Thursday, November 18, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
So maybe this is around the time we played the Squid Row. None of us remembers playing there, but Volker does and he is the one that eventually paid for the recording and the records and all that. “Oh yeah, it was definitely Squid Row - Turner was playing his lap steel and Pavitt was doing a crazy dance in front of him. Maybe you were the only one dressed well at Squid Row, which may have made me remember the v-neck! I remember Squid Row shows cos it was easy for me to get home - I lived around he corner - less misery.”
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
I’m pretty sure most of you already know who Pure Joy was. Rusty Willoughby’s band before Flop rings any bell? Pure Joy was another damned Seattle band that never got much credit for the fantastic records they put out over the years. It was formed in 1986 by singer and guitarist Rusty, drummer Jim Hunnicutt, bassist Lisa King, and keyboardist Randy Willoughby.
Pure Joy at The Vogue cca 1989
My introduction to Pure Joy was also the band’s first release, a self titled Ep released in 1986. Didn’t really impressed me the first time I’ve given it a listen, but later I came to realize that The Attempt, Courage and not least Ocean, were actually pretty cool tunes.
My true love for Pure Joy actually began with the first minutes of their Unsung LP also known as Welcome to my New Psychotic Dream. The LP was recorded in 1987, with the intention of being released by No Big Business Records, which never happened. It would later be released on CD by Flydaddy Records in 1994. This LP is definitely the piece that defines Pure Joy. It is more poppy than the first EP and now the band starts to sound more like Rusty’s post-Pure Joy band, namely Flop. Also note that for this record the keyboardist Randy Willoughby was replaced by Craig Montgomery.
Craig didn’t stick for long as the band quit the keyboards for their next records: Now I Know single (Fat Bald Records , 1988), Carnivore LP(Popllama, 1989) and the live EP, Sore Throte, Dead Goat (No Three Records, 1990).
Pure Joy broke up in 1990, Rusty formed the fantastic power-pop group Flop, and…I don’t know what happened with the rest of the crew members, except that in 1997 Pure Joy reformed and put out two more full-lengths: Getz, The Worm (The Great Utopia/Flydaddy, 1997) which sounds great, like a psychedelic version of Flop, and Gelatin and Bright (Book Records, 2003).
from S/T EP (Dwindle, 1986)
Ocean---->was also included on the Lowlife Compilation LP (released by Ironwood Records), for which I’d kill to listen to...Any chance you have it digitized?
from Unsung LP (Flydaddy Records, 1994)
Standing on a Bridge ----> also included on the Secretions Compilation (C/Z Records, 1988)
Calvin and Hobbes
from Carnivore LP (Popllama, 1989)
Whatever i can grow
from Getz, The Worm (The Great Utopia/Flydaddy, 1997)
What time it is
Sunday, August 8, 2010
I don’t know much about the 80s’ metal scene from the northwest, but regarding the up-mentioned compilation I think Overlord didn’t quite fit with the rest of the bands. The band was a little bit different both in sound and image. They weren’t anything of the speed, power-metal stuff, instead they played an Alice Cooper-Iggy and the Stooges-mix-with-Aerosmith sort of thing. And that actually made some people believe they were the first grunge band, or at least played a significant role in the future local scene.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
You’ll also see in the interview bellow a mention of the Student Nurse band, about which I can’t help on saying a few words. Student Nurse was part of the Seattle Syndrome generation of bands, that ruled Seattle almost a decade before the whole grunge explosion. The band formed in the late 70s and disbanded at some point around 1983. They left behind, as far as I know, two 7’’s and a fabulous four song Ep, As seen on TV.
Now, back to Vexed…Sadly the demo won’t be posted now but Milton Garrison promised us he will be back with the songs and we’ll post a link with them in the comment section. So…do check in often!!!
1. We know about your projects before Vexed (from the previous posts), I know Alfred Butler played in Death of Marat along with Daniel House…What about the rest of the crew?
