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.

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!

AM/FM – COME SUCK DOWN A CLOUD AND THE PHILADELPHIA GOOD NEWS SINGERS

AM/FM, while being a gang of two, was intently focused on working with friends. Mike and I would always be looking for friends who were available to come into the studio and add their own touches to the songs we were working on. We never told them what to play or how to play it, we simply gave them a recorded version of the song and had them come in and work it out. It just made every experience that much more fun and obviously, communal.

From 1999 thru 2001, AM/FM was pretty much in the studio recording perpetually thanks to our friendship with Terry Yveres. Terry had played in several bands around Philly and started recording music as well and had a great set up at a studio called The Meatlocker. Located at 5th and Elsworth (or, the Nickle as others might call it) the Meatlocker was just that, an old meat storage locker that was turned into a warehouse and then into a studio. For AM/FM, it became a bunker from which we were able to spend hours and hours mucking about with the music we were making. Mike and I, along with Terry our unofficial 3rd member, formed a pretty great bond over those couple of years and I’ve often felt that those days were some of my most rewarding musical experiences. Just sitting in a studio with a couple friends knocking ideas about and seeing what happened.

On our second LP, Getting Into Sinking, we really started attempted more complex arrangements than we were used to. I don’t mean that in a compositional way, but more in a logistics sort of way. More on that in the future.

Probably the keystone track of Getting Into Sinking for us was the song Come Suck Down a Cloud. Written after a 72-mile bike ride with Mike and Atom on Cape Cod, the song was then recorded to 4-track upon my return home. That demo was then whittled about at the Meatlocker and released on a CDEP on the label Cooking Vinyl in the UK.

LISTEN TO THE DEMO: Come Suck Down a Demo

Once we started working on Getting Into Sinking as a proper LP, Come Suck Down a Cloud song was massaged even more and ultimately, the decision to enlist a chorus for the big ending was made. However, keeping in the tradition of working with our friends, we made numerous phone calls and scheduled a day in February to have everyone come to the studio to sing live on the track.

Mike brilliantly decided to bring a camcorder with him to record the events of that day and that VHS tape has sat pretty much dormant since that cold day in February, 2001. That is, until I bought myself a video capture device.

Presented above is the edited documentary of the AM/FM Philadelphia Good News Singers performing on AM/FM’s song, Come Suck Down a Cloud.

Below, you can hear the final results.

Come Suck Down a Cloud

I GOT INTERVIEWED ABOUT BEING AN EX-MUSICIAN :-)

Since launching this blog, I guess some folks have stumbled across it and have been enjoying it. People other than my friends. That’s pretty awesome.

One of those folks is a fella named Kurt Morris.

He runs a blog called Welcome to Flavor Country and he asked if I might be willing to do an interview with him for his blog about being a person who used to be in a touring rock band.

I said sure, why not!

I have to admit, it was a little odd answering questions that all seemed to sound as if not playing in a touring band anymore might be something depressing or sad for me.

He posted the article yesterday and you can check it out over yonder.

Thanks Kurt!

AM/FM DEMOS – BRIDGE BURNER


Just as Franklin was ending in 1999, I borrowed a broken Tascam 4-track from Atom. Because it was broken, it was technically a 3-track. He had gotten it from Mark Scott, I believe, but I really can’t remember. Atom had no use for it as he was pretty much invested in the sequencer universe so he let me borrow it/have it.

Since Franklin wasn’t practicing all that much and after recording what would be our last record, it just sort of made sense to begin recording music at home; something I had never done. Franklin had always written songs as a group during our practices so the idea of actually writing a complete piece of music on my own was never something that I did. However, once I started, I realized quickly what a cool thing a musical sketch pad could be.

Over the course of several months, I began recording music. I decided to call what it was that I was recording, AM/FM. A lot of these demos would ultimately turn into AM/FM songs that appeared on our albums. However, a lot didn’t.

Bridge Burner is one of those songs that never made it to a record. So, in all it’s demo monstrosity is the AM/FM song, Bridge Burner.

Bridge Burner