VOM (punk rock band)

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VOM
Origin Los Angeles, California, USA
Genres Punk rock, garage rock
Years active 1976–1978
Associated acts Angry Samoans, "Metal" Mike Saunders, The Mooseheart Faith Stellar Groove Band, The Mistaken, The Blood-Drained Cows
Past members Richard Meltzer, Gregg Turner, "Metal" Mike Saunders, Dave Guzman

VOM was conceived in 1976 as a self-described beat combo featuring the renowned writer and critic Richard Meltzer on vocals, with Gregg Turner on second vocals and "Metal" Mike Saunders (under the pseudonym "Ted Klusewski") on drums. The band also featured Dave Guzman on "tuneless rhythm guitar", Lisa Brenneis ("Gurl") on bass guitar, and Phil Koehn on lead guitar. The name VOM was an abbreviation for "vomit", as their early live act was said by Meltzer and Turner to have included throwing various viscera, cow parts and food substances at the audience to provoke a reaction.

Both Meltzer and Saunders had already contributed to music as a whole in very distinct conduits. Richard Meltzer had written The Aesthetics of Rock (written in '68 but published in '70) which was certainly the first serious discussion of rock music in long format as an art form. Mike Saunders was credited for coining the term "heavy metal" as a music genre while writing for Rolling Stone. In 1970, he wrote: "Here [Humble Pie] were a noisy, unmelodic, heavy metal-leaden shit-rock band, with the loud and noisy parts beyond doubt," in a review of As Safe As Yesterday Is. "This album," he continues, "more of the same 27th-rate heavy metal crap, is worse than the first two put together, though I know that sounds incredible." Although Saunders himself states that the title is "right there" in Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" ("heavy metal thunder...") and the term predates even this in William S. Burroughs' novel The Wild Boys, Saunders was the first to lend it to the new hard rock of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.

Besides "I'm in Love With Your Mom" and "Too Animalistic" (both later incorporated into the Angry Samoans catalog), VOM were notorious for a song called "Electrocute Your Cock", which began with Saunders' Ramones-like tom tom beat and Meltzer's cries of "Electrocute your cock, electrocute your cock / Looking for a handjob? Stick It in a clock!". Despite its profane audacity, it had enough pop catchiness and wit to become a minor hit for the band. Other VOM material included "Broads Are Equal" and "I Am (The Son of Sam)".

Videos for "I'm in Love With Your Mom", "Too Animalistic" and "Electrocute Your Cock" were produced, directed by Richard Casey (who went on to create videos for Blue Öyster Cult, Buck Dharma and Romeo Void). "I'm in Love With Your Mom" was shot as the band performed on the beach, with Meltzer wearing briefs on his head. The more humorous and visually interesting "Electrocute Your Cock" video included footage of Meltzer sprawling backwards in a chair while screaming the lyrics and sitting in a bathtub being electrocuted. Both videos (and interviews with Meltzer, Saunders and Turner) were later included in the Angry Samoans True Documentary video,

According to Turner, Meltzer "threw in the VOM towel" in 1977, which paved the way for Turner and Saunders to form Angry Samoans.

Discography[edit]

  • Live at Surf City EP (1978 White Noise Records)
  • Live at the Mabuhay Gardens 4/24/1978 (bootleg)