Friday, December 28, 2007
Now if anyone's reading this blog for the first time, there a couple of things I want to mention:
1. Skim the label list (on the right) if you're looking for something from a particular band or person from Dayton's musical past.
2. If you don't see what you're looking for, you can e-mail me or post a comment somewhere (I'll see it wherever you post it). If I've got it to post, I'll post it. If not, you'll have to wait until I get it (and I don't know when that will be, but I'm always on the lookout for stuff, so who knows?).
Oh yeah, I moderate comments on the blog, so your comment won't show up right when you post it. It'll have to wait 'til I approve it. I do that ONLY because some spammers started coming by and posting stupid advertisements as comments. So I always dump those, BUT everything else gets approved (even if it's criticism).
3. If you download, you'll be downloading through Rapidshare, which is a bit of an involved process. Just follow the instructions though. It should work.
4. If Rapidshare tells you the file doesn't exist, let me know (Rapidshare deletes files that haven't been downloaded after some specified period). I'll re-up the link at my earliest convenience and post a notice to that effect.
Monday, December 24, 2007
And that's why Christmas Eve is the greatest day of the year -- better than your birthday, better than Halloween (though it's admittedly a close call), better even than The Day itself. Even when I was a kid, it didn't take too many Christmases for me to realize that no matter how great my presents would turn out to be, nothing was so good as the anticipation. Waking up on the morning of Christmas Eve and knowing that Christmas was almost here but not quite here was better than waking up Christmas morning and finding what Santa left (though I have to say that was pretty good too).
Of course, the older you get, the less the gifts matter. But for me at least, that just makes Christmas Eve better. If the 24th falls on a weekday, what Scrooge termed "the even handed dealing of the world" still continues. You can go out, or you can go to work if you have to, but for that day at least it seems people take everything a little less seriously because most everything will come to a halt the next day. Got to file that report? Got to write that paper? Fuck no! It can wait 'til the 26th! Even the most obnoxious Type-A's among us have to goof off a little. And compared to the way we are the rest of the year, it makes work almost a pleasure.
So if you are at work right now and reading this blog, good for you! Goof the fuck off as much as you want. That's what Christmas Eve is all about. Today's download is an absolute pile of dung! Download it and force everyone at your workplace to listen!
Today's download comes to us from the collection of Ms. Gail Dafler, who found this little treasure while thrifting some time in the mid-'90s. Okay, not only is it neither punk nor indie rock nor anything approaching that, but it's also technically not from Dayton. So it really has no place on this blog.
Then again, maybe it does. Anybody who had grown up in Dayton and was making music fifteen years ago doubtless grew up with Bob Braun, the ubiquitous TV personality from Cincinnati whose eponymous talk show aired weekday mornings in both the Cincinnati and Dayton markets (and undoubtedly many other places in the tri-state area). No doubt every city had (still has) someone like Bob. He was cheese personified. His non-threatening voice and commanding good looks tended to grace anything that could be dubbed "community related." He opened supermarkets and city centers, had recurring guest opinion spots on radio and television, judged baking, livestock, and sewing contests. I distinctly remember he sliced up the pie that went for $2000 at the 1979 Ohio State Fair (I was there). Bob was the happy mask behind which hid the grime, decay, and desperation of urban life in Dayton of the 1970s. He was the face of denial in a grasping, scratching, wheezing, post-Vietnam, pre-tech boom Miami Valley.
We hated him, but in a fucked up way, we loved him. I'm going to go out on a limb here and declare that my generation was the first to openly acknowledge and even promote the legitimacy of irony as an art form. And even the most primitive sense of irony had to respect the perverseness lurking behind the ridiculous veneer of civility that Bob Braun stood for. He is a treasured cultural icon 'round these parts precisely because he could not possibly be confused with anything that should have serious artistic value. Even better, just like Big K Cola and the venerable Voss Hoss, he was all ours -- whether we liked it or not.
Of course, as Bob's Wikipedia entry notes, he would not be ours forever. In 1984 he left southwest Ohio to pursue a career in Hollywood. Although he landed jobs in commercials (even if you don't live around here, you may know him as the former spokesman for Craftmatic Adjustable Beds), local talk shows, and a few feature films (he had a bit part in Die Hard 2), by 1994 he was back in Cincinnati hosting a radio show with his nephew "Bucks" Braun (himself a noteworthy radio personality in Dayton at the time). He retired in 1997 and died of Parkinson's Disease in 2001.
Now lest anyone think I speak ill of the departed, I'll also add that although I question the value of Bob Braun's contribution to culture, no one can question the good he did in his lifetime as a staunch supporter of the Ruth Lyons Children's Fund (to which you can make contributions at the preceding link). And at no time did Bob do more for the fund than he did at Christmas...
...which, of course, leads us (finally...) to the record itself, a 7" vinyl record recorded by Bob Braun with The Cliff Lash Orchestra (I dunno...) and something called "The Fun Bunch" (and if you're expecting me to make some parenthetical joke about that, you'd be right except that I can't think of anything that's really funnier than just typing "The Fun Bunch"). "The Spirit of Christmas" appears to be a Cliff Lash original. It's seasonal schlock from the '70s at its schlockiest and '70s-est. Don't say I didn't warn you.
The label places this in 1973, which would be six years into Bob's seventeen-year stint as host of The Bob Braun Show on WLWT-TV in Cincinnati (check out this customer review of a Ruth Lyons Christmas album at Amazon.com for more information on the show and its peculiar Christmas traditions).
Download It! (15 MB) (link re-upped on 3-29-2010)
Okay then, that's about it. I'm posting this just after midnight, Christmas Eve. If you read this early in the day, do yourself a favor: drop whatever you're doing right now and go have a Christmas adventure. No shit. If you can at all manage it, do at least a little something you hadn't planned to do today. Doesn't matter what it is. If you're cynical about holiday commercialism, go downtown right now and give somebody fifty bucks (doesn't matter if you think they'll spend it on booze, doesn't matter if there are billions of others still starving -- give somebody fifty bucks). If you can't get out of work, give it to the person sitting next to you. If you're the kind of person who regularly does unto others, go buy something for yourself. If you can't do any of that stuff, do something else. Do something you didn't know you would do when you got up today. And if you can, make somebody happy -- doesn't matter who.
Friday, December 21, 2007
More than anything else, though, I dig the music. Every year, in lieu of Christmas cards, I distribute a Christmas-themed CD of indie rock and audio miscellany to everyone I know -- a disc I spend pretty much all year compiling (yes, you'll often find me listening to Christmas music in July). In addition to just being fun, I find that sampling a wide variety of Christmas music keeps me in touch with heights of beauty and solemnity, as well as the depths of absurdity, to which every strata of the media can transmogrify the holiday spirit in song. In the old days, my grandfather used to play stand up bass and violin in various bands around Chicago, and it was a favorite saying of his that any musician who can't get a job on New Years Eve is no musician at all. Being a musician and general music lover myself, I would add to my grandfather's observation that any musician who doesn't do something related to the holidays at some point in his career has no idea what he's doing. Everybody does a Christmas song -- I mean, everybody.
Of course, with that in mind, I must now admit that even among the voluminous collection of music extant from Dayton's indie rock history in the collections of Grog, Gail, and me, there is not a single Christmas song to be found. And for the life of me, I can't remember anyone from the era I ordinarily cover on this blog actually recording one. Sure, THE OXYMORONS did "Silver Bells" live once or twice, and THE OBVIOUS used to crank out a great cover of "White Christmas." I have a vivid memory of one Christmas show we did together (i.e. OXYMORONS and THE OBVIOUS) that ended with Greg Johnson taking a drunken backward tumble off the stage and into Canal Street Tavern's Christmas tree -- there was tinsel and beer everywhere. For Christmas 2003, my band THE VECTORS did a mini-holiday party at Canal Street Tavern at which we gave our CD away for free and performed a second set consisting entirely of Christmas songs (I even have a video tape of that show somewhere, but ripping and sharing of that will have to wait until next year). And I've no doubt any number of other Dayton bands recorded some kind of Christmas tuneage, but I currently have access to none of it.
Yeah, that's Dayton. For decades this town has provided nothing appropriate to this season or any other. I can think of no better metaphor for living here than being a ten year old kid ripping open a package on Christmas morning, expecting an Atari 2600, and getting a box full of dress socks or something.
