Reviews

Vains You May Not Believe in Vains But You Cannot Deny Terror EP reissue

Before you even get to the music, all the branches that sprout from the VAINS’ tree make an intriguing story, like a hidden history of West Coast punk-related rock. Made up of three Seattle-area teenagers, VAINS existed for less than a year, but they planted a (black) flag and led the way for future generations with their sole release, a 7” EP comprised of “three action hits.” How this single came about is one of those great rock’n’roll stories that seems too good to be true. In 1980, local music equipment shop American Music had a special promotion in effect—purchase $3000 worth of gear and the store would cover studio time and then press 1,000 copies of a single. Now, 3k ain’t cheap, even by 2021 standards, so VAINS must have been sporting a snazzy set-up. But instead of recording some wack KISS covers, VAINS laid down a grip of chunky, meaty punk that sits somewhere between DOA and the DEAD BOYS. They wrapped these songs in an excellent picture sleeve that featured yearbook headshots of fellow “school jerks” on the back. Maybe they didn’t go to high school with James Dean, but they did cut class with future members of the U-MEN and SILLY KILLERS. VAINS were just beginning their pedigree, which soon encompassed the FARTZ and, further down the road, some L.A. glam-rockers called GUNS N’ ROSES. Yes, bassist Nico Teen is also known as Duff McKagan and he remains the only cool member of the former Biggest Band In The World. All the people who were waiting so many years for Chinese Democracy need to bust out their Crosleys and get VAIN in the cold November rain.