Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ten Two Four- Georgia Cracker Punk Rock! aka Brad Post #5

Sometime early 1991, my friend Jason Harp told me his sister Carrie was starting a band with this dude named Kenn Hayes and that they needed a drummer. I believe she met Kenn at AA. He let her borrow this red short-scale bass that kinda looked like an Gibson SG and had nylon strings (which I had never seen before). Kenn “jammed” with her a bit I think before I came along. He was playing a Fender Stratocaster through a Peavey VTM 60 watt amp at the time. Jason and I had been in Decayed Jesus together (which was over at that point) and I was eager to try again at the band thing. I can’t recall how Kenn and I first met. He was working in the Gwinett Place Mall at L&N Seafood so I probably met him there. Yes, I was a mall punk with a chicken hawk, so what? Kenn had quite a few years on me, drove a beat up 1969 VW bug and had long hair at the time. His bug became known as the “Bug of Doom” as spray painted on the hood (or trunk since it was a bug?). It had no brake pedal so he used a yard stick shoved in the hole to stop it. Eventually the brakes went bad and he would just use the emergency brake, but in most cases he would just blow stoplights and stop signs. In place of a passenger seat he had a plastic milk crate turned upside down to sit on. The bug eventually got a dented rear fender/hood (trunk on a bug?) on account of me flicking off the little kids in his neighborhood who would yell at him as he drove home EVERY single day. As my luck would have it one of the kids’ redneck father was outside and witnessed me do it which prompted him to jump into his truck and chase us all the way to the mall and eventually ram us. It was some scary shit but Kenn had a pistol in the glovebox and luckily the dude was happy enough ramming us and gave up chase. I felt like shit but Kenn didn’t get too mad at me. Kenn was big into Christian Death, Skinny Puppy, Jimi Hendrix and the Allman Brothers but I decided to give it a try anyway. As it turned out, Jason’s sister was a flake so I didn’t even practice once with her and Kenn. I think Kenn and I got together and played for awhile with just the two of us. The set I had used in Decayed Jesus was a total piece of shit so I temporarily borrowed Jann Genson’s drumset (Degeneration/Atrocity Exhibition). Soon after I bought a white Percussion Plus set from Rob Knight (Grave Shift/Juno's/Brickwall United/the Accidents) and then eventually upgraded to a white Ludwig Rocker set. From working at the mall, Kenn met Paul Hightower, who was working at the McDonalds also at the mall. Paul had not too long before been booted out of Crisis Under Control. Basically they thought he stole the band fund so they kicked him out (in typical Alan Dixon fashion; a “fight” that quickly ended with Paul being pushed into some bushes). It later turned out that Paul hadn’t stolen the money after all but that Alan’s dad had found it and put it in a “safe place”. Kenn recruited Paul on bass and we soon started practicing in my folks’ unfinished laundry room. We started off with a song that Kenn had from playing with Carrie which was about Kenn’s ex-roommate Kevin. Later Kenn had second thoughts about the song since it was so seething so we changed it to “Partisan Politics” and wrote new lyrics to it. A few months down the road Paul brought Steve Bolton into the mix. Steve had been booted out of Act of Faith for stage fright or something along those lines. Steve would show up to practice but would never be prepared. His MG was in the shop constantly and he would claim that his microphone was in the glovebox. Or that he’d forgot his lyrics at home. This went on for a couple months so eventually we stopped calling him. After him we tried out Roger Perry, David Perry, Kris Harvey (who was Kenn’s roommate at the time), Mark Chapman, a friend of Mark’s whose name escapes me, one of Kenn’s friends named Dave King and this old ass short scrawny dude. I can’t remember his name but he answered a classified we had in Creative Loafing. This guy was a Waffle House cook (showed up to practice wearing his uniform!) and looked like he belonged in a dirty 70’s porno. He constantly chewed spearmint gum, had a monster thick ‘stache and had sort of a mullet pulled back in a pony tail. He claimed he used to be in a Detroit area punk band back in the day called Spike and that they used to play with Negative Approach, the Fix and the Necros. He sang like he belonged in a death metal band and we thought he was kinda sleazy so we never called him back. A few years later I got a copy of The Best of Touch & Go magazine and low and behold saw a show review with a band called Spike playing with all the early Michigan greats.

