"Andy Warhol would be proud. Spinal Tap would be jealous. Sergio Leone would be transported."
The Washington Post
Much like predecessors New York Dolls, Stooges and Dead Boys, The Factory burned like a roman candle, then disappeared into the night. The Washington D.C. band ruled the roost for a stint in the late 80's/early 90's, opening for Iggy Pop, The Ramones, Public Image, Ltd., and Johnny Thunders - turning the heads of both fans and music industry reps along the East Coast.
Led by Vance Bockis (formerly of The Obsessed, 9353 and doom metal gods Pentagram), The Factory ratcheted through songs of juvenile lust, drugs and working class bravado. They were a brash extension of late 1970's Rolling Stones, picking up where the strut and sneer of Some Girls and Tattoo You left off, creating an explosive concoction of straight ahead Rock n' Roll, Punk and R&B.
Despite drawing large crowds and wowing A&R reps, The Factory's lifestyle always walked the tightrope and in the end, they just couldn't keep it together. Like many before (and after) him, Bockis was brought down by his demons and faded into the dark alley of heroin addiction. Bockis was all but written off as another drug casualty of the early 1990's, even prompting future Foo Fighter Dave Grohl's D.C. punk band Scream to write a song about him called "GLC," which stood for "Good Lookin' Corpse".
"It wasn't easy growing up in the murder capitol of the United States," says Bockis, with a wicked sense of humor and amphetamine eye, "if I spent time in a white suburban middle-class environment, we'd probably ended up sounding like Musak."
Eventually, Bockis defied the odds and got clean. Unfortunately, the band didn't survive the turmoil and went their separate ways in 1992, drummer Mark Kermanj joining influential industrial rockers Chemlab and Scott Satorius joining Tesco Vee's Hate Police, fronted by the former singer of The Meatmen.
Now in 2010 - The original cassette tape that Factory guitarist Robbie Limon gave me at the 9:30 Club in 1990 stayed with me for 20 years. It was battered and worn by the time I made a digital archive to preserve what was left of it. I thought The Factory would be another band with nothing to show they even existed, nothing to seek out on eBay, nothing to find in a used record store - like L.A.'s Coma-tones, or Detroit's Torpedoes or Motor City Bad Boys.
After many futile online searches over the years I finally stumbled onto a clip of The Factory from a cable access show posted on YouTube by bassist Scott Sartorius. We discussed a releasing a record and miraculously were able to locate the 20 year old masters in various studios around DC.
"Self Submission" starts the record with the subtlety of an alarm clock, Bockis barking and sneering over tight rhythms, while closer "Six Feet Down" is a warning shot of things to come in a lifestyle pushed too far. In between, they effortlessly explore seedy, drugged-out, and sometimes majestic side of the city. From the disco-tinged "Love To Dance" to the melancholy "Misfortune Son", The Factory capture the gritty pulse of the D.C. streets on this self-titled release.