UP IN ARMS – LIVE AT THE BATTLE OF THE BANDS!

Of course there’s more from the Springfield High School Battle of the Bands. Today, we’ve got two songs from Up In Arms. I’ve mentioned them on this blog before and, as far as it can be described, Tazmanians and Up In Arms were sister bands.

Just as there was so much to enjoy in that Tazmanians video, there is a slew of enjoyable mentions in this video as well. Jeff’s 1989 Batman t-shirt rebranded “I Hate…Batman”, Fernando’s sliding drumset and of course, Jeb’s Sid Vicious t-shirt.

THE TAZMANIANS AT THE SPRINGFIELD BATTLE OF THE BANDS – 1990

I remember standing in left field absolutely convinced I would get hit by a fly ball. Batter after batter came to the plate yet luckily, no hit ever found its way to my corner of the outfield. Fortunately for me, our defense had to only deal with sad grounders and loopy infield fly balls. Had it been an actual game and not just an after school practice I’m sure Murphy’s Law would have guaranteed a hilarious outcome. Something involving me underestimating the depth of the hit and trying to run at breakneck speed in an attempt to catch up to the ball that was already flying over my preoccupied head.

But frankly, at that moment, I couldn’t have cared less. You see, The Tazmanians had a show that evening.

Finding places to play for our high school punk band in 1990 was pretty difficult. In fact, outside of this “show” I think up until this point we had only played engagements that exclusively included our closest friends and their bands as spectators. These might better be described as “community band practices”.

But nevertheless, immediately following that soon-to-end baseball practice T.J. and I would head for the locker room to change and head over to our High School auditorium. We would meet Ron and Greg and set up for the Springfield High School Battle of the Bands.

I’m not sure whose idea it was to scheduled a Battle of the Bands but it was certainly out of the ordinary. At the time, I believe the only groups in our school were two punk bands and two metal bands, one being more in the vein of hair-metal than actual metal.

Nevertheless, our band The Tazmanians was one of those punk bands and we were on the bill! While the event was a competition where one band, chosen by the audience, would win some cash prize, I remember not being at all concerned with that. For us, just playing to a crowd that had never heard our songs seemed more important and revolutionary to our small lives. It gave weight to the hours we had spent in our parents sheds, garages, basements and living rooms learning to play our instruments. It gave us a chance to present songs that we hoped described our uniqueness in a sea of horrifying conformity and ultimately it presented us as a unified gang set against the horrors of modern suburban life…or so we desperately hoped. Sure, that sounds rather dramatic now but then? It’s probably not an overestimate.

Funny how important every moment can be when you’re so rapidly adding experiences to your life. And frankly, trying to describe the importance of those moments 22 years later is a lot like trying to catch a ball that’s already flying over your head.

If you’re interested, here are the recordings of the songs we play in the live video above.

Life in Hell
End

And then some photos from the evening…there’s a lot to take in here, of course. Lot’s of Peavey’s, the angle of Greg’s tom’s, my flannel, Ron’s fade…enjoy!

AM/FM IN SAN DIEGO – 2002?


Stumbling around the internet I found this. Reposted here for convenience.

Lee’s Concert story

On Wednesday March 20th I had a final exam until 10pm and decided to go over to the Che Cafe afterwards instead of studying for my last one. Atom and His Package were playing, along with Aveo, whom I had seen opening for The Dismemberment Plan and Death Cab, and AM/FM, of whom I had heard good things but had never actually heard. I am not a fan of Atom, and really just wanted to see AM/FM, so I was glad to find that I hadn’t missed them when I arrived at 10:30 and they were still doing their sound check. Unfortunately for the band, but good for me, the majority of the Che kids that night were there for the headliner, so I was easily able to get right up front to see the band and take pictures. I was very pleasantly surprised at what I heard, this band was awesome! It took me until I went to their website after the show to learn that AM/FM is really only two guys, who, at the show, were the singer/guitarist and the other guitarist, but who record every instrument between the two of them. (Brian Sokel does vocals, guitar, 12 string guitar, mandolin, keyboard, and percussion; Michael Parsell does drums, guitar, percussion, and keyboard.) At the show they had a full band of six musicians – a guy on keyboard, a drummer, a bass play (who was extremely energetic and fun to watch), and a back-up singer. They played a fairly short set, ending it with a long, mostly instrumental song, a few sets of words including “eh, eh, eh!” I was way into this sometimes poppy, sometimes rockin, sometimes mellow music, and am so glad I decided to sacrifice my study time to see them! On a side note, I talked to Brian after the show to get a station id from him, and he was super nice! It always makes me like a band more when they are nice to the little people.

all photos taken by Lee Meredith. Thanks Lee!