Thursday, July 31, 2008

50th Post! My 30 minutes as drummer for the Didjits (including rare tracks)

Here are the songs for download: Didjits Rare Tracks
Set List:
1. Give It Back (Dickies Cover)
2. Barely Legal (Live)
3. King Carp (Live)
4. Dear Junkie
5. Skull Baby (Live)
6. Fire In The Hole (Live)
7. Sitting Round At Home (Buzzcocks Cover)
8. Cutting Carol (Live)
9. Joliet (Live)
10. Killboy Powerhead (Live)
11. Gold ElDorado (Live)
12. Evel Knievel (Live)
13. Max Wedge/Stingray (Live)
14. Plate In My Head (Live)
15. Long Lone Ranger (Live)
16. Captain Ahab (Live)
17. Ax Handle (Live)
18. Goodbye Mr. Policeman (Live)
19. Jerry Lee
20. Stumpo Knee Grinder
21. Shavehead Monkey Duster
22. One Dead Hippie
23. Signifies My Go-T
24. Jumbo Macho Big
25. See My Scar
26. Pet Funeral
27. (Ridin) Your Train
28. Fix Some Food Bitch
29. Do Smiles Give You Away
30. What Gives You The Right
31. Purple Haze
1: from "Fuck the Pigs" 7"
2-3: from "Pigs/We Have Your Son" 7"
4-6: from Sub Pop Singles Club 7"
7: from Buzzcocks Covers Compilation
8-18: from "Backstage Passout" Live LP September 19, 1990 at the Kilburn National Ballroom in London (I believe they were on tour with All and Fugazi at that time, so this was a Fugazi crowd they were playing for)
19-31: from "Signifies My Go-T" Demo Tape

The Didjits were my favorite band in high school. Midget Farmers had played "Dad" off the Hey Judester album since the beginning, but we also liked to play "Elvis' Corvette" and "California Surf Queen" on occasion. I got into them right when Hornet Pinata came out, so it was their prime creative period, and I got to see them at least 3 times during their run - once in between the Hornet Pinata and Full Nelson Reily albums, once after FNR came out but before Little Miss Carriage EP, and once with their replacement drummer after the last Que Sirhan Sirhan album came out. Also, I went to the Touch and Go fest two years ago specifically to see them play, and loved it.
But the replacement drummer situation is what this post is all about. In the summer of 1992 Brian Lysne and I were making one of our regular trips down to Little 5 Points to buy records, t-shirts, etc., and were checking out Princess Pamela's/Junkman's Daughter (back when it was on Euclid Avenue), and saw the flyer attached above on a pole in the store. I was 16 years old at the time, but I was so excited about the opportunity to play with the Didjits that I tore down the flyer and started calling Rick Sims immediately. I kept on getting the answering machine, so Brian and I left 10 or so messages with increasing levels of juvenile rhetoric before we gave up and carried on with our summer vacation. A week or so later I was doing the dishes, and one of my parents answer the phone, and gives it to me telling me that it was someone named Rick Sims. I almost choked right there. He explained to me that they had been recording the Little Miss Carriage EP (with Ray Washam on drums mind you) the past week, and was sorry about not returning my call earlier. He wanted to know if I would like to come up to Chicago and try out to play in the Didjits. When I told him that I was 16 years old, he said that he didn't care - if I played well enough, I could join the band.

