Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The main focus of this blog is Dayton music from about 1987-1994, but the only rule is that it has to be at least 10 years old and something that no one is distributing commercially anymore. With that in mind, today's post from 1996 is the most recent offering we've had so far. It's a cassette from LOVE LIES BLEEDING, a great post-punk band fronted by Steven Gullet.
There are really only two things I can say about Steven. First, he's a songwriter of exceptional talent--always has been. His previous bands include FREAKSTROBE, MYSTERY ADDICTS, and STAR HEARTLESS. The links in the previous sentence will take you to individual pages about each band, most of which have MP3s for download. You can get MP3s of Steven's solo music here.
Second, Steven's always had my vote for Best Dressed Man in Dayton -- no shit. He's always been a big glam rock fan and so understands that fashion itself can be an art form. I know BRAINIAC had those fashion spreads in Spin but if the editors of that magazine had any sense, they would have shot Steven too. Anyway, I know I'd pay real money for his wardrobe. Check out the photos on the band pages linked in the previous paragraph and see.
The package for download contains the 1996 cassette Under the Gloss by LOVE LIES BLEEDING. This band was:
Steven Gullet - voice, guitar
Jimmy Magnuson - drums
George Bradley - bass, voice
Before this band, George had played in SOURBELLY. After LOVE LIES BLEEDING broke up, he would go on to play bass for THE JACKALOPES.
You can read a bio and get more MP3s for LOVE LIES BLEEDING here.
Steve's current bands were SNAKE OIL and THE AMERICAN STATIC -- but not anymore. Sadly, it looks like Steven, along with his time-travelling companion Angelle, will be forsaking our fair city in just a few days. We who remain stuck here wish both of them all the best in Los Angeles. However, Steven will be flying back for a farewell-Dayton performance with THE AMERICAN STATIC at the 2007 Dayton Music Fest. Don't miss it.
1. Imitation Roses
3. Cure 4 Boredom
4. Teenage Anorexic Sex Gods
5. Stain Me
6. Forever Unable
7. Open Yr Escape
9. Hanging the Jester
10. Cool and Fade (on the Rocks)
Download it! (49 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I've still got tons of stuff to post though. So although it'll be just a trickle for a while, you'll get the flood in late November and December (just in time for X-Mas).
Thursday, September 13, 2007
I've had this tape forever and remember the exact day I got it because HANG'N PRIDE played with OXYMORONS at our first show ever (Canal St. Tavern, 5-18-1989). It's pretty straight, southern hard rock--but with just enough drive and edge to place it (at least marginally) into the punk/alt-rock category. Some of the guitar playing (especially on "Dance") reminds me of the guitar playing on the PLEASURES PALE album. Unfortunately, there's no band roster on this one, so I've no way of knowing if it's the same guy -- probably not though.
This one is also the quintessential example of that late-'80s "Cro-Magnon" sound I've been blathering about (in the UNDERDOGS and OXYMORONS posts mostly). Hear the reverb? The brief delay? The cranked mids? That's it. Pure Joe Buben...
One curious thing about this one: the tape cover bears the dedication "To Abby Leandra Kuras 9-4-89." As I said, I'm sure we played with HANG'N PRIDE on 5-18-1989, and I'm sure that's when I got this tape. But if the date in the dedication is right, that can't be true. Maybe they got the numerals 4 and 9 reversed? Possibly? This is one of those Twilight Zone things that's going to bug me in my grave.
My favorite cut is "Hokey Pokey." At the show (which is the only time I ever saw this band), I distinctly remember they closed with that one, and they fuckin' rocked it. It was 1 a.m. on a Thursday night (in Dayton...), and the bar was practically empty--but they still gave it everything they had. So I must thank HANG'N PRIDE for showing me that no matter where you're playing or how many people come, you should always play like you sold out the Enormo-Dome. Any band that doesn't understand why has no business playing music. That's a lesson I've carried with me through every band and every show I've ever played, and I'd forgotten where I learned it until just now.
1. Same Ol'Thing
2. Heart Attack
3. The Road
4. Now And Again
6. Go On Home
7. Hokey Pokey
Download it! (22 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)
Sunday, September 9, 2007
Okay? Here we go...
