When I was a small teenager, I would listen to Kathy Chyna (I probably spelled that wrong) and Shrub’s radio show on WDGC, our local high school radio station. They played a song called “Moon the Moonies” by a band called Ism. I was instantly a fan and had to have everything by the band. It would take me a couple years to actually acheive that goal due to not having a car, or a job, or much money. Turned out that particular song was found on a really great old compilation of New York punk rock bands. Well, it wasn’t old then, but it is now, you get the drift.
The Big Apple Rotten to the Core was put out by Ism’s singer, Jism, and the band’s then manager on his Sin Records label. This same label would also put out all the early Ism records until I believe the band and manager parted ways. I once interviewed Jism for my fanzine nearly 20 years ago now, maybe someday I’ll reprint that. Ism was the standout on the comp for me, but really the whole comp was pretty stellar and also contained tracks from Butch Lust and the Hypocrites, Squirm, The Mob, The Headlickers, and others. I think they probably pressed 1000 of them and the thing remains out of print to this day.
Around 1987 when Ism would change their sound to be more of a rock band, Jism would put together a second volume of this compilation that featured only 2 of the bands that were on the first one, along with a whole slew of newer bands from the scene. It was on what I recall being his own record label. After that the band, and label, vanished into obscurity.
In the early 90s, Ism would self-release a “greatest hits” CD that was distributed by Caroline but had no contact or label infomation whatsoever. I lost touch with Jism shortly after he allowed me to use a couple tracks for my Immense Decay compilation and have been unable to find him since. Someone should seriously consider not only reissuing this on CD, but the entire early recordings of Ism.