It’s circa the mid-1970’s and the Rolling Stones are recording in the luxury of the Caribbean and the New York Dolls are in the midst of their death throes… but in Hollywood, CA. the Berlin Brats are torching the Sunset Strip, demolishing pay-to-play live gigs and bringing rock n’ roll into a psychosexual realm – all before the Sex Pistols have played a single note.
They were the entertainment at the raucous launch party of a soon-to-be-behemoth L.A. radio dynasty – KROQ. Rodney Bingenheimer (who introduces “Joyride (to the End of the World)” on this album) called them “The West Coast’s first Punk Band”. They performed their legendary anthem “Psychotic” in Cheech and Chong’s “Up In Smoke”. Then they helped organize “Radio-Free Hollywood” with other like-minded groups that were determined L.A. would have its own scene for music, and were soon headlining the Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. They released a 45 (Psychotic / Tropically Hot), catching the attention of the annual Playboy Magazine’s Rock Census, who called the song “an anthem” and the band as one to beat in the industry’s largest market. The flame was burning hot…too hot.
With the advent of punk rock and half the Brats drawn to the music and others not, the band broke up on the way back from headlining a Mabuhay Gardens show in San Francisco with the Avengers. Rick Wilder and Rick Sherman went on to form the notorious rock n’ roll punk band the Mau Maus, who later created their own mayhem….
But as they say, only the strong survive, and in this case it’s the musicians and their music. The October 2010 release of “Believe It Or Rot: 1973-1976” (Ratchet Blade Records) will contain 13 scorching tracks culled from lost tapes, vinyl recordings and assorted bootlegs whose rawness captures the wild animal intensity not many groups (excepting the Stooges, MC5, et al) had in the polished early-to-mid 1970’s. Get “Believe It Or Rot: 1973 – 1976” and you’ll hold a ticket into that untamed rock n’ roll jungle.