I first met Will Dalgard in 1989 at a show THE OXYMORONS played at Canal Street Tavern. As I remember, he was the most animated person in the place, leaping around in front of the stage with the energy of ten people. Afterwards, he came up, said he loved the show -- raved about us even. OXYMORONS had been together only a few weeks, and it was the first time a stranger had come up to me to tell me he liked the band. I had played a number of shows with OXYMORONS and two other bands (SOCIAL DISEASE, FLESHBATS). But this was the first time I felt like a real musician, whose music was appreciated by people other than family and friends (not that I didn't appreciate the support of family and friends, but they're sort of obligated to appreciate it, as some Joe off the street is not).
Will and I became friends. In those days Will, in fact, became friends with just about everyone he encountered -- but most often musicians. He came to know just about everybody playing in a band in Dayton at that time. He knew every band, went to every show, bought everybody's tapes and records and t-shirts, put their stickers all over his car, his apartment, himself. He became something of a fixture, but one you look forward to seeing. And you could tell that, more than anything else, he wanted to be a real working part of that local musician's world, not just as an observer.
Everybody told him he should just get a guitar and play something. I taught him a few chords, but it was Nick Kizirnis who actually made him do it. I'm pretty sure it was Nick who dubbed him "DOBIE WILLIS," (though maybe it was Ed Lacy), I'm pretty sure it was Nick who convinced him to book his first open stage night, and I know it was Nick who forced Will to sit down with a guitar in front of a microphone and record Stand Your Ground.
What's amazing about most of the tracks on Stand Your Ground is most assuredly NOT the (marginal) talent displayed. Will was not, is not, and never will be a great guitar player (though Nick Kizirnis, who added guitar to some tracks, is). He couldn't carry a tune in an SUV -- or even a Hummer, whether you took the back seats out or not. His lyrics, while attempting to display sharp political acumen, offer a pretty simplistic take on national politics and world affairs: Jello Biafra he is not (though he always wanted to be). His rhyme, symbolism, and diction would seem promising if found in an 8th grade poetry assignment, but that's the best you can say about them.
What IS striking about Stand Your Ground is the complete lack of artifice in what Will was doing here. The anger, the pain, the bitter optimism--all are real. In this respect, Will outclasses even his hero Jello Biafra, who for all his oratory skill and political acumen usually lacks an emotional scope that exceeds the bounds of smirking sarcasm. DOBIE WILLIS also outclasses every other self-styled liberal revolutionary I've ever met, most of whom seem to feel very little except that they are smarter than everybody else while restraining themselves from getting too worked up about anything. And Will certainly outclasses all those flag-waving conservative shreik-bots whose true emotions surface only when someone points out the flaws in their childish, dogmatic ideologies.
In a way that country artists who buy summer homes with royalty checks from cheap patriotic ballads will never understand, Will means it. He means every word. And neither degraded analog tape nor the intervening sixteen years since this was recorded can do anything to change that. In fact, events transpiring in the last six years have conspired to make "Hey George" (which is about Bush 41, but who would know it just by listening to this song?) even more immediate and relevant than it was in 1991. For very good reasons, I can no longer listen to Will's political rants with the same sense of jaded condescension with which I treated them back then. It's too much like scoffing at Cassandra while the Greeks are plundering Troy.
Will and I were in a band together (PLANET ED) for a while and sometimes played open stage night at Canal Street Tavern. When we weren't playing music, we would often get together and watch crappy horror movies, sometimes for hours straight. But bands break up and friendships change--people go their separate ways. I've always been a little ambivalent about my friendship with Will. Though I believe Will is a good soul, he's as human as the rest of us, and he has at times behaved in ways that destroy relationships -- often with other people that I also consider very good friends. Will went through some hard times in the '90s. He and his friends and Dayton itself changed drastically--and nobody, including Will, adapted perfectly to those changes (believe it or not, he joined the navy at one point). Still, as I understand it, he's doing pretty well now. He's living in Portland, playing in a street band, and occasionally writing his own blog. I consider him a good friend.
But coming back to Stand Your Ground, while Will has recorded a fair number of things as a solo and with bands like PLANET ED, HOLDEN #9, and his short-lived back-up band, THE WHITE TRASH ALL-STARS, I dare say that Stand Your Ground remains his masterpiece. Though largely ignored, even in Dayton (especially in Dayton), it represents the kind of raw energy and enthusiasm for the power of music, revolution, and life itself that only a wide-eyed novice with no regard for propriety and convention can pull off--the kind of thing we could use more of today.
