Tuesday, April 21, 2009

At The Price Of The Union - Live

Here is the download: At The Price Of The Union - Live

I believe this show is from Under The Couch, probably around 1999 or 2000. As I have posted before, ATPOTU was definitely of the Hoover/Regulator Watts vibe, with some Great Unraveling/Convocation Of thrown in. They always put on a great show, and had a very devoted following. I remember when Chocolate Kiss played with them at UTC, their whole audience stood outside while we played, and once they loaded in, everyone came in and packed the place out. It's always fun when that happens, especially when there are windows in the venue where you can see everyone ignoring you.

In this set they play two songs from their Mechanics of Wind CD, put out by Buddy System Records, now held by Stickfigure Records, and one unreleased song. The Owens brothers from Buddy System became friends of the ATPOTU guys through The hal al Shedad, and kept the Buddy System/Atlanta connection going for a few more years after hal dissolved. As mentioned before, ATPOTU was Craig Lee Demsey (guitar) from Lowboy, The Forty-Two, Aslund Constant, and afterwards Thoroughbred and a later version of The Good Friday Experiment. Luke Gilbert (bass) went into Thoroughbred with Craig after this band broke up, and Josh Lott (drums) went on to play in Paper Lions, Teenage Methlab, and Elf Power before enrolling in Law School. You can most easily find him at the Highland Inn Ballroom, that is where I seem to run into him most these days.

One more story about this band, supposedly at one of their early shows, they played a tape of only the John J. Rambo lines from First Blood on a boombox while they were setting up and in between their songs, which I think is brilliant and would like to rip off someday. "Let It Go ... Let It Go..."


  1. One of my all time favorite Atlanta bands. Fondest memory was watching them at Sprockets and they played one song, improvised for 10 minutes or so and then launched right back into the end of the song. I could watch Craig play guitar for hours.

  2. Great musicians and some of the nicest guys you're likely to come across. Some Soviet Station played with them quite a bit and did a few out of town shows with them.

    I remember when SSS played Philly Fest, and ATPOTU was there. SSS got the shaft on that one. We drove like 13 hours or whatever to get there and arrived in town early in the morning, like before anything in the area was open. It was Sunday too. Chris had to take this huge diarrhea shit and there was no place open. Even the convenience stores were closed or either had no public restroom. So we kept driving and driving and stopping at a place where Chris would run out of the van and then we'd see him talk to the attendant and he'd run back out to the van holding his stomach and wincing.

    Finally, we pulled up at this church where the service was just beginning. People were filing in the front door, and everyone was black as it was a black church. Chris runs around to the back door and makes his way into the church and just takes a huge shit in their bathroom.

    Then we showed up at the fest and no one at the venue would let us in. We were knocking on the door and we could see punk kids inside but they wouldn't let us in. So we're all delirious and tired as we've been driving all night so we just roll up filthy newspapers and magazines to use as pillows while we try to sleep on the sidewalk in front of the venue. Then, we had to play in one of the earliest slots and it was hot as hell. And they were having these diy demos in the adjacent room while the bands were playing - like "how to grow your own hemp" and "how to screenprint" and stuff like that. While we played everyone was watching the demo in the next room.

    We were SO GLAD to see the ATPOTU guys. I remember we ate at Subway. We all drove back to Atlanta together and there were lots of laughs. They were the only reason that 26 hours of driving was enjoyable.

  3. These types of diy fests really soured me on attending any music festival whatsoever. I can remember hal driving straight up to Detroit to play one of those fests with Harriet the Spy, Dahlia Seed, Constantine Sankathi, etc. just because Shotmaker was supposed to play. Of course they never showed up, and we end up sitting around all day while random people from the audience get up on the mic in between bands and tell their personal stories of sexual abuse and other enjoyable moments. Everything was vegan, so we ate literally pasta with salt all day, and then I threw up out of the van on the drive back home in a snowstorm. After that, I think we were done with diy fests.

  4. We (Chapman Park) played with At the Price of the Union a number of times, but one of the best shows they played was in Athens at some house--Craig played with a broken leg. Standing up. It was pretty astounding. They're still one of my all-time favorite bands.

    On the subject of DIY fests, what about the Pittsburgh fest in like 97 when these Krishnas (remember them?) showed up to cook free food for everyone (I guess to give out while they were proselytizing), but whatever they were cooking had a smell which was indistinguishable from vomit, and the whole place reeked all the rest of the day.

  5. i still listen to this stuff quite often, as well as the some soviet station. living in nyc at the time, i got to keep up with all the new atlanta bands through the owens brothers (aka: the browens, how witty). they were pretty much my family there...haha. anyway. both releases they did of the union and the station were great, as well as the split. good stuff.

  6. and btw: the fests around this time got bad. real bad. the next one becoming more rediculous than the previous. i think the last one i attended was in fayettville nc? or greensville maybe? too many "workshops" and i got into a yelling match with mike kirsch during torches to rome. also it was full of young white kids who thought they were some kind of new breed of uhuru. like...huh?! some of you may have been there...haha. it was awful. never went to one again, and lost all respect for kirsch. which is a bummer, because fuel was amazing.

