AND THEN THERE WAS THAT TIME THAT FRANKLIN REFORMED.

HOAGS034

Sometime in the summer of 2003, about 4 years after Franklin broke up, something brought the four of us together again to practice. While I don’t recall what the impetus was for anyone else, for me, I know that it had to do with really wanting to play democratically once again.

You see, after Franklin, I did a thing called AM/FM with my good friend Mike. And while we both had creative input in that band, it was certainly my responsibility to write the core structure of most of the songs.

At first, that was really liberating, not being in a band where all members had equal voice in how a song should sound. But after a few years of being the sole person responsible for writing, I definitely started to feel a strain on what I could do on my own. I missed that creative spark that occurs only when a group of people inspire each other to create.

So Franklin started practicing again. It was casual. No specific plans were made. It was just to enjoy the process once more or, at least see if we could enjoy the process once more. If anything came of it, so be it.

During this time, a friend was working on a compilation of Philadelphia bands that were around at the time. He kindly asked to include us on the release and with that, we recorded one of the songs we were working on. I believe we might have written a small handful of new songs but this was the only one to ever be recorded.


FRANKLIN – GO KID GO LP

1622_8524321599870
Franklin’s first LP, Go Kid Go would be the album of a million faces. Not because we wanted it so, but because it was a record run over by circumstance, mistakes, errors and miscalculations. However, almost 20 years after recording it, it’s another one of those situation where warts and all, it’s something I remember fondly.

After releasing Something Blue, Automotive and They Said it With Fireworks, Franklin set out to record and release our first LP. We had set our sites on launching another record label (having learned nothing from our poor showing with Elbohead) and dubbed it, Energy Network thanks to Jeb Bell’s name suggestion. Again, the goal was to document what we considered to be worthwhile music that was being made at the time. Fracture’s LP would be the first release from the label and we’ll cover that at a later date.

The second release would be the Franklin LP. As we were preparing to record, a fella named Mike Wessel from Toronto, Canada contacted us. He ran a record label called Workshop Records and was apparently, a fan of the band. He offered to help release our album so Go Kid Go would up being a split label release. I wish I could remember exactly how we hooked up with Mike, but sadly, it’s a blur.

We returned to Baltimore, MD to record with Charles Jamison and finished the LP over the course of a very short weekend.

Due to the upcoming Franklin/Fracture tour in the summer of 1995, printed record jackets would not be ready in time. So, we made due with second hand record sleeves that Mike Wessel mailed to us from Canada (details over yonder!). We slit them open, reversed them out and then glued then together again. Using a woodcut that I made with the name Franklin in reverse, hand stamped the individual covers. It was a long, long process made even more stressful by the actual LP’s not arriving at my parents house until the very day that we left on tour. I remember puking the previous night due to stress of worrying that we wouldn’t have our new record for the tour. That was fun.

Of course, we ran out of second hand sleeves so some folks who purchased the record on tour got a hand stamped dust sleeve with the insert tucked inside. Here’s one of those classy packages:

GoGidGo

Eventually, upon our return from tour, we would receive professionally printed record jackets for the LP. However, what was not professional was the artwork. Sadly, once again, not having any idea what we were doing, the idea that artwork needed to be something called, “press ready” didn’t really make much sense to us. So, the cover that we thought would look brilliant (utilizing a cool piece of art that spelled out “Go Kid Go”, duct tape, photos from tour, etc) ended up looking like one of the ugliest LP jackets to ever be made available. You can see it at the top of this post. It was heartbreaking to have the cover turn out so poorly when we were so proud of the LP. Ah well.

Workshop Records would compile the Go Kid Go LP along with the Something Blue, Automotive 7″, They Said it With Fireworks 7″, additional demo recordings and a 4-track tune called Sunshine onto a rather impressive CD.

They would also, finally, give the Go Kid Go LP a proper record sleeve (below). This album was never made available digitally so it’s a pleasure to finally have it available for folks on this site. Hope you enjoy buzzing guitars, out of tune earnest yelps and life in snapshot.

