Boris The Sprinkler ‘Bits O’ Boris’ and ‘Vespa To Venus’
Both on Beer City Records, both have a rating of 14 of 14
By Tom Smith
This month, for the same low price, I’ll be reviewing two albums instead of one, and one of these albums I’ll be reviewing not only on vinyl, but also compact disc.
Green Bay is the home to longtime Green Bay punk legend Boris the Sprinkler.
I’m not throwing “legend” around lightly. Their shows at the Concert Cafe here in Green Bay are talked about worldwide and the amount of compact discs they sold at The Exclusive Company was staggering when you factor in that they are a local band.
Boris The Sprinkler moved units not just in Green Bay, but literally all over the world and a number of different record labels when you consider 45 releases, split releases with other bands and appearances on numerous compliation albums.
Boris the Sprinkler toured the United States far and wide and even went to Europe.
Boris the Sprinkler got their fair share of press in all the finest newspapers, magazines and fanzines, so their legacy is pretty airtight.
What else could they do to further legitimize their career? Well, they didn’t need to do anything, but they ended up getting two more gold stars by releasing a comeback album and a compilation album of a- and b-sides of 7’ releases, songs from split singles, compilation tracks and I believe previously unreleased material.
The comeback album is Vespa To Venus, which ended a roughly 19-year gap between new Boris the Sprinkler studio albums (yes Boris the Sprinkler has released a live album).
Now, the most important thing about a comeback album is that it’s good or — even more preferred — great. Too many comeback albums are just destination Cutout Bin City (younger folks, please ask an older record shopper what a cutout bin is).
I’m happy to report that Boris the Sprinkler went with the option of really great.
Vespa to Venus is so great that in my personal rankings of Boris the Sprinkler albums, I put it right behind my favorite, Saucer to Saturn.
Songs that get my toes tapping are “I Tell Ya! Tonight! Tonight!,” “Bibby,” “Gamma Ray Girl,” “Rock N Roll Tangerine,” “Bang Shang-A-Lang-RI-La” and “([It Should Be Noted I’ve Been] Stayin’ On The) 13th Floor.”
Boris the Sprinkler thrilled Green Bay last summer at Badger State Brewing Company, playing songs off Vespa to Venus in a very well-attended event (the place was packed).
Vespa To Venus — when it was first released — was only on vinyl, which I always thought was a mistake since a whole generation of fans grew up listening to Boris the Sprinkler on compact disc, and personally that is my preferred way to listen to Boris the Sprinkler.
This problem is being corrected, and on Friday, April 14, Beer City Records is not only releasing Bits O’ Boris (their other gold star for releasing a compilation of rarities and unreleased material) on vinyl, but the compact disc of Bits O’ Boris which also includes Vespa to Venus.
The Green Bay UFO Museum Gift Shop and Records is so excited for this Boris the Sprinkler release that they will be having their first ever midnight opening the evening of Thursday, April 13. When the clock hits 12:01am and it’s technically April 14 they will open their doors.
This will be also a midnight opening for the new Metallica. (Coincidentally when both Rev. Norb — the singer of Boris the Sprinkler — and I worked for WGBW, we interviewed Jason Newsted of Metallica at the Brown County Arena.)
Songs that get my toes tapping on Bits O’ Boris are “Can’t Controllit,” “Little Yellow Box” (which might be my favorite song by Boris the Sprinkler), “(I’ve been hitting on a) Russia Robot,” “Ultimatum,” “Kill the Sex Pistols,” “Turn that TV Off” and “I’m Gonna Perforate You.”
Both of these Boris the Sprinkler releases are essential to anyone’s Boris the Sprinkler collection.