I knew that I couldn't become the drummer for the Didjits, as I had only been playing drums for less than 2 years at that point, and still had one more year of high school left. Still, I wanted to get the chance to play with my favorite band (a dream come true for sure), so I asked my parents if it was okay and they allowed me to do it. I drove up from Atlanta with Brian and my dad one Friday, and we arrived in Chicago on Saturday morning. I remember watching a little league baseball game down the street from where I was supposed to audition, but being so completely nervous I couldn't even think straight. Finally, my appointment time came and I loaded my drums into the basement of a small house in Chicago that Rick and Doug were using to try out bands. They were from Champaign at that time, but I guess they did the auditions in Chicago as most of their perspective drummers were probably going to come from there. It was a very small room, and there was no PA so we played the songs instrumentally. Rick wasn't wearing sunglasses, which really tweaked me as you never saw him without the glasses in pictures or live. He also was playing the black SG by that time, as his Dan Electro was stolen at one of their shows recently. I remembered we played Dad, as I told him it was a song I played in the Midget Farmers, as well as Long Lone Ranger, Captain Ahab, Max Wedge, Ax Handle, and I believe played Dear Junkie as a new song just to see how I would play on a song that had no drums yet. Every time we finished a song, Doug the bass player would say "yep - he knows that one". In preparation for the audition, I had learned how to play drums on every Didjits song, at least as best as I could, because I didn't know what songs they would want to play. It was actually really good for my drumming development, as it helped to build my stamina and the Midget Farmers songs got much faster and more intense after that point, and I probably would not have become the drummer for Car Vs. Driver, Hal al Shedad, etc. that I was if not for this challenge I faced when I was 16 years old. I remember that I couldn't play Max Wedge very well, as Brad Sims (their original drummer and Rick's brother) would play the verse part with hi-hat, snare and kick drum playing eighth notes at an unbelievable tempo. I'm not sure if I could play that beat today if I had to. I also didn't play Ax Handle too well, as it seems like a simple song, but the kick drum is actually doing a triplet pattern with the snare that is kind of hard for a novice drummer to play. I remember Rick Sims got behind my drumset and showed me how to play the song, and then also gave me tips about how my drums were set up. Specifically, my cymbals were way too low to play music like this, and needed to have them around head height so my arms would be able to provide the most power and speed for the drumming required. I changed my setup at that point and pretty much kept my drums set up like this ever since. Supposedly Rick Sims was originally a drummer, and his brother Brad took over to play in the Didjits, and became an incredible drummer himself. Brad is an amazing drummer, and should get a large amount of credit for how good their songs were due to his inventiveness and power behind the kit. I asked them why Brad left, and it seemed like he had several children by that point and took a factory job somewhere in Kentucky to spend more time with the family and support them. At the time, I guess they were having problems replacing him, as most of the people who were responding to the audition call either had never heard of the Didjits, or were wierdos. I guess that is a problem when you are in a band with a following like the Didjits - like how it's listed on the flyer - Are you inhuman enough?
Brian Lysne was with me in the basement while I played with Rick and Doug, and my dad sat outside in the car until it was over. Rick and Doug knew that I was a big fan of theirs, and basically drove up to Chicago just to play music with my idols, so they humored me and were super cool the entire time. It made me love their music even more after that. When I was loading out my drums, Rick was talking with my dad, which must have been one of the strangest conversations ever. I should have taken a picture of the two of them. Now that I think of it, I have no pictures whatsoever of the entire trip. I should of at least had Brian take a picture or two while I was playing. Regardless, it was one of my favorite memories of my teenage years, and one of the most exciting moments in my life. Although I never acknowledged it at the time, I am also very thankful to my father for allowing me to do this, and still look at it as the best thing he ever did for me.

Brad, Rick and Doug, circa 1991:
Here is the artwork from the Didjits singles and Demo tape:
Fuck the Pigs single - what more can you say?

Cover of the Backstage Passout Live LP - sorry I couldn't find a bigger picture. I don't have access to a scanner big enough for LPs. By the way, Rick Sims' in-between song banter is best in the business, as this album proves time and time again. "This song's about prison - I'm sure you all can relate to it".

The "Pigs/We Have Your Son" live single. I loved how the Didjits would write statements on their records that didn't necessarily have to do with the songs, but just looked cool. Their artwork/designs were also great.

The Sub Pop singles club single - I love the black on black image of half of Rick Sims' face on the front.

The "Signifies My Go-T" Demo Tape - Thanks to Joe who runs the amazing Last Days of Man on Earth blog for posting it.

