Ontario Bands Series: Diodes – Best Of The Diodes: Tired Of Waking Up Tired (The Original Recordings 1977-79)
The Diodes formed in 1976 at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) in Toronto. Their first gig was opening for the Talking Heads a year later, so it must’ve been going alright!
Their first big hit was a punker cover of the Cyrkles’ Red Rubber Ball. On top of a wealth of really cool original tunes, they also covered Max Frost & The Troopers’ Shape Of Things To Come to some acclaim. In the next few years, they went on to play with all sorts of bands like Cramps, Dead Boys, Ramones, even U2 and Gary Numan. They released three records and one compilation of unreleased tracks between 1977-82. They had a solid reputation, and were considered big (especially by Canadian standards). In 2011 the Toronto Star ran a poll, wherein the Diodes were voted “Best Toronto Band. Ever.”
In another cool, passing connection, sharp-eared film fans can catch Hugh Dillon singing/muttering the song “Tired Of Waking Up Tired” during a late night drive in Hard Core Logo…
This compilation collects all 25 of their recordings for Epic. We get the entirety of their first two records (The Diodes  and Released ), as well as a bunch of unreleased tracks and non-LP versions. It’s track after track of awesome punk new wave mayhem. Hey, wait a minute… New Wave, you say? Don’t worry, it has an edge to it and it’s satisfying as hell.
It may sound a wee bit quaint now, some of it, but to me this is really freaking great stuff. Honestly, it sounds like the Jam. And that can’t be bad! I certainly wasn’t cool enough at the time to have gotten to these guys, but I wish I had. Of course, I was 8 years old when they split up, so in my small town I wouldn’t have even heard of them, let alone been old enough to be on it at all.
One thing I wish: someone out there must have a live recording of these guys, and I’d love it to be released so we could hear how the energy of these songs translated into a raw live setting. I’ll bet it kicked all sorts of ass.
Despite the respect for the band, I still say these guys were underappreciated. They shoulda been huge. This compilation proves that they were a highly capable group, and they fit the sound of their day perfectly with intelligent, fun, edgy songs.