“Scum of the Earth”

All I know about the Williamsport Metro Area in Central Pennsylvania is that it is home to Little League Baseball’s world headquarters and that Captain 9’s & the Knickerbocker Trio got their start in town. Squarely in the dumb punk camp, more than a few of the Knickerbocker Trio’s songs would appeal to the little leaguers sitting on the bench. Imagine “Two Tons O’ Fun” sandwiched in between “Hey Batter” taunts, popping Bubble Yum, and “We Are the Champions.” Classic modern America.

Best I can tell, the Knickerbocker Trio got their start in the early Eighties belting out some super catchy and melodic punk with insensitive, juvenile lyrical themes firmly steeped in the tradition of Vom, The Dictators, or Ramones. The only message was to enjoy yourself, not take anything or anyone too seriously. I enter “I Ain’t Takin’ No Bath” and “I Think I Wanna Be” (“I think I wanna be a garbageman / So I can root thru your trash all day / I’ll furnish my house and I’ll feed my face / I don’t even have to get paid”) as Exhibits A & B.

The band hung around town for a few years before each of the members split up across the country — one to Stockton, CA, another to New York City, with the third member sitting tight in Central PA. The fellows started new bands, including the Dummies in New York and Knockoffs in CA, but would get together periodically around the holidays or whenever all of the members were in one place to play and record. This allowed them to amass enough recordings for a steady trickle of releases over a few years during the early Nineties. In this time, they put out two cassettes and three 7”s, plus a split. The band played a few shows on the west coast, but mostly gigged back at home...although it looks like they’ve played as recently as the last year, so perhaps the story ain’t over yet. There are a couple of amazing Youtube videos from early PA gigs here and here.

Rip Off Records did a good job of collecting this stuff in 1995 on the “Scum of the Earth” LP, which was sort of a Best Of. With a couple of tracks from each of the releases, it had nothing otherwise unavailable but introduced a new generation to the band. Featured alongside this column is the “Scum of the Earth” cassette — (Right click and "save target as..." for a zip of the "Scum of the Earth" cassette ) - their second release which, to make things confusing, is NOT the same release as the LP of the same name. Of the 12 songs on the tape only half of them made the album, so much of this should be fresh even to old fans. Grab a chocolate milk and a sack of White Castle, and enjoy.

When I’m not studying the accuracy of little league baseball stats in predicting Major League success, I’m probably putting off updates to the following sites: Savage Aesthetic, No Stages, Track The Nubees, Sex Bomb, and Frat Cars.

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Get in touch:
Dave Hyde
PO Box 301
Brewster, NY 10509
E-mail: cheaprewards-at-gmail.com