Thursday, October 7, 2010

Part-Time Whore demo

















     This post is for Rob Nelson, drummer from the band Part-Time Whore.  My old band and the only band I was in that did anything substantial.  PTW fits in snuggly with these other bands posted here.  There's no question it's a stupid fucking band name.  

    Part-Time Whore lasted about 2 years and it was a happy and productive time in my life.  We accomplished a lot in that 2 years and I think we were a pretty good band.  We put out a 12" vinyl LP with money we got from the Nevada Arts Council back in 1999.  I'll post that record here some other time.  It's a pretty good story in it's own right.  

    Since high school I've been in several "bands."  Most were bands in name only.  I must have been in 3 or 4 bands that never played a lick of music but had great names.  We'd get together to think up band names for hours and then go home. 

    I never got serious about a band until being inspired by the Leap Frog Society/Boba Fett Youth/Catapult scene.  Once all those bands broke up it seemed a matter of civic duty to start up a band to keep the scene from decomposing.  But it's deeper than that.

    My real inspiration came from an experience that I hate to share but it needs to be heard.  In 1997 I took to booking shows for bands from out of town because a vacuum was created when all the above bands broke up.  I took it upon myself to do something after a few months of inactivity in the underground.  This was pre-internet days so I put an ad in a magazine saying I could be a resource to possibly set up a show in Vegas but gave no guarantees.  I just wanted to do something, anything to keep something going.  It was a thankless job as you can imagine and very few of those shows were memorable.  Although it was great to be introduced to the bands Yum Yum Tree from New York and Gymicrae from California.  You have to remember that Vegas had no music venues throughout much of the 90's.  Unless you count the Huntridge which I don't count.  

    The last show I had a hand in setting up as an "independent" promotor was for a collection of bands from the east coast.  Should I mention their names?  The names aren't important.  I got demo tapes from three of the four bands that played that night and they seemed interesting enough.  How can I describe their styles?  Sorta generic late 90's, I bawk at calling it hardcore.  I suppose it could be considered hardcore.  Emo was a term I never understood then and I still don't really have a grasp of it.  I just know I'm not a big fan.  Back then bands were uptight about being labeled emo and I still don't know or care to figure out the distinction.  To my ears it was emolike so that's what I put on the flyer.  Which might have been a mistake.   

    The venue for that show ended up being the house at the bottom of the hill near Sunset blvd on the East side.  I think it was Ron Benway's old house which he sold or rented to these kids.  They had shows there on occasion so I booked it there.  

    It was a mistake from the get-go to try and help a scene I didn't much care much about.  I remember being a bit disheartened by music all together leading up to the show partially because they came across as bigger bands on nice looking record labels.  If this was the best new music happening right now then music kinda sucks.  Shit I might have to reveal who these bands are for this story to make sense.     

    Anyway if you're still following me the bands start showing up at the house.  They were nice enough guys.  The main "headlining" band still hadn't shown up yet.  There was no local band which means there wasn't much of a crowd.   It never got more than a dozen people at the show that night.  I think I had it set at $5 a head but I never turned anyone away from any show I promoted.  

    When the main band finally showed they didn't even say hi to me.  They immediately got to chatting with the other bands which I took a little personally.   I didn't make a big deal about it since they were meeting up for the first time on this tour.  So it's understandable.  Still that wasn't a good first impression.  But let's rock eh?  

    The first band was what you would expect.  The second band was more of the same.  The third band was all that with a little rock and roll attitude added to the mix.  And finally the headliners took the stage.  They were self righteous to the point of comedy.  Speeches between each song.  Dramatic.  Pretentious.  Urgent.  And yet they were so esoteric I had a hard time connecting the dots as to what they were saying so it came across less as passionate conviction and more shallow pointless poetics.  Maybe a meaning only the singer could understand?  Maybe it means nothing?  Who knows?  Who cares?  It was at that point that I realized this was probably the worst music to represent the underground at that time.    

    At one point two douchebag jocks came in to the show.  They didn't pay a dime went right to the stage and started slam dancing.  I could tell they were not the best and brightest but since they were so young I could see they were harmless.  Plus they almost doubled the size of the crowd not counting the other band members who were watching from a distance.  So I did nothing to stop them.  At least they were adding some energy to the festivities.   


    There was no one even close to them but the band felt it was disruptive to their "moment" and so they crowded the two dudes trying to "mosh."  It became obvious that they were opposed to the activity of "the pit" in regards to their music and so they made like they were sacrificing their own safety to make a statement about violence on the dance floor.  It couldn't have looked more ridiculous as it was only two dudes and they weren't even crowding the stage!  I remember being somewhat shocked that the band would be that willing to look like jackasses to make a statement that was really not worth it's breath.  The two jocks got the hint and stopped dancing but then they began heckling the headliners in between songs.  I was tempted to say something and as the promoter it was probably my responsibility but at that point this band had proved to me that they had their heads up their ass.  The less I talk with them the better.  Plus I was interested to see what kind of statement they could make to enlighten us about this issue of loud mouth teenagers at punk shows.  Unfortunately one song later that they ended the set.    

    Shows over.  Thank fucking god.  I split the money up and make the rounds to give each band it's take.  I never took any money from the door for myself since there was rarely over $40 in the take so quite often I'd end up throwing my own cash into the take.  Over the course of a half dozen shows I admit to the habit of splitting the money between the bands according to how their attitude was.  If you were a prick I'd usually give you less money from the door.  It only makes sense and touring bands would be wise to understand that's how it usually works from a promoters point of view.    