We carried on sans singer and had a good bit of original material that we were getting tight with. We even came up with interesting ways to occupy our time after practice. Sometimes we would carve or write things on the Bug of Doom. Other times we played this game we called “kick the bottle” which was as one might guess; us kicking an empty 2 liter plastic Coke® bottle around. It was a punk version of hacky sack. Most of the time it was played in my parent’s small kitchen area, but occasionally it spilled out into our carport.We struggled with band names as much as we struggled with finding singers. My parents had a Murray “66” lawn mower and the logo looked real cool so we kicked that around a bit. Eventually Kenn came up with Ten Two Four which was his sobriety date; October 24. It had a good ring and was something no one would know what it stood for so it stuck. Also we could use it as Ten Two Four, Ten 2 Four, Ten Two 4, X II IV or 10-2-4 just to confuse people.

At some point early on we befriended Initiative, who consisted of Chris “Sarge” Thompson, Darren “Opie” Kendrick, Pat Hogan and Marc Womack. They were great as memory serves and had a Soulside/Samiam kinda feel. We would watch them practice at Pat’s house then run through our set on their equipment and they would do the same at my house. Because of our affiliation with Steve and Paul (and our locale being Lilburn), Ten Two Four were blacklisted in a sense from “the scene”. The Duluth Hardcore Scene to be exact. I guess that was another reason we were so tight with Initiative since they were considered to be the outsider “druggie” band. Clayton Brown, who was friends with Roger (who at the time was filling our “singer” position), had told Roger about seeing some home video that Crisis Under Control and Act of Faith members had made making fun of us. Shortly after, I was at an Act of Faith show at the Wreck Room and saw Alan Dixon in the front of the stage slam dancing and such. I was trying to be extra rough when he’d come slamming my way and take little pot shots at him. Luckily for me he didn’t realize it as my dumb ass didn’t know at the time that Alan isn’t someone you wanted to fight; period. I saw Steve Overbaugh, C.U.C.’s guitarist, at the Bad Religion/All show at the Masquerade July 25, 1992 and asked him about the video. Steve denied it and until I became the singer of Crisis I thought it was something Clayton had just made up to start some shit. They didn’t know who Kenn or I were so I think my character’s name was “Stu”. I forgot what name they made up for Kenn. It’s pretty funny actually and I wish I could convert it and post it here. Maybe one day...

Ten Two Four first show with Initiative and Jack the Lad, Saturday, July 4, 1992 at the Wreck Room. Crucified punk drawing by David Courtney, flier composition done by me.

In August 1992, Paul got himself in a little trouble with the law and ended up having to quit the band. Some time before this we had asked Sarge to fill in on vocals for us until we could find someone else. It seemed easier to get someone to come in and sing if all the leg work had been done. A sidenote about Sarge...he was always hungry (even though I think he worked at Arby’s at the time) so he’d raid our pantry after every practice. We usually didn’t have much in the house but for some reason we always seemed to have canned sardines so Sarge would break into those and put ‘em on Saltines (which we also always seemed to have). At this point the band started picking up some serious steam. Within no time at all our songs had lyrics and I started singing backup vocals, we were tighter and even played a show. Our first (and only one with Paul in the band) being at the Wreck Room, July 4th, 1992 with Jack the Lad and Initiative (Sarge pulling double duty). Along with our originals we also played "I Don't Care About You" by Fear.

With Paul’s exit, Sarge took on bass as well which set us back a little until he could figure out the songs. I think Initiative had broken up at this point so he was full time Ten Two Four. Through Maximum Rock-N-Roll’s Book Your Own Fucking Life magazine, J.L. Hall from Act of Faith got in touch with us about opening some shows for them. At some point, someone I knew in the drama club at Parkview High School talked to me about having us play in the school theatre and recording us through the soundboard. I remember it being a disaster as they couldn’t get the equipment working and no one showed up except a handful of friends. Another school band played as well called Acriminy. They were a fairly talented metal band whose rhythm guitarist, Jimmy Davis, later joined Monster. Their lead guitarist/singer was this guy Corbin King who is pretty hot shit these days in the metal scene in Vainglory and as a solo artist.

