Tuesday, October 6, 2009

No Walls (1988 - 1992)

Here is the download: No Walls

Here is the breakdown:
1-5: from the demo recorded at Electric Lady Studios
6: from The View compilation
7-13: from the self-titled album

Drew Rydberg sent me a recording of the No Walls Live at WREK session, probably from 1991 or 1992, which is excellent and includes some interesting free jazz improvisations between songs. Here are his notes - "First off, credit where credit is due.....this Live @ WREK show was originally recorded directly to cassette from the radio broadcast by my friend Randy Castello. He loaned me that tape many years ago, and at the time I was working at a studio in Nashville, so I was able to clean up/re-master the recording somewhat. It seems like the band didn't have enough material to fill out the show, so there are a few improvisations sprinkled in between the normal songs (I'm not complaining). There was some chaff/banter that was cut out here and there for the sake of making a listenable CD, but all the good stuff is there."

No Walls was the band William "Kip" DuVall formed in Atlanta a few years after returning from California playing guitar in the SST band Bl'ast. Before that, he was the guitarist for the seminal Atlanta hardcore band Neon Christ, coincidentally the first hardcore band I ever heard, probably around 1987-1988. Randy DuTeau from Neon Christ did a great interview/overview of William DuVall's career and personal history here, so I don't need to revisit and try to encapsulate everything again in this format.

I knew No Walls from their song "Never Fall Apart" on The View compilation, which I loved for its loud, noisy quality but also its maturity and uniqueness. It was a perfect song to end the tape, and possibly my favorite. They were definitely mysterious, which only increased as I couldn't get into their shows as a spry 15 year old. Then in 1992, Ted Selke from Full Moon Records and The Seventh Ring of Saturn put out their full length album and as what happens in most cases like these, the band promptly disbanded. I picked up the cassette around this time at Chapter 3 records in Norcross, very excited to hear more of the strange, noisy, melodic music from these guys, but instead it was pretty straightforward and a little too polished for my tastes (especially back then), so it didn't really become a classic for me. However, I recently acquired a copy of the demo they made at Electric Lady studios under the mentorship of Vernon Reid, and this got me excited about hearing the band again after 17 years.

After No Walls was over, William played in several other bands including Madfly in Atlanta and Comes With The Fall, which brought him to Los Angeles and now fronts Alice in Chains, which would make anyone's arena rock dreams come true. As far as the other members of No Walls are concerned, Henry/Hank Schroy has amassed quite a resume of musical adventures over the years, but I'm not sure about drummer Matthew Joseph Cowley. Check the comments section in a few days, and I'm sure someone will let us know.

Here is an article written about them in Rolling Stone, as well as the artwork from their album, which you can still purchase at Full Moon Records, by the way:


  1. I ain't gonna lie - I loved these guys back in '91, '92. Folks at WREK rolled their eyes at me, and maybe they should have, but I still dug what Vernon Reid was doing, I was playing Ronald Shannon Jackson records on the overnight shift, and I was trying to understand Ornette's records from the '80s.

    I don't think I would play so much RSJ now if I had the chance, and I don't know if I need (or want) to understand "Song X", but I'll still listen to "Cult of Personality" from time to time, and I got a lot of some kind of inspiration from seeing these guys play stuff I couldn't comprehend.

    Scott Robbins might deny it, too, but he and I talked about these guys a lot, and we checked the Loaf every now and again to see if they were playing in town.

    Thanks for posting this stuff.

  2. A'ight, one last comment and I'll leave you alone.

    Just listened to the Electric Lady demos, and tracks 3 and 4 -"Sailing The Wind" and "Lost Day" - were on carts behind the board at WREK, and I used to play them all the time late at night. Mind-melting flashback, since I haven't heard those in about 17 years. I can't believe how old I must be...

    I put "Lost Day" on cassette, and I can guarantee Scott and I sat in his rusted out Honda and blasted that over and over in the Tortillas parking lot. Neel Murgai was probably asleep in the back seat. I bet lots of folks out there would recognize those tracks, if only because we played them so much on WREK in 1991 and 1992.

    At one gig we saw somewhere, the drummer had an old Georgia Tech marching bass drum set up as his kick - it had to have been a 40-incher. Still had the big GT on it. I think he might have been a Tech grad, in fact.

  3. Hey Andrew - thanks for the comments! The story I got from the Electric Lady demos was that they were extremely coveted by those that had them. You had to get a copy direct from the band members themselves, and then pretty much swear and oath of secrecy that you wouldn't dub it for anyone else. It's funny that some of the songs were on a cart at WREK. Great stories.

  4. Great entry. I just listened to their cd a couple months ago.

    There's a video of a No Walls show at the old Cotton Club on Peachtree Street. I have it on VHS, but I have no capability to digitize it. Maybe Ted's youtube page has some of it.

    This reminds me of my Kip Duvall story. I used to drive a car that had a broken gas tank release valve. It took two people to open the gas door on the side of the car. One person had to pull the lever by the driver's seat, while another person pulled the cover open. I was by myself at the gas station in L5P, and I asked a lady at the next pump if she could help me get the thing opened. She said if I waited for her husband to come out of the gas station I could ask him for help (I was dirty and smelly from my restaurant job, and the car was a beater, so I can't blame her for not helping me).

    While waiting for her husband, I asked a random guy walking by if he could help me. It was Kip, which I did not realize until he saw that I was wearing a No Walls t-shirt and identified himself (No Walls shirts still available at Full Moon, by the way). He helped me out with the gas cap and we chatted for a minute while I filled my tank. Then he left and I got in my car to drive off. At that moment the lady's husband came out from the gas station and accused me of fucking with his wife and threatened to kick my ass.

  5. Hey Jeff - great story. I might have to get myself a No Walls shirt one of these days.

  6. I was a big fan - seeing No Walls play was a real treat.

    My band was on a bill with them once and I remember the drummer laid out a prayer rug and started meditating in the parking lot out behind the White Dot.

    No Walls did a great version of "Spanish Castle Magic".

  7. i emailed somebody on this site a while back offering up a cleaned-up, mp3 encoded No Walls live recording on WREK, didn't get a reply...if you want it please email sound [.] designer at ymail [.] com, i think it should be included on your site for prosperity's sake.

  8. I was just playing the acid funk band Defunkt earlier this am...when I summoned up remembrance of shows past. I had to look 'em up. I remember seeing these guys somewhere around 1990 or '91 at a club in Knoxville, TN (Planet Earth). They blew me away. This was the only show I ever saw...but it has stayed with me for twenty years...

  9. hi there - Hank here, bass player from No Walls... I just got around to digitizing a VHS tape I had sitting around for all these years... I just posted a song from a performance at The Point in Atlanta, "Wanderlust", on YouTube:


    and will get around to posting more.. I have about an hour of live music available.... more to come.

  10. Just doing a little walk down memory lane. I'm the one who took all those photos of the band. I was in front at every show...hung out at almost every rehearsal. I do believe I was No Walls' biggest fan. Definitely the best thing to come out of the Atlanta scene. - j gravley

  11. Oh and some background...I noticed someone wondering about the Tech connection. Yes, Matt Cowley and Hank Schroy were both going to Georgia Tech when No Walls began. Matt played in the GT Jazz Band, which is why he had that GT marching drum. He had an office/rehearsal space in the Band building, and that's where No Walls rehearsed and where the demo was recorded. William went to GSU.

  12. Anyone have track titles for the Ladyland demos?

  13. so much Jeff Buckley vibe...but these guys came first. Damned impressive.