The Welders


The Welders Our Own Oddities 1977–81 LP

More than four decades after their demise, the WELDERS still remain one of the most supremely cool bands of all-time—five teenage girls (all between thirteen and fifteen when they started) who were inspired by the British Invasion and glitter rock to form their own band in St. Louis, Missouri(!) in 1975(!!), just before the first wave of punk would break in the Midwest and a whole year before the superficially similar RUNAWAYS would release their first album(!!!). The first four tracks on Our Own Oddities were sourced from an unreleased 1979 EP that BDR eventually rescued and pressed to 7″ in 2010 (the only recorded document of the WELDERS until now), with a glam-rooted power pop bounce presaging the Bomp!-ed sound of later groups like NIKKI AND THE CORVETTES. The members of the WELDERS were all bookish honor student types who consciously rejected any sort of tough, hyper-sexualized RUNAWAYS-esque posturing right off the bat, and the abandoned EP features some seriously smart, viciously clever songs that took lecherous creeps to task (“P-E-R-V-E-R-T”), embraced their good-girl reputations (“S-O-S Now,” a prude empowerment anthem written after they got grief for their reluctance to look at a photo of Captain Sensible of the DAMNED sans pants!), and skewered regressive patriarchal traditions (“Debutantes in Bondage”), with a classically lovelorn ’60s girl group-meets-bubblegum punk number (“Baby Don’t Go”) thrown in for good measure. The rest of the LP is an assemblage of never-heard live recordings, basement demos, and a handful of takes from free studio sessions that guitarist Rusty was provided with as part of a college recording class, charting the WELDERS’ movement through some lineup changes and stylistic turns as the ’70s ended, with keyboards and an expanding post-punk awareness entering the picture by 1980 (according to the liner notes, the multi-lingual jagged pop jam “Tourist Trap” was influenced by vocalist Colleen’s “favorite band MAGAZINE,” and it shows). It’s all uniformly excellent, and if some of those later rehearsal tapes had been captured in a less roughed-up context, they could have easily fit into a new wave landscape of B-52’S and ROMEO VOIDs—the alternate timeline’s loss is our current timeline’s gain.