Scenes From Friday's Pink Smoke Album Release Show At Three Links.
In 1988, Penelope Spheeris was releasing Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years. Meanwhile, a certain Memphis-born hard-rock bass player named Kinley (then known by some as “Barney”) Wolfe was pounding it out in the sleeveless, hair-sprayed trenches with Dallas-based Lord Tracy, flying high on the momentum they gained with its single, “Out With The Boys.”
Wolfe was no doubt well-acquainted with many of the subjects of Spheeris’ unintentionally comical documentary on LA’s glam and hair metal scenes of the late to mid-’80s. Last Friday, during a chat with the Dallas Morning News' Robert Wilonsky that followed a screening of the film at the Texas Theatre, Spheeris could be found digging right back into that era, the music and the people.
And Kinley could be found happily slugging it out at Three Links with his bandmates in The American Fuse for Pink Smoke's album release show on the same night. Seems like every time in the last quarter-century that the prolific and accomplished Spheeris has found time to film and or talk about music, Wolfe is right around the corner playing said music — if not with the Fuse, then perhaps with Club Wood or with ’76, the sibling band to Lord Tracy that has Patrick “Taz” Bentley of Hell Texas on drums.
Wolfe’s 'Fuse bandmates can still be found in and around the Metroplex, banging away music on any given night of the week. The lineage runs deep with the Gorehounds*, Barry Kooda Combo, Ghoultown, Bit Rot, Atomic Rodeo, Sixty-Six and plenty more.
I’m guessing it’s this deep, decades-long commitment to hometown rock ’n’ roll that allows The American Fuse, whose first and only album One Fell Swoop came out on Idol records in 1998, to consistently garner respectable crowds of local fans. It's also perhaps why Pink Smoke, playing on the same bill for its album release of Weirdorama, was a great idea. The band got a high-quality audience that complemented its own respective rowdy gang of singalong fans and beer-slingers out in the crowd.
That’s not to say that it wasn’t also risky. Sandwiching Pink Smoke amidst the multi-generational punk rock earnestness of openers Blood Letters, the microscopic machine precision of The Lash Outs, and the hook-laden, hard-swinging rock of The American Fuse was setting the bar high. But Pink Smoke, which seems to comfortably straddle a place between the simplicity of punk and the swagger of rock without being a caricature of either, rose to the occasion.
The album sounds pretty good, too.
*Full disclosure: I play with the Barry Kooda Combo, shoot pictures for the Gorehounds in my capacity as the Gorehounds’ “official” photographer, and once played in Sixty-Six. I have also subbed in for Kinley (but never replaced him… he's too good) on bass a couple times in Club Wood