Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Milkjug moment & pre-Finks flavors

John Blackburn - Earliest Demos (1998-99)

1. Speedneck

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.

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