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.

DIGGING UP AND BURYING AGAIN…

RON MCNALLY
The problem with digging things up is that it often unearths things that no one missed to begin with. Nostalgia can cloud our judgement and we end up putting on display that which is actually rotten.

Two days ago, a ghost appeared.

Ron McNally has been mentioned here before. He was one of an original group of friends that met in elementary school to then fall apart somewhere at the end of high school.

After those years, I don’t believe I ever saw or heard from Ron again. Occasionally his name would come up but usually only after an odd rumor about his whereabouts after high school. Being a collector, in the back of my mind I hated not knowing what became of him. Many times I considered going to his parents house in Oreland, knocking on the door and asking about him but I never did.

However, two days ago, Ron appeared via email.

I’m going to stay in touch with Ron and get caught up on where he’s been and what he’s been doing. It will quiet that nagging curiosity in the back of my head. I hope he won’t mind the interrogation.

However, while Ron seemed genuinely pleased to be back in touch and has promised to bring me up to speed on the last 20 years of his life, his email first wanted to deal with a topic that was not sitting well with him. That being the inclusion of a song on this blog that once unearthed, saddened him to hear.

The song is called S.T.D.’s and 1,2,3’s. It had been posted over here.

As a band, The Tazmanians (a group of high school kids) wrote the song together. It was a stupid, juvenile song made by young kids who never realized the ignorance of their own creation. Including that song on this blog was simply the act of unearthing a relic. Hearing it 20 years later, everyone involved understands how dumb a song it was. However, as the singer of the song, Ron really felt put off by his own words…his own voice, screaming such thoughts across the entirety of the internet and I completely understand.

I asked Ron to write some thoughts about the song and the removal of it from this blog and he was kind enough to do so.

Dear friends,

At my request, Brian removed one of our malformed early recordings because it contained some ill thought and seemingly homophobic banter. I take full responsibility for it’s ridiculous and offensive content. Sadly our minds hadn’t been opened yet. However, I don’t feel like we need to preserve and display this one any longer. Although, I do feel that the phenomena deserves a little light shed on it so here go’s:

When we were kids, I covered up much of what I was going through in my extremely dysfunctional home-life. Our noise, for better or for worse, was in many ways therapy for me. I never thought it would turn into anything and thankfully it didn’t. However it was a seed that sprouted into a scene full of much better bands with much better music.

My band and friends were my anchor for a long time and probably kept me from spinning entirely out of control. But……. as some of you well know, friendship back then was a battle! One of us would always be the target of all manner of abuse (often me) from the rst of us, and that esteemed position seemed to rotate regularly. That’s how we entertained ourselves. We would spew a variety of politically backwards profanities, insults and attacks at one another endlessly. All of it would be wrong in oh so many ways, often racist ,sexist, or homophobic in nature, though not with any thought or sincerity. We were kids!…and we were ignorant. This trend literally started in Elementary school. The truth of the matter is none of us really felt any actual hatred. Our hearts weren’t racist, sexist, or homophobic, it was the regurgitation of the shit that was passed down to us from a slew of sources. It was the lowest base humor comprised of bullshit that we would steal from TV, movies, and our parents, as well as a running line of douchebags that would serve as our role models. We never learned how truly painful and hurtful that kind of language can be. It seemed harmless at first. Our brains hadn’t even developed yet. To the best of our knowledge at that age, we didn’t really know of anyone who was queer or dealing with the difficult nature of a situation like that. We also didn’t know many other kids from a different racial or cultural background. Just a few really. As we got further into our teens it was perhaps worse, because we still hadn’t thought anything through and we were getting even more clever with this mindless, game. Unfortunately the younger kids were starting to look up to us. Thankfully, we wised up before too long. To his credit, Greg was always more mature than the rest of us. Probably because he wasn’t forced to attend the same nazi education camp we had for a school. I grew up pretty quick myself when I wasn’t in the band anymore. I stayed in the city and met a wide variety of people from all backgrounds. I learned about an entire spectrum of race, culture, sexuality, and gender identification, that I just plain didn’t encounter as a kid. The doors were blown clean off the hinges. Eventually we all snapped out of it and became better role models. I went on to confront and address a lot of the same kind of behavior elsewhere once i had identified it within myself. I think knowing how I grew up allowed for a certain empathy in dealing with those kind of issues. This helped me keep things positive when encouraging others to check themselves. A scenario that I would face time and again as I went on my path.

Unfortunately, during our pre-teens and early teenage years we were monsters! We spent nearly all of our time recording this proto band of ours. This put me in a position of having a mic in my hand most of the time so there are literally volumes of reel to reel recordings of all of us saying unforgivably stupid shit to each other from the time we were 13 years old to 16-ish and of course, me saying it VERY LOUDLY. I definitely wasn’t alone in this behavior, but this particular recording is the one to have resurfaced and with the power of the internet I can have it slap me in the face over and over for all eternity. So, understandably, I think I’ll pass. Suffice it to say you are not missing much. It’s a catchy tune but I’m not sure even I can understand most of it. I’m not entirely convinced we even finished writing it. Before I hear any griping about censorship, I must remind everyone that this wasn’t intended to be a demo or a release of any kind it was kids practicing and talking shit to each other for fun and for our own ears only. It just happened to be on the tape that Brian dug up. To be clear, I know who I was, and who I became, and who I am now. We needn’t preserve this snippet of fuckery with equal weight to the good and fun things we worked hard to create. We really did some great things that we can be proud of at such a ridiculously young age. We started what was to become a thriving scene out of a complete void. When I look back here that’s what deserves to stand out. This explanation can remain here to remind us of the shortcomings of youth and the road we set out on to find ourselves.

Thank you for understanding.

Ron