Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Rip Chords - View from Above (1985)

Some more 12" vinyl from the Golden Rock archives for you this afternoon. Rip Chords reunited a few years back for the amazing CSW 25th Anniversary party at Mac Hall.

Drummer Peter Moller has put together a bio as well as two CDs worth of unreleased Rip Chords tracks on his website. Here's what he has to say about the band:

Rip Chords existed from 1979-1985 during the heyday of Calgary’s punk-influenced music scene. They were birthed by Rodney (Max) Brisson and Adele Leger. Peter Clarke, Fred Holliss, Paul Lukeman, and Kim Solar played with Max and Adele in early versions of the band. With the inevitable partner swapping that any such musical scene inspires, the line up eventually solidified with Max on guitar, Adele handling the lead vocals, Kevin Labchuk on keyboards, Richard McDowell on bass, and Peter Moller on drums.
It seemed an ideal time to get with the Sex Pistols-inspired global movement of musical rebellion that often took the form of drinking and drugging oneself into a state of, at worst, self denial or, at best, creative exploration. 
Calgary’s economic bust of the early 80s seemingly bestowed the Calgary arts and music scene with golden opportunities. The combination of disaffected youth, cheap rent, and the feeling of ‘anything goes’ propelled many toward an inspired DIY ethic.
In 1982 Richard McDowell created and opened a club in Calgary called 10 Foot Henry’s. This tiny space (which today exists as a transmitter station buried under the LRT tracks at 10th Street and 6th Avenue SW) ran until 1985 and became a nexus for the burgeoning Calgary music scene. It was also a stopping off point for hundreds of musicians touring the circuit that the Rheostatics Dave Bidini captured so brilliantly in his book On A Cold Dark Road
As McDowell was the bass player for the Rip Chords, the club became the Rip Chords defacto rehearsal space. Many of the recordings on these discs are from Henry’s.

 Dennis Burton, one of the founders of Radio Cora (eventually renamed Radio Radio, and still broadcasting today) is responsible for spearheading this Byzantine compilation. In their time the Rip Chords produced three vinyl records and hundreds of hours of live gig recordings. Burton subjected himself to an inordinate amount of work by compiling and then yanking these tunes out of their magnetic tape dungeon, freeing them into the light of the digital realm; a truly difficult journey due in no small part to the ephemeral nature of magnetic tape. 
Often when played back, after years of being stored in basements and garages, some of the tapes produced no sound. The solution? Put the old tapes into an oven and bake them at a prescribed temperature for a certain amount of time and... poof! The sound magically returned. What else would you expect? 
These tunes represent a certain time in our lives. It was a crucible that produced many fine bands; The Verdix, The Breeders, The Golden Calgarians, The R&B Keepers, Ohama, Same Difference, The Church of Doug, The Mules… and, obviously, many more. I’ll wager that there’s some recipe or equation to be realised from it all. Mix bored youth, hormones, right-wing politics, left-wing reactionism, drug and alcohol (ab)use, stir vigorously with righteous indignation and voila! A musical-multi-car mishap on the #2. A beautiful and gnarly result. 
Did we learn anything? Erhm... probably not much, but we had a qualified amount of blurry-eyed fun doing it.
What surprises us here is the comment about three Rip Chords records. This is the only one we've ever seen... if any one has info about the others, can you get in touch with us? Also, we're still looking for anything by the Breeders.

Files courtesy of David Veitch, who devoted much ink to the Calgary scene during his years as the Calgary Sun music scribe--thanks very much, sir!

Get ripped here.

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