Ep 44 – Song 1: “King Size Cigarette” by The Law

Ep 44 – Song 1: “King Size Cigarette” by The Law

“Well, The Law was, like, Des Moines’ big pop-punk band, and they decided that, since nothing was going on in Des Moines, they would move to Boston.”
– from an interview with Scruffy the Cat’s Stephen Fredette on the New, Reviews, and Interviews website

“(Charlie Chesterman) brought punk rock to the plains, way back when such a thing just wasn’t done. His band the Law plowed that sound into the heartland underground and it’s never been the same.”
– from the liner notes of Chorus Vs. Solos: A Tribute To Charlie Chesterman

“When I was still in high school, a long, long time ago, the only radio station I listened to regularly was WPRB, operated by students at Princeton University. I first heard a lot of great bands through the station, including some that eventually became standard-bearers–R.E.M., the Violent Femmes, the Minutemen, the Feelies, Mission of Burma–but to be honest I know I’ve forgotten the great majority. I learned about groups like the Neats and the Dream Syndicate, who didn’t quite get canonized but still mean just as much to me now as they did nearly two and a half decades ago. And I remember a handful of songs that earned a special place in the station’s rotation but were by bands that nobody really knew much about, even at the time.

“One was called “King Size Cigarette,” a fantastic, ultracatchy garage tune by a band from Des Moines, Iowa, called the Law, reputedly the state’s first punk act. It’d been released as a single in 1980, but WPRB had transferred it to a cart–a bulky cartridge containing a tape loop, usually used for commercials or public service announcements (I know this because I eventually got to DJ on the station one evening in 1986). Another fine song from the single, “Reason for Treason,” also got some airplay. The Law’s front man, Charlie Chesterman, later moved to Boston, where he started Scruffy the Cat. A great holiday song by the Law called “What Did Santa Claus Bring You for Christmas?,” cut in 1981, eventually turned up on the My Pal God Holiday Record, a compilation released by WPRB alum and former Chicagoan Jon Solomon.”
– from a post by Peter Magasak on the Chicago Reader website

UPDATE 3-11-17: Fixed a mistake in the lineup where it correctly listed Eric Coleman as the drummer.

Chuckie Suicide (Charlie Chesterman) – Vocal, Guitars
Tim P. The Very Dangerous (Tim Johnson) – Guitar
Billy Disease (Kevin Hensley) – Organ, Sax
Mac Paul (Mac Stanfield) – Bass
Bolt Upright (Tad Hutchison) – Drums

The Law on The Underground Archives:

Charlie Chesterman home page:

Friends of Charlie Chesterman Facebook page:

To download the whole podcast, right click the link below and hit “Save as…”:

Labels: 1980, 1980s, Charlie Chesterman, Des Moines, Des Moines area, Ep 044, Eric Coleman, Indie and Alternative Music, Kevin Hensley, King Size Cigarette (song), Law (band), Mac Stanfield, pop punk, punk, Tim Johnson


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