Here is also some live footage, etc. from the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary show: Didjits in 2006.

Lastly, here is an interview with them that I copied out of a zine from Book Nook when I was in high school. It takes place between Fizzjob and Hey Judester, and before they were picked up by Touch & Go, so it is a good read from before they became superstars (click on images to enlarge).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Atlanta Singles Week 31 - Innovation Manure Hauling - Atlanta 4-Way Split (1994)

Here is the single for download: Innovation Manure Hauling

Back in late 1993 - early 1994, Car Vs. Driver became friends with a small group of bands from Georgia Tech, which were from what you could say was a different scene from us in Atlanta, but we played shows together, had a good time and a few of these musicians are still friends with us to this day. Our main person from this scene that got things moving was Rick Moore, who played in both Barrel and Rebar on this compilation as well as later playing with the Freemasonry guys in Galanas Cerdd, then Copa Vance, Home of the Wildcats, and most recently Lay Down Mains. I always thought Barrel and Rebar were funny names as Rick sang for both of them and they were almost anagrams of each other. I am not sure if he was the one who put out this single, but whoever it was, I would like to thank them as this GA Tech scene produced so few releases during this time, it is good to have something nowadays to remember them by. The other main releases that I have from these bands are the Bite single (which I will be posting later) and the Barrel LP, which you can download here.

So here are the four bands – three from this GA Tech scene and Car Vs. Driver. We contributed “Last Letter to You”, which was one of our early songs and was recorded at the same time as the first 7” (the one with the kid hanging from the clothesline). We used to play it last at our shows, of course. Barrel and Rebar both featured Rick on vocals, Rebar had Gary Flom and Scott Robbins who later formed the Purkinje Shift with Benjamin Davis from Habeus Corpses, and Andrew Burns who played in Gold Sparkle Band and various other jazz outfits in NYC. Barrel on this release had David Daniell who later played in San Augustin, but I do not remember Tim or Ali at all. I thought Andrew Burns and Scott Robbins later joined Barrel, but my memory of the band’s history is a little unclear. Maybe someone can send a comment and clarify things. Bite was an all-female four piece band that played with Car vs. Driver several times, but on this release and their single they had a male drummer instead of the female drummer that I remember. He seems to do a good job tightening up the band, but I always liked them anyhow. Bite featured Jennifer Kraft on guitar who later played in Astrosmash with the Lukens brothers (before Hal al Shedad and Year Zero), and then Catfight, who still play occasionally to this day.

Here is the insert and back cover from the single, and yes that is me with my cat when I was 10 years old or so. It was an awkward time.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chocolate Kiss - Onethrutwelve CD (1998)

Here is the album for download: Chocolate Kiss - Onethrutwelve

I started playing guitar very soon after learning to play the drums, mainly because as a drummer, everyone comes to your house to play and will usually leave their equipment around for you to pick up from time to time. I started learning guitar this way, and very early would contribute guitar parts to Midget Farmers songs, Go-Steadys songs, and Car Vs. Driver songs. I never contributed guitar parts to hal al Shedad songs, but that was mainly because Ben and Ed were such amazing and unique musicians, any songs that I would bring them would have sounded like a completely different band. So I played guitar with various people during the hal days, eventually playing with Mathis Hunter, Justin McNeight, Marcus Lowe and Matt Mauldin in a short-lived band called Joyce, but then Matt Mauldin and I went on to form Chocolate Kiss, and the other three started The Good Friday Experiment.

