Tuesday, 30 March 2010
One of the gems in our oft-mentioned box of awesome from Greg Kushner includes this, an early tape from the trio who would go on to become the Merkins. Greg notes that he was Andy and Jeff's homeroom teacher in their Jr. High.
We wonder if it's Greg who suggested the name change.
Sunday, 28 March 2010
Here's an odd one; we didn't expect to find out anything about Banood more than "Ashwin Sood once-played-drums-for-and-was-also-married-to Sarah McLaughlin," which is in itself a pretty, uh, exciting thing. But a little poking (seriously: a very minimal amount) around tells us that Banood are the subject of a 2007 documentary (albeit one that was put together by two of the band members).
This is the first of two tapes they put out. This is a curious mix of new wave, jazz and world music influences.
Before, we should note, world music was even a genre.
Saturday, 27 March 2010
There was significant debate in the CCPS offices as to whether to post this now or wait until Christmas. We're using the fact that the last week brought snow to our fair city as an excuse to go ahead now.
We've seen a lot of Rodney Brent's work on here, in various forms. This tape fits in nicely with the other Bartok Guitarsplat recordings we've featured, it's a good collection of little guitar doodles.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
Friday, 26 March 2010
This is the second No Limbo Lasso tape that Greg Kushner sent us. Birds Walk South was the band's first demo with Rodney filling in the gaps. My Heart Sings for You…Sort Of is a different guitarist and drummer, and so's the sound. This is more punky, less twangy.
"Compare the early 'Hunger' with the later 'Sally in the Garden' to chart Sue’s descent into rock’n’roll hell," says Greg. "You’d swear you were listening to 'Raw Power'-era Iggy!"
Rodney Brent has sent along scans of the booklet that came with this tape, upping the awesome factor here.
Fantastic stuff. Get it here.
Thursday, 25 March 2010
We're digging back into the non-Kushner related materials that Greg sent us the other week. This is a gem we were pretty excited to hear - we'd only previously heard the one song on the Calgary Compelation. We've been pretty heavily-reliant on Greg's descriptions, so here's what he has to say about this four-piece:
NO LIMBO LASSO were crazy! Easily Calgary’s sexiest band ever, featuring Sue Smith (sister of Golden Calgarians Geoff and Doug) and Joni Brent (sister of Rodney). By the end, their shows were wildly unpredictable with Sue climbing PA stacks and screaming incoherently whilst Joni held down the bassline with a bemused Cheshire cat smile. Oh – and there may have been other band members too.
The other band members on this are Rodney Brent, and, well... Rodney Brent? There's a lot to like about this tape - beyond the points of connection to most of our favourite bands from the 80's. For those who like the myspace, there's a tribute page over here. Thanks also to Rodney for the full cover art!
Rodney also sent us the above review, which looks like it was from VOX.
Monday, 22 March 2010
Last summer, we had put out a call for tapes of any old CJSW shows, and so when Greg Kushner put this in the great box of tapes he sent us, we were suitably thrilled.
Real Men Radio was a Saturday night staple in the early 90's. We remember a few shows, so this is gold: a compilation of some of the best moments from the show. It takes the wackiness that's hinted at throughout the Unsightly and Zoo Story tapes to a whole other level. Here's what he has to say for himself:
I did the Ramblin’ Greg Show on CJSW all through my University Years, but decided to give it up after getting my degree – in fact my final show was a live Unsightly performance in the studio. After a few years, I couldn’t get over it, so I begged to come back! Eventually, Ramblin’ Greg was back on Saturday Nights just between Oh Africa and Kevin Woron’s Megawatt Mayhem (a scary show to do a fill-in for, lemme tell ya! I did it once; my plan being to be Greg for my show then become Tom Bosley for the Metal show. I though it would be funny – the Dad from Happy Days playing Slayer. The metal fans that phoned in weren’t laughing.)
