Sunday, September 27, 2009
Brandon Bigelow - Early 4 track Bigelow (1999-2000)
1. Nipples Like Pancakes
2. Lame Little Boy
3. Iron Maiden T-shirt
4. You Do Not Know
Brandon Bigelow - vocals, guitar, metronome, electric air-organ
Gaby Cardall - vocals (1)
Rand - clarinet, vocals (3)
Brandon Bigelow hails from Kernersville, but lived everywhere from Germanton to Virginia. By 1997 his parents had moved to Illinois. That year he traveled to Las Vegas, lived in the desert, checked out the Pacific Northwest, went sightseeing in California and meanered back to Illinois; breaking down in Nebraska before he got back home. Out of money, he lived in Illinois for 6 months.
Meantime, Steve and Blake Tesh, and Dave Franklin moved to Baltimore from The Wherehouse in October, and invited him to join them. Brandon moved in New Year's Eve; and stayed till September 1998. They lived at the Adler Gallery; which was a three story split row-house managed by Bill Adler; the first floor Gallery owner. Blake and Steve lived on the second floor, Dave and Brandon on the third; and their new friends James & Jasmin in the basement on the other side of the split house. At the beginning they had all day jams on Wednesdays, but over the course of the nine months these became 'whenever'. A number of tapes exist, mainly when Blake would lay down tracks on his 4-track & bring the others in to add parts. This group of recordings was eventually given the group name; The Baltimorons (which we'll get to later). In September 1998, Blake and Steve, Dave Franklin and Jeff Chapelle moved into a squat called the Laugh & Spit. Brandon moved into what has been described as, "the most depressing little two room apartment ever". It had only two windows, which both looked into the alley; and was located on the opposite side of town from everybody else. He only lived there a few months, before moving into a place in the middle of town occupied by Gaby Cardall, who he'd met at Louis' Bookstore Cafe. They stayed at this location for a little over four years, before moving to The Wherehouse at the end of 2002.
This quick history sets the stage for some 4-track tapes with a strange destiny. Although Brandon had a 4-track when he was in the Greensboro band Creamy Velour (before the whole Illinois thing); these tunes were the first solo material recorded on a 4-track in Baltimore. For this session, he had aquired a black Electronic metronome, with only four beat settings and borrowed Jeff Chappelle's portable 4-track. "Nipples Like Pancakes" is his first (and only) musical collaboration with Gaby; and features him on bass & guitar. The vocals were ad libbed with Gaby in a single take. "Lame Little Boy" features an electric air-organ and more ad libbed lyrics that he says provide; 'a scary window into my mind'. "Iron Maiden T-shirt" features a panned radio, chorus and delay pedal 'zooms & farts', Brandon's pal Rand on Gaby's clarinet and both guys on vocals. "You Do Not Know" is a quick number composed of layered guitars and vocals by Brandon.
The reason you might say this tape had a strange destiny, involves a fire at The Werehouse on April 15, 2003. A guest at the house accidentally left a candle unattended, resulting in a fire that consumed a room and severely damaged those to either side (the kitchen and Chris Leiser's room). This left the house unoccupiable for several months, while cleanup and renovating took place. Brandon and Gaby lived in such a small room at The Wherehouse, that they used another to store many of their possessions. This was the room that caught fire, and many of their things were destroyed. A few (like a block of melted cassettes) were so invaluable they remained as a heartbreaking keepsake. On the off chance that something could be salvaged, Samb and Brandon broke open an unidentifiable test tape, installed it in an empty shell, and discovered that it was a playable 4-track tape containing these four songs. To this day, Brandon continues the process of salvaging magnetic tape from the withered shells (for future release here, perhaps)! If that story doesn't make you want to listen to this stuff; I got nothing else for ya.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
John Blackburn - Earliest Demos (1998-99)
2. Wake Up
3. Doin The Dance To Work
John Blackburn - vocals, bass
Daniel VonSeggen - bass
Andy VonSeggen - drums
What we have here is another super-rare item; the first recordings of John Blackburn. The blossoming of John's love for music. Leftover magic moments in their rawest state. He readily admits; it's music that's not near as much fun to listen to, as it was to make.
John Blackburn met what would become the Wherehouse crew, at the Morning Dew Coffeehouse when they still lived on the edge of town at 4196 Ebert Road. Though John's brother Darrell had a store right next door to 4196 called, WHERE IT'S AT, John never made it out there while the group was in residence.
Milkjug was a group that formed from Andy Von practicing his drums in a shed behind Kendall's place off Healy Drive. John and Dan would drop by, and soon were jamming together. This moved to 4196, after the guys moved into the Wherehouse, Darrell got the place for himself, and John moved in with him. Milkjug's "Doin' The Dance To Work", is one of the earliest 4-track experiments, recorded on a Tascam John bought from Darrell. The threesome jammed it out, and then John added vocals after the other guys left. This version of "Speedneck" is THE first recording he ever made. That might become obvious once you hear it, as John has noted; "Now, with extra garble." With the next track "Wake Up", we get a much better idea of where he was going, and what he was aiming for. Both feature John playing all the parts, and eventually became Finks songs (soon to be posted here).