At around 1996-1997, I started getting into obscure bands from the UK under the Slampt! and Guided Missile labels, like The Yummy Fur, Male Nurse, Lung Leg, Red Monkey, Milky Wimpshake, etc. To me they were so individualistic but also very unpretentious and humble about their music and presentation. Also, as they were coming from places like Newcastle and Glasgow, it was like they were coming from another world compared to my life in Atlanta. These bands wrote simple, catchy songs that existed completely out of the DIY Post-Punk world that I was immersed in at the time. Their artwork was also completely different, mostly hand-made and totally in the other direction from the high-concept graphic design of the current records that had been around. As bands and labels they were not into over-production or trying to be something that they weren't, and it really got me excited about playing in a stripped-down, simple band with your friends, which is essentially what Chocolate Kiss was. Even the name was trying to be unpretentious and a bit silly. Most people were pretty put off by it, but we weren't interested much in first impressions and more interested in tweaking people a little bit.

Jon Rothman started out as our first drummer, with myself on guitar, Bob Medina (who recently relocated from Denver) on guitar, and Matt Mauldin on vocals. We had no bass player, but at the time we did not know one, and that was also in line with our mission to just play with your friends and not worry about it. After two shows, we got Kip Thomas recently from Galanas Cerdd to play drums, and I believe at that point Jon moved away from Atlanta again. We wrote these 12 songs fairly quickly and recorded them at Chase Park Transductions in Athens by Andy Lemaster, who plays with Bright Eyes and is the leader of Now It's Overhead. I think he did a good job considering we didn't have a bass in the recording and our sound was made up entirely of two midrange-heavy guitars. I kind of regret not adding bass to the songs, but oh well. As a band, we were mostly interested in pure melody - no non-traditional time signatures or song structures, just simple catchy songs that were easy to play and didn't need too much practicing. I have always been influenced by Mark Robinson (Unrest, Air Miami, etc.) in my guitar playing, and there is a definite element of that in it, but we definitely do not sound like any of these bands, although many of the bands on Teenbeat are also an influence for Chocolate Kiss' aesthetic. I am very proud of the music I made with Chocolate Kiss, and even though I realize we were never a very popular or well-liked band in Atlanta, I know there were a few people out there that really understood and enjoyed what we were trying to do.

The very unassuming album cover - we called it "the orange album".
Here is a break-down of each song on the album:
1. Horizon Sky - One of our best early songs. When we played our last show in 2002, we played this song first and last. The song was about situations might not being as bad as they originally might seem. I think of our songs (and especially the lyrics) a lot over the years, to me they had a zen quality to them.

2. Yellow Bear - I think the song was called Yellow Dancer at first, but we changed it to Yellow Bear to make it sound cooler. Matt has so many great lines in Chocolate Kiss songs, including on this one "To build a bridge I'm falling from".

3. Get On Down - This was an early song that we dropped soon after recording it, but I always liked it. The verse melody was awesome, and it was fun to do backups on the "Get on Down!" chorus.

4. Saturday Nite Party - Another classic. This might have been the second song we wrote. What was nice about CKiss was that Matt wrote lyrics about everyday life, and this one was simply about getting up for work in the morning. I love the lines "morning radio is not a substitute at all, for the moments of, tranquility found only, between the sheets and blankets".

5. Sunshine Slowdown - Another song about driving to work. At this time I was graduating college and starting my work life, so it was funny writing all these songs about everyday life like driving on the highway as the sun is rising.

6. Delayed Reaction - We played this song all the way through our band's history. I love Matt's high-pitched vocals. I also love the lines "You're wondering painful thoughts aloud" and "I've got a cleft in my fist". There was one show at MJQ when Bob was too drunk/high/messed up to play, and we played as a trio. This song came off best at that show.

7. Moment of Clarity - What is worth living for? What is worth dying for? Playing the break-down/quiet part of this song was a lot of fun.

8. Gathering of Children - Matt told me it was about describing a drawing his son made. I love the description given in the song, I always wanted to see the actual drawing. This song was quite a rocker live, and I remember playing it at the 99X Music Midtown festival to the mostly indifferent crowd.

9. Days A Wastin' - Our first song. I wrote the guitar part to be like a Male Nurse song, but of course it sounds nothing like them. One of my favorite CKiss lines of all time "I've got plans to act on impulse".