A friend of mine in Augusta wanted to start a fanzine and he sent questions through the mail and had us take some band pics. Our poses were über punk and I’m sure our answers were equally as pogo-riffic. I don’t know what happened to my copy of the ‘zine but I do know that one of Kenn’s answers was something about the Accüsed being the true grunge band from Seattle or something along those lines. On occasion we would warm up with the Accüsed’s version of “I’d Love To Change the World” at practice.

Sarge, Kenn and Roger Perry.

We scraped some money together and had my mom take us and our equipment to Sleepless Nights Studio ran by Issa Diao. The studio was in Candler Park on McClendon along the strip where Flying Biscuit is. It was small but quaint. We recorded and mixed three songs in one day. The songs were “Partisan Politics”, “High Horse” and “Dying”.

And then right as shit got rolling it happened... Sarge had started playing in another band on the side with Kip Thomas from Fiddlehead and Marcus from Initiative. They were calling themselves Freemasonry. Sarge then started getting really flaky on us. I’d have to pick him up to get him to practice (which meant convincing my girlfriend to do it since I didn’t have a car). Half the time I’d show up at his apartment and have to wake his ass up. I loved M.D.C. and they were playing an already filled bill at the Wreck Room. I called Alan Dixon, who was booking the show, about getting us on. He finally agreed after much pleading but then we ended up having to cancel because supposedly Sarge had pulled his groin the week of the show. Denied to this day by Kip but confirmed at the time by Sarge’s girlfriend, Kip gave Sarge an ultimatum to either quit us or quit them. He chose them. I was very bitter at the time towards Sarge and even more so towards Kip. So bitter in fact that I never saw Freemasonry play live which is a mistake that I will have to live with for the rest of my life.

Ten Two Four with Spiney Norman, Jenkin's Ear and the Difference, Friday, March 12, 1993 at the Wreck Room. Flier done by me.

Ten Two Four with Act of Faith and Stale Fish, Friday, May 28, 1993 at the Wreck Room. Flier done by me.

Ten Two Four with Crisis Under Control, Spiney Norman and Scout, Wednesday, July 28, 1993 at the Somber Reptile. I think Scout may have canceled hence the red over their name. Drawing by Steven Cummings (Go Steadys), flier composition done by me.

Ten Two Four with Gerardes and Distraught, Saturday, August 14, 1993 at the Wreck Room. Flier done by me.

Ten Two Four with the Difference, Bob and the Go Steadies (sic; sorry James!), Saturday, August 21, 1993 at the Somber Reptile. Flier done by me.

Ten Two Four with M.D.C., Spiney Norman, Crisis Under Control and the Difference, Friday, September 10, 1993 at the Wreck Room. We had to cancel the show because of Sarge's groin.

So there we were, once again, the band that could never be whole. I ended up getting my friend Brandon Espinosa, who had been in Atrocity Exhibition, to play bass and the singer search started again. Around that time was the Dan & Dave Punk Fest at the Somber Reptile. I thought if we could get Sarge to do one last show for us we could announce there that we needed a singer in front of a larger audience. Kenn was very adamant about not playing the show without a singer so I convinced Sarge to do us that one last favor. Day of the show I hadn’t heard from him. Getting close to the time we go on, haven’t heard from him. We end up switching time slots to go on later but still saw no sign of him. Begrudgingly Kenn got onstage with Brandon and I and we proceeded to play our songs with different people coming up to fill in and make up their own words. It was horrible. Chuck Petrakopoulous (ex-Jenkin’s Ear) got up at one point and he knew some of the words since he had been trying out with us.

Dan & Dave Punk Fest with Ten Two Four, Act of Faith, Knuckle, Brickwall United, Habeus Corpsus, Antique Future, Crisis Under Control, Spiney Norman, 5x9, the Difference, Quadiliacha, Midge Farmers, Monster Box and Monkey Boy, Friday, October 23, 1993 at the Somber Reptile. Flier done by me.

