Jun 032010

My First Band: Rock Town Hall’s Talent(less) Search has hit The Main Stage! (Click song titles to play.)

With little, if any, prodding a dozen artists known within – and in some cases without – the Halls of Rock have submitted a total of 17 formative demo recordings as well as 1 painfully formative live track. The recordings were created from 1974 to as recently as 2008. Some are as tentative and misguided as could be expected. Some are downright impressive in their early articulation of their creator’s vision. Most are in that awkward space between, where perhaps many musicians of any stripe spend the majority of their musical lives, edging closer to daylight but rarely forgetting how wrong it can go. Although some spirited jibes are likely and expected, this is not about how wrong it went but where our young contributors were headed. Let’s hear it for our brave contributors!

With the assistance of RTH Labs, the demos have been loaded to stream from our customized RTH My First Demo Player™. To hear a track, click on the song title listed on the cassette case. A window will appear providing some details on the demo, but for the start of this event the artists’ identities will be kept anonymous. The RTH Artist Scrabble Key graphic, on the following page, includes the identities of the artists when they recorded their tracks. In some cases the recordings were made by bands containing Townspeople or Friends of the Hall, in which case those band names are listed. Feel free to pin the artist names to each track. Eventually a key will be provided to associate the contributing Townspeople by their RTH handles. Artists are free to step forward with additional details or responses to comments whenever they feel like doing so.

Those of you who did not contribute an early demo but have experience making one are more than welcome to add your tales to the record.

Some possible topics for assessment and discussion are provided on the following page, but feel free to take this where it needs to go. So enough of my yapping, it’s time to check out the nascent recordings of our dozen young artists and tell them how the music makes you feel, man!

Surely we can consider some humorous assessment criteria for our contributing youngsters. For instance, which young artist sounds…

  • Most thrilled to be recording an actual demo
  • Most clearly wearing influences on sleeve
  • Most refreshingly innocent
  • In greatest anguish/existential torment
  • Trying hardest to sound like an old artist
  • Most concerned with sounding original
  • Most fueled by righteous rage
  • Most concerned with getting laid thanks to his/her music
  • Most likely to have recorded track wearing a beret/paisley shirt
  • Most likely to have a poster of Eddie Van Halen, Ted Nugent, or Jimi Hendrix on bedroom wall
  • Most likely to have recorded track while high
  • Clearly frustrated by lousy recording gear
  • Most in need of a fall-back plan
  • Most likely to… [complete phrase]

However, I can imagine there will be questions for any of the artists who have participated in this early demo show-and-tell. Maybe they’ll answer, if asked. For instance, I’m curious to know what advice our grown-up contributors would give their younger selves.

Along with all the contributors to this fine, fun project thanks are due to Townsmen sammymaudlin, hrrundivbakshi, and The Back Office for their input on the planning and design of this very special episode of Rock Town Hall.


  74 Responses to “Presenting…My First Band: Rock Town Hall’s Talent(less) Search”

  1. Thanks. Youngster 3a is most likely to have a poster of Lowell George on his bedroom wall. I like.

  2. Hmm…

    It seems like one of the following things happened here:

    a. Most other Young Artists who submitted demos are much more talented than me

    b. Most other Young Artists didn’t start recording demos until they had their shit somewhat together (musically speaking)

    c. Most other Young Artists cherry picked demos which don’t cast them in a particularly bad light.

    My favorite so far is I Still Drive My Mothers Car, and I don’t normally like that kind of music. But most of them are better then I expected.

    The Demo Player is really cool. Nice job.

  3. hrrundivbakshi

    “(I Still Drive My) Mother’s Car” is fucking GENIUS.

    And, no, it’s not mine.

  4. I figure yours was The Hype, correct?

  5. hrrundivbakshi

    Wait. New favorite: “The Hype”!

    LOVE the deployment of cowbell in that amazing drum solo.

  6. hrrundivbakshi

    Wow — “Rock and Roll Clown” is a legitimately good song in need of a proper band treatment. I mean, the world NEEDS an irony-free exhortation to “boogie without the blues.”

    I’m pretty sure I know who this is. I believe you and I collaborated on a much later demo, which made it onto my last “album.”

  7. hrrundivbakshi

    What a disappointment! In general, most of these songs aren’t embarrassing at all. Except for mine!

