Trends have come and gone in the past twenty years, but time has stood still for the Droogs, who have been pounding out their own form of eclectic, atmospheric rock n' roll since the mid-seventies. Their first single, a cover of the Sonic's 'He's Waiting', was recorded in 1973. The next year they released two additional singles, one aptly entitled 'Ahead of My Time', considering they predated the 60's garage rock revival by at least five years. Two more singles, with an ever-revolving rhythm section, followed before the band nearly called it quits, ironically, just at the onslaught of the 60's inspired bands. In 1978, an original penned by vocalist Ric Albin and guitarist Roger Clay, 'Set My Love On You,' wound up on Rhino Records' Saturday Night Pogo compilation compilation, and 1979's L.A.In included 'Ahead Of My Time.' Venues started opening and bands like the Last, the Unclaimed, and the Plimsouls began preforming. When bassist Dave Provost, formerly with the Textones and Dream Syndicate, joined in the early eighties, the Droogs became more active than ever, recording the four song EP Heads Examined in 1983, then their debut LP Stone Cold World the following year. The band then embarked on several successful tours of the East Coast and Europe, where they played to packed houses and excellent reviews. After years of releasing their own records, the Droogs were finally signed by PVC/Jem in the eighties, only to have the label go under while the band was on tour in support of the 1987 release of the Kingdom Day LP/CD. They had just completed a ten-city midwestern stint opening for guitar legend Robin Trower, before continuing on their own from Boston to New Orleans. Like many American bands, the Droogs found their greatest success in Europe. One of their most avid collectors, Hans Kesteloo of Germany's Music Maniac label, compiled the band's early singles on one album, Anthology. Music Maniac has also released their first two albums, produced by Earle Mankey, on one CD, as well as Mad Dog Dreams (1989) and Guerrilla Love-In (1991), produced by Paul B. Cutler, with guest guitar collaborations from Dean Chamberlain and Karl Precoda; and vocal duets with Steve Wynn and Carla Olson. Nationally, the early nineties saw the release of Want Something on Skyclad, a compilation of tunes from the previous European albums, plus bonus tracks. Atomic Garage, their seventh album, marks a return to the Droogs' distinctive songwriting. The album was released in Europe by Spain's Impossible Records. Plug n Socket, the band's own label, will handle American distribution from P.O. Box DH, Van Nuys, California 91412-1520. Read more about the Droogs in issue No. 1 of Do The Pop! 1011 Boren Ave, Ste. 114, Seattle, Washington 98104-1300. REVIEWS: If your tastes embrace a Yardbirds/Blue Oyster Cult combo with a dollop of punk and a spoonful of '60s garage rock, you'll eat up the Droogs alive. As charter members of the Best Kept Secrets In Rock Club, they've been together in Los Angeles since 1972, releasing a series of stunning neo-garage 45s on their own label long before anyone thought of either pillaging the '60s or rolling their own indie singles. Later they moved on to albums and a more conventional, '70s-oriented hard-rock sound (not always to their aesthetic benefit), but they've never made anything remotely resembling a bad record. Singer Ric Albin wields a classic rock snarl, and his lyrical twists repay close attention, but Atomic Garage's star attraction is guitarist Roger Clay. Nearly every song, from the riveting tunes like 'Puzzled Mynds' to the less compelling 'Two Headed Snake,' is lit up by an incandescent solo flare of guitar - the breaks on 'Letter To The Times' and 'That Dangerous Year' are particularly ferocious firestorms. More restrained material like the folk-rocking 'Gold Inside A Shrine' and 'Talk Thru The Night' (which harks back to their '60s roots and could be a Chocolate Watchband outtake) also shines. Not everything sparkles, but when they're on, as they generally are, the Droogs just could be the best band you've never heard of. -Microsoft's MusicCentral This has far more authenticity as a Garage/Psych/Rock and Roll release than 96% of the Estrus age stuff out there, as this group rather than sounding like a new band trying to be retro, actually sounds like a great 60's/70's band doing their best to make a good album. It'll Droog-ify you! -Roctober Magazine Neither obscurity (nor folding labels like PVC), nor change in musical fashion, nor gloom of night (or the club scene) can alter L.A.'s Droogs from their appointed rounds: it is their solemn duty to record warped, tough-sounding, barb-wire psychedelic rock and boppin' bubblegum pop undercut by Roger Clay's startling spacey, scraped fuzz guitar. (Got news for Jesus and Mary Chain, Spaceman 3, and Flying Saucer Attack devotees: Droogs were at this while the Reid bros. And co. Were in grade school, going back to a string of lo-fi singles two decades before that term existed--see the 1987 German retrospective Anthology.) When you hear singer Ric Albin, you still hear the MC5, the Yardbirds, Howling Wolf, the Seeds, the Kingsmen, Pebbles/Nuggets groups, and everyone else whose every lyric meant no-nosense (yet cool) business. And like the Wipers, Droogs keep the songs simple and repetitive, so that Clay (like Greg Sage) can blow your mind bending his strings every which way. Wild, wild, wild and great! Feel your mind (and ears) expand. -The Big Takeover.
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