And that's why, in lieu of any holiday audio specifically related to Dayton, I am today offering, for your holiday listening pleasure, a lame substitute:
Music View was a canned weekly music news program distributed to college radio stations on 12" vinyl in the late '80s and early '90s. At WWSU, we usually ran it on Friday nights at about 7:30 p.m. (and maybe once or twice more over the weekend). The show featured interviews and music with various luminaries and up-and-comers in the universe of what was then called "alternative" or "modern" rock. Or, at least, that's what it was supposed to do. You see, even at the time, I was a little suspicious of this program because although the production company (Joseph Fox Communications, Inc. -- which I believe was gobbled up by Time Warner at some point in the '90s) was technically independent, the whole thing was underwritten by that evil soul-sucking demonic cabal of the consumer recording industry: The Columbia Record and Tape Club!
Remember the Columbia Record and Tape Club? Remember how they lured you in with the irresistible promise of "12 records for a penny!"? Remember how, after you got those records, you then found yourself snared in a dizzying miasma of contractual obligations to buy so many records over a 12-month period for the rest of your natural life? Remember how often you forgot to send back the little notice attached to each monthly catalog to tell the company that you did NOT want whatever their featured piece of crap was that month? Remember how that resulted in you actually having to pay for some shitty record from the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT? Remember having to explain to your friends why you owned some shitty record from the ALAN PARSONS PROJECT? If none of this rings a bell, count yourself lucky. I was but one of many who, like any drug addict, got sucked in by the promise of a cheap score, only later to find out that nothing in life costs a penny -- and for the next seven years, me and my credit report suffered.
Yeah, that's where the money behind Music View came from, and so even back then I used to wonder exactly how the featured artists on each show were chosen. But even so, in a world lacking the magic power of the web, Music View remained one of the few places to hear information and music from artists outside the top forty mainstream. And although host John Fox spent a good amount of time covering concocted industry experiments who were supposed to be "the next big thing" (TRANSVISION VAMP anyone?), he also hit on a lot of good music from real artists in there.
The 1990 holiday show (officially, episode #98), presented for download here, is a pretty good example of the good and bad that Music View had to offer. Listen and you'll hear Christmas cuts from THE RAMONES, THE GONADS, THE REDUCERS, ED GEIN'S CAR, DAVID CASSIDY (no shit!), and BABY TAPEWORM. Interview segments feature artists like LIVING COLOUR, BLUE HEARTS, INSPIRAL CARPETS, DAVID CASSIDY (the only artist with both interview and music presented), and CIRCLE JERKS. The whole thing is hosted by the aforementioned John Fox (who must've finished in the top of the class at The Casey Kasem School of Broadcasting, 'cos he sounds just like him), with a brief segment on punk rock called "Rabid Food" hosted by Jack Rabid. "Rabid Food" was a regular feature on Music View and always my favorite part of the show.
Download It! (54 MB)
Like all Music View episodes, this one is presented in three segments (on the vinyl, each segment was separated by a locked groove allowing the DJ on whatever station was playing the show to pop in and perhaps give things a more local feel). Tracks 2-4 in the download package are those segments. Each show also came with a 7" record full of daily promo spots for what was coming up on the show that week. Those promo spots are track 1. The whole show is 28 minutes, the dailies about 7. The package also includes scans of the promo sheet and show schedule that came with the record.
Although the dailies inexplicably promise music and talk from PRIMAL SCREAM, that band appears nowhere in the show itself.
Yeah, it's not Dayton-related -- but hey, it's Christmas...
...and it only gets worse: return to this blog on CHRISTMAS EVE for another audio offering that will simply curl your ear-hairs. Until then...
feliz navi-nada, baby...
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Jason gave me a copy of this tape not long after it was recorded. I listened to it all summer. Later that year I joined FLESHBATS as second guitar player. I'll say more about that when I post their second cassette Petty Criminals Hang Like Monkeys, but for now, I'll keep it brief.
Jayson Himes - vocals
Lino Bovenzi - drums
Mike Smith - guitar
Dave Robick - bass
Lino was born and raised in Italy, which has a long tradition of excellent hardcore (cf. NEGAZIONE, INFEZIONE). In Dayton, he drove a cab.
After FLESHBATS broke up, Dave, Mike, and Lino played together in a number of bands through the '90s, including GONGKICKER (with Chris Pospisil on vocals) and THE IGNITERS.
Jayson's current band is THE AMERICAN STATIC, an incredibly popular act around town right now which also includes Todd Weidner (SHRUG) and, until recently, Steven Gullet (SNAKE OIL, LOVE LIES BLEEDING, et al.).
1. Revolution Time
2. Racheal's Mess
3. Homemade LSD
4. Sand and Blood
5. Urban Hatred
6. Fast One, Slow One
7. I'm on Junk
Recorded at Cro-Magnon studios, January 1988.
All tracks are great, but the best one is "Revolution Time," an anthemic fuck-you to consumer society.
Download it! (17 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)
Friday, December 14, 2007
I will be at the Southern Belle (right next door to Canal Street Tavern) from about 7:30 to 9:30 (maybe later) on Wednesday, December 19. I'll have FREE X-Mas compilation CDs (similar deal to the Halloween one I posted on the blog, but with an x-mas theme) for all who ask.
Special appearance by Gem City Roller Girl Maim E. Van Gorin' (a.k.a. Val)!
If you already got an invite through e-mail, this is the same thing. I'm also announcing here because there are some people I know who read the blog but whose e-mail addresses I don't have. So if any of you would like to come out on Wednesday, say hi, drink beer, shoot pool, and get a free x-mas CD, I'd be glad to see you.
Of course, people I don't know are welcome to come too (assuming there's anyone I don't know who actually reads this blog--heh...). I'll be the guy wearing the infamous Ben Schelker CLASH jacket and likely cursing his shitty pool cue to hell.
Merry X-Mas to all (or "Vula-Vula Vars!" as they say on Mars!).
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Brian was one of Will's friends who used to come out to all sorts of shows. He was also one of the people who'd come by every so often to watch bad '80s horror movies until all hours with me and Will. I remember giving Brian a couple of guitar lessons at some point. Okay, Brian is a big guy (used to play college football) with big fingers, and although he had a Telecaster (which has a wide neck), he still had a lot of trouble getting those barre chords to ring out at first. But that didn't stop him from putting this band together.
Their first show was at the Wright State Rathskellar in 1992. Honestly, it was excruciating. They got lost a lot, and it seemed Brian was always squinting down at his guitar, which meant he wasn't singing directly into the microphone, so it was hard to hear the vocals, which were probably the strongest part of the group. But you could tell there was some talent there. You could legitimately figure they'd improve.
My impression is that Brian has always regarded this cassette as total shit. If you see him around, try mentioning Fat 4 and you might see the "Fat-4 Face," which is a look of disgust so abject, so pure that most of us could only manage it if we were actually served a plate full of real shit in a fancy restaurant.
To be sure, this cassette is not a display of finely crafted musical talent. The band really does sound like they've been playing for only a couple of months. The arrangements sometimes lack direction. There's one part where I'd swear that the guitar and bass are playing two different songs. That being said, there's still much to enjoy here. Brian always had the edgiest voice in Dayton--raw, powerful. Positive comparisons to NIRVANA and THE RAMONES aren't out of the question. It's rough, but it's good. And of course, SOURBELLY would get a whole lot better. Download Plasma Boy if you don't believe me. And watch this blog for SOURBELLY's self-titled second cassette (with Gregg Spence on drums).
- "Johnny" was later re-recorded (with a different drummer and bass player) for SOURBELLY's second cassette and also appeared on the Cro-Magnon compilation 1101 E. Second Street.
- "Ed" was written about one of SOURBELLY's first practices.
- I've always wondered who "Card Shop Cate" was about, but I never asked.
2. Ed, Ed Chicken Head
3. Card Shop Cate
4. Pet the Rabbit
Download it! (13 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Second, a recent study ranks Dayton as the 18th most dangerous city in America. Believe it or not, I consider that good news. Off the top of my head, I would've placed Dayton at least in the top ten. And check out Youngstown rockin' the number 15 spot--which is absolutely placid considering that the last time I saw Youngstown, I would've mistaken it for the set of Escape from New York. But sadly, it looks like Flint, Michigan (which I have always considered Dayton's sister city in scumhood) is at number three. So that town is even worse off than I would've guessed.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
1. The hard drive on my computer went kerplewey the other night, so posting will be delayed for a few days while I get it together.
