The Western Reserve is back with a pretty spectacular episode for Aquabear Legion’s 15th birthday! Aquabear is celebrating by releasing two compilations: the new Ohio music compilation VOLUME 7 (on vinyl) and an Aquabear Legion Archival Release called MOTHER OF PRESIDENTS (on cassette). This episode I play stuff from both of those releases, talk about the compilations, and more. You can pre-order your copies and support Aquabear right now on Indiegogo at igg.me/at/aquabearlegion
Van Dale – “Numbskull” Smizmar – “Sad Eyes” Actual Form – “Butler” Great Plains – “Hamburger Boy” 84 Nash – “She’s a Warrior” Thee Shams – “Run My Life” Ampline – “Silver Wave” Mirrors – “Slow Down” Log – “Near Enough” Grafton – “I’ve Been Lookin'” Orchestraville – “I See Grey” Dana – “Cupid” Appalachian Death Ride – “Harvest Moon (live)”
Athens based Ohio music and art collective Aquabear Legion will be celebrating 15 years with the release of two compilations. Aquabear Legion Volume 7 is a compilation on vinyl featuring new Ohio music from around the state, and Mother of Presidents is an archival compilation on cassette featuring classic Ohio bands. Pre-order and support these projects right now on Indiegogo at igg.me/at/aquabearlegion. The pre-order campaign features both releases along with new Aquabear t-shirts and hoodies, prints, previous releases, and more. These will be the 14th and 15th releases from Aquabear Legion since 2004.
Aquabear Legion Volume 7 will be released as a 12” vinyl record with art from Athens’ own Chris Biester and music from Actual Form, Ampline, Buffalo Killers, Counterfeit Madison, DANA, Hiram-Maxim, Lung, Smizmar, and Van Dale. This will be a run of 300 records, 50 of which will be some sort of super special vinyl color.
Mother of Presidents is an Aquabear Legion Archival release on cassette and is a compilation featuring legendary Ohio acts from all around the state, covering the years from 1974 to 2004. Music from 84 Nash, Appalachian Death Ride, Geraldine, Grafton, Great Plains, Jenny Mae, Log, Mike Elliott, Mirrors, Orchestraville, Ron House, Swearing at Motorists, Thee Shams, and more still to be announced.
I can’t believe it took me 19 episodes of this podcast to do an all-Athens episode from my college years. This was a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy it as well. A whole bunch of firsts here: this is the first time I play We March (!?!) and The Makebelieves (!?!?!), and even a few others, and the first time I play a song by a band I was in. Enjoy.
The Snails – “Queen of the Dumb”
The Makebelieves – “Busy City”
We March – “Darken My Door”
Small Object a – “Nothing Is Better Than Hitting A Nazi Pinata”
Woody Whatever – “Rocket Space”
Men of Gentle Birth – “The Best Things”
Geraldine – “Cotton”
Appalachian Death Ride – “Railroad Penny”
Southeast Engine – “The Moon”
Casual Future – “Among the Ash Heaps and Millionaires”
Dragline Brothers – “Julie in July”
Wailin’ Elroys – “Scaredy Blues”
The Arch Villians – “The Age of Steel and Bombs (live)”
Big awesome show at The Union this Saturday, October 13. Cleveland legends Rocket From the Tombs will be joined by two of Ohio’s finest bands around: Obnox (featuring Lamont Thomas of This Moment in Black History,Bassholes) and The County Pharoahs (Chris Biester of Appalachian Death Ride, Scott Winland and Brandon Robinson of Dropdead Sons). Don’t miss this one. Tickets are available in advance at Haffa’s or at the door tomorrow night. Music starts at 10pm, don’t be late.
From the press release:
“The legendary Rocket From The Tombs, born in 1974, flamed out in 1975, have finally recorded a studio album, delivering “Barfly,” and closing the circle on an incredible journey.
The received wisdom (at least in America) goes that punk rock was invented in New York by the Ramones who reconfigured midwestern hard groove rock and 60s garage singles into a formula that defined punk: short, fast, catchy, and unstoppable. But in some weird parallel universe, punk might have traced its roots to Rocket From The Tombs, a Cleveland band that lasted less than eight months and never made a studio recording.
Three things went wrong for Rocket From The Tombs: a level of drug and alcohol abuse to worry even Keith Richard; a band volatility that rivaled that of The Troggs; and a turnover of drummers that would’ve flummoxed Spinal Tap.
One thing went right: in those eight months they wrote songs that would become punk anthems: “Ain’t It Fun,” “Sonic Reducer,” “Final Solution,” “So Cold,” “What Love Is,” “30 Seconds Over Tokyo,” “Amphetamine.” And they played them like there was no tomorrow. There *was* no tomorrow. They’d used up tomorrow. The band blew apart in July 1975 after an apocalyptic soundcheck that scared the bejeebers out of headliners Television. One faction went on to create the avant-garage rock group Pere Ubu, the other punk stalwarts The Dead Boys.
That might have been the end of the Rocket story except that over the next 25 years a frantic international trading of bootlegs bestowed on the band a legendary status. An album of live and rehearsal tapes, “The Day The Earth Met The Rocket From The Tombs” (2002), led to a nervous reunion in 2003. The core of the band – David Thomas, Cheetah Chrome and Craig Bell – remained from the old days. They were joined by Television’s Richard Lloyd who replaced Peter Laughner (died 1977). Pere Ubu’s drummer Steve Mehlman was drafted.
The fire still burned. For good and bad. Two tours produced extreme, brutal concerts, but also plenty of late night dust-ups in the parking lots of cheap roadside motels.
“We got that bad attitude thing in our blood,” singer David Thomas said. “Can’t shake it. But at least we’re not young, loud and snotty anymore. We’ve moved on. Now we’re *old*, loud and snotty.”
Taking that attitude in the studio produced “Barfly,” an unreconstructed, unapologetic re-affirmation of the power and glory of guitar rock: guitar solos traded between two masters of the craft, an inventive rhythm section devoted to midwestern groove mania, and a singer who learned all there is to learn from channeling Rob Tyner and Don Van Vliet. “I will amblify you,” Thomas growls in the middle of the album’s fierce opening track “I Sell Soul.” And whatever that might mean… he means it.
The bitter irony of “Romeo & Juliet,” the Cleveland / Detroit nexus of “Sister Love Train” / “Love Train Express,” the manic-obsessive drive of “Maelstrom,” the Robert Calvert sci fi dystopian romance of “Butcherhouse 4,” and the Bukowski grunge of “Pretty” reflect the 70s revisionism that is at the heart of the album’s production.
“Barfly’ delivers a sound that’s not dated or restricted to any passing fad or marketing infatuation. These men are ugly, old, and have not mellowed in any conceivable way. They’ve devoted their lives to raging against the boundaries, and they have been willing to pay the price. “Barfly” dismisses the last 37 years as a waste of time. Cuts it away without a second thought. That, in itself, makes “Barfly” worth the wait.”
The Moose Is Loose presents its historic second episode, and its historic because we did another one! This episode is part one of an All-Aquabear County Fair preview (look for episode 3 next week!) and you can hear Brian talk about surgery, his cat, living on an alley, and of course play a lot of sweet music. The focus of part one is on Friday, March 9th so you will hear from all the bands playing the first day of the 6th annual Aquabear County Fair. From the early show at Donkey you will hear Chris Biester (represented by an Appalachian Death Ride song), Sovroncourt, and Moon High. Brian then moves on to Casa Cantina where you will hear songs from the bands playing there: The D-Rays, Hex Net, Sundown, and Weird Science.