  8. hrrundivbakshi

    Interesting. My old pal Rick Massimo has a track on here and I have NO idea which one it is!

  9. So Hrrundi, you didn’t have anything to do with the Hype? That sounded like what I envisioned you and your buddy Peter “Pubes” were up to.

  10. Alibis is HVB?

    Mother’s Car is the best. Love the grind-core part and the jazzy “after track”

  11. Is it me, or does “There was a man” have a little bit of a Peter Case thing going on?

  12. BigSteve

    I’m still working my way through the tracks, but the player is awesome. RTH is going to be the envy of all the other embarrassing demo blogs.

  13. hrrundivbakshi

    Oh, how I WISH I had a recording or two from my high school music-making years with Pubes, Kang, Ski, Bertie and the gang. Sadly, all I have on offer is college-era crap — maybe a year or two after.

    WRT my song-identity, Velv, I am sworn to secrecy until all is unveiled.

  14. hrrundivbakshi

    Oh, and I HEARTILY second and third all the Flash-player-love that’s going on. Well done, thebackoffice!

  15. Mr. Moderator

    BigSteve wrote:

    RTH is going to be the envy of all the other embarrassing demo blogs.

    This very well could be this thread’s legacy! Awesome job by sammy and The Back Office.

    I’m holding off saying much at the moment because I know so much about each contributor and track. I will say that I feel the pain of anyone who thinks “Man, these demos aren’t half bad EXCEPT FOR MINE!” Power to the Townspeople who submitted tracks for getting past this inevitable feeling.

    Surely there’s much to laugh at, much to regret, and the like, but most of us have been on a quest to make a respectable recording that communicates something to people for years. One thing we’re sure to get out of this is a sense of how far we’ve come – or have not come. Last night my longtime drummer friend complained that I submitted a track that represented him with a less-than-impressive beat. I told him he should consider how far his playing has come relative to the walk to the end of my driveway that has been my development as a guitar player. It’s only a game. Enjoy.

  16. shonuffnyesido

    practical nurse is so new wave. i can hear lene lovich doing it.

  17. bostonhistorian

    (I Still Drive My) Mother’s Car is perfect. I recognized Youngster 9a from The Morell’s “Shake and Push”. Had no idea they didn’t write that song.

  18. Mr. Moderator

    I’ve long associated “Growing a Beard” with Youngster 9a, but until he sent me the demo and some notes, including songwriter credits, I had no idea he didn’t write that song! I forget the songwriter’s name. When all is revealed I will try to remember to give him credit too.

  19. Love the sung dialogue in Mother’s Car. Whose mom ever calls them “Junior”? The lines about walking the hamsters and vacuuming the lawn are great…probably would have been best to omit the proctological declaration at the end, but that’s what artistic growth is all about. Trial and error.

  20. shonuffnyesido

    mother’s car is so funny! you had to have a hand in that, right mr mod?

  21. I love that the car is a Gremlin.

  22. BigSteve

    Blinded by Stars sounds like Crowded House.

    My Mother’s Car is cool, but I too want to know what that is there at the end.

    Practical Nurse is a gas. Every city in the country had bands that recorded songs in that vein, and I don’t mean that as a knock. It’s real zeitgeisty.

  23. The player is truly awesome, BackO and Sammy – like all of the graphics and Flash stuff

  24. Big Steve – I thought the same thing about Blinded by Stars too!

  25. BigSteve

    It’s not fair that Youngster 8 had access to 2008 laptop technology.

  26. Mr. Moderator

    @shonuff: No, I had no hand in “…Mother’s Car,” not even a pinky finger.

    BigSteve, how about the injustice that Youngster 8 must still be a lot younger than us?

    I share many feelings with many of you, based on my first listens to these tracks as they were sent to me, but I know too much and therefore don’t want to say even what I initially thought at this point. I’m enjoying hearing your thoughts, as I’m sure our artists are!

