Friday, August 31, 2007

TOXIC REASONS on the web...

More music directly on this blog tomorrow, but for now here are some links with downloads for TOXIC REASONS audio:
take care


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

ALERT: TOXIC REASONS, "War Hero" (7" vinyl, 1980) at Killed by Death

Killed by Death has posted a rip of the "War Hero" 7" by TOXIC REASONS, the band that put Dayton on the indie rock map.

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).

take care


Sunday, August 26, 2007

LIMITED POTENTIAL, Compilation Tape (cassette, 1986)

Today's massive download (76 MB! -- almost an hour of music) comes to us from the dim recesses of Dayton's mid-'80s memory (or at least my dim memory of mid-'80s Dayton).

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.

Track List:

1. CRITO T. - Intro
2. POETIC JUSTICE - Ignore You
4. POETIC JUSTICE - Poetic Justice
5. POETIC JUSTICE - Make the Best
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
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]
24. [unknown]

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.

take care


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.

Friday, August 24, 2007

ROCK WOLF, s/t (unofficial, cassette, 1992(?))

Today's download comes to us from the Grog Collection.

The excellent MP3 blog on the WFMU site has a recurring feature called "Cassette Culture Revisited." Each entry spotlights something from cassettes that are either one-of-a-kind "found" items (like audio letters, recordings of conversations, speeches, poetry, rants, etc.) or very small run music releases--usually of the experimental or just plain odd variety and almost always with homemade covers and inserts. Today's entry would, I think, fit nicely under the "Cassette Culture" banner.

Rick (aka "Rock") Wolf was this guy who used to come to OXYMORONS shows, stand next to the stage, jump up and down, and do air guitar while we played. He was a big guy. I believe he was in some branch of the service. He had a Marine-style buzz cut. To this day, whenever I think of OXYMORONS playing at Canal Street Tavern, I think of Rick standing about three feet to my right--air-guitaring his ass off.

Rick had band equipment and a 4-track in his home, where he recorded this tape all by himself. He gave us a copy, but I don't think he circulated it as a release. As far as I know, we're the only ones except him who ever heard it.

And that's really too bad because this thing is amazing. Rick's music is a perfect reflection of himself: loud, awkward, and totally cool. The obvious hit single is "Aliens from Mars," but "The Dog and the Fish" and "Shitting Hits" are damn good as well. Of special interest to Daytonians would be "Cargill Stench," a monster broadside slam against the rendering plant on Needmore that's still stinking up this town fifteen years later. Even if you listen to the first few cuts and decide you don't like it, listen to "Cargill Stench" at least once before sending this to the recycler.

The only weak tracks here are the OXYMORON covers (tracks 2-4). It's not that I don't like those songs or that Rick doesn't do them justice. I just think his originals are so much better suited to his talents. I'd compare Rick to WESLEY WILLIS, except that Rick is more coherent and can actually carry a tune. The whole thing's got something of a latter-day HASIL ADKINS aesthetic but with homemade grunge rather than homemade psychobilly.

But comparisons mean little here. Rick is a Dayton original: perhaps the ultimate expression of "Dayton’s strange, violent, creative energy . . . [that] climbs out of the Miami river valley, riding on clouds of industrial soot, and infects the minds and spirits of young unsuspecting children."

So after fifteen years of obscurity, this heretofore untold chapter in Dayton music history comes to you through the magic of the internet. Listen, enjoy, copy, share. And if you have any idea what Rick Wolf is doing these days, let me know.

Track List:

1. Aliens from Mars
2. Pleasant Distraction*
3. Cheep Beer*
4. Wasting My Time*
5. Rock and Roll Road to Success
6. Cargill Stench
7. The Dog and the Fish
8. Oh Yeah
9. 2 Many Times
10. Stay the Same
11. Shitting Hits
12. Falling

All instruments and vocals by Rick Wolf.

All words and music by Rick Wolf, * except tracks 2-4 by Ben Shelcker and The Oxymorons.

I'm placing this in 1992 because it seems to me Rick Gave this to us after a show we did at Canal Street on the night before we left for a tour that I'm sure took place in 1992. But as usual, I could be wrong on that. If so, correct me. As always, any comments are welcome.

Download it! (38 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)

take care


Wednesday, August 22, 2007


At the end of this post, you'll find a download link to a package containing scans of the packaging for the previously posted rips from TOOBA BLOOZE (The Viper's Drag), SOURBELLY (Plasma Boy, vinyl and cassette versions), and THE UNDERDOGS (unreleased Essential U-Dog Poop). The UNDERDOGS scan is just of the cassette and label with Ben's handwritten song list. The other two are complete scans of the inserts and cassettes.

Note that these are high-resolution scans (300 dpi), which means that they will be gigantic on your screen. When MS Internet Explorer displays a JPEG in its own window, it's set up by default to shrink it to screen size (unless you've changed the settings). I believe Netscape does the same thing. Also note that the download package contains more pictures and at higher resolution than either the scans that were available with the previous postings or which are shown to the left.