10. Pow - This was originally a Joyce song, with a James Brown-style breakdown, but it later became a Chocolate Kiss song and was probably more Unrest-style than any of our songs. The break when Matt keeps singing was great.

11. Saturday Nite Party 2 - We were so ridiculous in this band, we wrote a sequel to one of our own songs. And on the same album. It was about having a quiet night at home by yourself and falling asleep on the couch. This had the great line "Black dog he's all give-out, man it was a hot one today". I sing that line all the time during the summer months. We wanted to try something different, so we had Kip and Matt start the song without guitar, which I think they liked at first, but later hated and we dropped the song after a few shows. It was also the last song we wrote before recording, so it feels kind of unfinished. We should have re-arranged it and brought it back later, but we wrote another 3 albums worth of songs as a band over the years, so I guess we just moved on.

12. Slump - This was probably our most dramatic song dynamically and lyrically. It was amazing to play live, as that low-D chord really resonated. "As ugly as the last conversation ... as beautiful as the first kiss".
Here are the lyrics and back cover from the album:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Car Vs. Driver Reunion Show - October 18, 1997

Here is the set: Car Vs. Driver Reunion Show - October 18, 1997

Car Vs. Driver played our official last show on July 21, 1995 when Jon Rothman moved to Misoula to study Forestry. Steve moved on and joined Scout on bass to replace Theo Witsell, I continued drumming with The hal al Shedad, and Matt did his thing until the two of us started playing again in 1997 with Joyce, which turned into Chocolate Kiss soon afterwards. Anyhow, Jon was back in Atlanta around the Summer of 1997, so the four of us were living in the same town again and decided to do a single reunion show. The show was at Under the Couch on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta, which was a nice performance space that hosted some great shows from 1996 to 1999 or so. CVD never played there when we were a band, but the Somber Reptile was on the downturn by this point and for this show we needed a place larger than the houses like the Driverdome and I-Defy that were booking most bands back then. Also, on the bill was The Promise Ring and Compound Red, both bands being at essentially at their peak at the time. I was nervous about headlining over TPR, as we were definitely not the indie/pop powerhouse that they were at the time, but it worked out in the end. We played a 13-song set, which leaned more towards our later material, but those songs were being written as we broke up, so it was nice to get to play them some more. One of the songs, I believe it was "Your Song", was never played live until this reunion show. The set was recorded by Scott MC from the soundboard, and sounds pretty good, although it cuts off before the last song "Without A Day", which is too bad as it was the band's most popular song. The show was also recorded on video, however, and Kevin from The Sound of Indie has posted the song on his great website - check it out here. He has been transferring many of my old tapes to DVD, and in return has posted some great performances from my collection. Jon Rothman bought an entirely new guitar and amp setup for the show, which in retrospect might have been bad idea as it would change our sound a bit. He used to play a Gibson Sonex guitar with a Marshall JMP 100 watt head (with no gain knob - only straight volume, which was loud) and the matching 4 X 12" cabinet. For this show he bought a Hiwatt head and a G&L Telecaster, which I believe he still uses. At our first practice in preparation for the show, the Hiwatt head blew the speakers on his Marshall cabinet on the first or second song, and he had to replace them before the show. I had my "new" old drumset that I bought earlier in the year after The hal al Shedad played several shows with T Tauri on the West coast. Their drummer Greem had a 24" kick drum, and after seeing it in action night after night I realized I needed one for myself. So I traded in my old Pearl set for a Tama Imperialstar from the 80's, and I still play these drums today. Steve had the same setup as usual, and Matt had the same voice, although he grew a beard for the show. We played pretty well, and although there is much more space in between the songs and more embarrasing banter, I think we were the same band that played two years before. If we played now, I have no idea what that would be like. We could probably do it, but Jon has been playing light indie rock for so long now I'm not sure if he could pull off the guitar work anymore.

Here was the flyer for the show - 1997 computer graphic design style.

