Boomkat Product Review:
"St. Jude’s ear for pop music and the sound of teenage rebellion had been sharpened over the years since he first started playing in dance bands across the northeast US in the mid-60s. His first solo album’ ‘Here I Am’, was released in 1977. Even though ‘Gang War’ is a studio recording, it captured entirely his presence and incendiary vibe. FM St. Jude’s musical concept for ‘Gang War’ formed a synthesis of different rock styles then in vogue, played expertly by studio pros capable of generating the sound of the radio in all its forms. Marinated in the sounds of Rush, ELP, Styx, Journey, Van Halen and even the mighty Led Zeppelin, FM and the band are remarkably supple, providing each mood in their rock opera with a musical style to match it. The 70s were giving way to the 80s in 1982, and things would never be the same. FM St. Jude strides fearlessly forward throughout ‘Gang War’, not trapped in any era. Before album’s close, one may even sense flakes of primal Paisley Park glittering in the air. Atop these divergent sounds, FM emotes with expert theatricality, evoking the depth of Bowie, Ferry, Plant, Pop, the Ians (Gillian and Hunter) - all the great lead singers of the day. This powerful combination lent itself well to a grim vision of the near future, a time in which gangs and despair rule over the country. Sensing an idea whose time had come, FM St. Jude sought backers. A 7” EP was pressed and immediately began getting airplay around Florida. Frederick made himself available to press. A number of provocative interviews and radio appearances followed but despite continued efforts, FM was unable to get the record released by any label. The rejections came from high places and low. It was the mid-80s and this idea didn’t seem to add up to a hit in the minds of any record execs out there. Now they’re all gone and Gang War is rising again. This is because ‘Gang War’ was a prophetic vision of a place that we’re only getting to today. In fact, this vision belongs more to now than it does to the early 80s. The age of the warlord is coming again, the era of niche consciousness, the dark internet, of only very good neighbourhoods and very bad places in our global village. Drag City are ready to respond with music and the vitriolic cries of rebellion found in the stadium rock choruses of FM St. Jude’s masterpiece, ‘Gang War’."