The Proletariat – Distortions

The great prole art threat from Boston, The Proletariat were a bunch of humourless dudes from Southeastern Massachusetts who somehow found themselves on This is Boston Not LA which is where I heard them. I remember hanging out with skater kids who freaking loved This is Boston Not LA and none of them liked the Proletariat tracks. In fact they would just remove them when they recorded the album on cassette so they wouldn’t have to listen to them. I liked The Proletariat a lot but then I liked bands like Gang of Four which is really more where Proletariat fits in than on a hardcore comp. The politics of the Proletariat were obviously very left leaning, to the point of being Marxist and I think this made the band kind of monotonous over long periods. Full albums by The Proletariat were often hard to sit through but when a couple songs popped up on mix tapes they always were a total blast of energy. This is their first demo and it was not included on Taang Reissue of all their material a few years back which is apparently available at Target. How’s that for your people’s revolution?

The Proletariat – Distortions (Demo Tape) Self Released, 1982.

Torn Curtain
Splendid Wars
After The Rise
White Hands

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27 Responses to The Proletariat – Distortions

  1. Erich says:

    Just a bit of nerdism here: The demo is called Distortion and it was indeed included on the great double cd discography released on Taang. The original tape has a wonderful cover and a nice booklet too :-) And how somebody could not jump around to “Religion is the Opium of the Masses” on “Boston not LA” is totally beyond me.

  2. Joe says:

    Right on all counts Erich! Do you have the original tape with the inserts and stuff?

  3. Erich says:

    Unfortunately not. I once held it in my hands and it was offered to me for like 60$, but I didn’t want to spend so much money (the pre-internet / ebay days, you know). It had a spray painted cover and a really well done booklet. Looked fantastic. Yes, I’d pay 60$ for it now, I guess.

  4. malfeitor says:

    Joe- if you want to see the tape do what I did (since I had never seen one)-
    I stole the picture, cropped the watermark, and now your offering looks nice and pretty in my itunes. Next best thing I guess. However, I always leave Erich’s cuddly bear in the images to warm up my cold winter nights.

  5. Joe says:

    Thanks guyse

    Believe it or not, I had a photo of the case when I was putting together this post a few months back. When it was time to publish, I could not find it. I googled it and came up completely empty handed. I don’t remember where I saw it.

    As far as all the other goodies, I had no idea. Also, didn’t realize that the CD on Taaang had this. Thought it just had the two albums and 7inches and comp appearances. Had I known that, I may have bought it. I just never did because I already had the other stuff.

    The inspiration for posting this was from the crazy right-wing nutjob that spent about three weeks calling Erich and I “bolsheviks” a few months back btw

  6. Brushback says:

    I, too, would skip over the Boston Not LA songs, but Proletariat’s “Marketplace” is still one of my favorite singles ever, so I came around eventually.

  7. OTTO says:

    Soma Holiday…. and Marketplace… both great records. Decorations! Obedience! Obedience!

    The Marxist diatribes could get to me after a while, but the guitar work and the underlying groove always won the day.

    I will now download and enjoy Comrade Joe.

  8. edu says:

    wait wait…. some hardcore kids taping on cassette this is boston not l.a. and removing the proletariat tracks? what the heck! why?? weren’t the songs fast enough for them or what? these kinds of things make me upset….punk/hardcore means to be open minded, and it means not only to listen to ultra typical fast songs, right? i mean, sure i loved the gang green, jerry’s kids songs but i also TOTALLY LOVED the proletariat songs.

    thanks joe for this post.

  9. Brushback says:

    There’s a few dud songs on every record. Each person’s opinion on which ones are the duds varies, also. Doesn’t mean they’re being close-minded.

  10. miles says:

    I was never a huge fan of their later lp, but soma holiday is a MASTERPIECE! It’s one of the few lp’s that I have been listening to consistently for most of the time I have been into punk.

  11. RattlingWall says:

    Loved this guys from the get-go! The guitar sound is more Mission Of Burma than Go4 methinks. Did they ever tour at all?? Never played the Midwest as far as I know.

  12. clifford says:

    Next to Freeze, and SSD, the Proletariat still sound great after all these years. They should have been much bigger. Perhaps their politics frightened the hardcore kiddies. Great great band.

  13. Brushback says:

    Clifford = Clif Hanger?

  14. Thanks for posting this! I was in love w/the Proletariat as soon as I heard the Boston Not LA comp, and I think their music still holds up, esp. SOMA HOLIDAY!

  15. Joe says:

    Diane – I do too. I think all of the stuff they did was great. It can get monotonous in one listen but SOMA HOLIDAY was their best.

    Brushback — I think the reason why kids skipped over the Proletariat tracks on TBNLA is best described by you on One Base:

    Back when I was a little hardcore kid, whenever I’d play a new record I’d always drop the needle on the shorter, louder songs first, because one of the neat things about vinyl is that you can tell which songs are quick and thrashy and which songs are slow and boring just by looking at the grooves.

  16. edu says:

    sorry to interfere,
    but diane is the same diane that played in children in adult jails? if so, glad to see you around here! and please, give a big hi and hugs to pseu! it’s edu from spain, hope she remembers me.

    best wishes!

  17. Brushback says:

    Yeah, I used to play all the skinny tracks first. To hell with all the fat ones.

    One place where this would screw me up is with those 40-song Mystic compliation LPs, where all of the tracks would be skinny. All the bands sucked, too, except for Sluggo.

  18. Joe says:

    hey what about Love Canal?

  19. Joe says:

    hey Diane – you were in Children In Adult Jails?

  20. Brushback says:

    Oh, man, I had the Love Canal LP, on clear vinyl. What a piece of crap.

  21. jeff says:

    yup… that’s her. you should give her show on ‘fmu a listen.

    another vote for soma holiday… still enjoy it

  22. Joe says:

    Yeah I have listened to the kamikaze fun machine streams for years on the wfmu website. Great show. Missed the part where she talked about being in Children in Adult Jails though.

  23. peter b says:

    great to read this stuff about my old band. by the way we were never communists really. we just really hated the right wingers. you people have excellent taste!

  24. Joe says:

    Peter B — Wow..thanks for writing in! I’ve been a big fan since the days. I always had the impression you guys were pretty hardened marxists. You guys seemed to take it more passionately than say, Gary Floyd who I felt used it for shock value. Plus the bands delivery was so intense!

  25. Frank M says:

    Interesting discussion.
    We definitely weren’t a good time band and our stage demeanor was a reaction to the excess of the 70′s. However if you knew us we were very far from humorless.

    Frank – Proles

  26. richard b says:

    Looks like I’ll be the third member of the Proles to post…(if you’re waiting for Tommy, good luck). I find it very hard to believe that “Voodoo Economics and other American Tragedies”(Taang) is available at Target—2 ways to look at that 1) at least it’s not Walmart and 2) it’s Taang that is the money grubbing whores not the band. Those who thought we were a “dour and prematurely grey” bunch never watched the band demonstrate their wiffle-ball playing expertise in Debbie Scilling’s grandmother’s backyard.
    Nice to see the band mentioned 25 years later.

  27. Dave says:

    Ha ha, Curtis the Record-Monger is a “money grubbing whore”…. that made my day

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