Some random things that occurred to me while looking these over:

On The Viper's Drag:
  • In the late '80s, Refraze was the place you recorded on a decent budget, as opposed to Cro-Magnon, which is where you went when you had no budget. Great records came out of both studios though. And although there were other places to record (Cybertechnics, Hidden Music), these two seemed to dominate until about 1993.
  • Michelle Saez took the cover photo and some of the others. My intention here was to write a brief comment on her. But the more I typed, the more I started remembering, and now the brief comment is long enough to merit its own entry (which will probably go up in the next couple weeks). For now, suffice to say she was a photographer/poet/artist/etc. who was attending WSU in the late '80s. She was also a key figure in the Alternative Fashion Show fiasco of 1988.
  • Gail tells me that Skyp Krantz, who is in the thanks list "for 'Crunchy,'" designed the little Tooba Dude logo (which I guess is named "Crunchy," although everyone I knew just called him the "Tooba Dude"). Skyp also used to work the door at Canal Street Tavern and played drums in THE JITTERS and HANG'N PRIDE (I'll be sharing some HANG'N PRIDE soon).
  • Gary "Beatbox" King apparently still works at Refraze and has since 1984.
  • Note the superimposed head of Rod over the old drummer on the photo taken with the Clearwater Police.

On Plasma Boy:
  • Notice how Brian thanks a lot of people on this record but conspicuously omits my other band at the time, COLAVISION? Where's the love? Hey, BRIAN! Put the fucking coffee down, pigfucker! Coffee is for closers!
  • George Bradley later played in THE JACKALOPES and, until recently, THE STORY CHANGES.
  • John Shough is a great engineer and musician. He recorded a couple of bands I was in during the late '90s and tons of others. You can find a good summary of his career here.
  • I assume that the Tod Weidner who did the artwork for this is the same Tod Weidner from SHRUG, but I can't be completely certain.
  • Psionic Graphekwerkes (which did the layout) is really the multi-talented Chris Wright: guitar player, singer, songwriter, artist, web designer, and overall creative brain. The only other credit I can find for Psionic Graphekwerkes is a layout for a 1996 SWEARING AT MOTORISTS cassette, but Chris has done various graphic and web type services for plenty of bands and clubs around Dayton over the years. In the '90s, he played with Chuck Pietrzcak in the art/math/emo rock band NOSTROMO (from whom I'll be sharing something in the future). Later, he was in THE WEIRD NOW. He's still playing and doing stuff around Dayton, but I'm not sure what his current band is.

On Essential U-Dog Poop:
  • For obvious reasons, I didn't rip the other side of this cassette.
  • Ben's handwriting sucks.
  • Do you have any idea what those arrows are supposed to mean?

Thanks to Gail for loaning me the SOURBELLY vinyl and Grog for the U-DOGS cassette.

These downloads are now located with the records that the graphics come from.

take care


Monday, August 20, 2007

LIQUID DRAINO, oops! Another Day (cassette, 1990)

A few months after OXYMORONS got together, a couple of guys wandered into the lounge at WWSU (which was my home away from home at the time -- my actual home being Canal Street Tavern) and asked if anyone knew where a local punk band might get a show. They said they were in a band in Beavercreek called LIQUID DRAINO. I got their number, and Grog got them on the bill at OXYMORONS' next show at Canal Street Tavern. As I remember, one or two of them were still underage at the time, which meant their parents had to be in the bar when they played.

They kicked ass. They pretty much wore their influences (SCREECHING WEASEL, 7 SECONDS) on their sleeves (so did we), but they were damn good guys in a damn good band. The only complaint from that show came from the band members themselves. They didn't like the fact that three of their songs were instrumentals because no one had written lyrics for them yet. But nobody else seemed to care.

Over the next couple of years, we played with LIQUID DRAINO several times both in and out of Dayton, and we all got to be pretty good friends. We did at least one mini-tour together, maybe more (I lose track).


Dave Graeter - drums, voice
Sheldon Mutter - guitar, voice
Eric Bagdonas - guitar, voice
Brian Bagdonas - bass, voice

All these guys played in other bands around Dayton after LIQUID DRAINO broke up. Dave was in COLAVISION, LARRY BRRRDS, THE BARNHILLS, and ART OF CHOKE. Sheldon was in CIGARHEAD and plenty of others (Dave would know specifics). Eric and Brian were in THE PURE PLASTIC TREE and KIL-KARE. Brian is currently in the FOGHORN STRING BAND. I'll be sharing from some of these bands in future posts.

