The Mr. T Experience (sometimes abbreviated MTX) is an American punk rock band formed in 1985 in Berkeley, California. They have released ten full-length albums along with numerous EPs and singles and have toured internationally. Their music is best classified as pop punk and is intentionally playful, comical, and satirical, often dealing with issues of love and relationships. The band's name is taken from actor and television personality Mr. T.
The Mr. T Experience serves mainly as the creative outlet for singer/guitarist "Dr. Frank" Portman, its primary songwriter and sole continuous member throughout multiple lineup changes. The band is closely associated with the Berkeley and greater San Francisco Bay Area punk rock movement of the late 1980s and the 1990s, revolving around the 924 Gilman Street venue and the Lookout! Records label, through which they have released all of their albums since 1990. They are contemporaries of numerous other groups who emerged from this same "scene," including Green Day, Operation Ivy, Rancid, Jawbreaker, The Donnas, Tilt, and NOFX. They also share stylistic similarities with other bands not native to the Bay area but closely associated with this movement, including The Queers, Screeching Weasel, and the Groovie Ghoulies. Over the years the Mr. T Experience has performed, toured, and shared a record label with many of these bands. They also share a heavyRamones influence, which was more prevalent in the band's early albums but is still evident in their recent work.
Prior to forming The Mr. T Experience, members Frank Portman and Byron Stamatatos had played together in a band called the Bent Nails while in high school in Millbrae, California. The two kept in touch after Portman moved to Berkeley to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where he met Jon Von Zelowitz who was a fellow DJ at the university's radio station KALX. He was also introduced to Alex Laipeneiks, who had been a high school friend of Portman's younger brother. In the summer of 1985 the four formed The Mr. T Experience with Portman on guitar and vocals (under the pseudonym Dr. Frank), Zelowitz on guitar and vocals, Stamatatos on bass, and Laipeneiks on drums.
The band released their first album Everybody's Entitled to Their Own Opinion in July 1986 on their own label Disorder Records. They began to build a local following through small tours and airplay on college radio stations and quickly became part of the thriving late-1980s Bay Area punk rock movement centered around the 924 Gilman Street venue. A second album, Night Shift at the Thrill Factory, followed in 1988 through the US arm of Rough Trade Records. It was around this time that Portman began a tradition of introducing each of the band's songs with the throwaway line "this song is about a girl..." at each of their performances. The EP "Big Black Bugs Bleed Blue Blood" followed in 1989, after which Stamatatos left the band and was replaced by Aaron Rubin. Rough Trade Records US went out of business shortly after releasing the EP.
In 1990 the band signed to Lookout! Records, which they would remain on throughout the rest of their career. They collected the results of several scattered recording sessions into the album Making Things With Light, which was the first CD album released by the Lookout! label. Milk Milk Lemonade followed in 1992, after which they embarked on their first tour of Europe. While in Spain the group recorded the EP Strum ünd Bang, Live!? Shortly after returning to America, von Zelowitz left the band, leading to a near-breakup. They attempted a reunion with him a few months later but elected to continue on as a trio, releasing the Gun Crazy EP in 1993. The album Our Bodies Our Selves soon followed and a tour was planned, but Laipeneiks declined to tour and soon left the band. Another near-breakup ensued as Portman considered returning to graduate school and Rubin joined Samiam.
Portman continued writing songs, however, and in 1994 Rubin returned from working with Samiam and recruited drummer Jim "Jym" Ruzicka. The trio recorded the EP ...And the Women Who Love Them, which instilled some creative rejuvenation to the group. Soon, however, Rubin returned to Samiam and Joel Reader joined the band as his replacement.
The lineup of Portman, Reader, and Ruzicka became the band's most stable lineup since 1988. From this point on the group essentially became Portman's project, as he began a prolific period of songwriting. The trio released an album each year for the next four years: Love is Dead (1996), Revenge is Sweet, and So Are You (1997), Road to Ruin (1998 - a cover of the Ramones' 1978 album of the same name), andAlcatraz (1999). Portman also released a solo album in 1999 entitled Show Business is My Life.
