Saturday, November 22, 2008

In search of the lost local rock music

In a labyrinth of other storylines at last night's Poetry Scores Art Invitational was some rock and roll nostalgia.

The invitational was an assignation point for myself and a man named Mark who found me through a previous post about the Boston rock scene in the 1980s, which I encountered as a Navy squid at Boston University. I saw Let's Active at the Paradise on Commonwealth Avenue in 1985; Mark saw Let's Active at the Paradise in 1986 - and he taped it!

Last night, this guy showed up at Hoffman LaChance, found out who I was somehow, and slipped me a CD of that Let's Active set, paired with a 1986 set at the Paradise by Rain Parade. Today I have been competing for airspace with my daughter, who wanted to hear the new Miley Cyrus record (which is actually very good); but whenever I got my turn, I partied like it was 1986.

Then, one of the artists in the invitational, Keith Buchholz, suddenly drops it on me that he was a major fan of my first band, Enormous Richard. He certainly wasn't making it up - he remembered those days better than I do. Given that I'm a good fifteen years on from anything resembling a local rock star trip, it was really weird to be having that conversation. I made it worth Keith's while at the end of the night by giving him a CD that mixes the songs I like best (or, rather, regret least) from the first two ER CDs.

What was I doing driving around with a CD of the songs I regret the least from my first, long-dead rock band? Because of Thomas Crone, why else.

Crone recently wrote to several survivors of the local rock old guard:


On Thanksgiving day, I'll be filling in for Doug Morgan on his KDHX show, "The Record Sto'," which I've done for the past few years now. Scott Randall of Fragile Porcelain Mice will be my in-studio guest that afternoon (2 -4 p.m.) as FPM is playing the Lucas School House later that night. The day after T-day, I'll also be doing my usual show, "Silver Tray," on Friday, from noon - 2 p.m.

For both these shows, I'm wanting to play all STL tracks, from the '70s-today. I hope to highlight this on the new KDHX blog within the next couple days, and I'll also point towards that link on 52nd City, etc. Though I feel pretty good about my collection of old-school STL rock, I'm very open to the idea that some of you have MP3s, CDs, etc. of live tracks, unreleased tracks, alt.versions, what-have-you, which would work well for retrospective shows like this.

I'd love to play some A Perfect Fit, but only have music of theirs on cassette, and they're just one band along these tape-only lines. Thanks for any leads and thanks for making the music you have made. The act of typing these names up brings a smile to my face; playing the songs will only heighten that goodwill.

I hope you get to listen to the shows live; if not, please stream the shows for two weeks after, via


Of course, I had to answer that bell. I have a decent archive of the sort Crone is looking for. For years I harbored the fantasy of producing a "Lost Rock Band" series of CDs, and got right up on the brink of doing volumes for Judge Nothing (Alton, Illinois), Soda (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), and The Lettuceheads (St. Louis) before various problems, most persistently poverty, intervened. Last night, Keith Buchholz was talking the same smack, so who knows, this too may yet come to pass.

As for Crone, last night I handed him some Club Zero (proto-Judge Nothing - the band that started the Cicero's Basement scene, for you history buffs), Lydia's Trumpet (such sweet, sublime music; also on the reissue list), and Dirt Cousin (whose leader, Joe Z. Armin, now fronts The Aerosols in San Francisco; essential indie rock). I'll certainly tune in next week to see what Crone plays from my stuff and whatever else he is amassing.

If you have what Crone needs, contact me, because I'm sure I'll want a copy, too.


The photo is of Big Toe, which I don't count as my first band, though its one gig did predate Enormous Richard. With the exception of me, who had never before taken the stage, Big Toe was a local supergroup, ca. 1989. From left: Joe Z. Armin (Dirt Cousin), me, David Gendelman (Bad TV), Andy Dykeman (Judge Nothing - and that's now Dr. Andy Dykeman to you), Eric Rose (Butt of Jokes, my racquetball companion who deprived me of the ending of the novel that continues to haunt me in its incompletion) and Marshall Boswell, who was not in Big Toe or any local band until he cofounded Enormous Richard; he is now an accomplished fiction writer (most recent title: Alternative Atlanta, a novel; good hipster Christmas present). Joe and Andy, by the way, are showing one another the big toes inked on their chests, and you can see the tip of my big toe peaking out the top of my torn T-Shirt.

1 comment:

Keith Buchholz said...

sent a e-mail off to crone - told him we should get together & dig through all this old stuff i've got too.... do you have the cheese sampler by judge nothing...still love that tape.....
glad you got the lydia's trumpet stuff to him - another great band from here... I'd really like to do the lost label releases thing - we should all talk more about it ..
i've got a list here of about 200 band names, and it's often added to by friends - i'm sure you guys could help me add a lot more.
the Heels, the obvious, styrenes, felons, primatives, rockouts, joe camel, bopalots, young lumber, 3-d monster, the bishops, belinda chaire,junkbox,...... rings some bells ???