2. Ben Schelker died ten years ago today. I had intended to post a live recording of one of Ben's an acoustic shows today, but now that'll have to wait until probably Monday.
3. Apparently, a more recent contributor to the Dayton music scene died yesterday. I didn't know him, and before this I had never heard of his band (HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS). But anyone who's crazy enough to make music in this town shouldn't go unacknowledged, at least in death. Read the story here.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
The Mystery of MOM...
So I'm down in my basement, and I'm psyched. I'm totally psyched because today I'm ripping the MOM cassette that Gail brought over. In 1987 I'd heard a lot about MOM but never saw them live or heard any recordings. For twenty years, all I'd ever had to go on were descriptions from others, a flyer I had, and strange imagery brought up by the names of some of the band members: Roger Revlon, Bad Elvis. Really, how could they not be fucking cool?
So I pop in the tape, press play, and click record in CoolEdit. The cassette insert lists nine songs in total--get that, nine forgotten gems of experimental indie rock from Dayton's past. The first two songs are great. Odd lyrics and growly guitar over a monolithic drum-machine beat. Shades of LE TIGRE and other drum-machine sporting rock bands of the late '90s--but with a pure '80s punk bent. I'm diggin', I'm diggin', I'm diggin' and then...
...that's it: naught but silence for five minutes after the second track. In desperation, I fast forward, hear the click as the reels freeze in place when the tape reaches its limit, flip it over, and with trembling figures press the play button on side 2.
Imagine my disappointment as side 2 starts with what sounds like the same song at the start of side 1. Then the second song plays and after that, nothing again.
Just to be sure, I let both sides run completely as I putter around the basement. But all I get is twenty-five minutes of tape hiss on both! Tape hiss that takes on the suggestion of laughter in the dark--mocking laughter from twenty years ago, aimed through some demonic manipulation of time and space straight at me in the year 2007!
As I scan the cover insert again, a dreadful thought occurs to me: I've no guarantee that I'm even listening to the fabled MOM of Gem City legend! I mean, the cassette is labeled "MOM," and it came wrapped in a MOM cassette insert on paper that's the same shade of blue as the cassette label. But the lyrics to the songs on the tape don't suggest any of the titles. And I hear no saxaphone, even though the insert says that MOM had a sax player.
Without more information, I'm left to make only the vaguest of inferences. These songs probably are by MOM. The insert lists no drummer, and these songs use a drum machine. There couldn't have been too many non-dance-pop bands at that time that used a drum machine. But my guess is that these songs were recorded after the cassette that goes with the insert--likely demos or outtakes that Dennis gave Gail for some reason, or perhaps test recordings. I say that because close listening reveals that the two songs on both sides are not exactly the same recordings. They have slightly different beginnings and endings and perhaps different vocal tracks. But otherwise, they are virtually identical.
As I said, I know little about MOM. But according to the band roster, they were:
Dennis Schlichter - vocals & guitar
Roger Revlon - vocals & sax & noise
Bad Elvis - guitar
Chris Green - bass guitar
Dennis has been a friend of Gail for as long as I can remember (perhaps she might ask him to clear up this mystery?). I remember hearing Roger's name in the old days, but I know nothing about him (maybe Kris Pliess knew him?). Bad Elvis was likely in another fabled Dayton band of this era, BAD ELVIS IMPERSONATORS, and something tells me that he'll turn out to be someone I know. But I can't be sure. I believe I've met Chris Green a few times over the years, but I don't know him very well. Val tells me he's a lawyer now.
Finally, MOM was gigging around Dayton in 1987 and perhaps into '88, but it seems to me they were broken up by summer of '88 at the latest.
1. [It Takes A Man (to Make A Man), version A]
2. [unknown, version A]
3. [It Takes A Man (to Make A Man), version B]
4. [unknown, version B]
Download It! (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)
The titles are bracketed because I made them up. Just going by the title list on the insert, I don't believe either of these were on that cassette.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Will had sort of a musical split personality. On the one hand, he liked punk rock. As I said in the DOBIE WILLIS post, he was (still is) an unabashed admirer of JELLO BIAFRA, THE DEAD KENNEDYS, DOA, and THE RAMONES. This is all true. But Will never quite got past his teenage obsession with LED ZEPPELIN, TED NUGENT, and other '70s cock rockers. To be fair, I had a similar obsession in my teenage years, and I never quite got past it either (just last summer I dug up a bunch of BLACK SABBATH tunes and obsessed on them for about a week -- and just in time for Satan Day 2006 (that's 6-6-06 in case you don't get it; and if I'm still alive in June of 2066 I'll be celebrating Satan Month with demonic fervor)).
But Will especially loved '70s-style groove jams: you know, like the 10-minute guitar solo in "Stranglehold" by TED NUGENT and shit like that. Most of the songs he wrote for PLANET ED featured a very long instrumental break, usually filled by Will going off on some Biafra-esque tirade (if you listened to Stand Your Ground you already know what I'm talking about). Will also loved to play incredibly long sets and talk to people while on stage. It didn't bother him too much if we spent a minute or two (or three or four or ten) between songs yelling at people in the crowd or making bad jokes -- like, imagine the FEAR sequence in Decline of Western Civilization (don't make me say Part 1), except less confrontational and less funny.
Dave, on the other hand, loved short fast songs with goofy, down-to-earth lyrics. His idols were SCREECHING WEASEL, CRIMPSHRINE, MR. T EXPERIENCE, GREEN DAY, THE QUEERS, CRINGER, 7 SECONDS, and hundreds (literally hundreds--Dave's record collection was of Bodleian proportions) of other bands that Will used to refer to as "low-grade punk rock" (of course, this was three years before Dookie! would come out and suddenly turn Dave's "low-grade punk rock" into big, BIG business). He couldn't stand long instrumental grooves, and he wanted a very short set and as little time as possible between songs. In Dave Graeter's happy place, the bands all play fifteen songs in ten minutes.
I guess I sort of fell somewhere in the middle--maybe. I mean, I definitely liked short songs, but I also wanted a little more substance in the music than Dave seemed content with. I was also totally obsessed with BOB MOULD and HUSKER DU, so I wanted more emo-type content in there too. So basically, each of us was going in a different direction. We argued. We argued a lot.
One way or another, things always seemed to go wrong for PLANET ED. The majority of horror stories I have about playing shows are from PLANET ED shows. At our "big show" with ROYAL CRESCENT MOB at Canal Street Tavern, the Mob turned out to be total assholes who wanted us off stage in like thirty minutes (so we played for an hour--and even Dave was okay with that). We played Oxford when the snow was 8 inches deep and I had a terrible head cold and we had to wait until 3 a.m. to collect our money (which turned out to be $15). Our planned five-day tour of the midwest fell apart completely at the last minute. I mean, every booking fell through the day we were supposed to leave--after we'd rented the van!
But we kept playing. We kept practicing. We kept making records. Somehow, for the two years we were together, it worked. We argued, but we compromised. We had some lousy shows, but we turned them into great stories. For all the tension, it was fun. And I think we made some good music.
PLANET ED's first release was a cassette entitled Bubblegum for the Masses, a live thing we recorded at Canal Street Tavern. That cassette is sort of a story in itself and best belongs with a post about Canal Street Tavern. Today, I'm sharing our first 7" record, Listen and Understand, Earthlings!
I like this one because I think it shows how each of us kind of set aside our usual preferences and learned something from the others. Although I wrote "Hollywood Erotic," it's really a joke song -- no emo-content whatsoever. "Feelings Turn Colors" is Will's offering, but it's a fairly straight arrangement with only a brief guitar solo and no political ranting. Dave's song "Tension Kid" (which is at least partly about Will) is actually the longest one, and it's even got a groovy instrumental break in the middle.
1. Hollywood Erotic
2. Feelings Turn Colors
3. Tension Kid
Download it! (18 MB) (link re-upped on 2-4-2013)
UPDATE 2-4-2013: The download package here is a completely new rip. The old one was done on a terrible combo-stereo system. This one is from a much better stereo.