Reader left the band after Alcatraz and formed the Plus Ones. He was replaced by Gabe Meline, who had contributed to the recording of Alcatraz. This lineup recorded the EP The Miracle of Shame in 2000, which also included organ and keyboardist Erik Noyes. Noyes was a semi-official band member who had contributed to Revenge is Sweet, and So Are You and Alcatraz and joined them officially for touring in the summer of 1999, but did not remain with them long. The band toured sporadically until 2002, when Meline left the group.
The band's lineup once again changed in 2003, with bassist "Bobby J" Jordan replacing Meline. Guitarist Ted Angel also joined, making the band a four-piece again for the first time in ten years. This lineup released the 2004 album Yesterday Rules. Limited touring followed, while Portman continued to perform occasionally as a solo artist and also in The Bomb Bassets.
The Mr. T Experience has been relatively inactive since 2005. Portman has instead focused on his writing career, publishing his first novel, King Dork, in 2006 and Andromeda Klein in 2009.
The Mr. T Experience continues to develop content creatively and has undergone extensive lineup changes throughout their 25 year and still strong career.
Check out the Mr. T Experience catalog page.
Check out this link for more on the MTX family tree
Labels: Mr. T Experience
Pretty Girls Make Graves had the foundation that most great bands need: true friendship and love of music. Although only active for little over a year, before releasing their single Lookout LP, "Good Health", the interest and support that had surrounded them upon first mention of their formation was overwhelming based on their pedigree of previous bands. But Pretty Girls Make Graves were not ones to rest on their laurels, they were out to create and perform dynamic, compelling and powerful music.
Seattle, WA is well known for its creative and self supporting music community. All members of PGMG had done time in well known and respected Seattle bands over the last five years. Singer and lyricist Andrea Zollo was in the highly regarded DEATH WISH KIDS, THE HOOKERS and AREA 51, guitarist Jason Clark was in KILL SADIE and SHARKS KEEP MOVING, drummer Nick Dewitt and Nathen Johnson were both in THE BEE HIVE VAULTS, and bassist Derek Fudesco was a founding member of the much loved MURDER CITY DEVILS as well as pairing with Zollo in AREA 51, DEATH WISH KIDS AND THE HOOKERS. While many musicians outgrow the rough and furious genre of punk, one thing that makes PGMG so special is that the musicians involved honed their playing for many years before returning to reinvent what they initially loved about punk music. So while they did have the music history to refer to, what the band was trying to accomplish with PGMG was much more. Always keeping sincerity and emotion as a primary force guiding their music, but combining that with stellar musicianship and exciting song writing, PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES were a punk band on a whole other level.
Prior to releasing their debut LP, Good Health, on Lookout in April 2002, PGMG's first self-titled EP was released on Dim Mak and Sound Virus Records. After Good Health, the band signed to Matador records where they released The New Romance (2003) and Elan Vital (2006).
In March 2004, guitarist Nathan Thelen left the band to form Moonrats and Leona Marrs (of Hint Hint) joined PGMG as a multi-instrumentalist. On January 29, 2007 the band announced that Nick had left the band and their May 2007 tour would be their last. Their final two shows were 9 June 2007, in Seattle.
After their break up, Andrea Zollo began to plays drums with Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death, featuring Spencer Moody (Murder City Devils), Corey J Brewer (Bright Shiny Object), and Dann Gallucci (Murder City Devils, Death Wish Kids).
Jay Clark drummed for Jaguar Love for an EP and an LP. Along with former Blood Brothers members, Johnny Whitney and Cody Votolato, they signed with Matador Records, the later home of Pretty Girls Make Graves. In February of 2009, it was announced Jay was no longer playing in the band.
Nick Dewitt continues working on his solo electronic project Dutch Dub. He also plays with Amy Blaschke in Night Canopy.
Derek Fudesco has put out a couple records playing guitar for The Cave Singers with Pete Quirk (Hint Hint) and Marty Lund (Cobra High), also on Matador.
