Monday, November 24, 2008

Spiney Norman - Inspiration from the Early 90s

Here is the download: Spiney Norman Discography

1-5 from "Draft Style" single
6 from Atlanta Hardcore Compilation
7-20 from "Cops n' Coffee" demo

In my early high school days, I was friends with a few girls in my neighborhood that were into punk music, and they had a circle of friends (one of whom I later married) who were also into punk and personally knew some of the local bands out there. One of these bands was Spiney Norman, and after I heard a few songs of their "Cops n' Coffee" demo on the WREK punk show (I believe was called "Coup de Grace" at that time), they became my favorite band in Atlanta. A lot of their humor and inspiration came from Monty Python, especially their band name and the name of Spam their guitarist, but they were really absurd and funny guys. I got to know Spam the guitarist somewhat, as he later practised a few times with the Go-Steadys, but loved to play little guitar licks and noodles so much over our music, it just didn't work out. Greg the drummer was (and probably still is) the owner of Dagwood's Pizza on the corner of Holcomb Bridge Road and Spalding Drive in Norcross. I would have dinner there sometimes with my Mom and know that the dude behind the counter making pizzas was the drummer of an incredible band. Greg the singer was a little older than us, or at least he seemed to be at the time. He owned a house in the area of Dagwood's and also owned several guns. He was that guy you knew in your teenage years. Lastly John Paul the bassplayer was the first guy I knew who could properly grow a beard, and had this amazingly smooth, flowing bass style for hardcore music.

I saw them play many times, first at Milo's but then later at the Wreck Room and finally the Somber Reptile. They were a good bridge from the Gwinnett hardcore scene of Act of Faith, Crisis Under Control, etc. to the bands from other parts of town such as Quadiliacha and Midget Farmers. They lightened the mood at shows, and were great musicians and wrote really catchy songs. I never got the Cops n' Coffee demo back in the day, but luckily Steve Wishart transferred it to CD recently and sent it down for me to post. With 14 songs, it's like having a Spiney Norman album that was never released, but I remember every song from their live shows. Brian Kincheloe told me once that he recorded something like 30 songs with them right as they broke up, but the music has stayed all this time on reels, never to be released. They played several "last shows", and finally broke up around 1994 sometime, and they are sorely missed. The Gregs went on to form Lake Ponchatrain's Very Own Batch of Gimps with Brian Kincheloe from the Skats and Chuck Petrakopoulos from Jenkin's Ear, and released a tape on Moodswing Records, but I think the band didn't last more than a year or so. John Paul started playing in a band called Big John Trail and the Linda Lovelace Experience with Kasey Relford, who later played in Gaijin and Remuxers, and also released a tape on Moodswing Records but once again broke up after a year or so. I believe Spam moved to California, but I really have no idea. I haven't seen any of them in over ten years now, maybe I'll head over to Dagwood's and see if the Gregs are hanging out.

This is the back cover and lyric sheet for their only single. Spam thanks his guitar, Charlene.


  1. Great Post ... I had forgotten about them

  2. Thank you sir - sorry about the long gap in postings. I have so much stuff to put up there, but I need a scanner at home so I can get more done outside of normal business hours. Expect a higher frequency in the future.

  3. Do you use Windows XP by chance? If so, I have an old scanner that works only with XP (not Vista or Mac) that's yours if you want it.

  4. Hey Kevin - I do use XP at home, so that would be excellent. What size documents can the scanner accept? Is it only 8.5 X 11? Also, is it a color scanner? Send me an email at and we can work out the details. Thanks!

  5. the night i played my first ever show in a band, spiney norman were playing their first show on the same bill (along with the wishart bros in such as and STP).

    steve wishart and i concieved car vs driver one night at the spiney norman house. they played the screeching weasel show that i miraculously put on (along with midget farmers and pink lincolns- best line up of band names ever!). my favorite song was 'mind have mercy'.

    i have alot of memories that SN is a part of...

  6. nice post-maybe you could find some info on Dead Elvis. I only heard one song from them on WREK back when the opening song for the punk show was Bitter by Trusty, whatever show that was. Then that show turned to the hip-hop show and the opening had a lyric about Georgia Tech breakin' necks. I searched forever for a Dead Elvis tape-no luck.

  7. Hi Mei - I don't have anything personally by Dead Elvis, but they did play recently at the 688/Metroplex reunion show in Atlanta, so they are on people's minds these days. I'll keep my eyes open for their demo, etc. I know they had some kind of release during their heyday. Thanks for the good words!