I'll also be telling more about LIQUID DRAINO and the individual members. But for now here are a few random recollections:
  • Sheldon earned the nickname "Sasquatch" for his tendency to be sighted enigmatically walking by the side of the road. People who knew him would usually stop and take him wherever he was headed.
  • Eric and Brian's last name was often transmogrified to "Bag-O-Donuts" (usually by Ben, who loved nicknames).
  • Dave Graeter has the finest private collection of obscure punk and indie rock that I've ever seen, and he has the best taste in music of anyone I've ever known. If Dave ever recommends a band to you, you should listen.
  • LIQUID DRAINO was but one of at least five bands that practiced in Dave's parents' basement over the years (the others being PLANET ED, COLAVISION, THE LARRY BRRRDS, and Dave's older brother's cover band whose name escapes me right now -- UPDATE (3-2-2008 it was NOBODY'S BUSINESS).
  • Dave's dad, Paul Graeter, is the coolest registered member of the Republican party I've ever met.

About the download, I ripped this from a first generation cassette dubbed straight off the original mixed reel-to-reel, so it's probably the best sound quality one could get without the reel itself. I included a scan of that cassette in the package, but I've also got a scan of the production model insert and cassette. Thanks to Gail for providing me with those.

Most of these songs were written when the band members were still in high school (I remember Ben being particularly impressed by that--me too for that matter). You'll find individual lyric and music credits on the insert.

"Dinosaurs" was intended to have lyrics but nobody ever finished them.

Notice how Dave wrote both "Save the World" and "Blow Up the World"? The boy is a mass of contradictions.

Eric's note to "just whine along" to "Radio" is a dig at Sheldon, who never wrote out the lyrics to this song and doesn't enunciate them clearly enough for anyone to tell what he's singing.

Ben Shelcker (credited as Ben Phlegm) played harmonica on "Blow Up the World."

The cover picture is of the Beavercreek McDonalds on Dayton-Xenia Rd. I believe that McDonald's was demolished and rebuilt some time in the '90s.

As a bonus, I'm throwing in a live recording of Dave's and my other band PLANET ED performing "Room 101" with Sheldon on vocals (and that's me on bass, Will Dalgard on guitar, Dave Graeter on drums -- so it's half and half -- PLANET DRAINO?). At the beginning and end you'll hear some of that classic PLANET ED time-wasting stage banter that used to drive Dave absolutely crazy (more on that when I do the PLANET ED post).

In addition to this, LIQUID DRAINO released a 2nd cassette, Ike Fell in the Water. I'll be sharing that at some point, as well as a LIQUID DRAINO live show I've got.

Track list:

1. Life Without You
2. Room 101
3. Save the World
4. Dinosaurs
5. Don't Need It
6. Grey Suit Man
7. Roller Skating
8. Whales
9. Radio
10. Blow Up the World
11. Innocence
12. Planet Ed (live)-Room 101

All songs were recorded January 6, 1990 at Cro-Magnon studios (engineered by Joe Buben), except track 12, which was recorded by me on a boombox at Canal Street Tavern, March 1, 1991.

Download it! (29 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)

Thanks again to Gail for providing me with the insert and cassette, which are only a fraction of the treasure trove of stuff she dropped off at my place yesterday. She brought me 12" records by THE PLEASURES PALE, TOOBA BLOOZE, THE OBVIOUS, and THE HIGHWAYMEN, as well as scads of cassettes from the likes of BIG BROWN HOUSE, MOM, LIMITED POTENTIAL, and others -- plus some flyers, t-shirts, photos, more 7"s than I can count, and a couple of surprise items that will remain top secret for now.

So with all that plus my and Grog's stuff, there's enough material to last at least a year, likely more. The bad news is that today the new semester starts at law school, and I'll be busy as hell with that until December or thereabouts. So it may take me quite a while to scan and rip all the stuff Gail dropped by. But I've got a good backlog of posts already written and music already ripped, so you can expect at least one or two posts a week for the foreseeable future.

take care


Friday, August 17, 2007

Dayton & BRAINIAC in Imminent zine, July 1992

Here's an article from the July 1992 issue of Imminent, a zine from Cincinnati. The second half of the article is a review of an early BRAINIAC show at Wright State's Rathskellar. The first half is probably the most accurate portrait of Dayton, Ohio and what this town is all about that I've ever read. If you click on the scans to the left, you'll see them in more readable, full-size versions, or you can read the OCR transcription that follows:
Sixty miles to our north lies an area you could practically call Cinti’s northernmost suburb. In reality, the town could be more aptly referred to as the Queen City’s illegitimate sister city. Violence, crack and prostitution run rampant in the mean streets of this community. The town leaders are not the Mayor, Sheriff or County Prosecutor as it is here. They are gangsters, outlaw bikers and organized crime thugs. Street gangs have controlled the turf up there since the 1950’s, decades before Los Angeles made the gang scene fashionable.

Unless you hail from another section of the country or you’re suffering from organic brain damage, you’ve probably figured out I’m talking about Dayton, Ohio. Unfortunately, many Cincinnatian’s are quick to unfairly judge our northern neighbor, and this judgement is generally passed on the basis of misleading, inconclusive evidence. When passing through Dayton on 1-75, Cinti. folk love to laugh at what they see of the downtown area from the highway (You call that a skyline? Ha!) They laugh even louder at Dayton television broadcasts (Hey look, another Gun and Knife show at Mara Arena! Har, har!). The sad truth is, most of these pompous, misguided fools have never spent enough time in the place to properly evaluate it. If only they would make that 60 mile journey north and get out of their cars they might get a chance to taste the Gem city’s own special blend of urban decay. (This city has Chris Collinsworth and Simon Leis. Dayton has a never ending supply of dope. You decide which place is cooler).

