Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Two things:

1. The hard drive on my computer went kerplewey the other night, so posting will be delayed for a few days while I get it together.

2. Ben Schelker died ten years ago today. I had intended to post a live recording of one of Ben's an acoustic shows today, but now that'll have to wait until probably Monday.

3. Apparently, a more recent contributor to the Dayton music scene died yesterday. I didn't know him, and before this I had never heard of his band (HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS). But anyone who's crazy enough to make music in this town shouldn't go unacknowledged, at least in death. Read the story here.

take care


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


Friday, November 16, 2007

PLANET ED, Listen and Understand, Earthlings! (7", 1990)

Of any band I've ever been in, PLANET ED was the most emotionally draining, mostly due to the nearly polar opposite personalities of Will and Dave. Those two guys had completely adverse approaches to music, which made for a lot of tension in this band. But all that tension also made for some great shows, great recordings, and great fun overall (at least from my perspective). Looking back on it now, I wouldn't change one thing.

Will had sort of a musical split personality. On the one hand, he liked punk rock. As I said in the DOBIE WILLIS post, he was (still is) an unabashed admirer of JELLO BIAFRA, THE DEAD KENNEDYS, DOA, and THE RAMONES. This is all true. But Will never quite got past his teenage obsession with LED ZEPPELIN, TED NUGENT, and other '70s cock rockers. To be fair, I had a similar obsession in my teenage years, and I never quite got past it either (just last summer I dug up a bunch of BLACK SABBATH tunes and obsessed on them for about a week -- and just in time for Satan Day 2006 (that's 6-6-06 in case you don't get it; and if I'm still alive in June of 2066 I'll be celebrating Satan Month with demonic fervor)).

But Will especially loved '70s-style groove jams: you know, like the 10-minute guitar solo in "Stranglehold" by TED NUGENT and shit like that. Most of the songs he wrote for PLANET ED featured a very long instrumental break, usually filled by Will going off on some Biafra-esque tirade (if you listened to Stand Your Ground you already know what I'm talking about). Will also loved to play incredibly long sets and talk to people while on stage. It didn't bother him too much if we spent a minute or two (or three or four or ten) between songs yelling at people in the crowd or making bad jokes -- like, imagine the FEAR sequence in Decline of Western Civilization (don't make me say Part 1), except less confrontational and less funny.

Dave, on the other hand, loved short fast songs with goofy, down-to-earth lyrics. His idols were SCREECHING WEASEL, CRIMPSHRINE, MR. T EXPERIENCE, GREEN DAY, THE QUEERS, CRINGER, 7 SECONDS, and hundreds (literally hundreds--Dave's record collection was of Bodleian proportions) of other bands that Will used to refer to as "low-grade punk rock" (of course, this was three years before Dookie! would come out and suddenly turn Dave's "low-grade punk rock" into big, BIG business). He couldn't stand long instrumental grooves, and he wanted a very short set and as little time as possible between songs. In Dave Graeter's happy place, the bands all play fifteen songs in ten minutes.

I guess I sort of fell somewhere in the middle--maybe. I mean, I definitely liked short songs, but I also wanted a little more substance in the music than Dave seemed content with. I was also totally obsessed with BOB MOULD and HUSKER DU, so I wanted more emo-type content in there too. So basically, each of us was going in a different direction. We argued. We argued a lot.

One way or another, things always seemed to go wrong for PLANET ED. The majority of horror stories I have about playing shows are from PLANET ED shows. At our "big show" with ROYAL CRESCENT MOB at Canal Street Tavern, the Mob turned out to be total assholes who wanted us off stage in like thirty minutes (so we played for an hour--and even Dave was okay with that). We played Oxford when the snow was 8 inches deep and I had a terrible head cold and we had to wait until 3 a.m. to collect our money (which turned out to be $15). Our planned five-day tour of the midwest fell apart completely at the last minute. I mean, every booking fell through the day we were supposed to leave--after we'd rented the van!

But we kept playing. We kept practicing. We kept making records. Somehow, for the two years we were together, it worked. We argued, but we compromised. We had some lousy shows, but we turned them into great stories. For all the tension, it was fun. And I think we made some good music.

PLANET ED's first release was a cassette entitled Bubblegum for the Masses, a live thing we recorded at Canal Street Tavern. That cassette is sort of a story in itself and best belongs with a post about Canal Street Tavern. Today, I'm sharing our first 7" record, Listen and Understand, Earthlings!

I like this one because I think it shows how each of us kind of set aside our usual preferences and learned something from the others. Although I wrote "Hollywood Erotic," it's really a joke song -- no emo-content whatsoever. "Feelings Turn Colors" is Will's offering, but it's a fairly straight arrangement with only a brief guitar solo and no political ranting. Dave's song "Tension Kid" (which is at least partly about Will) is actually the longest one, and it's even got a groovy instrumental break in the middle.

