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The Unheard Recordings by San Francisco's Bomb

4 April 2009
Beautiful Losers

I originally discovered Bomb when I was trolling the used bin at Rhino Records in West LA. Rhino had listening stations where you could sample the things that interested you. I listened to Bomb’s Hate Fed Love because it had Hate in the title. It wasn’t the fast, angry hardcore that I was used to – it was evil, beautiful, cruel, sexy, psychedelic and apocalyptic. I bought that CD. and it became something I’d listen to in my darkest moods.

Later, I found the compilation CD, Lucy in the Sky with Desi, which compiled Bomb’s BONER RECORDS recordings, at The Wherehouse on Beverly and La Cienega. I became a die-hard fan of this odd, mysterious, drugged-up, psychedelic punk band.

Eventually, I came across, web home of frontman/bassist MICHAEL DEAN. We communicated via email enough that, on a trip to San Francisco to see a Bomb reunion, he was cool enough to argue with the door bouncer to let my friends and me in, despite our being underage. That show is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen and I am eternally grateful to Mr. Dean for fighting the good fight for us.

Time passed and I lost contact with Michael, so I recently decided to check out again. Well, the Bomb section has been moved to and Michael Dean has uploaded some incredibly rare recordings to complete the Bomb discography.

17 Reasons Why

Bomb’s first demo – four songs recorded in 1986 as precursors to their first LP, To Elvis from Hell. At the time, the band was a trio consisting of bassist/vocalist Michael Dean, guitarist JAY MORGAN CRAWFORD and drummer TONY FAG. Here, Bomb is at their sparsest, but the songs, all future Bomb staples, are still as sexy and psychedelic as they would become on future recordings.

To Elvis in Hell

On Bomb’s first LP, the band is still a trio, but they’ve honed their sound into the psychotic, psychedelic acid punk that would cement their reputation. All of the songs from the 17 Reasons Why demo, as well as songs that would appear on the LP, Hits of Acid are here in very different versions. “No Color in Utah” has a particularly interesting back story, which Michael Dean recounts on the download page. The version of “Gigi” recorded here is especially interesting.

Sex Kiss Cage

This is the 1991 demo for what would would become their third LP, Hate Fed Love, and the album that made me a fan of theirs in the first place. By now, second guitarist DOUG HILSINGER had become a defining member of Bomb’s sound, which is reflected in the dreamy, bad-trip psychedelia of these songs. The album ended up being (over)produced by BILL LASWELL and it completely BOMBed (pun intended). Here, you can hear how the band intended their songs to be heard. In all honestly, the arrangements aren’t all that different from the album versions, which is either a testament to the band’s prowess, Laswell’s indifference or both. The version of LEONARD COHEN’s “Suzanne” presented here is a lot closer to the version I saw them play live than what ended up on Hate Fed Love. “All My References Are Dead” is a lot more sinister here than on the LP as well.

Many people dismiss them, but I love them – Bomb are one of my favorite bands of all time, and hearing these recordings reminds me of why I love them.


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