As I’ve said in numerous posts, I do so enjoy the submissions of other people to this blog. A different perspective is always appreciated. However, thanks to busy schedules it can be a while before anyone has a chance to contribute. Such is life. Surprisingly, Jeff Vaders popped up again the other day and sent in some very, very old gems from his very first band, Vile. Starring folks who would go on to be in Up In Arms, then Fracture and Public Descent and beyond, this is a very worthy contribution. Thanks Jeff!

Vile was born into existence when Jeb Bell and I became friends in middle school. Through the combination of Thrasher Magazine, skate videos and watching our friends AK-47 / The Tazmanians play, Jeb & I mustered up the courage to create our own band. After several terrible name nominations, one being Auto Erotica, we democratically decided upon Vile. And that is how our first band came to be; create the band name first, then get the instruments and people.

Jeb had recently purchased an Ibanez electric guitar and Peavy amplifier and was learning tunes from our favorite bands. Rob Bell was already a formidable drum master and had an extensive setup in his parents basement. We recruited our friend Dan Goldberg to play guitar as his chops in 8th grade wowed all of us. Finally, I purchased a microphone and yes, Peavy amplifier as our solution to a PA system and the band was officially formed.

We practiced in The Bell’s basement and my parents garage nonstop. We dedicated hours upon hours on both weekdays and weekends to practicing our favorite punk rock songs. Dan Goldberg was lucky enough to have a reel-to-reel recorder that we used at many of our practices to re-listen and perfect our sound. Like all bands, after a couple weeks we began writing our own songs. Below is a sampling of these prolific tunes that sadly up till now did not get further than a few people’s ears. Sadly, I do not have photo evidence of Vile and its 4 month existence. The original songs below were recorded in the summer of 1989 in my parents garage. Only a few tunes recorded on reel to reel in my parents garage in the summer of 1989. I don’t know which is funnier, the teenage suburban angst etched into each tune or our unique egalitarian approach to counting down the songs. Enjoy.

3RD WORLD WAR – In the midst of the Cold War, would a punk rock band from suburban Philadelphia would not be complete without a Cold War protest song.

DOWN TO THE GROUND – One of the first Bell/Vaders creations. The lyrics speak for themselves. It’s about burning a house.

EVEN THEM OUT – Written right after Down To The Ground, another Bell/Vaders collaboration. Possibly the greatest lyrical writing ever, “a shot in the knee, a shot in the heel, even them out, give them something to feel”. This song is a gem and I am surprised it was never covered by anyone else.

PMRC – Penned by Dan Goldberg, this song was to change Vile’s direction from songs about burning and killing to something more intelligent.

SUBURBAN POLICE – If memory serves me correctly, this may have been the first real group collaboration. Music by Bell/Vaders, lyrics by Dan Goldberg. Our protest song against the local cops.



Again, working my way through some photo albums and I came across this picture I snapped somewhere on tour in 1996. This would have been on the tour Franklin and Goodbye, Blue Monday took together across the US with Atom as our ever faithful, responsible tour manager.

Remind me to ask Atom to give a written, detailed account of the time he was detained at the Canadian border trying to bring equipment into Canada so that our bands could play. It’s a true horror story.

Anyways, I just love this photo of Greg, Ralph, Josh and Tim. Often, playing shows on tour is the least entertaining part of the adventure. Moments like these, stopped on the side of a deserted highway looking out over the vast nothingness that exists outside our own experience is what makes the travel worthwhile.



Today (and for the next few entries here) I’m going to head back to the photo albums. And when I say photo albums, ultimately, that means going back old, old school. Not just old school like most of these posts, but WAAAY back.

Thus, today, we’re talking about The Tazmanians once again and these photos of our very first show in the basement of a church. This is interesting because it was our first show as a band but more importantly, it was our first show ever. None of us had ever played music before in front of any sort of crowd. Until this moment in time, our experience was playing music (or trying our best to play something that resembled music) in a small shed in Chris’s parents backyard, my parent’s garage, or any other variety of locations lent to us, free of charge, by our parents.

T.J. singing.

T.J., Greg, Ron, Chris and I were in 9th grade which dates these photos to 1989. We had started our first band that summer and had worked up a few songs and a lot of covers. We spent time at lunch drawing pictures of ourselves playing shows imagining what it would be like to have real amplifiers and a crowd to actually watch us play music. We dreamt of being good (even tho we knew we were badass which is not the same thing) and we tried to wrap our young minds around how one might go about getting a show…anywhere. So we did what any resourceful group of young lads might do. We played for our Boy Scout troop.

Ron playing guitar.

Now, it might be a bit of a contradiction to imagine young suburban punk kids also belonging to a boy scout troop but alas, that’s who we were. However, I should explain that our boy scout troop wasn’t what one imagines when thinking of scouting. We all loved camping being outdoors and the assorted things that came along with boy scouts and it ended up being more of a gang than anything resembling an ordered scouting experience. But nonetheless, we were scouts and as far as we could tell, our scout troop and our meeting place in the basement of a local church was our only hope at finding a venue and a crowd.

Chris on the other guitar. Looking miserable. As usual.

So, we convinced our scout master (sounds funny saying that phrase to this day…scout master) if we could play one night and he said yes. Looking back it was incredibly cool of him. But then again, he was a great guy who supported all of our lunacy as an odd bunch of rogue kids so I guess it was just another statement of his own badassery.

Me on the bass.

We settled on a date and after one of our more amusing scout meetings, walked over to our instruments and banged out our tunes. I can’t recall what we played. I can’t recall how long we played for. But I can tell you that we played for maybe 8 people and that was enough because in that moment, we all felt like we could do or be anything.

More importantly, we were punks.

Greg on the drums. Please note the roto-toms.

An action shot! Please note the incredible equipment we had.


One of the unfortunate things that I have not been able to settle on is the correct spelling of, “flier”. Or is it “flyer”? I refuse to look it up because it seems like something I should know but alas, I do not.

Anywhoo, just a quick find here today.

Tim linked me via. “the Facebook” to this flier posted on this fellas page.

I can’t recall a thing about this show but please make note the polite comment on the bottom of the flier/flyer.

“Please bring some money for the touring bands.” Ah, the 90’s.