SPIN - REISSUES
Diggin’ In The Crates For Untold Treasures
by Andrew Hultkrans
Pistol Whip - Terminal: 1976-1978
"Lost ‘70’s Pennsylvania punks, this quintet alternately sounds like vintage Kiss (“Untouchables”), garage-rock Van Halen (“Heart Throb”), and early Replacements (“Whatchamacallit”). The last comparison applies the most; Pistol Whip were a rare punk band who featured a lead guitarist who, like Bob Stinson, was unbashedly in love with metal. Also like early ‘Mats, the attitude is proudly moronic, but the playing busy and skillful.".
"Smog Veil unleashes some killer Erie, PA punk from 1977 and ‘78! This band is incredible, coming on like a great combination of the Dictators and Radio Birdman. There is a lot of that hard rock turning into punk sound to be found here, and that is some of my favorite stuff of all time. The DVD has some footage shot on 8mm from way back when, as well. This is simply an essential reissue for anyone who is a fan of the rockin’ punk end of the spectrum."
"The guitar player is pretty damn good, plenty of ripping solos and good riffs, drummer is kinda hot shit too. Lots of bluster, braggadocio and stomp make for a really enjoyable listen. These guys actually wrote some really good tunes with lyrics to match. Pistol Whip are great proto-punk dumb fun."
"These songs are like the missing link of rock. The evolutionary bridge between horrid glam rock and inspired spittle rock and roll. “Whatchamacallit,” is a fiery, snot-nosed blast of rough-throated punk, as good as anything else that came from that era. Dig the wild “surf” organ, bringing in that hard-edged early Stranglers sound. The guitars crush with venom and authority. There is no hint of the glam disaster that was. This is now. Don’t know where the hell it came from, but damn is it good. In fact, I may go so far as to declare it the best punk song you've never heard.".
...Pistol Whip's goofball parking-lot piledriver Terminal. ...think pre-punk punks the Dolls, Stranglers, Alice Cooper, Brownsville Station, and especially the Dictators; realize that they have songs called "Six More Inches," "Big Boy," and "Cock Sure," and gauge their usefulness in your life accordingly. I kinda love them, myself.
Pistol Whip was the first ever Glam Rock / Punk band from Erie, PA, and their lone 7-inch on Endangered Species, released in 1977, is a scorcher and a prized collectible. This release contains the original 7-inch, plus the 1978 demo. The DVD contains wild 8mm footage from back in the day plus interviews, photos, and more...
A Snippet. PISTOL WHIP @ the Erie Arts Festival 1978. Adapted from 8mm film (without audio) and synched to the board mix! Witness Break Dancing... Lead Guitar Style!
"After I witnessed them tearing apart (yes, literally tearing it apart) a club in Peoria, Illinois at a Prairie Sun party I was won over. The group was sheer pandemonium and the energy kind of reminded me of early Rockers days".
"During their Midwest dates last winter, Pistol Whip was blamed for everything from starting a riot in Linesville, Iowa, to polluting Lake Erie".
-Prairie Sun, 1978
"Terminal is a powerful release that should have been available many moons ago. Uniting the likes of New York Dolls' rawness without the pomp, a touch of pre-new wave keyboards, pelvic blues and outright rock the Forgotten Rebels pine for, the album has so many loose, twangy barbs it's undeniably pure garage rock. As performed in a greasy, dingy mechanic's bay, not some pristine condo, that is. Smarmy and edgy, while still unpretentious, this is a great shot of primal punk".
"Formed in 1976 and disbanded in 1978, the group had talent to spare. "Heart Throb" and "Untouchables," the first two songs here, are catchy and melodic, and even feature harmony vocals. But all 10 songs on this album have held up well. A bonus DVD includes live footage and interviews with band members".
"I believe the overall sound that this band represents is timeless and since it was released in the late 1970s. The sound reflects the American side of punk rock which incorporated more elements of garage and glam as opposed to the Brits.".
"Even though Erie, PA is approximately 325 miles away from NYC and miles further from the UK, Erie's native sons Pistol Whip built their sound and attitude around the most notable punk rockers from the late 1970's punk rock heyday judging by the lavish CD/DVD collection chronicling their career TERMINAL. Laden with catchy hooks led by big guitars ("Tellin You", "Losing My Grip") while implementing an organ into their arsenal to give tracks like "All That Jazz" and "Terminal" a gritty garage rock vibe, Pistol Whip matched the sneer of the brattiest of Brits and the flash of the most brash from across the pond while displaying the fearlessness of the CBGB's set in their music, in turn making this 12-track potent punk rock concoction plus DVD retrospective worth a spinning for everyone from the mall punk of today to the crusty safety pin punk from days gone by.
".Pistol Whip were a band from Erie, PA (that’s pronounced pee-ayyy), that underwent a mysterious transformation between their Uber-obscure 7-inch from ’77 and the previously unreleased demos they cut in Chicago the following year. On the former, they’re a rather undistinguished mid-‘70s rock band a la Kiss(particularly on “The Untouchables” – inspirational verse: “Is every woman really a whore?”). On the latter, they’re the Dictators. Seriously – if gravel-voiced wiseass Willie Cotter wasn’t intentionally aping Handsome Dick, then he must surely have been channeling him. And Rick DiBello gave you more flash (if somewhat less finesse) than Ross the Boss. They even made the throwback organ work for them. (Deep Purple as punk?)".
"Pistol Whip played with snarling, assaulting energy, with Drumm sometimes baiting the crowd. They were also electrifying on stage. Footage from an Arts Festival gig shows DiBello racing around then prone on his back, spinning around in a Curly Howard kind of move while never missing a lick. A lean, limber Cotter gyrated and slithered around the stage like an Iggy Pop/Mick Jagger hybrid"
"...Fans of punk luminaries the Clash, T.Rex, and the Cramps and more recent bands like The Busy Signals or The Exploding Hearts will only be wishing this band had released more material by the time they're done with this retrospective".
Pistol Whip embodies a kind of reckless innocence that still holds up well 30 years later. But other than the occasional dated lyric, Terminal stands up as just kick ass rock and roll the kind of thing that never really gets old no matter how many years pass by.