Here is my set list from the show, with my great handwriting.

Steve Wishart bringing the low end.

The band in fully smeared low-light form.

James Joyce is on the drum set calling it four by four.

Jon Rothman also did a solo set of acoustic guitar and keyboard loops, which was kind of random but cool.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Driverdome Flyers From A Bygone Era (i.e. 1995)

November 12, 1994 - Inkwell with Deterrent and Deus Ex - Technically this was not from 1995, but it was one of the first shows we had at the Driverdome, and I don't remember much except that both Deterrent and Deus Ex used drum machines, and we did not have the kind of PA to handle that, so both bands were pretty weak. Of course Inkwell did the job that was needed to be done.

January 8, 1995 - Policy of 3 with Thumbnail, Scout and Thenceforward - This was a great show. I love that we screwed up and put Fence Forward on the flyer, blame Scott Wishart as I'm sure he designed the flyer. I will still refer to them as Fence Forward instead of their real name. I was also a big fan of Thumbnail, and thought they never became as popular as they could have been. Policy of 3 were awesome that night, as it was right around when their last 7" came out, and I believe they broke up a few months later.

March 2, 1995 - Griver with Year Zero and the Pink-Collared Jobs - Griver was a fun band to have play, and we were friends with Charlie in the band so we had a soft spot for them. Year Zero of course was Jon Lukens' band after Cough Syrup and Astrosmash but before Retconned. Year Zero was my favorite Jon Lukens "band", i.e. pre-electronics. I will post more on them later. I don't remember anything about the Pink-Collared Jobs, but maybe someone will enlighten us. It is interesting to note that the shows only cost 2 or 3 dollars. Our theory was to keep the cost so low that people felt like they could come and hang out and take a chance on whatever band that was playing that night, and for the most part I think it worked. We always had a pretty decent crowd (except for the Sunbrain show below), and people seemed to have a good time and never complained about the cover charge. Normally we would only be able to pay a band about 50 dollars, but we didn't keep any of the money for ourselves and it was possible back then to make as little as 20 dollars a show and still break even after tour. This system works much better to me than passing the hat around, as I think that practice is essentially disrespectful to the bands playing and never produces more than a few dollars. We wanted the Driverdome to put on shows, and passing the hat gives the impression that we are having a party with bands playing. These were not parties, they were shows with touring bands - some of which would become extremely influential, and at the time Atlanta clubs were not providing any support. These house shows definitely filled a gap during this time.

This was another flyer for the same show as above.

April 1, 1995 - Lowboy with No Matter and White Trash Superman - This might have been Lowboy's last show before Craig and Brian went on to form The 42 with Francis. I remember No Matter being very good, but I have no memory of White Trash Superman.

April 13, 1995 - Slant 6 with Jonathan Fire Eater and Year Zero - This was probably one of the top 5 shows the Driverdome ever put on, mainly because of Jonathan Fire Eater. At this time, they only had a demo out, and when I saw their name on the show list, I was very skeptical. However, if you know who they were, you can imagine what an amazing show this turned out to be. These guys were unbelievable - you can see some footage of them here. It was the birthday of the bassplayer from Slant 6, and we made a banner for them from an old church revival banner I had, and then after the show they took it with them! That banner was part of the Driverdome decor, it wasn't a gift.

April 17, 1995 - Inkwell with Bloodlet and Thenceforward - As you can imagine, this was a good show. Mark had joined Inkwell by this time and they were becoming the powerhouse that you know and love them as. I remember joining The hal al Shedad at this time, and Phil making these flyers and hanging them up at our shared practice space (Black Box). Of course the degenerates that hang out there drew penises, etc. all over the flyers, and Inkwell was pissed.

