Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The Answer to the Ultimate Question: The Forty-Two (aka The 42)
Here is the unofficial "discography" for download: The 42 Discography
1-2 from the "What It's Like to Be a Musician" single
3 from the Live at WREK CD (from the same session as 4-12)
4-12 from the Live at WREK session (March 5, 1996)
Craig Lee Dempsey, Francis Karl Jensen and Jeffrey Bryan Fielden, collectively known as The Forty-Two formed sometime in 1995, dissolved sometime in late 1996 or early 1997. I have no idea where they got the name from, but I know once the band had formed, the number 42 came up everywhere in their lives, like it was some kind of universal calling for them. I knew Bryan and Craig from their Stockbridge days playing in Lowboy, but then Craig told me they started playing with this guy Frank who they knew from the Somber Reptile and he was really excited about it. Francis added a whole new dynamic to their music with his non-traditional drumming, singing and great in-between song banter, and really brought the three of them together as a true postpunk power trio.
They played the discordant, poly-rhythmic, atonal postpunk that was common during that era, but the personalities in the band really made them unique in the mid-90's Atlanta DIY scene. Craig Dempsey was originally a guitar player (he played guitar in Lowboy), so his bass style was very much like a second guitar, with plenty of chords and strumming involved and I think he played a short scale bass to play even more like a guitar. I knew Bryan initially as a guitarist during this time, but after the 42 broke up later in 1996 (or early 1997), Bryan started playing in San Augustin with the guys in Barrel and switched to drums. Francis was always a drummer, but he had the "playing drums right-handed but the hi-hat and ride are played with the left hand and snare with the right hand" approach, which led to some interesting rhythms. He also hit the kick drum and toms at really interesting times in the band, which gave them a kind of swing feeling. They played some good shows, mostly at the Driverdome, and had some great times, but eventually broke up and started new projects. Bryan started playing in San Augustin as I stated above, and they have been playing intermittently over the years with huge success in the minimalist rock world. I believe they still occasionally with play shows today. Actually, Craig and Bryan stayed together for a little bit in a mathy band called Aslund Constant with Lewis Lovely and Jon Archer, but supposedly they only have one song on a rare comp recorded. Craig went on after that to start At the Price of the Union, and then played in Thoroughbred and The Good Friday Experiment. He is still probably the most amazing and proficient guitarist from a traditional sense that I know, but I don't think he picked up the bass very much after this band. Francis started playing with Scott MC in Chapman Park (more on them later) soon after this band folded, and then moved to Chicago and started playing in The Tyrades with an old high school friend of mine. He has been in several bands up in Chicago since then, but I haven't been able to see them yet.
Here is the artwork from their only 7", and some live photos taken by Andy Stivers at the Driverdome:
Andy started smearing vaseline on the lens for these shots:
Here is a special message from Scott MC on the importance of travelling: