Rocket From The Crypt Blasting Out New Releases

Rock band sees out '99 with rarities CD and blitz of vinyl.

Dormant the first half of the year, Rocket From the Crypt have risen from

the dead to unleash a series of audio eruptions.

After getting off to a slow start in early 1999, when the prolific rock

band's output lagged, singer/guitarist Speedo pushed the group into

overdrive. Rocket From the Crypt now are nearing the end of a string of

late-'99 releases that includes a 12-inch EP, two 7-inches, and a compilation

of singles and B-sides.

"We haven't been that busy the past year," Speedo (born John Reis) said.

Looking through old tapes and putting together the compilation album

All Systems Go 2, he said, "made me feel like, 'Wow, we've got to

get back to where we used to be,' as far as being fairly prolific."

The six-piece San Diego band, known for combining punk-rock guitars with

a blasting horn section, recorded eight tracks over the summer with

producer Gar Wood (Boilermaker, Furious IV) that would eventually become

the new EP and 7-inch singles. Rocket From the Crypt also contributed

tracks to two compilation discs released in August. "Man Down" is on Merge

Records' Oh, Merge, and a cover of Wall of Voodoo's "This Way Out"

appears on Vagrant Records' Before You Were Punk 2.

The first release from the summer session was "Delorean" (RealAudio

excerpt), which appeared on a split 7-inch with Swedish rockers

the Hellacopters in the fall issue of Gearhead — a music and

hot-rod fanzine.

In late October the band released All Systems Go 2, a 25-track

collection of B-sides, 7-inches and other rarities. The CD includes such

hard-to-find songs as "Cut It Loose," first released in 1991 on a Japanese

7-inch limited to 75 copies, and "Lose Your Clown," which appeared on a

7-inch given away during two 1996 in-store appearances in London. It also

features two previously unreleased instrumentals, "Slow" (RealAudio

excerpt) and "Nobobby."

All Systems Go 2 is the first release on Speedo's Swami Records

imprint, affiliated with indie label Sympathy for the Record Industry.

Next year Swami plans a CD reissue of Rocket From the Crypt's 1995 EP

Hot Charity, originally released only on vinyl and now out of print.

Another vinyl EP — an untitled five-song 12-inch on Flapping Jet

Records — hit stores in mid-November. The cardboard, die-cut album

sleeve has a sticker over the hole on one side, affixing the record inside

to its packaging. The sticker, which must be cut to remove the album,

bears the words "Cut carefully and play loud."

"The whole idea is that it's not supposed to be a collectible as much as

it is just a neat record," said Max Bristol, owner of Flapping Jet and

a longtime member of Rocket From the Crypt's road crew. "I want people

to cut it, and it should be sloppy. ... I want, when you spin it, to have

chunks of sticker hanging off. That's the neat thing about it ... you

have to destroy it to play it."

The final salvo in Rocket's end-of-the-year assault will be the "Black

Eye" (RealAudio

excerpt) 7-inch, backed with "Bombs Away." The single will be

released on Glazed Records, run by Bill Litfin, webmaster of the band's

official website (www.rftc.com).

" 'Black Eye' is faster, more uptempo, with some of the great guitar work

that Rocket are known for," Litfin said. "And then 'Bombs Away' is a little

more midtempo. It's kind of a head-nodder. You just kind of bob your head

when you're listening to it."

The 7-inch will be released in three colors. Those pressed on swirled

gold and black can be purchased directly from the label (www.glazed.com),

transparent red copies will be available from the band at shows, and plain

black pressings will be available in stores. The single is due in late

December.

The band has recorded several more new songs at its practice studio, and

Speedo said Swami might release some of them, along with the tracks from

the Flapping Jet EP, on CD next year. He also said the band has about 20

songs written for its next album.

"We don't want next year to be another year without a full-length Rocket From the Crypt record, so we definitely want to record at the beginning of the year and have it come out in the summer, or something like that," Speedo said.

The band plans to begin recording its fifth album after finding a new

label. Earlier this year the group negotiated its way out of a contract

with Interscope. Speedo said the band will be taking a more stripped-down

approach than it took to last year's RFTC, so recording budget

will be less of a factor in choosing a label than distribution will be.

"We want a basis of distribution that can get our music out to the people,

so basically even Joe Public has a chance of going into wherever his lame,

cheesy record store is in some mall and maybe see our records," Speedo

said. "I want people to hear what we're doing, and I just believe that

if people hear what we're doing, then maybe we can have a positive effect

on the state of contemporary music."