Feel free to send me your reviews, comments or critiques concerning
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REVIEWS: CERTAIN DEATH
original "Basement Tape" 1984
Wake Up and Die
Don't expect any Dolby noise reduction on this "Basement Tape"
from Certain Death. Recorded in a bomb shelter in Blue Island, "Basement
Tape" contains such optimistic numbers as "Nuke Us Now"
and "We're Tomorrow's Alcoholics
If We Live That Long."
Performed in a full rectal attack style by Danny Sleeze, Paistee
Reserve and Mike Stand. Wild Man Fischer goes commando! Hey Lujack
(local radio DJ) if you really have a serious sense of humor, try
spinning "Granny's On the SWAT Team" some morning. With
their ear-bleeding charm Certain Death should be regulars soon at
the Cubby Bear or West End. Remember, punk is an attitude not a
haircut. Complete with newsletter that you may disagree with if
you want to because this is Amerika and they can write and play
what they want to. Certain Death and taxes both are inevitable.
Bill Dalton, Illinois Entertainer magazine, August 1984.
original "Basement Tape" 1984
Crunching metallic punk of the midwest variety. Most of the lyrics
are good, and occasionally even unique as in "Granny's On the
SWAT Team". They also send out an informative monthly newsletter.
Jello Biafra, Maximum RocknRoll magazine, July 1984
Great newsletter!!! "Nuclear Chainsaw Massacre" is fab;
you guys are the new Beatles! Good work Dan; you're really hangin'
in there. I consider you to be the Leo Buscaglia of rock-n-roll."
Bob Odenkirk, comedian, writer/director
"Life is a Bitch, Then You Die" cassette
These guys have a knack for extremely clever punk arrangements,
and demonstrate a good hand for satiric lyrics, as well. I only
wish the ultra-boring guitar solos had been excised from these boisterous
and intelligent mid-to-fast tempo punk tunes. "Spontaneous
Human Combustion" is a pop-punk near classic.
Steve Spinali, Maximum RocknRoll magazine, November 1984
"Dial-a-trance" compilation cassette, 1985
A Chicago-area comp, this features one-of-a-kind group CERTAIN DEATH,
as well as GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS, TORPEDOS, SPRAY PAINT, UNINVITED,
RING 13, NO MORE WARS, BLATANT DISSENT, and GARBAGE BODIES. Quite
good sound quality, and varied but strong material. Good!
Tim Yohannan, Maximum RocknRoll magazine, March 1985
"Dial-a-trance" compilation cassette, 1985
Get this now! It is of very high quality sound and of bands. CERTAIN
DEATH rip out a classic "Kill the Beatles". GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS
plunk out a great anthem "Being Bored". THE UNINVITED
take us back to worship Syd Barrett, and RING 13 take a classic
riff and make it "Paint My Dick". Get this now!!!
Scott Colburn, Blow it Off #7 fanzine, Spring 1985
original "Basement Tape" and "Life is a Bitch,
Then You Die" cassettes
Is Danny Sleeze the Neil Young of punk rock or what? I fuckin' love
'dis band! Contrary to what I'd read, the long guitar solos are
HOT and add a lot to the songs. When the tunes are 'dis good, ya
want 'em to last a bit. And boy are 'dese tunes good! The biting
sarcasm of lyrics like "I Saw You", "Nuke Us Now",
"Survivalism" and "People Hunting" is thrust
into action by the vibrant "aliveness" of the music. 'Dis
band absolutely cooks and you'd be a fool if you didn't at least
check 'em out.
Rob Omlit, Revealin' Da Lies fanzine, Spring 1985
"Live Death at Westend" cassette, 1984
Yes, Danny Sleeze is the Neil Young of punk, but it's cool cus he's
a good one! Along with plenty of hot live leads, this has got some
TERRIFIC songs 'bout nuclear war and the national guard and nuclear
war and survivalism and nuclear war and other stuff and nuclear
war! The recording is excellent for a live tape, and the band is
typically perfect. A good example of why I love underground cassettes.
Rob Omlit, Revealin' Dem Lies fanzine, Summer 1985
CERTAIN DEATH is a hardcore punk band who hail from Blue Island,
Illinois. The band didn't send a bio sheet or any pictures so I
really don't know a whole lot about them. The only things that I
do know are that I really like this band a lot and that CERTAIN
DEATH is a VERY good punk band. CERTAIN DEATH are made up of Danny
Sleeze (guitar/vocals), Jeff Anderson (bass), and Mike Ruffone on
drums. CERTAIN DEATH can best be described as a straight forward
hardcore punk band with a psychedelic tinge. CERTAIN DEATH are not
a thrash punk band but they do play with a fair amount of speed
at times. The tape that I received from CERTAIN DEATH was their
"Basement Live 85" tape, which contains 18 great
punk tunes. Since it would take a whole lot of space to tell you
about each and every track, I will just tell you about the tracks
which stand out in my opinion. Is that cool with you? Good! The
first track that really jumps out and kicks you in the face is "Dead
Llama", which starts out kind of grinding along and then kicks
into a really up-tempo beat, then drops down a notch in the middle
of the tune, and then kicks into overdrive again towards the end.
