Gimme shock treatment 

Rescuing punk rock from a bad case of the blands, the Clone Defects play with an art-damaged fervor that puts them in that tiny league of modern punkers who are actually adding something worthy to the punk rock legacy. Suffice it to say, their real-deal punk rock antics slash and burn through the efforts of many of their contemporaries.

"I think punk is misunderstood by people who are trying to start bands. They don’t realize that it’s the same thing as rock ‘n’ roll," says Tim Lampinen, aka Timmy Vulgar, Clone Defects singer and guitarist.

Along with guitarist Wes Kerstins, bassist Chuck Fogg and drummer Eddie Alteslavin, Vulgar has been pulverizing punk rock stages for almost three years now. Live shows have been especially powerful lately, from the energetic skronk of their own tunes to a mighty cover of "Splitterty Splat" by the Electric Eels, Cleveland’s legendary proto-punks. "We started out wanting to play sick, crazy shit like the Electric Eels and that Cleveland stuff," said Vulgar.

From such noble origins, the group has progressed, learning to channel the chaotic energy of its genesis into a punk rock propulsion that’s undeniable. Rudimentary poetry, agonized vocal screaming, glammy guitar crushing and an outsider sense of humor all contribute to the brilliance of the group’s two locally produced singles, easily the best Detroit punk 7-inchers in recent memory.

Not surprisingly for a musician of his caliber, Vulgar has more than a punk-track mind when it comes to music. "I like a lot of acoustic stuff, especially the tough stuff, like Peter Laughner, the Kingston Trio, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, GG Allin, Charlie Manson," says Vulgar, with a straight face, combining the aesthetics of shock and sincerity.

Watch out for Vulgar’s acoustic act with Kerstins, Wild Mid Wes and the Superiors on a punk rock stage near you. In the meantime, expect a full-length Clone Defects record by the end of the spring.

More by Greg Baise

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