The chemical haze that hangs over Dayton would do Mexico city proud (and who says Dayton ain’t metropolitan?) Through the center of town runs the Miami river, which rivals the ability of Mill creek to turn your stomach in the summertime. To the west you’ll find the town's black section where the race riots in the '60s competed for national media attention along with those in Watts and Harlem. The east side is home for the equally violent Appalachian slums, where one could easily be murdered for the price of a tube of model airplane glue. The Southside is where you’ll find the University of Dayton and its fabled off campus urea known simply as "the Ghetto." Last but not least is the northside of town where the town’s legendary red light district is located and the streets are littered with hypodermic needles. Believe it or not, Dayton police do not write tickets for skateboarding and jay-walking like the cops in this burg; they're a little more concerned with dead bodies.

Dayton’s strange, violent, creative energy does not remained caged within the city limits. It climbs out of the Miami river valley, riding on clouds of industrial soot, and infects the minds and spirits of young unsuspecting children. This energy sometimes lands these kids in Woodland State Mental Hospital. This same vibe which brings death and insanity to some, inspires others to form bands. Four Dayton youths I’d like to focus on here chose the latter route. They call themselves Brainiac. Brianiac is: Tim Taylor rhythm guitar. synth., vocals, Juan Monasterio-bass, Michelle Bodine lead guitar, and Tyler Trent drums. You may be familiar with Tim and Juan, as they did reside right here in Clifton Heights for a few years. They also comprised one half of the now defunct metal band, Pink Lady. You may also have seen them doing a stint in the Wizbongs (also defunct) [NOTE: the band is actually the Wizbangs, but when the OCR software rendered it as WizBONGS, it just seemed too perfect!]. juan and Tim hail from Kettering. Drummer Tyler Trent, from Beaveraeek, once pounded skins for punk band called Sunken Giraffe. Guitarist Michelle Bodine, a Trotwood resident, has never been in a band before (you couldn’t tell it from her playing, though).

As far as I know, the newly formed Brainiac has yet to grace Cincinnati with their presence. This being the case, it was decided to make the 60 mile pilgrimage north to see these folks live. Imminent’s editor, staff photographer and myself took the quest in our never ending journey to inform you of the latest unknown talent. (Where would you be without us?).

The trip began on an ominous note. Scott Haggerty was pounding on my door, screaming "Hey Kevin, oops! I mean, hey Mario! We’re going to Dayton to see Brainiac. Be at my house in one hour!” Inside my pad, I was on my knees, dry- heaving up the remains of a three day holiday weekend. I finished vomiting (in a manner that Charles Bukowski would applaud) hopped in the shower, and showed up promptly at the editor’s house.

We smoked some pot on the way up to Dayton, but it did little to curb my hungover nausea. The carbon monoxide leaking into the car from the broken tailpipe sure didn’t help matters much either. Also, it was raining and we were sailing down the highway on bald tires without windshield wipers. At that point in time, a safe warm bed in the Betty Ford Clinic held much more appeal than watching problem children make noise on instruments. But I had a job to do, so I knew my obligation to the public outweighed my selfish concerns.

We arrived safe and sound at Wright State University (a few miles to the east of Dayton, actually). Brainiac was to perform in the student center. As we walked into the building, I felt horribly out of place among the wholesome college kids. We entered a room with a commisary to the back, a stage to the front, and a video arcade outside. Watching well scrubbed youths wasting quarters on the video games, I noted that the place was so lame it made the Rhine Room look like CBGB’s. Juan and Tim graciously greeted us at the door, which made me feel a bit more welcomed.

The band set up and I looked about the place waiting for Marcia Brady to appear. Luckily she didn’t, but as it grew time for the music to begin, longhairs, punks, and a few assorted weirdos wandered into the room.

In my shaky, poisoned sickness, I had decided, before the band even hit its first note, that I wasn’t going to like it, Brainiac took the stage and violently slapped me out of my negative mindset. My attitude did a 360 degree turn and I found myself having fun in spite of my discouraged disposition.

Brainiac was kicking real wild with a psychotic tribal energy that seemed to be falling on dead ears. The crowd remained seated and silent (I later learned that dancing was not permitted in the room). Michelle Bodine had guitars set on alternate tunings which she would switch to from time to time. The chaos of the sound was firmly held together by Juan and Tyler, the band's rhythm section. In the center of this audio turmoil stood Tim, offering deranged, flanged vocals, choppy guitar rhythms, and occasional Moog keyboards (Realistic; made by Moog).