As usual, the download package includes hi-resolution scans of the record and the insert. I think this one came out particularly well. I love Dave's layout on the inner part of the sleeve (the pictures in this entry are details of it), and I think the label on the "Planet Side" of the vinyl is so nice, I'd put it on a t-shirt.
The sample at the beginning of "Feelings Turn Colors" is from Dead Poets' Society. The one in the middle of "Tension Kid" is from Repo Man (which I should really get on DVD some time).
Nick Kizirnis and Nick Atkinson helped with the back-up vocals on "Tension Kid."
Recorded at Cro-Magnon studios. Engineered by Joe Buben.
For the bands I played in, my ultimate wish for this blog has always been to some day dig up all the masters and post better quality recordings. Unfortunately, in PLANET ED's case, this plan will always remain a dream. For some inexplicable reason, Dave and I appointed Will the official keeper of the PLANET ED masters. In typical Dalgard fashion, he lost them years ago (probably traded them for some magic beans). Today's post is from the vinyl. However, Dave tells me he's got a cassette of this stuff that came right from the studio master tapes. When I get that tape from him, I'll post it here.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I checked my usual audio blog haunts and could find no offerings for J CHURCH (which makes sense since most of their stuff has been released on CD), but I did find a couple of compilations that CRINGER was on over at Something I Learned Today:
"Burn Down the Forest," from the More Songs About Plants and Trees 7" comp on Allied Recordings (1990)
"Take Back the Night," from the Metal Gives Us a Headache 7" comp on Hippycore (1988)
Both are great tunes, worth downloading.
And e-music has some good stuff too for subscribers:
J Church bio and downloads - If you're a member of e-music, I suggest you go for the Tide of Fate EP or the collection Camels, Spilled Corona, and the Sound of Mariachi Bands. "Bomb" (which is on the latter) is probably their best tune (my old band HEIKE covered it once or twice, and I've played it acoustically scads of times). Both records are J CHURCH in their prime, but really, this band never lost a step at any point in their career, so anything you get is likely to be good.
The Thing That Ate Floyd (compilation) from Lookout! Records - This is the only CRINGER I could find on e-music, which is a shame, but "Cottleston Pie" is a good song. How many punk bands could get away with writing a song about Winnie the Pooh and making fun of BLACK FLAG at the same time? ("It's not my imagination! There's a Winnie the Pooh on my baaaaaaaaack...").
One last thing about Lance: when my now ex-wife and I were living together in the '90s, she had a fish tank full of fish which sat in this day room in a house we were renting in Yellow Springs. The day room got a lot of sun and Andrea just sort of forgot they were there for a few weeks (months). When we finally got around to attending to them, all but about three inches of water had evaporated and only one fish was still alive. We named him Lance and put him in a jug of water on the table in the living room so we wouldn't forget about him. He had a pretty good life in that jug from then on, except that Black Francis (the cat) would periodically come over and drink some of his water (or, as we termed it, drink part of "Lance's universe"). Still, that fish was a survivor...
Okay, as promised, there will be new DAYTON stuff on this blog over the weekend.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
In other news, Dave Graeter informs me that Lance Hahn died last month of kidney disease. For the uninitiated, Lance was the main creative force behind CRINGER in the late '80s and J CHURCH in the '90s. If you've never heard of these bands, you're really missing out. Both were/are essential pop punk listening.
Go here for a short obit and a J CHURCH mp3.
I never saw CRINGER live, but their music is amazing--an indispensable part of that east coast LOOKOUT! RECORDS sound that GREEN DAY has since turned into a trans-national phenomenon. J CHURCH was more or less the same thing, just a little tighter, a little more intellectual--no less brilliant. I think J CHURCH should also get some kind of recognition for being as prolific as they were. As far as I know, they had a song on every compilation they were ever asked to be on in the '90s, and it's rare to find the same J CHURCH song on two different comps. Seems they always had a single or short EP coming out on some obscure indie label or other. Lance must have been writing and recording 24 hours a day. It would take a team of Ivy League record geeks quite a while to track down their entire back catalogue.
I saw J CHURCH several times in Columbus, Dayton, and Kentucky from about 1993-1996, and Lance and I corresponded briefly while I was living in Yellow Springs. My band HEIKE played with them at some warehouse show in Lexington. So although Lance and I were never friends or anything, I met him enough times to say that he was a pretty decent guy of little pretense. And most importantly, J CHURCH always put on a good show. He'll be missed.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
You can expect posting to resume about a month from now (let's say, Wednesday, November 14).
In the meantime, I thought I'd upload my 2007 Halloween compilation CD. The tracks all overlap a bit, so I'm just posting it in one big MP3. There are no bands from Dayton on it, but it's full of Halloween themed music from punk and indie rockers of the past and present, as well as long lost radio spots for cheesy horror movies of the '60s and '70s -- and then there's maybe one or two surprises in addition. Overall, I'd say it's a fine soundtrack for chic Halloween parties and general mayhem. Dig...
1. The Young Ones, "Only pop music can save us now..."
2. The Revillos, "Voodoo"
3. The Specials, "Ghost Town"
4. The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (radio spot)
5. Martinibomb & the Coconut Monkeyrocket, "Munsterbeat"
6. The Meteors, "Graveyard Stomp"
7. The Ghastly Ones, "Spooky Girl"
8. The Astro Zombies (radio spot)
9. The Aquabats, "Fashion Zombies"
10. Rodd Keith, "Run Spook Run"
11. Groovie Ghoulies, "The Beast With Five Hands"
12. Asylum of the Insane (radio spot)
13. Teenage Bottlerocket, "Bloodbath at Burger King"
14. Dave Gardner, "Mad Witch"
15. Nekromantix, "Horny in a Hearse"
16. Intermission at the Skyland Drive-In Theater, Greenville, SC (ca 1964)
17. The Cripplers, "Church of the Holy Spook"
18. Camper Van Beethoven, "Devil Song"
19. Wesley Willis, "Creep Show"
20. Magic (radio spot)
21. Blue Meanies, "Creepy"
22. Jupiter Jones, "The Spook Spoke"
23. Violent Femmes, "Werewolf"
24. That Crazy Mixed-Up Dr. Evil (radio spot)
25. Tre' Lux, "Every Day is Halloween"
26. Revillos, "Voodoo 2"
Also included in the download package is a CD label and cover containing the same stuff you see in the pictures with this entry (which you can click on to see larger versions if you want to read my chatty comments about each track). Both are in MS Publisher format.
Download It! (80 MB)
And since this is a blog about Dayton music, I'll add that if you're looking for more Halloween-themed tuneage, you can do no better than The Lawn Jockeys' 2001 CD, "Amazing Sounds of Shock Theatre! Starring Dr. Creep!" The Lawn Jockeys were, of course, a Dayton band. Ed Lacy (of KILLJOYS, RAGING MANTRAS, CAGE, etc.) played keyboards for them, but I don't remember who else. But not only is this a Halloween-themed disc by a Dayton band, but it celebrates a Dayton icon: Dr. Creep! Some day, I'll do a whole blog entry on Dr. Creep, Shock Theatre, and what both meant to people who grew up in this town in the '70s. But for now, I'll just throw links at you:
Amazing Sounds of Shock Theatre available for download at E-Music (a pay site, but worth it)
Amazing Sounds of Shock Theatre available for purchase at the Big Beef Records site
Profile of the Lawn Jockeys (with video of them performing during a Shock Theatre marathon!) at the Big Beef Records site
The Official Home of Dr. Creep and Shock Theatre on the Web
take care (and see you in November)
Friday, October 5, 2007
Eric Bagdonas - acoustic guitar, backing voice
Brian Bagdonas - stand-up bass
Kattie Daugherty - voice
Steve Johnson - drums, backing voice
Kattie and I had been friends at WWSU. I believe the first time I spent any significant time with her was the time the two of us went down to Bogart's to see and interview THE BUCK PETS. The whole trip just sort of fell together in five minutes. I was in the station lounge lamenting that this band I really liked was coming to town and that I could probably call and get free tickets and meet the band but didn't want to go by myself (because it's no fun seeing a band, getting fucked up, and crashing the car on the way home all by yourself). I'm not even sure I knew Kattie's last name at the time, but she was in the room and she volunteered, and so I called and we went.