One night, Gary Brown joined me on the air, and for the second hour we spontaneously created this program hosted by two bodybuilders. It was so much fun we started to do it on alternating weeks, the whole time hoping the program director wouldn’t get wise to Gary being an on-air regular despite not having gone through any CJSW orientation, training, etc. Imagine our surprise when she called up one night to tell us how much she loved our show and to keep up the good work!
Gary and I had recorded a theme song and we would do some pre-production bits (like our Charlie Brown bits, ‘The Devil and Gary Brown” etc) but most of the on-air bits were improvised; we’d scribble down ideas throughout the week and then go through them before the show. The music was a mix of requests and ‘Manly’ bands (Danzig was a big fave). Soon we developed a whole roster of characters and bits. Friends and family would often make guest appearances – some of them becoming recurring characters too (like the infamous Banana Monster)!
This tape was an incentive given out to pledgers during one of the station's funding drives. We're not sure exactly which - an educated guess suggests 1993. Maybe.
We enjoy this far more than we probably should. Especially the request segments. We suggest that you add this to your favourite playlist, to spice things up, as it were.
Sunday, 21 March 2010
We have one last Zoo Story tape to share, realizing that we're out of sequence with the postings here. Greg again gives us the backstory:
Leather Choo-Choo Time was also recorded in Gary’s basement, though this time the basement was smaller and older and we did the recording ourselves on considerably downgraded equipment than Jungle God Shuffle (BTW – to name our tapes, each member contributed a word and we’d arrange them until we came up with something we liked). Please note my ‘big 90’s drum sound’ remix of “Kristara Barrington” at the beginning! Zoo Story broke up soon after, mainly due to increasing time commitments to our day jobs.
But wait! How does this explain the two tapes we presented last year? As hinted in yesterday's post, Zoo Story didn't die there. Cathie and Greg reformed the band, with Jeff Kushner on drums. The put out another two tapes (you'll note from the track listings that there's a lot of re-recording going on here - Greg tells us that Sing and Play Their Hits in a Bathroom was recorded in the the band room at Bishop Pinkham, with vocals done "in the girls' bathroom for the natural echo (plus it smelled better)"). The band finally split with Cathie moved to Victoria, and then Greg moved to Vancouver.
So, remember kids: suffer for your art or it won't mean shit!
Saturday, 20 March 2010
If Jeff Kushner's material hits us in the Nuggets, then Zoo Story hits us in the Children of Nuggets. We were blown away by the first Zoo Story tape we posted last year, so we're pleased to be picking up the full story and presenting their real first tape.
It turns out the two tapes we've previous posted are from basically the second iteration of Zoo Story. Greg tells us the story of how the band first came together:
Cathie Hahnel was an old friend I first met when I was “Ramblin’ Greg” on Friday nights CJSW. We decided we’d have a go at starting a band, but we needed a drummer. So – seriously – we put an ad in the Bargain Finder! After a few false starts, we heard from Gary Brown. We set up in his basement. It was the first time for any of us to be playing our particular instrument in a band context – I was guitar, Cathie bass and Gary drums, so we sounded pretty ragged at first, but songs started to come together.
Meanwhile, Gary had all these friends in the Calgary ‘A-List’ music scene, so one night, we were invited by the Sailcats to play a couple of tunes between sets at Greek Eatery ‘Orestes’! Wow – opportunity knocks! Far from mocking us, the Sailcats and others were very positive and encouraging – to the point that a couple of them set up the recording gear and recorded our first tape “Jungle God Shuffle” which is why it sounds so slick. I still dunno why “Kristara” particularly appealed to people. There’s a remixed version of that tune that Gary submitted to KIK FM – We contrast quite sharply with the bands played before and after us!
Not to knock "Kristara Barrington," but it is curious that it's had such a strong pull for so many folks - our favourite track on here is "Pieces of Candy," reworked from its original Unsightly version.
But then, we've always been more obscure in our choices.
Friday, 19 March 2010
So, it's the summer of 1989, and while Greg Kusher is working on his Skinny Puppy gone Ween schtick, his brother Jeff is goofing around with the same 4-track (and reverb). Jeff is headed in a much different direction, despite what the name may imply.