Tim did an admirable job as Brainac's frontman. The crowd may have been calm, but he wasn’t while executing hyper kinetic, unchoreographed movements, reminiscent of someone being electrocuted. Imminent’s editor commented on them sounding like Sonic Youth. I could hear an influence from that group, but I heard influences from various experimental late 70’s new wave bands as well.

I could almost call Brainiac the best new unknown band I’ve seen this year. Good sounds coupled with a visually exciting performance make them a happening worthy of your investigation.

This raises a good question, 'How can I, an Imminent reader, check this band out?’ Well, first of all, they have upcoming gigs in Dayton, and like I’ve said, Brainiac is worth the drive. Also though nothing’s yet scheduled, they do have an eye on Porkopolis for future shows. You could also send away for the four song demo cassette they have out. The cost is unknown, try writing Brainiac at P0 Box 703 WWB Dayton, OH 45409-0703.

So, anyway, next time you find your pseudo-intellectual, neo-metropolitan selves looking for joke fodder, leave Dayton out of it. After all, the Gem City has brought us such greats as Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Jonathan Winters, Brainiac, and yours truly. Think not of Dayton as the violent, industrial armpit city it can be; think of it as an overlooked mecca of underground wealth that it is.

[editor's note] I couldn’t get in touch with the band to find out when their next appearance will be, they have played down here before, Mario was just unaware of it. Don’t you make that mistake, catch ‘em if you can.

from Imminent zine, July 1992

Somebody's listening...

...or at least somebody was listening... to THE OXYMORONS in 2004.

Grog found this on a blog and sent it to me:

OXYMORONS – demo cassette
I had to laugh when I dug this one out. This is definitely a discovery from the dark days of the early ‘90s. Back in 1990, when I was still an avid reader of Maximum Rock’n’Roll (don’t laugh, I intend on writing an article “In Defence of MRR” one day), I’d always pour through their classifieds to find interesting people to write to, zines to buy, cassettes to trade or bands to correspond with. Hey, I was 18, OK? I’d just spent eight years in an all-boys private school and I felt it was my God-given right to search out kindred spirits, and if that meant using the classifieds of MRR, then so be it. One caught my attention: OXYMORONS. I can’t recall what the ad said, exactly, but from memory it noted something about an Ohio punk band who’d give their demo away for free to anyone who’d write to them. I did exactly that and received this tape (with a stack of stickers) in the mail a few weeks later. I wrote to the band a bit over the next couple of years but lost touch by probably ’93 or so. What ever happened to the Oxymorons? Did they ever put a proper album out? Well, strangely enough, this tape still sounds great! As per usual, I gave it the driving test (that is, play it in the car whilst aimlessly – or aimfully – cruising), and it passed with flying colours. Mix up raging drunk-punk shenanigans with a more melodic Husker Du/Squirrel Bait inflection and that the Oxymorons in a basket. Yeah, OK, that probably makes them sound completely worthless, and maybe they are/were, but when the songs are this good, I really don't care. The last track, “Walking Backwards”, shoulda been a hit. No shit. I wonder what these guys are doing now…
Endnote: my good friend Richard Stanley (Dropkick Records/The Onyas) and I howled collectively in laughter a few years ago when we both discovered that we owned this tape, as he, too, as an alienated 18-year-old, had responded to their MRR ad. Great minds think alike, huh? No?…

Take a look at the main blog page too. Lots of interesting stuff there.

take care


Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I added pictures to the TOOBA BLOOZE and SOURBELLY posts.

Most posts should contain pictures of the record or cassette cover from now on (except where I don't have a cover), but until I get my scanner working, they'll be fairly shitty pictures taken with my shitty digital camera.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

THE UNDERDOGS, Essential U-Dogs Poop (unofficial, cassette, 1988)

More of the damn finest pop punk to come out of Dayton... ever. Best comparisons include THE RAMONES, THE REPLACEMENTS, THE DAMNED. If you liked the SOURBELLY and OXYMORONS stuff (or even if you didn't), you'll love the U-DOGS.

I don't know how Gregg Spence and Ian Uppstrom got together and decided to form a band, but shortly thereafter they placed an ad and started auditioning drummers. After going through a seemingly endless run of Neil Peart and John Bonham clones, they ran across Ben. Gregg hated him. Although Ben chose a better role model (Keith Moon) than the others, his playing was way too loud and uneven, and he rode the cymbals like a madman. To top it off, Ben interrupted the first practice at one point and said he'd like the band to sound like a mix of The Who and U-2. Gregg was ready to leave, but Ian took him aside, explaining "This is the LAST drummer in Dayton! It's this guy, or nobody!" So they practiced more, and eventually, everything clicked (though after the first U-DOGS show, some nameless listener snidely told Gregg, "You guys'd be great if somebody took your drummer's cymbals away.").

Over the next year, the U-DOGS played various places around Dayton, including the old Building Lounge, Canal Street Tavern, and once at a mental hospital (I think Ben's mom got them that gig). But after a year or so, Gregg's chronic ill-health made the demands of a band difficult to meet, and the U-DOGS broke up.