Nathan Thelen started Moonrats in Seattle soon after leaving Pretty Girls Make Graves together with keyboard player Aska Matsumiya and drummer Jason Echeverria. They soon moved to Los Angeles and self-released an EP, have just recorded a new album and have a 7" coming out on LA Record in 2008.
Leona Marrs returned to her old band, Hint Hint.
Pretty Girls Make Graves continue to be an influence on the art-punk scene with their unique sound and cultural imprint they have left behind in the wake of their break up.
Labels: Pretty Girls Make Graves
Chicago based "The Reputation" began after lead singer Elizabeth Elmore and her former band "Sarge" disbanded in 1999. After recruiting ex-Sarge drummer Russ Horvath and ex-Chisel bassist and law school classmate Chris Norberg. Due to the strenuous schedule with law school and the heavy tour from their first 5 song demo, Horvath and Norberg had to call it quits. Soon after, Elmore recruited ex-Moreno guitarist Sean Hulet, drummer Scott Rosenquist, and ex-Andiamo bassist Joel Root.
Elmore took a temporary leave of absence from law school to focus on the band before signing to Initial Records in 2001. After a name and some line-up changes, the band settled on the name "The Reputation" which was a backlash at certain members of the indie music scene who promoted speculation about her sex life.
In 2002, their self titled debut album was met with positive critical acclaim with the LA Times, CMJ, and Village Voice leaving much praise. After securing a new drummer in Matt Espy, the band embarked on a North American tour. In 2003, amidst touring, songwriting, and a return to law school, the band lost yet another drummer due to personal reasons.
The end of 2003 saw the band going into the studio to record their follow up "To Force a Fate", which was released on Lookout! in April of 2004. The album was anything but easy as Elmore was finishing law school, touring with the band, and writing songs, and 14 hour studio days kept "The Reputation" quite busy. This experience was different for the band in that the other members assisted Elmore in the songwriting process.
Like their debut album, "To Force A Fate" was met with positive reviews from leading publications like Entertainment Weekly, Spin Magazine, and Blender describing her vocal prowess and the jabs of her learned history reflecting in the songwriting style. The album shot up the CMJ charts that year to #58.
The band drew comparisons to the Fastbacks, Liz Phair, Neil Young, and Elvis Costello whose song "Almost Blue" was featured in their self titled debut as a cover. In late 2006, after going through 5 drummers and several other line up changes, Elmore announced that the band had broken up.
The four founding members of Small Brown Bike grew up together in the small town of Marshall, Michigan. When brothers Mike and Ben Reed, and friends, Travis Dopp, and Dan Jaquint were looking for a band name in 1996, they ultimately decided on Small Brown Bike, after an old bike they had pieced together from spare parts in their younger days. Small Brown Bike self-recorded and released their first demo tape in 1997. The tape included four songs recorded in the house they rented in East Lansing, Michigan. Small Brown Bike played shows around the Midwest and shared the stage with bands like At the Drive In, Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids, Hot Water Music, Alkaline Trio, Cursive, and more.
After self-releasing their No Place Like You 7″ in 1997 and (And Don’t Forget Me) 7″ in 1998, the band attracted the attention of Gainesville, Florida’s No Idea Records. In 1999, No Idea released Own Own Wars CD/LP and the band began to receive national attention. The band also released Collection CD/LP (a collection of their demo tape and first two 7″s) in 1999. Later that year, Travis Dopp stepped down from guitar and Scott Flaster took over. In 2000, the band landed an opening spot on tour with Hot Water Music and Saves the Day and played in front of their biggest audiences yet.
In between tours in 2000, Small Brown Bike entered the studio with Ed Rose (The Get Up Kids, Coalesce) to record their second CD/LP, Dead Reckoning for No Idea Records. Later that year, Dopp returned to the band and in 2001, the band embarked on a co-headlining tour with Cursive and later released a split 7″ with them. In March 2001, Jeff Gensterblum replaced Dan Jaquint on drums and the band immediately hit the road for a five-week U.S. tour with Hot Water Music and Leatherface.