The point of mixing these three items down to a dub tape, was to share with Chris Leiser, who had given John some of his solo Red Leader tapes. This resulted in a Milkjug performance, in what is now the Green Room at The Wherehouse, for an art opening. This room was originally part of an incinerator shaft, and had metal grates for the floor and ceiling. It barely had space for the band, so people stood above and below them to witness the performance through the grates. The group that would become the Bell Bros also played as a nameless combo, upstairs by the glass block wall. A room was set up in the other incinerator shaft (what is now the stairwell), with a coffin that's lid was wired open to serve as a table. A homemade dream machine was mounted to the makeshift table for people to gather around and interact with. This was Milkjug's only public performance.
This pic shows Andy VonSeggen and John Blackburn in a different grouping than Milkjug, jamming on Andy Von's PVC drumkit; at an entirely different art show at the Wherehouse. The completely homemade drumset was constructed of various things with unique acoustical properties, collected from a screen printing job Andy and Daniel worked at.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Alright, here's another video clip for those of you interested in the history of the Wherehouse. This one was made last year, and comes from Eric Jackson. After a veritable exodus of tenants from the building (some got married, some bought houses, some went to boat building school, etc); JB took out the old and brought in the new (as he is famous for doing). In the process, they discovered a time capsule stashed away in a wall; perhaps by the sneaky prankster Jon Courtney. Yes, the Wherehouse is all about creation and music and art, but if you don't get the importance of destruction, or finding a plastic Easter bunny full of tiny babies...you're probably missing the point. (Music by Aaron Bachelder's Enrichment Center Percussion Ensemble.)
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Sambson - Core To Harmonization (2004)
16. Rebirth Of The Ruthless Republic
Tracks #1-15: recorded solo in 2004 in one long improv
from 1am until there was no more space on the
disc. Burnt straight to CD with momentary pauses
Track #16: "Rebirth Of The Ruthless Republic" from 1998.
100 years ago, the Italian Futurists attempted to expose the elements of noise within pure sound. They believed that noise was richer in harmonics than pure notes and contended that if audiences failed to understand this, they should be trained through concentrated listening to hear the musicality of noise and understand its emotional effect. There are a number of moments I cannot explain in this recording, as there are no overdubs. They are 'extra' notes that don't seem to belong to the guitar, but there they are. At low volume these notes sound like faint chimes or bells. At high volume they are piercing tones that go beyond the tone of the note played.
I don't know where creativity comes from. When something truly unique and wonderful is created it moves beyond this realm and into another. We don't own any words to describe this place. I dare say we never will. Perhaps magical will do. When I have been in this situation, it is as if I am no longer human, no longer me, no longer here. I am a funnel that music pours through. The beauty is not mine, nor the mistakes. Somehow this makes the mistakes seem beautiful too. I cannot own this thing; it is beyond me. At this moment I am in love. I am a life. Perhaps you will feel the same.
The name of each of the 15 songs/pieces is based on a letter of the Greek alphabet. I picked the names of the 4 Greek letters I found most pleasing, and anagramed them. The result was, "Core To Harmonization".
The setup for this recording was an electric guitar (strat) through a practice amp (epiphone) with built in echo. This went through an old 5 channel mixer (radio shack). The guitar was stereo in 2 channels, and I made an additional channel looped back into itself. This channel produced feedback when turned up. This effect becomes evident in #8. My controls were; guitar volume, amp volume, mixer volume, feedback volume, echo, string tension, plectrum, screwdriver and vibrator. The vibrator becomes evident on #10 & 11.
