‘I’m Gonna Smash Your Face In’: ‘60s bubblegum meets proto-punk on this obscure 1973 single
Wow, have you heard the 1973 single credited to a group called Grudge? It’s totally wild! These glamtastic tunes simultaneously recall previous eras and one that hadn’t happened yet. The A-side, “When Christine Comes Around,” at first brings to mind 1960s bubblegum and girl groups, and possesses a tough, chugging rhythm. As the song progresses, the vocal becomes more and more aggressive—turning into a punk-like snarl—with the music eventually switching to ‘50s-style rock ‘n’ roll. Wait, did I tell you about the campy Mae West section? Oh, just listen.
The B-side is a similar tune, but even more violent and shocking. And what a title! Few songs from the punk era can rival the lyrics on this one.
While the lyrics to these ditties weren’t meant to be taken seriously, the tracks were executed in earnest, resulting in their release on the little-known Black Label.
The Grudge 45 was largely the work of one Laurence Marshall, a prolific songwriter, singer, and producer who’s used quite a few different pseudonyms, but mainly goes by the name Laurice. In the early ‘70s, Marshall recorded another odd track, “Flying Saucers Have Landed,” which sounds like a production by ‘60s wunderkind, Joe Meek. It came out in 1972 as the A-side of a single under the name Paul St. John. “Flying Saucers Have Landed,” along with the Grudge numbers, are his most famous songs in the rock world.
Marshall was one of the earliest openly gay recording artists. Song like “He’s My Guy,” and the S&M-themed, “Born to Serve,” are amongst those in his repertoire. In 1978, he scored a hit as Laurie Marshall with the single, “The Disco Spaceship.”
The Grudge 7-inch has been reissued, and there are a couple of compilations that have been released in recent years. Get them via his Bandcamp page.
Now well into his seventies, Laurice is still very much at it.
Here’s Laurice performing “The Disco Spaceship” as Laurie Marshall on the Montreal TV program, Feel Like Dancing, in March 1978:
Previously on Dangerous Minds: