Let’s review the ground rules here. The Mystery Date song is not necessarily something I believe to be good. So feel free to rip it or praise it. Rather the song is something of interest due to the artist, influences, time period… Your job is to decipher as much as you can about the artist without research. Who do you think it is? Or, Who do you think it sounds like? When do you think it was recorded? Etc…
If you know who it is, don’t spoil it for the rest. Anyone who knows it can play the “mockcarr option.” (And I’ve got a hunch at least one of you know this one.) This option is for those of you who just can’t hold your tongue and must let everyone know just how in-the-know you are by calling it. So if you know who it is and want everyone else to know that you know, email Mr. Moderator at
mrmoderator [at] rocktownhall [dot] com. If correct we will post how brilliant you are in the Comments section.
The real test of strength though is to guess as close as possible without knowing. Ready, steady, go!
Here are 3 tracks by the same Mystery Band.
I’d guess somewhere between ’78 and ’82, American, and West Coast due to the Pico Boulevard reference. The voice sounds like someone specific to me and, although I really don’t have any idea if it’s him, it’s too early to take that guess on the wild chance it might be right.
I also feel almost certain that I’ve heard the first number before.
I’m guessing it’s later, first decade of the millennium, as the early eighties feels a bit soon for casual cussing at the start of a song like the first one.
No idea who it is. It doesn’t do a whole lot for me, kind of end of the pier, “we’ve listened to our parents’ Band and Delaney and Bonnie albums” Americana like Fleet Foxes or Wilco, where the art of writing memorable songs gets subsumed in the rush to grow beards with varying degrees of success.
The songs don’t sound like cheap demos either. It sounds like there was money behind recording these. No clue.
Sounds like ‘cowpunk’ but not one of the originators, probably bandwagon-jumpers, therefore probably later than the dates suggested by geo. Not Dash Rip Rock, but somebody like that.
No idea. I kinda think the writing and production quality is too good for some high school demos of an established cow punk, alt country or no depression figure. The first song absolutely sounds like something I would have bought. I have to give props for the line “Hey Sue, if I reach out my hand will you pull me down too?” So many of these singers sound like Chris Stacey or Alex Chilton to me.
I’m sticking with my dates, although it could be a little later. It is definitely on vinyl, so I doubt it is any later that Dash Rip Rock’s debut, which was 1987. The first DRR record was vinyl, the next CD. I put that 88/89 as the major switch for even indie releases to the new format.
And I hope you weren’t dissing Dash Rip Rock, whose albums were a little spotty, but totally killed it live. I’m pretty sure Bill Davis is still out there kicking it around, although I lost interest when Hoaky jumped ship.
And, BigSteve, your Dash suggestion was very accurate and triggered something that makes me think I do know who it is.
Dash Rip Rock, along with Cowboy Mouth, were just so ubiquitous when I lived in New Orleans. (And both have websites currently showing upcoming gigs.) You don’t want to blame bands for their audiences, but they attracted a party bro crowd that put me off. Being from the South might give roots rock bands a slight edge in authenticity, but I’m not sure either band really earned their twang. I suspect the Mystery Date band has even less reason to pretend it has roots.
Impressive hive mind.
This band is from the west coast, and began sometime between the start of cowpunk and the start of alt country if we’re using Uncle Tupelo’s No Depression as a demarcation. There is only one famous person in the band. That person plays guitar but I don’t think they sing lead. That person went on to form a band that had big success in the Lollapalooza/alt-radio era, although I can only name two songs by them and am not a big fan of either. I do like this album quite a bit though.
A friend gave me a copy of a cassette. I later saw a copy in a drawer at a bar where I worked. People would just dump cassettes in the drawer and then just forget about them so I snagged that copy too. Garlicsalt’s father subsequently stole it from me. Those are the only times I’ve ever seen seen this album in any format.
As an aside, a friend talked me into going to a Cowboy Mouth show once. It was painful.