A couple of years later, Gregg briefly fronted a similar combo called MEAN MELISSA. In the '90s, he played guitar or drums in a string of bands including THE KILLJOYS, CAGE, SOURBELLY, THE MULCHMEN and REAL LULU. Throughout this time, he also played several solo gigs (I'll be sharing a few of his solo recordings in a future episode of this blog). Toward the end of the decade, Gregg's health deteriorated markedly. He died in January 2000.

Ben Schelker went from the U-DOGS to form THE OXYMORONS and later CANDYASS (from both of which I'll be sharing). He died in 1997.

I lost track of Ian Uppstrom a long time ago. If he's still alive, he's the last surviving member of this band.

The archive for download isn't an official release (to my knowledge, the U-DOGS never had an official release). It's a compilation of studio recordings, 4-track demos, and live stuff dubbed by Ben for Grog shortly after THE OXYMORONS got together in 1989. Somebody somewhere probably has better sounding recordings (Nick Kizirnis, I'm looking in your direction...), but this is what I have. The songs are in the same order as they were on that tape. For some inexplicable reason, the track listing in Ben's handwriting on the cover bears little relationship to the tracks as they appear on the cassette. Thus I don't know the titles of all these songs (if you do, let me know).

Even without an official release, "Righteous Tune" became a local hit a year or so after the U-DOGS broke up and received much airplay on my show and others on college radio station WWSU. Gregg told me the song was actually inspired by THE OBVIOUS, another Dayton band at the time that was getting some attention "on the college charts." Although there's a certain amount of spite in the lyrics toward THE OBVIOUS' upper middle class origins in Centerville ("call it a feeling, something in your soul, but it's a little green card that takes you where you wanna go/your mom and dad always wanted the best for you..."), there's also some grudging admiration. The "Righteous Tune" that the song is about is, after all, the title track of "Home," the first release by THE OBVIOUS. According to Gregg, he wrote this song after hearing "Home" on the radio while driving to a U-DOGS gig.

"Volare Ride to Hell" is about Gregg's shitty car.

"She" is the first song Ben ever wrote. Greg told me that Ben had bugged him for songwriting advice throughout the U-DOGS' existence, but this was the closest he ever came to writing anything that wasn't absolute shit. Fortunately, by the time he started OXYMORONS, Ben's songwriting had improved somewhat.

I can't say much else about the individual tracks, except that the live stuff was recorded at The Building Lounge, the 4-track demos were recorded in Ben's parents' basement, and the studio tracks were recorded at Cro-Magnon -- all in 1988.

As I mentioned above, Gregg and Ben (and maybe Ian) would go on to other bands, and in their own way, those bands were better than the U-DOGS. But there's something in these recordings that none of their other efforts ever reproduced. Gregg's heartfelt songwriting, so influenced by Elvis Costello and Paul Westerberg, gets an incredible dose of exuberance from Ian and Ben's frantic, driving rhythm section. It's a somewhat rare mix of talent, creativity, and energy.


Gregg Spence - guitar, voice
Ian Uppstrom - bass, backing voice
Ben Shelcker - drums, backing voice

Track list:

1. unknown
2. Righteous Tune
3. unknown
4. Nineteen
5. Soft Spot (4-track)
6. Prayers
7. Volare Ride to Hell (4-track)
8. Volare Ride to Hell
9. Count One Out
10. unknown
11. She
12. 3 Bucks 'til Pay Day
13. C.I.D.
14. Climbing the Walls
15. Signal 30
16. Neat, Neat, Neat
17. unknown instrumental
18. unknown instrumental

Download It! (48 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)

take care



Tuesday, August 7, 2007


I changed the settings for posting comments so that people can post anonymously.

Also see the new links under "good for Dayton..." (to the right). You'll find the Mutant Renegade site, which has lots of info on past Dayton bands, and The Chickenfish Speaks, which seems to be Grog's general music site (lots of reviews and video and such).

If you've been wondering what Deni (TOOBA BLOOZE) Wilson's been up to in the last fifteen years, you could follow the link to his MySpace page (thanks to Tony for that one). Lots of music from him and his wife there.

And finally, we've got Steven Gullet's page with links to Dayton bands (past and present), clubs, history, and photos. While you're there, look on the left side of the page. Under MY MUSIC, you'll find links to Steve's old bands and current ones. A quick scan of pages reveals MP3 downloads on most (just in case your hunger for Dayton indie rock remains unsatiated by this blog right here).

take care


Sunday, August 5, 2007

¡THE OXYMORONS!, s/t cassette (1989)

Long post today. If you don't wanna bother, just scroll to the end, and you'll find the download link.

