The Queers / Rocket To Russia

Rocket to Russia

Rocket to Russia is a Ramones cover album by pop punk band The Queers.[1] This one of a series of full-length Ramones cover albums (which also included Ramones by Screeching Weasel, Leave Home by The Vindictives, Road to Ruin by The Mr. T Experience) released by Selfless Records in the mid-1990s.[2]

Queers vocalist and guitarist, Joe King, has repeatedly stated that the Ramones are one of the biggest influences on the band.[2][3][4][5] He wanted the Queers to sound “in between the Ramones and the Beach Boys.”[6] However, he was not thrilled about recording a Ramones album, stating that “they’re usually perfect to begin with.”[7] At the time, the band did not have anything released except Love Songs for the Retarded and making the album helped them get by financially.[8]

This album has been praised for faithfully reproducing the sound of the original Rocket to Russia. It was called “an impressive feat of mimicry” and “a nice tribute to the [Queers’] obvious heroes.”[2] However, this quality is also the album’s weak point because it is redundant.[2]

Joe King has regretted making this album and expressed outrage at Clearview Records for unpaid royalties from reissues.[8] In 2006, the band would have similar troubles with Lookout! Records and rescind their master rights from the label.

Cretin Hop—-One of the remarkable things you notice about this particular recording vs. the original is the hi-fi quality of it. This is not nearly as muted as The Ramones version…this is pretty remarkable and true to the original…I love how Joe works his voice…his impersonation is spot on.

Rockaway Beach—-Aggressive and delivered with a remarkable level of fun, Joe really does not try to sound like Joey….he just tries to give a quality preformance…the entire band really succeeds on this point. This is fun, original and pays homage to one of the bands heros….really well. I love this stuff.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow—-Delivered with a nice snarl and a remarkable snotty attitude, you can’t get this out of your head after you hear it. The lead guitar solo is spot on…the band delivers a nice fuzzy rendition that reeks of attitude and sunshine!!!

Locket Love—-Noisy, loud and fast….this is typical Ramones fare….you can tell the influence and the love for the band. Although at times, the band seems like they are just going through the motions…it is no secret they did not want to record this and sometimes it is rather obvious.

I Don’t Care—-This is nice…Joe delivers a straight forward spot on vocal and the band delivers the required doo-wop surf sounds in the back drop. this is fun, remarkably accurate and a nice piece of history.

Sheena Is A Punk Rocker—-Wow…this blows me away. This is spot on and full of fun. Joe had yet to perfect his snot nosed bratty attitude, but you could tell the formation was well in tact. this fast, delivered with a dedication and remarkably fun.

We’re A Happy Family—-Loud and brash, this has a bit too much energy in contrast to the original version. Joe lacks some of the vocal nuances that the original had, but i suspect that was done on purpose. I love this…I could see how many purists would find this insulting…to me this is just a boat load of fun!!!

Teenage Lobotomy—-This is great…makes me think of my old friend Joe……this is delivered with attitude and snot…the guitar blasts are spot on and the song has just enough differences on the vocal level to give it its own sound. I really could not ask for more, this stands next to the original amazingly well.

Do You Wanna Dance—-This is much more in the Queers vein….a nice cross of punk meets The Beach Boys…this is a lot of fun…it will land in your brain and live there for quite sometime and you will turn to it over and over when you need that extra pickup. this is fantastic!!!

I Wanna Be Well—-Again…what more can you say about near perfection….this is the closet thing you can get to the original and a nice alternative if you want a fresh perspective. This is energetic…lively as hell and delivered with a ton of fun!!!!

I Can’t Give You Anything—-Delivered at hyper speed and with that slight bratty vocal style from Joe, this is a nice look back at the early days of the band before they really established a true sound of their own. This is pretty damn noisy at times…but still remains true to the original and putting a huge smile on my face.

Ramona—-With a huge blistering intro that is full of speed but that remarkable Ramones melody, this track is so true to the original and sheepishly, I admit that I might like this better than the original. This is awesome…the vocals are so nice…expecially on the chorus…think the Beach Boys in a bus crash…brilliant!!!

Surfin’ Bird—-This is loud, abrasive and so damn accessible that you just shake your head at both the brilliance of The Ramones and the Queers as well…this is a classic cover track that should be prominently displayed on any tribute available to true Ramones fans…remarkable!!!!

Why Is It Always This Way—-Pleasant and filled with classic pop punk riffs that The Ramones perfected so well, this song does have a certain noisy tone to it that is just remarkable. I love this band…I love the interpretations and I love the attitude!!!

Blabbermouth—-Full of the classic reverb that made this track a favorite, Joe delivers a vocal that is so full of attitude and snot that you back the entire thing back and listen to it again and again….this is brilliance and only a hint of how magnificent this very favorite band of mine was going to become. Wonderful!!!

**** out of 5


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