There may be some who knew Will when he lived here in Dayton who might laugh (or at least roll their eyes) at what I just wrote. As I mentioned before, Will gave more than one person in Dayton ample reason to hate him -- and I think he would be the first to admit that. To those people, I say: you're right, Will was (maybe still is) a talentless asshole. But as Bob Moore once told me, talent isn't everything, and he was right. I think I've recorded some good music over the years (and a lot of bad music too), but I can't do anything that's good for the same reason Stand Your Ground is good, and I really wish I could.
And as for Will being an asshole, well... I won't dispute it. But Bob Moore also told me that there are plenty of talented assholes in the world, and he was right about that too. A lame response, I know, but it's the best I can muster right now.
2. Sweet Al
3. Hey George
4. Neo-Nazi Boot Camps
5. Scat Rap
6. Never Comin' Home
7. Jerry Garcia/Michael Stipe
8. All I believe
Download it! (70 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)
Recorded by Nick Kizirnis 12/26/1990 - 12/30/1990--except live tracks, recorded by Le Richardson at Canal Street Tavern, Fall 1990. Words and music by Will (except where otherwise noted). Additional guitars by Nick Kizirnis.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
The following is a transcription of a letter that Dobie inserted in each copy of this cassette (some errors in spelling and punctuation have been silently corrected):
This tape is dedicated to:A high resolution image of this letter will be included in the download package for the cassette, which I'll be posting tomorrow morning. Until then...
All of the people who were told they could never do it and should give up. All of the people who were cast out of social functions because they looked or acted different from the "group." All of the people who have ever felt like misfits in their own families or peer groups and in turn have become Anti-social.
This tape is dedicated to all those who still believe in the Power, Freedom and Rebellion of 3 chord Rock'n Roll. To all those who will never accept drum machines and dance mixes of Ramones songs. To those who still believe that Rock music is meant to be played, and listened to as loud, Fast, Angry and Furious as humanly possible. This tape goes out to all those who have the Will to wake up day in and day out and accept life on life's terms, whether that be bad or good. Those who have faith that better things are coming if they have the courage and perseverance to hold on for one more day. This tape goes out to all those who fight the pressure of conformity and will never give in to society's expectations.
If you conform, you have lost it. Be your own person despite what you're told by others speak from your heart. Allow no outside opinions to hinder you. If people laugh at your hopes and dreams, FUCK THEM!
All of the above describes me at one time or another. I've been laughed at, made fun of and severely ridiculed most of my life. I DON'T CARE. I am not a great guitar player or singer, but I went against the advice of others and played music anyway. All I have to offer is my heart and soul and most importantly my sincerity. If people laugh, let them. Do not alter your beliefs for anyone. Do what you feel is right. Follow your heart. Most importantly, Always Stand your ground!
/s/ Will Dalgard/Dobie Willis
Saturday, September 1, 2007
WWSU is Wright State's campus radio station. I worked there from early 1988 to late 1990. At that time it was (at least as far as I know) the only place in Dayton to hear anything approaching decent music on the radio (WOXY's signal didn't reach too far north of Beavercreek, and although WYSO had Jim Carter's "Around the Fringe" show, that station didn't play music consistently), which was probably the reason that so many people who were involved in local music worked there at one time or another. And why not? For people who ate, slept, and drank music in one way or another, it was Candyland. Here's why:
In addition to the main broadcast studio, they had a secondary studio for recording in-house PSAs, station IDs, news (real and fake), station IDs, whatever. It wasn't incredibly sophisticated, but it had a quarter-inch reel-to-reel, 8-channel mixer, a couple of turntables, microphones (beautiful old microphones that any sound engineer would give their right arm for today), etc. I used that studio to record tons of mix-tapes (two turntables made it easy to get that perfect, radio-style segue between cuts) and a few strange audio collages. But probably the most creative thing to come out of that studio was "Das Boot," which was Darryl Brandt and Matt DeWald just ranting over a generic industrial beat (I can't really describe it, but if I ever dig up a copy, I'll post it). They put it on a cart (that's short for "cartridge," which was a plastic box about the size of an 8-track tape with about 5-10 minutes of tape on a loop inside--you could set a cue-tone right at the beginning of whatever you had recorded so that when the DJ played it, he or she could get a precision start upon pushing the play button), and DJs would play it on their shows. It became a bit of a campus hit.
