The Record



by Zappa USER (12 Reviews)
January 16th, 2005 | 43 replies

Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Fear - "The Record"

A little about the band


Fear were one of the best, and certainly most notorious bands of the L.A. hardcore scene. Formed in 1977, before most of their peers, Fear took 5 years to work out their sound before dropping this amazing, brief blast of offensive noise that would inspire a generation.

About this album:

Released December, 1981 on Slash records

Philo Cramer - Guitar, Vocals
Derf Scratch - Bass, Guitar, Saxophone, Vocals
Spit Stix - Drums
Lee Ving - Bass, Guitar, Vocals

This music is intricate and tight in execution, and tasteless in lyrical content. The words �15 songs in 27 minutes� might go a long way to describe the way this album and its individual songs zip by. Even though they are a punk band from L.A., this is NOT Black Flag or Cirlce Jerks. In fact, it could be said that Fear is the only L.A. punk band that cannot be conceivably accused of having no musical chops. Although Fear are perhaps most famous for the song �I Love Livin' In the City,� or maybe more identifiable today for �Let�s Have A War,� which has been covered by A Perfect Circle, they really didn�t put a bad tune on �The Record.� It�s called the record for a reason.

Let�s break it down track by track:

1. Let�s Have a War � (2:20) This song is very good. It�s a pretty straightforward punk tune, with Ving�s signature growly wail in full effect, singing about superficial reasons that the U.S. goes to war. The guitars squeal behind him, and punctuate the interesting accents of the chanted part between verses and choruses. A perfect way to start the album off, and worthy of top marks. 5/5

2. Beef Baloney � (1:47) Not quite so straightforward, at least not at first. This song starts with Ving singing quite nicely in a bluesy voice, with some great blues guitar work behind him. No drums or bass at this point. After this really great intro, he shouts �one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four� very quickly, and the band launches into a punk rock classic. It�s about, well, beef-baloney. The guitars are about as rockin� in the punk part as they were in the bluesy part, and it�s just great. This is a favorite of mine. 5/5

3. Camarillo � (1:09) This one is weird. Rhythmically, it�s quite interesting. It�s got those tricky accents. There�s some almost Middle-Eastern sounding guitar work that really fits nicely. It flies by in just over a minute, but leaves an impression. 5/5

4. I Don�t Care About You � (1:50) This one isn�t quite so hot, but only because it�s unusually run of the mill. Ving basically goes over people who are suffering that he doesn�t care about. It�s punk rock, and it�s tight and has a good hook, it�s just not amazing. 3.5/5

5. New York�s Alright If You Like Saxophones � (2:08) This one rocks. I love how it starts out with a very stereotypical punk beat, which pretty much is the only thing grounding this very odd piece of work. Derf Scratch plays saxophone, and it�s some of the most beautifully ugly hornwork you�ll ever hear on record. He�s so bad, in a marvelous way. Meanwhile, Ving tells us all the reasons that New York sucks; �New york�s alright if you want to get pushed in front of the subway, New York�s alright if you like tuberculosis, New York�s alright if you like art and jazz, New York�s alright if you�re a homosexual, New York�s alright if you like Saxophones!� for example. This is another one of my favorites. 5/5

6. Gimme Some Action � (1:00) This one is very, ridiculously dirty. It�s also one of the fastest tearing punk rockers I�ve ever heard. It�s got a certain charm. 5/5

7. Foreign Policy � (2:14) This is a political one, sort of like �Let�s Have a War.� The message is as clear. It�s not as speedy and punk-y as what we�ve heard so far, but it�s equally great. The chorus is really ugly, with Ving�s terrible screaming and squealy guitars galore. You gotta appreciate the lyrics, cause while the vocal doesn't say that much, what few lyrics there are manage express a very relevant message. The one thing that pisses me off is the unreasonably long nuclear explosion soundbyte at the end. That sort of stuff just bugs me. 4.8/5

8. We Destroy the Family � (1:55) This is another one with really interesting rhythm. The guitar part is also really cool, cause it sounds unrelated to the groove of the tune. It�s jarring and grotesque, just like the lyrics. Dig the backing vocals. 5/5

9. I Love Living In the City � (2:05) This is a great tune with hilariously immature lyrics. �My house smells just like the sew, it�s chock full of **** and puke. Cockroaches on the walls, crabs calling on my balls. Oooh, but I�m so clean cut, but I just want to **** some sluts.� Doesn�t get more to the point than that. I like how the band ends each chorus with this falling off sound, it�s just cool. There�s a really nice guitar solo, too. 5/5

10. Disconnected � (2:07) This is probably the ugliest song on the entire album. It�s full of dissonances, seemingly unrelated clunky rhythms, and moaning vocals. It rocks out only briefly, giving way to ugliness after each very short verse. It�s just so incredibly awful, in the best possible way. 5/5

11. We Got to Get Out of This Place � (2:38) This one is cool from the very start. I really like the guitars and the bassline. It�s bouncy. The vocals are interesting, too, which some nicely placed harmonies. The band has some spots where they drop out during the choruses and quickly come back in. It�s that kind of tightness that populates this album from beginning to end. It�s not as notable as some of the others, since it�s not as strange, but it is every bit as good. 5/5