Vexed was always a work in progress until David Lapp recorded with us. I'm not aware of bands he played in before Vexed. But after Vexed he managed to play professionally in San Francisco with a reggae/dub band.
Billy Warner, who left Vexed in 1984, played in a band called Baba Yaga. Joe Newton played and recorded with us during 1985. He went on to play with Gas Huffer. Jason Fin played with us during 1988 and he went on to Love Battery and Presidents of the United States of America.
Eric Muhs played lead guitar with us during 1984. He was known at that time for Seattle band Student Nurse and he continues to put out recordings as well as doing public performances.
2. Tell me a little bit about the band’s contribution to the first Pyrrhic Victory Compilation? That was the band’s debut, right?
Daniel House was one of the main players in getting Pyrrhic Victory compilation happening. The sessions we did for the recordings including “Six Foot Hole,” were recorded at John's Place.
3. What did you think of the local scene when you first formed? Any band you can recall as a major influence from the Seattle area?
I loved the early 80s Seattle alternative music scene! It was so spread out with all the different sounds. The biggest influence on the band, from Seattle, was Blackouts. We loved the minimalist rhythms with mesmerizing atonal riffing. It's been one of the high points of the last decade to see K Records release a Blackouts retrospective. But it would be misleading to say Blackouts were the only Seattle band to have profound influence. Student Nurse and the Beakers were two others that I loved. I liked hardcore punk. Bands like Rally Go, Little Bears From Bankok and the Beakers were all bands I saw and was influenced by.
4. Here’s a question I always seem to find interesting: Who came up with the band’s name and why?
We had the usual problem with coming up a name. We all made suggestions. I remember looking in the dictionary for cool names. And the word vexed really resonated with me. The word suggested the state of mind I was going through. Life can be annoying as can art and politics. It nailed may reaction to the Reagan/Bush years. Annoyances can trigger anger. I suggested Vexed and it turned out to be the one we all hated the least.
5. What are your best and worst memories from that time?
My best memories involve when shows were amazing. When all the aspects worked and we pulled it off. My worst memories involve the only time we didn't finish a show. I should have canceled after our drummer was mugged trying to call us.
6. Lyrically, what did Vexed express?
Vexed rarely told stories like many song writers do. Most of our song lyrics dwelt in the area of frustration and anger. The emotion helped us deal with topics like government and religious sanctioned bigotry and the general social problems of the 80s. Rather than writing a lyric saying how bad capitalism was we wrote about the emotion.
7. In your opinion, what was your best show?
Our best show happened in 1992. We opened for Artis the Spoon Man and Sad Happy at the Backstage in the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle.
8. Why did you split up in 1990, and what determined the band to reunite two years later?
Vexed, to put it kindly, was by 1988 over and out. There was never a moment where we said, “We're not playing anymore”. It just happened. The same could be said of our next public stint 1992-1994. I say public because Alfred and I made contributions to projects while the band was on Hiatus.
9. Regarding this demo, when and where was it recorded?
The final demo was recorded in Jack Endino's basement in the late 1993. We managed to sound like a Seattle band without trying.
10. What was the reason that these songs remained unreleased?
Vexed was always Daniel House's love child. Without Daniel house we wouldn't have anything released and this interview wouldn’t be happening. Because Alfred and I haven’t really looked at remixing a multi track tape that seems to be missing. I have a copy somewhere of the rough mixes. Usually a band goes back to “mix” a final. This never happened with this demo.
11. Why did the band break up after Cathexis was released?
By the time Cathexis came out we were on auto pilot. Taking shows as they came; not really expending energy trying to get the band out there. In my opinion we became complacent. We'd always prided ourselves on sounding different. By that time one of our friends, Dawn Anderson, said in not so many words that our “advantage” was gone. It wasn't this revelation that did us in. It was a lack of interest on my part to do it anymore. I was burned out.
12. Any idea what are the other guys doing now?
I continue to perform publicly when I'm asked. I continue to write and record. And I often jam and record with friends.
