As it did with Frenching the Bully earlier this year, Broken Rekids has reissued The Gits’ Enter: The Conquering Chicken in newly mixed and remastered format, expanded with live tracks and featuring new cover art. The entire reissue project is important, because it brings both the band’s music and Mia Zapata’s vibrant, strident, and unguardedly passionate vocals to a much wider audience. But at the same time, isn’t it just so goddamn sad? The reissue’s additional live material proves beyond any revisionist harping that The Gits were a great band. They roar through the tense, nervy “Seaweed”, punch up the punk template of “Bob (Cousin O.)” with gritty, brooding guitar solos, and fuse hardcore’s lockstep aggression with Zapata’s furious lyrical soul on “New Fast One.” As for Conquering Chicken itself, even the somewhat muddy signature of its original C/Z release couldn’t dilute its power, so it’s not surprising that the record shines anew in the glow of John Golden’s remastering. A straight, bluesy cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” lets Zapata exist as a traditional vocalist would. Her style still bristles with barbs of emotion, but since she’s not required to bellow the words, they simmer instead of boil. (She finds a way to do both during “Precious Blood,” the following track.) Fleshed out with a few previously unavailable studio tracks and the live stuff, this new version finishes tidily what The Gits started with Frenching the Bully. But it’s also the defining statement of Mia Zapata’s legacy, both as an immensely talented frontwoman and a sad, angry, and beautiful inspiration. She was never fake, and The Gits were never boring. Life (and rock and roll) doesn’t have to be, either.
Read the Glorious Noise review of Frenching the Bully too.