Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Hairspray Queen is taking a break

Whell, I'll be having some see you guys in about three weeks from now.Sorry...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Special Guest Post.The only obscure Seattle grunge label

While Sub Pop and C/Z were proudly dominating much of the Seattle Scene(of course, Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman were having their master plan of "world domination", which worked until the late '90s when they started relesing materials of crappy indie bands, yachhh!!!!") followed by Empty Records, other labels fight for notority as well.Among those labels that never made it big and that would deserve much recognition is New Rage Records.
Previously on Northwest Noise we talked about Fireclown, Stymie and is now time for us to end this trilogy with a post about the only obscure Seattle grunge label(well, not quite the only one, but pretty obscure). I once again asked for Adem Tepedelen's help to write down a special guest post for us about his record label, and because his kindness has no limit, he accepted:

New Rage Records was started by myself and graphic designer Jeff Kleinsmith in Seattle in 1990. We moved to Seattle from Eugene, Oregon (where we originally hatched the idea for the label). We were in Fireclown at the time and we wanted to start a label to put out our own records, as well as records by some of the great underground bands coming out of the Northwest.

Our first release was the 6-song Daddy Hate Box EP called “Sugar Plow” in 1990. Daddy Hate Box was a side-project for the drummer of TAD (Steve Wied) and vocalist for Coffin Break (Peter Litwin). It wasn’t a full-time band and they never played very many shows or even toured. The record was produced by Jack Endino and it sold pretty well, despite the fact that the band broke up not long after it came out. The band’s name, in case you don’t get the connection, was a play on Mother Love Bone.

Next we put out the Fireclown “Junkie” 7” in early 1991, which has one of my favorite covers of all the releases we did. It was the label’s best-selling single (1,000 copies pretty much sold out) and was distributed all over the world. The band broke up in late 1991 and a few of us formed Stymie in early 1992. Unfortunately our next New Rage release was our worst, and worst-selling: Sow Belly. We did our friends in Sow Belly (a weird Eugene psychedelic band) a favor by putting out a 4-song 7” that they actually helped pay for. It barely sold a couple hundred copies and was slammed in most reviews.

Another one-off came about when a local Seattle band, Sweet Water (originally S.G.M., then Shotgun Mama), who were quite popular (and who Fireclown had once played a show with) contacted us about putting out their CD. They had recorded some demos for Virgin Records who decided not to sign the band. Virgin returned the rights to the demo to the band and so Sweet Water wanted us to put it out as a CD. We didn’t have the money at the time, so they helped finance it. Unfortunately there was no contract in place, so it was all just done with a handshake. I think we pressed about 2000-2500 copies which sold out immediately, with most going to Europe. Locally it sold pretty well, but outside of Seattle (in the US) no one really cared. The band was soon signed to Atlantic and we (foolishly) just let the CD go out of print, fearing the legal might of the band’s management and label. The weird thing is, the band re-recorded most (but not all) of the songs for their Atlantic debut. There are a few tracks that are exclusive to the New Rage release which have never been reissued, making this our most sought after and rare release. I also personally think that the versions of the songs they re-recorded later, are way better on their New Rage release.

One local band we had a long relationship with was Unearth. We had played a show with them when we were still in Fireclown and we initially offered to put out a 7” for them since they were going to be recording with Jack Endino. That single was called “Pinchpoint” and is amazingly heavy and cool. That came out in 1991 or 1992. It’s a totally overlooked example of prime Seattle grunge. Both songs on that single (as well as a later single called “Caught Up”) later appeared on their Jack Endino-produced full-length CD, Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt, that we released (with the help of C/Z Records, who distributed it) in 1993.
Unearth also appeared on the “Things That Are Heavy” compilation which also featured the first appearance of our new band Stymie, as well as two similar Seattle bands, Sleep Capsule and Bone Cellar (who both put out 2 CDs each on other indie labels). We printed 500 copies of this, silk-screened all the covers (something we did with some frequency because Jeff had started a screen-printing business with Stymie’s singer and a friend of ours) and it sold out immediately. This record offers a good example of some really good grunge bands that weren’t on Sub Pop or C/Z.

