Saturday, May 28, 2005

Three Ring Psychosis

Way back in the early part of the 1980's I bought a Cutek 4-track cassette recorder.
Initially I used it solely to document my one-man-band nonsense. Later, it came to be used to record various bands I was in, such as The Home Boys and Sea 7 States. Eventually, I branched out into recording other bands, such as What Alice Found, The Taoist Cowboys, Smokin Dave (a bitchen' New Years Eve show), Awfully Anglo, and others less-memorable.

Sometime in what I remember to be 1986 or so I loaded up the hatchback with my equipment to journey forth to record a band known as Three Ring Psychosis. They took their name from a comment made by Lee Gardner (then of WUTK-FM, now of the Baltimore City Paper) , who was quoting some unnamed record reviewer discussing the Velvet Underground. [Digression: Lee and I are distantly sorta related by marriage, as his cousin Brian married my sister Lori Ann]
The band practiced (and lived?) in an odd little octagonal house somewhere in the wilds of Knox County, so that's where we recorded. We spent about a day recording eight tracks.

The drummer had a rather odd kit - the kick drum was easily the biggest I had ever tried to record, looking like something the big guy in the marching band might lug about.
It proved somewhat problematic to record. He also had a set of either bongos or those tuned octobans that he often used in lieu of the usual constant high-hat or ride cymbal patterns on which most drummers rely. There might have been some (shudder) Roto Toms in there, too.
The guy got some cool sounds and rhythms out of this unorthodox kit - I'll give credit there.

The bass player had a huge stack (might have been one of those 8X8s or 8X10s) and used a distortion pedal. I remember the guitar amp as a Peavey solid state, but that memory is questionable. Mics were SM57's all around.

"What did they sound like?" you might be asking. At the time they seemed incredibly "out" to me (and I was taking in a steady diet of college radio, so out had a ways to go) but in retrospect they seem somewhat prophetic of later trends - the soft/loud transitions of the Pixies/Nirvana crowd, the non-traditional guitar style (which reminds me of Primus, among others), the grungy/distorted bass sound. Feel free to opine in the comments section.

I don't know if anything was ever done with the final mixes - I don't recall hearing them on WUTK, which would have been the logical place for them, and I don't remember ever seeing the band selling tapes at later gigs, so maybe they didn't like the end result.

This, then, may be a world premier: Three Ring Psychosis-Track01

Here's a bonus second track: ThreeRingPsychosis-Track08 - one of the guys is also singing on this one, but I can't remotely remember which one.


Based on input from folks the world around, I can now add the following biographical information on TRS:

Leigh Jefferies - guitar, vocals (last known location - Chicago)
Paul Wise - fretless bass, vice grips, Fender bassman 4x12 angled cabinet (last known location - Knoxville)
Todd Godwin - painted drums (last known location - Japan)
Eric Blevins - original bassist (not on this track)

TRS won the 1990 University of Tennesse Battle of the Bands, defeating Teenage Love and Whitey (disqualified).



Blogger Mr. Booni said...

I knew those guys. Only bassist Paul Wise still lives around Knoxville. Todd, the durmmer and singer, moved on to ... I don't know where. Leigh Jeffries, the guitarist, went to Chicago at one point, but again I don't know where she's gotten to now. They were really incredible. I spent an interesting evening after a show wandering around town with them and a band called Waylaid.

-- Randall Brown

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Fuzzy Dave said...

I can't believe that a Three Ring Psychosis recording exists. I worked with Leigh at Stefano's Pizza. I even auditioned to be their Bass player when the original guy left but I didn't make the cut because I suck.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

Hey, I used to be in a band with Leigh in Atlanta called The Hepburns. That was '96 or '97. She left to go to Chicago, and unfortunately nobody seems to know where she is now. She is an amazingly talented musician. Anyway, thanks for postng that song. I had never heard any of Leigh's music from before she came to Atlanta.

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew "of" this band through a high school friend of mine. I think they used to play at a Knoxville Old City club called Planet Earth. I thought my friend said his brother was a drummer in the band but from what is listed in this blog, I don't think the names matched. Cool memories, aghh the old days...West side Knox till I die! Even though I live in Tri-Cities, TN-VA now.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Todd Godwin said...

hey Randall, Paul, fuzzy Dave and others. This is Todd Godwin. long time no see eh? I wonder why that TRP link is not working? Wonder what Leigh is doing? (not like I'll ever see or hear from her again). Hope ya'll are livin' relatively large.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NSU - 4efer, 5210 - rulez

11:50 PM  
Anonymous ghasty said...

Ahhh, was cleaning out some old tapes and digitized and old Hank tape (Leigh Jeffries' first band) and can't believe how good it was. Had a crush on Leigh in my teens...ahhh...hope she's out there doing well.

10:04 PM  
Blogger wendy wyatt said...

hey todd, fuzzy. our mutual friend rita sent this link to me last week. weird. loved listening to the band, strange hearing your voice (todd) for the first time in many many years.
hope all is well with everyone.

9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has to be the same Leigh! I've been wondering what happened to her for years. Back at Hixson high school (Chattanooga), she was in JUNIOR HIGH, we put together a "band" for a talent show. Leigh was the only one that was any good. I think she was in 8th grade and could play anything Eddie Van Halen could muster. 1983-84, OK? I hope she is doing well, she was really cool.....Adam Phillips

5:13 AM  
Blogger Dji said...

Todd status update: he's now in Cambridge, working on a PhD.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not To Be Confused With:

There was another (earlier?) Three Ring Psychosis in Dublin, Ireland, who played a lot of support sets and released an album on cassette (nearly 30 songs on a C-60) in 1987.
David Lacey (the drummer) now plays with Legion Of Two, and has done a lot of improvised and experimental percussion work over the years. But his first band was Three Ring Psychosis.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Mission: said...

Leigh and I rode the same bus in highschool. Yes, Hixson in Chattanooga. She was one of the best guitar players I've seen, and only played with 5 strings. She was the guitar player for the punk band, Hank, which is a legend of the Chatt 80s punk scene. I used to have a few Hank cassettes with her fabulous guitar work.

3:05 PM  

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