Monday, March 16, 2009


“Thou shalt not partake of the dreaded decaf” – Milo Aukerman, Descendents

Rome, Italy, 1993/1994

Mike C.: The very beginnings of decaf started in Rome, Italy, as did most other fantastic art forms. Brian and I bought an acoustic guitar and would drink and write songs to the point where we both realized that class in the morning just wasn't going to happen.

Brian G.: Both Mike and I were studying Architecture in Italy for 9 months. We were both musicians and needed an outlet for our aggressions while there – vino and cigarettes only got us so far. So, our Italian friend, Max, brought us to a music store and helped us haggle with the owner so we could get a guitar. In our hotel rooms at night for the next few months, we would write songs and drink wine. Mike would usually play while I whistled a vocal idea or another guitar part – then we would trade duties…but I remember being a better whistler. We then asked Ricardo A., a jazz drummer who was also in the program, if he wanted to play drums with us when we formed a band when back at Notre Dame the following Fall – he obliged and we had the following taken care of: guitar (Mike), bass (Brian), and drums (Ricardo). We parted our ways for the summer upon our arrival back in the states.

Notre Dame, IN, 1994/1995

Brian: So there we were back on campus after almost a year in Italy. During the summer, Mike’s old roommate from freshman year, JP, secured a house for us to live in for the 1994/1995 school year. The house, and I use that term loosely – I mean, it had vertical planes that held some “wall-like” qualities, some sort of roof structure, a door and windows (in most rooms anyway)….anyway, the house was known as “The Box.” I understand that the previous tenants were members of Sweep The Leg Johnny. The good thing was is that it had a basement – and we made sure that JP knew this was our only criteria when he went house hunting. In other words, we wanted a practice space.

Mike: We realized we needed a singer, so one night at a party, Steve (of Sweep The Leg Johnny) introduced me to Rob O., we listened to a demo he had and tried him out - he definitely had the pipes to fill the role.

Brian: Rob played with us in the basement at the Box and he was incredible – he had a pitch-perfect scream that perfectly complimented the songs we arranged. We then added Matt S. (who I had known from high school back in Minneapolis) to play second guitar and we were complete. We then went through the motions of figuring out a name and finally ended up with “decaf” which took inspiration from the Descendents’ creed, “All-O-Gistics”.

Mike: So, along came Matt… we started playing shows with the likes of Sweep The Leg Johnny and Krautmiser.

Brian: My friend, Molly (who was a bartender at Senior Bar), thought it would be great to have us play there. We asked Sweep to play with us and we ended up doing a few gigs with them there. This later turned into a Thursday “Alternative Night” at Senior Bar. We always laughed at the whole idea of it and the name itself, but it was a paying gig nonetheless. We played throughout the rest of the school year at house parties, bars, etc. When we were approached to contribute a song for the ND compilation, sfumato, we decided that we would take advantage of paid studio set up time to record that one song “Keeping Up With The Joneses”, and record some others. 7 of those songs made up our cassette EP.

Mike: We were together until Rob graduated, which was about a year..... the ladies were very, very upset.

Brian: So here it is, for your listening pleasure, our 7-song self-titled cassette. Later on we will post our band-only odds & ends CD, We’re The Opening Band, that features 2 songs that did not make the cassette release, “P.R.A” and “Nervous Fingerfood”, and a bunch of live material including some sacred-cow covers that we were never afraid to play.


see also:
decaf on MySpace


Julie McCoy said...

Ahem. Photo credit? ;)
I totally remember :
~Pogo-ing to Polish
~Doing the slow indie back & forth rocking to Slowsong
~Guze being excited about the lyrics to Bottlerocket.
But P.R.A. will always be my favorite....
Thanks so much, you guys!
who is very, very excited to finally have these mp3's....

Brian G said...

I would like to thank that talented Julie Lombardi for the cover photo!!!