Franklin Go Kid Go

Franklin Go Kid Go

Franklin Go Kid Go

Franklin Go Kid Go

Franklin Go Kid Go

Franklin Go Kid Go


AN UPDATE TO THE I AM HEAVEN DATABASE!

tumblr_mp86h82gnw1r21cllo7_500
I got an email last night from a fella named Steven Smith.

In it, he mentioned that he was wandering memory lane and came across this site. He found a posting about I AM HEAVEN and sent along some additional facts and figures.

First, he sent some very nice photos of the actual demo that he still has in his possession. Cover, insert and all. I posted them up over on the original post.

He reports that, from his memory, all of the songs on the demo ended up on the I AM HEAVEN LP which of course, is not accurate.

He also reports that the backwards track on the LP (not included on this post) is actually the first song from the demo played backwards (in case you were wondering!)

Not a huge update, but some very nice additions to the site that I certainly appreciate.

Thanks Steve!


LOUD! FAST! PHILLY!

IMG_0276_0
The other day, I was interviewed by Joseph Gervasi for Loud! Fast! Philly!, a self-described, “…aural history of the Philadelphia hardcore punk scene.”

It’s a great project that he’s dedicated a lot of his time towards and I was honored to be asked to participate.

Please be advised. Anyone who knows me knows how much I can get to talking so the interview is a long one. In fact, you might want to skip mine in favor of listening to the other interviews he’s done with members of the Philadelphia hardcore and punk community past and present. Each interview is a fascinating experience.

Be sure to listen to the interview that Joseph did with Atom and be sure to visit Joseph’s site regularly as he adds interviews.


I TOOK 10 YEARS OFF FROM MUSIC.

MOREGONER
It’s true. 10 years. That’s not to say I didn’t listen to it or obsess about it any less, but as for playing in a full-time band, I took 10 years off.

Back in 2003, AM/FM released what would end up being our last official release. It was called The Sky Is The New Ground and was one half of what was supposed to be a two part, EP release thingy. Seemed fitting because we had previously released two LP’s in quick succession. Nonetheless, it never came to be and TSITNG ended up being it for us.

I didn’t mind, honestly. I was suffering some sort of odd, out of left field anxiety disorder, I was in a new relationship that I was happy to dedicate all of my time to, I was increasingly frustrated with the business side of being in a band and I think I was becoming burned out with putting a lot of pressure on myself to write songs that would become AM/FM songs. At the end, it just didn’t demand the attention that it once did so it drifted away.

Franklin reformed for about a year and wrote 6 or 7 new songs to once again fizzle out. I played for a short while with Ralph’s new band The Jai Alai Savant but that was Ralph’s baby. I wrote some songs at home that I would demo and then delete and then I joined a punk rock cover band called TV Casualty that played benefit shows for local Philadelphia charities. In ten years, that was the only music I played with other people after spending the previous 14 years playing music as if it were the only thing that mattered in life.

Quite the contrast.

Then, a random thing happened. I started wanting to play music again. I’m not sure why, or what spawned it but I started missing it. Last year I tried playing with a few fellas for whom I have a lot of respect, but after writing a few songs it just didn’t pan out. Then Mike and I got back together.

Mike and I had been AM/FM and somehow, it just made sense to give it another whirl. We asked Roy who had played bass for Franklin to give a shot at playing one more time. After 15 years away from the instrument, he said, “Why not?”

After a few months, we’ve got a set list of songs and we’ve recorded two demos thus far and will start playing live next month.

Odd, but exciting.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you keep going. Things grow, die, fall away and start again. Maybe working on this blog and digging up a history reminded me what I loved so much about music to begin with. Maybe nostalgia is a shitty footnote and a new chapter was needed.

One way or the other, I’m excited.

Oh, our new band is called Goner. Maybe you’ll enjoy it.