Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Water - Aliens Born to Human Parents

Water was a Chisel side project that recorded a 7-song demo in the summer of 1992 or 1993. The band was Jeff Jotz on drums, with John Dugan and Ted Leo both on guitars and vocals.

Over the span of a weekend, we recorded these songs in the basement of Ted Leo's parents' house in Bloomfield, NJ. I recall that Ted called his underground lair "Radium City," probably for the watchmaking factory nearby. "Looking Down at the Great Wall of China" eventually made its way to Chisel's 8 a.m. All Day. The kid groaning during "Crazy Dudes in Action!" is Ted's cousin, who is probably in his 20s now and incredibly embarrassed.

We never had any pictures taken of the recording, but below is a funny shot of John and Ted at their off-campus house from September 1992 that I took (Ted may be wearing a SB White Sox shirt).

Unfortunately, there were no liner notes for this demo cassette. In fact, the MP3s that I made from our recording were from a 2nd generation cassette. We just shared it amongst ourselves and it sat in a box for years until I was contacted by a TL/Rx junkie a few years ago.

--Jeff Jotz

In my mind, part of what made this stuff so fun and amazing was the fact that for this flash of time, when we were all doing these one-off, one day, mostly improv "bands," we weren't thinking of posterity at ALL. We were just truly enjoying the moment, and probably taking some pleasure in the fact that we KNEW this was just "a moment." It was an absurd and heady and energizing thought to think that we could flick this stuff off the wrist and come out with some pretty embarrassing inside jokes, sure, but also some pretty damn great songs. But ultimately, it was just for the pleasure of things as potentially deep as feeling completely "present" and amazed at our own emerging abilities, or as simple as imitating Beat Happening (as in "Patio by the Pool," if my memory serves me).

--Ted Leo

Most of these songs were improvised on the spot or jammed on once before recording. It's somewhere between a brilliant afternoon of inspiration and the end of western culture as we know it.

--John Dugan


see also:
Water on MySpace

Thursday, July 23, 2009

SBP90s blog featured in Notre Dame Magazine

In case you hadn't yet heard, the SBP90s blog has been featured in the Summer 2009 edition of Notre Dame Magazine, one of the nation's top university magazines. We are honored to have been included within it's pages, and welcome new readers who may have discovered our blog via this channel. It's a nice writeup... "rakish charm" indeed! If you've lapsed on your alumni donation and didn't get your copy in the mail, you can still head over to their website and read the online version of the article:

"Saving the music" - Notre Dame Magazine, Summer 2009

And speaking of press, the SBP90s blog also recently received a nice little plug over at the Musical Family Tree, the Indiana MP3 Archive and Online Community. They've got a pretty expansive archival endeavor going on, with some familiar SB faces already included. Check 'em out!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Go-Lightly's - Demo Recordings

We've already shared much of the story of The Go-Lightly's in a previous SBP90s blog post. However, there is an important piece of their musical history that was almost entirely forgotten about, that is until just a few months ago. We are thrilled to be able to share this missing chapter with you here today.

Back in 1998, Andy, Kristi, and Zoe–collectively known as The Go-Lightly's–went into the studio with local South Bend recording giant Hardcore Ron Garcia to put some songs to tape. They spent a day laying down tracks for their first and only demo recording, seven songs in all. At the end of the session, the band went home, the 8-track recorder was turned off, and the raw, unmixed tape was labeled and put in a cassette case... where it would sit untouched and sadly neglected for many, many years.

Fast forward to 2009. HC Ron has moved to Houston, and would, on occasion, make the couple hour jaunt to visit us at SBP90s Blog Central here in Austin. At some point, it came up in blog-related discussions that yes, he had in fact recorded The Go-Lightly's in the studio, still had the tape, but had no immediate recollection of how finished the songs were. Most importantly, he couldn't recall if they ever had a chance to record the vocal parts, which obviously would be crucial to salvaging a satisfying end-product.

For my part, I had no idea that these recordings even existed, as I wasn't in South Bend at the time, and none of the band members had ever brought it up. I think after all these years-- they had nearly forgotten about it themselves! So, I was very excited to hear about this, and anxious to see what state the songs were in.

When we finally got things set up for the mixdown session, and pressed "play," we were relieved to hear that there were indeed vocal tracks, from both Kristi and Zoe (actually, Ron had confirmed this in Houston beforehand, so as not to haul everything to Austin in vain). We were also pumped to hear how good it sounded! Andy's drums, Kristi's bass, Zoe's keys... it was all coming together. We spent the next few hours fine tuning each of the seven songs, and processing them straight into the computer for superior sound quality. We also included an eighth track -- an alternate and charmingly-botched take of "Time of the Season" that had all us cracking up with each listen.

So now, loyal reader, we are pleased to present you with a South Bend Power 90s world premier exclusive, 11 years in the making... the long-lost Go-Lightly's demo recordings!


see also:
The Go-Lightly's on MySpace

Thursday, July 9, 2009

decaf - P.R.A./Nervous Fingerfood EP

There were 2 songs that never made it onto decaf's Self-Titled Cassette EP when we recorded at Miami Street Studios. I believe these songs did not make the cut because of the mistakes made in our "one take" guerrilla style of recording. Ironically, these were 2 of the most liked songs we played... just ask Alisha.

"P.R.A." - This was the very first song that Mike and I wrote while studying architecture in Rome. This is the song that started the "you whistle & I'll play guitar" style of writing that we endorsed while living there - mostly because we could not afford 2 guitars. For some reason I think I was heavily influenced by Screeching Weasel at this time. When we brought this song back to the states and played it for Rob, he immediately came up with the tongue-in-cheek title of "punk rock anthem." Mike and I traded guitar and bass duties for this one.

"Nervous Fingerfood" - This is one of the songs that Mike wrote while we were living in The Box. Mike asked Ricardo to name the song and he blurted out "Nervous Fingerfood" - don't even try to look for a reason... because there is none.

Thanks for listening again - we'll be posting some live decaf material soon. I actually stumbled upon another show we recorded at Dalloway's that I never knew I had - some good stuff coming up. Oh, and thanks to Julie for the cover photography again!



see also:
decaf on MySpace