Smash Your Head On The Punk Rock: Angry Samoans - Lights Out

Snotty, funny LA punk rock from the guy who coined the term 'heavy metal.'

As this column goes on it's quite likely we're going to see more Angry Samoans songs show up. I love their snottily funny, aggressively offensive songs, and I look forward to sharing some of their more risque, hyper not-PC stuff. 

Let's start with Lights Out, though. This is a great song poking fun at fads, and it exemplifies the deadpan approach the Samoans took often, making it hard to figure out when they were being crass or making fun of something crass. Here they take blind adherence to fads to its complete end... actual blindness. It's so catchy you're kind of tempted to put a fork in your own face.

The Angry Samoans formed in 1978, and their original line-up featured two rock critics, "Metal" Mike Saunders and Gregg Turner. "Metal" Mike earned his name the old fashioned way - he was the guy who, in 1970, came up with the term 'heavy metal' (in a Humble Pie review in the pages of Rolling Stone). The Samoans became infamous almost immediately with their early song Get Off The Air, an invective-filled track aimed at famed LA DJ Rodney Bingenheimer. It's almost impossible to imagine today, but in the 70s and 80s Bingenheimer was the most important figure in the LA music scene, and his show helped break artists like The Ramones, Blondie, Duran Duran, Guns n' Roses and The Cure. Rodney was so influential that Lee Ving, lead singer of the band Fear - the only band I know of to be kicked off Saturday Night Live during a show - asked to have his name removed from the production credits of a Samoans album so as to not anger Rodney. Not everybody in music was afraid of Rodney - Mick Jagger called him a 'famous groupie.'

Bingenheimer apparently still has a show on KROQ, but who the fuck listens to terrestrial radio anymore?

Get Off The Air earned the Samoans an immediate banning from most of LA's hottest clubs. They obviously couldn't get played on Bingenheimer's show, and legend has it they released a four song EP using the name The Queer Pills just to get on the radio. 

Lights Out is off their greatest record, 1982's Back to Samoa. It has songs like They Saved Hitler's Cock, My Old Man's A FatsoYou Stupid Jerk and the staggeringly offensive Homo-Sexuals. Or maybe it's really progressive anger about gays who stay in the closet and get married, I don't know. It's a terrific punk song, but like so many Angry Samoans songs, you have to be careful who you play it for.

The Angry Samoans still play! Sometimes! As of 2011 they were still doing occasional small tours of the West Coast, and they had played on the Warped Tour's Legends stage.