All My Records: Savage Brewtality – The Last Slice

All My Records:
Savage Brewtality
The Last Slice

by Jimbo Rosario

All My Records: Savage Brewtality - The Last Slice

I fear that Savage Brewtality was one of those “you had to be there” bands. It’s difficult for me to say though, since I was there.  Savage Brew was a party machine, a raging hardcore band, and an 80s and 90s pop culture quiz all smashed together. They were held together with sweat, beer, nachos, and shockingly mainstream interests in TV and movies–and I loved them.

I lived in Gainesville, FL from roughly 2002 to 2008. In that time I saw a lot of bands come and go, but nobody hit the scene quite like Savage Brew did. From their very first show I could tell that these maniacs had something intangible going on. How can you justify liking songs about burritos and boners? Beer might help, but so does an insanely fun live show. Savage Brew brought the chaos, there’s no doubt about that. Add to that the genuine niceness and generosity of all of the members and you’ve got yourself a band that will live forever in the hearts and decaying livers of all who saw them play, or was able to call them friends.

I was lucky in this regard. I got to hang out with these weirdos on a near daily basis–I was even on a bowling team with Jack (league champs!).  I got to know them pretty well, so I guess you could say that I was in on the joke.

On the other hand, if you never saw them live, never hung out in Gainesville in the mid-2000s, have never been to the Alachua County Fair, or insist that your hardcore be political or “serious,” then this record may not be for you. I can understand that to a certain extent. It can be hard to laugh at an inside joke if you’re not part of it. You may find it downright annoying.

For me, however, I love every single song on The Last Slice. It’s true that I was there, and in on the joke. I know how much Jake loves Full House, and that Keith is obsessed with Weekend at Bernie’s, but there’s more to these songs than just the goofiness. The goofiness is great, don’t get me wrong, but there is a spark here that goes beyond the pop culture references. Maybe I’m biased, or just being nostalgic. I don’t think so, but who knows.

I will admit that this recording doesn’t quite capture the fun of their live shows. When a band is so amazing and unhinged live, that’s a tough thing to pull off. The recording is a bit slick for my taste, especially for this style of music. They may have benefitted from a more “raw” recording. That’s a completely subjective gripe about a record, and I don’t mean it as a slight because the songs are still great, but what can I say, I like raw hardcore.

One of the best things about this record is the cover. I’ve never seen album artwork capture the essence of a band better than this one. I remember Jake describing it to me before I ever saw it and I started laughing out loud. All the heavy hitters are there, everyone who is anyone. It’s just perfect.

Years ago, while watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, Geis told me about his plan for the closed groove at the end of the record. I thought it was a ridiculous idea at the time, but when I finally heard it, I laughed out loud again, and couldn’t believe they actually went through with it. It’s the perfect ending to a record that, like I said, is likely to annoy people who aren’t in on the joke (you have to listen to the actual vinyl version to get the full effect and be properly annoyed). Sorry for your loss.

A more energetic band from that era and from that region of Florida is not likely to be found. Maybe BRP, but it’s close. I had more fun than I deserved running with Savage Brew, and it was an honor to be included. This record captures a time in my life that I will always hold dear, even though I have no desire to go back to the wild lifestyle of those days. Maybe you had to be there, but I really hope not. I hope you get as much out of this record as I do.


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