Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Go-Lightly's - Metallica Party Live

The Go-Lightly's were a rompin' saucy rock-n-roll party machine! The band consisted of Kristi R. on bass and vocals, Zoe M. on keyboard and backing vocals, and Andy Yang (of Obstruction fame) on drums. Let's check out what a couple of 'em had to say about the history of the band:
"Originally, The Go-Lightly's were Kristi, Chris O. and Andy. Chris found out that I played the piano, then asked me to join. In fact, it was his electronic keyboard I used for the duration of the band. Our first practice (in Ron, Andy, and Travis' basement, aka The Hive) was, I think, also the last practice Chris partook in before leaving the band. Let's call it... over 'artistic differences' and leave it at that. Kristi was sort of the main song writer and band leader, and sang vocals with me backing her up. The band was sort of the illegitimate offspring of Leslie Gore and Heavens To Betsy. (You know, the offspring that goes off to state college and nurtures an ever-growing beer gut while trying to decipher The Doors keyboard solos). Complete with out-of-tune singing, no guitar, Kristi on bass, Andy on drums, and me on a cheap electronic keyboard.

Yes--the Metallica Party. I remember we all wore metal. Literally, I had on a tin foil skirt. I also remember our first (and last) show in a bar--remember that swanky bar that was just up Hill Street from the Red Star House? It had the shag carpeting and private vinyl booths? Super 70s swank? Well it was transformed into a Domer haven, and somehow we scored a show there opening for The Butterfly Effect.

We did a few covers: 'Dumb Head' (Ginny Arnell), 'Axeman' (H2B), a couple more... we also played 'Time of the Season' by The Zombies, and oh my was the keyboard solo ever challenging to figure out. But I did it, damn it! Our own song, 'Do It Right,' however, was probably our signature tune. It's the one that made them all scream for more, except we didn't have any more since we usually saved that one for last." -- Zoe M.


"I remember how we would come together to write songs in The Hive basement. The girls had worked on some things and when we all came together, it would just be a jam session at first. They would lay down some melody and lyrics and I just kinda made up drum beats to go with the stuff. I can't even remember how many songs we had, I think only 6-8 songs. But the most memorable for me was 'Ash Rash,' which Kristi wrote after my smart move of putting actual ash from The Hive basement fireplace (there was one on the opposite end of the drum kit) on my face under my eye as 'makeup' for my halloween costume that year. I think it was a last minute thrown together costume of a beat up boxer, that I just threw that shit on my face. I would have been better off with a damn sharpie because the next day, my left eye had developed a peculiar rash where the ash had been and stayed there for a week or so. That was one of many dumb moves, but it gave way to the song... 'Ash Rash!'

I think we only played a few shows, the biggest one being at a bar that I can't remember the name of. Of course, we played at The Hive a couple of times. I mainly remember how fun it was to mix it up with those cool girls and how different and unique our sound was. It was a nice, refreshing change of pace from the other sounds on campus." -- Andy Yang

Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to see The Go-Lightly's perform, having moved away shortly before they got together as a group. But when Zoe gave me a copy of this live party recording a couple years later, it was like I could've just as easily been right there when it all went down. Listening to the cassette, everything felt so familiar. Perhaps because basement shows in The Bend for the most part all shared some common yet distinct, intangible qualities. As someone once wrote, "Just imagine 20 or so friends, an unimpressed out of town band or two, a pony keg, shoes, beer, and friendly insults flying..." --that's a pretty clear picture, and this show was no different. I'm glad this is the first live recording we are featuring here on our little blog, because it really captures the feeling (for better or worse) of so many of the dozens upon dozens of basement shows that were put on back then. It's nice to be able to re-live that a little, even if it's only for the 26-minute duration of The Go-Lightly's rockin' good set.

That said, there are some really enjoyable moments on the Metallica Party Live recording. Lots of laughs, plenty of "ALL-RIGHTs!!!" a-hollered (see the fellow to the left), fuck ups, false starts, and a brilliantly timed call-and-response "GO!"... "LIGHTLY!" intro from the crowd to get the whole thing started off with a bang. Zoe's keyboard solo in "Time of the Season" is truly off the chain. And "Do It Right" lives up to it's billing as the quintessential Go-Lightly's smash hit.

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say this was probably recorded by Hardcore Ron, with something a little fancier than a mic hanging from the rafters of the basement ceiling. The cassette never had any official release, but rather was just one of those things that you dubbed yourself and passed out to your friends (I got mine as filler, if you can imagine, on the other side of a taped copy of a Neutral Milk Hotel record!). The Go-Lightly's did at one point record in Ron's studio, but it was one of those "let's hurry up and put something to tape before everyone leaves town" kinda deals, was never mixed or released, and promptly faded from the memories of the parties involved. Who knows, maybe y'all will get lucky and it will resurface and see light on this blog one of these days. Until then...


see also:
The Go-Lightly's on MySpace

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hey, Dummy - Fall In Line 7"

Welcome to another edition of Friends of the Bend! This time we welcome Jason Kucsma, former frontman of Hey, Dummy, to drop some knowledge on us about the history of the band and their powerful 7" EP, Fall In Line:

My friend Dennis recently posted a photo album on Facebook titled, "Bowling Green, 1995-96: If You Can Remember It, You Weren't There." And this, my friends, sums up why it's taken me several months of prodding from Theodore and my own self-flagellation for being a flake to actually sit down and write up what little I remember of the Hey, Dummy years. What follows is a loose recap of a period in Hey, Dummy's life -- as told by the only guy in the band who, unlike his former bandmates, isn't making any kind of contribution to music these days.

