If you’re a collector of oldschool West Coast punk, chances are that this band is somewhere on your ever-growing wantlist. And if you enjoy high-energy, all-American punk, but have yet to hear of them, you might want to take note... Funeral are a legendary punk band from Long Beach, California featuring future/former members of the Rik L Rik band, Weirdos, and Tex and the Horseheads. The band was active during the early eighties, and, with two EPs under their belt, could be considered an integral piece of the jigsaw puzzle that has since been tagged “So Cal punk”. Members included Mike Martt - guitar/vocals (Tex and the Horseheads), Matt Dorsett - guitar, John Neff - bass, and David Thum (aka Rick Vodka, Tex and the Horseheads) - drums. Their style might be best described as straight ahead punk ‘n’ roll, with earlier material having a gritty hardcore tone, and later material maintaining a more traditional approach with just a bit of a punk pop tilt.
In 1981 the band released two recordings, the first being a 3-song 7-inch EP often called Waiting For The Bomb Blast (named after the single’s A-side), followed by a 5-song self-titled 12-inch EP. Out of the two recordings available, their second, which is where the band truly demonstrate a sound all their own, is wholeheartedly my favorite. Injected with a humble dose of working-class oomph, songs like “Ant Trap”, “Will To Live” and “Bloody Hands” convincingly embody the fighting spirit of punk all the while serving up a tasty helping of apple-pie virtues. Mike’s raspy, soulful voice does a powerful job in delivering line after line in short clean blasts; and the band’s playing is spot-on with great leads, sturdy melodies, and lots of sing-a-long choruses. It's a recipe that could rouse some serious fist pumping action from the timidest of listeners. But let me warn now, there’s one track that stands out from all the rest… and its aim is to extinguish your life. “Darkness On Your Doorstep” is a doom punk gem. Yeah, that’s right… DOOM PUNK. There’s simply no other way to put it! Uber creepy and crawly, it's slow, crushing pace and deathly lyrics could easily give Sabbath, the godfathers of all things doom, a run for their sweet green money. Sure is a pity the band didn’t explore this direction a little further... however, this one track alone is reason enough to investigate all things Funeral. Enjoy!
FUNERAL - Self-titled (12" EP 1980)
- Ant Trap
- Will To Live
- Outer Edge
- Darkness On Your Doorstep
- Bloody Hands
FYI... Bomp Records have since released a collection of Funeral tunes, including both the aforementioned releases as well as live and unreleased studio material… you can get that here.