November 7, 2009

Attila - 1970

For those of you who might not know, Attila was a 'hard-rock' band formed in 1969 featuring Jon Small on drums and some guy named Bobby Joe who though it would sound bad-ass to play a Hammond keyboard through some kind of Marshall stack. Jon and Bobby were in a band called The Hassles in the mid sixties together. When The Hassles broke up, the two of them decided to try out their psychedelic hard-rock chops. Thus Attila was born!

It could have been worse. The bassist from The Hassles joined Ram-Jam....

This record has been called "the worst record in the history of recorded music" by people other than myself; I'm actually just surprised that anyone else had made it through the whole album. Bobby Joe was so embarrassed of this record that he tried to ice himself by drinking furniture polish shortly after it's release. Thankfully, Jon was able to keep the rock alive by rushing him to the hospital. Bobby later commented "I drank furniture polish. It looked tastier than bleach." I'm pretty sure he just thought it was really cheap vodka, though.

I'm very unsure if this record is a joke or a serious artistic statement. Sometimes it feels like two kids who had achieved some success within one genre trying to have a little fun with music that they know very little about writing, but have enjoyed listening to. It could also be an attempt by confused musicians to grasp onto a budding craze in hopes of reviving some resemblance of a career. I really am lost. All around lost. I can't tell I like this because it's kind of catchy and rocks a little, or if i like it because I like to see musicians try and fall flat on their faces; actually, i really enjoy seeing anyone fall flat on their face, especially old people or babies.

At their best, whenever that is ('Tear This Castle Down' maybe?), Attila sounds like a lonely 12 year old playing Black Sabbath tunes in his room on a 'First Act' brand electric guitar while his mother yells from downstairs to "turn it down" and at their worst ('Wonder Woman') sounds exactly like Led Zepplin. 'Brain Invasion' might be the first, and hopefully the last, heavy-metal-calliope-jazz song I've ever heard and also a contender for one of the worst, or best, song titles i have ever seen. One can only imagine what trash, or possibly thrash, Attila might have turned out on future albums if Billy, I mean Bobby, hadn't married Jon's wife; pretty much breaking up the band.

Believe it or not, there are actually some slightly impressive things going on with the keyboards (the end of 'Rolling Home' and 'Amplifier Fire'). It's interesting to listen to how Bobby adapts the sound of a real band to just a Hammond organ and he does a rather nice job filling in the bass parts, Ray Manzarek style, too. I genuinely think that some of these songs could rock pretty hard if they were played by a full band and utilized a new singer; they could be better than some Kiss songs, like 'Hard Luck Woman' and 'Beth' (well maybe not 'Beth'). I'm considering putting together an Atilla tribute band with full costumes and meat on the stage. Any takers....?

Read the song titles, look at the artwork and tell me this record isn't worth 40 bucks! 'Cause it's not worth 40 bucks. Even if it's signed....

I've already spent too much time listening to and commenting on this album. Get it out of my head.

Download and try to enjoy.

Track listing:
Side A:
1. Wonder Woman
2. California Flash
3. Revenge Is Sweet
4. Amplifier Fire (Part I - Godzilla; Part II - March of the Huns)

Side B:
1. Rolling Home
2. Tear This Castle Down
3. Holy Moses
4. Brain Invasion

Download Attila from DivShare (48.2 MB)


. said...

No, I'm not going to download this. I'd rather have your description of it branded onto my scrotum with a red hot barbed-wire brand than listen to this. But thanks.

Fun Rock Trivia: Their rare second album ("Kiss The Goat") was the first album Wal-Mart rack-jobbers refused to handle, because of its "controversial" cover image of the duo forcing a blindfolded (and uncredited) Joan Rivers into a pentagram containing a chained goat. When interviewed about this incident Ms. Rivers gamely laughed it off, claiming they were "nice Jewish boys."

Anonymous said...

Well, I am not that good in english or understanding the lyrics, so I am not the right one to comment it, but musicly it isnt that bad. I believe that the lyrics are crazy ass shit, but as I said the music is all right. Peace, WRKB.

Dave said...

I thought these boys made a helluva lotta noise for just being a two piece. Other bands did the heavy keyboards thing like Aardvark and Quartermass but Attila cranked out head pounding keyboard metal at mammoth volume which knocked those other two bands dicks in the dirt. And in case nobody knew - it's not really Bobby Joe on keyboards - it's Billy Joel. Yes, Billy fkn Joel, which makes it all the more amazing that he was an aspiring headbanger. Too bad the public were too scared to buy this record as it was equivalent to today's scariest death metal band. Too extreme and avant garde for feeble 70s ears. Billy apologized and went soft. The pussy!

Kevin MacNutt said...

Oh come now, you don't think lines like "Revenge is sweet, now I'll make you kiss my feet" is just poetry in motion? Honestly I think everyone should hear this album at least once, not because it is good, just because it is so bad it is an experience. It is tied with Bloodrock 2 (which features the morbid ode to a plane crash "DOA") as being one of the most ridiculous albums of the early 1970's. In all fairness "Tear This Castle Down" does have potential, although it is clearly a Black Sabbath pastiche. Billy Joel trying to sound like Ozzy Osbourne, what more could you want?