Bittersweet memories – I got to see Link Wray play shorly before he died, and although he was as frail as a wet tissue offstage, once they draped that guitar over his shoulders and zipped up his leather jacket, he was The World’s Oldest Ramone. And it was that night that I also discovered the brilliant band that backed him up, the Jet City Fix. Still play the snot out of that one album and am hoping they haven’t given up the ghost. Here’s a reprint of my review of their one and only release to date:
Jet City Fix – Play To Kill
As Play To Kill made my speakers bleed, damned if I didn’t swear on a stack of burning bibles that the Jet City Fix was from Dee-troit, where real rock and roll oozes out of every pore. But no, it’s the “Jet City” of Seattle making up for a decade of substandard grunge by shepherding a goddamned real live rock and roll band our way.
Here you have:
- A band good enough to open for and back up Link Wray.
- A band that can stand toe-to-toe with Iggy.
- A band cool enough to not only revere The Wildhearts, but to cover one of their songs.
- A band with the balls of Social Distortion that can write a hypnotic hook without making it sound like formulaic radio fodder.
- Guitars that sound like they’re plugged in and turned up.
- A vocalist whose sandpaper voice – imagine Elvis Costello straining to keep up with Buckcherry – can carry the melody instead of the other way around.
- Fist-pumping songs like “Drowning” and “Dumb Luck” and “Whipped” – even a self-titled anthem called “Jet City’s Rockin”.
Play To Kill is one cup of glam, three shakes of rockabilly, a dash of Joe Perry, a lick of Mick Jagger’s swagger and two buckets of attitude dumped in a Waring blender and set to puree. To quote the closing track, “Fire It Up” – pretenders like The Strokes surely peed their widdle panties when they heard this one.