It's hard to describe one's own work without sounding like a dick, so here's some reviews:
  • "One energetic song after another...These guys deserve more attention than they're getting" - MOR, Madison, WI
  • "Energetic Rock 'n' Roll from Dayton, OH..." - Under the Volcano, Nessconset, NY
  • "Couch slamming, sing along, drink cheap beer, pop punk. Very melodic." - Slug and Lettuce, New York, NY
My recollection is that we recorded this in July or August of 1989 (it was sweltering out, and that usually means July or August in Dayton). We did it all in about eight hours at the old Cro-Magnon studios in Dayton -- by "old" I mean back when it was still 8-tracks and the studio was housed on the opposite end (from where it moved a few years later) of the second floor of the Front Street Warehouse. Any number of Dayton bands recorded at that studio at that time, and much of it came out with a distinctive Cro-Magnon sound: lots of reverb and very chunky-sounding. Sorry I can't think of a better adjective than "chunky-sounding," but if you listen to this and some of the other stuff I'll be posting, you'll get the picture.

I'm pretty sure everything is a "live" recording -- meaning, we set up and recorded all at once, including the vocals, with no overdubs except for one extra guitar I added on "Another Lonely Day." For some reason, Grog played bass directly into the board. Ben hated the resulting sound and made fun of it for years afterward, dubbing it "underwater bass." Actually, I think we all hated it, including Grog. It's just that Ben was the only one who made up a name for it. But aside from the bass, this is probably the only Oxymorons' release that I can actually say I like the sound of. I think it's pretty well-mixed, tight, balanced, even.

Random observations about the songs:
  • My personal favorite cut is "Born So Blessed," the only song on this cassette that we never got tired of playing.
  • "Disco Beginning" was just one of a half-dozen lead-ins we had for "Idiot Box" (my favorite was "Barney Miller" beginning -- why didn't we record that one?).
  • Ben told me once that he played "Tell Me" solo at some kind of family reunion thing and everyone just sort of stared at him -- and these were his relatives for fuck's sake.
  • When Ben asks "is the tape on?" at the beginning of "Cheep Beer" and "Let Go," he's being sincere. I feel the need to point that out because someone once accused him of "feigned roughness." Believe it or not, that bothered him for weeks -- and if you think it's petty to obsess over a thoughtless comment by some listener whose name you don't even know, then you've obviously never been in a band.
  • "Pain" later appeared on Bob Moore's Breathe On The Living compilation of poetry and music recordings (some of which I'll be sharing later on).
  • But by far the most requested song was "Cheep Beer." I don't think we ever played a show where somebody didn't request it -- probably because it somehow found its way onto a dozen compilations released in various parts of the country and was still appearing on compilations as late as 1997.
  • The "John" mentioned in "Cheep Beer" is John Solimini, the same guy Ben was talking to on the phone when he fell to his untimely death in 1997.
  • Ben wrote all the words and music, except for "Poetry." For that one, he adapted some of the lyrics from a poem by me and added some of his own. That poem had been published by Bob Moore in Nexus (Wright State's literary magazine), and I remember I once ran into a girl at some odd festival in Huber Heights who gushed over it so much that I felt like Jack Kerouac for the rest of the summer.
This was ripped from a first generation copy taken straight off the mixed reel-to-reel. The songs on that tape are in the order we recorded them, and that's the order I left them in for this (that's why the order doesn't match with the cover scan).

Also, when we recorded our second cassette (Bash On Regardless), we had a different drummer (Nick Atkinson, who replaced Pat Hennigan), and Grog thought we should have something with Nick playing on the first cassette. So he added "Folsom Prison Blues." That's why the picture of the cover here includes that song, but the archive for download doesn't (I don't own any production copies of either cassette, so I had to get the scan here from the Mutant Renegade Records site). However, "Folsom Prison Blues" will be included when I post the songs from the second tape.

In addition to the songs, I also threw in an excerpt from a radio interview that Grog and I did on WWSU-FM here in Dayton (recorded 1-10-90, the DJ is Roni Wilson-Vinson). In this portion, I get to tell the story of a flyer we put up all over Dayton that got us angry phone calls from business owners and other very moral people around town (by the way, The Skid Row comment at the end had something to do with some flap at the time about Skid Row's lead singer throwing a bottle in some kid's face because he believed the kid had thrown the bottle at him).

Four days after this interview, a Dayton City Police officer showed up on Ben's doorstep threatening to arrest him for defacing public property. Apparently, we had put flyers (which had a big cock on them) over several NO PARKING signs in the Oregon District. Let that be a lesson to all you impressionable young kids out there: never go flyering with a big tub of glue and two gallons of vodka.

I'd post an image of the flyer, but I no longer have a copy -- don't know what happened to it.

Track list:
  • 1. Cheep Beer
  • 2. SHC
  • 3. Pain
  • 4. Born So Blessed
  • 5. Let Go
  • 6. Tell Me
  • 7. Poetry
  • 8/9. Disco Beginning/Idiot Box
  • 10. Another Lonely Day
  • 11. Quit
  • Interview
Download It! (29 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013, but no interview in this one)

Visit the Mutant Renegades Record page for the band if you want to know more about The Oxymorons.

take care



Thursday, August 2, 2007

TOOBA BLOOZE, The Viper's Drag (cassette, 1988)

Basically, TOOBA BLOOZE was an R&B band with a guy puffing into a tuba where the bass player would be. Until they broke up in 1990, they were the easily the biggest thing in town. It's proof positive of the stupidity of the recording industry that no A&R rep ever scooped these guys up. With the whole "roots" thing being so popular today, I've no doubt they'd still be going strong if they were together.

