The long-awaited reissue of Capital Punishment’s art punk masterpiece Roadkill is out today! The debut (and only) album from the NYC band featuring four high school friends — Kriss Roebling, Peter Swann, Peter Zusi, and A-list actor Ben Stiller —…
If I was to tell you that a band of NYC teenagers who met in 1979 decided to form a band influenced by Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Eno, Chrome and all sorts of proto-industrial music, it would be enough to peak your interest. If you learned they went to the lengths of recording an album while in high school without a label or distribution and actually pressed a couple hundred copies, even weirder. Now those records sell for between $200-$500, which perhaps isn’t unusual for such a rare record. You would expect the unlikely story of Capital Punishment’s Roadkill to end there — which would be cool enough. Except it doesn’t.
You then find out the band consisted of a future Supreme Court Justice for Arizona, a Professor of Slavic Studies, an Musician/Documentarian whose family built the Brooklyn Bridge and an A-list world-famous actor. The story goes from being about another rare, privately pressed recording that’s been re-discovered, into something that’s pretty incredible.
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Beyond whatever curiosity the membership entails, this record is a great example of the kind of home-spun, DIY post-punk that spaghetti-stained, bearded and/or balding collector scum drool over at dimly lit ego-stroking record fairs. “Delta Time” is a post-punk anthem, written on a lark, with a tongue-in-cheek British accent that sounds like if Television Personalities decided to become kind of scary. “Confusion” is an industrial psychedelic standout, with an eerie synth-lead verse that segues into a glam-rock chorus straight out of the Mick Ronson playbook. “Muzak Anonymous” is Beefheartian, Gong-afied freak-funk that needs to be heard instead of explained.
Captured Tracks is ecstatic to share the expanded, remastered reissue of Capital Punishment’s 1982 sole LP Roadkill. For a band of high school weirdos who actually got their shit together enough to make a completely uncommercial album with no means to sell it and still “release” it shows a lot of determination, persistence and perhaps insanity. But it’s always those kind of weirdos who go on to do great things. Just ask Judge Peter Swann, Professor Peter Zusi, Kriss Roebling and Ben Stiller.