Cowboy Mouth were led by Fred LeBlanc, the original drummer of Dash Rip Rock who also wrote and sang some songs on the first two albums before he left. Good drummer, good singer, good songwriter, but I wasn’t crazy about Cowboy Mouth when I saw them years later.
I can understand the audience for the DRR could be particularly galling, particularly on their home turf since the core of their act was totally buttheaded. However, they were fabulously gifted and powerful players, and their relentless joking, although consistently offensive, was also self deprecating and surprisingly knowledgeable and wide ranging.
My guess was the Beat Farmers, but that doesn’t sound right based on what said about Lollapalooza, but it still could be. Country Dick Montana was in that group and he wrote at least one song covered by Dash Rip Rock.
Not the Beat Farmers, although I can see why you would guess that. Some of the songs sound like the more pop oriented efforts by Jerry Rainey and the guy who replaced Buddy Blue, whose name escapes me. Two hints coming up: one helpful, the other not helpful.
Helpful hint: The guitar player ‘s band that had some alt-rock hits was a three piece. At the risk of making assumptions, I don’t imagine anyone here would have been a fan.
Unhelpful Hint: Pico Blvd is not the identifier that Geo thinks. This band was based in San Francisco.
Tangent: They also did a kind of ironic/kind of serious hillbilly version of You Shook Me All Night Long. I was bartending in a dance club in San Francisco and the DJ used to play the ACDC version every night at midnight. I was friendly with the DJ and convinced him to play their version one night. The crowd started booing almost immediately and the DJ shot me a dirty look. Oh well.
I was hoping from your last clue it might be Hayseed Dixie, but that was way too obvious and Wikipedia tells me they are from Nashville. They’ve played a little festival our son does sci-fi displays at twice and on both occasions three of them have wandered in to have a look and a chat, really amiable chaps.
These guys got the drop on Hayseed Dixie by over a decade, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were the inspiration for HD. If I can figure out the technology, I’ll try to upload their version of the ACDC song, and the rest of the album if anyone is interested.
Grrr… I had a post all typed and managed to delete it by accident. I hear a bar band where the playing outstrips the writing, which I suppose is the norm. As noted by others, it is well-recorded and produced, and I suppose the hints above would put this band in the late 90’s, early 00’s? I can’t imagine what band a guitarist would go on to join or form… Porno for Pyros?
This band was in San Francisco around ’87-’89 or so.
The guitarist relocated to Portland OR (funny, I always thought they were an LA band) and went on to form a successful band in ’91, although their breakthrough single didn’t happen until their second album which was released in ’95.
They were initially a trio.
They performed at Woodstock ’99.
Let me know if you want more clues or if you are ready to give up.
I haven’t seen the Woodstock 99 documentary yet and have no memory of who played it besides RHCPs and Limp Bizkit. I’m sure I’m not going to get this.
And your mystery date is…..
The Easy Hoes, featuring Art Alexakis of Everclear fame.
Art played guitar and wrote two songs for the only Easy Hoes album “Tragic Songs of Life”. He rerecorded both songs for his next band Colorfinger (one is the middle song above).
The rest of the album is a mix of originals and covers of songs by the Carter Family, the Louvin Brothers, Hank Williams, etc.
Everclear never did that much for me. Their breakthrough “Santa Monica” was okay. I always thought it had a Springsteen’s-younger-brother quality but I never heard anything by them that made me want to dig deeper. I would have liked to see the Easy Hoes in a bar though. I’ll bet that would have been a fun night.
Thanks for playing.
I remember owning that Sparkle and Fade album, and I liked it fine, but they became deeply uncool for some reason. Actually I know the reason — they were commercially successful.
Hey, I remember them! I really like that Santa Monica song. “I am still living with your ….. ghost”. That song is very catchy.
Interesting! I never would have connected Everclear with any Americana-type music.
People! Your grandma’s mystery date is here!