Mohair Icon Tarot Zone
Aromatic Horizon Note
Coronation At Rhizome
Too Notarize Harmonic
Atom Horizon Reaction
Razor Tooth Mini Canoe
Motorize A Thin Racoon
Thanks to John F. Szwed for the Futurist info.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tetragrammaton - Unreleased EP (2004)
1. Black Mass
3. Glass Dagger
5. Five-Sided Star
6. Glass Dagger (bonus Sambson Remix)
The Glampyre (Blake Tesh) - vocals, guitar
The Werewolf (Brandon Bigelow) - vocals, bass
The Clown From The Underground (Marty Rogers) - drums
The San Francisco Frogman (Eric Jackson) - rhythm guitar, backing vocals
The Wizard (Andy Mabe) - trumpet, backing vocals
guests from other galaxies:
Ghoul Girl (Haydee Thompson) - keyboards
The Philosopher (James Sarrsgard) - vocals, stage character
Imp Of The Perverse (Steve Tesh) - childrens turntables, vocals, stage character
The Abomination (John Blackburn) - stage character
The Blob (Gaby Tracey & Rebecca) - a white sheet sewn into a sphere that molested the audience
Pentagram originated in the Anagram Program at The Wherehouse, along with Billy Gram and Hologram (see Psychic Revolution Compilation below). Initially, it was planned as a one time project that ended up being so well received by audiences and so much enjoyed by the members, that the plans were changed. Their first show was opening for the Ground Monkeys at The Wherehouse, the week before they left for the Winter of 2002 trip to Baltimore, Maryland; where the Anagram Program was performed several times. After that trip only a few more shows were played at The Wherehouse before they changed their name. The core of the group were lifetime Heavy Metal fans, and at least for cousins Brandon and Blake; it felt like the band they should have been in when they were 15 years old. Instead, they had tried other projects together throughout the years, that never quite gelled the way this one eventually did. Blake had been in numerous bands in the area, most famously as a member of Naked Angels. Likewise, Brandon's most successful project up to this point had been as a member of Creamy Velour. Marty had come from the Prog Metal group, Japan Air; and Andy Mabe had most famously played bass in the Glamrock band, The Brothers Grimm. As a founding member of The Wherehouse itself, Eric Jackson had been in a number of groups (IQ9, Pop Equations, Bell Brothers). This key lineup, were also the majority of a sister group called Golden Dawn; which in many ways was the antithesis of Pentagram. The five core members were oft times joined at live shows by guests from other galaxies.
Ghoul Girl manifested for several shows, as did The Philosopher and The Imp Of The Perverse for the 2004 Mystic Carnival Halloween Show in Greensboro. Then there was the infamous Abomination show at which the Abomination came for The Frogman, and The Blob made it's one and only appearance. There was also an 'in house' show one night when there was a Rave going on in the performance space at The Wherehouse, which involved the band telling all the members of the house they were having a show in the basement practice space. Though Eric eventually left the band, he was able to read a text, go into a trance and contact the 14th dimension, for several performances of channeling The San Francisco Frogman; who played drums and keyboards to pre-recorded backing loops.
The 5 songs presented here were recorded in the last week before the Psychic Revolution tour, for product to sell. Over the lifespan of Pentagram/Tetragrammaton there were a number of songs that never made it to tape. "7 Winding Spiral Stairwells To The Mystic Circle" was inspired by the occult roots of the Nazi's and the underground meeting place at Himmler's SS Fortress; of which there are said to be extant live recordings (not present here). During the Psychic Revolution tour, a trance inducing chant called "Wicken Rise" was written, as well as "24-Karat Golden Zombie" which featured a short rap based on the film, The Serpent & the Rainbow. Both of these unrecorded songs were filmed on the grease bus, and may one day appear somewhere online. There was also "The Blob" which accompanied the singular appearance of The Blob, at the finale of the Abomination show (June 1, 2003).
On a metaphysical level, these entities assembled to bring about transformation. From origins shrouded in the mysteries of the Ancient Age came The Glampyre and The Werewolf, whose history of transformation had already attained legendary. Then there was The Clown From The Underground, The San Francisco Frogman and The Wizard; whose powers were more esoteric. Taken all together, these entities formed a five-sided covenant of harrowing proportions. After 5 Pentagram performances, a transformation was commanded. At The Garage on January 30, 2003; the five creatures performed an arcane ritual and transformed into Tetragrammaton. In time, The San Francisco Frogman was called back from whence he came, on the first day of June, 2003. The Wizard used the knowledge from his earlier mystical betrayal of the Glass Dagger, to call forth the Abomination; who dispatched The Frogman's ascension to the 14th Dimension, and the the land of no responsibility. Like a two sided coin, the balance flipped to the side of Golden Dawn and eventually the remaining members of Tetragrammaton ascended back into the 14th dimension and the Golden Age. Luckily for us, we have this document of their visitation on this plane.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Bilsheeoh The Redundant - Bob Barker's Charisma (1995)
1. track 1
2. track 19 (#2 in full stereo 4 track)
3. track 2
4. track 3
5. track 23 (#5 in full stereo 4 track)
6. track 26 (#6 in full stereo 4 track)
7. track 7
8. track 8
9. track 9
10. track 29 (#10 in full stereo 4 track)
11. track 31 (#11 in full stereo 4 track)
12. track 32 (#12 in full stereo 4 track)
13. track 13
14. track 33 (#14 in full stereo 4 track)
15. track 15
16. track 37 (#16 my way close to 35 with treble) (Samb's treble mix)
17. track 17
18. track 06 (extra - see #26-28 the instrumental)
19. track 27 (extra - #6 straight vocal only)
20. track 28 (extra - #6 effected vocal only)
21. track 30 (extra - #10 vocal only)
22. track 10 (extra - see #29 the instrumental)
23. track 11 (extra - see #31 - direct w-o room mics)
24. track 14 (extra - see #33 - guitars only)
25. track 34 (extra - #14 drums only)
26. track 20 (extra - #2 bass & chime elements only)
27. track 21 (extra - #2 active elements only)
28. track 24 (extra - #5 active elements only)
29. track 25 (extra - #5 low key elements only)
30. track 16 (extra)
31. track 17 (extra)
32. track 35 (extra - #16 keys & guitar panned out . bass & drums in)
33. track 36 (extra - #16 keys & guitar panned in . bass & drums out)
nonexistent song titles all
The Legend Lives On:
Bilsheeoh was a 4-track solo project by Brian Doub, begun before the Wherehouse existed as such, when the core group of what would become the Wherehouse boys lived in the 4196 house. The name Bilsheeoh comes from a lyric in a Bob Seger song, refering to the bills a woman owes. "The Redundant" refers to his first cassette cover, wherein a bank statement reveals that his savings account was begun with "0.00" dollars and ended with "0.00" dollars. Brian continued exploring songwriting, recording techniques and equipment, eventually leaving Bilsheeoh behind to release his solo efforts as Ray Cathode. Consequently, Bilsheeoh has come to signify the 4-track stage of Doub's recording career; which is obviously not his best work, but it definitely has it's worthy moments. You will be amazed later, when I drop some Ray Cathode on this blog; so dig the humble origins!
