Pop: Ready for a renaissance of rock

While anti-Yank fever was running high in Britpop back in 1996, San Diego's Rocket From The Crypt well and truly bucked the trend. Their shows were busting at the seams, on the promise that these six snappily dressed young rebels would put on the finest, coolest rock and roll show you've ever seen.

But even now, the initial hysteria has died down, it seems their best is yet to come. And frontman Speedo still talks rock and roll fervour with almost intimidating intensity. Although polite, he doesn't take too kindly to the idea that the band might have eased up over the last year: "The tours have have kept rolling. For us to rest would mean certain death - you've got to get out there and play, get the music to the people, spread the word," he says. "Ninety-nine per cent of what we do is stripped-down, organic rock and roll.

"We don't mean to make it sound like some dated timepiece, wallowing in retro ethics, but I believe in this day and age, a lot of people feel alienated by what's on the radio, what's being shoved down their throats. To those people I think we are a lighthouse through the shit and fog."

You sound almost evangelical! "Well, I think there are a lot of similarities in the gospel and religious reviews of yesterday and what we do. We are giving hope for the future of rock and roll." The biggest battle for the band, however, seems to be winning over their home turf. While Britain welcomed RFTC with open arms, America has been suspicious. The band hope the new album, RFTC - produced by Aerosmith producer Kevin Shirley - will change all that. "We are shocked and surprised at the enthusiasm and anticipation for this record," exclaims Speedo. "But, I still think what we do doesn't make sense to a lot of people. In the UK, we are seen as this ultra-American band, but over here, it's as if we are from outer space."

RFTC have a freshness and hot-horns vibrancy to blow away any whiff of a Brit backlash. And with new single "When in Rome Do the Jerk", stomping party rock once again drives home the band's ultra-serious declaration of intent.

As Speedo says: "The lyrics are very important to me. When we play a place, we make it our world, and that place might be perceived as Rome, y'know. It's a call, a demand for a golden age in modern rock and roll culture."

The Garage, N5 (0171-607 1818) 19 Jun

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