Back in 1977, St. John’s, Newfoundland wasn’t exactly known as a punk spawning pool. However, a pair of mod-rockers named Rick Harbin and Mike Fisher (yup) formed their own group to take on the country acts and Trooper tribute nights drawing in crowds at local watering holes. Drummer Terry Carter (a.k.a. Pasquale Neutron), also a member of Newfoundland’s first wave sleazoids Da Slyme, rounded out the trio and introduced influences from The Sex Pistols and The Ramones. Taking their name from a lyric in The Jam’s “All Around The World”, The Reaction was born.
AUX’s own Sam Sutherland interviewed Fisher for his book on the birth of Canadian punk, Perfect Youth. “We’d come out in spandex leopard tops,” Fisher remembers. “And we would have flash bombs made out of gun powder in tin cans. I’d light a cigarette, introduce a song, then drop it into the can, and it’d explode. It was rather smelly, actually. And you can’t buy gunpowder like that now.”
The Reaction’s original line-up only existed for 10 months before Carter/Neutron’s departure. However, before their eventual dissolution in the early ’80s, they were able to record three singles including their highly rare self-released debut, valued at $1,500. The greatest artifact of the band’s brief existence is this basement video for their frenetic tribute to fishing complete with jazzy drumming, mysterious backing vocals (there’s only one mic), and a satisfying scream. Watch the shaggy hoser punks tear through this hooky tune and sing along: “G-g-g-g-get the rods out!”