Friday, April 08, 2005

Scotch and Soda

The very first real rock band I was in was called Know The Score back in 1982. We played one gig after some months of practicing covers from The Kinks, The Clash, Joe Jackson, and The Beach Boys (via the Ramones). I retired back to the bedroom and the four-track until I was dragged back out into the performing arena with The Home Boys*, who actually played a few gigs [The Place(with Clock on the Wall), The Buttonwood(with The Senators), a field in Greenback) before disbanding. You can hear some of the recorded legacy of the band at Auntie Grizelda Records. The one link between these two bands is guitarist Smootz (aka scooter). Smootz broke up the band to go away to grad school in Carbondale, wherever the hell that is. The first Christmas break he rolls into town and wants to know if I'd like to do some recording over the break. Is a bear Catholic in the woods? Of course I would!

We filled a concrete room in his parent's basement with equipment - a four-track cassette recorder, guitars, amps, and a drum kit. The latter especially delighted me, as I'm a long-time drummer wanna-be. My parents bought me a really cool Sears drum set when I was about six (the psychedelic kick drum head art was complimented by a light bulb in the kick that may or may not have flashed - I don't remember). Unfortunately it was (besides it's inherent cheapness) assembled incorrectly, with the paper-thin cool looking head placed where the batter head should have been, and I put the beater straight through it with the first downbeat. Thus, my first drumming phase came to an end.

In this case, since our regular drummer (Dave Tumblin) had moved to Germany, drumming duties fell to me (or we arm wrestled for them - hard to remember). Scotch was playing guitars and singing, I was playing bass and recording, and somewhere along the way S agreed for some unknown reason to let me sing a little, too.

Once we got set up it occurred to us that we had no actual material to record, as we'd exhausted the store of S's songs that we knew with the recording of the Home Boys album (available by mail order from Auntie Grizelda Records, BTW). Luckily, Scotch had a handfull of Mel Bay Easy Chord song books laying about, and we pawed through them looking for songs that we either knew, liked, or could play the chords in some approximation of the correct order.

Scotch always had a fondness for old-school country, so "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" got in. Tommy Roe's "Dizzy" was probably a mutual choice. I can only think that "Born Free" must have been my choice, though if Scotch wants to claim it that's cool with me.

"Born Free" is my favorite of the bunch, primarily for the extended guitar freakout coda. Scotch stood on one end of the room with his guitar and headphones, and I sat at the other end next to the amp (Yamaha solid-state combo something or the other) with it cranked to 11 while I randomly varied all the knobs. I'm hoping I had some headphones on, but I can't really remember.

Enjoy, or don't.

*The Home Boys ended up spinning off members into several Knoxville bands of the 80's - Sea 7 States, What Alice Found (which begat the Taoist Cowboys), and Awfully Anglo.


Blogger Jones said...

This was definately pre-"Russian Piglet Spies"! But I do seem to remember a Kevin and the K-Tels tape with Born Free on it.

9:56 PM  
Blogger spinetingler said...

I believe you are correct.

10:03 AM  

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