Monday, March 03, 2008

Some Not So Golden Random Rarities For My Peeps

So this past weekend I found to time to do some digital audio work, and finally just got around to encoding some long lost recordings I made years ago. The funny thing was they were originally done in the digital realm on DAT, and converted to cassette so I could listen to them. Now I have no access to the DATs and to reconvert them I had to work off some real lo-fi cassettes.




I not only came across tapes of old music I had made years ago, but I also ran into tapes I had of other artists. So taoday... I'll share a few random oddities from artists you definitely have heard of... and some I'm pretty sure you haven't...

I also encoded 'em directly to mp3, hiss and all so you'll just have to deal...

Most of these cassette tapes are nearing 20 years old... and weren't perhaps cared for exceedingly well, so you'll have to excuse any lack of high caliber sonics...as if they were ever prepared under laboratory conditions anyhow.

Most were made using basic technology available, at best 4 tracks, or maybe two mics simply dangling from the ceiling over the band in an attempt to create what passes for stereo...



I'd assume this one is from about 1989, but possibly as early as 1988...

Les Claypool at one time had a Primus precursor band called the Primates, and around that time, he even used to roadie for The Looters. The Looters opened up a collective recording/rehearsal/performance space called Komotion International, and it was through these connections & proceedings, that this song and a dozen others were recorded live one sud soaked night by Primus during one of our many experimental keg parties on 16th Street in San Francisco's Mission District.

The guy's put out a live version of this track recorded at The Berkeley Square across the bay around the same time on their own label, but here's proof that they were West Bay party worthy as well. We released it ourselves a year or so later on a cassette compilation I assembled that came with a "sound" magazine & I believe on the 10th anniversary CD edition as well...

Primus - Groundhog's Day

On that same cassette compilation was a track by one of my bands, this group was called Mom. It was comprised of some members of my old band The Bedlam Rovers, as well as a couple guys from Bomb, another local act of no small renown at the time.

Bomb's Michael Dean and I would share the microphone, but never the women or his needles. We had a good time making noise together for a spell, but his "other" band got signed to Warner Brothers in a bizarre accident, and our collaborations basically came to an end. He went on tour, developed a massive ego & life sapping heroin addiction at the same time. Those sort of limit what's possible...

In the end, he made a miraculous recovery, has written books, made inspiring doc films, and basically I think he's doing pretty good, if being happy, healthy, married & even a bit paunchy are signs of success.

These things happen I suppose. Check out the further adventures of Mr. Dean who posts all sorts of personally generated sonic goodies at his website(s) each week...

He's a relentless self promoter, and in fact while researching what things I could mention or remember about the gentleman, I came across this funny wikipedia warning about his bio















However, despite this problem wikipedia has with him, and whenever occasion warrants , we do stay in touch these days, mostly from afar, or at least as much as plausible for guys that live hundreds of miles apart.

This song was from our first gig ever during a party for the 1989 Summer Anarchist Gathering, we were opening up for Mr. Helios Creed, and it was a pretty packed, chaotic & sweaty affair from what I recall...

The intro I should add, was from a monologue delivered at the same venue by Keith Hennessy, a very creative and cutting edge performer here in San Francisco, but with a worldwide reputation. I have done some performances with Keith back in the day, and it was always a far out and audience engaging experience. Keith's got his own cult thang going on, and I will just link here and suggest you seek out one of his performances that mix the political, the profane and the psycho into a combo that makes the ol' sex, drugs & rock n roll seem as stale as it really is...

anyhow...live 1989 debut sound clip of my old band Mom

Mom - Your Only Friend

Before I ever had my own crappy bands...

I grew up loving me some Social Distortion, that Mommy's Little Monster album has never really worn off, and it would definitely make a list of my personal fave top records of all time. I recall in November 1987 a friend of mine was booking bands at a local gay disco and we could apparently obtain the services of a recently reformulated Social Distortion for about $500. I forget why that never happenend.. I think the club got wise to our punky schemes... and went back to doing disco.

