Louis New Wave Nostalgia
Heels (Be vision)
(The Foolish Virgins)
Random Access Posters:
A list of pages
From my review of them in the Feb 1982 issue of Noisy Paper, a local punk fanzine:
There's a new cool surge of true hipness seething in a steady rhythm in the pulse of social life among us. Stand back, mama; dive for cover, Fred; it's the new funk-oriented ska-inspired BOP APOCALYPSE threatening to render cool every schmoe and borderline simp for miles around with vast streams of true crazed beat feeling and an intense frenzy never before felt in our tepid metropolis. It's RIOT ACT.
I'm ready to RAVE, so sit back and watch me work up a froth. Riot Act poured on the heat through ultra cool pipes of steadily rhythmic dance music that had every neighborhood school hippy-dip in the audience moving in embarrassing cow-town pseudo-modern dance antics that offended my imagination and belied the presence of ultimate cool on the stage before me. It was Funk, brothers and sisters, true and elemental, blasting in spastic saxophone patterns tightly honked to the thwap of slapped congas and normal drums in polyrhythms accented with painstaking grace.
You take the bass parts of heavy metal music, country or most pop music, the baroque excesses of fantasy-rock doodlers or the drooly slop of California punks; I want you to take all this important modern music and ram it up your ass because it's all crap, see? The best white bass player alive is Tim Aynardi. He plays P-Funk, uncut funk, the BOMB! My maggot brains have been re-fried by the tumultuous tempos popped from his plucked, punched and thwapped strings. You close your eyes and say "Uh-huh. Yeah."
In St. Louis, a three-man sax section is a gimmick not to be found unless you dig the swing classics of yore. The gone sound of their syncopated riffs added the professional touch that would guarantee them work five nights a week, every week, in bars like the Ramada Inn, Fred Gangs, Lucuis Boomers, Mississippi Nights, 4th and Pine, and maybe even Uncle Marvin's. That is, if they want to. The sound is there, all they need is the ambition.
I go on to fantasize, as we did back then, about them getting a record deal and made a few thinly-veiled snide comments about the Felons, who I was insanely jealous of, since they were the most successful band of their day.
Riot Act was Jeff Roth's band. Jeff was a Wash-U artist type who also had a closet sized gallery called Dead Dog Gallery, or DDG. Jeff played the drums and sang, if you call shouting out words in a dog-type yelp singing. He also wrote some extremely funny lyrics, like "Your little sister take a Bus Downtown" and "Cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, NO BUSES!". Maybe you had to be there, in that ghetto twilight, outside his schoolhouse in North Saint Louis' Hyde Park, stoned out of your mind, to truly appreciate it all.
Papa Ray was also in the band, and he thought it was his band, I think. But I remembered Riot Act from when they played with the Zanti Misfits at the Carriage Bowl and it was just Jeff and a couple of his art-twit friends, so I always thought of it as Jeff's.
When it comes to any kind of garage rock, the band belongs to whoever owns the practice space, so it's Jeff.