In this day and age of throwaway pop, bad boy bands, boob popping divas,
and hip-hop bling bling, there ain't much for a real rock 'n' roller to
latch onto - a record to wrap our dirty little fingers around and rave
about to all the other freaks, geeks and cretins. Sure, there's neo
garage bands like The Strokes and The Vines or what have you, but one
gets the feeling that these gents would run their well-tailored trousers
at five minutes alone with a real punk like Thunders or Rotten. Naw, I
mean real rock. The Hangmen are a real rock band, the last of a dying
breed - hard as nails, cheap as dirt, rock n' roll.
Loteria: An event or affair whose outcome is or seems to be determined
Loteria is the title of the new Hangmen record and is a pretty good
summary of the band itself and their sorted history.
The Hangmen have been kicking around the L.A. scene for a decade and a
half or so, yet still remain the best of the bunch. What started as a
good time at Raji's mutated into a major label funded, drug fueled rock
'n' roll nightmare of E! True Hollywood Story proportions only to sink
into the darkness to gain strength and return a more powerful beast than
before. Wiser, stronger, harder, better. Loteria is the proof that the
Hangmen are not only among the best rock bands out there today, but
maybe the last real rock 'n' roll band.
In 2000, the band kicked out the critically heralded Metallic IOU and
pulled off the rare feat of making a comeback album better then their
Capitol Records debut in 1989. They hit the road with the likes of
Social Distortion, Supersuckers, The Kills and Concrete Blonde and began
to turn on a whole new legion of fans hungry for the rock. By 2002, hot
off the road, The Hangmen unleashed We've Got Blood On the Toes of Our
Boots, a blistering live in the studio affair that found them
re-recording numbers off their debut alongside IOU cuts and few rare
nuggets. More touring ensued and The Hangmen were back in action finally
getting the respect they deserve.
After years of burnouts, burned deals and burned bridges, The Hangmen
were back on course and Small found himself an influence to new
generation of underground heroes as Supersuckers leader Eddie Spaghetti
credits him as a major influence, L7 sang his praises and the Hangmen's
debut was cited as an highly influential record in rock circles. Small
has become the go-to guy for hip indie filmmakers looking for words of
wisdom on rock 'n' roll sects, as he's been featured in the rock
documentary Badsville and appears in the Gun Club biography The Birth,
the Death and the Ghost.
Loteria is the band's third album in four years, and may very well be
their finest to date. The current lineup consists of drummer Todd Haney,
bassist Angelique Congelton and guitarist Rane Raitsikka (formerly of
Finnish glam-punk gods Smack) and, quite frankly, they have never
"There is a big world out there, and we wanna go check it out and play
our music," Smalls says with a Cheshire cat grin. "I mean, we're a new
and upcoming band even though we've been around forever. We just want
people to hear our new record."
From the vicious opening salvo of "Blood Red" to the sonic dirge closer
"I Just Wanna Feel Good," Loteria is thirteen songs of pure rock n' roll
decadence. The album plays like a series of Hollywood war stories. The
people, the streets, the drugs, and bum deals, it's all there. The
lyrics speak volumes and reek of personalized tales of heartache and
redemption. The music is junkie rock without the junk no more. Tight,
focused and to the motherfuckin' point, Loteria is the sound of one man
taking on the world -- his world- -- and trying to change it.
It also happens to be the Hangmen's finest moment. The time is now.
-- Frank Meyer
Author, On the Road with the Ramones
split 7" w/SUPERSUCKERS
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