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).