In 2002, the band returned to the studio to work with Ed Rose on a collaborative split EP with The Casket Lottery on Second Nature Recordings. The culmination of the project was a three-week tour featuring Small Brown Bike, The Casket Lottery, and Rocky Votolato in 2003.
It was during this time that Small Brown Bike caught the attention of Berkeley, California-based Lookout! Records. The band entered the studio with Dave Feeny (The White Stripes, Thunderbirds are Now) and began working on new music. After releasing the Nail Yourself to the Ground EP on No Idea and playing a sold-out show at Gilman Street in 2003, the band signed with Lookout! to release their next CD/LP, The River Bed, in September 2003.
“Small Brown Bike caught my ear with their unique blend of aggressive and intelligent punk rock, with an honest sweetness thrown in. They’re a smart, witty group of guys who simply work hard and love music.” – Cathy Bauer, Lookout! Records General Manager
But the years of touring were beginning to take their toll. Small Brown Bike announced their break-up at the end of 2003 and played their last show at the Fireside Bowl in Chicago in January 2004.
In 2006, Small Brown Bike reunited to play four benefit shows to raise money for a close friend who was diagnosed with leukemia. All six former members played on their respective songs. The band did one more show in 2006 at The Fest 6 in Gainesville to reunite with their old label and play in front of a sold-out crowd of over 1,000.
In the summer of 2009, emails circulated between the founding members. With no formal plan, they traded MP3’s and scheduled a practice. The chemistry was evident as they charged through the new songs. The musical connection between them was still strong. The band booked a few shows for the second half of 2009 including a return to The Fest 8 in Gainesville.
In the fall of 2009, the band released their first new music in six years. “Composite Volume One” 7″ was self-recorded by the band, mixed with Dave Feeny at Tempermill, and released on No Idea Records.
Small Brown Bike is working on new songs and playing weekend dates and festivals. The band plans to schedule more shows in the future and enter the studio in 2010 to record an album.
Click here for a link to their catalog page
Visit their new website at:
Labels: Small Brown Bike
The Smugglers formed at Hillside Secondary School in West Vancouver, BC, Canada. Heavily under the influence of Black Label beer, hashish, and the raw rock’n’roll sounds of the Sonics, the Cramps and the Stones, the five sixteen year olds were dubbed "The Smugglers" by their high school buddy Nardwuar The Human Serviette. From their ugly beginnings in church basements, malls and warehouses opening for heroes like the Gruesomes and NoMeansNo, the band slowly grew up to weld their influences of great punk and rock’n’roll into a wildly energetic show all their own. The Smugglers took their sweat, suits and boots on the road and, a dozen-plus years later and still in their late-twenties, continue to tour to every pocket of North America, as well as sojourns into the uncharted wilds of Japan, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and beyond.
The Smugglers live show is a legendary tour de force of energy and charisma, involving wild antics and audience participation with such now-beloved stunts as the dance contest (complete with a trophy to the winner - over 500 given out in more than twenty different countries), kissing contests, and Smugglers "dream dates". The Smugglers have been fortunate enough to share the stage with other such notable peers as the (International) Noise Conspiracy, the Donnas, the Hives, the New Pornographers, the Mr. T Experience, the Queers, Rocket From The Crypt, Fugazi, Supersnazz, Southern Culture On The Skids, NoMeansNo, The Gruesomes, the Young Fresh Fellows, Fastbacks, and many more. Over the years, The Smugglers have amassed an incredible and hilarious collection of tell-all tour diaries, which are infamous with fans. The tour diaries are available for all to read unedited and uncensored on the Smugglers site, www.thesmugglers.com. One young fan once confessed to lead singer Grant Lawrence that the tour diaries "taught her everything" she knows about sex!" Ouch!
Over their long career, The Smugglers have bounced from label to label, always independent, including Vancouver’s Nardwuar Records, Seattle’s PopLlama Products, and then back to Vancouver’s Mint Records. From Mint, the Smugglers have licensed records around the world to such labels as Berkeley, California’s Lookout Records, Tokyo’s 1+2 Records, Australia’s Corduroy Records and Spain’s Imposible Records. All tolled, the Smugglers have amassed a mighty seven albums and several singles, EPs and compilation tracks worth of young, loud and snotty vinyl and CDs.