  27. BigSteve-
    Good observation re: every city having bands jumping on the wobbly Nu-Wayv bandwagon. And do you remember when longtime 70’s rockers like J Geils and Styx got into the act? Or, better, when Linda Ronstadt and Billy Joel, apparently having no alternative (pardon the pun), dabbled in kwerk? Pretty funny stuff…

  28. Totally agree with the above assessment that “Rock’n’roll clown” needs a full-band treatment.

    Now we just cover each-other’s demo songs! 🙂

  29. Youngster 12b’s track sounds like it could fit on the dbs Repercussions album. Same sound and vibe to my ear which is a very good thing.

    When selecting the track, the title shows as “Catch Me When You Fall” which I thought was a great title until I saw it was a mistake of “Catch You When You Fall”.

  30. The Back Office

    Thanks for all of the love re: demo player. It was Mod’s concept but I’ll take a bow.

    What you should really be thanking me for is not getting it together to put my “demo” on the list. (I don’t have a working a cassette deck anymore!) It would have made a 4am JFA outtake sound like King Crimson.

  31. hrrundivbakshi

    Had Youngster 6b been listening to Jellyfish lately?

    Extra kudos for ripping off “Toe the Line,” or “Love Isn’t Always On Time” or whatever that song was called.

  32. Mr. Moderator

    I do know that Youngster 6’s music reflects a lot of his stated musical interests. I found that pretty cool and reassuring.

    I like that idea of us turning around and covering each other’s early demos! That may be even too weird an exercise for us.

    Maybe tomorrow we can begin digging deeper…

  33. Interesting. My old pal Rick Massimo has a track on here and I have NO idea which one it is!

    Funny. Well, I know we’re keeping the secrets for now, but given your deep knowledge of my musical history, it’s right there in the liner notes. That’s how I was able to pick out yours even before a confirming listen.

  34. After attending my 10th high school reunion, I was talking to my aunt about it. I remarked how everybody looked pretty good – nobody got really fat, nobody seemed to have aged prematurely and most of the guys still had all their hair. My aunt’s response was, “yeah, those are the people who show up.”

    In other words, I think CDM’s initial comments are pretty accurate – there is nothing here that is really falling apart completely.

    If I still had the very first thing I recorded, I’m not sure I’d submit it, but it was an acapella tune (I think I’d heard the “Flying Pickets” and wanted to have a go) and it was a total disaster. Do I have more embarrassing things from the same demo tapes from which my submissions were culled? Yes, yes I do. But this hurts my pride enough as it is.

  35. Mr. Moderator

    OK, I’ll continue to open up the “reveal” phase. I honestly couldn’t find my first band’s first demo. Because I got you guys to submit anything early and likely partially discomforting, I would have submitted the first song we ever recorded. The best (worst – much worse, as it turns out) I could find was The Zone’s live recording of “The Hype,” complete with a drum solo, which I’d completely forgotten about! I hope that set the bar appropriately in terms of potential shame in letting any early demos out of the bag.

    “Lovers Do” is from our second demo, which cracked me up hearing after so many years. We went through a slight, probably Black Market Clash-inspired “ska” phase that had completely slipped my mind.

    If I had any advice for Youngster Me it would have been that I should have gotten laid before ever laying anything to tape.

    While going through a huge box of tapes that should probably be destroyed I also found a cassette with me sketching out my initial ideas for a song on our last set of Zone demos. It was a Temptations-inspired ballad that we ruined once we hit the studio. If I ever become famous and then get assassinated I’ll let my bandmates know where to find this cassette, so they can finish this hushed bedroom sketch with Jeff Lynne.

    As I’d mentioned, going back and listening to our high school demos made me realize how little progress I’ve made as a guitarist. I’d love to blame it on the fact that I’m a lefty who plays righthanded, but the truth is I don’t spend much time practicing or really see myself as a guitarist. I’ve always been most interested in writing and arranging songs. I find my spots within the arrangements and rely on the same, small bag of tricks to get out of a jam.

    “Rock ‘n Roll Clown” was recorded much later, in 1992 or so. I allowed myself to “cheat” with this submission because it was written as my Autumn Carousel (offshoot band) character Ritchie Keith. The window of creativity and fun that was our third-rate folk-rock band was winding down owing to tons of fighting among friends. I really wanted to push us into a new, progressive phase, under the name RUG (ala The Move turning into ELO), but half the band wouldn’t go for it. Then I decided to write my Glam kiss-off to my fake band and prepare to get back to writing as myself. The backstory and self-referential drama seemed to fit as a commentary on this project.

