Contains 11 songs.
Personnel: Billie Joe Armstrong (vocals, guitar); Tre Cool (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Carl Saff.
Liner Note Author: Larry Livermore.
Recording information: Art Of Ears, San Francisco (1985-1990); Dancing Dog, Emeryville (1985-1990); School Of Modern Music, Willis (1985-1990); Sergay's Recording Emporium, Berkeley (1985-1990); Sound And Vision, San Francisco (1985-1990).
Illustrators: Marissa Paternoster; Lauren Denitzio.
Photographer: Murray Bowles.
Say what you will about Larry Livermore, but the man clearly knows talent when he sees it. How many other guys would fast-talk a 12-year-old kid into playing drums in his band and end up with a guy who would later be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? Livermore not only drafted a preteen Tre Cool to keep the beat in his first band, the Lookouts, he ended up introducing Cool to Billie Joe Armstrong, making possible the Green Day lineup that would make pop-punk a lucrative occupation for hundreds of young people in the '90s and beyond. Given the kinda-sorta importance of the Lookouts -- as Cool's first band, the nexus that brought together Cool and Armstrong, and the act that birthed Lookout Records, which grew into an important indie punk label -- it's a bit of a surprise that their recorded catalog has been out of print for years, and Don Giovanni Records has finally given the Lookouts their due with Spy Rock Road (And Other Stories...), a 24-song anthology that provides a fine overview of the band's 1985-1990 recording career. Spy Rock Road (And Other Stories...) opens with three tracks featuring Billie Joe on guitar and backing vocals (Livermore brought him along to reinforce his own rudimentary six-string skills), and two in the final third feature a pre-Rancid Tim Armstrong (using the nickname Lint), which will provide the greatest interest for California punk historians, though the rest of the material doesn't sound remarkably different. The tempos range from midtempo punk to speedier tracks a notch or two below hardcore, the tunes are simple but reasonably catchy, the performances are a little sloppy but generally they connect, and there's a reasonable lyrical balance between the goofy and the angry/anthemic (though "Religion Ain't Cool" is so clumsy in its anti-Christian ranting that it could pass as satire). In most respects, the Lookouts were a rather ordinary punk outfit, but they anticipated a sound and scene that wouldn't bloom for another few years, and the band ended up being the springboard for some major facets of the Bay Area punk scene. So Spy Rock Road (And Other Stories...) is certainly worth a listen for punk rock historians, and viewed on its own merits, it's good fun from some guys who were still learning their way through rock & roll. ~ Mark Deming