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.
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.
I saw Atom the other day and he nagged me about not having encoded more video after the purchase of my handy Elgato video converter. Thus, I went home immediately and started encoding. Atom’s nagging is legendary.
He passed me a few videos and one of them was a show recorded at Saint Genevieve’s Parish in the summer of 1994. St. Gen’s was (and still is) a Catholic school and thus, not the most logical location for a show. However, considering most of the bands who wound up playing St. Gen’s rec center were straight edge hardcore bands, I imagine it was one of the better uses of the center.
I can only remember going to two shows at the center. One when Franklin played along with Fracture and Frail and the show filmed here. Perhaps these two shows were one in the same? Who can really remember.
Sadly this video only captures a few moments of Fracture (with cameos by Dave, Tim, Carly and myself) but it does offer a captivating glimpse at the pokemon like cuteness of Danny O’Neill, bass player for Disregard. You could pinch him! I have no idea who filmed this.
Two interesting side notes:
1. These days, my nephew attends Saint Genevieve’s.
2. This video was recorded on my wife’s 15th birthday, 8/27/1994.
In this shitty, shitty quality video the boys hammer thru Anton’s Syndrome and Thresholds to Adult Living.
“Symbolic knife in my heart and my head, one false move and I’m symbolically dead…”
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.
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.
Today, a nice fella named Ian sent me a message linking me to his YouTube page where he was posting a whole slew of videos. Turns out he was friends with the 508 House folks, played in a band with Deme who lived there and captured some great footage of Franklin playing a complete set in the 508 basement.
This footage is actually the same show that the image on the top of this blog is from and while there are some visual glitches, the sound is pretty solid. Ian has a bunch of other great videos on his page so get on over there!
This show was from the summer of 1995 and, I believe, was the final show of our tour that summer. Fracture and True High Fidelity played and it sounds as if we played our entire Go Kid Go LP which had just come out that summer. Sick find!