The Means

The Means website

Rocktober #38

The Means mean business and this thing rocks like the guitars are mops and the band is made up of janitors on crank. This record is ugly, naughty, and nasty.

Slug Magazine

Sometimes spitting forth chunks of steamline rhyths, other times stair-stepping matehmeatically through looping chords. The Means have provided us with a diverse record that is both aggressive and exciting. The bulk of the songs on “The Divine Right of Means’ (minus a couple almost poppy numbers and a sleek, disturbing piano ballad) are pretty much pa for the Means’ professional-grade course. Call it swuirrely and inventive or spastic and nerdy (though definitely dangerous), most of these songs are about as good as it gets nowadays

Scratch Magazine

The Means play it abstract and smart with a great hard-rock intensity. There is a lot of artsy fartsy chance taking that works, Beatles charming at moments. Mainly, The Means rock. I hear a lot of The Pixies. Sometimes it sounds like a lost recording of The Pixies—which, of course, bugs me. I got a chip about bands riding around on other people's shaft of light. When THE DIVINE RIGHT OF MEANS is at its best is when The Means is getting ultra-weird. The two-minute ending on "Charlize Theron (Blast Majesty)" is very creative minimalism. The disc's big surprise is track 13, "Honey Bayonet", a convincing piano and voice tune. THE DIVINE RIGHT OF MEANS is a masterpiece in some ways. I believe The Means love this album. Their heart is in the mix. What more do you want?
-H. Barry Zimmerman


Columbus, Ohio's The Means follow up their debut album (Vil/Viol) with an even stronger release. Recorded on and off during 2002 and 2003, The Divine Right of Means is a heavy dose of smart and intense rock. While the band's harsh assault may initially sound like a thousand others, upon closer inspection it becomes clear that these guys are playing some rather complicated and unusual material. And while the vocalist is a screamer (and man, what a screamer he is), he actually manages to carry a tune while tearing his vocal chords to shreds. In addition to the loud stuff, The Means also include some unexpected twists this time around...most notably the unnamed seventh track...which has a spooky, moody sound (musically not unlike The Residents). Obviously destined for obscurity, The Means are playing for a small, select crowd. Most folks will hate 'em...but their diehard fans will most likely remain loyal for many years to come. Strange out-of-control rockers include "Dear Hendrie," "Australians," and "Campaign Blvd." (Rating: 5)

Chin Music #7

The actress Charlize Theron won her academy award not only due to a spectacular performance, but also due to the effect that her transformation - a delicate beauty into a homicidal monster - had on audiences. Makeup artists spent hours applying a leathery hide to the former fashion model to complete said transformation. The power in the role and in her performance lies in the fact that somewhere, underneath that monster, there lived a scared, vulnerable, delicate beauty. Track 12 of The Means’ “The Divine Right of Means” is named in honor of Ms. Theron and plays out like a hardcore CD stuck on skip. A true monster of a song deformed into a demented version of itself; fractured and pieced back together before being electrified into life and stumbling around after local townspeople. At first listen, this track, along with the rest of the album, appears muddled and monochromatic: heavy guitar, pounding rhythm section and a screaming lead singer all producing a wallpaper of noise. Upon further listens, however, the songwriting blossoms into something a little more sophisticated. There’s an ugliness and a sloppiness to the music that spills out and then is neatly reigned back in by a contrasting minimalist approach to production. A spastic, freeform hardcore jam transformed into a single drum beat counting out a low-voiced incantation. A bossa-nova beat here, a Hammond organ there, a gothic swampiness here, a French children’s song there, and then here, after so much thundering noise, a piano ballad worthy of Billy Joel. Throughout, sonic ingredients such as chatter from a television, banter from the recording studio or a muffled snippet of a movie soundtrack are thrown in to fill in the holes and fuse the album into a complete experience. One suspects The Means have more in store for us than the cold, hard front they project. In fact, the general impression is that with many of the pieces there is a delicate melody living inside the monster, clawing its way out through the leathery hide. by Peter Berkley

There was once this band by the name of the Spiveys; three gentlemen that formed a truly garage punk band with all of the ferocity of a pissed off lion. The Spiveys only released one full length album, titled V, which plays like a half hour train derailing only to catch the rails again and go merrily on its way after all is said and done. After his stint as the Spiveys frontman, Jason Frederick went on to lend his tormented vocal chords and awesomely raucous guitar to a new band by the name of The Means. The Means picked up where the Spiveys left off, with a more focused sound, but with the same ferocity as before, if not more.

