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Music by VICE

If You Haven't Yet, You Should Really Get The Clap... Record

Maybe, like AC/DC, they didn't know about the slang sexual reference that would be many people's first impression of what the band was about. I doubt it.

by Paul Major
Feb 13 2013, 4:45pm

That's Paul, gripping his cherished Clap record.

Meet Clap, a local hard rock band from North Torrance, California. Like thousands of bands across the USA, they were born in the garage. Before too long they were playing local gigs ripping through versions of the hits of the day: Stones, Faces, Led Zeppelin... including a wild "Eighteen," the great Alice Cooper song. I recall Alice saying in an interview that there are lots of great bands out there, but "where's the song?" Great songs are rare, and when Clap decided to record their album they not only came up with a great song, they came up with an album full of them. I'm pretty sure they were aware of their name's double meaning: Clap as in "clap for the band," and Clap as in the popular term for the highly contagious venereal disease. Maybe, like AC/DC, they didn't know about the slang sexual reference that would be many people's first impression of what the band was about. I doubt it.

Clap were a bunch of ex-North Torrance High students out of school and in one of the hottest bands in town, performing at hall parties filled with kids zonked on pot, pills and beer. They wanted more, but Hollywood was 20 miles away and they decided to make an album of original songs rather than try to break into the crowded Sunset Strip scene. Too bad they never made the trip, as they had the songs. Perhaps a stint at the Whisky would have hooked them up with a promoter like Kim Fowley, who would have recognized they had the songs and got them a deal with a major label looking for a band to compete in the marketplace with the New York Dolls or Flamin' Groovies. They had the Mick & Keith, they had the rock and roll attitude, and most importantly, the songs.

The title track "Have You Reached, Yet?" puts a new spin on the classic 60s garage punk theme about getting even with the girl who cheated and lied... this is not make-up sex after the betrayal, it is revenge-sex! As he drives the girl who screwed him over into an orgasm he sings: "Have you reached yet, baby? I know I drive you crazy, have you reached yet, baby? I got you where you had me."

Phast Phreddie of Backdoor Man magazine gave a copy of this LP to the legendary Greg Shaw in 1976, leading to a review in Bomp Magazine and garage rock collectors began paying big money for a copy. Only 300 copies were pressed, so nowadays a copy is worth four figures easily. The band hated the primitive inept recording quality, their dreams were soon shattered and they vanished into regular careers. Forty years later after garage and punk have become popular worldwide, they are legends of that great chasm between sixties garage punk and 1977 punk rock. Witness the track, "Out Of The Shadows." Tell me that the eerie deranged vibe of the song is not enhanced by the primitive atmosphere. Twilight Zone with a singer who will make your jaw drop and a guitar solo as lost and desolate as they come. Another genius track "My Imagination" has the fantastic lyric "You got to leave something... to my imagination!" as they inject a heady dose of Exiles On Main Street gone sideways.

After a few bootleg pressings over the years, Sing Sing Records has gotten ahold of the master tapes and issued a legitimate reissue with improved sound (in the right way) and superb liner notes by Phast Phreddie, who put the ball into motion way back near the beginning. This is one of those obscure albums that makes you feel like you are at a party even if you are alone in your room. Time machines don't work much better than this one... close your eyes and smell the beer, perfume, puke, and weed at some berserk obscure teenage hall party in 1973 as the band blows the lid off the room. They got the songs.

Previously - The Holy Grail of Christian Psych

Paul is in the deeply heavy psych/fuzz rock band Endless Boogie. They are the secret favorite group of every good musician in New York.