Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wheeljack - The Overachievers from Cobb County

Above and below: Wheeljack rocking the Driverdome in January of 1996

Here is the download: Wheeljack Discography

Out of all the Atlanta bands that played the Driverdome back in the mid-90's, Wheeljack were the real artists, and the most creative of the bunch. In a way they were kind of like the band that Max Fischer would have started in the movie Rushmore. I thought they were excellent, and always had something interesting going on with their shows and their music. They had some really technical songs, with plenty of stops/starts, tempo changes, time signature changes, they really went for it on their songs. I still can't understand some of the stuff that their drummer Dave was doing on some of those tracks.

I assembled an unofficial discography, the first two songs of which are from the split 7" with Year Zero on Ben Lukens' Terminus Records (the Burn! For Two single). It was a great 7", as it had a match glued to the front, which I can remember gluing a few nights at Apartment 13 with Ben and Phil Dwyer - one strip of glue for the stick, one dot of glue on the match head. One other funny thing about this single, I saw it for sale a few years ago at a small record store in Hilversum, which is about 30 miles to the east of Amsterdam in Holland, and it still had the match glued to it!

Wheeljack/Year Zero Split 7" (cover, insert and back)

The next batch of songs are from the LP put out by Stickfigure (aka Gay Jay Records). I'm glad they put out this album, as so many of these bands from this era never released a full-length album, and usually only have a 7" or Live at WREK session to remember them by (I'm looking at you guys in The Forty-Two). When I was transferring the songs to CD, however, I noticed that I had nine songs and only 8 song titles. I know the last song is Iscander, so I combined two songs to make The Breeze, which might be incorrect. Please let me know if I screwed up the transfer, as there is no insert, lyrics or any other information to go by here.

Wheeljack Album (front and back)

After the LP is one song from their Live At WREK session, that was on the Live at WREK CD that came out about 10 years ago. I would like to get their entire Live at WREK recording, if anyone has it on tape. Sean? Mike? Dave? How about you Josh?

Chris van Etten contacted me recently about several items on my want list, and that included the first Wheeljack demo tape. I have digitized it and added it to the end of this discography. He told me that they had a few other songs that were recorded at the time of the split 7" with Year Zero, but he didn't have them and the Wheeljack guys probably didn't want those songs to resurface anyhow. We'll just have to see about that.

So Sean Greathead (guitar) and Dave Ahuja (drums) are living in New York (surfing on Long Island and making music videos, respectively) and I will see them from time to time when I am up there. Michael Keenan plays in Battlecat and Hawks here in Atlanta, who I would like to play with someday, but haven't had the opportunity yet. Scott Rogers has been around and about, but I haven't seen him myself in a long time. He started a band with Chris van Etten called Flakscrampe Tramauntra, and then went into Electrosleep International with Michael Keenan. Mike and Sean played in a band called the Mascara Aesthetic with Josh Fauver and Derek Beber for a while, and then Electrosleep International, etc. Chocolate Kiss played with both of these bands a few times back in the day, but my knowledge of that stuff is a bit hazy right now, so sorry about the mistakes. I have not seen Kate Kraft since she was playing keyboards in Wheeljack, so I'm sure I would not recognize her today. I played in a short-lived band called Ananke with Sean before he moved to New York, and it was really great to finally play with one of these guys. He has a really interesting guitar style, that was maybe not the best match for my drumming at first, but I really liked making music with him. These are great guys, and a great band. One other piece of trivia/history: Frank Jensen from The 42 practiced with Wheeljack twice after Dave Ahuja left for New York, but then got into a car accident and broke his hip, and Wheeljack effectively disbanded after that point. Frank then played further in Chapman Park with Scott McFarland (aka Scott MC) and Scott Wilson (aka Emo-Beard), and then moved to Chicago to play in the Tyrades, etc. etc. etc.


  1. just saw mike keenan's newish band, hawks, the other night in athens and i have to say they were quite good. apparently they have a "new drummer" which they assured me was the reason they were so good. anyhow, i thought they were great, having never heard them with their previous drummer. very jesus lizardy, which i like. much more-so than the faux fancy britches electronic rock mumbo jumbo. also, they had plenty of those wheeljack split 7"s for sale (minus the match). between that 7" and the first inkwell 7", i get sick to my stomach every time i see a glue stick. i also remember "designing" that wheeljack LP (more gluesticks!). yikes. what ever happened to jay? why he let me call his label "gay jay" i have no idea. but i still think it's funny.

  2. also, these records were from a long series of late nights while ben lukens and i worked the graveyard shift at kinko's. i think every town had at least one person in their scene working a kinkos graveyard shift. anyway, many record covers were made and many zines and flyers were made (for free!) during this period. also many mountain dews were drank and many doritos were eaten. and i think this job screwed me up for the rest of my life. i still can't sleep.

  3. and on a 3rd note, i've seen kate from wheeljack around these parts (athens) off and on since i moved here. not sure if she doesn't recognize me or if she just doesn't care to say hello, but it's probably safe to say she has "moved on." no idea what she is actually doing. i've only seen her riding bikes around town. i barely recognize her. and when she sees me about to make contact, she darts off...haha. oh well. that may have been an exaggeration.

  4. I was thinking about all the Atlanta singles, etc. made at Kinko's during this run. So far we have the Wheeljack/Year Zero split, Hal al Shedad "Symbol of Sound Progress" 7", all Inkwell 7"s, what else?

  5. as memory serves, some of the original releases of phyte records, jawk records, we did some repressings of certain troubleman releases. we made patches for cave-in from boston (full color iron-ons). pretty much anyone that would come hang out with us from 10pm to 8am, we would make their record cover/zine/flyer/whatever. it was a terrible and awesome job. i would work all night and go straight to school at 8am for 2 5hr long studio art classes 3 times a week. needless to say i was a zombie. at some point, ben convinced me to quit the job with him and just "hang out" all summer. i think that is when hal decided to leave and tour europe and i was left alone in atlanta, jobless and broke in ben and my apartment (13). that's when i sold 90% of my record collection to pay rent for the summer. good times indeed.

  6. Hey Phil--

    I remember that summer! I lived next door to you and as I recall much of my income went to pay your rent by way of records--I got the first Shudder to Think LP (the one on Sammich), I think the Kingface 2x7" live bootleg, lots of other stuff. I remember feeling bad about it at the time because you were giving me very good deals. I also remember we ate at Tortilla's like four or five times a week that summer.