The Smugglers have always been lucky enough to work with great producers including Conrad Uno ("At Marineland" 1991, "Atlanta Whiskey Flats" 1992, "In The Hall Of Fame" 1993, "Wet Pants Club" 1994), Mass Giorgini ("Selling The Sizzle" 1996) and Kurt Bloch ("Buddy Holly Convention" 1997, "Growing Up Smuggler" 1998, "Rosie" 2000).
Grant Lawrence currently works a radio personality for CBC Radio 3 and co-founded an ice hockey team made up of canadian musicians. David Carswell has been a music producer working with such names as A.C. Newman, Destroyer, and The New Pornographers.
Click here for the Smugglers catalog page
Sweet Baby was among the first East Bay/Gilman Street punk bands to be picked up by an established major record label — five years before Green Day dookied on the Reprise roster — and paid the typical price for such ground-breaking. Said label consigned an incredibly catchy, joyful record to undue obscurity.
Singer Dallas Denery and singer/guitarist Matt Buenrostro formed the quartet as Sweet Baby Jesus in 1986 with Mr. T Experience singer/ guitarist Dr. Frank on two-piece drum kit and Crispy Jim (so dubbed for his affinity for the English band Crispy Ambulance) on bass. Dr. Frank and Crispy were soon replaced by Sergie Loobkoff and Richard Bucher, respectively. Sweet Baby broke up in late 1987 without releasing a record — but reformed in 1988 when Slash Records signed the group to its Ruby imprint on the strength of a Kevin Army-produced demo. The result, It's a Girl!, is a stunningly infectious, simple pop punk record; equal parts Ramones, Beatles, Undertones, Beach Boys and Chiffons. Denery and Buenrostro harmonize like punk rock Everly Brothers atop frenetically strummed layers of major chords and a basic, pounding beat that never stops (although it is a bit off at times). Nearly all of the 13 songs (total running time about 25 minutes) deal with the kind of young love that would not sound out of place on a '50s rock'n'roll record, with charming energy and earnest exuberance to match. Highlights include "Gotta Get a Girl," "Proove My Love" and the one-minute masterpiece "Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby (I Love You)," but every song has excitement and vocal hooks galore.
The Sweet Baby half of Hello Again joins the band's first demo with a raw acoustic session of just Denery and Buenrostro. The demo offers raw versions of Sweet Baby originals, including such otherwise unreleased gems as "Andorra," "Saw You at the Movies" and "Certified American." The loose acoustic numbers range from stripped-down versions of typical Denery/Buenrostro compositions ("Just Call Me Baby," "Lets All Go to Europe") to short, silly toss-offs ("Somewhere in Germany," "Why," a 30-second ditty whose title is almost the only lyric) to a retro-sounding original that could have been written for a young Ricky Nelson ("Baby I Love You," which is not at all like "Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby (I Love You)" Got that?).
During Sweet Baby's 1989 tour, Aaron Cometbus (Cometbus fanzine publisher and former Crimpshine and Pinhead Gunpowder member) replaced Loobkoff, and Ivy DuBois (ex-Kamala and the Karnivores) replaced Bucher. The group broke up that year. Dallas Denery later formed the Bomb Bassets with his brother, John Denery of the Hi-Fives, Kevin Army and the Mr. T Experience.
They had two songs on the Maximum Rock and Roll compilation Turn it Around (1988), "She's from Salinas" and "Pathetic." In 1989, they released their only lp,It's A Girl on Ruby Records (a Slash/Warner subsidiary). Lookout Records re-released it in 1995.' In January 2005, their song, "Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby, I Love You" was featured on Bravo in an advertisement for the show Queer Eye for the Straight Girl.
