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.


G said...

I remember my friend Matt Dean dragging me over Mike Potential's parents house back in 84 or 85 to get some zines. He had a wall of cassettes and video tapes with several machines for dubbing. Mike was dubbing copies of a live show from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I only ran into him once or twice more, but I felt he really influenced me. He did a lot of really cool things, even if he did turn into a bit of a mess later on.


mikepo said...

I turned into what, now?

Look, commenting about myself on somebody else's blog is possibly the freakin' lamest thing I have ever done, but here we are, anyway. Trust me that the only reason I know about this is because a Daytonian mailed it to me - don't go getting any ideas about me sitting here and googling myself for ego stroke material.

But hey, this was a chuckle, and I'll post just to clear up any factual info. For starters, this was probably 1985, and this was the era when you could take out a $1 classified ad in Flipside: "hey, my 'zine is putting out a comp tape, send us songs to be on it and I'll send you a copy." I also remember being, you know, barely a frigging teenager at the time, so, cut me some slack for not really remembering a lot of this. I think you're missing an insert sheet, with all of the info, is the problem.

As such, this is a whole lotta crap from all over the place. The only actual Dayton bands on here are Your Form of Government (later to feature, um, me, was originally fronted by both Shappy - THAT Shappy - and Nick Eddy of Mink 'fame'), Poetic Justice, Nasal Waste (which was the aforementioned Matt Dean, mostly), and that's about it.

I have just about zero recollection of who Crito T. is/was, nor where the Hates were from, but I recall Dead Silence being from colorado and having put out quite a few records... the Lookouts ARE The Lookouts of Livermore/Lookout Records fame, yes. I do believe that one of the Green Day guys is playing on those tracks, as a 12 year old. Somebody google it...

Those Poetic Justice live tracks are from the Rathskellar at Wright State. Some WWSU show. The other PJ tracks were recorded on a 4-track cassette deck in my parents' house. "I know this guy who has a 4-track and a bunch of mics! It's a frigging studio!" "Okay, mom's home, so just play the drums but like, real quiet." And so forth.

If anybody really gives a crap, jeeze, I think I've done more things with my life than just, uh, the two. Turned Limited Potential into a half-baked record label in the late 80s upon moving to Chicago, put out the first record by Poster Children, put out the first Brainiac single, yes, the first Smashing Pumpkins record, got a bunch of bands "signed" during the early 90's when checks were being handed out like free samples - did a little a&r work, got sucked into "the entertainment industry" a little bit more than I was comfortable with, and quit. And did something else. I have nothing to apologize for, and my punk rock credentials are still beyond reproach, thank you very much.

I've been designing websites and album covers for major label-ish crap for over ten years, and am actually damn proud to work for a rock and roll Artist Management Kinda Company who handles (most notably) Cheap Trick and The Ramones (well, the estate of the Ramones, you understand). Just launched the new site for the Ramones' "It's Alive" dvd (which each and every person in America should own) - - and am pretty happy to listen to "Heaven Tonight" 3 or 4 times per week for work. My day job does not suck.

I do not have a MySpace page, because I am a grown adult with an intact ego and REAL friends. I live with a thoroughly fantastic chick with whom I engage in daily s&m roleplay. I am heavily tattooed, courtesy of my best buddy Hannah (whom I chuckle at weekly, Tuesdays at 9 on TLC). I have turned into a weightlifting fitness freak in my midlife, don't even know what sugar tastes like anymore, and have the skin of a 20 year old. I have not woken up to an alarm clock since 1997. I just safety-pinned a Minor Threat back patch onto my new jacket just two weeks ago, with far less irony than I'm letting on. I don't blog. Which, frankly, is the world's loss.

For the record: present company excluded, Dayton Ohio is still just about the most backwards-ass craphole of a city, ever. I encourage each and every one of you still living there to just take a deep breath, let go of your belongings, and just MOVE. Anywhere. To a major city. Or a different country. Try something coastal. Maybe try a city that has something more than a 95% white inbred redneck racial profile, has any concept of actual frickin' culture, and isn't living in some 1950's white Republican jerkoff isolated fantasy land devoid of any scary a-rabs. Dayton is definitely part of the problem, and not the solution. Screw you, Dayton.

yours in bitter punkness,
Mike, uh, Potential

jones said...

Thanks to Mike for filling in the gaps in my unabashedly limited (yeah, yeah...) knowledge of his doings over the last twenty years.

Pay special attention to the last paragraph -- especially if you live here. It's not quite as elegant as the _Imminent_ article, but it's more direct. This town is a shithole.

I take issue only with his characterization of Dayton as having a "95% WHITE inbred redneck racial profile." (emphasis added) There are over 72,000 blacks living in this town (43% of the population) who might also beg to differ. Because Dayton is probably the most segregated city in America, this segment of the population living on the west side of I-75 has remained largely ignored by the segment living on the east. But Dayton has a thriving hip-hop scene with roots in a strong tradition of rap and soul going back decades (and let's not forget the massive Dayton Wire Wheels Craze of a few years ago).

It's sad that so many white people who have lived here and even people who live here now are largely unaware of all this. And I'm not pointing any fingers. It's not like any of the bands I'm covering on this blog were ever part of that. Truth be told, before I started working in the prison, I never gave much thought to what goes on culturally on that side of town (and thanks to the guys at London Correctional who tuned me into some of it).

Dayton is surely part of the problem.

take care


caseystead said...

Hello there Jones!!!

I realise this post is rather old now, but I'd like to let you know that The Lookouts are indeed the band of Mr. Livermore himself. Three of the four Lookout tracks on this compilation are taken from The Lookouts' debut, "One Planet, One People", however the track "Insane" is completely unknown to me, and may be exclusive to this very compilation! I would love to hear it, but unfortunately, the link you provided is now broken. I am working on a new blog to provide downloads to as much of The Lookouts' material as I can find, and I would really apreciate it if you could send me a new link to this compilation. I don't think I can offer anything in return... but if indeed the track "Insane" is unique to this compilation, then you have added something rather special to the legacy of this greatly underapreciated band!

Wishing you all the best, and thanking you in advance,


marijke1985 said...

hey there jones,
i just stumbled across your blog and this entry. unfortunately, i'm a bit late, this post is rather old.
but i'd LOVE to have that compilation. i'm really into the lookouts at the moment and there are a few songs i've never heard of. i hope you can change that :).
so, it would be awesome if you could update the link to it. it would really mean a lot.
thank you in advance,

caseystead said...

Still no new link? :( That's a real shame...