When I was growing up in my two-stoplight town, I got a cheap drum set and set out to learn how to play it. I read articles in corporate magazines about how the RAMONES played laughably simple songs, so I set out to play along to their records. When I listened to them, they sounded so pro to me. Machine-like. Precise. Perfect. What they play is not actually simple. I'm pretty sure that whoever the idiot was that played drums for THE EAGLES could never play as fast and precise as Marky Ramone.
I didn't realize it for another year or two, but I needed to be listening to bands like BEAT HAPPENING or the first BIKINI KILL 12"...music that was sometimes rudimentary and rough around the edges but still forceful and fucking punk in their own unique ways. I would've even settled for any peers who were into punk and had a cool band, but I wasn't even lucky enough for that. Instead, I would just play a fucked up, 13 year old kid version of a blast beat while one of my friends would just make noise on a guitar for eight minutes and we would call that a song. It sucked.
I needed a band in my town like ROOT ROT, who are rudimentary and basic, yet they get their point across....and they know how to play chords most of the time. When I first heard the band, I was convinced it was three 8 year old girls. That's not a slight against them, but an honest observation. Now, I'm convinced that they're either teenagers or in their 30's, but really, their age is probably the least important thing about them. They rumble through their songs with a fucked up guitar tone and a refreshing don't-give-a-fuck attitude. One of my favorite songs on this tape is "Fuck Gender" but my favorite moment of all is at the end of "Cult" when the band is chanting "Outside of society! That's where I wanna be!" along to an accompaniment of a shambling SHAGGS-like drumbeat. It's totally perfect. Somehow, ROOT ROT takes different elements of OLD SKULL, early CRASS and other weird old UK punk and make it work for them in their own weird way. I really wish they had been around when I was a kid, but I'll take it now too.
Side 2 is left on here as one long track. On the tape, it states "screwing around side." More accurately, it sounds like someone turned on a tape recorder during band practice while a toddler walked around them....and an answering machine message...and some other stuff....