FRANKLIN DISCOGRAPHY NOW AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

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I got around to spending a few hours compiling the Franklin discography onto a dedicated Bandcamp page. The goal of course being a clean, easily traversed roadmap of our time as a band for those who may be interested in easily downloaded/digested digital files.

I’m still not sure why it’s so important to me to dedicate resources and energy into documenting these materials but the guiding force of, “If not me, then who?” seems pretty logical.

With that being said, please feel free to have a visit to the brand new Franklin bandcamp page located on the internet at http://gokidgo.bandcamp.com. Enjoy!

FRANKLIN – GO KID GO LP

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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

I TOOK 10 YEARS OFF FROM MUSIC.

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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 – 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

12 TONE SYSTEM – SOUNDTRACK TO SYNTHETIC MUSIC 7″

Today we’re zooming back to the 12 Tone System 7″ released on Keystone Ember. Starring Eric, Mike, Brandon, John and Tim, this 7″ was recorded in May of 1997. Hard to imagine that was 15 years ago but it was and here we are today looking back. Mike did not play on this 7″ but he would quickly join the band after the original drummer moved (I think?) until their eventual break up.

12 Tone System was a short lived band. I have no idea how many actual shows they ever played during their time together, but it felt as though they were there one day and gone the next. Looking back on my own musical history it’s hard for me to relate. The bands I ever played in were long running (maybe too long) and while I always appreciated and perceived that as being lucky enough to find people I truly enjoyed playing music with I also wonder if it wasn’t also habit and a little too comfortable. Maybe the band that is sudden and short lived might also present the opportunity for quick testing, even quicker evolution and ultimately get you to your next developmental stage musically and more effectively than the drawn out, slow death of a “lifer” band. Hard to say.

I first heard 12 Tone System in my car. I think it was one of the numerous Toyota Camry’s I owned that was eventually, destroyed by a drunk driver but I’m not positive. I would go on to have multiple car wrecks in the late 90’s ,all of which weren’t my fault, but I digress. I was given a cassette of what would become this 7″ and thought to myself, “Well this is something different.” The attack of the drums on the first track sounded amazing (you would be surprised how hard it always seemed to get a decent drum set sound), the guitars were fuzzed the effects turned up. As with any community of young kids who start out playing punk/hardcore music, we all started listening to more diverse music and incorporating those influences into the bands we were playing in.

It usually looks something like this:

Punk > Hardcore > Shoegaze > Brit Pop > Beach Boys and so on…

12 Tone System was yet another example that everyone was growing up and expanding their horizons. This made the community so much more interesting because ultimately, you would never know what one person or group of people might be doing musically from one band to the next. And, if that group of people were tearing through short lived bands, the evolution was at Mach speed making it even more jarring and fascinating.

After bands like I Am Heaven, a unique band in its own right (both Eric and Mike had been members), Goodbye, Blue Monday (Mike was a member) and Serephim (an odd twist on the emo/hardcore genre that then lent John and Brandon to 12 Tone System) you had a group of fellas who already had a rather diverse mixture of influences in them. Needless to say, what they spit forth was yet another document of evolution.

Let me apologize now, the encode of these songs is not the best. In fact, it’s rather fuzzy but think of it as added style than sin.

[s]he’s sensational

inner agnew

soundtrack to synthetics