May 23, 1995 - Sunbrain with Barrel and Drip - I will still apologize to Barrel for this one, as it was probably the most sparsely attended Driverdome show ever. I really felt bad, as I thought Barrel was awesome, and David Dondero was in Sunbrain, who I have been a big fan of since he started doing his solo stuff. Maybe it was because it was on a Tuesday, I can't remember why we were doing the show on a Tuesday, but either way there was nobody there and I somehow feel responsible.

June 23, 1995 - Carbomb with The Trigger Quintet, Impetus Inter and Butch - Four out of town bands on this bill, no room for locals. It was an amazing show. Every band was awesome, every band was nice, lots of people were there. I used Tron imagery on the flyer. Still only 3 dollars, and we were able to pay every band well (at least for those times).

June 25, 1995 - Eagle Bravo with Hellbender and Peepsow - Eagle Bravo was a good band from the Carolinas, and I remember supposedly the drummer's dad was also a drummer back in the day and played on "Chapel of Love" by the Dixie Cups, which was produced by Phil Spector. Supposedly the drumset that the guy was playing in Eagle Bravo was the drumset that played on that song. I was in awe, of course. Eagle Bravo did a full-length album, but I never got it and have been wanting to get a copy ever since. If anyone knows where I could find it, I would be interested. Hellbender was Al Burian's band before Milemarker, and I remember them being very good as well. They had these boxes on top of their amps that lit up and looked fancy, but I believe had no real purpose. I can't remember anything about Peepshow from New Jersey, but there were a lot of random bands touring around and playing house shows back then.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sonn Av Krusher - Tales from the Moshpit

Sonn Av Krusher has officially garnered our first superfan - Tim Shea who writes for Stomp and Stammer magazine. Here is his review of our performance at Corndogorama 2008 in the "Tales from the Moshpit" section:

One of the principal reasons I even bothered to come out to Lenny’s today, the second day of this year’s Corndogorama festival, was to see Sonn Av Krusher, who I had seen a year ago at Corndog and they blew me away. I haven’t heard hide nor hair of 'em since. Basically, throw the Swans, King Snake Roost and Skullflower in a blender and you get these guys. Needless to say they're one of my favorite bands in town. They don’t play out much, but do yourself a favor and catch ‘em when they do. If you're a lover of power-bore drone pummel they do it better than anyone else in town The drummer apparently plays guitar in Noot d’ Noot (for those who care).

Power-Bore Drone Pummel - love it. And I know people don't care that I play in another band, but I was just giving him some information.

Next show is on August 9th at the Drunken Unicorn with Lay Down Mains and Recompas. Flyer coming soon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Atlanta Singles Week 28 - "That Was Then, This Is Now" Atlanta Hardcore Compilation

Here is the recording: That Was Then, This Is Now - Atlanta Hardcore Compilation

It was only a matter of time before I got to this record - somehow it was inevitable. I look at this as the possibly the seminal Atlanta DIY single of 1992 (along with Happy as a Bastard on Father's Day). Although maybe this came out in 1993, I'm not sure. These were four main bands of the Atlanta hardcore scene at the time - Act of Faith, Crisis Under Control, Spiney Norman and The Difference. I only really knew the guys in Spiney Norman at the time, and I remember convincing Spam that they had to use their ska song on the compilation, as it would set them apart and really bum out the people who bought the record wanting more standard hardcore. The song is actually awesome in the otherwise horrible cul-de-sac that is ska core. Also listening back to this 7" again, I forgot how tight and polished The Difference were. I have their demo tape in my stack, so I might have to transfer that one to CD just to give it another listen. Overall a good Atlanta single for the time, with the great cover art of the Metroplex after it burned down. I never went to any shows there myself, as I was a bit too young, but I might have been at the show on the back cover, which I believe was taken at the Wreck Room (right down the street from where the Metroplex stood). Anyhow, I'm glad I still have this record in my collection, and leave comments as I would be interested in knowing what your impressions are then and now regarding this release.

