Though considered outsiders, F-Word nevertheless bullied their way into the Los Angeles ’77 punk scene by virtue of a pummeling, primal sound led by guitarist Dim Wanker and a truly remarkable singer, Rick L. Rick. Playing at hyper tempos long before hardcore (only the Dils were as fast), the quartet never captured its flashpaper assault in the studio, leaving only a live album recorded at San Francisco’s Mabuhay Gardens in February ’78.
Not only was Like It or Not Live the first LP release on the pivotal Posh Boy label, it’s the first West Coast punk album from an era when most groups stuck to 7-inch singles. Covers of the New York Dolls’ “Bad Girl” (great choice, so-so rendition), the Germs’ “Shutdown” (before the Germs were a big deal), the Stooges’ “No Fun” Pistolized and the Animals’ “I’m Crying” prove F-Word’s roots-punk credibility, but it’s the wild and gutsy originals — the punishing “Do the Nihil” and the equally merciless (in more ways than one) “Hillside Strangler” — that still hold up.
F-Word was short lived, and Rik L. Rik (dropping his c’s along the way) latched onto San Francisco’s Negative Trend in time for that group’s appearance on the seminal LA punk compilation, Tooth & Nail. (The five worthy cuts of his that appear on the Beach Blvd sampler, although not credited as such, also apparently feature Negative Trend.) In ’82, he released a terrific solo single (“Dominique” b/w “Soul Power”).
Rik’s re-emergence, however, was a less pleasant development. The Slaves are strictly sterile classic-rock pap: tired, undemanding, melodramatic hard wank. Not only does The Slaves bastardize both songs from his old single, the group’s neo-metal version of Joy Division’s “Transmission” is appalling. Refuse this refuse.