The scanner we use here in the CCPS office doesn't do the day-glo orange of this j-card justice. But then, our write-ups never do the music justice. So we'll turn to Greg's description of happening on the recordings...
[O]ne night I decided to snoop on Jeff’s recordings. I put one of his tapes and set up a rough mix. The song was “Truth” and when the multiple harmonies kicked in, my jaw dropped. Here I was messing about with my silly fake Goth band and meanwhile Jeff is recording a masterpiece! He soon put it out credited to Das Nichtige. The song “Free” got a lot of play on CJSW.
This tape mines the same place as the other material of Jeff's that we've posted. This hits us right in the Nuggets, a place we kind of like to be hit (or touched, at least).
Thursday, 18 March 2010
We're pleased to be able to offer a second Webheads tape, courtesy again of Greg Kushner and his somewhat deranged sense of humour. While yesterday's tape tackled Led Zep's "Kashmir," this one takes a run at James Brown's "Sex Machine," which sounds more akin to the Silicon Teens than the Godfather of Soul. But it's still worth the price of admission.
To be honest, our designation of yesterday's Webheads tape as the "first" and this as as the "second" is completely arbitrary and uninformed. We think these were both released in the same summer, perhaps at the same time.
Arbitrary and uninformed - we have a new slogan for the CCPS!
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
After the demise of the Unsightly, Greg and Jeff Kushner holed up and kept right on recording. Greg tells the story quite capably, so we'll just turn things over to him for the description of this tape:
The end of June 1989 saw me finishing my first full year as a teacher. The way teachers were paid then was a bit odd…the upshot that you’d start your Summer with a HUGE paycheque, but it would have to last you until the end of September, because it was essentially three months pay in one lump sum. So here’s Jeff and I … renting an entire house (an old WW2 thing on 2oth Ave between Centre and Edmonton Trail – since demolished), our band no more…a sudden influx of cash and summer ahead of us?! What else could we do? We needed to record our respective solo masterpieces! Obviously!
Off to Long and McQuade to rent Drums and a 4-track for two months. We borrowed one of those tiny crap electronic Casio keyboards from a friend (the ‘demo’ track was Billy Joel’s ‘Just the Way You Are’) and set up a ‘studio’ in our basement.
I waited and waited for the muse to strike. While I waited, I noodled about with the 4-track, figuring out what could be done with it. We had a cool little Radio Shack reverb unit, and I put my voice through that and mucked about with it until I sounded like a robot or at least the guy from Skinny Puppy. I plugged the crap keyboard in and improvised a faux-Goth tune I called “Dance Your Way into Hell”. It was kinda funny so I recorded some more like-minded stuff and choice covers, compiled the best bits and ta-dah! I suddenly had a demo tape. I credited it to ‘The Webheads’ and sold them through the Record Store.
Get the first Webheads tape here.
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
This chapter of the Kushner Brothers' exploits ends with this, our third Unsightly tape. Greg tells us that this was again recorded at CJSW, this time in a temporary studio set up at CJSW during the transition from the old production studio to the new (regardless of how old or new they were, they were both in the basement, unlike the palatial space they now occupy).
This tape was recorded after Jonn Janzen took a break to do some travel. Jonn would leave again in the summer of 1989, and the Unsightly called it a day. This tape contains earlier versions of two of our Zoo Story favourites, "Pieces of Candy" and "Love Crusade." These guys were big into re-recording songs - Greg tells us that he and Jeff re-recorded "Crack" in its entirety in 1996, "for a lark."
That's one hell of a lark.
Monday, 15 March 2010
With the 1988 Olympics driving Calgary into a frenzy of Sun Ice and "culture," it only made sense that the Calgary punk scene would try to carve out it own piece of the action. The Unsightly weren't about to miss out on this, uh, golden opportunity. Rather than going for a high price point/low volume sales approach, the Bros. Kushner banged out this tape of live cuts, rehearsals and outtakes for $2 a piece.
