Wrote this about one of the favorites back on my Agony Shorthand blog in 2004….this CD/record in question is available to listen to here.


There’s a live recording from the early 1990s making the rounds on this illegal file-sharing site (I’ve only read about the naughty site, I’d never actually use it to illegally download music!!) from SUPERCHARGER, perhaps the hottest raw, punk-infused “oldies” band of all time. It’s from about 1992 or 1993 at the Covered Wagon in San Francisco, and for all I remember of those years, I was there. I enthusiastically saw the band a good 6-7 times around this period, but it’s funny, I always rated their garage revisionist pals/peers THE MUMMIES higher and thus celebrated with the latter upward of a dozen+ times. History – at least my version of history – now says Supercharger were the better band, and this blazer of a live set confirms it. What came off as a bit inept and tentative at the time – a posture nurtured by the band themselves – is full-on wild and overamped energy here, with the usual coterie of screaming girls in the background cheering them on. (These same females were fixtures at Mummies and Phantom Surfers shows during the era, and a few later started The Trashwomen. The apple did not fall far from the tree).

The set is way tighter than I remembered, and each 90-second knockout is complimented mere seconds later by another crashing intro. Oh, and a hippie in the audience gets disgraced in public – always a treat! 

Guitarist/vocalist Darren Raffaelli is sorely missed by “the scene” – this guy was a terrific, sweat-soaked frontman, yelping and whooping his way through 50s ramalama oldies and originals that sounded just like 50s ramalama oldies. This live set even contains a version of BUNKER HILL’s masterpiece “The Girl Can’t Dance”, but the band charge through it so quickly you might’ve been lost in your pint while it was playing (at least that’s where I imagine I was). Raffaelli’s last move that I know about was a mid-90s 45 I never heard called “Donny Denim”, to say nothing of his shepherding of THE DONNAS’ first LP (something I’ll spout about in the weeks to come). Greg Lowery, at least, put his post-Supercharger energies toward a hot label and band, and Karen, the drummer? Saw her at Safeway a few years ago in the dairy section.

Yet Supercharger needn’t be lost to history and illegal, immoral file-sharers – there’s a terrific under-the-radar compilation of their 45s that came out a year ago that I highly recommend called “Singles Party”, and if you haven’t heard “Supercharger Goes Way Out”, by all means get on the case! 
(UPDATE: now this is embarrassing. This ill-gotten live set that I was so proud of procuring is actually an OFFICIAL release on Lowery’s Rip Off label! Limited edition! Go to it).


This 1992 issue of my self-published music fanzine is the first in the 8-issue series I can legitimately say that I’m more or less proud of. SUPERDOPE #3 came out about six months after I’d “threatened to quit” publishing (oooh!) for reasons I don’t really remember. I even went so far as to send back promo records on my own dime to certain labels I respected who’d sent me freebies, because I was embarrassed to keep them if I wasn’t going to, you know, review them. I remember meeting Mac from Merge Records the next year in Chapel Hill, and he was just bemusedly shaking his head that I’d bothered to do that. Rest assured, I gave up those ethical qualms later on. So after making a big to-do about being “too tired” to publish or whatever, I just said aw fuggedaboutit and put out this tiny, digest-sized, 16-page minizine.

SUPERDOPE #3 captures a bit of the (un)popular rise of the great garage punk bands of the 1990s, with the piece de resistance being this interview with THE GORIES. Though I had no idea at the time, the band would soon break up, and gave few other interviews during their career. I simply mailed them a list of dopey questions and let them record their answers on a cassette tape; as it turns out, it was my favorite interview I “did” outside of the DON HOWLAND one that made it into issue #6. That I never got to see the band play always stuck in my craw, a situation that was rectified when they hit my town on their reunion tour in 2010.

 A few other thoughts on this issue:
  • I wrote and edited this one completely solo, though, having just recently seen “Beyond The Valley of the Dolls” for the first time, I uncleverly appropriated the name “Lance Rock” for several items. This doesn’t wear as well in 2010, I concede.
  • My list of over-the-counter stimulants in my “Top 10” was nothing but bluster. It stemmed from an incident that year where I’d taken two (very much legal!) Ephedrine – the ingredient in No-Doz – pills to keep myself awake at a Thinking Fellers Union show, mixed it with a couple of pints of beer, and proceeded to suffer through one of the weirdest, malarial, hallucinatory nights of pseudo-sleep I’d ever had. Not sure I ever used one again – but it sure was fun pretendin’.
  • It is indeed true that the first CD I ever bought was MONSTER MAGNET’s horrific “Spine of God” – I proudly waived my “no bad reviews” policy especially for that one.
  • The “Late Reviews” consist of clipped reviews from other magazines like Maximum Rocknroll and Your Flesh, married to records that weren’t actually being reviewed (and in the case of “Ska Derr & The Rejectones” and “Cognitive Drought”, bands that didn’t ever form). I thought the Barbara Manning one was pretty funny; I’m pretty sure it was for the first LIQUOR BALL LP.

I’ve got five more issues to scan and post for you, and rest assured, before I shuffle off this mortal coil I shall do so.



Totally bonzai garage punk classic called “Icepick” from 1992 by SUPERCHARGER, a raw trio from the San Francisco Bay Area whom I got to careen around the room to a bunch of times at parties, warehouse shows and the occasional "club" gig. This is from a 1-sided 45 that Trent from The Mummies put out on his own label in an absurdly limited quantity.