God and the State – Ruins

God and the State – Ruins: The Complete Works Of God And The State (Happy Squid) 1985. The Mrowster recently posted a set of versions of The Urinals classic “Black Hole” on his great Pig State Recon blog. As you may know, I am a pretty big fan of The Urinals myself.

Y’see the Urinals along with The Middle Class, represent this weird moment in LA where proto-hardcore and minimalist art-punk were the exact same thing. It may have all come out of Wire I guess, and the proto-hardcore of Mr Suit. But in LA, it festered and grew. What you get are these regular lookin’ dudes in chinos who strip every bit of clutter away from the conventional rock song. It’s a deliberate approach, a conscious decision to minimize everything. A creative decision.

Now what happens when you speed it up? Well, you get “Out of Vogue”. You get “Ack Ack Ack”. You get the beginnings of hardcore. And as the hardcore kids started coming on the scene, what happened to the Urinals? They broke up of course. Or more to the point they became 100 Flowers. Then John Talley-Jones and Kjehl Johanson eventually joined with The Last’s Vitus Matare in Trotsky Icepick. Drummer Kevin Barrett, played in God And The State.

Simply put, Ruins: The Complete Works of God and the State is an amazing LP. Its kinda like an LA punk version of Entertainment by Gang of Four.

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12 Responses to God and the State – Ruins

  1. Qpzzlntb says:

    Thanks for the mention.

    Never heard these guys record before, though they certainly sound sonically more akin to THE URINALS than TROTSKY ICEPICK ever did. That drumming on “Red Square” is straight outta “Black Hole”!

  2. Really excellent stuff.

  3. ABC says:

    Vitus and Kjehl started Trotsky, along with another Last alum, drummer John Frank. The Last’s John Rosewall was there one time, too. And John Frank was replaced by his replacement in the Last, Hunter Crowley. John Talley-Jones was a later addition, as was the Middle Class’ Mike Patton. Very incestuous scene.

    I’ve tried to talk Vitus and Kjehl into reforming Trotsky for at least one show but without luck. Maybe I’ll work on Frank and Rosewall.

    Joe, have you seen any version of Urinals/100 Flowers/Chairs of Perception? (Or Trotsky or the Kjehl Johansen Band, for that matter?)

  4. Joe says:

    I have never seen any of the bands listed. I remember buying a boot of The Urinals 2nd 7inch up in Boston at Newbury Comics when i was a teenager. I was aware of them from The Minutemen. I was already a huge fan of Wire and the Minutemen so The Urinals were just icing on the cake.

    Here in the midwest the tendency is to add guitar solos, mosh parts, fill out the sound. Bands like the Urinals were all about taking stuff away. How much could you remove and still have a song? I always admired the austerity of it. Unfortunately, the urinals/100 flowers/trotsky icepick didn’t make it to St Louis that often so I would just listen to them in my room.

    When I would try to form bands as a young un, fuckers were always wanting to add guitar solos and bridges and shit…..Echhhh

  5. Erich says:

    I’m luvin it! Thanks for this, Joe! ‘t was totally new to me and now it keeps going round and round in my cd player.

  6. vargvike says:

    Great work. This is a great album by an underrated band. I swear to god there is a part on this record that Sonic Youth lifted for the Bad Moon Rising record.

  7. heretix99 says:

    Posted this one a few months ago. Great to see it here too. A forgotten classic. These tracks were recorded in 1983 but the album was released 2 years later. Seems that God And The State only played 3 to 4 gigs. they lasted for less than 2 years. Sleeve was made by the people of Independent Project.
    Happy Squid had a few copies for sale some time ago but that’s finished now.

  8. Sweeeeet! I’ve never heard of these guys before, but I’m giving it my first listen now. The Gang of Four comparison fits, but they’re distinctly American. This is awesome!

  9. thefuzzymode says:

    First off…..Greattttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt blog!
    I have had it up for the last three days now and have been using it as a part of my reward system every time I have been able to complete yet another page, paper, or other such chunk of work towards my masters at university.
    (Thanks so much for posting all the amazing stuff. Your vacations from “work” have been great!)

    Anyhow, I used to go out with Barbara Anne, the bass player of this band. I loveeedddddd (loved!) this record very much but was never able to see them ….alas ’cause I understand that they were pretty great.

    I agree with “i hate you too” and do like that Gang of Four comparison also.

  10. thefuzzymode says:

    “What y’ah gonn’ah do in Red Square? Dance!”

  11. barbara ann says:

    HEY its great people still into this record, indeed there weren’t enough gigs before Dave went back to Toronto as he was an illegal immigrant in LA and had lots of things to sort out in his life……..i’ve made friends with young women in an english band called Trashkit who are kind of slits/gang of 4ish and they are huge God and the State fans -who would imagine! I’ve lived in England for 9 years now, my husband Paul toured with Magazine as drummer and now runs Maverick Festival, an americana roots music festival in Suffolk in July. I play bass and sing given the chance and am still an architect…….love to hear more from people on the old scene…..John and Kat, Dave……cheers from sunny england

  12. Kat says:

    Barbara Ann–good to know where you are–here’s my email so get in touch! Miss you….talleyjones@gmail.com; also on Facebook. Thanks for letting me know Barbara Ann had checked in here, Joe!

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