1978 must have been an exciting year in Newfoundland. There was a series of UFO sightings on the island that year and punk rock was certainly revving its engine in the city of St. John’s.
Early adopters like Da Slyme and The Reaction were playing clubs and laying the groundwork in the late 70s for what has become an unheralded punk rock scene from the 80s with acts like Tough Justice and Schizoid, and more recently with Weak Link and yee grlz to name a few.
The Reaction were a brief but bright flame on the scene. Mike Fisher (bass/vocals), Rick Harbin (guitar), and Terry Carter (drums) formed in late 1978 and spent 1979 gigging around Newfoundland playing as many shows as possible.
“We were one of the forerunners of independent music performances and marketing, long before there was an independent scene that helped non label bands” says Fisher.
The Reaction recorded a number of tracks in the studio and released a single – “On The Beach” with “The Kid’s Arrived” as the B-side leading to airplay on local FM radio and interest from major labels. However, this version of The Reaction band called it quits in October of 1979.
It didn’t take long for them to reform with Dan Ralph on drums in November of 1979 and they continued to tour relentlessly around Newfoundland and even Halifax before relocating to Toronto in 1980. In Toronto they returned to the studio to lay down tracks like “Waiting In Line”.
In 1981 the trio returned to Newfoundland and added keyboard player Stephen Jackson to expand their sound but this was short-lived and they played their final gig in June of that year.
Now 37 years later Supreme Echo Records is releasing “East End Rockers (1979-81)”, a mega-long EP featuring two songs with each drummer (Carter and Ralph), including the KBD wild screamer hit “The Kid’s Arrived” as well as three more distinct faces of The Reaction. “Waiting In Line” is a powerful melodic rocker with journeys into psychedelia and “Get The Rods Out” (previewed below) is a punk anthem about setting up local gigs (check out the video here).
“Get The Rods Out” has had many interpretations over the years but basically is a party song and the ‘rods’ refer to the lighting grid holding up the back drop a gigs“
“Get The Rods Out” has had many interpretations over the years but basically is a party song and the ‘rods’ refer to the lighting grid holding up the back drop a gigs” Fisher says. “We used to use tent poles to hang our black backdrop in the late 70’s/80s and someone said ‘get the rod’s out’ (from the van).”
“(I’m) really pleased to hear that the music is being preserved by being released on Supreme Echo and hopefully will find a new audience” he says.
The release includes generous booklet with flyers, photographs & their story. Carefully remastered and limited to 500 copies.
To Be Released November 14, 2018.
*with notes from Frank Manley