The Punk Vault

Selections from The Punk Vault [Big Apple Rotten to the Core]

Various Artists – The Big Apple Rotten to the Core LP (1982 Sin Records)

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.






15 comments

  • Yeah, the same thing happened to me, but back in PA. The Lehigh University radio station WLVR had several punk shows. I used to record them on 90 minute cassettes and make compilation cassettes of the best songs played on those shows. They used to play a lot of songs off this LP. I love it, and think it is one of the best comps ever made.

  • The Big Apple Rotten To The Core is the best punk compilation I’ve heard. I bought it for $50 at Bleeker Bobs in Manhatten many years ago and now it is selling for $100. My ex-girlfriend has Vol 2 and I loved it. She refuses to sell it to me.

    I too always wondered what happened to Ism and some of the other bands on both albums.

  • SIN records was run by Joe Ism (I was in B’Nai Brith with him!) and Bob Sallese (a college buddy of mine.
    ISM’s had a couple of great singles. One was White Castle 3 am b/w Queen Jap (a take-off on Steve Martin’s King Tut).
    And of course their punk version of The Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You” got a fair amount of airplay.

    The Mob were also homeboys of mine in Douglaston NY.

    ISM also had a great LP called “A Diet For The Worms” which had a close-up of the mircacle of child birth right on the cover!

  • rich, you ever hear of a band called dirty pillows? The bass player can’t play but otherwise they’re great!

  • any happen to have a pic of the Diet For The Worms cover? any help in this regard would be much appreciated.

  • Jism.
    Real name jossi ismach (not sure of spelling)
    he grew up in bell park gardens , queens
    I believe there still is a web site for BPG called “top of the court”

  • ISM WAS ONE OF THE GREATEST BANDS I EVER HAD THE PLEASURE TO BE A PART OF. IN THE 10 + YEARS THAT I PLAYED WITH JISM, I HAD ALMOST COMPLETE CONTROL OVER ARRANGEMENTS & MUSICAL CONTENT. (ALMOST!)
    THE MATERIAL WAS DEFINITELY AHEAD OF IT’S TIME. IT NEEDS TO BE CLEANED-UP AND REISSUED!!!
    (TO BORT: I’LL SEE IF I CAN GET THAT “DIET FOR THE WORMS” COVER SCANNED FOR YOU)

  • Hi,
    I’m Kitty Hawke, bassist for Killer Instinct on the first volume of Rotten To The Core.
    My present band is called Dead Emotion.
    You can see two videos of us and other info at http://www.deademotion.com.
    We have a CD coming out in September.

    I’m interested in buying another copy of the first volume of “Rotten to the core”
    Unfortunately, the only copy I have is ruined.
    Please contact me at kittyhawkebass@hotmail.com

  • Im from Texas and happen to have a copy of diet for the worms on vinyl. Picked it up some where in mid -eighties..Love it and would like to find it on cd..looks hard to come by..

  • My friend had this album and let me record it on a cassette tape Has to be one of the best albums ever! where are copies why is not re-released who owns the rights?

  • I heard or read somewhere that jism from ism is in prison or was in prison and he has all the rights original recordings etc…anybody have any facts about this????

  • i love this lp. just bought a turntable at a garage sale and ripped it. this is the album that got me to a7 guildersleeves and cbgb’s. great roots stuff.

  • I was an artist for the headlickers and have most original art & posters printed for CBGBs and A7 Great Gildersleeves…back from the 1980s. I dated The lead singer David Dawson for years and also have super8 footage but don’t know how to post it. ‘Hey MOM” was the song on rotten to the core.

    • Marian,

      My name is Ralph gebbia and play in the mob that played with the headlickers early on. You mention super 8 footage by any chance do you have any of the mob? we are putting out a documentuary film and would love some stuff from those very early shows. let me know and as you probably know the Headlickers were one of the Mobs personal favorites.

      Ralphie G
      The Mob

  • Hey marian you have super 8 of The Mob they are about to make a film and that stuff would be awesome! let me know.

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