FAME Review: Death of Samantha - If Memory Serves Us Well
Death of Samantha - If Memory Serves Us Well

If Memory Serves Us Well

Death of Samantha

St. Valentine Records - SVR 30

Available from the Death of Samantha web site.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

How the hell did Thurston Moore recognize the Blue Ash element amid the strange mixture of influences in Death of Samantha? I mean, Blue Ash is practically unknown even to obscurantists like myself! This Moore guy constantly makes me wonder what kind of drugs his mother was taking. Regardless, DOS, 24 years or so ago, played with Nirvana (and The Replacements and Sonic Youth and Iggy and others) while Smashing Punpkins once opened for them, but Samantha's was not a Seattle sound, not at all, thus don't lean too heavily into the Nirvana thing. They actually quite well reflected the homeland Akron/Cleveland milieu, so expect to hear a good deal of Pere Ubu and Tin Huey among a welter of other taglines.

If Memory Serves Us Well closes that just-mentioned two-decades-plus gap in the band's first studio CD since 1989's Come All Ye Faithless. In their day, the lads were known for outrageous and provocative shows, earning them the title of "myth benders, music blenders, mind fuckers, and snazzy rock and roll hooligans" in OPtion magazine, an odd but interesting long-lived music rag put out by circus clowns Richie Unterberger and Scott Becker (or were they junkyard dogfuckers?; I keep getting those things mixed up). Drummer Steve-O dragged huge trash bags full of large wardrobes to each venue, in Orange County slapped upside the head with a gun by a promoter and threatened with his life for doing so, a business tactic I don't think Bill Graham ever quite got to.

In vinyl format, Memory is a 75-minute double-LP of 18 classic cuts performed newly live in studio, a retrospective of their catalogue done once again for the faithful and a later generation or two. This CD, however (the vinyl sold out immediately), contains everything in a tri-fold packet with three different sets of liner notes (one by Moore of course). And, as you lay an ear, there are even more factors to be heard: Patti Smith, The Doors, Blue Cheer, and of course the Igster himself. Who can escape the influence of the Stooges? Hell, even Beethoven was headbanging in his grave when those guys erupted in '69. The more you listen, the more things leap put at you. And, damn but a concert with them and The Replacements woulda been something to see, no doubt about it. SO, even if you have the entire backlog of Death of Samantha, this is a must, more so if you don't have jackshit, way more than even that if you never even heard of 'em. They were that kind of outfit…and still are.

Track List:

  • Coca Cola and Licorice
  • Bed of Fire
  • Now It's Your Turn (To be a Martyr)
  • Conviction
  • Couldn't Forget about That (One Item)
  • Savior City
  • Good Friday (Take Two edit)
  • Rosenberg Summer
  • Sexual Dreaming
  • Bood and Shaving Cream
  • Geisha Girl
  • Monkey Face
  • Simple as That
  • Yellow Fever
  • Turquoise Hand
  • Harlequin Tragedy
  • Amphetamine
  • Blood Creek
All songs written by John Petkovic except Couldn't Forget about
That (One Item)
and Blood Creek (Gillan / Petkovic").

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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