Monday, July 30, 2012

Hose Got Cable

"This is Bob Dylan to me."
I never really cared about the Minutemen, but I grok what they were talking about in the song "History Lesson - Part II".  The entire point behind punk rock was that we didn't feel like mainstream culture connected with us, so we had to create our own entertainment.  Seeing Hose was like watching Nirvana in some kid's basement, or at a 200 capacity club.  But better, because they were peers.  We all lived in the same city, knew the same people, shopped at the same grocery stores, went to the same bars.  There was a special kind of connection.
Hose Got Cable consisted of Chris Wade on guitars/vocals, John Partin (same), John Skaritza on drums, and John Peters on bass.  Each member brought something to the band - Chris brought the punk rock ethos, Partin seemed like a classic rock kind of guy, Skaritza had a jazzy/Fugazi kind of style, and Peters was previously in the metal band Killing Cycle (also featuring Mark Morton, who was in an earlier incarnation of Hose also, and later went on to be in Lamb of God).  They were able to fuse these styles into something unique.

Hose Got Cable cassette

In the summer of 1994 (I think), Chris Wade gave me a cassette of recent Hose recordings, some boombox classics, and a tape of his band from High School.  One of the songs on side B is maybe 5 seconds long, and is called "I Don't Give a Shit" - to me, it says more than anything the Sex Pistols ever did.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Richmond didn't have a lot of heavy bands in 1993.  There were a lots of bands that tuned their guitars plenty low.  Lots of bands played the ol' chugga chugga riffs.  Some even played that kind of Southern swampy stoner rock.  But few were actually HEAVY.
When they started out, Nudibranch's members were Flossy Branch on vocals, Dangerous Branch on guitar, Nasty Branch on bass, and Commander Deveroe on drums.  Flossy often wore a mask and sounded a little like a heavy metal David Yow.  Dangerous had an alternative rock hairstyle; and was somehow able to come up with crushing riffs, inventive noises, scratches/scribbles - all while seemingly teetering on the edge of not being able to play.  Nasty was into a wide variety of music, looked like that one guy in that one movie, and might be reading this right now.  The Commander was a huge Kiss fan (legend has it that he owned their pinball game) and played his two bass drums as if he were playing three.  They recorded this demo:
Nudibranch - Logic Studios Demo

The song "Robot Girl" has some of my favorite lyrics ever:
Don't want an Earth girl
Don't want a normal girl
A normal girl will often go
A fact of life that we all know
That's why we go with Robot Girls
Robot Girls are always faithful
Unless someone steals the controls
But that won't happen - we've got code control

A year or so later, Dangerous left to join some branch of the armed forces (did I mention his name was "Dangerous"?) and was replaced by Perry Branch.  Nasty left and was replaced by Pete (RIP).  Tony Brown also played bass at some point, as did Ian from Damn Near Red.  Flossy either moved away or quit, and there was Gingwin then Orlock then Hot New Dance Hits.  Are you still reading this?  My friend Blade wrote a more detailed account of the band here.

Monday, July 16, 2012


I forgot most of what I once knew about the one-man band Assacre.
1. His mask to shirt ratio was usually 1:0.
2. His amplifier was relatively small.
3. Did I mention that I forgot most of what I once knew about him?
4. His real name was Ben Aqua.
5. He played guitar along to pre-recorded bass, drum machine, vocal and rhythm guitar tracks.
One man bands are a difficult thing to pull off.  For one thing, there's a lack of a visual element for an audience.  Generally, when you're watching a band, your eyes will maybe go back and forth from one band member to the next (unless you're at a White Stripes show and you're a heterosexual male {shut up, admit it}).  You can't really do that with a one-man band.  Also, there's an irreplaceable synergy between band members when they are connecting on that level.  The entire process in that regard is similar to sexual intercourse.  You can do it by yourself, but it's better if there's more than one person in the room.  Going further, you have to be really good at it to make people want to watch you.  Assacre was really good at it (I'm talking about playing music, pervert).
Ben Aqua was active in this band for either a few months in 2004 or several years between 2002 and 2008 (see #3 above).  He once posted a sendspace link to one of his albums on myspace, if that gives you an idea of a time frame.  This is not that album:

 Also, he used to cover "Muscles" by Diana Ross.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Triskaidekaphilia formed in the late summer of 1994.  Sean Sutphin played drums, John Swart played bass, Martin Deal played guitar, Ben White sang.  Sean, John, and Martin all lived together on the 1500 block of Floyd Avenue; and being young men with a lot of time on their hands (and not a lot of responsibilities) they spent a lot of time practicing. 
A few months after they formed, the band went up to Neptune Studios in Occuquan and recorded their first couple of songs.
Neptune Sessions
For some reason, they never released those recordings.  Instead, they re-recorded the same songs and added a few new ones.

Side A
Side B

I'm not really sure what ended up happening to Triskaidekaphilia.  Ben was also in the pop-punk band Whirlybird, which was more his thing at the time, so Triska (the shortened form that the cool kids used for their name) was relegated to side-band status.  Eventually, Ben quit.  I forgot what happened to them after that.

Martin Deal was a friend of mine, but I wouldn't say we were close.  He seemed to kind of keep to himself, and he had this kind of childlike quality to him.  He had short dreadlocks, but didn't seem as gruff, tattooed or... crusty as a lot of the people he hung out with.  I don't remember when, but I started hearing that he had a heroin habit.  I recall seeing him at a bar called the Hole in The Wall in the late 90's, looking - please excuse the language - pretty fucked up.  I didn't see much of him after that.
The last time I saw Martin, he looked like he had totally turned it around.  He was in a serious relationship with a girl, and was actually buying musical equipment.  He also had a kind of clarity in  his eyes that I hadn't seen in years.  In fact, he was one of the last people I saw before moving from Richmond to Austin.  I was loading everything I owned into a 1983 Honda Civic, preparing to make the 26-hour drive.  Martin lightened my load a little by giving me $50 for my wah wah pedal.  A few months later, I found out that he had died from a heroin overdose.

Monday, July 2, 2012


I recently watched a documentary about New York's No Wave scene in the late 1970's.  Apparently, the mission was to create music that didn't reference anything.  To create something completely new.  Unfortunately, most of these "artists" had no idea how to play their instruments, so 35 years later it just sounds like a bunch of noise.  Worse, it sounds really old and dated.
20 years later, Mick Barr cashed the check that the Rock and Roll Literati wrote.  Mr. Barr has spent the past decade or two making music that is so advanced that it barely even sounds like music.  His new band Krallice sounds like Justin Bieber compared to what he usually does.
At a club in Washington DC ca. 2000, I ran into Mick, and he gave me this cassette.
Now, here is what I love about this tape.  It exemplifies the kind of DIY mentality that made me want to make this blog in the first place.
1 4-track cassette recorder
1 Boss Metal Zone distortion pedal
1 Gibson SG standard
1 cheap drum machine, either a Boss DR-550 or some sort of low end Alesis
2 guitar cables
That's it.  Barr didn't even use an amplifier or any microphones for this.  Guitar into Metal Zone into 4-track.  Drum machine into 4-track.  He then probably dubbed the cassettes from the master mix on to major label promotional cassettes and handed them out to people.  It meant something.  Nowadays, we can all record into Pro-Tools and post our wonderful creations on or or whatever, and it doesn't matter.  I acknowledge the fact that my posting of this cassette online kind of contributes to this.  Living in denial of this is not unlike refusing to build a boat when the Big Rain starts coming.  So here you go.
Octis Side A
Octis Side B