On their third full length effort, second on Doubleplusgood Records, Divine Right of Means, The Means trade in some of their raucous tendencies to adopt more of a swagger. The ass kicking starts with “Dear Hendrie” and continues straight on into “Australians” for good measure. Dual guitars pummel the ears with dissonant melodies and the bass and drums pound away with little regard for anything but creating balls out rock.

“Fitzpatrick” shows off The Means’ ultra cool swagger with a slowed down guitar rocker. The Means have listened to their fair share of Iggy Pop and the Stooges and the MC5, which comes through on Divine Right in a very good way. Of all of the garage rock being thrown around referencing the Stooges and the MC5 as influences, I have yet to hear anyone that does either of these bands justice to the extent that I hear The Means giving love to these seminal groups. The Means’ raw emotion and energy are a welcome port in a sea of mediocrity when it comes to garage rock. Divine Right’s high point is “Cheap Whine”, a combination of sauntering guitar lines, half sung vocals and all out rock.

With any true rock and roll band the main draw is going to be between the vocals and guitars. The Means are not different; Jason Frederick’s screams and half sung vocals are the heart beat of this band, meanwhile the guitars distorted melodies howl. The bass and drums provide a larger than life low end adding to the chaos that is The Means on Divine Right.

The Means hone in their rock assault on Divine Right of Means, balancing all out rock with a more controlled approach, that finds them firing on all cylinders creating a total rock experience. You may not have ever heard of The Means, but there are definitely worth taking a look into and a chance on.

Impact Press

"The Means" I thought, "So is this like the Œmeans' to an end or is this like the opposite of nice?" Clearly it's the latter. "Dear Hendrie," the first cut on this 14-song disc is like the 2004 version of "Mother" by the Police. It's slow, heavy, loud and it smacks you in the face. Then when you need to catch your breath, "Australians!" kicks in and you know you're in for a first-class shit-kicking. This is heavy without being stupid. Some bands are heavy just to be heavy but The Means don't play that way. They're heavy but the songs are tight and an absolute blast. Even a slower song like "Fitzpatrick" is heavy but mellow. Make sense? It won't until you hear it. "Alright That Down" is just an effing great song. I could go on and on but I'd rather listen to this without the annoying sound of my keyboard. Buy this. It's 14 songs! You can't beat it! (SH)

“VIL/VIOL” 2002
dpg 006

Lollipop Magazine

by Craig Regala

Hissing, barking, drilling and sputtering cantankerousness splattershot through a hard-nose garage template that doesn’t ignore the past twenty or so years like many do. They don’t do anything dumb either; everything fits nicely. Using a basic guitar/bass/drums/singer setup, they bash along without resorting to tired “good ole” bar punk. That shit’s just creeping up my ass big time. Get past watering down the Stooges/MC5/Dolls back into the tedium it sprung from, please. The Means, like the Chicago bands The Nerves and The Dishes, or the late, great Brainiac, or even their Columbus, Ohio contemporaries, Grafton, have a voice and identity. They also have a couple tunes you could chuck between The Hives clipped Mod/New Wave garage hunch, The Strokes New York cool version of Violent Femmes and The White Stripes decon/recon/demo-as-duo roots chattering. Yeah, it’s a little rougher than that stuff, but so’re you, right?

