Friday, August 8, 2008
The Start of a New Generation - The Kossabone Red
Here is the album and 7" for download - The Kossabone Red LP and 7"
Since Jesse Smith finally released a full-length album with his Gentleman Jesse and His Men incarnation (which is one of my favorite local releases in years), I thought it would be nice to post what I believe is his earliest recording here. In fact, the 7" does not even include him, as The Kossabone Red was just Justin, Chris and Nick at the time.
If you have never heard The Kossabone Red, they were part of the strange era of DIY punk/emo/whatever generated by the midwestern bands such as Cap'n Jazz/Friction/Braid/Promise Ring/Get Up Kids/etc. during the mid to late 90's. I saw them a few times during this period, and although they were pretty rough around the edges, they should be given credit for attempting what is pretty complicated stuff while they were essentially still high school kids. I know that I wasn't playing songs with such abrupt changes and structures when I was their age, I was more interested in being juvenile (which we thought was being clever). Also, it is important to note that so many bands took on this type of music during this time, and so few of them were really good at it. My favorite was of course Friction, due to the Car Vs. Driver connection, but I think Braid were the tightest at it, and probably took it as far as it could go during their time. It helped that they had a Black Flag-level of practicing/recording/touring to give them that level of tightness. Cap'n Jazz probably put out the best record of this genre, but they could be a mess live (at least when I saw them).
So these guys were around in the late 90's, and Nick played drums on the first 7" only, and their replacement drummer Jeph started Airoes and other various bands (sang in Portrait, played drums in Electrosleep International among other things from what I hear), while the trio of Justin, Chris and Jesse stayed together to play in Some Soviet Station (with Lee Corum on drums) and Paper Lions (with Josh Lott on drums) until the early to mid-00's when Chris and Justin moved to Athens and Jesse stayed behind in Atlanta to play in the Carbonas and started Gentleman Jesse and His Men. I saw Justin working at the Grit in Athens a few times, and he played with Josh Lott in a band up there called Teenage Meth Lab for a little while. Chris has been playing bass in Maserati (at least on tour), and the story goes on.
These guys have all made excellent contributions to the Atlanta/Athens local music scene, and represents another generation of kids coming up and pollenizing this group of bands, musicians, etc. as we get older and stay at home more.
Also, here is some additional information that Scott McFarland (aka Scott MC) commented on this post:
A bit more on the history of this band -Ripcord started out as a 3 piece - brothers Justin and Nick playing guitar and drums, respectively and Chris on bass. They all went to Roswell high school (but Justin might have been out of high school by then). I think it was Chris who gave a us a demo tape (or maybe their 7" (on legendary Crazy Man Records out of Roswell)). Gavin and I thought it was great so we booked them to play a show at the I DEFY (I have no idea who they played with). I think they later realized that there were a few other bands around the country called Ripcord so they changed their name to Kossabone Red. Right about the time of the name change Jesse joined the band. Jesse was in another band at the time called Pax 13 with his brother Lee on drums. I seem to recall Jeph playing with them for a minute as well.I think Nick got sick of doing the whole band thing and quit as drummer. That is when Jeph started to play with them. Nick never did another band after that but he is still around Atlanta going to the occasional show now and then. We decided to put out an LP but I had extremely limited funds so we more or less recorded it ourselves at Under the Couch for free, so I will take all the blame for the sound quality. Luckily I could scrap together enough pocket change to pay Lewis to come in later for a few hours to do the mix.One thing I do remember about that recording session is that it was the same Saturday afternoon that a bunch of local scene kids got arrested at a Yerkes. I think some of the footage from the protests made it on the local news.
So, like most punk bands, these guys broke up very shortly after the LP came out. Hell, it might have been before it came out because I don't remember ever doing a record release show. The LP got some great reviews and I think if these guys had stuck together and done just one tour more people would remember this record. The good news is that the core of the group (Justin, Chris, Jesse) stuck together for many years after that and treated us to several great bands (Some Soviet Station, Paper Lions, etc). I don't know if Alex only has a digital copy of the Ripcord 7", but I have a real copy in case you guys need the artwork. Also, the Kossabone Red LP did have an insert. PC Josh carried on the Atlanta DIY tradition of working at Kinkos so he hooked me up with 1000 full color copies. Kinkos more or less financed the majority of the Concurrent releases. I have a few copies of this LP sitting around if anyone wants one - just let me know.