  7. Hey Phil--I remember that fest--you reacted I believe to a sermon from Kirsh (I feel like there were a lot of sermons at that fest*) which led to a big conversation between a bunch of the kids there, and when you said that you went to the fests "for the music" the general crowd reaction was about the same as if you had said you went to fests to rape women and beat up old people. Which I guess sums up what was wrong with a lot of those festivals--it seemed that most of those in attendance went for some (in their mind) higher moral purpose.

    *This band Race Traitor played and though I thought they were pretty awesome their songs were only about 20-30 seconds long and their singer (who was Turkish or Iranian or something, if I remember) went on these long 6-7 minute sermons between songs. It was insufferable.

  8. The fest in question was in Greenville, NC. Trivia - while they were not the main organizers, two of the people who helped put that fest together were Jason and Herb from the Selmanaires. This was obviously before they moved to Atlanta. I think they were in a band called Triple Crown at the time.

  9. james, thanks for posting. ATPOTU was so awesome (plus they were all cute boys).

    as for the fest convo, i found that out of the ones i went to, the best part was getting there. i remember driving to philly with michael lentz, making record time. we got there and basically saw the locust and drove all the way back. i think ian denton might've been with us, also.

    another fond memory was riding home with scottmc from one of the new bedford fests (the one with the "last" chokehold show - didn't inkwell play that fest?)... we bought the first piebald ep and literally listened to is over and over on the way to at least DC, if not to atlanta.

  10. I became a CL Dempsey fan back in the days of The Forty-Two. Seems like now he was 14 or something then - was he? Anyway, I loved The Forty-Two and thought he had a great ear for that style. I was a Hoover fan, but don't know who exposed me to that brand of mid-atlantic rock, maybe Rick Moore.

    When Barrel recorded up at WGNS, we saw Crown Hate Ruin and some iteration of Rodan's lineup play a crappy house party on U Street, and that CHR set really fixed me on that stuff. My bandmates seemed to have gotten tired of it pretty quick, but I'll still listen to that shiz, decades later. Did we do a CHR/Barrel/42 show at that pizza place at 10th and Howell Mill? What was that place? Did anybody come to the show? I can't remember.

    Anyway, Craig has a sense for that stuff, and I like(d) his songs. He was rocking a beautiful tobacco-burst SG Special with a cracked heel back in the day. If he still has it, pass the word on - I still want it, even if it's still broken.

  11. I should throw in that we grabbed Bryan Fielden during his 42 days because we liked those guys. He's played with me and David Daniell forever now, so we're certainly glad we made the association. Bryan is down in West Palm these days, give him a holler. I don't think he's got a lot of folks to rock with lately.

  12. Hey Andrew - I was at the Crownhate Ruin/Barrel/Forty-Two show at BLT's, but that was without Vin Novarra on drums (1.6 Band), but instead the drummer from John Henry West (their roadie). Great guy, but you can't keep up with Vin for drumming.

    I will always think of Bryan Fielden as a guitarist as he was in the Forty-Two, however I don't think of Craig as a bassplayer. Funny how that works.

    I will contact Craig about that SG, and see if he still has it. That guy was getting crazy amounts of gear at the time of Thoroughbred, so hopefully he didn't get rid of it.

  13. Yeah, I remember being more excited about The Forty-Two at that gig than Crownhate Ruin, I just couldn't remember what was off about them.

    Bryan was good on guitar then, and we were in the lineup for a big Rhys Chatham gig at Damrosch Park/Lincoln Center just last summer (it was rained out) - Bryan was playing somebody's Les Paul and sounded great through the rehearsals.

    And I agree about Craig - even though I think he was playing a Fender student-model bass in The Forty-Two, I picture him with that SG all the same.

  14. Bryan taught himself how to play guitar when he joined Craig in Lowboy. I was actually really sad when The 42 formed that Craig was playing bass and not guitar. At the Price of the Union put Craig back where he belonged and Luke's bass was second to none.


  15. As car vs. driver was due to break up in a few months, I was asked to play bass in The 42 and the plan was that Craig would move back over to guitar. I remember Ed Rawls telling me I should do it because I could help bring structure to the band and their songs and I agreed to do it at first. But ultimately I turned it down, something I regret a bit now. My reasons at the time was that I knew Bryan was developing a bit of a drug problem and I didn't want to get involved in that. Also Scout asked me to play bass for them again and were set to tour. In retrospect my decision to go with Scout wasn't the best either as I probably played a serious role in their demise just six months after I joined them.

    I always had a ton of respect for Craig on the guitar. We played together a couple of times after 42 broke up and before ATPOTU, trying to get a band going, but nothing ever materialized. I can't help to wonder though how things would have been had I joined 42.