Delusions of Adequacy

The Means is an Ohio-based quartet who is here to fucking rock. These misfits tear through 11 unrelenting tracks in a mere 28 minutes, each one as aggressive as the next. Not one second passes where you don't feel like you are being hit repeatedly with an aluminum bat. Filled with snot rockets and fistfuls of punk attitude, these are the type of guys you don't want to be caught alone with in an alley, or so the music could imply.

It's refreshing to hear an album that won't even offer you a second to breathe, an album that maintains fireball intensity without opting to calm things down for variety. Sure, "All They Hide" is a somewhat asinine attempt at a dithyramb, but it's placed at the end of the album, leaving the previous 10 songs to rock the letters off your Abercrombie sweater (which ultimately makes the sweater pointless, doesn't it?). Even their song titled "Charlize Theron" hits harder than my drunken dad on a Sunday night (kidding!).

Without the lyric sheet, there's no way in heaven or hell I could decipher the raspy bellowing. But the band's strength is not derived from the lyrics, but rather the abrasive instrumentation and biting rhythms. Comparisons can be drawn to Nirvana, namely "Tourette's" (the song off In Utero that featured Cobain at his most violently destructive). Even the lyrics are reminiscent of the late 90s rock group: "I'll be your boy / come and get it / you've got a cancer / it's in your tit / comin' home an' I'm a cut him right out of it."

Okay okay, the idea of "being rocked" has been somewhat homogenized over the past few years, since even a restaurant or purple socks can "rock" nowadays. But I can honestly claim that The Means rocked any trace of purple socks clear off my feet. The band made me realize that I was overdue for a good kick in the arse, when just about everything else I've listened to this year has related to the words "transcendent" or "experimental." The Means definitely have its act together, and if you don't get yours together (by ordering through Minneapolis' Double Plus Good), you might get kicked in the arse, too.


The Means are a very spastic garage rock band, teetering on the edge of punk rock, much in the way that did the late great Nation Of Ulysses, who obviously influenced The Means more than a little bit. There are few bands out there truly worth copying, but I truly think Nation of Ulysses is one of them.

As can be expected, the songs on VIL/VIOL are 100% rockin', often times reminiscent of The Cramps (see "Consider Yourself a Hero"). The guitars are very warm and jangly, with overdriven sounds rather than distortion. The drums sound very big and full, kind of like Led Zeppelin's drums, or drums when Steve Albini records a record. The singer is a total spazz, and he sounds very much like Ian Sevonius.

The songs on VIL/VIOL are predictable, for the most part, with exception being given to "All They Hide," which is a drunken cowboy's lament, played one acoustic guitar and piano, with terribly vocalized lyrics moaning and groaning. I would have preferred The Means to have ended on a more rockin' note. VIL/VIOL is a very well done record, chock full of enough slinky guitar riffs and hard hitting drums to please just about anyone who loves garage rock.

On a side note, the artwork for this CD is fantastic! The covers are three-color silk screens (yellow, red, and black) and the colors are so vibrant and wonderful that I nearly jumped out of my pants at the sight of that eagle attacking the snake!

Impact Press

The Means • Vil/Viol • doubleplusgood • Gritty, incisive, and powerful, The Means play an unclean, ferocious version of rock that has very little nutritional value, but tastes awesome. It's ugly and screeching, and that's the way it wants to and should be. They're not going for any Grammys, they're going straight for the jugular. Few bands bring this kind of raw power.


Loud in-your-face garage rock played with fierce intensity and belch-induced fury. Frontman Jason Fredrick has a growling screaming roar of a voice that could shake the dead out of Hell. The Means are a band in constant overdrive. The rhythm section sounds like they've overdosed on steroids...and the guitars are distorted and loose. But it's those over-the-top vocals that are this band's trademark. These tunes are all rock and roll with no frills...and no crappy production tricks. These men shoot straight from their hips...and in doing so provide quality and totally believable rip-roaring rock. Hard and furious show stoppers include "Primitive," "Record Holders in the Blood Purge," "Consider Yourself a Hero," and "(t.p.) Massacre." Intense stuff played with great big GUTS. (Rating: 4+++)