying your bills to see me, I gotta do what you want me to
well the drums are like twin machine guns and the voice is a full throated roar
and the guitars are coming on like a buzz-saw, I can’t wait till I get some more
last of the leather age, put me on the stage and I’ll be your savage
last of the leather age, put me on the stage and I’m a savage for you…”
Brood, of course, is far more professional in terms of recording technique and production than The Fun Things, who seem to have gone into the studio and turned everything up to the max. But variety is the spice of life, and I like both approaches (although my guess is Savage could have been even better with a little studio savvy). And while Wayne County first recorded Rock N Roll Resurrection before her sex change, she made it the title track of a fabulous live album issued after she’d re-emerged as Jayne County. All of which just about proves that great rock and roll is always transsexual.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (n0) sense!


Comment by Michael K on 2009-08-10 09:22:14 +0000

There’s nothing like a wild romance, but best avoided when both partners are schizophrenic… and wasn’t Wild Romance a weird name for Herman Brood’s backing band!

Comment by The Real Tessie on 2009-08-10 09:25:10 +0000

The only thing worse than a rock n roll junkie is a rock n roll hypochondriac!

Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2009-08-10 11:22:52 +0000

Question is, who is Holland’s second most famous rock and roll junkie?

Comment by Michael K, sniffing Pepsi (because I’m a Michael Jackson fan and it has more Bubbles than Coke) while downing midget gems to quell his quadrophrenia on 2009-08-10 15:59:23 +0000

Rock and role hypomania is the future!

Comment by rev.two-sheds on 2009-08-11 00:41:58 +0000

gonna dig out some old WiLd R. stUff too [thanks for twigging the memory bank bo$$]] and punish the punters at a couple of fests this later month … already got a pile of Jayney C. & Jimi La Lumia… wonder how they’ll deal with your dolphins ‘what is this shit called rock ‘n’ roll… might have to change my name to get back in again nxt yr eh?

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-08-11 08:42:28 +0000

Hey Chris, not sure if they were actually junkies but surely Holland’s 2nd most famous “junkie” punkers would be Tits with their ditty “Daddy Is My Pusher” – according to the sleeve notes of “I’m Sure We’re Gonna Make It” (the Dutch punk rock 1977-1982 compilation CD) – “The guy responsible… now distributes Epitaph in Holland, so we can’t say anything bad about him. Nice song Wally!” On that comp I also like The Panic track a lot, which slags off Nazi “philosopher” and all round wanker Martin Heidegger. You can also find the Tits tune on various other anthologies, including I think one of the volumes of “Back To Front”. But if you’re craving more pure Dutch punk rock then try the vinyl album “Feel Lucky Skunk?! All Dutch Junk, No American Punk, 1978- 1983”, which includes the Tits song “We’re So Glad Elvis Is Dead”. And if you wanna check out one Dutch band in a bit more depth than a various artists comp, then try the eponymous Ivy Green album – I got a CD copy of this for about a quid out of a Berwick Street bargain bit years ago (issued by Van Records of The Hague in CD format in 1990).

Comment by The Unreal Tessie on 2009-08-11 09:16:05 +0000

Gimmie some of that rock ‘n’ roll hypothermia! Polar region rock really, erm, rocks!

Comment by Iain Sinclair, on a psychogeographical tour of South London in his Audi on 2009-08-11 10:02:00 +0000

I feel the need…the need for speed!

Comment by Frank Discussion on 2009-08-11 10:49:39 +0000

Dutch punk rock is fine and dandy, but what really does it for me is Flemish thud from the late-70s/early-80s! Check out The Kids from Antwerp whose tune “Bloody Belgium” is where it is really at! Flems just totally rock!

Comment by suzanne moore on 2009-08-11 11:04:16 +0000

did you see him and nina hagen doing like that great torch song thing? will get you link? you know I LOVE her . woman speaking bout female circumcison in 79 booed by right on punks

Comment by Nick Lowe on 2009-08-11 13:25:41 +0000

trying to live my life without you, it’s the hardest thing I’ll ever do….

Comment by Herman Brood on 2009-08-11 14:53:51 +0000

If punk is dead then we are all post-modern zombies!

Comment by ALLAH AND THE KNIFE WIELDING PUNKS on 2009-08-11 16:08:46 +0000

A wop bop a lu bop, a wop bam boom!

Comment by Mony Mony Neo Twisting To Tommy James acroos the big lake from the Motor City on 2009-08-11 16:33:10 +0000

“Death Is Not True”

Comment by Nicole Black, tweeting every detail of her frame-by-frame analysis of ‘Zombie Strippers’ on 2009-08-12 09:40:50 +0000

Jenna Jameson (smokes) rocks!

Comment by Old Rope on 2009-08-13 10:57:20 +0000

Paul McCartney was a trannie. If this obvious fact should require proof then look no further than here:

Comment by Old Rope on 2009-08-13 10:58:36 +0000

Ooops, sorry Trip, I fucked up the page. McCartney fucked up the page. McCartney fucked up his pageboy. McCartney fucked his pageboy. Sorry

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