WWSU had an incredible library that included thousands of records, tapes, and CDs from obscure indie rock artists and most of the better major label releases (i.e. "alternative" when that term meant something). They had KILKENNY CATS, MASTERS OF REALITY, THE DAYLIGHTS, FOURWAYCROSS, and hundreds of other great bands I've never heard of anywhere else (not even on the web). They had original pressings of SCREECHING WEASEL's first two albums that included songs that were left off later versions. They had a HUSKER DU 12" single from Zen Arcade with that Husker symbol etched in the b-side, which I've never seen anywhere else. They had promotional singles with outtakes, live cuts, remixes. They had racks and racks of cassette-only releases. They had picture discs and colored vinyl. All together, that music library would probably fetch somewhere in the six-figures on ebay today.
New records came in the mail every fucking day! Just about everybody who worked there was pretty good about not stealing anything if it was the only copy. And although plenty of us copped duplicates and promo pieces (I got my share), it always seemed there was plenty to go around.
The artists and labels who sent music to college radio stations would take any kind of promotion they could get. This was true even for bands on major labels. So if you wanted to see a free show and meet the band afterward, all you had to do was call the artist's management and identify the radio station you were working for. I got into dozens of shows that way, including SOUNDGARDEN, CONCRETE BLONDE, VOIVOD, MISSION OF BURMA, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, THE DEAD MILKMEN, DINOSAUR JR., BOB MOULD, PETER MURPHY, D.I., THE REPLACEMENTS, SONIC YOUTH, LOVE AND ROCKETS, THE PIXIES, BILLY BRAGG, NINE INCH NAILS, and I almost always got to meet the band afterward (one notable exception being PETER MURPHY, who wouldn't even let us backstage -- asshole...).
WWSU used to sponsor "Alternative Tuesday" in the Rathskellar, which was a shitty campus eatery just down the hall in the old student union. The Imminent zine article I posted a couple weeks ago has a pretty fair description of the place: "[It] was so lame, it made the Rhine Room look like CBGB’s.... I looked about the place waiting for Marcia Brady to appear." But you could get Black Label there, so I guess it wasn't all bad (and I remember a four or five week period when Kattie Dougherty was addicted to their calzones). Every Tuesday night, some WWSU staff members (I remember Darryl Brandt and Matt DeWald DJing a lot, but there were many others) would clear the tables to make a big dance floor and haul some turntables and a PA down there. Before 1470-West (local gay bar) started doing a similar thing on Thursdays, this was the only place in the Miami Valley you could get alternative dance pop and industrial music in a club atmosphere. Sometimes they'd book a band instead of having a DJ. I saw DEMENTIA PRECOX, DANSE POSITIVE, and RED MATH there. Alternative Tuesday was also the site of the Alternative Fashion Show fiasco of 1988 (which I've been putting off blogging on in hopes of scrounging up some pictures, but if none turn up soon, I'll post the story without). Finally, I'm pretty sure Alternative Tuesday is where I first met Gail. It was just this great big party where you always knew someone interesting would show up -- in the middle of the week.
WWSU was incredibly supportive of local artists. Unlike all the commercial stations in town, who limited local artists to some lame-ass specialty show that lasted for thirty minutes once a month (and even then they usually played the forgettable variety of hard rock bands or top-40 wannabes -- believe it or not, commercial radio in the '80s was even more clueless than it is today), WWSU included locals in regular rotation. WWSU is where I first heard THE OBVIOUS, THE HIGHWAYMEN, and DEMENTIA PRECOX, and it's where I made a point of playing every local release I could get my hands on.
Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. At college stations, student management usually changes every academic year, and weak managers are subject to the will of whatever idiot staff "advisor" the college sees fit to place. About a year before I quit, Wright State hired just such an advisor. I don't remember her name, but she talked a lot about "paradigms" and "new models" and "the business of media" -- which pretty much translated to, "WWSU should have exactly the same programming that commercial stations have." Some time in the mid-'90s, they sold all the vinyl for about a tenth of what it was worth then (which is about a hundredth of what it would be worth today). Dave Graeter told me that Laura Pop-Tart bought every HUSKER DU record for a quarter each. Worst part is, I missed that sale, so I didn't get shit! Motherfucker...