A really good track. Another is "Boom Boom", which again
contains some cool tempo changes. My favorite tune on this tape
is "Kaos in Control", which is made up mostly of the theme
music from the old TV series "Get Smart". This tune is
definitely wild, crazy, out of the ordinary, and I LOVE IT!! Some
of the other tines which standout are "Mushroom Cloud",
"Dial-a-Trance", "Take Control", "Doomsday"
and "Grannys on the Swat Team". Great stuff! Man, I really
like this tape a lot! This is definitely the best straight forward,
no thrash involved, hardcore punk tape that I have EVER heard!!
CERTAIN DEATH are definitely a super original punk band.
Bob Berry, Thrash 'Till Deaf fanzine #3, Marion, IN (1987)
I got the package (of CDs) you sent - quite a treasure trove! Of
course I had to put on Riff Raff first for old times sake. Wow,
what a time warp. But I enjoyed listening to the Certain Death
Retrospective much more. Certainly in the spirit of the original
punk ethos - fun not mean. Great sense of humor, and I was always
a big Get Smart fan so I really got a kick out of "KAOS in
Control". Great guitar work, I remember Scott Morrow always
telling me I should check out your guitar playing--Scott was right
as usual. (2007)
David Siegfried (vocalist David Tremor of David and the Happenings)
My favorite record, by Blarney in Blarney's Diary
Wed Sep 10, 2003. http://www.kuro5hin.org:80/story/2003/9/10/2539/30352
My favorite record is the out-of-print 1987 "Complete Death
II" compilation by Metal Blade records. It's got a gorgeous
cover with dragons and skeletons and monsters. The music is an awesome
tour of various styles which all fit together - I suspect that Metal
Blade was trying to manufacture a "Death" genre as a cross
between thrash and hardcore which has certainly been obliterated
from history since by Death Metal - there is no Death Metal at all
on this record. I wish I could find more music by the bands who
played on this record. I wish I could find "Complete Death
Some of the bands on Complete Death II are fairly well-known, and
their music can be found on P2P or in used record stores/websites.
The most commercially successful of them is, as far as I know, the
hardcore group Four Walls falling, from whom I have successfully
found a few singles and hope to find more in the future. Other bands
such as Angkor Wat, Lethal Aggression, and The Dehumanizers have
left strong memories behind or even continued to make music - and
next payday, I just might do some ordering of CDR's from some official
My favorite songs off of this record, unfortunately, are by bands
which as far as I can tell never made any recordings before or since
this compilation. "I'm core, you're not" by Alchemicon
is a sweet thrashing tune, with flying speed-metal riffs and slow
moshing verses. It's a song with structure - though played somewhat
sloppily, the composition is truly artistic. "Tomorrow's Alcoholics"
by Certain Death is a straight-ahead rock song played by a power
trio, with the fattest rhythm guitar tone ever chunking through
classic power chords and the occasional Mustaine-esque bass-third
grind switching off with solos soaring up and down the neck - occasionally
slipping out of the groove as the drummer misses a beat or two,
intentionally? nobody will ever know - only to slide back in with
a solid melodic and rhythmic resolution. This song should be played
at every keg party when it's time to go home. Whatever happened
to the guitarist/vocalist Danny Sleeze? I hope that he made more
music under some other name - which I maybe someday will listen
to or perhaps even already have. And whatever happened to Alchemicon
- they sound like they deserved to make it big, yet they didn't.
To think of the music that might have been...
REVIEWS: cassette years
Danny Sleeze: Blue Mushrooms
Danny Sleeze may be his name but there is nothing sleazy about his
music. Hot guitar, driving rhythms and assorted madness abound on
this offering from the decidedly bent (but definitely creative)
Illinois resident. Danny himself says of his music: "I pretty
much bounce around the music styles, prostituting and bastardizing
most of them, but hopefully with reverence." I couldn't agree
more, Danny. Crank it up, eat some blue mushrooms, and don't be
fooled by the price. Good Sleeze doesn't have to cost an arm and
Andrew Schoen, Independent Music Guide #10 , 1990
Danny Sleeze: Rosy Palm Reader
Danny Sleeze brings us another hard-to-pigeonhole release with "Rosy
Palm Reader." This sleazy boy gets around with virtually every
type of sound imaginable. Caribbean sounds, distorted guitars, mile-a-minute
drum machine, thumping bass, classical guitar, primal screams, animal
the list goes on and on. Occasional lyric and spoken
word show up, giving a glimpse of the inner workings of Mr. Sleeze's
rather warped brain. Each song is completely different and full
of surprises; just try to predict this one! This is the fourth and
last in the series of "Sleeze" tapes, so pick it up while
Andrew Schoen, Independent Music Guide #12, 1991
D.B. Imig: Never Learned Cooperate
If, as D.B. Imig claims in his extensive bio, "Never Learned
Cooperate" was recorded on a four-track with cheap mics, some
of the sound quality is pretty amazing. Likewise, the range of material
here is impressive. The machine drums and clever soundbites between
and during songs recall the first Big Audio Dynamite album, but
these 13 pieces are generally more strange and less pop. Despite
some cheesy keyboards and talk-singing, "Never Learned Cooperate"
gives Imig the opportunity to showcase his capable talents as a
guitarist and lyrical idealist. It carries elements of his experience
in ska and hardcore, and some surprisingly catchy and heartfelt
chord patterns. You just have to appreciate the experiments before
he delivers the goods.
