I’ve had this lodged in the car stereo for a couple of weeks now and have cranked the hell out of it. My conclusion ? It’s good, damn good and showcases a band who – although forming 40 years back have the rock n roll fire burning red hot in their belly.
On this release, Johnny Kannis and his co-horts pay homage to six bands that have influenced the Hitmen’s own lengthy career and it’s a concept I find intriguing. This line-up of the Hitmen have a couple of new recruits – including former Conspirator/Psychotic Turnbuckle Vince Cuscuna , yet all have paid their dues and have done many tours of duty.
Kicking off with the Pistols ‘Pretty Vacant’ sets the tone. Many have covered this over the years – Joan Jett’s interpretation from 1990 deserves a mention – and now, Hitmen DTK’s is also up there with the best of em. The Flamin’ Groovies’ ‘Shake Some Action’ is up next and it cooks. The Hitmen originally included a version of this on their 1984 live album ‘Tora Tora DTK’ and this here studio effort kicks arse. Tony Jukic’s blazing guitar works well with Kannis’ vocal growl – rivaling the original for power and intensity. No small statement. ‘Rock n Roll Soldiers’ was originally recorded by New Order (Ron Asheton’s short-lived mid 70’s outfit) and can be found as a B-side on The Hitmen’s 1981 seven incher ‘I Don’t mind’. The re-take included here, of one of rock n roll’s most iconic war cries could be my pick of the bunch. The rock solid engine room of Tony ‘The Kid’ Robertson and Murray Shephard are the backbone of much of this material – take a listen to ‘I Fought the Law’ and hear for yourself. Y’know I’ve always liked Robertson’s bass playing – it’s up front and in your face – just where it should be. Go hunt down the stuff he did with Naked Lunch back in the 80’s if you need further proof. The run through of the Ramones’ Rockaway Beach rocks hard and the final track – ‘Who Will Save Rock n Roll ? closes out this EP in the best way possible. If you thought the Hitmen’s career was over after the departure of longtime guitarist Chris Masuak, think again. Hitmen DTK are rejuvenated and revving their engine. Look out for the new / original tune titled ‘Get up’ which will be released shortly.