As an extra bonus, here is the Standfast Records News Flash, Volume 1 Issue 1 for your perusal. My god, just awesome on so many levels. Shelter show review, band photos, Midget Farmers and Habeus Corpses both name-checked. If anyone has any later issues, please email them to me.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Our Friends from Amish Country - The Spirit Assembly Discography

Here is the download: Spirit Assembly Discography

Actually, this is not the complete discography, as supposedly there was a 7" or demo put out before the "Old Joe the Eternal" single, but I do not have that one. You can check the earlier stuff out at their myspace page hosted by their original singer: Spirit Assembly Myspace Page.

Track Listing:
1. Pop Acculturation
2. It Wasn't Me
3. Equinox
4. Ingestion
5. In Order To Visualize
6. Simple Transaction
7. Continuity Without Question
8. Nameless
9. Convention Invention
10. Self Appointed Outcast
11. Pop Acculturation
12. Manmade
13. Stain

1-3: From Old Joe The Eternal 7"
4-5: From Split 7" with Car Vs. Driver
6-13: From Welcome to Lancaster County LP

Every once in awhile I will ask Gavin from Stickfigure Records when he is going to put out the official Spirit Assembly discography, and he just laughs and tells me that Sam (the guitarist) will never send him the DAT tapes, but that otherwise he is ready to go. I finally realized that I needed to make my own discography and post it for others to enjoy before people forget what an amazing band these guys were. No matter what show they played, they would decisively steal it from every other band that played with. Duelling yelling/screaming vocals, heavy rhythmic (pretty much all rhythm) song structures, such passionate performances. These guys were the best. They could level any house or VFW hall show out there, and almost never played clubs. When we played with them in July 1995 at the Somber Reptile in Atlanta, they seemed out of place on a stage. When I saw their next band, Fields Lay Fallow a few years later, they made sure they were on the floor and never above the crowd.

They were probably our first real out of town friends when Car Vs. Driver started playing outside Atlanta. When we did the split 7" with them on Yuletide records, we were so pleased with what we had contributed to the release (You Win Sucker and Peroxide), but when we got the 7" and put on their side, it was hands down some of the best postpunk ever created. I was a little crushed at first, as Car Vs. Driver was always getting demolished by the great bands we played with, but then again I was so excited about Spirit Assembly's music, I didn't even care. I still love those songs from that split as my favorites by them.

The first time we played with them was during our Summer 1994 tour, when we played at a VFW hall in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (their hometown area). I believe we booked the show with them based on a list of contacts from the guys in Hoover, but I could be wrong about this exact connection. They had only recently become a 3-piece, so I never saw them with their original lead singer, but I believe this was the lineup they were destined to have. They actually had very few songs overall - less than 13 after many years of playing and touring, versus the 41 that Car Vs. Driver wrote in only 2 years. The good thing about this was that any time you saw them, they played all the hits, which was pretty much every song they ever wrote. Also, their bassplayer Gus was the youngest guy I have ever seen that could grow a full Amish beard, it was cool and gave the band an ominent vibe.

So we played with them many times between 1994-1995, either in Pennsylvania or the southeast. I have several videos of them, and there is even a video posted on here - Spirit Assembly in South Dakota. I think they lasted until about 1996 or so, then disbanded but started a new band called Fields Lay Fallow, which included Steve Wishart from Car Vs. Driver on bass for awhile, and their album was put out on his label Lunchbox Records. The bassplayer Gus moved to Athens, GA for a bit, and I would see him around there, but we never played music together. I should have started a band with him while he was living so close, but I was in the hal al Shedad whirlwind at that time and didn't have too much extra time for side projects (except Regicide, of course). If you look on, there are plenty of other bands started by these guys, but Fields Lay Fallow is the only one I have heard personally.

Here is the artwork for the first 7" (or the first that I have):

Here is the cover and insert from the Car Vs. Driver/Spirit Assembly split:

Here is the insert and band photos from the LP they released on Yuletide records (cover image is at the top of this post):

As an added bonus: here is their lyric sheet that they passed out at shows, remember those?