Friday, March 1, 2013

The Alarm Clocks.

The Alarm Clocks
        When you listen to some of the music from bands like The Standells or Blues McGoos and so on, the question arises: "Why didn't these guys make it?"  Certainly, a band like The Remains or The Choclate Watchband were just as talented as anyone else at the time. I guess you just have to chalk it up to the fickle finger of fate and leave it at that. With other bands, however, the answer to that question is quite obvious. Case in point, The Alarm Clocks. The Alarm Clocks are like a bulldog that's so ugly, it's cute. That's how I think of The Alarm Clocks, they're so bad, they're good. They only cut a small handful of songs, and they are all pretty bad. Still, their music does have raw kind of appeal to it.

        The Alarm Clocks were formed in 1965 in Parma, Ohio. The three original members were students at Parma Senior High School when they began playing together. They were your typical suburban garage band. They were essentially a cover band that favored The Kinks and The Rolling Stones. In 1966 they recorded two raw tracks, Yeah and No Teason To Complain, pressed into 200 copies on a 45 and released on their lable Awake Records.

        No Reason To Complain was written before going into the studio. Up to this point, the band had no original material. When they got to the studio they realized that they needed a B side. Yeah was written right there on the spot at the studio. The 45 was done live in one take, vocals and insturmentation. The Alarm Clocks faded into obscurity until 40 years later.
          In the late 70's a local musician, Tom Fallon, and his friend, George Gell, who were collectors of old garage band records discovered one the original 45's.  Fallon and Gell invited Crypt Records owner Tim Warren to hear The Alarm Clocks single 45, and "he flipped out," according to Fallon. It ended up being on the first volume of Crypt's compilation called Back From the Grave; it came out on vinyl in 1983. Suddenly, the little 45 became a coveted collector's item. Garage rock legends the Lyres covered "No Reason to Complain" in 1986 and Mojo magazine named the song "one of the top 20 garage rock songs of all-time." 
Norton Records issued a reproduction of the single in the 1990s, followed in 2000 by a full-length LP/CD called Yeah!, which included additional Alarm Clocks material recorded in 1966.  In 2004, comedian Patton Oswalt named his Comedy Central special “No Reason To Complain,” and featured The Alarm Clocks recording as the musical introduction.

       Less than a year later, Fallon got a call from Norton Records co-founder, former Cramps drummer and friend, Miriam Linna. "She called me, and said: 'You got to get these guys back together to play. It'll be 2006, 40 years since the record.'  In 2006 The Alarm Clocks recorded The Time Has Come. They cut the album in two days at Freddie Fortune's Detroit studio. The Album contained 12 original recordings and two covers, I'm A Man, and Like A Rolling Stone.

      Bands that are successful and that stay together evolve over time. As a result, when these bands play their old material it sounds overly produced. That is not the case with The Alarm Clocks. They were just some high school kids that cut a 45 and a handful of demos back in 1966 and then faded into obscurity until 40 years later. Their music still has that raw sound, they never learned to play any other way.



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