I first saw them at the Yellow Springs street festival in October, 1987. I was drunk and eating spaghetti on the sidewalk. Everyone else was drunk too. The band came out and played what amounted to one drinking song after another. It was great.

When Viper's Drag was released, they had a different drummer than the one they started with, but I believe the rest of the lineup never changed:

Denny Wilson (top left) - electric & acoustic guitar, vocals
Hal Taylor (top right) - electric & acoustic guitar, vocals, tubas
"Captain" Karl Streuber (bottom left) - harp, zippers, vocals
"Rotten Rod Bradley (bottom right) - drums

When the band broke up in late 1990, Denny, Rod, and Karl went on to form the short-lived WIZBANGS, a '70s-style groove-rock combo featuring Tim Taylor on guitar and Juan (last name?) on bass. They were fairly good, but with Denny, Tim, and Juan lined up in front of the drum kit, they were nauseatingly pretty. Of course, the band didn't last long, and by the summer of 1991, they'd gone their separate ways (though not without recording some demos that will be shared on this blog some time in the future). Tim and Juan went on to form BRAINIAC. I don't know what became of Karl and Rod.

Of Denny, I have only rumors. I'll report them here and maybe someone can tell me how close to the truth they may or may not be:

  • Rumor #1: Denny moved to NYC, where he played solo for a while and was offered the chance by some A&R dude to be molded into "the next Michael Bolton." Some versions of this rumor have Denny refusing the offer, others have him accepting it.

  • Rumor #2: Also after moving to NYC, he married the actress who was the speaking voice of Pocahontas in the Disney movie of that name.

True, or not? You tell me...

Toobas had one other release besides The Viper's Drag: a self-title vinyl EP, which featured their most popular song "Greedy Mr. Creed." I don't have that record, so I doubt I'll be sharing it here. But I can clear up one myth that used to linger around town about that tune. Although Denny (who wrote it) worked at Canal Street Tavern for years and the song is about a shitty bar owner who waters the drinks, it was most assuredly NOT about Canal Street Tavern owner Mick Montgomery. It was actually inspired by the owner of a pizza joint Denny worked at before he worked at Canal Street -- or so Denny always claimed. Anyway, although the drinks at Canal Street seemed to cost a little more than average, I don't remember thinking they were weak. They still got me pretty fucked up.

Track list:

1. 7 Million Miles
2. Rainbow Song*
3. Stumble of the Fumble Bee
4. The Viper's Drag**
5. Crazy Al
6. Buffalo Jill (Queen of the Scene)
7. Bowl Full of Cherries
8. Life Is A Pickle***
9. Steamy Theme

All songs by Wilson & Taylor, except: * Wilson, Taylor, Streuber; ** Fats Waller, arranged by Wilson & Taylor; *** Streuber;

My personal favorite has always been "Crazy Al." "Buffalo Jill" is supposedly about a girl in Dayton whose name I can't remember (and probably wouldn't tell you if I could). "Rainbow Song" turned up on some radio playlists just last year.

Download It! (32 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)

See TOOBA BLOOZE practice photos from 1988.

take care


SOURBELLY, Plasma Boy 7"/cassette (1995)

Since Angelle commented on "Half," I figured I'd post the rest of Sourbelly's best recording. Plasma Boy is a 4-song EP released on vinyl and cassette in 1995 (the rip here is from the cassette). Although Sourbelly went through a number of lineup changes over the years, singer/guitarist/songwriter Brian Hogarth was always there. When Plasma Boy was released, Sourbelly was...

Brian Hogarth - guitar, voice
George Bradley - bass
Mike Chase - drums

This one is pretty straightforward Ramones-style pop punk -- melodic, catchy, loud. A popular style at the time, even more so today -- and Sourbelly did it better than most.

Track listing:

1. Half
2. Untitled
3. Victim
4. Freak

Download it! (10 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)

take care


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

FRANKENSTEIN'S KIND, 2 songs (unofficial, cassette, 198?)

I know almost nothing about FRANKENSTEIN'S KIND, except that they used to practice on the third floor of the old Front Street Warehouse and played around Dayton in 1987-88. I believe either Terry or Louis Lerma (maybe both?) was in the band, and for some reason, I'm under the impression that Mark Patterson (who used to be in TOXIC REASONS) played drums for them for a while, but I could be totally wrong on that.

These two songs were on a compilation tape that Ben Shelcker made for me just after I got into OXYMORONS. I know he played drums on "American Colors" (but not on "Fall Down"). Despite my sketchy knowledge of this band, I've always liked these songs. "Fall Down" reminds me of THE CURE or REM. "American Colors" is just good and loud and punk.

Download it! (8 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)

take care