12. Fresh Flesh � (1:44) This could be the most lyrically disturbing tune on the whole album. I�ll give you a lyric sample, as I�ve done previously: �I wanna ****you to death/I wanna smell your breath/Piss on your warm embrace/I just wanna come in your face/I don't care if you're dead/And I don't care if you're erect/I don't care if you're all cut up/Blood on your flesh/fresh flesh� Yeah, if that�s not high class, I don�t know what is. This track isn�t great musically, but it is notable for such awful lyrics. 4/5

13. Getting the Brush � (2:32) This is another really ugly, jarring one with lots of parts that sound like the band isn�t listening to each other. However, the accents always seem to land in the right places when it counts. The vocal is great in its nonchalant delivery. I really like this track. 4.5/5

14. No More Nothing � (1:31) Another political one that expresses a view similar to the others. I like how this one picks things up after the dismal playing of �Getting the Brush.� It rocks hard. I especially like the drumming on this track. Of course, Ving�s vocals are a highlight. 5/5

15. Fuck Christmas � (0:45) This one starts off sound like a ballad or something. It�s a joke, of course, and the last 10 or 15 seconds are spent on a brutal chorus of �Fuck Christmas!� I like both parts. A great way to finish of one hell of an album. 5/5

Now, this is a punk rock classic, in my mind. It�s incredibly listenable as a whole, especially since you can sit and play through the entire thing in under a half-hour. It also helps that there isn�t a single track to be skipped. It may seem like I focused a lot on the lyrics, but don�t get the wrong idea; the music on this album is all top-notch, even on the songs with the more overstated lyric. I urge anyone with an interest in punk rock to check this out, and from me it definitely receives a


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user ratings (117)

Comments:Add a Comment 
October 26th 2004


I'm starting to appreciate older stuff now. As with your other promoted bands/artists, they're on the top of my "to check out-list". Great review as usual Ooh, I'm intrigued with the lyrics and vocals too.

October 27th 2004


Wow, I really thought there would be more interest in this review.

Oh well.

October 27th 2004


the record seems a bit too short

October 27th 2004


[QUOTE=Zappa]Wow, I really thought there would be more interest in this review.

Oh well.[/QUOTE]

All the kids on the punk forum are too hardcore to come to CD reviews.

October 27th 2004


But certainly this album appeals to more than just your average punk kid. Yikes!

October 27th 2004


The only Fear song I've heard is "I Love Living in the City". Great Review.

October 27th 2004


Download the rest of the ones on this album.

Tangy zizzle
October 28th 2004


Hrm, 5/5 for a Fear album?

John Belushi would be proud.

Desert Dweller
October 28th 2004


The fact that this band was a massive punk rock in joke has been lost on many throughout the years.

Truth is that these guys were self acknowledged "Musos". They all had years of playing in everything from Blues-rock to Progressive.

A few tracks may be somewhat uneven but overall this release smokes.

That the band really knew their instruments is apparent with even a casual listen. The absolutely bizzare Arabic sounding lines by Philo Cramer on "Lets have a war" in particular really stand out. In that era the only other notable LA guitarists going for such unusual lines were Greg Ginn, D. Boon, and Joe Baiza.

The rhythms throughout all on downstrokes. Try it sometime at the tempo these guys did on most of their stuff and see how your arms feel after a while, then toss in some really unusual time signatures for punk rock.

The lyrics are perfect for the time and place. Lee Ving has a **** great voice for it and on "Beef Baloney" does a perfect barroom blues intro. The vocals are pure sleaze.

"Gimme some action" is probaly my single favorite song from the band and sums up their approach best.

Anyone looking into early US Punk should get this release.

October 28th 2004


Thanks for the additional information. Gotta love 'em.

October 28th 2004


I liked NoMeansNo so I think I'll slsk this right now, good review.

October 28th 2004


^Cool. Hope you like it.

June 24th 2005


I think that X also had the chops...

Good review, and a good band. There always seems to be a lack of comments for the older punk albums.

Music Nerd
March 4th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Excellent band, and good review. This is the best Fear album and one of the best punk albums of all time. It's a classic man. You forgot to mention that We Gotta Get Out of This Place is a cover, originally done by The Animals I believe.

March 14th 2006


Yeah, I didn't know it was a cover until recently.

May 6th 2006


I Love Livin' In The City is a really good song, even though the lyrics are pretty nasty. Kinda funny though.

Digging: Pinegrove - Cardinal

May 15th 2010


Album Rating: 5.0

The Record is one of the best punk albums ever recorded, imo.

June 1st 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

IMO Let's Have A War,New York's Alright,Foreign Policy,We Got to Go out of this Place are amazing[better than the Animal's original],I Love Living In The City and We Destroy The Family are also really good but the rest is either just for fun or garbage.Also the lyrics vary from the the great,crude and funny lyrics to garbage.Also one of the most unique overall sounding hardcore albums I've heard.

July 27th 2011



October 30th 2011


Album Rating: 5.0

This is an ESSENTIAL record for anyone with an interest in the 80s hardcore punk scene. Fear ruled. Plus Jim Belushi got 'em to invade SNL and do a set with a moshpit for the first time, that's worth bonus points.

Digging: Plasmatics - New Hope for the Wretched

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