In 1989 due to Sweet Baby, Green Day changed their name from Sweet Children to Green Day for there to be no confusion before releasing their first EP 1,000 Hour
Dallas Denery is currently an assistant professor at Bowdoin College in the History Department and regularly broadcasts a radio show for WBOR 91.1 called "Dick and Jane's Cocktail Hour" with his wife and son "Spot." They generally play a "happy hour" of lounge music starting at 5:00pm and then an hour of independent rock on various weekdays.
Labels: Sweet Baby
Ted Leo grew up in Bloomfield, New Jersey. He graduated from Seton Hall Preparatory School in West Orange in 1988 and the University of Notre Dame in the fall of 1993 with a degree in English. His brothers Chris Leo and Danny Leo are also singer-songwriters, and members of Native Nod, The Lapse, The Van Pelt, Vague Angels and Holy Childhood. He is a vegan. Ted is a fan of and frequent contributor to WFMU, most notably to Tom Scharpling's "The Best Show on WFMU." In 2007, he rewrote and performed The Jam's "That's Entertainment" as a tribute to the station.
You might remember Ted Leo from his exploits many years back in the New York hard-core scene with bands like Citizens Arrest and Animal Crackers. More likely, you remember his inspiring role as songwriter and leader of the legendary DC mod-punk band, Chisel, from 1990 to 1997. You may even be lucky enough to have caught the short-lived but long remembered Sin Eaters, whom Ted fronted from 1997-1998, or his touring stint with the Spinanes during those same years. Probably, though, you are most familiar with the understated but forceful path he’s been blazing as a solo artist since 1997. His songs are fragile but proud, and exalt in social and musical purpose, with inescapable melodies and tangible yet romantic lyrics that could easily draw comparisons to greats such as Billy Bragg or Alex Chilton, and somehow leave you thinking of Curtis Mayfield and CRASS...
Ted Leo started the Pharmacists essentially as a solo project in 1999. His previous band Chisel had broken up in the late 1990s, after which he spent time with The Spinanes and The Sin Eaters and acted as producer for The Secret Stars. In 1999 he recorded the album tej leo(?), Rx / pharmacists, a solo effort which was highly experimental and mixed elements of punk rock, reggae, dub, and audio experimentation. In 2000 Leo expanded the project to a full band including James Canty on guitar, Jodi V.B. on bass, and Amy Farina on drums. He named the backing band The Pharmacists, and the group released the EP Treble in Trouble. The EP moved away from many of the experimental elements of tej leo by relying on more traditional rock structures and instrumentation, though it still explored some non-traditional characteristics.
The band signed to Lookout! Records in 2001 and experienced more lineup changes as V.B. and Farina left the group. For the album The Tyranny of Distance Leo and producer Brendan Canty utilized a number of in-studio backing musicians. The album incorporated multiple styles including Celtic rock, acoustic folk balladry, and pop rock. During the supporting tours for The Tyranny of Distance bassist Dave Lerner, drummer Chris Wilson, and keyboardist Dorien Garry became permanent members of the band. The group's next album, 2003's Hearts of Oak, drew from punk rock and new wave influences. The EP Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead soon followed and featured a number of Leo's solo songs and covers. The band's video documentary Dirty Old Town was released the same year.
Prior to the recording of 2004's Shake the Sheets Garry and Canty left the band, reducing the group to a trio. The album explored social and political topics and experienced some success with the single "Me and Mia." The iTunes-exclusive EP Sharkbite Sessions followed in 2005.
In 2006 Ted Leo and the Pharmacists signed a new contract with Chicago-based Touch and Go Records. The band's popularity continued to expand through constant touring and performances at large festivals such as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and the Pitchfork Music Festival. Their fourth full band album, Living with the Living, was released on March 20, 2007. First run copies of the album also included the Mo' Living EP. The band also announced that former guitarist James Canty would re-join them for touring in support of Living with the Living.
Bassist Dave Lerner played his last show with the band at McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn, NY on August 12, 2007. Marty "Violence" Key of the (Young) Pioneers replaced him on tour, and has remained with the band to the present. In April 2008 the band recorded a performance for the Beautiful Noise concert series in Toronto. They then performed as openers for six dates of Pearl Jam's 2008 U.S. tour in June. They toured with Against Me! and Future of the Left in September and October 2008.
