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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Metal Louvre: Overkill - !!!Fuck You!!! EP

What's so expressionistic about an album cover showing just a middle finger? A-duh...

It's not so much a work of pure art you witness on Overkill's !!!Fuck You!!! EP. It's what that extendible splashed across the panel represents, particularly from a heavy metal standpoint. Soak it up a second. A primitive, juvenile, uncouth hand gesture, sure. Grossly uncivilized, but it's perhaps the most recognized form of human disapproval notwithstanding a fearsome facial scowl. Half the time we think the middle finger is hilarious. Often it provokes fights to the death.

Still, metal in itself is all about the words "fuck you." Fuck you to the mainstream. Fuck you to the straights. Fuck you to the government. Fuck you to the parents--and this, coming from a guy who is now a parent himself, ouch.

All of it, exactly as cult punkers The Stiffs originally intended. Punk was even more about "fuck you" than metal, but in the hands of speed demons Overkill, there was no way this song would be overlooked any longer. The classic lineup of Bobby Gustafson, Rat Skates, Blitz and DD Verni were bred and fed on a combination of thrash, UK hardcore, New York punk and NWOBHM. You couldn't pick a better set of inheritors and ambassadors to execute such a ripping cover of this Stiffs gem.

While a fellow punk act such as Discharge or the Dead Kennedys might've been logical choices to cover "Fuck You," even more the greater a metal band took up the cause. !!!Fuck You!!! came during the crossover phase of the original metal and hardcore movements and in their own small way, Overkill helped ally the genres together as much as DRI, SOD, Motorhead and Suicidal Tendencies did--even if Motorhead was just a bombastic rock 'n roll band embraced by both sanctions. Is there no band on the planet better representative of the words "fuck you" than Motorhead?

Even better if you owned the original out-of-print copy of this EP on vinyl, so your folks could find a glowering middle finger antagonizing them from your record collection. It spoke of you as a teenager whether you chose to slip the !!!Fuck You!!! EP deep in the bowels of your album stack where it resided as a prized secret or whether you defiantly left it on top for your parents and their guests to trip across in your bedroom. Remember, !!!Fuck You!!! was marketed as "The Record THEY Tried to Ban!" and eventually Megaforce/Atlantic was forced into issuing copies with blackened covers, the middle finger reversed into the packaging.

We don't care what you say, right?


metalodyssey said...

Outstanding article on this vintage Overkill EP. Man, for many months I thought about writing about this cover. Now... forget about it! What more could I possibly say? You damn said it all!

You took this cover and ran with it! Kudos and Metal be thy name.


Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

LOL, thank you kindly, Stone. I too have been waiting a bit to put this one up, saw a middle finger magnet in one of my unpacked boxes and went to town here. :)

Metal Mark said...

Definitely prefer DOA's version of the song.