David Lapp continues to play as far as I know in a dub reggae band in the CA bay area. I don't believe Alfred Buttler or Buzz Crocker play music.
...Meanwhile you can download Vexed releases from here.
Friday, May 14, 2010
1. Mr Epp featured Mark Arm as a full-time member (in Limp Richerds he only played for a little while, behind the drums). This really does it for the grunge-fiends…Or not!
2. A compilation containing everything that Mr Epp recorded was released in 1996 through Darren Morey’s (a former band member) label Box Dog and in conjunction with Steve Turner’s Super-Electro Records. This made their material much easier to circulate even though the CD is now out of print.
Limp Richerd formed in 1981, around Dave Middleton who, back then, was a student at the Highline Community College. The very first incarnation of the band was: D. Middleton on vocals, Ross Guffy on drums, Charles Quain on guitar and Greg Billingham on bass. As in many cases of their contemporaries, people were coming and going, so the band didn’t had like, this stable line-up. I could say Middleton was for sure the only constant member. Mark Arm, Bill Connell were among those who played drums at some point. Scott Schickler and Steve Turner shared guitar duties…A couple of other bass players: Scott Warner and Werner Cooke. Lots of people…but they had time…from ’81 ‘till early ’87.
The band made its debut on The Public Doesn't Exist compilation tape in 1983 with Bob Hope's USO El Salvador Show. They threw two songs on the famous What Syndrome compilation, namely Death to Ivars and Non-Conformity Sox (live) in April 1983. In May the same year they released War Between the States a 7’’split with Portland’s Rancid Vat (which you can also hear on Puget Power III with Breaking Bones , let me know if you have any other material from these guys). They were featured on Sub Pop 9 with My Dad Forgot His Rubber in the same year. Finally, they put up an S/T cassette in December ’84 on Deus Ex Machina.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Teen Angels - Jesus Is On My Side ( from Jesus Is On My Side b/w Shoot From The Hip 7'' released on Sub Pop in '95 -I think-, this is a post-Dickless band-with membership including Kelly Canary and Lisa Smith-)
Sleep Capsule - Gray Cloud Theory ( from their Mousepuss Lp on Spanish Fly Records, released in 1994)
Alcohol Funnycar - Pretense ( the band's first 7'', Pretense b/w Drive By released by Rathouse Records)
Stymie - Toil & Folly (this is from a split single with Lab Rat, released in 1993, I had order it myself from Adem Tepedelen, it totally rocks)
Porn Orchard - What Kills (from Teriyaki Asthma)
Seaweed – Inside (and this song is pretty common, from the band's S/T LP)
Saturday, February 27, 2010
I wrote here a little piece about Vexed a couple of months ago, and I got to admit I didn’t insist that much on the roots of the band. In other words, among others, I also forgot to note that other previous bands in which Milton Garrison played before Vexed, were In Vitro Pope and Altered. Apparently Milton’s website doesn’t mention anything about these last two or about his contribution in the band Yeast. And so quickly I was stricken by the idea of writing a post about all Milton’s projects. Being aware of not having any rich sources I could use, I’ve contacted Milton Garrison. He was really kind and answered to some questions I had about his music involvement along the years.
1. What can you tell me about the bands In Vitro Pope, Altered, and Yeast?
In Vitro Pope: 82-83
The band's genesis was a weekly jam among my self and two teen women non-musicians. At the time I could barely play and I was “the band leader,” if such a thing existed. We sucked badly in most ways but enthusiasm. But the U-Men, especially Tom Price, were very kind and agreed to play a party or two with us.. I never tried very hard to play the songs. I just made noise. I loved the band more than I can tell you. And shared a tear at it's terminal moment.
We have a demo tape which as I recall was recorded in our bass player's attic. The session was really called for Limp Richards a NW noise band if there ever was one. But since it was at our bassist's house we horned in and got a tape out of it. My chief bit was to turn the phaser on full and bash all six of the strings of the fender copy (property of Patrick McCabe of Drills, and active on many recordings of the drills,) and wail about the existential wash that was Reagan era landscape. I think Jack Endino digitized it for me. I'll look again.