On September 15, 2008 the band released a surprise digital EP, Rapid Response, in response to the violence at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. The EP is available on the Touch and Go website for a choice of prices with all proceeds going to Democracy Now! and Food Not Bombs of St. Paul. Ted Leo's most recent album, The Brutalist Bricks was released on March 9, 2010, and the band is currently touring the United States and Europe.
He has put out four records with Lookout! followed by two releases with indie Stalwart Touch and Go Records. His march 2010 release on Matador Records is entitled "The Brutalist Bricks."
Here is a link to the Ted Leo catalog page.
For all the current information regarding tours and current happenings with things Ted Leo, visit his website here
Labels: Ted Leo and The Pharmacists
Formed in the early-1990s, Tilt was Berkeley, CA-based punk rock band known for their melodic songs featuring social commentary, dark humor and intelligent lyrics. Fronted by husband-and wife team, vocalist/songwriter Cinder Block and guitarist Jeffery Bischoff with ex-Crimpshrine bassist Pete Rypins and drummer Vince Camacho.
Tilt first released a successful demo that charted at local college station KALX for a month before recording their first 7” self-titled EP in January 1992. Tilt’s full-length debut, Play Cell, came in 1993 on Lookout! and in 1995 the band released ‘Til It Kills on Fat Wreck Chords with Gabe Meline on bass.
The band briefly broke up in 1996, but rejoined the following year, this time with ex-Screw 32 member Jimmy Cheetah playing bass. Collect ‘Em All was released in 1998, followed by Viewers Like You was in 1999 with bassist Pete Rypins returning. National tours with No Use for a Name and One Man Army followed. Tilt’s 22-song B-sides and rarities compilation Been Where? Did What? surfaced in November 2001.
The band is currently broken up with no plans to reconvene in the future. In 2004, Cinder Block formed Retching Red with many of the members of Oppressed Logic. In the early years of their musical career, and while touring with Tilt, Cinder & Jeffrey Bischoff co-founded a Bay Area music merchandising company (aptly named Cinder Block, Inc.), which has grown into an multi-million dollar international operation.
Check out the catalog page for more on Tilt
The Washdown hailed from Tampa, Fl, not a town necessarily known for its rock. Members Ryan Hess (guitar), Michael Waksman, (guitar/vocals), Bryan Bates (bass), Heath Dupras (drums) and Phil Salick (guitar) were brought together through friendship and a desire to get their town dancing. And that is exactly what they have done. Says founding member and singer Ryan Hess, "Michael and I had always half joked about trying to start a danceable rock band that sounded like an old Otis Redding tape we heard in a car years ago. The idea was to substitute guitars for the horn parts, and try to create a sort of dissident, brooding intensity. It never really materialized musically, but it was the impetus which got us moving in our current direction."
The Washdown began originally as "Dead America" and caught the attention and devotion of ex-Tampa resident Megan Blackburn, who at that time was booking the legendary Mercury Lounge in New York City. Megan flipped over the Dead America demo and shared it with her friend and NY publicist, Steven Trachtenbroit, who then passed it along to Molly Neuman of Lookout Records. Needless to say, the succession of flipping out and excitement continued on and on. While the A&R types were starting to check the guys out, who by this time had changed their name to the more unique The Washdown, everyone involved agreed the best thing to do would be to get a record out as soon as possible. The demo became the bands self-titled EP and was released on Lookout in the fall of 2002.
The Washdown gave the US underground music scene a needed shot in the arm. They crafted a truly original style of 60's-informed modern punk. The Washdown mixed the youthful intensity of bands like The (International) Noise Conspiracy and At The Drive In with the swagger of The Starlite Desperation, Jon Spencer, The Rapture and Gang of Four. Twangy, distored guitar-driven punk'n'roll that's angular, intelligent and compelling.