    On my own, I’ve never taken the time to record a polished demo, the way we did when we were in high school and dreamed of GETTING SIGNED. I usually play two guitar parts and a rough bass part on my acoustic and then double track my vocals. That’s good enough to explain to my bandmates.

  36. hrrundivbakshi

    One of my fondest memories of the demo process was having to detune my 1980 Washburn Eagle a full octave to turn it into a “bass.” You’ll hear the Eagle-bass on my two demos, “Alibis” and “Catch You When You Fall.” Also my mad drum-tapping skills on the old Roland drum machine, which I still have in the basement somewhere.

    As I said in an earlier post, I really wish I had demos from my high school years to share, but those are long, long gone — maybe Pubes still has a copy, I dunno. But the two tunes I contributed are plenty embarassing.

    Especially cringe-worthy: the tormented scream in the bridge from “Alibis.” And talking about wearing your influences on your sleeve — notice how shamelessly I stole the chords in that bridge from some Sound Affects-era Jam song. (Funeral Pyre? Not sure.)

    Probably the most embarrassing component of both of these tunes was the singing. But hey — they were DEMOS, and the point wasn’t to finish the product, just to give Mockcarr a framework into which words could be crammed. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

    Big ups to chickenfrank for spotting my vocal homage to Chris Stamey in “Catch You When You Fall” I was absolutely trying to sound Stamey-like in the way I pronounced the word “jerk;” I remember that vividly.

    I’m also amazed at how many of my songs were basically (to the extent words were ever kept from my caterwauling demo vocals) about *not* getting laid; how the women of the world were incomprehensible, frustrating creatures. I now see that’s only partly true, and part of the wonderful, bizarro-world mystery of it all. Sheesh! So glad I’ve grown up a bit. I marvel at my teenaged willingness to record those things on tape, much less scream them into a microphone for the world to hear.

    I’d like to post the final version of “Catch You…” somehow, so one and all might see what it eventually turned into. It’s still not a thing of great greatness, but it has its moments.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me share. I have in fact produced some decent music in the last 20 years. Anybody who wants to hear some, let me know. (But don’t send me an e-mail; I never check the address linked to my activities here.)


  37. Mr. Moderator

    BTW, two other Townsmen – one a regular – were in The Zone with me. I don’t mean to slight them by failing to mention them by their RTH handle; rather, I mean to protect them, if they feel like staying anonymous.

  38. BigSteve

    The term demo I believe goes back to the concept of songwriters demonstrating how a song goes in order to sell it to performers. These demos we’re listening to are done for a lot of different reasons.

    Sometimes songwriters in bands demo songs in order to teach them to their bandmates later. Youngster12 indicates where the “big leads” will go.

    Sometimes artists demo songs in order to attract record company attention. Is that what was going on with Growing a Beard?

    Sometimes artists demo their material in home studios or inexpensive studios to work out some of the kinks before going into an expensive studio to record for real with a name producer and a catering budget. This is sometimes referred to as ‘pre-production,’ otherwise known as ‘rehearsal,’ or ‘wasting time.’ I’ll let others speak up if their track here fits that category.

    There’s also the demo where you’ve just written a song and you want to make sure you remember it. Shine Away maybe?

    And then there’s the demos where you buy your own equipment and try to make the best recording you can, because you’re unlikely to have access to a real studio in the foreseeable future. That’s what’s going on on my two songs, which I won’t reveal yet just in case anyone wants to say addition flattering things about my influences.

    I just think it’s interesting that we use this same term for a lot of different contexts.

  39. BigSteve

    I like the scream in Alibis, this coming from someone who can’t do a rock&roll scream to save his life. When I try, it’s like in a nightmare when you try to scream and nothing comes out.

    And congratulations on nailing the North Carolingian intonation of “jerk.”

  40. Hi, I’m AndyR and I was in The Zone too………”Welcome Andy”

    I haven’t heard The Zone stuff in years. I LOVED making those demos – even if they sucked. Going to a “real” studio while in High School was heady stuff for this sheltered surburban boy.

    The engineers must have cringed at us.