The Altered: 83-84
Hiro Yamamoto: bass
Billy Warner: drums
Milton Garrison: Guitar and Vox
At the time the In Vitro Pope tape was recorded, Billy was jamming with Hiro Yamamoto and Kim Thayil whom he had found through the grape vine. Both were fresh young men from Chicago.
Although Billy and I were best friends, I was seriously worried. Because you didn't have to go far to find a better singer, writer or guitar player than I. Having said that, at the time I was blossoming as a guitar player. I embraced song structure if not guitar technique. I enabled a different chord voicing for each song. Needless to say we weren't punk nor metal enough for most tastes.
Hiro decided to cast his lot with Billy and I. We spent several months woodsheding and then actively gigged. At one time Hiro and Billy lived in the same house with Chris Cornell. We rehearsed in the largest room, it was Hiro's.
Fortunately for us, we had good friends that got us booked at the big, for the time, all ages venue, Metropolis. We ended up playing at least five times there opening for national acts: The Wipers, and Violent Femmes among many peer local bands of the day. At that time the owner of the Met said that I made him laugh. Splui Numa was a proto grunge band of the time that also played often. As I recall , they were quite witty; as were Mr Epp, with stage banter. We were later joined by a talented singer and writer with which we gigged briefly. We never recorded.
Memory does not serve all personnel changes. The base membership was the following:
Al Tompkins: bass
Daniel House: drums and vocals
Matt Cameron: drums at one or two shows when our drummer bailed.
Milton Garrison: Guitar and Vox
Of all my bands this was the only “off” band that I gigged with. Formed with members of Vexed, Daddy Hate Box, Skin Yard, and Soundgarden it was also the sloppiest since IP. I also thought we had the best chance of getting a deal. Although Soundgarden was one of the few being signed by that time, things we're feeling ripe in Seattle.
I had heard Nirvana, Tad, and the rest and could tell something was changing. But I was sure Vexed wouldn't be part of it. So for a time, Al and I tried to take the band to a different level with trying different drummers and vocalists until I retired from public performance in 1990. I would reemerge to reform Vexed in 92'.
2. Did any of these bands release anything? (If yes, what was the record label and who was the producer(s) of the material(s)?)
Yeast was the only band of those listed above, other than Vexed, to record. C/Z records released: Too much of one thing b/w this; a 7” 45. We we're also on a Teriyaki Asthma. Jack Endino, Rich Hinklin and Phil Ek worked on various recordings.
3. With whom did Yeast share bills that era?
Yeast played with many of the heavies of the era including: Tad, Love Battery and Soundgarden. We also played with Common Language and other alt rock bands playing the circuit; Squid Row, The Vouge, the Central and other lesser known clubs.
4. Did any of the bands, In Vitro Pope and Altered, share a similar sound to Vexed?
Not really, none of the other bands I played in sounded much like 1988 Vexed. But you need to understand Vexed was really three different bands. The early 84 version was more similar to Pell Mell and Talking Heads than Killing Joke. That would come later when we nailed our style. So I'd have to say that early Vexed sounded like late The Altered and to a lesser extent, Alfred Butler's earlier band Death of Maratt.
5. Was Vexed already formed when you were performing in the band The Drills?
The collaboration I did The Drills happened largely in the early 80s. The earliest around 82'. So my involvement occurred during In Vitro Pope and The Altered. Some may have happened during early Vexed.
6.Did you perform in other bands after Vexed split?
You know I didn't until last year. I formed the band: Enter the Nine and played about a year: Myspace.com/enterthenine. This band had more to do with all the bands I've been and none. I say this because I put it together with out any preconceived notion as to what we would play. I called it a mix of Neil Young and Fugazi. It will sound like Seattle to some folks. And that's fine because I'm proud to be lumped with Seattle bands. I love that heritage.