The Washdown captured much interest for their intense and entertaining live performance. This band had an edge that put them ahead of the rest of the "Brooklyn band" types that have been popping up since 2003 with the revival of dance punk and angular guitar riff driven music. Touring followed with Bratmobile, The Mooney Suzuki, Sahara Hotnights, The Pattern and Hot Hot Heat among others. The Washdown's twist of dancey rock 'n' roll is stylish without being pretentious. The sound of the street, not flashy, a gem yet to be discovered.
"At some point they added the guitarist Gregg Schmidt and Hess moved to vocals only position. They did a few tours, had ups and downs personally, and raised three beautiful children."
After breaking up in 2005, members continued on to form Zillionaire and New Roman Times.
The Wynona Riders were an East Bay pop punk band formed in 1988 by Jim Tyler (drums), Eric Matson (guitar), Ron Murphy (bass). In 1989, Ron Greer (Skip) joined the band as the lead singer. It was named after the actress, Winona Ryder.
With internal struggles affecting the bands cohesiveness early on, line up changes left the band pursuing other acts before returning to a more solid line up consisting of Ron Greer, Dave Henwood, Joe Selby, and Richie Bucher. In 1994, Skip had asked Lookout! to release demos and re-record their tracks resulting in the creation of the JD Salinger record. It also featured a cover of Kim Wilde's Kids in America. Following the success of the JD Salinger release, they embarked on a successful six week tour in support of the album. The band then wrote material and released it on What Else? Records under the interim name of "The Nation of Wenonah"as a tribute to D.C. band, "The Nation of Ulysses".
Later, time was booked into Andy Ernst's Art of Ears studio, where "J.D. Salinger" had been recorded to do an EP for Lookout!, but before the band entered the studio they suffered something of a meltdown and broke up onstage at 924 Gilman St. in Berkeley, ironically while performing as the opening band for another Lookout! band, Fifteen's farewell show.
Skip and Joe formed the band "Toyboat" with former Red # and Hi-Fives drummer Julie Rose and bassist Adam Turk. E.C. joined the band "Three Years Down", and Richie went to work at a bakery. A short year later toyboat would disband and Joe Selby would join Three Years Down as their bass player with Skip moving to New York to pursue a career in information technology.
Labels: Wynona Riders
Richmond Virginia based folk/punk outfit the (Young) Pioneers featured "Born Against" alum guitar/vocalist Adam Nathanson, harmonica player Neil Burke, and drummer Brooks Headley. Burke's tenure was brief, and his departure after the group's debut EP on Vermiform Records was followed by Avail singer Tim Barry joining on bass guitar in 1994. Barry was replaced in 1995 by bassist Martin Key, aka Marty Violence (ex- Universal Order of Armageddon). Key's entrance into the band signaled the change from an acoustic to a full fledged electric outfit. Headley left the group in 1997 and was briefly replaced by Jonathan Fuller (of Sleepytime Trio) and more permanently by Fred LaPier, who played with the group through their final years. After several tours with bands such as At the Drive-In, Avail, Peechees, Karp and The Locust, they disbanded in February 1999.
Their best songs describe the relationship between struggling individuals and the machinery of oppressive politics-images of lovers in a riot or a Vietnam veteran writing to his wife about his fear off death. Their hyper political charged music sparks a Minutemen-meets-Husker Du punk sound. The pioneers were at their best when framing political discontent with catchy punk and emo.
Lookout! recognized THE (YOUNG) PIONEERS as one of the most exciting, though underrated, revolutionary rock'n'roll outfits in existence in the punk scene. With strong political ideas and personal sentiment and powerful music. For 6 years, the Young Pioneers released several albums on Vermiform before releasing On Trial, Free the (Young) Pioneers Now! and The Fall of Richmond on Lookout!
Nathanson and Key continued to perform music together under the name Teargas Rock with drummer Randy Davis (of The Great Unraveling), although the group did not release any major releases and is currently on hiatus. Key currently plays with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Headley went on to perform with Wrangler Brutes and Skull Control, Fuller in Denali and Engine Down, and Burke in Men's Recovery Project, while Barry remained in Avail and has also become active as a solo artist.
Labels: Young Pioneers