BOB BARKER'S CHARISMA is a mixture of noise experimentation, sound collage, and pop songs. It bears the catalog number 001, as it was WDYO Records first cassette release.
Notes on the Remastered 14th Anniversary Edition:
This file is a direct digital dub from the original 4-track, which had no titles as such. The result here, is the best 33 dubs resequenced for re-release. Tracks #1-17 are the best "master" takes available, and #18-33 are "extras" of various types; from good 2-track versions to singled out instruments from various tracks. A perfectly good explanation...but let's go further.
The actual digitizing process, without titles, became a bit confusing. This is where it gets tasty. What was originally tracks #1-33 (missing a couple of flubbed takes, ie; 2,5,12,22), have been resequenced as #1,19,3,4,23,26,7,8,9,29,31,32,13,33,25,37,18 for the major work and #6,27,28,30,10,11,14,34,20,21,24,25,16,17,35,36 as the order for the extras. These were then re-labeled to bring them back into 'order' (if such a thing actually even exists at this point).
Bilsheeoh was always about puzzling out something new; so since we gave away the secrets of his name, this gives the listener something important to grapple with. This puzzling process is entirely necessary for proper engagement with the recording; do NOT ignore the number sequence, as your ability to appreciate the music could diminish! To fully understand this number sequence may even require psychic contact with master numerologist Eric Jackson during a nap (when his Embyonic Crusader personality is present). Don't bother him with it while he's in an awakened state, as that part of his mind is not dominate then. It wouldn't help to psychically contact Brian while he's napping, as he long ago received a hypnotic treatment to block the Bilsheeoh personality; and he needs his rest. Otherwise, enjoy the recording.
If you're a math whiz, and master the number sequence before you finish listening to the recording, please calculate the significance of their first street address (4196) in conjunction with the Remastered 14th Anniversary Edition of this rare historic recording. It might also be important to include the 33 tracks, which is a multiple of the 17 original tracks minus 1, rooted by use of a 4-track tape machine. Your Bilsheeoh pop equation should look like this:
Turn in your solution for extra credit... and don't forget to show your work!
P.S.- There's nothing MORE redundant than a remix of a perfectly good song, and we think it high time Bilsheeoh be downloaded and remixed, so Brian can pick his favorites and add a new number sequence to even out the confusion. Then again, maybe you'd like to take one of the extra tracks and create your own collaborative composition from it. That's cool too, just have fun and send us your results!
