Eddie and The Subtitles, better known as The Subtitles, now have made a path for themselves throughout punk rock history as the Orange County band that shaped the “Eddie Empire,” where southern California reigned in the name. Comprised of bassist from Middle Class, Mike Patton, and Eddie Joseph; not entirely too much is known about Eddie and The Subtitles as most of their music is substantially rare and almost unobtainable if it was not for the internet.
Thankfully, Skeletons in the Closet is one of those punk records that feels almost lost in time but is still in step with modern society. As the band that once played along Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Middle Class, and Vicious Circle, the band combined beautiful surf rock, 50’s doo wop, and a freeform style to their music that gave Eddie and The Subtitles a one of a kind sound. Even as Skeletons in the Closet was released back in the magical land of 1981; Eddie and The Subtitles were a strange concoction in the music world, but one that must not be forgotten and that shall live on through various websites and rare leaks of photos and their music.
Starting with a rapid hardcore punk track, “American Society” is a mosh-pit inducing thrill ride for a quick minute of two step drum beats and blazing guitar. The mantra is slowly changed over to the 80’s dreamlike guitars rather quickly in the next track, “Magic.” Here, Eddie and The Subtitles become more of a similar style in with The Cars, or even Cheap Trick. It is utterly fantastic to hear the sudden genre change and this appears to be the style throughout most of Skeletons in The Closet. Lyricist Eddie Joseph comes in with a radio-friendly style voice where he explains, “It feels like magic, like pulling rabbits out of a hat. I didn’t know that you could do that, magic.” Almost instantly, the track style changes yet again and becomes a quick dash in “Zombie Drug Killer.”
Not quite a hardcore track, but more of a new wave, Middle Class, Homeland-esque track that is almost over as quickly as it begins. There is a substantial amount of relying on the bass to be the real powerhouse of the track, and this goes for the following of “Treat Me Right.” Similar to a surf-rock track, the amount of switch-ups present is purely magical and definitely the highlight of Skeletons in the Closet. There is a track here for everyone, and for every style. Some of these tracks are also present on Eddie and The Subtitles Fuck You Eddie! compilation album. Tracks like the remaster of the 1963 classic by The Kingsmen, “Louie Louie,” “American Society,” “No Virgins in Hollywood,” and “Child Sin.”
Still following in the changing style, “Dave Dacron” comes into frame and repeats the chorus in something that sounds similar to, “Dead and Gone,” rather than the words, “Dave Dacron.” This could be and is most likely about Rhino 39 singer Dave “Dacron” Bratton who died in an auto accident in April, 1980. Then going into tracks like “Child Sin,” the sound goes back into more of a punk rock style where the bass, guitar, vocals, and drums are much faster paced and that goes for the track, “Boppin’ little Bobcat” as well. The surf rock distinction here is still present and it is interesting to see a compilation album created by one band. More of a sampler of their favorite sounds, it would be an incredible show to witness as Eddie and The Subtitles would frequently change their musical style to create these drastic differences in Skeletons in the Closet.
As I stated before, it is hard to find a complete physical copy of Skeletons in the Closet, but it can be streamed on various sites on the internet or the alternative of Fuck You Eddie! can be purchased for a relatively cheap price as well. Even as Eddie and The Subtitles no longer remain, The Subtitles are still around and are still active out in the world, letting the flame of punk rock never fade.