Sunday 12 June 2011

Consumer Identity - Work. Buy. Die. (1997)

Two years ago, we got a tape from (we think) Dan Izzo by Consumer Identity that we didn't know much about (mostly because we lost the j-card - it's one of those weird cases where we thought we had scanned it, but turns out we hadn't). So we were pretty happy a couple of months ago, when vocalist and guitarist Aaron Kirkham dropped us a line. He filled in the band's membership for us, and then offered up this unreleased CD from the band. Here's the full story from Aaron:

I had previously been in a band called December with Ian (Mr. Flemish Eye) Russell from about 1991 to 1993. When I moved back to Calgary from Vancouver sometime in 1996, Consumer Identity started up when Jordan [Tettensor] who I had been mates with since high school and shared my tastes for bands like Napalm Death, Brutal Truth and the whole short hair metal hardcore scene like Unbroken and Earth Crisis got around to talking to Ian about starting up a hardcore/grindcore band. Amusingly Ian was up for it and we started jamming at the Hillhurst house Ian was living in. We eventually recruited Big Dan on bass when he moved to Calgary from out east somewhere. We started playing shows with me playing guitar and singing but I was getting fed up with being the vocalist and guitarist at the same time (mostly because I really wanted to do more axe wielding jump kicks etc) so we started looking for a full time vocalist. After trying out a few different people, Aram [Arslanian] showed up at the jam spot one night as we were getting ready to record the demo tape. He fit in right from the very start as he was ultra political in his views and just wanted to scream his head off as an angry young man should.

We recorded the demo with Aram singing the 3 tracks he had learned up to that point and then we went out on a short Western Canadian Prairie tour. We got back from that tour and decided we should rerecord all the songs with Aram singing them and spend more time and money on it so that we could record some new songs we had written as well. That recording session is what makes up the "Work.Buy.Die." album. We were all really stoked about the recording which had been done over a weekend at the new house Ian had moved in to. Just as with the demo the tracking was recorded by John Swires who at that time was one of the founding members of the Catch & Release recording collective. The guitars, bass and drums were all recorded live. Some guitar overdubs were recorded on the second day. Then vocals were recorded with poor Aram completely loosing his voice at the end of the night. He finished off the last couple tracks the next day. Then Roger Sallans mixed the tracks at his own studio and burned two copies of the album to CDR.

The record was supposed to be released as one side of a split 12" that Aram was going to put out on a new record label he was just starting. I think the other side of the 12" was supposed to be Nine Iron Spit Fire but I'm not completely sure. It was one of the SXE bands from Seattle anyway. Then out of nowhere Ian quit the band when he got a scholarship to go to Scotland to study fine Arts for a year. Aram was supposed to go and pick up the master tapes of the album from Roger's studio but he never did and after like a year I think Roger recorded over them so the multi track recordings of the album were lost forever. The two CDR's that had been burnt of that evaluation mix were the only copies the album in existence at that point. I know a few copies of the CDR were made for people in the band but I don't even know if Aram or Dan ever got a copy because I never saw them again after that. I don't think the band even bothered to look for a replacement drummer it just basically died with Ian leaving the band just after recording the album.

There was one funny side note to the band breaking up which was a side project bandthat grew out of it consisting of me and Jordan on guitar, Al Isenbart (from Lucas and Commode Records) on bass, Casey Lewis on drums and none other than Paul Coutts on vocals. The band was called "Forthcoming Empire" and played only one show to open up for Napalm Death at the Republik at the behest of Wes Hegg.

The thought of that combination kind of blows our minds; Aaron has said he might have a board recording, which we're incredibly curious to hear. And Aaron also reminds us that Ian and Jordan went on to a fair amount of infamy with the Fake Cops before Ian started up Flemish Eye.


Mike said...

wow! So stoked for this! Thank you.

Unknown said...

I am looking at the Napalm Death flyer right now trying to remember what year that was.
I want to say 1998...

Anonymous said...

Any chance you could scan that flyer? Would love to get a copy of it.