Friday, November 11, 2016

Pravda Tape, 1982, Desperate Times

 Found a cheap and used copy of this rare gem over the internet about a month ago. I'm talking about the Pravda Vol 1, a compilation tape released by Pravda Records in '82. Having a lot of free time on my hands I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to digitize it and share it with my readers. 

 The label was born in 1982 in the home of Desperate Times Magazine in Seattle’s University District. It was founded by Dennis White and Maire M. Masco, both publishers for the Desperate Times, a magazine that was covering the punk scene of Seattle as well as international bands that played the local bars.
 Pravda's catalog featured some of these local acts covered in the zine. In one year period, Maire and Dennis, put together the Mr. Epp EP, "Of course I'm Happy.Why?", a Student Nurse single and the Pravda Compilation tape, an artifact of Seattle's new wave/art rock/post-punk scene.
 Another important mention would be that Dennis White also managed Dadastic! sounds in the recent years, doing a great job in releasing obscure music. Check it out, maybe some of the releases are still available for buying/download here.

 Now back to the tape! Sunworm opens and ends this, over-half-hour, audio time machine in a gloomy manner field with accelerating rhythm sections, squeaking guitars and a monolithic voice. Sunworm also contributed with a song on "The Public Doesn't Exist" compilation and shares John Rogers as common member with Student Nurse. John also made appearances in other art rock/experimental bands such as Steddi 5 or Audio Letter.

 Spectators were a pleasant surprise, especially with the song "Idiot Culture". Rapid-i also, and a bit more experimental. Besides being on this compilation, Joe Despair And The Future haven't released anything to my knowledge. You can see some photos from two of their gigs on Mike's Leach site.

 Student Nurse are contributing to this compilation with only one song and that's a shame because I love them and it seems impossible to get my hands on any of their releases.
 For some reason the Billy Shaffer song volume is kind of low, but I've uploaded it here anyway. Billy Shaffer was the art director for Desperate Times. This is an acoustic/folk track that comes from a home-made tape of demos he recorded.
 Mr. Epp is probably the most expected band on the compilation. They are, after all, the godfathers of grunge! Steve and Marks' band before Green River. Actually the term of "grunge" was first coined in the second issue of Desperate Times, in a letter sent by Mark himself, describing Mr. Epp's music as "pure grunge, pure shit".

Pravda Compilation Tape, everyone! Enjoy!


Tom Boettcher said...

Thanks for sharing this. I was the other guitarist in Student Nurse for a couple of years. I was on this recording of Recht Op Staan trying to cram every scale I knew at the time into that first guitar solo. Point of clarification: John Rodgers (Rubato) was Sunworm. He sometimes had guests, but he played everything on the 2 songs that are here. If you want more Student Nurse, I've got the compilation that Eric Muhs, the bass player, put together a few years ago. Happy to share, Eric's also still in Seattle and active musically as well as other interesting ways: And if you want some more Sunworm, I've got a couple of other pieces including the fabulout 'Going to the Dog House'. And we were in a few other side projects if you want to hear John on other things from that time that you've probably never heard before. --Tom

Dennis R. White said...

It's nice to see this cassette compilation get a little attention so many years later. I put this out with Maire Masco and we put as much love as we could into it. The bands are all artists we had some professional or personal relationship, but we didn't just add tracks because they were friends-we included them because we thought they were visionary or had something to say that was just a bit left-center of punk rock. The reason the Billy Schafer track sounds the way it does is because it was taken directly from a cassette Billy made one night while very, very drunk. The song was never meant to be fact he wasn't aware his song was included for a few years! Billy didn't consider himself to be a musician-but believe me he was more than accomplished on the acoustic guitar when he wasn't so loaded. He was also a very good, funny lyricist which you can see by his song. It was a joy to know all the artists on this compilation. I'm still friends with many of them so many decades later. It's nice to see Tom Boettcher's comment above. Ton's a great guy that I'm in sporadic contact with too. I've had the compilation digitalized re-mastered and previously had it online as a free download on my blogger page. I no longer have that page up, so one day soon I'll get to putting the compilation up again. I'll post where it is here and at other places. Thanks for even taken an interest. I think if it weren't for Mr. Epp people wouldn't even have bothered to listen to this. BTW, Maire Masco and I released the first Epp EP, "Of Course I'm Happy Why?" Allowing this "fake band" to do whatever they wanted and releasing it without question really shook the world up didn't it?!! I don't consider them to be anything near the "inventors" of grunge. They were simply having a good time. But of course Mark would go on to be a very important part of what would later be called "grunge"...which, after all, was a self-deprecating name that was an inside joke.