Just think how many Petro-Canada commemorative glasses they could have bought with the proceeds!
Sunday, 14 March 2010
Thanks to the box full of awesome that Greg Kushner has sent us, we're able to fill in the back-story of, uh, Zoo Story.
We'll get back to Zoo Story later, but it makes sense to begin here, with the first official Unsightly tape. Greg and Jeff formed their first band, the Unsightly, in around 1985, and recorded a demo called "The Unsightly Can't Play" (as we don't have a copy, we're unable to verify the appropriateness of that statement) to 4-track in the CJSW production studio. After that, they added Jonn Janzen on drums, returned to CJSW and cut the tape we're featuring today.
Greg has sent along a couple of press clippings of reviews the tape garnered in the local media. These don't read like either Veitch or Muretich were impressed by the tape - maybe "Song for Calgary" hit too close to home? Anyways, this is pretty stupid fun - with some great flashes of catchy pop mixed in.
Friday, 12 March 2010
Since you folks like the Riot .303 so much, we're pleased to offer this great gem, fresh from a box full of awesome that Unsightly/Zoo Story guitar hero Greg Kushner has sent us. This is early Von Zippers, pre-name (and German helmets, assumedly). Greg tells us that he made the shortlist for the band's keyboardist, and so Al passed him this great tape to practise to. Five songs, including a vocal-less version of "Megavolt."
Greg says that the keyboard gig ended up going to Tom Bagley (we think the contest was rigged), but he's okay with that. "I woulda been such a lame fanboy – 'Wow – I’m in a band with Al from Color Me Psycho!'."
Sunday, 7 March 2010
A few weeks ago, at a certain punch-up infested Von Zippers show, the lovely and talented Al Charlton came up to us, and handed us a CD.
"Hey, I've had this for a while, and I've thought about putting this out, but... do you want to put this on your site?"
Well, it took us a bit to pick our jaws off the ground (plus we had to figure out how to hold two beers and a CD a the same time...). We managed to ask a few questions, but of course we have even more now. We'll ask Al next time we see him, but for now, here's what we know.
Riot .303 evolved from the celebrated Sturgeons, and members of this legendary skate rock band would go on to further exploits in White Noise/Beyond Possession, Colour Me Psycho, the Primrods, the Von Zippers, the Choads and, uh, the Exploding Pigs. Riot .303's Crowd Control record is one of the most sought-after Calgary 7-inchers, and they also appeared on the celebrated Thrasher Skate Rock Volume One cassette.
One of the things we've been trying to track down since we found out about it a few years ago is the 23-song tape that they reportedly put together. One of the questions we asked Al was whether this is that same tape. Al says it isn't - he says it's better than that tape.
So we don't know when this was recorded - we're using 1981 as an educated guess. This session includes two of the songs off their Crowd Control single, "Drugs" and the completely amazing "(There's) Something Living Under My Bed." The first version on here, with "multuple FU's" is pure gold. The second version is truncated, but still pretty amazing. For something almost 30 years old (!), this holds up today. In fact, we've been listening to this while putting together this post. Between this and the sunny sky outside, we're in the mood now to hit Millennium Skate Park.
You'll probably see us being carried out of there by ambulance later this afternoon.
Wednesday, 3 March 2010
Richard Reynolds got ahold of us via our facebook (is that correct? maybe Facebook should be capitalized? Our editor is doing a liquor run, so we can't check with him right now) page, and has sent us some 80's electronica. We're pretty impressed by this stuff - Calgary's always been a rawk town, so this really is a part of the underground.
This tape is a collaboration of sorts between Reynolds (brokenpaws) and Mikel Weicker (Weep O Mine Eyes). Reynolds tells us that the tape was recorded in both of their home studios; they got to use two tracks each on a 4-track machine, combining them together to form one track. It's kid of hard to fathom how this would have come together over 20 years ago.
Reynolds has pointed us to some reviews of the tape from back in the day, and also some of his and Weicker's more recent (relatively) involvement in the local electronica scene.
Get Ropes here.