Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fiddlehead - Hometown Heroes


Here is the download: Fiddlehead en masse
Songs:
1. Waiting with Dave
2. Hard Genny
3. Lock End
4. Bleat
5. Slingshot
6. Sourdive
7. King Friday
8. Coppertop
9. Good Numbers
10. Bone Idle
11. Gordo
12. Breaker
13. Ex-Lion Tamer
14. King Friday
15. Sour Dive
16. Hard Genny
17. I Can Make You Young Again
18. Moneyman
19. Circles
1-6 from "Dod e" CD
7-13 from "The Deaf Waiter" CD/10"
14-15 from "Refuel" Compilation
16 from "Bag of Jakes" Compilation
16-17 from "The King Must Die" Compilation
18-19 from "Moneyman/Circles" Single

Fiddlehead was an amazing Atlanta band that seemed to exist on a different plane from what I was doing at the time, which is strange since I ended up playing in a band with one of them for 5 years. I saw them only a few times, once when the opened for Fugazi at the Masquerade in 1991 when Fugazi was touring under the Repeater album, once when they played the Somber Reptile in 1994 with Car Vs. Driver and Hoover. While I was in high school playing clubs like Milo's and The Wreck Room, they were releasing records on a national label (Allied Recordings), they were touring the country playing clubs (not houses), and they were writing some awesome songs, especially considering the era in which they existed. I still think “Waiting With Dave” is one of the best songs ever to be written by an Atlanta band, then or now. That song was all they needed to be brilliant, but they released several 7”s, comp tracks and an Album/10” before moving on around 1994. The lineup included Geoey Cook, Mike Haggerty (who joined the Navy when Fiddlehead broke up and then later played in John Brown), Bruce Bohannon (who played guitar in bands such as Freemasonry, Copa Vance, Monte Casino, Jumpstart), Kip Thomas on drums in the early part of the band (later to be in more bands than you can mention), and Kyle Spence on drums in the later part. Kyle Spence, along with Jerry Fuchs, are in my opinion the two best drummers Atlanta has ever produced. Kyle has played in and maximized the greatness of so many bands over the years, including Fiddlehead, The Martians, Harvey Milk, The Tom Collins, and even played with J. Mascis on some tours and who knows what else nowadays. At the time, Fiddlehead were the kings of post-punk in Atlanta, and I'm glad to have gotten to know at least some of them better over the years. I have included everything I have of theirs, but I'm sure there is a demo tape or something out there, so if there are any songs missing, please let me know.

There are several urban legends about Fiddlehead, which I have confirmed most but not all with Kip. One is that Bruce got one of his guitars by going into a music shop with an empty guitar case once and putting a guitar in and walking out, which I can't believe he got away with. Another is that Kip promised Bruce once that if he drank an entire bottle of hotsauce in their van, he would go in and buy Bruce a guitar. Bruce did it, and Kip bought the guitar for him. Also, supposedly when they were on tour they were supposed to play a house and the owner/promoter completely flaked on them and didn't set up the show, so they went to their van, got a fire extinguisher, and unloaded it on everyone in the house before leaving. Lastly, there is a great photo montage on their myspace page where they pass the Guns n' Roses tour busses on the highway and Bruce sticks his butt out the window with GnR Sux! written all over it. I'm sure there are plenty more, but that is all I can remember at the moment.

Here is what someone wrote about Fiddlehead in a blog called Built on a Weak Spot:

Fiddlehead was a tiny band that existed in the early 90’s that were based out of Atlanta, GA. They put out a few 7 inches, a 10 inch record, and two CD’s before calling it a day. I had no idea what I was going to do for today’s update, but earlier I was just sitting around listening to my iPod, and the song “Gordo” happened to pop on from their album The Deaf Waiter. It had been awhile since I had heard it, but it immediately reminded me at how great this band was. Their history is sort of an unfortunate one, as they were never satisfied with the recording of The Deaf Waiter and along with that would run into label issues when it came to getting paid, which according to their page on MySpace, is still an issue unfortunately. However, through whatever frustrations, thankfully the band stayed together long enough release what they did.


Below: Artwork from the "Dod e" CD on Allied Recordings, which was a collection of two singles on the label (1992-1993)

Below: Artwork from "The Deaf Waiter" Album on Allied Recordings (1994)




Insert from the "Refuel" Athens-Atlanta Compilation CD (1993)


Insert from the "Bag of Jakes" compilation single (1991)

Artwork from the "Moneyman/Circles" single (1991)

26 comments:

  1. awesome...between this and the freemasonry post, i thnk you've covered the highlights of the early 90's atl music scene.

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  2. ...except gheisch. i almost forgot about gheisch.

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  3. hard genny cuts off early!!!! wtf?

    I have some live shows of these dudes too...

    scott w.

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  4. Hey Scott - was it on the zip file or the individual versions of hard genny? I checked both the one with kip playing and kyle playing and they both seemed fine. Which one is wrong?

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  5. Hey Gray - just wait for my next post. You're going to love it.

