I’m a fan of the Penetrators. How can you not be? Their sound was so rimal, greasy, funky – total garage bashing and wailing. As frontman/singer, Jack “Penetrator” Lipton was an integral part of that sound, and here he is with his first solo outing, Bad Boy.
Upon first listen, it was pretty clear to my ragged ears that this was a thinly veiled departure from the Penetrators – thinly veiled in that, even though it had more spit and shine than the Penetrators stuff; it still had the same punk rock ethos on the underbelly.
The EP kicks off with an original, “Trouble”; very catchy roots rock in full force. Jack’s biting, level-headed sense of humor rears its head nicely in both “Trouble” and on the other original, “Get Off That Corner”, yet it’s more subtle and mature than in his Penetrator’s days. “Get Off That Corner” is reminiscent of Elvis Presley’s Chips Moman produced late 60s soul/gospel catalog (think ’68 Comeback Special and From Elvis In Memphis), complete with slippery Steve Cropper/Reggie Young guitar work.
Jack and band rip through two covers on Bad Boy also - the first being the Stooges classic “Search and Destroy”. The band’s sound is ultra heavy and tight on this track, perfectly matching Jack’s coarse vocals. Jack and band perform "Search and Destroy" so convincingly, that one truly believes they will bring the apocalypse to fruition!
Next, Jack and band take a stab at the Standell’s classic, “Dirty Water”. With its electric hootenanny-cum-gospel church rendition feel, it’s a true highlight of the record. Penetrator’s Eliot “Spike” Kagan lends his slithery hand on guitar with his trademark, raunch/funk perversions in tact. Just set up a room mic and hit the red button please, cuz we gonna jam!
Although most hardcore Penetrators fans may not get this record, it's a bold step forward for Lipton. It works because Jack is real in these songs, be it the originals or the covers. He’s still the same Jack Penetrator we all know and love, yet clearly more mature and refined. His voice has never sounded better either, with a nice grit that only comes with passing years. Overall this is a very solid effort, and we can only hope for more to come from Jack “Penetrator” Lipton.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Gene – writer, musician and radio host – Kalamazoo, Michigan