It also never occured to me that other people might not have visited a music blog before. The layout of this one involves a picture at the top of each post, followed by my ramblings, and then an address at the end; which is a different color than the text, is underlined and starts with "http:/somehitngorotherblahblah.." This address is what you click on to get a zip file full of music, text and photos. Clicking on it will take you to a 'hosting site' (for the zip files) like 4SHARED or RAPIDSHARE or MEGASHARE, or some such thing. The page will have the name of the zip file you want and a highlighted 'download' button. Click that and you will be on a page that says somehing like, "Your download will start in 44 seconds." After those seconds countdown a window will open that asks if you want to save the file. Click 'yes', or 'save'; as 'open' won't always do it. A similar window will open showing the file that's selected on your computer for downloads. It will be asking if you want to save the file 'there'. It might be your desktop, or a folder in your 'documents' or you can browse and choose a new file. After you make that decision click 'yes'. The file will transfer to your computer over the next few minutes. When it's done transferring, find the folder it's in and try doubleclicking it. On a MAC this should automatically engage an 'unzipping' program that will make a folder with your new music, text & pics in it. On a PC you may have to open your unzipping program, find the folder where the zip file is and ask it to 'extract'. Alrighty. Best of luck everyone; it's not half as hard or complicated as it sounds. Done once, it's very easy.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
2. (I'm Not The) Other Woman
3. Runnin' After You
4. When You've Got A Broken Heart
5. San Antone
6. Have Another Beer
7. Drinkin' & Cheatin'
8. Stolen Fruit
9. After Hours
10. Whiskey Drinkin'
Crazee (Pat Sullivan) - vocals, acoustic guitar, writer
Heaven - vocals, electric guitar, writer
Hills (Will Dyar) - drums
Fame & Fortune (Jesse Barnes) - bass
West Virginia (Claudia Mogel) - fiddle
Kai McBride - National guitar
Andy "Ain't" Mabe - bass (2,3,5,8)
Debbie Gitlin - fiddle (4,8)
Brain Sides - lead guitar (8)
Rick Nathey - pedal steel
Mark Linga - accordion
Brian Doub, Hills, Eric Jackson - engineers
Recorded @ The Wherehouse, Fall 2001; Winston Salem, North Carolina. (ps211.org)
Jesse Cannon - additional vocal recording and mastering @ West West Side
Peter Katis - mixer @ Tarquin Studios
Tony & Joel - mixers @ Studio G
Album design & printing by Kayrock (www.kayrock.org)
New York's Oneida had played five or six times at the Wherehouse by the time of this recording. Papa Crazee fronted that band, but had been exploring Country music outside the group. The Bell Brothers (from the Wherehouse) had played the Knitting Factory with Oneida and stayed at drummer Kidd Millions' place in Brooklyn, where they met Heaven for the first time. Soon after Papa Crazee invited Bell Brothers drummer Hills, to come up and play a show with the Country project he had formed with Heaven, Jesse, West Virginia and Kai. When they were ready to record Crazee & Heaven (as they were known) wanted Hills drumming, so they came down and recorded at the Wherehouse studio. As is evident from the credits, they used many local musicians to fill out the songs they had written. Much of this transpired from the desire to beef up the studio for the out-of-towners, as most Wherehouse recordings up to this point had been done with a cassette 4-track. This was accomplished by borrowing an ADAT machine from Robert Kirk, who had connections that put the project in touch with Gitlin and Nathey. Nathey in particular floored Papa Crazee when he arrived at the studio and was told no more about the first song than the key and 'swing-style'; at which point he laid down a track in a single take that had Papa doubled over giggling with delight.
Several weeks before the group arrived, the Wherehouse hosted a film night, screening the films of resident filmmaker Frank Eaton; starring members of the Wherehouse and surrounding community. From that night a woman lodged a complaint with the Winston Salem Fire Department, who soon arrived to inspect the facilities. It appeared the issue was being dealt with, but several weeks later (about half way through the four day recording session) the Fire Department and their inspectors arrived in mass for a full frontal surprise inspection, that ended with the building basically being declared a fire hazard. The band had only a short amount of time alotted to record anyway, so with the basic tracks finished, they took the tapes back to NYC for mixing and vocal dubs. Before they left, the group moved their equipment upstairs to provide an evening of entertainment in the kitchen. This was not the first or last time the Wherehouse had to hunker down, regroup and figure out a way to keep moving forward.
Crazee & Heaven were together long enough to come down and visit several more times, including for one of the infamous shows at the Seed Gallery with Oneida and Malabaster (October 5, 2002) ! Eventually, Heaven ended up moving to California, while Hills moved to New York (since the Wherehouse was barred from occupancy for a while). After Heaven left, the group changed their name to Oakley Hall. Steve Tesh (who'd been doing a Country project at The Wherehouse with Rachel Cox, called The Podunks) wasn't far behind Will, and also joined the band. So what we have here, is basically the genesis of Oakley Hall, who went on to have a successful four album career worth checking out.
An ironic footnote involves Rachel Cox having been in The Podunks with Steve Tesh (who took a number of their songs with him to Oakley Hall), but she didn't move to New York till a bit later, eventually singing with Crazee in the subways and ultimately joining the band in 2004 (after Steve had already moved back to the Wherehouse). Years later Papa Crazee and Rachel Cox backed up M.Ward on Late Night With David Letterman (February 17, 2009)! The album art for this release was an early screen printing by the now quite famous New York graphic designer and artist; Kayrock.
Though I haven't featured much by Brandon Bigelow here so far (one track by Praise The Beast & one track by Tetragrammaton) , I must bring to everyone's attention that he's been dropping videos on YouTube lately. Slowly, but surely Brandon's been digitizing, producing and posting an entire Tetragrammaton show at The Garage, here in Winston Salem. The one I've posted here features an instrumental remix I made of their song "Glass Dagger". Go to YouTube and check out what he's got so far, and keep close tabs on him; I understand he has alot of killer footage of other things coming in the near future!
