Streganona may be the number one reason I am thankful this blog popped into existence, which is a bit ironic considering they were not a South Bend band. They did grace us with their presence a number of times and rocked most mightily. Unfortunately, with the exception of a track on a split 7-inch with Sweep the Leg Johnny, Streganona's musical output is captured only on the less than sturdy medium of cassette tapes, which meant my time listening to them was cut drastically when my commuting experience changed from driving a car with a tape deck to riding a subway with my mp3 player.
How Do You Feel About Plastic?, Streganona's follow up to 4:4, was released on the eSTaTe label, which shared its name with the Chicago house where members of Streganona and Sweep the Leg Johnny lived. The tape opens with "Limit '96", a new version of a track from 4:4 that is every bit as likely to get stuck in your head in this version as it was in the original. "Eleven" encapsulates much of what I love about Streganona: intertwined guitars, furious drumming, simple grooving bass, abrupt switches from chaos to melodic parts, and shouted lines like "Don't let your mouth write checks that your ass can't cash!" or "To the right, to the right, I'm falling out of sight". "Field Trip to the Foundry" is another mini-epic, which shifts through seven parts in three movements in just over five minutes before going out in a mix of crackles and feedback. The closing track, "Esquivel", features a danceable main riff that calls to mind a bizarro version of the eponymous Mexican lounge musician.
The credits for the tape are included as follows:
RECIPE FOR PLASTIC
7 borrowed microphones (c/o S.S, J.d, eSTaTe)
1 borrowed 8-track mixer (c/o Pangaea)
1 4-track machine *2 guitars
1 bass 1 drum kit
1 patient Friend to sound engineer (J.G.S.)
1 streganona (B.N,M.M,M.S,A.H)
* mix plastic ingredients carefully in basement * cook plastic on high for 45 hours * let plastic sit for one day, then mix for 10 more hours * mold into five shapes * blend with aged imported plastic from Indiana: ("encephlapod" from Miami St. with G.H. on drums)
***store in a cool place.
While playing a show in Raleigh, NC in 2002, I was excited to spot a Streganona sticker on the opening band's keyboard. The opening band had played with Streganona several years earlier, and we talked for a bit about what a great yet little known band Streganona had been. So go ahead, click the link below and enjoy this rare relic from mid-90s Chicago.
Photos of Streganona at the Vampire Clubhouse by Jim Jadwisiak.