Kattie has the unique distinction of being the only person who's ever thrown me a surprise party. It was for my 21st birthday, and I have to say I was completely fuckin' surprised. She had asked me to give her a ride home from Canal Street Tavern (where she was my favorite bar maid for several years). When we got to her place, she opened the door and sort of fumbled getting the keys out of the lock. So I ended up getting to the top of the stairs first. All of a sudden somebody came leaping out of her kitchen doorway, and for a moment I was sure she was being robbed and we were both about to be executed. But it was only Sterling Schissler (another WWSU DJ), and he was shoving a Britny Fox cassette (which I still own but have never listened to) in my face. About ten other people seemed to appear as if from nowhere. Gail Dafler gave me a Land Speed Record (on vinyl!) by HUSKER DU, and Ben gave me a 12-pack of Black Label in bottles (though Ben had to work and couldn't make it that night, so he sent the beer with Joel). Great birthday...
Okay, this episode really is about the first PURE PLASTIC TREE release, but I've got a little more background on Kattie before we get to that--and it's important because this would've been a very different band without her (and, in fact, was a very different band after she left). Anyway, she had an amazing singing voice then, and I was ready to play guitar anywhere, any time, for anyone. So we got together in her attic, worked out a few acoustic numbers (which I really wish I had recordings of today) and covers (I distinctly remember "He Ain't Heavy" by the Hollies), and played some musicians' co-ops at Canal Street Tavern. We also did one as a trio with Bob Moore, who was editor of Nexus (WSU's literary magazine) at the time and just learning to play guitar. As I remember, we did some of the songs Kattie and I had worked up, plus a cover of "Love Song" by THE DAMNED, and one or two originals that the three of us collaborated on. But then Bob and I had a falling out over something incredibly stupid (I've still got the letter), and the three of us never played again. Kattie and I played a few more times. I went with her to buy her first guitar and taught her a couple of chords, but no real sustainable music project ever came from any of that. All of this happened around 1988-90.
A year later, Kattie was in THE PURE PLASTIC TREE with Brian, Eric, and Steve. I saw them play on the quad one afternoon at WWSU. If I remember correctly, they had no amplification, but they sounded great. It was a windy spring day, but they had no problem cutting through that. It was their first show as a band and Kattie's first real show ever. Eric and Brian had, of course, played in LIQUID DRAINO, and PURE PLASTIC TREE was certainly a departure for them. For that matter, it was a departure from what every other band in Dayton was doing. I can't think of any other bands at the time that had no need at all for amplification--except maybe TOOBA BLOOZE. But Toobas were more or less traditional R&B. They weren't playing anything that was quite so off-beat.
After a year or two, Kattie left the band and in 1993 (I think) formed REAL LULU, in which she remained for the rest of the decade. REAL LULU released at least one seven-inch record (which I'll share on this blog if no one objects) and one full-length CD (which I will likely not be sharing because I'm pretty sure Andy Valeri is still selling it over at Big Beef Records). Her most recent band was THE NEW THIRTEEN, in which she played with her husband Dennis Mullins (guitar), friend Justin (bass -- don't know his last name), and Dave Graeter (drums -- formerly of LIQUID DRAINO, THE LARRY BRRRDS, COLAVISION, THE BARNHILLS, ART OF CHOKE). I don't know if THE NEW THIRTEEN ever released anything, but my most recent band, THE VECTORS, did a show with them at Elbow's a couple of years ago. They were great. Maybe if Dennis has some recordings, I can get him to let me share them.
THE PURE PLASTIC TREE went on in Kattie's absence for a couple more years (dates and such escape me on this one). Later, Eric and Brian moved to Portland and formed KIL-KARE. Today, Brian plays bass in the FOGHORN STRING BAND, a rootsy, Appalachian folk outfit that's getting a lot of favorable attention in that genre-world. I don't know what happened to Steve or what Eric is up to now.
As with most other download packages on this blog, this one also contains hi-res scans of the cover, insert, and cassette. I want to point this out particularly in this entry because I've always been impressed with the art on this one. I'm pretty sure we have Eric Bagdonas to thank for that. It's amazing what that man could do with nothing more sophisticated than photocopying on colored paper.
1. Turn Away
3. Cop Song
4. Waiting for the Green Light
5. Spewing Democracy
6. This Stuff Is Getting to Me
7. Plaid People Land
8. Crossing the Stepping Stones
Download it! (22 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)
Recorded at Cro-Magnon studios.
One final fun-fact about Kattie: she's had the same phone number since at least 1988 (and that's land-line, not this wussy cell phone bullshit). Other than my parents (who had the same number for forty years), I've never known anyone who's had the same number that long.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Monday, October 1, 2007
First, Under the Gloss is a great post-punk epic. My favorite cuts include, "Cure 4 Boredom" and "Open Yr Escape," but it's all worth hearing.
Second, you gotta love the art on the cassette cover -- sharp, simple, iconic.
Third, apologies for the cassette warble on some tracks. If I ever run across a cleaner copy, I'll re-rip the cassette, re-up the link, and announce.
See ya tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The main focus of this blog is Dayton music from about 1987-1994, but the only rule is that it has to be at least 10 years old and something that no one is distributing commercially anymore. With that in mind, today's post from 1996 is the most recent offering we've had so far. It's a cassette from LOVE LIES BLEEDING, a great post-punk band fronted by Steven Gullet.
There are really only two things I can say about Steven. First, he's a songwriter of exceptional talent--always has been. His previous bands include FREAKSTROBE, MYSTERY ADDICTS, and STAR HEARTLESS. The links in the previous sentence will take you to individual pages about each band, most of which have MP3s for download. You can get MP3s of Steven's solo music here.
Second, Steven's always had my vote for Best Dressed Man in Dayton -- no shit. He's always been a big glam rock fan and so understands that fashion itself can be an art form. I know BRAINIAC had those fashion spreads in Spin but if the editors of that magazine had any sense, they would have shot Steven too. Anyway, I know I'd pay real money for his wardrobe. Check out the photos on the band pages linked in the previous paragraph and see.
The package for download contains the 1996 cassette Under the Gloss by LOVE LIES BLEEDING. This band was:
Steven Gullet - voice, guitar
Jimmy Magnuson - drums
George Bradley - bass, voice
Before this band, George had played in SOURBELLY. After LOVE LIES BLEEDING broke up, he would go on to play bass for THE JACKALOPES.
You can read a bio and get more MP3s for LOVE LIES BLEEDING here.
Steve's current bands were SNAKE OIL and THE AMERICAN STATIC -- but not anymore. Sadly, it looks like Steven, along with his time-travelling companion Angelle, will be forsaking our fair city in just a few days. We who remain stuck here wish both of them all the best in Los Angeles. However, Steven will be flying back for a farewell-Dayton performance with THE AMERICAN STATIC at the 2007 Dayton Music Fest. Don't miss it.
1. Imitation Roses
3. Cure 4 Boredom
4. Teenage Anorexic Sex Gods
5. Stain Me
6. Forever Unable
7. Open Yr Escape
9. Hanging the Jester
10. Cool and Fade (on the Rocks)
Download it! (49 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I've still got tons of stuff to post though. So although it'll be just a trickle for a while, you'll get the flood in late November and December (just in time for X-Mas).
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I've had this tape forever and remember the exact day I got it because HANG'N PRIDE played with OXYMORONS at our first show ever (Canal St. Tavern, 5-18-1989). It's pretty straight, southern hard rock--but with just enough drive and edge to place it (at least marginally) into the punk/alt-rock category. Some of the guitar playing (especially on "Dance") reminds me of the guitar playing on the PLEASURES PALE album. Unfortunately, there's no band roster on this one, so I've no way of knowing if it's the same guy -- probably not though.
This one is also the quintessential example of that late-'80s "Cro-Magnon" sound I've been blathering about (in the UNDERDOGS and OXYMORONS posts mostly). Hear the reverb? The brief delay? The cranked mids? That's it. Pure Joe Buben...
One curious thing about this one: the tape cover bears the dedication "To Abby Leandra Kuras 9-4-89." As I said, I'm sure we played with HANG'N PRIDE on 5-18-1989, and I'm sure that's when I got this tape. But if the date in the dedication is right, that can't be true. Maybe they got the numerals 4 and 9 reversed? Possibly? This is one of those Twilight Zone things that's going to bug me in my grave.