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The Bell Brothers - The Bellabaster Tour (2000 WDYO)
1. Chris With Guns
2. Live 6.22.97
3. Sunny Acres Plaza
4. Spandex & Trumpet Playing Elvis . 11th Annual Fly-In & Thresher's Reunion . Starchy Chaps In Bloom
5. Night Of Conviction
7. Moisture Supply
8. Star Pap
11. Underwater . Computer Games, Tobacco, Nose Bleeds
15. Crippled Conversation
Chris Leiser - bass (keys, sitar, drums, tone generator)
Brian Doub - guitar, pedal steel (banjo, bass, drums, tone generator)
Eric Jackson - guitar (keys, bass, drums, tone generator)
Will Dyar - drums (banjo, tone generator)
John Bryan - vocals, coral firefly vincent bell siganture guitar (#2,4,6)
Susan Aikins - viola (#9)
#1,2,4,5,6,9: originally released as CACTI JIVE Ep
#10-16: originally released as CANADIAN BREATHING GAME
The material; on this disc was compiled by Eric Jackson and Brian Doub specifically for the Bell Brothers and Malabaster tour of 2000. Nearly half the songs were on their CACTI JIVE Ep cassette on WDYO and most of the other half from their CANDIAN BREATHING GAME cassette on the same label. This disc was sold at shows throughout the tour, and afterward was picked up for distribution by Mass Dist Records. Of the songs that are not from one of the two cassettes; "Star Pap" was actually an old Pop Equations song from before the Bell Brothers existed, and always had a 'Malabaster' sound to it. "Moisture Supply" is from the CACTI JIVE session and was actually put on certain copies, depending on the run of cassettes, while "Sunny Acres Plaza" was a new song since the release of the two cassettes; which was recorded and added to the disc. This CD leaves off a few tracks from each cassette, and is not a complete compiling of all the Bell Brothers officially released material; but it's the only digital release of any of their material during the band's existence. Several songs were recorded with Jeff Schmidtt's mixer, that never sounded right through any other mixer, and were never finished or released. Another batch were recorded on a Reel to Reel machine that crapped out, and so they've never been mixed or released either.
The main group consisted of Chris on bass, Brian on guitar, Eric on guitar and Willie D on drums. An early lineup had Phou on guitar and mandolin, who wrote a couple tunes with Willie D, but had to have a hip surgery and moved back home to Sylva. John Bryan joined as a permanent fill-in member on guitar and vocals. Other guests joined the group for periods of time, mainly; Mark Linga on shortwave and Jack Herndon on trumpet. The Bell Brothers formed out of a need to have an in house band for Wherehouse parties; or was it that the Wherehouse was found in order to have a place for this nameless band to practice? In any case, the nameless band performed at all the 'house' parties in the old packing plant, once in a while going by a one-time-only name like; The Barking Spiders or GG Carlyle. There were many late night sessions in the room called the America Suite, brainstorming on names, but none were ever solid enough to stick. Housemate Jon Courtney suggested Bell Brothers one day (the name of a Southern style Cafeteria out past Smith Reynolds Airport, where they'd eaten) and it stuck. As is obvious from the list of instruments played by the Bell Brothers, certain compositions involved radical shuffling of instruments (like, drummer Willie D's earliest guitar playing). The Bell Brothers also had a constantly evolving style that would drift into free improvs for a while and then back into songwriting jaunts. There were three definite songwriting phases, which resulted in the CACTI JIVE session, the CANADIAN BREATHING GAME session and the DIAMONDS R 4EVER material, which was never recorded. Some members felt the project really produced it's best results in a studio setting, rather than live. The group usually favored explorations of a theme that produced a single song, who's usefulness was accomplished once captured on tape. This meant that one never saw anything remotely like the same show twice, and might not hear anything recognizable even if you owned their cassettes. This is particularly highlighted by the fact that they might have only played two or three pre-planned songs, during the entire Bellabaster Tour.
Previous to the Bellabaster Tour, the Bell Brothers had made 2 trips to NYC for shows. The first was set up by Jane Marianny in 1998 for a club called The Cooler, opening for Racer 17 and Wisdom Tooth. This show hooked them up with a group of bands that later made trips to Winston to play the Wherehouse. The next time was in 1999 opening for Oneida in the basement of the Knitting Factory. The Bellabaster Tour happened in the first 2 weeks of May 2000 when a once in a lifetime planetary alignment occured with all the major planets moving into a singular straight line. The Bell Brothers weren't very motivated to tour, so Kemp Stroble from Malabaster set up the whole thing. Both bands crammed into a van and played the Pud House in Charlottesville, VA; The Living Room in Providence, RI; a waterfront wherehouse in Brooklyn, NYC (where Willie D would later set up a studio); The Bug Jar in Rochester NY (Bell Brothers only); a cancelled house show in Colombus, OH; a Malabaster only show opening for The Thrones and Pig Destroyer in Wilkesbury, PA; and a Philadelphia, PA gig opening for Sonora Pine near the University of Pennsylvania. John Bryan didn't take part in the tour, but came up to the Brooklyn show to join in, and several other Wherehouse residents (John Courtney, Mark Linga) also made the trip.