Phil Rockrohr, Illinois Entertainer magazine, June 1994
Danny Imig: SUBBLUED
I got your CD but just recently was able to listen. Very unique.
I DO remember you guys from the old days. I am glad to hear that
you are doing well. As far as your tune(s) go, I enjoyed them; they
are clever and well written. (2004)
Steve Freund, Grammy Award Winning Blues Guitarist
Danny Imig: Long, Lost Buddy
Mid-life crisis meanderings and pathetic ramblings of a wanna-be
yet perpetual nobody destined to remain justifiably so. This megalomaniac
supposed Buddy Holly incarnate magnificently manipulates the mediocre
to no reward; and deservedly will wither away his days with a whimper--unlike
true gods who dare to go out with a bang. (2002)
Hunter S. Thompson, writer
Danny Imig: Bomb in My F-Hole
Overall I am always amazed at the breadth of your guitar styles.
Also it seems that you have stopped taking your soma. Bad boy, you
know how you get when you do that. (2004)
Timm Reasbeck, computer specialist
I got this CD in the mail and it had my favorite song on it: Norman
Meyer!!! Thanks for the music, it's ALWAYS great!!! (2004)
John Abdo, TV fitness personality, inventor
Danny Imig: Three Chord Idiot
By the way, I was listening to your newest CD in the truck again
yesterday. I've decided I really like the soundscape which appears
first. Pretty cool...it reminds me of the freeform stuff that I
did in Dr. Bocci's Moog lab back in the early 70's with Bob Pina.
We were inspired by John Cage, mostly. Also, I got a big kick out
of that one ending with the crazy chord ("Roadside Shrine");
I started laughing and then your voice comes in saying, "It's
a major/minor thing", and I laughed even harder. (2008)
Kevin Cox, saxophonist extraordinaire, graphic artist
Thanks for the CD. Got it the other day. VERY NICE! I keep playing
it in our truck and the kids love it. Very hard to get two teenage
girls who have grown up listening to a very selective, (my stereos,
my music!) list of artists and genres of music, agree they like
something TOGETHER! (2008)
Chris Czmryd, advertising mogul
This latest CD-- It's really good, man. My wife likes it, too.
Favorite tracks of mine, as I'm scanning the list of tunes ... "Three
Chord Idiot," "Not a Scat Song," "Once Around
the Track," and "Funk'n Insane." "Kerouac,"
"Injun Bloe" and "Big Bang" were cool, too.
But you show off a lot of different stuff here, man. Lots of genres.
Solid concept, impressive execution. This is my favorite CD of yours.
Gary Marx, free lance writer, editor Kansas City Star
Danny Imig: I Am Duhmingus
I hope you heard my telephone message about your new album. Linda
and I listened to it on the way to Chicago and really enjoyed it.
The new keyboard is a boon to you I can tell. I'm also impressed
with the recording quality. Best you've ever done. I'm becoming
more impressed with your poetry. Actually "Day of the Rope"
is among my favorite set of lyrics. I think, first of all, they're
NOT 'safe'. That's always a big plus when it comes to making 'real
art'. "Goodbye My Friends" is great too though. J.J. and
I had a laugh about the fact that 'in person' you are warm and light-hearted
but your lyrics are so nihilistic and dark. That's an interesting
set of circumstances. (2009)
Kevin Cox, saxophonist extraordinaire, graphic artist
Got the new CD. It's great! Love all the guitar work, and overall
recording quality. Probably my favorite to date. You're not getting
older, just better (or at least getting better toys to work with!!!)
Phil Broxham, drummer, independent video producer
Thanks for the CD. I always look forward to hearing where you are
going. I like the name. Yes, nice shred on track 4 (for an old dude.)
MORE CAJON! Beat that box bitch. The "Church is" tune
made me think of Peaches & Regalia. It has a real Zappa feel
to it. Sweeeet! "Day of the Rope" is just fun. I like
this CD. It creeps up on you. (2009)
Andy Gruber, guitarist/bassist, communications specialist