Permanent Damage G.T.O.'s

By Felix Dennis

OZ, April 1970

Permanent Damage G.T.O.'S

I read Miles' review of this record in IT 74 three times, carefully, once I even read it using a dictionary and I didn't understand it. Not all of it anyway. But then I ain't ever been to America, and this is an America record. Or rather an AMERICAN record; you know, the AMERICA which equalls Capital A for Acid / versus Capital M for Mace / out to Capital E exterminate / the fucking Capital Race...etc. But Miles is right when he says that it's difficult to take.

The problem here is one of digestion and constipation, i.e. what you can stomach and how long it takes to register what shit you're eating. Ice Cool Coke refreshes you best and brown rice is boring but sure as hell the Viet Cong are winning that war.

Anything with Zappa's muscle power in evidence, (the small print says he produced this L.P.), almost always turns out to be essential listening sooner or later โ€” and all too often it is later โ€” witness the cruel demise of the Mothers of Invention, America's most original rock band who could wipe their ass with Creedence Clearwater and leave the Zeppelin standing in the first dozen bars, entirely due to lack of support and money. (The Archies live, their Mother's dead; there's no business like the music business). But even bearing in mind that Frankie's efforts often require time to infiltrate, 'Permanent Damage' is still hard to take. At least, too hard to take all at once.

Basically this record is twenty-nine minutes and twenty eight seconds of sound collage from five chicks who make up Girls Together Outrageously, (G.T.O.'s), that's Miss Pamela, Miss Sandra, Miss Cinderella, Miss Christine and lawdy miss clawdy Miss Mercy. They sing whimsy, paranoid songs and rap, often self-consciously, amongst themselves about AMERICA /high school/balling/bobby sox/balling/ soft consumer environment/cars/ balling/T.V./stuffed bras/balling/pop stars and, you guessed it, pop stars balling. They're at their best, their funniest, (though I guess this record isn't about being funny), on subjects close to their heart, i.e. adolescence, adolescents and balling. The telephone conversation with the Plaster Casters of Chicago is a joy but the music. . . .?. . .well that's another trip altogether. If it's parody, it's stretching the bubblegum a little too tight for me, and if it's not, then what in Christ Jesus is Zappa playing about with? (O.K., don't answer that, I know. . . .our heads.)

But no body knows what is happening in America, least of all on an island 4000 miles away, separated both in terms of distance, and more important, by a lying, corrupt media, printing only the news they feel is 'fit to print'. How many times have we watched a live-relay satellite transmission of a ghetto riot, of armoured cars rumbling through the streets of Berkeley, or the Weathermen and State Troopers dancing their fearful, deadly pas de deux. Funny how we only get to see moon capsules and Royal visits isn't it? But just occasionally we're given a fleeting glimpse of nearnaked reality in the U.S., and as often as not it's through American music, or their tough, professional underground press. That's what this record is all about, and that's why, although I don't like to admit it, this record leaves me scared shitless.

Felix Dennis.

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