Thursday, October 2, 2014

Rocky And The Sweden

Novelties in hardcore are a bizarre thing. I mean, on its face, everything is in actuality a novelty & a gimmick... youth crew, crust punk, thrasher, etc. You broadcast a specific image and an expectation follows you. There is no way around it. It is even harder when a band caters to a specific niche, and worse when it is a wildly specific niche. So it goes with acts like Two Man Advantage (hockey gimmick), The Ultimate Warriors (pro wrestling gimmick), and Good Clean Fun (annoying kid gimmick). Every now and again, a band excels at their gimmick and do well to sell it competently.

Such was the case of Japan's Rocky And The Sweden, their gimmick was smoking weed. They loved weed, a lot. Their aesthetic and songs were about smoking weed. Their imagery had weed all over it. Frankly, it shouldn't have worked. Weed is not interesting by its own virtue. However, place a weed gimmick with the ruthless precision of a Burning Spirits band and you don't just have something viable, you have one hell of an act. Rocky And The Sweden is a casualty of being a part of the second deepest hardcore scene in the genre's history (NYHC arguably being #1). If they had been in Sweden, Finland, or certain parts of the USA we would be praising them as an excellent act. A mainstay of their era and locale. However, having to play with the likes of Forward, Judgement, Warhead, Crow, and others proved to hurt Rocky And The Sweden's lasting power. The band only had a few releases before they broke up but all of them are great. As far as an expression of love for the sweet leaf, it is some of the best that has been seen in hardcore punk. The tragedy of Rocky And The Sweden is their burial in the course of history. The band should be appreciated for their quality and merit while garnering extra praise for taking an otherwise laughable gimmick and making it into something real.

1 comment:

  1. I caught these guys back in 2000 when I was stationed in Japan. Constricted, The Creed (Traditional Oi! band from Osaka) and a few other bands shared the stage. Needless to say, they rocked