By this point New Rage Records was getting something of a reputation in the Northwest, so we were able to put out a single for another high-profile Seattle band, Alcohol Funnycar (who also recorded for C/Z and BMG). That single featured exclusive recordings that never appeared on other Alcohol Funnycar releases. We pressed about 500 and I think they are pretty much all gone.

We finally put out the first Stymie 3-song 7”, called “other” in 1993, I think. That had silk-screened covers and we probably pressed 500 copies. It got a lot of good reviews and a label in NYC got interested and wanted us to record a demo for them. We did that, they weren’t stoked enough to sign us and so we took that demo and used one song, “Toil and Folly,” for a split single with our bassist Patrick’s solo noise project, Lab Rat. Only 200 copies were made and they each had a different photo which were original police photographs from automobile accident scenes. Some were pretty gruesome. (The other Stymie song on this was “Systematic Break” from our very first demo.) This was a co-release with Patrick’s label, Apraxia.

New Rage also did another co-release with Apraxia in 1993 of a 7”, “Corroboree,” of a noise band from Colorado Springs called Blowhole, that Patrick was also in (and I later joined after Stymie broke up). This sold out of a pressing of 500 copies immediately and is impossible to find.

Unfortunately, much of the money that we had invested in Unearth’s CD, didn’t come back to us because the band broke up shortly after the CD was released and we didn’t sell very many copies. Which was a shame, because anyone who loves grunge would do well to get their hands on everything Unearth released. It is amazing stuff. (And, yes, we still have CDs and 7” singles available.)

So, New Rage did one more co-release--this time with Cavity Search Records in Portland--of a Stymie/Control Freak split single that was only released with a Japanese fanzine called Fringe!. This may be the rarest thing we did, because very few were ever distributed outside of Japan and that fanzine is long gone.

We did one final release, a Stymie 7” single that was actually recorded after the band had broken up. It was jokingly called “Debut Posthumous” and was issued in the spring of 1995.

We never officially closed for business and are still selling the items we have in stock, if anyone is interested. You can go to our web page here: to see what’s still available.

NEW RAGE discography:

Sugar Plow 12"EP
NUR 100

"Junkie" b/w "Big Disease" 7"
NUR 101

"Spaztech Culture" +3 EP
NUR 102

Pinchpoint 7"
NUR 103

Sweet Water CD
NUR 104

V/A compilation 7"
Bone Cellar, Sleep Capsule, Stymie and Unearth
NUR 105

"Caught Up" b/w "Electric Funeral" 7"
NUR 106

"All About It" b/w "Complications" 7"
NUR 107

Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt CD
NUR 108

Grocery Bag 7" EP
NUR 109

Corroboree 7"EP
NUR 111/PXR 04261

Split 7"
NUR 113/PXR 03311

split 7"
NUR 114/CSR 20

Debut Posthumous 7"
NUR 115

No mp3s for this post. I was just kidding, knock yourselves up:
Unearth - Caught Up b/w Electric Funeral 7''
Stymie/Lab Rat 7''

Monday, January 12, 2009

Post-Fireclown Or "The Stymie Story"

Two posts ago I wrote about Fireclown that after they split up,at the beginning of '92 Adem,Jeff and James got back together and formed Stymie. Now, I can't understand why Stymie was so little ...... compared to other bands...weren't they grunge enough?(they are grunge enough for me)...Some investigation taken to the corners of the internet, showed that the only place where the band's history is mentioned is their myspace, which, although gave me a lot of answers, raised other questions. So, I managed to track down Adem Tepedelen(one of the band's guitarists), who was kind enough to answer some questions:

Me:Stymie sounds quite different from Fireclown, how have your musical interests changed?
Adem:I think Stymie sounded different for a couple of reasons: some of the people involved were different and were into other styles of music and I think we consciously wanted to play stuff that was less metal and more grunge. Even though we dropped the tuning down to D on the guitars, we also started writing poppier songs--so it was a pretty dramatic change. Another contributing factor is that when I started Stymie in early 1992, I wrote most of the songs, but by the end in 1994 Jeff Kleinsmith wrote most of them. So even Stymie's sound changed dramatically from early songs like "Girl" to later songs like "Creepy Boss."