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  6. Scott - can you send me a list of your stuff like that? Live Fiddlehead and others, demo tapes, etc. I'm sure you can fill in a lot of gaps here. Any luck on the Spiney Norman stuff?

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  7. i was asked by mike h. to book the fiddlehead 1993 summer tour (this was during my short stint booking shows). once mike i realized mike didn't want to play the usual DIY haunts (and got a girlfrient), i ran out of steam pretty quick but i'd like to think i was responsible for at least a few of their shows on that tour.

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  8. just fyi..."lock end" is the greatest fiddlehead song there is.

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  9. the Kip version from the Bag Of Jakes 7" cuts off early at the break. It comes back in after that...

    I found the Spiney Norman cd - just need to send it your way along with lots of other stuff.

    I remember when I drove Fiddlehead to a show in Augusta once and they left a little pipe in my van which I didn't find until months later. Luckily I didn't get pulled over...

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  10. gordo is my fave fiddlehead tune...

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  11. Gray - Lock End is the song where Bruce breaks the neck of his guitar at the end - listen for it. That makes it extra awesome.

    Scott - Awesome about Spiney. I figured out what the problem was with Hard Genny. I used the version from "The King Must Die" comp, since it was already transferred, but it doesn't have the end part (?!?). I transferred Bag of Jakes yesterday so I will be fixing the problem hopefully tomorrow.

    Matt - I really like the quiet Fiddlehead songs on The Deaf Waiter, it makes me wonder what they would have sounded like if they stuck around another couple of years. It's like when Lungfish made "Sound In Time" which had the quiet songs but still amazing.

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  12. geoey went in atlanta discount music with an empty guitar case and came out with a les paul that bruce later bargained for (i can't remember the details).

    once in harrisburg, pa, bruce and i went into the serious slums of said city in the middle of the night with a stranger we met in a campground to score some weed. over-the-top terrifying. we did get what we sought however. hey – we were out.

    and bruce ate a tablespoon of habanero concentrate that literally blistered his tongue for that guitar. "no liquid chaser" was part of the bargain. that detail i remember.

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  13. Kip - Love it. Fiddlehead band stories trump my band stories any day. One thing I forgot was you and Marcus coming to the Driverdome the day before the CVD summer tour 1994, and giving us Freemasonry records to sell. You guys were pretty well baked, and the next day we were pulled over and our van was searched by the police and a drug dog. The dog went immediately for the Freemasonry records, but couldn't find anything. I should have gotten a picture of that.

    Also, Chad Wiener told me a story about hanging out at the Driverdome during a show and telling Sarge that he was going to get coke, and Sarge told him "good luck in this neighborhood". Chad was just going to the gas station to get a soda, man.

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  14. Been enjoying your posts quite a bit! Fiddlehead takes me back. I went to high school with Kip and Mike (they were a few years behind me)After HS we all played in bands round ATL so our paths crossed on occasion.
    Anyway great blog keep it up!

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  15. Thanks again - if there is anything you are looking for from around that time just let me know and I'll try to post it. I'm getting all the Spiney Norman stuff soon, so that will be awesome. My main challenge right now is to post a Dirt discography, but I can't find the Sahara of the Bozart album anymore.

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  16. Always loved Fiddlehead! In fact, I saw them in Pittsburgh in '90 before I moved down to Georgia in '91. I have a tape or two of them live here at the house. I know I have a great recording of their last show at the Midtown opening for Rodan. Good times. And without a doubt, Kyle and Jerry are the best drummers to ever come from Georgia. Hands down. Hands fucking down.

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  17. You can't beat Kyle and Jerry. If you feel like it, upload a live set somewhere and I can post it here. I actually went to the Rodan show in Athens with the Martians, so I missed the Fiddlehead set.

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  18. Hey Chnkltgy - is there any way I could get copies of the last two Hal al Shedad shows? I know we borrowed the MDs at one time to put together the singles collection, but I didn't record the whole shows, which I would really like to hear, and probably post.

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  19. If memory serves, James, I gave Ed the masters. I might have a tape or two around here though.

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  20. Wow. I was bored working and googled my name and this came up. Love that you guys loved it too. Those were some of my best memories to date. FYI - I would be happy to fill you guys in on some of the stories too. There are several missing....

    Geoey

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  21. Hey Geoey - I'm glad you liked it! I'm always nervous about posting stuff by bands/people that I don't see very often, so it's a relief when I get a confirmation like this. If you want to put some stories into an email or other format and send them to me, I would like to include them here as probably a separate post. Any flyers, etc. that you might have would be great as well. Righteous.

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  22. That might be best done over a beer sometime soon. Let me know if you want to grab a beer and chat it up about the old days of the Atlanta scene - gcook@smartmarketer.net

    Geoey Cook

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  23. Pretty cool stuff. Some of that "Deaf Waiter" stuff even reminds me of the quieter moments of Shiner or somebody along those lines.

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  24. I have a Fiddlehead CD still in shrink wrap for sale. It's the black and white cover with the head of a guitar. It has 6 songs on it inlcuding Waiting with Dave.
    mcsorleysat@aol.com

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  25. Shiner was directly influenced by Fiddlehead. Fact.

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