Scream

Complete Control Session
Side One Dummy Records

Scream’s place in the annals of US Hardcore History is assured notably for their 4 albums albums on Dischord Records. Formalised officially in 1981, the band comprised brothers Franz and Pete Stahl, on guitar and vocals, with bassist Skeeter Thompson and drummer Kent Stax holding it down in the engine room.

The debut Still Screaming was a rip-roaring collection of thrashers. By their second album This Side Up they were well on their way from straight-ahead Hardcore, throwing in reggae fused jams (on the side produced by Dr Know of Bad Brains (a band whose influence on Scream cannot be understated) and then some heavy rocking numbers on the flipside where they added a 2nd guitarist.

Whilst many of Scream’s peers had discarded their ‘70’s rock albums in the Punk Rock Year Zero, these guys clearly still had their Zeppelin, Purple and Sabbath records at the forefront of their collections and in my opinion, were a better band for it. This Side Up was the first album I picked up, in ’84, at Max’s Records in Eastbourne. I sure hit the jackpot there but I was also gutted a couple of years later, whilst overseas, my brother told me that he’d seen them play a show in Brighton. Oww!!

After the ’86 Euro-tour, Kent Stax left, and was replaced by a young DC skin basher by the name of Dave Grohl, who augmented a line-up that would release 3 more studio albums, touring relentlessly, including more trips to Europe (where I finally got to see them again in ’88). The end of the century was also the end for Scream as they fell apart on West Coast during a US Tour. The Stahl brothers headed to Los Angeles and started WOOL, with Pete later forming cult Stoner outfit Goatsnake. Dave went to Seattle, joined Nirvana and paid his dues to his former band by wearing a Scream t-shirt in the Teen Spirit video. Franz would also play in Foo Fighters early on.

The band has reunited occasionally over the years with Dave Grohl drumming, but with global world domination now firmly on his radar Kent Stax returned and these 7 songs were recorded live in February 2011 at Dave’s home studio and capture a band in really fine, fine form. The end result is totally raw and smoking, kicking off with the soulful rock grooves of opening duo Stopwatch and Get Free before the doors are blown open by the blasting Jammin’ at 606. Imagine Lemmy and the Bad Brains going off in the studio! Elevate is fired by a (way) snazzy NY Dolls inspired lead  and tongues are firmly in cheek for The Year Bald Singers Were In which vibes like a lost-track from This Side Up. Move (All Alone) is sublime, scorching riffage and cracking vocals. Demolition Dancing closes with “something’s gonna happen, that’s for sure”… and it really is! I would love to see them play again, let’s hope that they tour soon.

Pete Craven