The Angry Samoans and the best album title of all time
Way on back in 1999, the Angry Samoans issued an album bearing one of the finest titles of all time — The ’90s Suck & So Do You.
It’s not hard to imagine why the Angry Samoans might have thought the 1990s sucked — that band made a significant impact in the 1980s with a pair of hardcore punk albums — Inside My Brain(1980) and Back from Samoa(1982).
The band enjoyed some notoriety for a time and closed out the decade by releasing the wobbly Stp Not LSD(1988) and then pretty well working on being forgotten. Yes, the Angry Samoans spent a good chunk of the 1990s being forgotten until founding members “Metal” Mike Saunders (lead vocals, guitar) and Bill Vockeroth (drums) reformed the band with a bunch of new members — Alison “Wonderslam” Victor (bass, guitar), Tony Palmer (bass) and Julia Altstatt (yet another bassist).
Now, any Arkansan talking about the Angry Samoans simply has to discuss Saunders at least a little bit. Why? He grew up in Little Rock, earned a finance degree from the University of Texas at Austin, earned another bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and talked about being from Arkansas all the time.
Yeah, that’s right — Saunders is one of us.
So, I was one of those very few fans who enjoyed the heck out of The ’90s Suck & So Do You. The frantic, chaotic racket for which the band was known was always fun, so when this album was released I was hopeful that it would be a bit of a return to form.
This particular album doesn’t sound a bit like the Angry Samoans of old — the hardcore punk stylings of the band’s earlier career were replaced by revved-up, pop-punk stuff for this disc. Frankly, this albums sounds like something more worthy of Screeching Weasel than the Angry Samoans.
Still, that’s not really a bad thing. This is a short (13 minutes long) filled with eight entertaining songs — if you hate one, rest assured that another one will start in just a second. Ah, but it’s hard to find a song to hate on this disc. The Angry Samoans always had a warped sense of humor and it’s all the funnier when Saunders is singing rather than yelping — a fact that does nothing but help this disc.
Yes, it’s an absolute hoot in “In and out of Luv” to hear Saunders declare “all the girls are after me, oh yeah.” The confusing reference to Dorothy Stratten in “I’d Rather do the Dog” is something to ponder, as is Saunder’s devotions claim that he digs “the girls with long, black hair — they may work at Kmart, but what do I care?”
It’s a short album full of punchy, distorted guitars, tight arrangements, Ramones-like riffing and plenty of fun. While it doesn’t sound a thing like Angry Samoans of the past, The ’90s Suck & So Do You is well worth owning and playing loud from time to time.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.