"I'm Paranoid" b/w "Hurting Is Love"
Bad Checks is a local rock 'n' roll band that seems to embrace all the positive aspects of punk: a fast beat, justifiable rage, and a
concise, to the point and up-to-the-minute writing and arranging style.
At one set, the group performed both sides of their single to an appreciative house. Recorded at Audio Concepts in Chapel Hill and
released on their own label, this Bad Checks record is a fine example of the Do-It-Yourself philosophy of music.
-Tony Madejczyk / Spectator
Bad Checks - Graveyard Tramp LP
This debut album from a Durham, NC quartet is undoubtedly the best local release I've heard in months. They've been around long
enough to grow with their scene and develop a reputation for wild, high-energy sets: one 45 ("I'm Paranoid") was released a few years
back. Their basic sound falls somewhere near Cramps and Gun Club, yet their polish and wit easily places them in their own niche;
indeed, just as you spot an influence, say Stooges or Ramones, they careen off in another direction, succinctly and perversely.
"Darkness, Darkness" opens the proceedings like a sober Panther Burns tune-love that harmonica solo guys-and before you know it
you're in the middle of the Yardbird stylings of "Flesh and Bone" or the buzzsaw attack of "17". ("17" also makes a welcome appearance
on More Mondo NC comp). The title cut features a heavy Bo Diddley beat from an extremely tight rhythm section and some sleazy slabs
of lead riffing as the singer works out his fixation with (you guessed it) graveyards. Throughout the disc the production is crisp and clean,
yet not so much so that the basic dirtiness of the sound is obscured-and that's where the fun lies, for this is a record to be played real
loud long into the night. Highly recommended. (Loretta, Durham, NC)
-Fred Mills / Option
Bad Checks - Graveyard Tramp - 12"
Pretty basic rock-n-roll with a touch of rockabilly and a large hunk of pop. I'd put them into the same category as bands like Charlie
Pickett & The Eggs. No bad songs here and the musicianship is very good, as with the guitar work on"Flesh and Bones". A definate
recommend. I'd like to hear a lot more bands that sound like this. Excitement just barely reigned in!
- FFanzeen / Number Fourteen
The Bad Checks are legends 'round these parts. The Raleigh garage band has been doing it since the early '80s,
making them one of the oldest operating outfits in the Triangle. The Mann Brothers handle the guitar / bass duties
while a madman named Hunter handles the vocals.
-Greg Barbera / Spectator
Graveyard Tramp is a landmark victory for the Bad Checks and they recorded it on a budget that wouldn't pay for half of the catering bill
for the "we are the world" video.
"17," which is also on the fine More Mondo compilation, sounds fuller because this 7-song mini-LP allows more groove space and,
therefore, better sonic quality. You can really turn it up to woo your sweetheart. Or evacuate the neighbors. And the title track is pure
dementia. Landen's voice is possessed by such spirits as Edgar Allen Poe and Boris Karloff (you should see him do "Graveyard Tramp"
live - bring garlic).
The group and Paul Cooper did a fine job of production - the "Bad Checks Sound" emerges intact: kinda bone-crunching, kinda loose,
kinda bad, and kinda good.
Robin Mann's guitar playing is loud, sure, and full of the same speed and accuracy that he delivers at every performance (and without a
seat or helmet). Bassist Clif Mann plays an edgy English punk style of bass (999, Stranglers), which compliments his brother's
guitar-saw. Check him out on "No Time Like The Future."
- Tony Madejcyk / Spectator Magazine
BAD CHECKS / INNOCENCE
A fiery force, hidden in the isolation of the American countryside has turned up a garage band clear but enigmatic by the grace of rock
and roll and regrettably ignored in their own country. The French recording labels are always ready to cut into the tradition of a myth.
Sometimes something turns up with a lucky turn of the pickax. Bad Checks is a group of teenage-rebels who don't play rock and roll for
the artistic pleasure or for religious reasons, but rather out of necessity for survival. As if in prison, the cool head quick and intellegent for
whom the outside world ceases to exist. North Carolina is part of a golden triangle, a sacred territory. But Bad Checks do not celebrate
a dead myth. Instead they hurl it against a wall at a high level of speed to disintegrate the cynic, and as always alone settle for love and
desperate violence. A viscious circle. The spirits of Robin Mann are not yet decanted: "I'm gonna tell all my sticky friends dead baby
jokes, scream and shout a little, punch a couple of walls sit around and wonder why you don't answer my telephone calls". And
moreover the drums are strong but not overpowering. They havea whole sound, rounded out by the guitars rustic and brutal, heroically
spaced of the album. But why this cover? And why not the introverted lyrics? perhaps Innocent one time too many become humiliated.
-Gilles Ribrtolles / BB #224
Bad Checks "High Dollar"
I think this is a good album. Good music of the variety pursued by Bad Checks is hard to come by. They are sort of psycho-billy and fairly
convincing with it. I found myself mindlessly picking the album apart for flaws but found little......
So much props for Bad Checks for sounding like they are enjoying themselves and being able to pull that through into their album.
The Bad Checks are semi-ledgendary in their native Chapel Hill, and to my ears they're the only decent full-on rock 'n' roll band to
emerge from N.C.'s own city of hype......
-soul brother / GANK magazine
BAD CHECKS REVIEWS
"Hurting is Love b/w I'm Paranoid" (Bad Checks / Loretta Records)
The long-awaited single from this "nicotine fit" power trio of Durham is released and on the market for all you lovers of local music. I
heard a single was on the way at a Bad Checks' show a couple of months ago. Being quite taken by their live perfomance, I was anxious
to hear their 45.
The Bad Checks were worth waiting for. It is refreshing to see that a band from this area, of this particular mode, has made a
recording. "Hurting is Love", by Robin Mann, is a catchy tune with a good beat. The flipside, "I'm Paranoid", written by brother Clif Mann,
is also an outstanding cut. Both tunes have basic lyrics that could have come from anywhere, but they come from the local movement
and that makes them more attractive. Vocals are strong on both cuts. The heavy bass line really comes through on "Hurting is Love".
Overall, I am very impressed by this pop punk group, the Bad Checks.
-Margaret Johnson / Triangle Alternative
Bad Checks - "Hurtin' Is Love" / "I'm Paranoid" - US. 45 on Loretta Records
Nicotine fit punk trio from (Cig City) Durham, NC belts out Thunders / Heartbreakers-styled rough 'n ready rock in angry/damaged urban
-Disc Trading Co. 1982
"A mutant blues/punkabilly/garage rock outfit, Bad Checks was founded in 1980 by the Mann brothers, Robin and busy Clifton Lee (Pipe,
The Ghost of Rock, Chrome Plated Apostles). The old school rockers became one of the area's signature acts playing with about every
important underground punk and alt-rock group of the time. Alternating between a laconic rumble with the despondent blues pulse of
Jon Spencer and a muscle car guitar hum racing hell-bent for leather down old-fashioned rock-n-roll highways and unmarked dirt roads,
the quartet sizzles like steak gristle cooking on V-8 manifold. While still performing locally on occasion, their last album, High Dollar,
(YEP ROC) came out in 1998.
-Chris Parker / Indy Weekly Music Guide