  41. Oh, I have to add my adoration of “(I Still Drive My) Mother’s Car” and the player. The only awesomenesses that I would be the first to point out are the excellent use of parentheses in the case of the former and the awesome way our RTH Minuteman shimmies across the bottom of the player.

  42. (I Still Drive My) Mother’s Car: Behind the Music. I think it was the summer in-between freshman and sophomore year of college. There were no punks in my high school. If you wore a bunch of new wave buttons on your jean jacket, you were cutting edge for my town. But there was a small clique at GWU that were urbane and bold enough to have punk hair, clothes, and attitude. I remember seeing some of those punks in hardcore student bands my freshman year (Art Project, No Trend) that stunned me by their inability to play or write anything worthwhile. They reveled in their crapitude as if that validated their authenticity and originality. I envied their unjustified fearlessness.

    I had never recorded with anyone else thinking that I still had miles to go before that would be appropriate for my talent level, but I figured a joke punk song would still be better than what these jealousy inducing punk dilettantes were doing. Bobby Bitman sang vocals, I played guitar and bass. A “real” guitarist who would later attend Berkley was bad enough to have on drums. The jazz snippet that sneaks in at the end was one of his own home demos. That shows why I was far too intimidated to pretend to be an actual musician until I saw/heard those bands that were amazingly worse than me.

    It seemed every hardcore song I’d ever heard had a similar slowdown section in the middle where you could do the slow motion non-violent circular skank-strut inside the mosh pit until the song would explode again into true slam-dancing. Had to have that.

    A friend told me that after housepainters had scraped his house of old dried paint, his stepmother made him vacuum the front lawn for paint chips.

  43. The year was 1985 (or there abouts)…

    I, regrettably, am Youngster 4. I had written a song for my college band but I don’t have a recording of it. So this is the second song I ever wrote and the first song I ever recorded.

    I had just bought a Tascam 4 track and Dr Rhythm drum machine. I didn’t have a bass either but instead of detuning, I just rolled all of the high end off the guitar. I’m not sure that it occurred to me that part of the beauty of a 4-track is that you can go back and do overdubs to get parts right. I think I was impatient and too excited about being able to play multiple parts to do different takes of the same part.

    Oh yeah, and I’m pretty certain that I was still playing a BC Rich Bich at the time. Absurd…

    I started writing lyrics and singing a year or two later. I was so self conscious about my singing that I would put batteries in the 4 track and drive to the middle of Golden Gate Park at night and record my vocals in the car.

  44. Mr. Moderator

    This slow, steady onslaught of our contributors’ tales is right on. Keep ’em coming and now that contributors are stepping forward, feel free to ask them questions about their younger selves that may not have been answered in their testimonies. Surely, we’re about a day away from healing!

  45. That Tascam 4 track was a great combination of cheap enough, easy enough to use, and still good enough. I still prefer it over the ef-ing computer.

    Your Youngster 4 track sounds like a combination of a few different Rolling Stones eras. An amalgam of Black and Blue up through Undercover of the Night.

  46. So not Exile?

  47. Only the drumming.

  48. Mr. Moderator

    What was funny for me about your Stonesy demo, cdm, is that I’m working on a song mining similar territory. So far I’ve got a demo I’ve made in Apple Logic of guitars, bass, and me trying to cut and paste the basic drum idea I have in mind for Seth. It’s really awkward and not too different from your second demo ever! In other words, GREAT JOB!

  49. I ain’t saying which one is me until Hrrundi either figures it out or gives up.

  50. BigSteve

    Yes the TASCAM 4-track never crashed or ran out of memory. On the other hand I don’t have to clean the heads on my PC with a q-tip and petrochemicals every time I record.

  51. Mod, you can’t build your house on a foundation of sand, it needs to be built on solid Rock. Let me know if you want the original tape to use for your basic tracks. (insert winking emoticon here)

  52. BigSteve

    I think PhD sounds pretty effing good for being recorded through a palm-sized mixer into a boombox. The guitar is cool, and I love the new wave singing style.

  53. BigSteve

    Although sometimes it takes him a few measures to find it, I love the little hiccuppy drum pattern in the verses of Lovers Do. And the vocalist’s commanding “Love me!” at :41 is stupid fresh.

  54. BigSteve

    Youngster4 is the artist most likely to find other people who want to play with him, because he’s got a 4-track (and a digital delay!), and he can actually write a melody. But was he most likely to find a singer who could write lyrics?