My favorite cut is "Hokey Pokey." At the show (which is the only time I ever saw this band), I distinctly remember they closed with that one, and they fuckin' rocked it. It was 1 a.m. on a Thursday night (in Dayton...), and the bar was practically empty--but they still gave it everything they had. So I must thank HANG'N PRIDE for showing me that no matter where you're playing or how many people come, you should always play like you sold out the Enormo-Dome. Any band that doesn't understand why has no business playing music. That's a lesson I've carried with me through every band and every show I've ever played, and I'd forgotten where I learned it until just now.
1. Same Ol'Thing
2. Heart Attack
3. The Road
4. Now And Again
6. Go On Home
7. Hokey Pokey
Download it! (22 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Okay? Here we go...
I first met Will Dalgard in 1989 at a show THE OXYMORONS played at Canal Street Tavern. As I remember, he was the most animated person in the place, leaping around in front of the stage with the energy of ten people. Afterwards, he came up, said he loved the show -- raved about us even. OXYMORONS had been together only a few weeks, and it was the first time a stranger had come up to me to tell me he liked the band. I had played a number of shows with OXYMORONS and two other bands (SOCIAL DISEASE, FLESHBATS). But this was the first time I felt like a real musician, whose music was appreciated by people other than family and friends (not that I didn't appreciate the support of family and friends, but they're sort of obligated to appreciate it, as some Joe off the street is not).
Will and I became friends. In those days Will, in fact, became friends with just about everyone he encountered -- but most often musicians. He came to know just about everybody playing in a band in Dayton at that time. He knew every band, went to every show, bought everybody's tapes and records and t-shirts, put their stickers all over his car, his apartment, himself. He became something of a fixture, but one you look forward to seeing. And you could tell that, more than anything else, he wanted to be a real working part of that local musician's world, not just as an observer.
Everybody told him he should just get a guitar and play something. I taught him a few chords, but it was Nick Kizirnis who actually made him do it. I'm pretty sure it was Nick who dubbed him "DOBIE WILLIS," (though maybe it was Ed Lacy), I'm pretty sure it was Nick who convinced him to book his first open stage night, and I know it was Nick who forced Will to sit down with a guitar in front of a microphone and record Stand Your Ground.
What's amazing about most of the tracks on Stand Your Ground is most assuredly NOT the (marginal) talent displayed. Will was not, is not, and never will be a great guitar player (though Nick Kizirnis, who added guitar to some tracks, is). He couldn't carry a tune in an SUV -- or even a Hummer, whether you took the back seats out or not. His lyrics, while attempting to display sharp political acumen, offer a pretty simplistic take on national politics and world affairs: Jello Biafra he is not (though he always wanted to be). His rhyme, symbolism, and diction would seem promising if found in an 8th grade poetry assignment, but that's the best you can say about them.
What IS striking about Stand Your Ground is the complete lack of artifice in what Will was doing here. The anger, the pain, the bitter optimism--all are real. In this respect, Will outclasses even his hero Jello Biafra, who for all his oratory skill and political acumen usually lacks an emotional scope that exceeds the bounds of smirking sarcasm. DOBIE WILLIS also outclasses every other self-styled liberal revolutionary I've ever met, most of whom seem to feel very little except that they are smarter than everybody else while restraining themselves from getting too worked up about anything. And Will certainly outclasses all those flag-waving conservative shreik-bots whose true emotions surface only when someone points out the flaws in their childish, dogmatic ideologies.
In a way that country artists who buy summer homes with royalty checks from cheap patriotic ballads will never understand, Will means it. He means every word. And neither degraded analog tape nor the intervening sixteen years since this was recorded can do anything to change that. In fact, events transpiring in the last six years have conspired to make "Hey George" (which is about Bush 41, but who would know it just by listening to this song?) even more immediate and relevant than it was in 1991. For very good reasons, I can no longer listen to Will's political rants with the same sense of jaded condescension with which I treated them back then. It's too much like scoffing at Cassandra while the Greeks are plundering Troy.
Will and I were in a band together (PLANET ED) for a while and sometimes played open stage night at Canal Street Tavern. When we weren't playing music, we would often get together and watch crappy horror movies, sometimes for hours straight. But bands break up and friendships change--people go their separate ways. I've always been a little ambivalent about my friendship with Will. Though I believe Will is a good soul, he's as human as the rest of us, and he has at times behaved in ways that destroy relationships -- often with other people that I also consider very good friends. Will went through some hard times in the '90s. He and his friends and Dayton itself changed drastically--and nobody, including Will, adapted perfectly to those changes (believe it or not, he joined the navy at one point). Still, as I understand it, he's doing pretty well now. He's living in Portland, playing in a street band, and occasionally writing his own blog. I consider him a good friend.
But coming back to Stand Your Ground, while Will has recorded a fair number of things as a solo and with bands like PLANET ED, HOLDEN #9, and his short-lived back-up band, THE WHITE TRASH ALL-STARS, I dare say that Stand Your Ground remains his masterpiece. Though largely ignored, even in Dayton (especially in Dayton), it represents the kind of raw energy and enthusiasm for the power of music, revolution, and life itself that only a wide-eyed novice with no regard for propriety and convention can pull off--the kind of thing we could use more of today.
There may be some who knew Will when he lived here in Dayton who might laugh (or at least roll their eyes) at what I just wrote. As I mentioned before, Will gave more than one person in Dayton ample reason to hate him -- and I think he would be the first to admit that. To those people, I say: you're right, Will was (maybe still is) a talentless asshole. But as Bob Moore once told me, talent isn't everything, and he was right. I think I've recorded some good music over the years (and a lot of bad music too), but I can't do anything that's good for the same reason Stand Your Ground is good, and I really wish I could.
And as for Will being an asshole, well... I won't dispute it. But Bob Moore also told me that there are plenty of talented assholes in the world, and he was right about that too. A lame response, I know, but it's the best I can muster right now.
2. Sweet Al
3. Hey George
4. Neo-Nazi Boot Camps
5. Scat Rap
6. Never Comin' Home
7. Jerry Garcia/Michael Stipe
8. All I believe
Download it! (70 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)
Recorded by Nick Kizirnis 12/26/1990 - 12/30/1990--except live tracks, recorded by Le Richardson at Canal Street Tavern, Fall 1990. Words and music by Will (except where otherwise noted). Additional guitars by Nick Kizirnis.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
The following is a transcription of a letter that Dobie inserted in each copy of this cassette (some errors in spelling and punctuation have been silently corrected):
This tape is dedicated to:A high resolution image of this letter will be included in the download package for the cassette, which I'll be posting tomorrow morning. Until then...
All of the people who were told they could never do it and should give up. All of the people who were cast out of social functions because they looked or acted different from the "group." All of the people who have ever felt like misfits in their own families or peer groups and in turn have become Anti-social.
This tape is dedicated to all those who still believe in the Power, Freedom and Rebellion of 3 chord Rock'n Roll. To all those who will never accept drum machines and dance mixes of Ramones songs. To those who still believe that Rock music is meant to be played, and listened to as loud, Fast, Angry and Furious as humanly possible. This tape goes out to all those who have the Will to wake up day in and day out and accept life on life's terms, whether that be bad or good. Those who have faith that better things are coming if they have the courage and perseverance to hold on for one more day. This tape goes out to all those who fight the pressure of conformity and will never give in to society's expectations.
If you conform, you have lost it. Be your own person despite what you're told by others speak from your heart. Allow no outside opinions to hinder you. If people laugh at your hopes and dreams, FUCK THEM!
All of the above describes me at one time or another. I've been laughed at, made fun of and severely ridiculed most of my life. I DON'T CARE. I am not a great guitar player or singer, but I went against the advice of others and played music anyway. All I have to offer is my heart and soul and most importantly my sincerity. If people laugh, let them. Do not alter your beliefs for anyone. Do what you feel is right. Follow your heart. Most importantly, Always Stand your ground!