   As I'm doing this the jock dudes start provoking the headliners as they leave.  They continue to talk shit outside so the guitarist stands up runs over and slams the door on em.  I never laughed once during this whole ordeal but in retrospect it was a pretty funny spectacle.  The headliners finally said hi to me when I gave them a handful of bills for their troubles.  Yeah I shorted em.      



    God I was disillusioned.  That was it.  Last show I would ever put on to help the "scene."  It was at this moment that I was divinely inspired.  If these lame-o's could get a band and make asses of themselves I could for sure do it.  And do it a thousand times better.  It was the bogus experience of this show that I would carry with me for the first year of the band as inspiration of what not to do.  It was offensive to me that bands like that exist and strangely enough it was their crappy band that forced me to stand up and say I can do this.  Not only can I do it but I have to do it or I won't be able to listen to music again.  It was pure chance that a day later I was invited by Rob to try out for this band they were trying to get together.     

    Rob played drums, Nate played guitar, and they had played together in the last incarnation of Boba Fett Youth.  Judd played bass and he had been in a band before I think it was Lickety Split?  

    Our initial jams yielded some decent results as I tried to find my voice and learn the art of lyric/song craft.  Nate is an amazing songwriter and his riffs formed the basis of every song we ever created.  

   I recall at the time there were so many bands that literally played "lipservice" to the idea of lyrics.  Specifically I remember a 7" record by hardcore bands from SE which included a lyric sheet that was painfully pointless.  All but one band included lyrics the rest admitted there were no lyrics just gutteral barking.   That came across as half assed and so I took my role as lyricist very seriously. 


     Perhaps the great irony is that the first song we wrote which made us all feel like we were going in the right direction was Joe Bowls Takes A Nap which followed the same path those lazy bands had trod.  There were no lyrics just me puling some cookie monster vocals out of my ass.  For some reason Joe Bowls Nap didn't make it to the LP which I can't understand now.  That song is the main reason I digitized this demo because I think that song was great and if you never saw us live then you never got to hear it until now.  I should be forthcoming with the story behind that song.  

     If you hung around punk shows in Vegas in the late 80's throughout the 90's then chances are good you know of Joe Bowls.  A strange guy but I never had a problem with him.  This post is full of tangents.  
    In the 90's there was a regular sunday gathering at Sunset park where a bunch of hippie types would beat on drums and do the hippie hippie shake.  I used to go there regularly and try to meet girls but more often then not we'd just drink beer in the sun until we were exhausted.  One Sunday I go to the "drum circle" and decide to smoke some grass.  A cop was strolling through the crowd so I waited until I thought he was gone and lit up the pipe.  Joe Bowls was seated next to me so I passed it to him trying to be cool.  It was at that time I realized the cop didn't go away he was standing a few feet from me!  The sun had blinded me!  He grabs Joe Bowls and then grabs me and off to jail we went.  So yeah it's my fault I went to jail with Joe Bowls.    

    We were split up at the county courthouse and put in separate cells.  This was the one and only time I've been in jail.  In the middle of the night someone smoked a joint they had smuggled into the cell and the doors swung open and the guards stormed in frothing at the mouth.  They strip searched us all and led us out of the cell.  It was at that time I looked into the neighboring cell and saw Joe Bowls peacefully sleeping on the ground surrounded by all kinds of fucked up people.  That's where the name for that song comes from.  I think this also may have been at least partially a statement about bands that pull that not having lyrics shit.   In the middle of the song I can be heard to say "Listen to me man..." and then I am completely incoherent after that until the end of the song when you can barely decipher the words : "When I get out of jail!"   

     Maybe this was also a jab at bad death metal cookie monster vocals in general?  I was intensionally singing bad to make the point that it's bad to have a singer who sucks.  Yeah art is so easy to manipulate.          

     I still think it's a great song.  Although this version isn't as spirited as I remember it being it's the only decently recorded version of the song so it's the only version you'll ever get to hear.  I'd forgotten about the whistling part.  I'm glad it's now out there for the world to hear if the world so desires it.  I'm also glad to be able to share the a slightly more lo-fi version of the song You (Whoever that may be) which I feel achieves more justice compared to the version recorded on the LP.   

    Irony strikes again with the song Kevin Kidd.  The headlining band in the story I shared above had a song with an intro which sounded exactly like Kevin Kidd!   Since we were somewhat on the same vibe as that shitty band maybe we were among the best underground music at that time?  Or maybe we were among the worst?

     Years later that horrible band returned to Vegas but they were truly big time at that point.  They played the Hard Rock.  This was as the war in Iraq was beginning to escalate and this band mentioned in an interview for Vegas Weekly how they try to downplay or disguise their anti-war politics in the current volatile atmosphere.  God I'll always hate those phony fucking assholes.  Funny thing is they're inspiring me again even now.          


    I should mention that the tape was wrapped in a piece of paper with the song titles written on it.  It mentions that there is a lyric sheet which accompanies the demo but my demo doesn't have one.  In my next post I promise to transcribe the lyrics for this demo.  Thanks again Rob Nelson.  I hope you're happy. 



TECH NOTES:  After we recorded the demo we made about a dozen copies.  It was only after we finished making those copies that we discovered the sickening buzz that was plastered over every song.  I thought it was hilarious because I wanted the music to be an all out attack capable of inducing vomiting.  
    In trying to digitize this I found out how awful the buzz was.  Thanks to my friend Dave Heurtz for helping me EQ that buzz out of the mix.  It sounds a million times better than my Garageband EQ remastering job!



1 comment:

  1. I have this demo tape! Given to me & a friend in Berkeley/ Oakland in 1998 by a guy named Daryll. I think I was supposed to mail it back to him... but I listened to it a lot back then. Digging through my old things for a move, came across it & looked it up. Glad to see this post. Thanks!

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