Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Electras

Posted By on Wed, Oct 20, 2004 at 12:00 AM

With the presidential election drawing ever nearer, a new controversy has emerged that will serve to further distract both candidates from focusing on the real issues. That’s right, serious questions are again being raised about Senator John Kerry’s garage band record, on account of The Electras, the group’s 1961 eponymous debut album, getting officially rereleased in advance of the November ballot. To their credit, the group didn’t rename it “John Kerry and the Electras” to cash in on the election, but word has it the band is affixing copies with “Featuring Jack ‘Ragtime’ Radcliff” stickers in order to move more units in the St. Paul area.

According to Deke Paxton, a member of rival surf band the “Swift Bass Veterans” — which played many of the same dance halls and homecoming parties as the Electras — Kerry’s command of the bass was scandalous and he didn’t play on the album. “Any bass frequencies you hear are the result of the piano player pounding the low keys extremely hard,” says Paxton. “John Kerry had no bottom, no tone and no business leading a band through 13 of the most elemental frat-rock staples of the early Sixties. Frankly we’re outraged that someone vying for the highest office in the land purportedly choked when it came time to play ‘Guitar Shuffle Boogie.’”

Naturally Kerry’s own bandmates quickly rose to his defense with cries of, “Man, can we play the hell out of ‘Three Blind Mice’ or what?” Undaunted, the Swift Bass Vets plan next to discredit the Democratic nominee with a “John is Dead” rumor, noting his pallor of death even as a teenager, and that Kerry is pictured barefoot on the sleeve — a sure clue that he is a dead man in this election. One clue that won’t be so easy to dispute — if you play the Electras’ clubfooted version of the Santo and Johnny hit “Sleepwalk” backward, it sounds amazingly like Santo and Johnny’s “Sleepwalk” forward. The CD is available at

Serene Dominic writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to


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