The Zits were a short-lived phenomenon, forming in February 1981 and disbanding upon graduation from Oakton High School in late May. Initially dubbed Nic Beery and The Zits, the group quickly shortened things to The Zits while rehearsing and playing a mix of basement parties, high school events, and community centers. Within a few months, The Zits had a solid repertoire of punk originals and covers, which included The Ramones and The Undertones (see track 5 for a great version of "Can't Get Over You"). Inspired by a classmate who had pressed a solo 45, The Zits pre-sold copies of their very own single, and booked time at Eastern Recording in Glen Burnie, Maryland to record their two strongest tracks. Produced by Scott Watson of regional new wave act The Intentions, the two tracks - "Sick on You" and "Beat Your Face" were quickly mixed and sent off to be released as a 45 on singer Nic Beery's own Olympic Records. Both tracks are total teen punk hits with great snotty vocals, crunchy guitar, keyboard, and some of the best dry heaves ever committed to tape! Nearly 40 years later, the single - and it's appropriately low-brow picture sleeve - has gained a reputation as a bonafide Killed By Death/Bloodstains-comp level hitter, and appears here remastered from the original 8 track tape.
But that's not all! The Zitmusic archives yielded an incredible cache of unreleased cassette material taken from rehearsals and live shows. "Back in Blackhead" also features 7 previously unheard cuts, including what could have been the second Zits single - the killer "Bertha Was a Slut", the warped twelve bar "No Dough Blues", and several other exuberant teenpunk anthems. The Zits may have not had the sex or the drugs, but they certainly tackled the rock'n'roll better than most other class of 1981 bands can claim. After receiving a promo copy of The Zits 45, Greg Hawkes of The Cars replied via postcard, "I played your record and thought it was pretty ridiculous." Thankfully that ridiculousness has been preserved on "Back in Blackhead" - the ultimate Zits collection.
Our take: Alongside the Generics reissue, Feel It has also reissued another slice of killer KBD-era teen punk, this time from Virginia’s the Zits. Like the Generics, the Zits released a two-song single during their time as a band, to which Feel It has added several worthy outtakes to make this excellent LP. Musically the Zits couldn’t be more different from the Generics. Whereas the Generics seemed weary beyond their years, the Zits (unsurprisingly, given their name) were all about juvenile humor. The a-side of their single is about puking on people, while the b-side revels in the cartoon violence you see in Looney Tunes cartoons, the Ramones’ “Beat on the Brat,” and GG Allin’s “Beat Beat Beat.” While the lyrics are silly, the music is top-notch, with great songs and melodic lead guitar indebted to the Undertones (whose “Get Over You” the Zits cover here). If you love obscure punk from the KBD era, you shouldn’t waste any time picking up both new Feel It Records releases.