Action Swingers: Quit While You're Ahead 12"

In the Red Records


Back in 1989, the Action Swingers burst onto the NY underground music scene with one of the nastiest, snottiest, pissed-off 7-inch releases of all time. Written in fifteen minutes, rehearsed only once and recorded for $100, “Kicked in the Head” b/w “Bum My Trip” was an immediate slap in the face of garage punk fury. The band was the brainchild of singer / guitarist / songwriter Ned Hayden, who had previously played in the Nightmares and Pontiac Brothers. Backing him on their debut single was Julie Cafritz (Pussy Galore) on guitar and Johan Kugelburg on drums. The combination of Hayden’s bile-spewing vocals, the cavernous, fuzzed-out guitars and the trashcan drums made their debut single an immediate classic. Shortly after it was released, Kugelburg was relived of drum duties and replaced by J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr, Deep Wound), who was then replaced by Don Fleming, who played drums on the band’s follow-up single “Fear of a Fucked Up Planet.” For the better part of the ’90s, the band continued to record and release a slew of incredible albums and singles on various labels and became a revolving door for East Coast musicians. In addition to those named above, the Action Swingers featured Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore), Pete Shore (Unsane, Boss Hog), Howie Pyro (Blessed, D Generation) and Bruce Bennett (A Bones), to name a few. The band toured Europe extensively where they gained a loyal following, particularly in the UK where they received much airplay from John Peel and written praise from Everett True in NME. In 1994, Caroline Records issued a CD compiling the band’s first two singles with unreleased recordings from around the same period. Hilariously titled Quit While You’re Ahead by Hayden, this collection served as a nice reminder of just how brutal and raw the band was in the beginning. Previously unreleased tracks like “Miserable Life” and “Losing My Cool” are every bit as vitriolic and pulverizing as the tracks they had chosen to release. In The Red is now happy as a pig in shit to give this collection its first ever vinyl release. This is uneasy listening at its finest.
Tags: 90s noise rock nyc reissues