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)