  8. mei, i think dead elvis just reunited and played that metroplex/688 reunion show. i didn't get a chance to make it out.

    i remember the version of the punk show that started with 'bitter' by trusty. that was just before gavin took over that show, i guess '91 or '92. james, i think it was called 'coup d'etat' for a time. it was also called 'came without a warning' for a while after the scream song. allen ross was the host around this time (right before gavin). he wasn't really into supporting the up and coming bands, so we were all stoked when gavin took over.

    a funny thing about gavin early on on the punk show. he interviewed that band the cows in studio- i can't remember what he asked them, but i remember the guy from the band was pissed off and left. if there were ever any audio of this, i would consider it classic stuff. i was there for the interview, it was pretty funny.

  9. Like Matt, I have lots of great Spiney Norman memories. Besides being just four of the coolest guys to hang out with, they were a great band. I have always loved their unique style and sound. Great bass lines that really drove some of the songs, partly because Jon Paul was a classically trained bassist and probably was the more experienced musician among them.

    Spiney Norman shows were always a fun filled experience as well. They just gave off a good vibe and put on a good show. They got along with everyone and acted as a bridge in someways to the emo bands and hardcore bands at that time.

    Favorite songs are Violation and Modern Wasteland. (I have always secretly wanted to do a cover of Violation.)

    I have always felt Spiney Norman deserved so much more credit and attention then they every got. Definitely one of the most underrated bands from Atlanta. And if hadn't been for a party at the Spiney Norman house where one of the members pushed me and Matt to start a band, car vs. driver may have never happened.

  10. Spiney Norman was a huge bridge between punk and hardcore at a time when the two camps were splitting further apart in Atlanta, and I still listen to their demo regularly. Their musicianship and enthusiasm on stage was second to none.

    Steve Fleming and I hung out at their house a lot when they were writing the Draft Style songs, and Spam was a huge influence on my own guitar playing.

    Damn, I miss Spiney Norman.

  11. You're right, Gianni did move to California. He was in Atlanta for a few weeks a couple years ago and we had the chance to hang out a bit while he was here. Definitely the same ol' Spam we all knew and loved!

    So many great memories of Spiney Norman. I remember hearing them om WREK's punk show and thought they had hit it big time......

  12. I know this is an old post, but I happen to think of those guys and came across this page. I spent way too many days at their house eating papa johns and drinking Piels, back off of Winter's Chapel. Greg did have an arsenal of weapons under his mattress. i liked all those guys, i even remember the roommate with the delorean (weird memory flashback). Funny times. btw - the upload is awesome. i know ive got that little record somewhere...good times, thanks a lot.

  13. Hey, James, this is really awesome stuff. This is the Greg of the "arsenal of weapons" fame & I still have a good many of those guns...and some more! I was older than all of the rest of the band & now have 6 kids, a wife, many bills, and two full time jobs. My how things change. I was looking up some stuff about my old band for my brother and this came up. I knew you were working on it but I never looked it up. Very cool site. Love reading about all of the bands. Some updates...after Batch of Gimps was Chuck, Me, Brad Castlen (probably spelled that wrong...he played drums in this one) and Rondel (on Bass) in Murray 66. Chuck has some never released recordings of that band that need to be put on here (and on a CD for me). Then Alan Dixon (on drums), Jeff on guitar, Brian Pitt (also on guitar) and Brad (this time on Bass) put together The Gold Star Syndicate. I came in to add vocals after they were already together a couple of years & we were recording when Alan got a job in Tennessee and everything fell apart. I am STILL attempting to get some of those songs out of my old computer (that took a dump on me) and when I do I will send them to you. Need to get you a copy of both of the Batch of Gimps recordings as well...gotta get Chuck & myself to pause from working so much to get it done! Keep the site up & I'll help anyway I can.

  14. Hey Greg, thanks for checking in! I did post the Batch of Gimps tape later down the road, so hopefully you can find it. There is a lot of stuff on here for you to check out, so feel free to send me an email letting me know what you think. I am also transferring a few Spiney Norman shows to DVD, so keep in touch!

  15. Man, talk about old memories. I first saw Spiney Norman when they played a basement show at a party some friend threw over in Stone Mountain. That was the first time I got my nose broken in a pit. Other memorable events was the guy that split his head open on the stairs and had to go to the ER. Great show.
    That had to be around 89-90.

    Good Times.