  55. BigSteve

    Youngster6 should be happy with his drumming, which is the best thing about Passions. Actually the “oh no where do I go part of the song isn’t bad. That guitarist is most likely to have a poster of The Edge.

  56. BigSteve

    The lyrics of Shine Away are so mysterious. Youngster8, you didn’t really sing “water-assed women” at around 1:46 did you? I like the way the Carter Familyesque picking swims in and out of the caffienated mix of guitar styles.

  57. BigSteve

    It’s interesting knowing how recently Monday Morning was presumably recorded. It sounds like something that might have come out of mid-70’s Cleveland/Akron. I dig that dense almost beefheartian riff that starts it and reappears later, but I especially like the more fluttery guitar part that begins around :44. Fitting all of those different strands into one track may be awkward, but it’s impressive too.

  58. BigSteve

    Rock ‘n’ Roll Clown is so Graham Parker (with a little Joe Jackson maybe?). For a full band treatment you should get friend-of-RTH Martin Belmont to get some of the old pub rockers together in the studio again. Or how about you leading a Clover reunion?

  59. Mr. Moderator

    Good comments on the particular tracks, BigSteve. I like your take on “Monday Morning.” Perhaps the artist was trying to sound like some contemporary band I’m not familiar with, but to my ears it’s one of the more original-sounding tracks.

    I like your stuff, BigSteve, but I don’t think you’ve stepped forward yet, so I won’t out you. There are strains in your music that I’m sure you can guess that appeal to me.

    “PhD” is another one of the more original-sounding tracks. It contains a surprising mix of styles.

    “Growing a Beard” and “Lookin’ for a 7-11” blew me away. I know this artists’ music well, have seen him live probably 50 times, and know those songs well. These demos, recorded 5-7 years before I ever heard the songs played live or on vinyl, are fully formed. I’ve always thought of this guy as one of the most focused, well-crafted musicians I’ve personally known, but this takes him to a new level.

  60. Mr. Moderator

    Also, thanks to chickenfrank for his background on “…Mother’s Car.” I never knew the full story behind that one, although I’ve known the song since about as long as I’ve known him. Along with his “real” songs, which I love, chickenfrank has composed at least one other gem of a hardcore spoof, “Chitlin’ Blues,” by Heidnick’s Basement. The guy really had a future as a hardcore songwriter.

  61. Mr. Moderator

    Not quite as unknown as some of these demos, but here’s a cool clip Big Dipper came across and couldn’t remember, from their Facebook page:


  62. ladymisskirroyale

    The squealing music groupie in me is jumping up and down in the front row!

  63. Cool Big Dip-pah video!

    Props to Big Steve for granting more attention and analysis in listening to the demos than may have been put into recording some of them! You have honored our younger selves, Sir.

  64. Will all the artists eventually be revealed?

  65. Mr. Moderator

    I’m leaving it to the artists, nanker, in case they want to protect their Younger Selves. However, if people want to guess at the remaining Youngsters, that’s fine by me.

  66. BigSteve

    Let me get this out of the way before everybody moves on. I am Youngster3. As I said in the ‘liner notes’ that appear in the player, these tracks are from the early 80s, when I got tired of playing with the people I knew and decided to take DIY seriously with a cassette 4-track.

    What About Me? was the third song I recorded, after a couple of covers. In my ignorance I had bought a digital delay (with a whopping 256ms) instead of a reverb unit, so you can hear me trying unsuccessfully to get reverb out of it for the vocal. The song was written by my buddy Nick, and I always thought it was a really good one. I was going for a Stonesy vibe, but unfortunately I didn’t know how to get a decent amp sound, so my attempt to quote the opening of the Tumbling Dice guitar solo in my solo doesn’t really cut it.

    There Was a Mad Man was recorded shortly afterwards, when I did have a spring reverb unit. The lyrics are from a poem in the Oxford Book of Nursery Rhymes. I did a lot of that back then, because I don’t have much to say as a lyricist, and that kind of verse works with rock music.

