DMZ: Back in Print

Jesse Christen

Jesse Christen

What’s so great about an album that’s 26-years-old and that no one ever bought in the first place?

It’s good.

DMZ was Boston’s answer to the New York Dolls. They’re credited with starting an exciting new music scene in Boston in the late ’70s. They produced a couple of notable music figures. First is one-time drummer David Robinson, who went on to achieve fame and fortune with platinum-selling the Cars. The other is DMZ and Lyres vocalist Jeff Conolly, better known as “Monoman,” due to his collection of mono vintage rock records.

DMZ is a band that most music historians pass by. Never mind that the fact they played CBGB’s as much as the more written about ’70s punk rock bands; they weren’t from New York so they’re not as cool. And that’s sad.

Finally the group’s one and only major label (Sire) album has been re-released.

In interviews, DMZ members, especially Monoman, a perfectionist and lo-fi purist, have complained about the sound of the DMZ album. I can see why Monoman doesn’t like it: the album sounds like it was recorded in a modern recording studio in the late ’70s, not in 1965.

The album, produced by Flo and Eddie of the Turtles and Mothers of Invention fame, is a great example of pumped up early punk ROCK. I emphasize the word rock because the band whips through covers from the ’60s punk bands the Sonics and the Wailers. Much of the original material isn’t that original, and that’s what Monoman is known for. His relentless dedication to recreating the authentic sound of ’60s garage. Just look at the band’s history tree at side of the page; it’s proof of his difficult nature.

The band went through so many line-up changes they changed the name to the Lyres. The strange thing is the Lyres changed line-ups more times than DMZ, not to mention certain line-ups of the Lyres containing members of DMZ.

Strangley enough, DMZ is back together today. Although they have yet to release new material, they regularly play at festival events throughout the U.S. and Europe. Perhaps their new found attention for being ahead of the times is why this album has been re-released.

Although the self-titled DMZ album isn’t up to Monoman’s standards, it’s still quite good. Songs like ‘Mighty Idy,” and “Do Not Enter,” and “From Home” have stood the test of time. It’s about time you hear them. Go pick up a copy of DMZ today. It’s about time they get the credit they deserve..

5 stars (out of 5)