Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Car Vs. Driver Reunion Show - October 18, 1997

Here is the set: Car Vs. Driver Reunion Show - October 18, 1997

Car Vs. Driver played our official last show on July 21, 1995 when Jon Rothman moved to Misoula to study Forestry. Steve moved on and joined Scout on bass to replace Theo Witsell, I continued drumming with The hal al Shedad, and Matt did his thing until the two of us started playing again in 1997 with Joyce, which turned into Chocolate Kiss soon afterwards. Anyhow, Jon was back in Atlanta around the Summer of 1997, so the four of us were living in the same town again and decided to do a single reunion show. The show was at Under the Couch on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta, which was a nice performance space that hosted some great shows from 1996 to 1999 or so. CVD never played there when we were a band, but the Somber Reptile was on the downturn by this point and for this show we needed a place larger than the houses like the Driverdome and I-Defy that were booking most bands back then. Also, on the bill was The Promise Ring and Compound Red, both bands being at essentially at their peak at the time. I was nervous about headlining over TPR, as we were definitely not the indie/pop powerhouse that they were at the time, but it worked out in the end. We played a 13-song set, which leaned more towards our later material, but those songs were being written as we broke up, so it was nice to get to play them some more. One of the songs, I believe it was "Your Song", was never played live until this reunion show. The set was recorded by Scott MC from the soundboard, and sounds pretty good, although it cuts off before the last song "Without A Day", which is too bad as it was the band's most popular song. The show was also recorded on video, however, and Kevin from The Sound of Indie has posted the song on his great website - check it out here. He has been transferring many of my old tapes to DVD, and in return has posted some great performances from my collection. Jon Rothman bought an entirely new guitar and amp setup for the show, which in retrospect might have been bad idea as it would change our sound a bit. He used to play a Gibson Sonex guitar with a Marshall JMP 100 watt head (with no gain knob - only straight volume, which was loud) and the matching 4 X 12" cabinet. For this show he bought a Hiwatt head and a G&L Telecaster, which I believe he still uses. At our first practice in preparation for the show, the Hiwatt head blew the speakers on his Marshall cabinet on the first or second song, and he had to replace them before the show. I had my "new" old drumset that I bought earlier in the year after The hal al Shedad played several shows with T Tauri on the West coast. Their drummer Greem had a 24" kick drum, and after seeing it in action night after night I realized I needed one for myself. So I traded in my old Pearl set for a Tama Imperialstar from the 80's, and I still play these drums today. Steve had the same setup as usual, and Matt had the same voice, although he grew a beard for the show. We played pretty well, and although there is much more space in between the songs and more embarrasing banter, I think we were the same band that played two years before. If we played now, I have no idea what that would be like. We could probably do it, but Jon has been playing light indie rock for so long now I'm not sure if he could pull off the guitar work anymore.

Here was the flyer for the show - 1997 computer graphic design style.

Here is my set list from the show, with my great handwriting.

Steve Wishart bringing the low end.

The band in fully smeared low-light form.

James Joyce is on the drum set calling it four by four.

Jon Rothman also did a solo set of acoustic guitar and keyboard loops, which was kind of random but cool.


  1. that was one of my favorite nights playing music... remember bob getting onto the bill with his weird instrumental acoustic guitar playing? that is a memory that sticks out for me.

  2. that was my first font purchase, which i bought specifically to use on the hal simba 7". yet another in a long line of illegible fonts i used. "if nobody can read it, then it has to be good." ahhh to be a design student in the early/mid 90s again...hooray for david carson and raygun magazine.

  3. I just want to say that finding this blog made my day. Thank you so much.

  4. Thanks for the kind words - if you have any requests for posts or questions, etc. just let me know.

  5. Hey James,

    This same bill (minus CVD and plus my band, A Mercy union) played The Ultramod Compound here in Athens the night before. We're you as blown away by how many kids came out to see The Promise Ring? I was.

    Thanks so much for all you do around here on this blog. I've gotten many hours of enjoyment out of it and it has jogged my memory more than once, too!

    rock, sir.

  6. It was just incredible how popular Promise Ring became, and then how quickly they faded. I don't know if it was due to Davey's health problems and their inability to maintain their touring schedule, or if their fans moved on, but I thought they would be up there with bands like Green Day by now. It's strange how pretty much all of the bands from this era that played in these houses and DIY venues just faded into obscurity. To me it seems that only the people who were around at the time even know these bands existed, but maybe I could be wrong.

  7. James,

    I have some photos I took from this show that I have been meaning to scan and send your way. You can see most of me in the top right of the topmost image in this post. Hopefully I can remember to do so.

    Also, where are Neighbor's pics from this? I know he was there.

  8. Hey Tony - Please send any photos you have my way. I'm posting 5 Car Vs. Driver live shows soon, so I could use some new live photos for the post! As for Neighbor, I sometimes see him when he visits this part of the country, but he's never brought any CVD photos with him. I need to ask him about that.

  9. I was at this show. A friend in Texas said I HAD to check out Promise Ring, and I lived on Tech campus so I went down there... barely got in (the place was packed). Was most impressed with Car vs. Driver, and kept looking out for more CvD shows, not realizing till a year later that it was a reunion gig.

    Same month as Dub Narcotic and Shipping News at under the couch... good month!

  10. Did you guys know the dudes who booked Under The Couch back then? I think their names were Doug & Ramsay. I heard they were taping all the UTC shows at the time, very curious where those guys ended up if that's true.