Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Thirteenth Generation (1990-1993)

The Thirteenth Generation* (1990-1993) consisted of:
Michelle "Two L's" Bullis - vocals, autoharp, bongos, tv painting
Dan "Wah" King - guitar, felony abuse of wah wah pedal, whammy bar in the first degree
Greg "Flat" Morton - drums, blow dryer, keg, distant guitar
R. Scott Carpenter - guitar, ebow
Kevin "Thud" Crothers - bass, backing and comedy vocals, keyboards, beer trumpet, acoustic guitar
Dave King - sax at random live appearances, photo shoots and two songs;

The crew was:
Dan "Date and Time" Harris - official tour documentarian, humming;

Member Emeritus:
Rick Tipton - guitar and keyboards at our first show.

This was the most fun that I ever had in a band. There were likely a couple of factors that contributed:
  • We were friends first, before we formed a band;
  • everyone in the band was top-notch in their musical contribution(s);
  • we practiced at my house, where it was warm in the winter and cool in the summer, there were working bathrooms and a kitchen, I could roll out of bed and walk into the practice space, and RC Bowling (TM) was always available during a break;
  • we had at our disposal some decent (for the time) recording gear that was almost always at the ready;
  • and everyone felt (I think) a free and equal partner in contributing musically.
The band began when Greg and I started doing some recording on a newly-acquired 8-track machine in 1990 after the demise of Sea 7 States (Mark III), and while we both enjoyed playing rock guitarist, it was obvious that we needed a competent plank-spanker.
Greg knew Dan somehow (likely from a record store) and it was pretty obvious after our first jam (in Greg's parent's living room, for some odd reason) that Dan was the newest member of the band. We practiced for a while, working on some tunes of mine and creating some new ones, while considering what we were going to do for vocals.
I had seen Michelle sing some duets, but she was typically singing accompaniment, so when I saw her absolutely belt out a solo piece one day I knew that we had found our singer. It was icing on the cake that she also wrote some often deep and sometimes twisted lyrics. We started practicing in the back bedroom of a house that I was renting near Maryville College; with the walls, ceiling, and floor covered in heavy shipping blankets it was a sweltering and not particularly creative environment.
Rick started rehearsing with us that summer, so in addition to a drum kit, bass amp, guitar amp, and PA in the small bedroom, we also had his keyboards, amp and guitar rig. We played our first gig at Flamingo's in Knoxville, and then Rick drifted out of our lives.
About this time I moved to a fab little isolated house with a basement in Greenback, TN, which meant the band had a huge rehearsal space and that a spare bedroom could become the control room. We continued as a power trio with vocalist for about a year or so, and then I convinced old Homeboys mate Scott to throw in with us.
Along the way Dave, brother of Dan, occasionally sat in with us on sax, though not often enough that he ended up recording more than once with us.
You would think that this prime arrangement would mean that we could buckle down and focus on rehearsing and recording. You would be mis-thinken. We rehearsed a fair amount, but recorded only sporadically, usually putting a reel on and letting it run while we rehearsed. These basic band tracks would then sometimes be subject to various overdubings and processings, mostly simply to serve as demos for the "real" recordings to come later.
Later, unfortunately, came in 93 when I moved away in search of gainful employment. The tapes lay fallow for a decade, until 2003, when in a post-cancer I-have-seen-my-own-mortality-fueled spurt I sorted through the massive (and unlabeled) pile of reels and mixed down the pieces that were the most complete. Shortly after that I sent it off to be mastered, but never heard back from the chap that was to master it, so it sat until now.
The original plan (back in 2003) was to press up CDs (thus the CD-style art work) but that's so last-century. So, here the album (such as it is) as a download. I'll probably actually press up some CDs for the band and their families, so if you want a shiny (and non-compressed audio format) disc let me know.
The Thirteenth Generation - Debut/Denouement (audio) [zipped file] (mp3s encoded at 320, so it may take a while to download)
I do still have a box of t-shirts with the logo (see way above). If you'd like one drop me a line. I think that I have L and maybe a few XL.

*The name came from this book that I was reading at the time. The Thirteenth Generation narrowly beat out Joe Cocker Spaniel in the band name discussion.


Monday, August 23, 2010

ME! ME SEE (seven states) ME!

Today's post comes to you featuring Sea 7 States Mark II. Brett Norton left the band to move to Atlanta (something about a "real" architecture job) and Todd Eaton filled the drum throne.

Once again you can hear the sonic cesspool that was the Cityside Cafe, although I'm pleased to say that the bass is more present on this set of recordings (and also that I have two songs represented here).

Set 01
Modern As Summer
Life In A Love
Black Road Trilogy
Heart Beating
Rein O'er Me
Love In A Southwind
The Incline
The Ice Age

Set 02
Beauty of Fire/Calypso
(Just Before The) Break O' Day
Raw Material

(I actually think these sets are mis-labeled on the tape, as Calendar was almost always the last set closer; the pre-song "thank you" supports this theory).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

While you're drinking something with an umbrella on a Saturday night

enjoy the steel drums of the Trinidad Tripoli Steel Band.

Sabre Dance*
Poet and Pleasant Orch.
Alley Cat
Hallelujah Chorus
Variations on a Theme of Paganini

(side two has a bit of groove distortion early on. Sorry about that.)
March of the Gladiators
Love Is Blue
The Man I Love
Yellow Bird
You Do Something To Me

*This might be the best version of this ever. The slightly-dissonant original piece is made even more dissonant by the not-quite-tuned-exactly steel drums.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

45 label art 08

45 label art 07

45 label art 06

Thursday, August 12, 2010

45 label art 05

45 label art 04

(The Smubbs? Really?)
Yes, apparently really!