7. Have you done any reunion shows for either of these bands?
I'm currently recording some songs on my PC. The bassist of Enter the Nine, Steve Alpers, will contribute to the project. I finished the preproduction in January 2010. I've since been layering. It will sound decidedly more pop than many of my previous efforts. But I sill love punk and metal and you can hear that in the mix. I will post the songs to myspace.
As for previous efforts: That's something I'd do in a heartbeat believe me and I think I've made it clear to one or two people of that. So for the record I'm interested.
Milton also offered to get me in touch with Allen Tompkins. I didn’t missed that chance as I wanted to find out more about the band Yeast. See bellow :
”Yeast was a collaborative side project that started with me, Milton, and Daniel House (CZ records owner) about 1988-89 or so. Over the short time we played together, we had 2 additional singers, Micheal Fantod, and Eric Johnson (Pearl Jam's go to guy). We opened for a number of fairly bad ass local shows, but never hit the road. That was really the only regret, but we really didn't need to tour.
Our single "Crisco Wristwatch" had both accolades and a bitter hate letter from the Yeasty Girls of NY... with a cease and desist threat, claiming first right to use the word Yeast... I remember that Daniel framed the letter and had it on the wall of the SubPop offices. The record cover, if you can find it, is classic!”
What are your best memories from that time?
“My coolest memory was a benefit show we did for The Fluid, on tour in Seattle, their equipment was ripped off. The lineup was pretty cool: Yeast opening for SoundGarden, Mudhoney and the Fluid. I remember passing out fliers the week before at a Mother Love Bone and Jane's Addiction show.”
Allen Tompkins played in a number of Seattle band starting from ’85. That list includes: Strange Bulge, Ebb and Flow, Death and Taxes, SET, Yeast, Mr Happy (members of The Derelicts and Gas Huffer) , Daddy Hate Box (members of TAD and Coffin Break) , Curtis (Joy Division cover band), Wally World, The Sheites, Kristen Barry's Band, Jangletown, Sledge, Derision, Mustard, Resonator, El Revengo, Dark Matter Noise, The Jaggies, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth (Tad's new band). Currently he plays in Misericords along with Kurt Danielson and Mike Mongrain.from Yeast - Crisco Wristwatch 7''
Too much of one thing
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
But the one band that rocked out the hallways of Sub Pop’s headquarters so loudly, that eventually made Jon Poneman and Bruce Pavitt to release a CD version of the band’s early material, was Blood Circus. The band was indeed the true definition of rock, even the title of their non-single material self-explains it, Primal Rock Therapy…..Not to mention that the lead singer of the band inspired me in letting my hair to grow long at some point, or that they messed up Pearl Jam’s plans to be the first grunge band to write a song about surfing.
The band formed in 1987 by T-Man (his real name, Tracey Simmons) on bass, Doug Day on drums, guitarist Geoff Robinson, and Michael Anderson (who played a short period in the first line-up of Swallow) on voice and guitar duties as well. They played their first show at the Vogue, opening for The Obituaries (and I’m planning a post about them some time in the future). Shortly the band was signed to Sub Pop and made their vinyl debut in 1988 with Two Way Streetb/w 6 Feet Under single (SP13). Next they contributed with the song The Outback to the Sub Pop 200 compilation and let everyone with their mouths’ opened, a year later, after releasing Primal Rock Therapy Ep . The EP was recorded by no other than Jack Endino at Reciprocal Studios, and features 5 songs.
Blood Circus played tones of shows with most of Seattle bands and also shared bills with bands such as The Flaming Lips, Butthole Surfers, White Zombie, etc; they’ve had an U.S tour and split up in 1990. Michael played in Hard Belly Lloyd and T-Man joined the band Yummy for a period. Luckily Sup Pop reissued Primal Rock Therapy on CD in 1992(with their debut single and five songs from an aborted 1989 recording session) and the band did a couple reunion shows in Seattle.
Primal Rock Therapy EP