Of course, some of the things that made the point of working at a college station have been made irrelevant today by consumer technology. Local bands can get better exposure on the web than any radio station could offer. Any decent rave or club plays the same music (or its present-day counterpart) and has fewer restrictions than Alternative Tuesday. No record collection anywhere at any time can match what's available through audio blogs, file sharing, and legitimate music download sites on the web. And any PC or Mac will give you production power that's as good as the average studio (even bands are recording entire albums on PC). But at the time, college radio stations like WWSU were a vital place for the music-obsessed.
This entry is only the first of two or three I'm planning on WWSU. Today I just wanted to talk about the station and why people who were dissatisfied with what the mainstream music industry was offering would congregate there. In subsequent posts, I'll be talking about some of the personalities that made WWSU such a great place to be. But enough words--let's get to the music.
For your downloading pleasure, I Remember Dayton presents Side One of a WWSU-produced 7" EP of local artists released in 1987. I'm only giving you Side One because that's the "modern rock" side. Until Spring Quarter of 1988, WWSU used to split its schedule into jazz during the day and modern rock at night (I think the switchover was 3 p.m.). Side Two is a couple of local jazz artists, and because this blog is called "I Remember Dayton PUNK and INDIE ROCK" (and because I just don't like jazz), I'm not going to the trouble of ripping that side. UPDATE 2-4-2013: That's really kind of a stupid reason not to rip the whole thing, so when I did this re-rip, I got both sides.
1. That Hope, "Space Boys in Love"
2. Pleasures Pale, "Lovely, Lovely"
3. Chain Link Fence, "A Sound Alternative"
4. The Blues Doctor, "No Midlife Crisis Blues"
5. Ocean, "East Coast Cruise"
Download it! (24 MB) (link re-upped on 2-4-2013)
UPDATE 2-4-2013: In addition to the second side, this new package also contains scans of of the test pressing of this record. It was also recorded on much better equipment than the old rip, so even if you have that package, consider downloading this one.
I know nothing about THAT HOPE, except that they hailed from Bloomington, Illinois.
Of PLEASURES PALE, for now I'll tell you that Luis Lerma played bass and that they were gigging around Dayton in 1987. I'll be posting their album some time in the next couple of weeks.
CHAIN LINK FENCE is from Boston. The cut is a brief promotional spot for the station (whose catch-phrase at the time was "WWSU, A Sound Alternative") recorded in the secondary studio.
I'm not wild about the design of the sticker (left) included with this record. To me it just screams "AM RADIO, 1974!" I much prefer the "alternative" logo the station adopted in '88 (right).
There's no date anywhere on the packaging, but this was out before I started working there. My impression is that this record came out early in 1987, though it might have been a year earlier.
The cover picture (by Ty Greenlees, who went on to a distinguished career with the Dayton Daily News) shows the WWSU main broadcast studio in 1987. Try to ignore the tacky wood panelling. Instead, check out the reel-to-reel on the left, the tube driven board and cart rack in the middle, and the dual turntable setup on the right. Go, analog technology! And what's missing? Look ma, no CD players! WWSU didn't get one until 1988.
From what I can tell, WWSU today is playing indie rock and other styles--everything from country to speed metal. It just depends on what DJ is on the air. Most of the time, it's pretty good stuff. I usually catch a good mix of indie rock contemporaries and classics. But occasionally, I'm wondering if the DJ is taking any prescription medication (like the other day when I heard the DOOBIE BROTHERS, followed by some speed metal act--what the fuck?). When there's no DJ, they're apparently automated, and it seems that the automation plays mostly contemporary indie rock. But this is all guesswork based on the few times I've tuned in over the past few months and from reading the WWSU Wikipedia entry (the pathetic WWSU web site is a marvel of brevity, containing no information about the station's programming or personnel -- and the listening link was broken last time I checked).
I like to think that WWSU is just as fun and interesting a place to work now as it was then. But honestly for music listening, I'm an XM satellite radio man now. Between Fungus 53 (punk channel) and XMU (newer indie rock channel), I hear far better music programming than any terrestrial radio station I know of. And if I'm feeling nostalgic for the old days, XM's channel Fred plays a mix that I would swear was ripped right from WWSU playlists circa 1989.