Flat Duo Jets Releasing Special Box Set For RSD

04-13-2017
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Flat Duo Jets

Flat Duo Jets have announced that they will be celebrating this year's Record Store Day with a special reissue of their 1990 self-titled debut album, expanded into a new three-disc vinyl box set.

The new package will be entitled "Wild Wild Love" and will include a 40-page booklet with vintage show flyers and photographs, plus liner-note essays by Bingham, Grier and critic David Menconi.

We were sent the following details: Singer/guitarist Dexter Romweber and drummer Chris “Crow” Smith were still teenagers when they formed Flat Duo Jets in Chapel Hill in 1984. Inspired in equal measure by the Cramps’ haunted rockabilly and vintage drive-in horror movies, they cooked up a metallic version of rockabilly that sounded as if it had been launched into the deepest quadrants of the astral plane.

“I had this place behind my mother’s house, The Mausoleum, and that’s where we formed the Jets,” says Romweber. “It was this campy ’40s horror kind of place. Gothic, but not English neo-gothic – more like the ‘Addams Family’ – and that’s what we tried to make Flat Duo Jets.”

The combination of Romweber’s wild-eyed rockabilly howl, madman surf guitar and Crow’s pulverizing runaway-train drums made for a stage show that blew minds all over the college-radio circuit. The Jets spent just enough time in R.E.M.’s hometown to appear in and steal the 1987 documentary Athens, GA: Inside/Out before they expanded to a trio lineup and connected with producer Mark Bingham to record Flat Duo Jets, an album that still sounds just as powerful today.

“No overdubs, no nothin’, just straight to tape like it was 1957,” Bingham says of the recording sessions. “So we had to do it right the first time. It was very seat-of-the-pants, which seemed fine with what the Jets were doing.”
Disc One of Wild Wild Love has all 14 Flat Duo Jets tracks, including “Wild Wild Love,” which they played in a career-making 1990 performance on “Late Night With David Letterman.” Disc Two adds a baker’s dozen outtakes, and the ten-inch third disc has all six tracks from the 1984 cassette-only mini-album (In Stereo), appearing on vinyl for the first time.
“About 1,500 of the cassettes were spun up at a manufacturing facility in Burlington, one whose usual output was gospel recordings and self-help narratives,” says (In Stereo) producer Josh Grier. “This really was the definitive home-grown product.”

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