The Pudhouse show was a rousing success, where they met Tom & Colin who were in Raw Dawg Rex & The Family Nadz, and in the process of forming a project called USAisAmonster. They crashed at Chuck Sammon's place awaking the next morning to Colin covered in poison ivy, listening to Lightning Bolt and slaving over a hot stove making an egg, potato and oatmeal breakfast; which everyone gratefully ate knowing full well it was seasoned with posion ivy sweat. The Living Room was a massive and completely black painted dungeon of a club, where the performance never seemed to gel on stage. The Brooklyn gig was with Oneida was broadcast live on Free 103. By all accounts the Bug Jar show was one of the top 3 favorite performances of the band members, in which everyone played guitars; including Willie D, who also played drums simultaneously. (A totally improv performance outside the Seed Gallery in Winston and their final show with Chris, are the other two). The entire tour took a downward detour after driving all the way across the state to Columbus Ohio. They found the house show cancelled and nearly abandoned, as the occupants were all enjoying a different show elsewhere in town. A strange evening of walking the area surrounding the college past numerous end of the year parties, watching Twin Peaks and sitting on the porch unfolded. The Wilkesbury show at the other end of the state, was a bit of a downer, as the town appeared practically vacant and abandoned. After the gig in Philly the trip toward home turned worse when the van began acting up. After a night in a Delaware motel they limped back into Baltimore (where they had stopped over with Brandon & Gaby on the way up the coast). The AAA towtruck hauled them many miles out into the ghetto of West Baltimore. The garage had a basement with rooms full of aimless people hanging out and a non-functioning bathroom. Chris was accused of being a cop by a small gang of locals and most of the day was spent recouping lost sleep from the engine trouble throughout the night, by napping sitting up in the van, and smoking cigarettes (which several people had taken up again after having given them up before tour). A cab delivered them to Brandon & Gaby's, though everyone was nervous over having to leave all the gear in the van out in a rough part of town. It only cost $500 for the garage to replace the timing belt, which probably wasn't the problem as the van completely broke down in Woodbridge Virginia. Meantime they had to cancel a show scheduled in Richmond with The Oxes at The Hole In The Wall. Several days of waiting and eating every meal at Denny's, pushed everyone to one last ditch attempt at purchasing bus tickets home. The $60 fare was $10 more than Brian and Eric held, and took the last $20 Chris had to loan. Will stayed with the van until it was fixed and drove it home a few days later.
During their 1998-2000 lifespan, Bell Brothers played sveral dates in Charlotte with Rompecabezza and Midget Barmitzah, the Lizard & Snake in Chapel Hill with 67 Motors & Jackie O MF, Greensboro's Onion Celler with The Mercury Birds, several gigs at Triple B's in High Point with Midget Marmitzvah, a one-off show at The Horses Mouth in Winston creating the soundtrack to a silent film, a Chapel Hill house show at Brianna's, numerous shows at The Wherehouse (including opening for Godspeed You Black Emperor, and the final show with Mollases; Chris's last, in June of 2000), several at The Seed gallery in Winston, and a farewell to Bell Brothers and Malabaster show at the Onion Cellar without Chris, in the late Fall of 2000. It was farewell to both bands, as Willie D was moving to New York (see Crazee & Heaven fire inspection details below). Brian, Eric & Willie D milked every minute they could out of Malabaster before Will moved to New York, while Chris pursued his Red Leader solo project, Eric got further into the Choptsicks project, and JB took a break.
There is a discrepency in the length of almost every track from CANADIAN BREATHING GAME, in comparison to the BELLABASTER TOUR CD. Sometimes it's only a few seconds, other times as much as 20, but there is no significant difference between the songs. The only true difference is "Computer Games, Tobacco, Nose Bleeds" being tacked on the end of "Underwater" on the BELLABASTER TOUR disc, rather than starting "Champions" as happens on CANADIAN BREATHING GAME. "Fire Moves" from CANADIAN BREATHING GAME is not included on the BELLABASTER TOUR disc. THE CANADIAN BREATHING GAME cassette was mainly sold at shows in batches of 25; each decorated with handassembled covers pieced together from magazine pictures. The title track from the CACTI JIVE Ep, "Whexican Yoppie (Cacti Jive)" was also removed. There were actually two different versions of CACTI JIVE; with the other being the CACTI JIVE LP! Yeah it's confusing, but these guys had been playing together since highschool (IQ9, Pop Equations, etc.) and Bell Brothers was the first time they really felt the chemistry flow into something greater than themselves. I personally saw them at a Seed Gallery show, and was an instant lifelong fan. I hope once you hear these files, you'll feel the same.
From the original WDYO website:
"The Bell Brothers play some sort of backwoods-hillbilly, southern-superhero, alien-freeform, experimental, noise, tone-rock. Instrumentation includes: Tone Generators, Pedal Steel, Keyboards (Analog & Digital), Banjo, Sitar, Shitar, "The Bubble," Bass Guitar, Coral Firefly Vincent Bell Signature Guitar, and Drums of all shapes and sounds. The Bell Brothers also live and function at their own recording studio/converted Swift meat-packing plant/performance space hideaway...We'll Dick You Over Records/The Wherehouse. The Bell Brothers ooze entertainment."
