City Slang: “The First and the Last” revisited

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The year was 1981. Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton and MC5 drummer Dennis Thompson had just played together in the LA-based band the New Order (nothing to do the Manchester band), but had seen that fritter away into nothing. Meanwhile, Radio Birdman was no more, and Deniz Tek, Warwick Gilbert and Rob Younger were looking for something to do.

And so it was that the New Race was born. Tek and Asheton connected and, while Scott Asheton was Tek’s first choice for the drum stool, Thompson was a more than adequate addition when Rock wasn’t available.

The band did one solitary tour of Australia, then the New Race came to an end like the New Order and, well, all of their other bands before it. This live album stands as recorded evidence that the band happened at all.

Of course, the New Race’s set list was pulled from the collective archives of the Stooges, MC5 and Radio Birdman, and so the band was a bar band, albeit a fucking sweet bar band. Listen to the awesome renditions of “Gotta Keep Movin’,” “Haunted Road” and even “Loose”.

To many, the New Race was just another thing that Ronnie and Dennis, plus the Radio Birdman dudes, did to keep busy during a quiet period in their careers. That’s pretty accurate. However, this live album proves that it was still a worthwhile endeavor for a few months back there.

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