Me:On your myspace is mentioned that one of your songs was featured on "Things that are heavy", can you tell me who released the compilation and what other artists were featured there?
Adem:Jeff and I started our own record label, New Rage Records (you can find us on MySpace), when we moved to Seattle with Fireclown in 1990. So, we not only put the Fireclown single out on New Rage, we put several Stymie singles out, as well as the "Things That Are Heavy" compilation 7" EP. The other bands on that are Bone Cellar, Sleep Capsule and Unearth (NOT the metalcore band). It's one of my favorite New Rage releases. New Rage also put out several Unearth releases and Stymie's original bass player was actually also in Unearth. He later switched to rhythm guitar in Stymie when Patrick Barber joined us on bass.
Here is a discography of everything we ever released:
• Various artists — "Things That Are Heavy" 7" (New Rage): "Same"
• "other" three-song 7" (New Rage): "Pretty Now"/"Willy's Gone"/"Frogs"
• Various artists — "Choice Bovine Cuts" CD (Bovine): "Girl"
• Two-song split 7" w/Lab Rat (New Rage/Apraxia): "Systematic Break"/"Toil & Folly"
• Split 7" w/Control Freak (New Rage/Cavity Search): "Hair of Gold"
• Various artists — "Teriyaki Asthma Vol. IX" (C/Z): "One Proud Stout"
• "Debut Posthumous" 7" (New Rage): "Creepy Boss"/"France"

Me:With whom have you had shows, besides Flop and The Presidents Of United States of America?
Adem:We played with a ton of different bands over the years--everything from metal to punk. That list includes: Buffalo Tom, Superconductor, Alcohol Funnycar, Silkworm, Sleep, Forced Entry, Gruntruck, Mono Men, Ace Frehley, Love Battery, Everclear, Hazel, Crackerbash, Engine Kid, and many more I can't even remember right now.

Me:Do you remember any remarkable scene during a recording session or even during a show?
Adem:One funny thing happened when we were playing at this big, free outdoor show called Pain in the Grass in Seattle. We were opening for My Sister's Machine who were friends with Alice in Chains. Anyway, Jerry Cantrell came up to us and asked if he could borrow an amp so that he could play a song or two with My Sister's Machine. We were happy to oblige, and since there were three guitarists in Stymie, he could have his pick. He looked at all three, made a face of disgust and disappointment and just walked away. I don't know whose amp he used that day, but it wasn't one of our shitty units!

Me:What happened after Stymie? Did you perform in other band?
Adem:Stymie basically ended in late 1994. We recorded one last single ("Creepy Boss"/"France") in early 1995 and that was pretty much it. Jeff and I tried to kind of keep it going for a little while after that, and we actually had some really amazing songs that Jeff had written, but we just didn't have the enthusiasm to fully get it all going again. We did a couple of reunion shows in 1997 (without Patrick, unfortunately), but that was pretty much the end of the story. Patrick and I played in this improv/noise band called Blowhole for a few years after Stymie (we even got to play Lollapalooza, thanks to Sonic Youth who were the headliners that year). No one else really did anything serious after that. I played drums in a couple of different bands and our drummer James continues to play a couple of times a year in a cover band, with Fireclown's old bassist Karl. We're all still very close actually.

Choice Bovine Cuts (Compilation)

Things That Are Heavy 7"(Compilation)

Debut Posthumous 7"
Creepy Boss

Thanks again Adem...