• Speedball
  • Do Unto Others, Then Split (Energy) 1995 
  • Drive Like Hell (Energy) 1996 

The Motor City Speedball makes motor music — it’s as simple as that. The quartet’s debut is filled with auto imagery, from the gearshift map printed on the CD itself to lyrics like “Live fast/Die young/Live fast/Get on your hog and ri-yi-yid” (“Hog”). Frontman and chief songwriter Chuck Burns, who began his musical life in Detroit as a drummer, formed Speedball in Los Angeles in 1992 with fellow transplants Mike Alonso (drums) and Bill Kozy (guitar) and LA native Jeff King on bass. After the 1992 riots, the foursome returned to Detroit and further refined their sound. Do Unto Others, Then Split puts Speedball firmly in metal territory, though its music swings a little more than most of its brethren’s. There’s a little Blasters in their Motörhead, which makes Speedball a comfortable fit in a number of rock styles. The songs are short, punchy and economical — a series of sharp jabs rather than prolonged bludgeoning. “All Screwed Up” boasts a rockabilly wiggle, while “Gypsy” and “Ass, Gas or Grass” are tough, punky rockers. “Piss and Moan” dresses a hooky pop song in power chords; the speedy “Sin” is so heavy and nasty you can practically hear Burns spitting into the microphone.

[Gary Graff]