Rifle Sport – Live At The Entry…Dead At The Exit (Ruthless) 1983. I used to work with a guy in Denver that was from Minneapolis. He told me that Rifle Sport got their name from a shooting gallery there. Is this true?
Rifle Sport were part of the third wave of alt/punk/whatever bands I talk about in my Man Sized Action post. How about post-hardcore? That’s a nice academic title and it actually kind of fits this band.
This is their second to last album and it is one of my favorite live LPs ever. The mix makes you feel like you are sitting right in the 7th Street Entry and you really get a feel for how dynamic the band was on stage.
Ron Hotpad mentions in the Micronotz post that a lot of these midwestern bands in the 80′s were unclassifiable and I agree with him. You hear influences like Iggy with the Notz and Husker Du with Man Sized Action, but in general thier sound is thier own.
Rifle Sport sound a lot like Mission of Burma and they get compared to them somewhat regularly. It’s true that J. Christopher’s vocals have a resemblance with Roger Miller’s and on first listen, the comparison is valid. Listen closer and you will hear more than just a Burma clone.
One of the more obvious differences between Burma and Rifle Sport can be heard on the song Marseilles. Listen to how that song FUCKIN ROCKS. Y’see, no matter how arty a post-HC midwestern band of the period got, there was that element of ROCK evident in the music.
As time worn on, the classic rock fixation that underlies midwestern punk became more pronounced. Some bands like Soul Asylum became everything they were supposed to be against and eliminated the post-HC element from thier sound altogether. Drunks With Guns envisioned themselves as a Flipper-style reaction to HC orthodoxy but anyone who has heard the black album knows that there is a major fuckin resemblance between it and the riffage of Black Sabbath. Am Rep appeared a few years later and bands like The Cows straddled the line between balls-out rock and art-noise through the nineties.
Marseilles is a great representation of “midwestern alt post-whatever” in that it perfectly balances the artsyness of Burma with the strut of Ted Nugent and is unapologetic of both. I love Burma (probably more than Rifle Sport when all is said and done), but they were too high-minded East Coast to pull off a riff like this.
The members were also involved in Breaking Circus, a great band from Chicago. Flour went on to record solo stuff during and after the break-up of Rifle Sport. Todd Trainer went on to record solo as Brick Layer Cake and drum for Shellac.
Also of note, this LP is a tribute to the engineering genius of Iain Burgess…who in a dream world, I would get to interview for this blog. He was the man behind the board for many a great Chicago/Midwestern punk LP back in the day and more than any one single figure, he probably sculpted the sound of this genre of music.
Experience The Pain / Bloodline
Burn Em Up
Head In A Vice