/s/ Will Dalgard/Dobie Willis
Saturday, September 1, 2007
WWSU is Wright State's campus radio station. I worked there from early 1988 to late 1990. At that time it was (at least as far as I know) the only place in Dayton to hear anything approaching decent music on the radio (WOXY's signal didn't reach too far north of Beavercreek, and although WYSO had Jim Carter's "Around the Fringe" show, that station didn't play music consistently), which was probably the reason that so many people who were involved in local music worked there at one time or another. And why not? For people who ate, slept, and drank music in one way or another, it was Candyland. Here's why:
In addition to the main broadcast studio, they had a secondary studio for recording in-house PSAs, station IDs, news (real and fake), station IDs, whatever. It wasn't incredibly sophisticated, but it had a quarter-inch reel-to-reel, 8-channel mixer, a couple of turntables, microphones (beautiful old microphones that any sound engineer would give their right arm for today), etc. I used that studio to record tons of mix-tapes (two turntables made it easy to get that perfect, radio-style segue between cuts) and a few strange audio collages. But probably the most creative thing to come out of that studio was "Das Boot," which was Darryl Brandt and Matt DeWald just ranting over a generic industrial beat (I can't really describe it, but if I ever dig up a copy, I'll post it). They put it on a cart (that's short for "cartridge," which was a plastic box about the size of an 8-track tape with about 5-10 minutes of tape on a loop inside--you could set a cue-tone right at the beginning of whatever you had recorded so that when the DJ played it, he or she could get a precision start upon pushing the play button), and DJs would play it on their shows. It became a bit of a campus hit.
WWSU had an incredible library that included thousands of records, tapes, and CDs from obscure indie rock artists and most of the better major label releases (i.e. "alternative" when that term meant something). They had KILKENNY CATS, MASTERS OF REALITY, THE DAYLIGHTS, FOURWAYCROSS, and hundreds of other great bands I've never heard of anywhere else (not even on the web). They had original pressings of SCREECHING WEASEL's first two albums that included songs that were left off later versions. They had a HUSKER DU 12" single from Zen Arcade with that Husker symbol etched in the b-side, which I've never seen anywhere else. They had promotional singles with outtakes, live cuts, remixes. They had racks and racks of cassette-only releases. They had picture discs and colored vinyl. All together, that music library would probably fetch somewhere in the six-figures on ebay today.
New records came in the mail every fucking day! Just about everybody who worked there was pretty good about not stealing anything if it was the only copy. And although plenty of us copped duplicates and promo pieces (I got my share), it always seemed there was plenty to go around.
The artists and labels who sent music to college radio stations would take any kind of promotion they could get. This was true even for bands on major labels. So if you wanted to see a free show and meet the band afterward, all you had to do was call the artist's management and identify the radio station you were working for. I got into dozens of shows that way, including SOUNDGARDEN, CONCRETE BLONDE, VOIVOD, MISSION OF BURMA, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, THE DEAD MILKMEN, DINOSAUR JR., BOB MOULD, PETER MURPHY, D.I., THE REPLACEMENTS, SONIC YOUTH, LOVE AND ROCKETS, THE PIXIES, BILLY BRAGG, NINE INCH NAILS, and I almost always got to meet the band afterward (one notable exception being PETER MURPHY, who wouldn't even let us backstage -- asshole...).
WWSU used to sponsor "Alternative Tuesday" in the Rathskellar, which was a shitty campus eatery just down the hall in the old student union. The Imminent zine article I posted a couple weeks ago has a pretty fair description of the place: "[It] was so lame, it made the Rhine Room look like CBGB’s.... I looked about the place waiting for Marcia Brady to appear." But you could get Black Label there, so I guess it wasn't all bad (and I remember a four or five week period when Kattie Dougherty was addicted to their calzones). Every Tuesday night, some WWSU staff members (I remember Darryl Brandt and Matt DeWald DJing a lot, but there were many others) would clear the tables to make a big dance floor and haul some turntables and a PA down there. Before 1470-West (local gay bar) started doing a similar thing on Thursdays, this was the only place in the Miami Valley you could get alternative dance pop and industrial music in a club atmosphere. Sometimes they'd book a band instead of having a DJ. I saw DEMENTIA PRECOX, DANSE POSITIVE, and RED MATH there. Alternative Tuesday was also the site of the Alternative Fashion Show fiasco of 1988 (which I've been putting off blogging on in hopes of scrounging up some pictures, but if none turn up soon, I'll post the story without). Finally, I'm pretty sure Alternative Tuesday is where I first met Gail. It was just this great big party where you always knew someone interesting would show up -- in the middle of the week.
WWSU was incredibly supportive of local artists. Unlike all the commercial stations in town, who limited local artists to some lame-ass specialty show that lasted for thirty minutes once a month (and even then they usually played the forgettable variety of hard rock bands or top-40 wannabes -- believe it or not, commercial radio in the '80s was even more clueless than it is today), WWSU included locals in regular rotation. WWSU is where I first heard THE OBVIOUS, THE HIGHWAYMEN, and DEMENTIA PRECOX, and it's where I made a point of playing every local release I could get my hands on.
Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. At college stations, student management usually changes every academic year, and weak managers are subject to the will of whatever idiot staff "advisor" the college sees fit to place. About a year before I quit, Wright State hired just such an advisor. I don't remember her name, but she talked a lot about "paradigms" and "new models" and "the business of media" -- which pretty much translated to, "WWSU should have exactly the same programming that commercial stations have." Some time in the mid-'90s, they sold all the vinyl for about a tenth of what it was worth then (which is about a hundredth of what it would be worth today). Dave Graeter told me that Laura Pop-Tart bought every HUSKER DU record for a quarter each. Worst part is, I missed that sale, so I didn't get shit! Motherfucker...
Of course, some of the things that made the point of working at a college station have been made irrelevant today by consumer technology. Local bands can get better exposure on the web than any radio station could offer. Any decent rave or club plays the same music (or its present-day counterpart) and has fewer restrictions than Alternative Tuesday. No record collection anywhere at any time can match what's available through audio blogs, file sharing, and legitimate music download sites on the web. And any PC or Mac will give you production power that's as good as the average studio (even bands are recording entire albums on PC). But at the time, college radio stations like WWSU were a vital place for the music-obsessed.
This entry is only the first of two or three I'm planning on WWSU. Today I just wanted to talk about the station and why people who were dissatisfied with what the mainstream music industry was offering would congregate there. In subsequent posts, I'll be talking about some of the personalities that made WWSU such a great place to be. But enough words--let's get to the music.
For your downloading pleasure, I Remember Dayton presents Side One of a WWSU-produced 7" EP of local artists released in 1987. I'm only giving you Side One because that's the "modern rock" side. Until Spring Quarter of 1988, WWSU used to split its schedule into jazz during the day and modern rock at night (I think the switchover was 3 p.m.). Side Two is a couple of local jazz artists, and because this blog is called "I Remember Dayton PUNK and INDIE ROCK" (and because I just don't like jazz), I'm not going to the trouble of ripping that side. UPDATE 2-4-2013: That's really kind of a stupid reason not to rip the whole thing, so when I did this re-rip, I got both sides.
1. That Hope, "Space Boys in Love"
2. Pleasures Pale, "Lovely, Lovely"
3. Chain Link Fence, "A Sound Alternative"
4. The Blues Doctor, "No Midlife Crisis Blues"
5. Ocean, "East Coast Cruise"
Download it! (24 MB) (link re-upped on 2-4-2013)
UPDATE 2-4-2013: In addition to the second side, this new package also contains scans of of the test pressing of this record. It was also recorded on much better equipment than the old rip, so even if you have that package, consider downloading this one.
I know nothing about THAT HOPE, except that they hailed from Bloomington, Illinois.
Of PLEASURES PALE, for now I'll tell you that Luis Lerma played bass and that they were gigging around Dayton in 1987. I'll be posting their album some time in the next couple of weeks.
CHAIN LINK FENCE is from Boston. The cut is a brief promotional spot for the station (whose catch-phrase at the time was "WWSU, A Sound Alternative") recorded in the secondary studio.
I'm not wild about the design of the sticker (left) included with this record. To me it just screams "AM RADIO, 1974!" I much prefer the "alternative" logo the station adopted in '88 (right).
There's no date anywhere on the packaging, but this was out before I started working there. My impression is that this record came out early in 1987, though it might have been a year earlier.
The cover picture (by Ty Greenlees, who went on to a distinguished career with the Dayton Daily News) shows the WWSU main broadcast studio in 1987. Try to ignore the tacky wood panelling. Instead, check out the reel-to-reel on the left, the tube driven board and cart rack in the middle, and the dual turntable setup on the right. Go, analog technology! And what's missing? Look ma, no CD players! WWSU didn't get one until 1988.