Rob Fuller from Act of Faith had suggested Chuck to us since he knew he had been in chorus at Duluth High School. We ended up going with Chuck and carried on. We recorded all our songs on Kenn’s four-track and I went back and sang the vocals so Chuck could learn the songs. I have no clue where those tapes went which is probably a good thing. We came up with two new songs and started playing more shows.

Ten Two Four with Broken, the Difference and Quadiliacha, Friday, February 4, 1994 at the Wreck Room. Flier done by Chuck.

Saturday, February 5, 1994 we took a road trip with Act of Faith to Augusta to play at this place called The Ranch which had a halfpipe outside. Act of Faith brought a few of their friends from Duluth and we brought along two friends so we had a whole caravan going up there and had a great time. The stage was tiny and the crowd kept getting onstage with us and stage diving and slamming like mad, leaving us almost no room to play. It was a total blast. The most memorable part of the trip though was having some Southern ass lady telling Rob Fuller to clean his mouth since the Stuckey’s/Dairy Queen we were in was a “family restaurant” and Rob proceeding to sarcastically quip back at her.

Augusta set list. Never saw a flier for this show.

Ten Two Four with Crisis Under Control, Line Drive and Lifeline, Saturday, February 12, 1994 at the Wreck Room. Flier done by Chuck.

Jimmy Davis (Monster), me, Kenn and Jason Harp (Decayed Jesus).

Me, Brandon, Chuck, Carter Davis (the Difference) and Chris Lunsford (Broken).

Kenn had been hanging out more with the Duluth straightedge crew at the time and started to have issues with Brandon being a pot smoker. At what ended up being one of our last shows, Kenn and I talked outside the Wreck Room about the future of the band and about us being more positive. He said we needed to kick out Brandon and if we were to continue with Chuck we’d have to have a heart to heart and really work with him on his singing. I thought “fuck this” and said we should just break up the band. Kenn and I had great musical chemistry and he was a very talented guitarist, I loved our songs and thought we had an original sound but I just couldn’t take any further member changes. Not to mention that both those guys were my friends and I didn’t want to kick either of them out. Starting over was too tiring so that was the end for me. After that I joined Crisis Under Control on vocals and later played bass in Ex Members Of..., Kenn joined Broken which changed to Downpour then later morphed into The Power & the Glory, Brandon joined Benchtop (with Pat from Initiative) and Chuck went on to Batch of Gimps and started Moodswing Records.

Ten Two Four's last show with Act of Faith, Broken and Second-7's, Saturday, February 19, 1994 at the Wreck Room. Flier done by me.


  1. Damn, Brad. There's a ton of things in here that I didn't know about. Nice post, and it's always great to see old pics of Kenn.

  2. Looking at those old pics, I can't believe how much my son Collin, looks like me. Good post Brad. That was cool to see how every thing wound up. :thumbup:

  3. Thanks guys. It is amazing how much shit I forgot too. Talking with folks and seeing the pics and fliers–memories started bubbling to the surface. When talking to Sarge he told me that my girlfriend at the time accidentally broke his nose at a show (which I never knew about). He said he tried to play it cool and tough at the time, but the next day his face was all black and blue!

  4. Like when I remembered Kenn rear ending me at a stop sign on purpose, leaving your house one day. I was pissed, I look back and Kenn's just laughing his ass off. Good Stuff.

  5. No brakes! I think we eventually spray painted that on his hood backwards (so you could read it correctly in your rear view).

  6. Kenn needs to bring back the hesher ensemble. Dude looks like a long lost Maiden axe-slinger. I figured he just appeared from the bowels of hell one day, its great to get the full story!

  7. Wow, this really takes me back... I'm pretty sure I was at the Line Drive show. Keep up the great work1

  8. Hey, this is Dan, formerly of Dan and Dave Punk. I just stumbled across this site and it is really cool to see all these fliers and other information. My mind is extremely hazy from that period, and looking through here had made me remember the good times that I had almost forgotten.

  9. Omyword, I never saw Kenn with hair! Awesome article; loads of stuff I never knew for sure! Thanks Brad!