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




G said...

I'm pretty sure I have a copy of the offending flyer. I'll pass it along if I find it soon.

I forgot all about the "underwater bass"...I do recall the two cases of blatz in bottles and bag of apples, which provided us with sustenance in the studio.


mite said...

Hey Pat,

I'm enjoying your blog and the music. I might have a Brainiac cassette (actually, I think Dennis Mullins has it with a case of DATs that I gave him to trasfer to CD for me a while back) that has four of the bands early recordings before Smack Bunny Baby. I believe one of the songs was an early version of "Ride" which is slower and a bit rougher than the one that made it to the CD. I also have live Aunt Beanie's, Jayne Sachs and others on the DAT's that Dennis has. Let me know if you're interested.

- Mite

jones said...

Sounds good to me, but I don't have a DAT.

Anonymous said...

Hey PAt:
I was surfin and I ran across your site! Kewl! I listened to a couple of songs. still sounds good to me!

Just wondering how you are doing. Send me an email!