Eric Jackson & Will Dyar - Presence Control (2001)
1. Presence Control 9:40
The soundscape by Eric Jackson and Will Dyar titled "Presence Control", was created at artist Stephen Hendee's request for his art intallation at The Laguna Art Museum in California. Being from California himself Stephen chose earthquakes as the theme, and asked for a musical soundtrack for accompaniment. In the end, what was delivered was a sound collage of numerous tracks laid atop and conjoining one another. The source materials for "Presence Control" were field recordings from around North Carolina; of the train at The Werehouse, from the woods at Jeff Foster's house, water from the banks of the Yadkin River, and pots and gongs at Mike Callahan's place at Moore's Wall. These were captured on Mark Linga's borrowed DAT machine with a stereo mic, then looped and mixed throughout the fall of 2000.
Stephen Hendee's "Presence Control" appeared January 21 – July 8, 2001 at the Laguna Art Museum. Hendee’s site-specific constructions are built out of foamboard, wood supports, tape, and fluorescent lights. They are glowing, tunnel-like, room-size installations that exist somewhere between outer, mathematical or electronic space, or even intestinal space, if the body in question were an android. (curated by Tyler Stallings)
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Various Artists - Psychic Revolution Compilation (2003)
1. Hologram - Superficial 3:08
2. Embryonic Crusader - Fire 4:50
3. Invisible States - Still Making Music 2:51
4. Auto Pilot - Lethargy 2:17
5. Andy Freaking Mabe - She Believes In Me Now 3:01
6. Billy Gram - Stardust Mist 5:39
7. Flat Black - Tom's Got Problems 2:47
8. Tetragrammaton - Five-Sided Star 5:54
9. Praise The Beast - Leviathan Learns To Dance 1:52
10. Finks - Sentimental 3:40
11. Golden Dawn - Love Is A Giant Circle 0:28
12. J. Edgar Funeral - Live 3:18
13. Red Leader - #5 5:25
14. Ray Cathode - In The Morning 4:00
15. Odes - Angel On The Stairs 3:44
16. Moon And Star - Outro 3:18
This blog serves a single purpose; to make the music of the Wherehouse available. Or you might know it as The Werehouse, PS211 or even Krankies. In any case, perhaps the best place to start is several years into the whole thing.
This is a compilation produced for the 2003 Psychic Revolution tour; wherein an old Greyhound bus was upfitted to run on discarded restaurant grease so a group of 14 people from the Wherehouse in Winston Salem, NC could tour to California and back.
A series of events evolved from an idea born at the Wherehouse in Winston Salem, NC. Planning began on the fall equinox (September 23rd) of 2002 when the seeds of the grease bus odyssey, which became the Psychic Revolution tour were planted. The idea, known as the "Anagram Program", was based on a group of musicians who would change instruments and musical styles, along with the band name. Hologram was the Disco entity, Billy Gram the country group, Pentagram the metal band, and so on. This concept was first executed in the Winter of 2002 during a trip to Baltimore, Maryland. The first show was at James, April & Neeley's loft andthe second show was set up by Chiara at Tarantulla Hill; the base of operations for Twig & Carly from Nautical Almanac. From the success of these events, a larger idea evolved in which the group of anagramic musicians would cross the country on the "Ronald Reagan Highschool" tour. This involved writing a musical to be set during Ronald Reagan's terms in office; with the anagram bands performing all the tunes.
Other people in the household had fully formed bands of their own with no connection to the "Anagram Program" that were soon incorporated into the grease bus tour. The Ronald Reagan Highschool musical idea was eventually dropped and replaced by a strategy of deciding which bands would play each night of the tour based on the show location, local crowd and surrounding atmosphere. A performance stage was built in the backlot of the Wherehouse where a promotional and fundraising event was held in the Summer of 2003, under the name Golgonooza. This disc was created for that event with leftover copies for selling on tour. In
September 2003 (one year from it's inception) the bus left town for a month, to return in time for the annual Wherehouse Halloween party.
Embryonic Crusader, Invisible States, Praise The Beast, Red Leader, Ray Cathode, Andy Freakin' Mabe and Moon And Star are all solo projects. Auto Pilot were new residents to the house at the time, eventually changing their lineup and name to Autopassion. Finks was comprised of two couples (at the time), one of which had a duo project named Flat Black, the other a duo called the Odes. Golden Dawn centered around yet another couple, with a rotating lineup of supporting players. J. Edgar Funeral was a project created for an art show, that intended to continue, but ended up being a one time only event.
Most of the people featured here went on the tour. Some people not featured here went instead. The 14 were: Ed Venard, Jason Mecum, Marty Rogers, Andy Mabe, Blake Tesh, Haydee Thompson, John Blackburn, Teresa Blackburn, Brian Doub, Liz Simmons, John Bryan, Brandon Bigelow, Gaby Cardal and Frank Eaton (who filmed the entire thing).