The Lookouts: Spy Rock Road (And Other Stories)

Punk-rock shenanigans from the mountains of California.

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If it wasn’t for the now highly notable punk rock names involved in the Lookouts, the band’s output would hardly warrant more than a cursory mention for fans of the 80s and early 90s scene.

As it happens, though, both Green Day drummer Tré Cool – a mere 12 years old here and initially unable to play – and future Lookout Records mainman guitarist Larry Livermore were founding members, and when you throw in early appearances by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and Operation Ivy/Rancid bloke Tim Armstrong the band’s importance as a talent incubator rises significantly.

Pulled together from their second album Spy Rock Road and a brace of EPs, plus some compilation tracks, this buzzing collection should make California punk rock historians very happy indeed as this material has been out of print for 25 years or so.

Sonically as basic as their infamous shack-in-the-middle-of-nowhere HQ, the tracks range from rough but charmingly naïve three-chord wonders such as Big Green Monsters to the relatively sophisticated and accomplished likes of The Green Hills Of England and Red Sea.

The spark of great potential is ever-present, and it’s fun hearing a bunch of precocious kids hammering seven shades of shit out of instruments they’ve yet to master./o:p

Essi Berelian

Whether it’s magazines, books or online, Essi has been writing about rock ’n’ metal for around thirty years. He has been reviews editor for Classic Rock and Metal Hammer, rock reviews editor for lads mag Front and worked for Kerrang!. He has also written the Rough Guide to Heavy Metal and contributed to the Rough Guide to Rock and Rough Guide Book of Playlists, and the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles (13th edition). Most fun interview? Tenacious D – Jack Black and Kyle Gass – for The Pick of Destiny movie book. An avid record/CD/tape collector, he’s amassed more music than he could ever possibly listen to, which annoys his wife no end.