Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving with MOM... (s/t (mysterious cassette, 1987))

Happy Thanksgiving, all. We were supposed to go to the folks house today, but my son got sick, so here I am watching Green Bay at Detroit and playing Mario on the DS. Earlier, I watched the infamous WKRP "Turkeys Away!" episode (culturally imperative Turkey Day viewing for all Southwest Ohio folk--as is just about every episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, especially the absolutely surreal episode where they go to Dayton ("be careful, Andy... Dayton can be nasty after dark!")). Anyway, I thought I'd take this opportunity to post a little something. Here we go:

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.

Track List:

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.

take care

---Jones

5 comments:

Patrick said...

patric - great blog...I stumbled across it as I took a break studying for final exams and searched on Ben, realizing we have missed 10 years of his unique person. The download capability is quite awesome...alot of this stuff I only have on 7" and don't have the equipment to convert to a digital format. Freakin' sweet.

FYI...Chris Green is a lawyer with the county (at least the last time I saw him), and married the infamous Ami Meredith (and they have procreated together!).

Again, thanks for the music access. -Patrick Sage

palaeologos said...

Patric--

Bad Elvis's real name was Jeff. I don't remember his surname. I still have my copy of MOM's cassette, and it still plays; if I can figure out how to rip the damn thing, I'll post it on rapidshare or something. When I can dig it up, I'll post the tracklist at least.

I was in a few Dayton bands myself (Modern Example, Enfants Terribles, Baptist Faggot--I'm sure Gail at least will remember the last), and Pat Hennigan & I worked together at Books & Co for a few years. Never did find out what became of him after I moved out of town...

Thanks for the blog, and bringing back the memories--

Matt Weber

Randy said...

Man, you've got some memories on this blog! Too Cool!

Bad Elvis was Jeff Brelsford. Jeff was the guitar player in Bad Elvis Impersonators and MOM, and more recently in Mondolux, and The Bang Tale.

I seem to remember a drummer playing with MOM in 1988. Too many brain cells lost to be sure!

I wonder if MOM ever recorded "Rugged Man"?

Bad Elvis Impersonators never had a drummer. They caught all kind of sh*t from everybody because they used a drum machine live. I thought it was cool, something different.

Lynne Browne played keys in the final lineup of Bad Elvis. After they split up, I played guitar in her next band, Maryann & The Saint Bernards. We played against the Fleshbats in the first round of the Canal St. Band Playoffs in 1988. They kicked our butts, of course, but we were only doing the playoffs becuase Mick wouldn't book us again until we did!

Thanks for the memories, man!

Randy Brown

jones() said...

I should add at this point that the Chris Green who is now a lawyer with the county is most assuredly NOT the same Chris Green who played in MOM. I know this because Val pointed out the lawyer Chris Green to me a few weeks ago at the Belle. I went up to him, said "hello," and asked if he had been in MOM. He just stared at me as if I were speaking a foreign language. So I got that part of the post wrong and felt like a total dick (what else is new?).

take care

---Jones()

Darrek said...

Hi, so strange seeing mention of all of these people I used to know back so long ago.

Rodger Revlon was in the original Dementia Precox line-up with Gyn, Max, and Chris Green. I haven't spoken to any of these guys for years but I know from mutual acquaintances that Rodger (real name David Mensch) lives in North Carolina as he has for many years.

Chris apparently lives in San Francisco. I had to laugh when you said he was a lawyer, even though I haven't seen him in 20 years I couldn't imagine him ever going to law school. I see you found out the hard way you had the wrong Chris Green. Funny though, the Chris Green from Dementia and Mom used to frequent the Belle too.