Track list:

1. Hollywood Erotic
2. Feelings Turn Colors
3. Tension Kid

Download it! (18 MB) (link re-upped on 2-4-2013)

UPDATE 2-4-2013: The download package here is a completely new rip.  The old one was done on a terrible combo-stereo system.  This one is from a much better stereo.

As usual, the download package includes hi-resolution scans of the record and the insert. I think this one came out particularly well. I love Dave's layout on the inner part of the sleeve (the pictures in this entry are details of it), and I think the label on the "Planet Side" of the vinyl is so nice, I'd put it on a t-shirt.

The sample at the beginning of "Feelings Turn Colors" is from Dead Poets' Society. The one in the middle of "Tension Kid" is from Repo Man (which I should really get on DVD some time).

Nick Kizirnis and Nick Atkinson helped with the back-up vocals on "Tension Kid."

Recorded at Cro-Magnon studios. Engineered by Joe Buben.

For the bands I played in, my ultimate wish for this blog has always been to some day dig up all the masters and post better quality recordings. Unfortunately, in PLANET ED's case, this plan will always remain a dream. For some inexplicable reason, Dave and I appointed Will the official keeper of the PLANET ED masters. In typical Dalgard fashion, he lost them years ago (probably traded them for some magic beans). Today's post is from the vinyl. However, Dave tells me he's got a cassette of this stuff that came right from the studio master tapes. When I get that tape from him, I'll post it here.

take care


Thursday, November 15, 2007

FYI: more Lance J Church...

Just wanted to add a bit about Lance Hahn in the wake of his passing (see previous post).

I checked my usual audio blog haunts and could find no offerings for J CHURCH (which makes sense since most of their stuff has been released on CD), but I did find a couple of compilations that CRINGER was on over at Something I Learned Today:

"Burn Down the Forest," from the More Songs About Plants and Trees 7" comp on Allied Recordings (1990)

"Take Back the Night," from the Metal Gives Us a Headache 7" comp on Hippycore (1988)

Both are great tunes, worth downloading.

And e-music has some good stuff too for subscribers:

J Church bio and downloads - If you're a member of e-music, I suggest you go for the Tide of Fate EP or the collection Camels, Spilled Corona, and the Sound of Mariachi Bands. "Bomb" (which is on the latter) is probably their best tune (my old band HEIKE covered it once or twice, and I've played it acoustically scads of times). Both records are J CHURCH in their prime, but really, this band never lost a step at any point in their career, so anything you get is likely to be good.

The Thing That Ate Floyd (compilation) from Lookout! Records - This is the only CRINGER I could find on e-music, which is a shame, but "Cottleston Pie" is a good song. How many punk bands could get away with writing a song about Winnie the Pooh and making fun of BLACK FLAG at the same time? ("It's not my imagination! There's a Winnie the Pooh on my baaaaaaaaack...").

One last thing about Lance: when my now ex-wife and I were living together in the '90s, she had a fish tank full of fish which sat in this day room in a house we were renting in Yellow Springs. The day room got a lot of sun and Andrea just sort of forgot they were there for a few weeks (months). When we finally got around to attending to them, all but about three inches of water had evaporated and only one fish was still alive. We named him Lance and put him in a jug of water on the table in the living room so we wouldn't forget about him. He had a pretty good life in that jug from then on, except that Black Francis (the cat) would periodically come over and drink some of his water (or, as we termed it, drink part of "Lance's universe"). Still, that fish was a survivor...

Okay, as promised, there will be new DAYTON stuff on this blog over the weekend.

take care


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

FYI: new stuff coming...

I'll likely be posting some new stuff this weekend.

In other news, Dave Graeter informs me that Lance Hahn died last month of kidney disease. For the uninitiated, Lance was the main creative force behind CRINGER in the late '80s and J CHURCH in the '90s. If you've never heard of these bands, you're really missing out. Both were/are essential pop punk listening.

Go here for a short obit and a J CHURCH mp3.

I never saw CRINGER live, but their music is amazing--an indispensable part of that east coast LOOKOUT! RECORDS sound that GREEN DAY has since turned into a trans-national phenomenon. J CHURCH was more or less the same thing, just a little tighter, a little more intellectual--no less brilliant. I think J CHURCH should also get some kind of recognition for being as prolific as they were. As far as I know, they had a song on every compilation they were ever asked to be on in the '90s, and it's rare to find the same J CHURCH song on two different comps. Seems they always had a single or short EP coming out on some obscure indie label or other. Lance must have been writing and recording 24 hours a day. It would take a team of Ivy League record geeks quite a while to track down their entire back catalogue.

I saw J CHURCH several times in Columbus, Dayton, and Kentucky from about 1993-1996, and Lance and I corresponded briefly while I was living in Yellow Springs. My band HEIKE played with them at some warehouse show in Lexington. So although Lance and I were never friends or anything, I met him enough times to say that he was a pretty decent guy of little pretense. And most importantly, J CHURCH always put on a good show. He'll be missed.

take care