Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Chapman Park - 1997.04.26 Demo Tape
Here is the download: Chapman Park - 1997.04.26 Demo Tape
Chapman Park was a short-lived group of I-Defy house resident and Portait member Scott McFarland (aka Scott MC) on guitar, Francis Jensen from The Forty-Two on drums and Scott Wilson on bass who I never really knew. They were the closest Atlanta ever had to an Ebullition-style or Gravity-style post hardcore band. I bet if they stayed around long enough they would have had some raves in HeartAttack, but who knows. They reminded me of bands like Portraits of Past, etc. but maybe more in presentation than in true musical resemblance. I remember the band playing in strange setups (I believe Francis liked to set up his drums sideways or something), and they would play random hip hop or other sounds on a boombox near the drumset for in-between song filler. But Francis provided all the filler they needed, so maybe the boom box was not necessary. I saw them a few times, and remember The hal al Shedad playing with them at Sprockets in Roswell, because that was when we played Anthrax by Gang of Four and Francis did the spoken word part of the song for us.
This demo tape truly embodies the DIY aesthetic of the time. It's great that the tape has a cover that does not fit in any normal tape case, the lyric sheet is this tiny stapled paper booklet with random pictures and quotations, and the entire release is so roughly homemade. You can picture Scott, Francis and Scott in the I-Defy living room (or more appropriately outside a show) assembling these demo tapes for sale or just give away later. Nowadays we have access to CD burners, printers, etc. so we can make a more polished, professional looking demo without any effort, but back then the more rugged and thrown together the package was, all the better.
Scott MC gave some nice background in a comment below, so I decided to add it to the body of the post:
I figured I would fill in some extra details here since a ton of people never saw us play. My memory is a little hazy so I'll do my best. We started Chapman Park when I was still living at the I DEFY house and that was our first practice space. Then Scott Wilson got a job at a place called "Toys From the Darkside" in historic Chamblee. They sold old Star Wars toys and whatnot. So we then started practicing there and wrote all the songs on the demo. We did play a few out of town shows but I don't recall all of the details. I know we played with Mineral in Gainesville and Reversal of Man in Tampa. After the Summer of 1997 we closed down the I DEFY. Gavin moved into the warehouses and Chapman Park all got a house together in Doraville that had room for a practice space. A few months later Frank got in a really bad car accident and couldn't walk for several months. That kind of killed any momentum we had as we went on a long hiatus. Once he got better, we picked back up but decided to scrap all the songs that were on the demo and write new songs. I think these newer songs were way better but of course we never recorded them so you have to take my word for it. Our first show back was at a house in East Lake (I don't remember who lived there - maybe Lewis Lovely?). I was surprised by how many people came out. The newer songs had more of a rock element to them instead of the strange time signatures of the demo. Anyway, we played a few more shows and stuck around for a few more months but I think everyone's collective interest in the band waned and we just sort of stopped played. Portrait was also going strong by this point so that is where more of my creative energy went. We continued to all be roommates even after the band was done until Summer of 1999 when I graduated. I haven't talked to Frank in a long while but I am sure there are people who read this blog that still see him when his bands come through Atlanta. Scott Wilson lives in NYC and works at DC comics and I see him every few months, but he hasn't done any bands since Chapman Park as far as I know.
Thanks to Chris van Etten for loaning me the demo - I was too dense back then to get one of my own.
Here is the lyric sheet broken out into one page (click to enlarge), and the back "cover" of the tape.