Hey, Dummy was me, Tony Cavallario (Aloha), Mike McNeeley (No Sanctuary), and Eric Koltnow (Aloha, Six Parts Seven). The band was born from the ashes Chunk Iron Chest in the early 1990s when Mike and I were fortunate enough to connect with Eric and Tony to start what we hoped would be some amazing amalgamation of the indie/punk/hardcore/jazz/experimental music that we were each into individually and collectively at time. Earlier in Hey, Dummy's career, we tended toward really basic (and fast-as-fuck) punk rock, but Fall In Line can more accurately be described as a more mature (read: schizophrenic) Hey, Dummy that had finally grown into ourselves as a hardcore band benefiting from the skills of a classically trained percussionist and a superbly talented guitarist. Add Mike's ferocious bass and my untrained vocals to the scene, and Hey, Dummy was a case-study in controlled chaos. During rehearsals, I would watch Tony, Mike, and Eric work together to write the songs while I worked on lyrics primarily inspired by my own personal reckoning with what it means to be a white political activist in rural NW Ohio. While early songs were sarcastic jabs at our punk rock activist subculture, later Hey, Dummy covered more theoretical issues about white privilege, personal accountability, and animal rights (we were all vegetarian/vegan at the time).

The Fall In Line 7" followed our cassette demo Products of the Industrial (R)Evolution, which was recorded in the early 1990s at an old town hall in Rudolph, Ohio -- about 10 miles from our home base of Bowling Green, Ohio and located across the street from a cemetery. The demo was recorded in 1 1/2 days, but could have been done in a day. On the first day, we practiced and recorded all the songs to our satisfaction. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, we turned to the guy (whose name escapes me) to see how things sounded, and he told us that he accidentally forgot to hit the record button on the deck. He had been checking levels and monitoring our progress without ever actually recording anything. When our rage reached a peak, we looked at the guy, and he was asleep at his mixing board. He was purportedly narcoleptic and dozed off when things got a little stressful. We came back the next day and plowed through the songs and called it a day.

Learning our lesson, we recorded Fall In Line with our friend Mike Pennington at Eric and Tony's house, our practice space and future house-show mecca. The 7" received some favorable reviews in HeartattaCk, MRR, and other zines that put us in the Born Against or Submission Hold camp -- brilliant family with which we were all pleased to claim kinship, though never felt quite deserved. Incidentally, the sleeve and liner notes were designed by me and cruelly document my early career as a self-taught graphic designer. I loved collecting old encyclopedias and children's books -- lifting illustrations and photos with abandon for use flyers, zines, and myriad other projects.

Recording Hey, Dummy was a small part of our history, though. The joy we got from the band was playing live shows around the Midwest on a handful of small tours. A trip down the East Coast to play with Pink Collar Jobs, Griver (future Hellbender) and others took us all the way to Gainesville. Midwest tours took us to South Bend to play with our friends, and we even found ourselves in Kalamazoo and Chicago playing shows with Los Crudos and Charles Bronson. And here's where the "if you can remember it, you weren't there" comes in. So much of our short history was enveloped in brilliantly great parties with friends and extended punk-rock fam that it's all a nostalgic blur to me. It's hard for me to point to specific instances where Hey, Dummy changed my life, but the overall experience of learning from these guys and just sharing in the experience of playing music that made people happy (or challenged people in some instances) was an overwhelmingly formative experience for me. Bad recording quality and all, I still love to listen to this shit.

-- Jason Kucsma


I go back a long way with the guys from Hey, Dummy. Jason, Mike, and I all went to high school together, and I spent a lot of time traveling back and forth from The Bend to Bowling Green, OH throughout the mid-90s. I witnessed the earlier incarnations of the band (Chunk Iron Chest, The Schlitzed), and watched their sound mature and gain momentum as Hey, Dummy. Their shows were always so much goodness, and was lucky enough to see them play numerous times in various locations. For me, there's really something special about witnessing good friends create great music, which was part of the reason for starting this blog in the first place.

Hey, Dummy was kind enough to host Chikkenhead and Obstruction for various shows in BG, and we did what we could to return the favor. They played in South Bend twice; once at the Green House with Ground Round, and another time at Clifford the Big Red House with The Mad Dogs, Obstruction, and a couple others I can't recall at the moment. The first show was a lot of fun, as they let me stand in on second guitar for a few songs (which they probably regretted soon after). The second show was a tad bittersweet, because although their set was through the roof, Jason ending up losing his voice, putting "the big kabosh" on the Hardcore Ron Studios recording session planned for the following day. A real shame, as the band was near the top of their game and would've really shined under Ron's recording mastery.

Thus, we are left with this great EP, Fall In Line. Whatever is lacking in production is more than made up for with energy and emotion. I, too, still love to listen to this shit. It was self-released by the band in 1997 on Saturnalia Records.

And here's a link to the Hey, Dummy bandcamp page, where you can find the rest of their recorded works.