23 January 2011
Soups & Sauces
gigantic thankyou to colin for being the first (of many, hopefully) guest blather contributor:
Summer camp is among those liminal experiences that are fundamentally about being in some moment or other but are often of greater consequence to broader life trajectories than anyone involved could anticipate. Me, I met a Gahanna-Lincoln high schooler named Justin Coons, we talked politics on the phone FOR HOURS and went on a hot date to the Ross Perot campaign stop at the Nationwide Hilton. Justin introduced me to his schoolmate/bandmate friend Jim Graham, c/o 1992 (now a professor of psychology at WWU). Their band, Soul Kitchen (only zine review I ever read of their demo tape suggested that 'Devoid of Soul' was a more fitting name), was one of the Gahanna+Westerville high school bands I'd go see at metro park gazebos and VFW halls, with the occasional Apollo's show. I think their singer died of autoerotic asphyxiation, plus we were listening to lots of ska and made pilgrimages to Chicago for the JumpUp! fests. We spent a lot of time in cars and 24-hr restaurants and were among the cohorts of 90s high schoolers who annoyed the hell out of older Stache's patrons and staff, worshipping Ishkabibble and The Repairmen and standing outside shivering when less sympathetic sentries worked the door. 1991-92.
Jim met Lizard (then Tod) McGee at a wedding and when we weren't breaking into the remains of Cinema East or the Ohio Penitentiary the younger among us spent out time being fans of Earwig and getting better acquainted with bands like Greenhorn, Ugly Stick, Girly Machine (in retrospect those having less to do with each other than the schema we developed would suggest) -- having a guide a few years older was invaluable. Lizard had Lizard Family Music and a garage studio in his Whitehall home rivaling anything we'd heretothen experienced on a personal visit. To us, separate mixer & tape machine + control room glass = pro.
Through frequent-enough exposure to Stache's plus Shave the Baby and the Eardrop comps, we figured out some other stuff to listen to, and the idea of a Columbus V/A wasn't out of the question. All HS: Preston Furman at CAHS, Parsnip at Fort Hayes + UA, Mindchild at Westerville, Liquid Circus at Gahanna, and Enlargements/Boners admittedly from a less coherent background.
Right. So, Jim got some money (he was the one with a job) and Why Not Make a Comp w/ Aforementioned Money? Lizard McGee recorded Parsnip and the Boners, Preston Furman gave us a tape, Mindchild recorded at Thornapple, and the Enlargements borrowed a 4-track we didn't really know how to use. I think Lizard plugged tracks together and gave us a DAT that we took to Rome Recording, A Christian Recording Studio, in Obetz. Apparently some poor guy had to ride faders through that entire tape to get the noise reduction right -- I still feel a little guilty about that. J-cards at Kinko's, I think, maybe using the copycards that replaced $US as currency for awhile. It came with a zine with features on lockpicking and teenage-quality (at best) rants: cf veganism and what the fuck's up with society?. I think maybe Jim went to college before this was out, so we worked on it when we were both in town. I think we made 300, and we never bothered to see whether we were making our money back.
Without much in common musically and not much reason for social cohesion, there wasn't much thrust on any band's part to promote it or make anyone do it again. College helped the organic sorting into scenes without high school as the fundamental geographic delimiter, and group identity became more a consequece of where one chose to spend time than where one was required to spend it. Even humble events can reveal broad themes.