I went back to playing Mommy's Little Monster I suppose...

Anyhow, Social D eventually put out Prison Bound and here they are playing a party at Lake Perris near Riverside in the summer 1988. It's got the late Dennis Dannell on Guitar, Christopher Reece ex of the Lewd on drums, and it looks like a real young and long haired John Mauer on bass...


Well within two years, Mike Ness had hooked up with Jim Guerinot & Sony and the booking price had gone up considerably...

(even though the tempo & material got more pedestrian... go figger!! :)

By the 1990's a friend , ( who shall remain nameless) who used to shoot drugs party with the Social D gang back in the early 80's, was now simply friends with bassist John Maurer's gal from work. This fact enabled us to do some hanging out within the band's so-called "inner sanctum".

It was mostly dull backstage small talk, but I was privy to some sorta silly rockstar sh*t and full on Spinal Tap-esque moments...



There was the Sony Music reps who caught the band in LA and explained they could not use their giant stage backdrop painted of a bound & gagged woman. It was an image used on their record from an old 50's pulp novel, and they planned to hang it behind themselves on the tour. The fact that the band had spent $10,000 of their Sony advance on it didn't matter Sony. One night it was up, the next day they went to LA to play the Palladium and it was noticeably missing...even though the same "offensive" image was still included in ten's of thousands of Sony CD cases.

Social D drew an angry sort of rebel waltzing bunch to their shows, and in order to keep the stage diving heathens who pissed Mike off to no end away, they had a special chain link fence built. They could travel with it and it was built around each and every stage, as well as the sound man's platform in the middle of the floor. It definitely set a certain mood... like a youth prison detention camp, which is after all, the band's main theme & demographic. Mike also liked to pepper spray or mace any stray macho mutants that got through the gauntlet up onto the stage, and it was a special errand indeed to be sent out to obtain the proper cans of mace & pepper spray with the road crew. A now defunct but well stocked gun store around the corner from the venue in S.F had the goods back in 1992.

Guess it beats scoring dope for a band, which was another ritual I would occasionally participate in for other touring "rockstars".

Mike, who was already "clean & sober", remained pretty grim most of the times I hung around him, no beers, no drugs or monkey biz. In the smaller rural towns he seem to let his guard down more, but in cities it was tighter security, tight lipped backstage and he played it more elusive.

He didn't talk to much, but liked to be noticed none the less, and spent a lot of time preening & getting his look just right. Part of this was getting into thoroughly grooming his thinning hair. Despite the fact he constantly had less & less hair to comb, it seemed the more time he would spend combing it.

There was a night at a sold out show in San Francisco at the Warfield where it seemed extremely fetishistic. The many minions & roadies had by now, tinkered with every conceivable bit of gear, and the crowd was chanting and stomping for the band, who was now basically way overdue for their set time. The security was looking nervous as the packed house roared & raged for Social D.

Yet, underneath the stage, Mike would calmly stare at himself in the tiny dressing room mirror, and then purse his lips, sigh, and then comb his hair one last time, and then another. This went on and on for at least half an hour... and no nervous band member said anything or dared upset this strange meditation ritual, despite the aged theater literally shaking with the crowd's every stomp...



Here's Mr. Mike Ness of Social Distortion doing a mellow little acoustic B.B King cover in the spring of 1990 in front of just a handful of folks.

Mike Ness - Sweet Little Angel

Up top I mentioned old Social D drummer Christoper Reece (1985 - 1993), turns out he now owns a joint called The Pike in Long Beach that apparently has some Lobster Tacos the NY Times recently raved about...

But

Prior to becoming a bar owner, and drummer for Mr. Ness in Social D, Reece was in the Lewd, a classic early American hardcore punk band.




Their only LP, "American Wino," came out on ICI Records in 1982, partially recorded at a studio in Hollywood, and some live at the old Target Video space in San Francisco.

Here's a track I converted off some old vinyl that you'd be hard pressed to find a pressing of yourself...

The Lewd - Mobile Home


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