It’s easy to make light of the Turds of Misery as one of Iowa’s infamous if unrecorded bands and how the comic self-deprecation of their name might precisely reflect the Midwestern ennui and isolation of that State, especially as the West Coast had firstly the glamour of the Beach Boys and then the psychedelic splendour of San Francisco and other sunny bands. As well as being as far from the coast as one can be – and it was pretty damn far from town on gravel road to another town – it was even more of a colossal ride to the cool and influential European, especially English, music scene.
So it’s worth mentioning one of Iowa’s genuinely celebrated garage bands, though even then their fame was a long time coming – not really until the 80s and 90s with a reconvened band and the collected re-releases of 60s singles that didn’t make it widely in their day. And I’ll leave the history there as I’m not that knowledgeable of their work, but am enjoying listening to one of those collections as I write, like first track on this particular album, a fuzzy garage number Don’t Need Your Lovin’. As I’ve written recently, I was a kid when living in Iowa, and it wasn’t really until moving to Germany that I got into music more keenly and enjoyed teenage bands at the American Army base club [I went to a High School at the Paul Revere Village in Karlsruhe] and they played similar garage tracks – Louie Louie and Gloria being favourites I recall – and indeed, the three chords to the latter were the first I learned to play on the guitar. These bands played all the obvious covers, just like Gonn who make fine work of I Need You, Pain In My Heart, Hey Joe, In The Midnight Hour, another Kinks’ classic You Really Got Me – these two Kinks numbers so influential in my early likings, along with the Music Machine’s Talk Talk, and The Spencer Davis Group’s early work, especially I’m A Man. And then there was The Electric Prunes’ I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night, but that’s another direction and story. I of course had escaped Iowa and the Midwest, and though I went to school on an American Army base I lived in the ‘economy’ [in other words, not the base] so I had that exciting experience of the European in my earliest teens.
Gonn’s one hit was Blackout of Gretely, and it is a great pounding, Vox organ-ground and shouted/screamed garage track. Had I stayed, so been a little older and possibly, if unlikely, seen them whilst still living in Elk Horn, I wonder how that would have played out in fate’s alternative scheme of things.