From what I can tell, WWSU today is playing indie rock and other styles--everything from country to speed metal. It just depends on what DJ is on the air. Most of the time, it's pretty good stuff. I usually catch a good mix of indie rock contemporaries and classics. But occasionally, I'm wondering if the DJ is taking any prescription medication (like the other day when I heard the DOOBIE BROTHERS, followed by some speed metal act--what the fuck?). When there's no DJ, they're apparently automated, and it seems that the automation plays mostly contemporary indie rock. But this is all guesswork based on the few times I've tuned in over the past few months and from reading the WWSU Wikipedia entry (the pathetic WWSU web site is a marvel of brevity, containing no information about the station's programming or personnel -- and the listening link was broken last time I checked).
I like to think that WWSU is just as fun and interesting a place to work now as it was then. But honestly for music listening, I'm an XM satellite radio man now. Between Fungus 53 (punk channel) and XMU (newer indie rock channel), I hear far better music programming than any terrestrial radio station I know of. And if I'm feeling nostalgic for the old days, XM's channel Fred plays a mix that I would swear was ripped right from WWSU playlists circa 1989.
Friday, August 31, 2007
- "War Hero" 7" (1980) at Killed by Death Records
- Charred Remains compilation cassette (1981) (featuring "Somebody Help Me") at Killed by Death Records - this comp was released in Xenia, but it looks like TOXIC REASONS is the only band from the Miami Valley on it
- Selections from the Process of Elimination comp (1981) (featuring "Riot Squad") at Good Music for Bad, Bad Times - get the cover scan here, but get the music from 7-inch punk (below)
- Selections from the Kill by Remote Control LP (1984) at Good Music for Bad, Bad Times
- "God Bless America" 7" (1984) at 7-inch Punk
- Process of Elimination comp (1981) at 7-inch punk - get the music here because this site has all the tracks (GoodBadMusic is missing two), but get the cover scan at GoodBadMusic because 7-inch Punk puts a watermark on theirs (which you'll only see after downloading)
- "Ghost Town" 7" (1981) at Something I Learned Today - you'll also find links here to a site where you can buy the Independence LP (which is still in print) and other sites where you can view picture sleeves from TOXIC REASONS and some other Ohio bands of that time
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Go get it!
Don't forget to get the images as well. There's a JPEG of a flyer for a TOXIC REASONS show with SNARE AND THE IDIOTS (there's a blast from the past) at Lousiville's now defunct Jockey Club (probably the only place within 70 miles of Dayton to see good punk rock before 1984 or so).
Also try sifting through the archives on the KBD main site for other stuff (not from Dayton, but good).
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I know almost nothing about Limited Potential or any of the bands on this cassette (with the exception of POETIC JUSTICE). I remember hearing Mike Potential's name and the fact that he put together this comp from Kris Pleiss while I was still in high school. That places it no later than early 1987 or 1986. I'm placing it tentatively in 1986 because I have this vivid memory of us discussing it while she and I were in a storage room off the high school library. We were supposed to be working on some project for speech class, and we took speech class from Mr. Stribeck in the fall of our senior year ('86). We also listened to this tape on our way to see POETIC JUSTICE at The Building Lounge, and I'm pretty sure that show was in December 1986.
I also have the last issue of a zine called PAINFUL EXPERIANCE (sic) that was put out by Dug Cole (who played bass in SOCIAL DISEASE--more on them later) in spring1987 that mentions Limited Potential and has a grainy picture of Mike Potential. That zine mentions this tape, and the impression I get is that it had been out for a while when the zine was written.
Of most of the bands here, I know nothing. I'm not even certain that they're all from Dayton. I'm pretty sure YOUR FORM OF GOVERNMENT is, because I remember hearing their name and I may have seen them (or someone that sounded very much like them) at the Building Lounge in '87. My guess is that if they're not all from Dayton, they all played at some point at either the Building Lounge or Paul McDermitt's space at the Front Street Warehouse (where both SOCIAL DISEASE and HAUNTING SOULS used to practice). Both places were required hangouts for anyone who lived in Dayton and was into hardcore at that time, and of course, both will get their own blog entries at some point.
I do know a little about POETIC JUSTICE. For their brief existence, they were probably the most popular hardcore band in Dayton. Every now and then, I still hear people around town mention their name. I don't remember all the personnel, but Erik Purtle played guitar. Erik, of course, later played guitar or bass in DEMENTIA PRECOX, MONDOLUX, MINUS ONE, HAUNTING SOULS, and probably a half-dozen others I'm forgetting (his current band is LUXURY PUSHERS, who you should go see at this year's Monster Hop if you can--and you can also catch Erik in some local jewelry store commercials every now and then). As I said, Kris and I saw them at the Building Lounge in late 1986. It was the first local music show I'd ever seen (she had to practically drag me there), and to this day it ranks in my top ten best shows ever. There weren't that many people there that night (I think it was a Thursday), but you wouldn't know that from how they played. Amazing hardcore--loud, snotty, brilliant. I had heard hardcore before and liked it, but I'd never seen it played. In the years since, I've certainly fallen out of the die-hardcore legions, but I retain a weakness for hardcore performed live--most likely because of this show. If you've always been turned off by hardcore, you should try seeing a good band play it live some time. If they're doing it right, it's an incredibly visceral experience.
Apparently, Mike Potential moved to Chicago in the late '80s and did at least two things worth noting. First, he produced Screeching Weasel's Punkhouse EP (cooool!). Second, he produced Smashing Pumpkins' first single (booooo! though it seems he later pissed off Billy Corgan something awful: way cooool!). Both came out on Limited Potential.
Unfortunately, that's all I know about this comp. But really, who needs information when you can just listen to the music? If all these bands are from Dayton, this tape amounts to a wonderful snapshot of punk rock in this town in the mid-'80s. If they're not, it's still a good comp. I emphasized the hardcore, and the tape has it's share of that. But there's some mid-tempo punk here too--as well as some psycho-basement folk from YOUR FORM OF GOVERNMENT (resembling early VIOLENT FEMMES or CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN, but more lo-fi). Check it out.
The POETIC JUSTICE live tracks (5 & 6) were likely recorded at the Building Lounge or (possibly) Canal Street Tavern. The only reason I say that is that you can hear a woman shout "last call for food," and I don't remember The Building Lounge serving food. But it seems to me that Canal Street (which has experimented with food service off and on over the last twenty-five years) was serving food in the mid-'80s.
1. CRITO T. - Intro
2. POETIC JUSTICE - Ignore You
3. POETIC JUSTICE - Love Song
4. POETIC JUSTICE - Poetic Justice
5. POETIC JUSTICE - Make the Best
6. POETIC JUSTICE - Inside
7. GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS - Being Bored
8. GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS - Fashion Fools
9. NASAL WASTE - Jeff's Basement Bondage Whore
10. HATES - Last Hymn/No Talk in the 80's
11. HATES - New Spartans
12. HATES - All the Whites
13. HATES - City on Ice
14. DEAD SILENCE - Mad Scientists' Ball/Tug-O-War
15. YOUR FORM OF GOVERNMENT - Psycho Daddy-o
16. YOUR FORM OF GOVERNMENT - LouieLouie
17. YOUR FORM OF GOVERNMENT - Bears aren't cool
18. ROADKILL - Here comes the Sun
19. LOOKOUTS - Insane
20. LOOKOUTS - Recycled love
21. LOOKOUTS - The Mushroom is exploding
22. LOOKOUTS - Friend of Mine
23. [CRITO T. - Outro]
Download it! (76 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)
This download comes to you courtesy of the Gail Dafler Archives.
Tracks 10 and 14 contain two songs each. They just seem to go together -- didn't seem right splitting them up.
Tracks 23 and 24 are bracketed because they're not listed anywhere on the tape cover, but the speaker on 24 introduces himself as "Criterion T." and sounds like the same voice from track 1. I don't know who performed the little music bit that follows the poem.
I'd be interested to know if LOOKOUTS are the same band that Larry Livermore (founder of LOOKOUT! Records) fronted in the '80s. I doubt it, but if anybody knows one way or the other, tell me.
UPDATE (2-23-2008): Susan at the Know-All blog tells me that YOUR FORM OF GOVERNMENT was indeed from Dayton and that Nick Eddy and some guy called Skater Kyle were in that band.