    As nanker surmised I was/am a big fan of Lowell George. I started playing slide not long after learning normal guitar, and the Ry Cooder/Little Feat/Capt. Beefheart nexus was behind it. As far as cher’s suggestion of a Peter Case influence goes, I was a big Plimsouls fan, but this recording would have been before Case’s solo records appeared. I am uncertain what strains in my tracks would appeal to the Mod.

    This whole exercise has proven to me that many of you guys matured way before I did. I was 30ish by the time these recordings were made, and some of your teenage tracks here put me to shame.

  67. What About Me shows that you were older. You need a certain maturity to do that New Orleans beat. I like that one a lot. It reminds me of “Marie Laveau.” Looks like the 2 primary reasons for doing home demos alone is either we were deathly afraid of exposing our limitations in front of our friends, or we were completely sick of playing with them.

  68. Mr. Moderator

    Thanks, BigSteve. It’s the Band-like quality of your demos that appealed to me. They also reminded me of the first two Jesse Winchester albums, which I dig, and that Bobby Charles album you burned for me – more Band tie-ins!

  69. Hi Everyone,

    I am “youngster #6” and was rather surprised by the notion that my song sounded like Crowded House – as I was (and still am) a HUGE Crowded House fan. However, hrrundivbakshi really nailed it, as that was me doing my best to be a one-man Jellyfish.

    I had been playing drums in a band and felt that our singer/frontman was an Achilles Heel. So hence, the second track was me trying to prove that I could do everything myself, and more or less proving kind of the opposite! I recorded 8 songs and put them on a cassette, that’s the only Jellyfish-like one, but I decided the other ones had either really bad cringe-worthy moments or weren’t “rock” enough to pass muster with this lot.

    If you can make it out, in the middle of “Blinded By Stars” there is a “harpsichord” break where there is a funny sounding vocal. I took an SM58, wrapped it in plastic and dropped it into a utility sink full of water. Then I dunked my head into the sink (yes, I really did this) and sang. Do not try this with a condenser mic!

  70. I like There was a Mad Man a lot. The limitations of a 4 track cassette help give the song a down home vibe that serves the song well.

    In retrospect, it doesn’t surprise me that those were your songs, Bigsteve, but I had convinced myself that you did that surf song, which I really like as well. I should have noticed that the notes contain the decidedly non-New Orleanian phrase “Think yourselves jolly lucky..”

  71. Hi y’all. I’m youngster 8. I actually didn’t sing ‘water-assed women’ in Shine Away, but I’m kinda wishing I did. I really forget the details of writing that song, but I remember trying to record it again when i got my 8 track, but i found it sounded too ‘karoke’. (I also couldn’t mic up acoustic guitars at that point). I’m not sure why I would randomly syncopate the guitar for brief periods of time, or why I tried to aggravate my voice during the “BLOOZ” parts. Kind of regrettable.

    Monday Morning is huge mess. It started as attempt to write a song with “as many chords as humanly possible.” There are a lot, although most of them are inaudible over that dense riff which I actually based on Marquee Moon, and not Captain Beefheart. The fluttery section was ripped off from another section, and the vocals sound ridiculously bored. I was kind of an eager beaver when I got my hands on the 8 track, and decided to throw as many direct line guitar over dubs (I didn’t have an amp to mic) as possible in.

    One thing I am proud of for that song is the bassline. I wish I remembered how to play it!

  72. and by ‘ripped off by another section’ i meant, I lifted it from an unfinished song to make Monday Morning longer.

  73. This whole thread was great. I love this kinda stuff.

  74. Some way past its due date additional info: This was most likely summer of ’82 (’83 at the latest), and we recorded in our Jazzy pal’s attic bedroom on the Teac reel to reel he owned (4 track, I think, though it’s possible it was an 8 track…we probably used 3 of ’em) on a sunny summer afternoon. We ran through it maybe twice before recording what you hear. I remember Jazzboy telling me his mom, hearing some of what we were doing from two floors below, assumed it was Chickenfrank doing the “vocalizing”, and said to Jazzy after we’d left, “I had no idea “Chicken” had so much anger in him”…

    The real drummer Jazzy played with (who you hear a bit of on that end snippet) actually took the time to do a cleaned up stereo remix of “Mother’s Car”, which I remember as sounding great (I recall a nifty panning of the last notes in the solo being particularly impressive to me back then). Sadly, it’s been lost to the ages.

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