New Bomb Turks: An Appreciation

I think it’d be safe to say that the New Bomb Turks were a band whose initial success was entirely thanks to MaximumRockNRoll. Or more specifically, "Destroy Oh Boy" was sold exclusively on the adoration that MRR heaped upon it. And why not? It’s a perfect rock album. I think that the only other record that MRR "made" by themselves was "Feel The Darkness" by Poison Idea, but I’m sure there’s others that I’m forgetting. MRR and Tim Yo’s "punk" guidelines which allowed such nuggets as "Destroy Oh Boy" to be heaped onto the top of the underground music pile were also what killed the magazine’s breadth as the 90’s went on. But I digress……

I was still rather new to Athens when I really became obsessed with this album. So obsessed, in fact, that I began writing the band at their Columbus, Ohio mailing address on the back of their records. Without fail, singer Eric Davidson would write me back with news of an upcoming tour or a new record coming out and information on how I could get it. And yes, my full rock dorkdom shines through, I still have the records and the letters around here somewhere.

Eric Davidson on stage with my glasses, Athens ’93

Much like the Turks, I became equally obsessed with Gaunt and their lesser (yet equally incredible) Ohio bretheren such as V3, Puff Tube and most significantly, The Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments. There was a spectacular "All Ohio" issue of Liz Clayton’s irregular fanzine "Wind Up" which encapsulates that early-to-mid-90’s period oh-so-well. My Dad Is Dead, Log, the list is endless. And yes, all of it still holds up remarkably well.

My interest in the Turks never really died down as the years progressed, but much like an old sweater, there wasn’t much that they needed to improve upon. I was lucky enough to see them perform quite a bit and I still believe to this day that Jim Weber’s guitar tone is up there with John Haggerty (Naked Raygun) as one of the most distinct in all of rock and roll. And Eric? Well, there have been few as energetic and/or humorous as he has been.

As things go with all bands that get on past their 30’s or 40’s, the Turks reconvene every so often when the time and/or money is right. And good for them, they deserve it.

I’ve included a ’93 Peel session by the Turks and included a slowed down version of "Tall Order" that the band had on the a-side of a 12" they did for Anyway Stuff back that same year. I don’t know why, but the band’s best ideas were always when they slowed things down much akin to their cover of "Mr. Suit" on their debut album (which is also included).

God fucking bless the Turks.

New Bomb Turks – I Hate People (Peel ’93)

New Bomb Turks – Never Will (Peel ’93)

New Bomb Turks – We Need More (Peel ’93)

New Bomb Turks – Tall Order (Peel ’93)

New Bomb Turks – Deathbed Side Manner (Peel ’93)

New Bomb Turks – Taller Order

New Bomb Turks – Mr. Suit (Wire cover)