You need some Speedball BabyAgain from the “I’m a sucker for a cool band name” file comes Speedball Baby.
Formed in New York in the early 90s, Speedball Baby combines psychobilly and grit with street poetry for a sound best described as “the dark blues of the messed up and clueless.” Speedball Baby’s actual bio lies buried somewhere in a New York City walk up; the only remaining clues are as off-kilter and unpredictable as the band’s music. “Speedball Baby...(fuse) the primordial slurp of rockabilly with a broken-homegrown hybrid of gospel testimony and punk mayhem. They harness hysteria – pounding out a thrown drink conniption fit as exuberant as a St. Vitas dance.”
In a 2001 interview with NYC’s OffOffOff.com, guitarist Matt Verta-Ray described his first meeting with singer and songwriter Ron Ward: “I heard Ron do these spontaneous monologues, almost like poetry – I wouldn't say beat poetry, but it was definitely inspired by Burroughs,” he said. “It was very abrasive and not very musical at that time.”
Verta-Ray and Ward recruited bass player Ali Smith and drummer Dave Roy, before independently releasing two EPs in the mid-1990s. Speedball Baby recorded one album for MCA records then decided the corporate music world was not to their liking. They returned to an independent label, where they remain. Several musicians, including Jon Spencer, have contributed to the Speedball Baby legend, with Ward and Verta-Ray being the only constants.
Today’s music comes from a collection of the Speedball Baby EPs I recently got hold of. As far as I can tell, these were released during the mid-to-late 1990s.
Don’t Turn Blue (Tonight).mp3
Milking Stool Blues.mp3