Saturday, March 20, 2010

Boba Fett Youth live on 91.5 KUNV 11/24/94

       This post is for Rockin Chris Crud the first drummer of Boba Fett Youth and a cool guy.  Haven't seen him in a while maybe I'll see him again when he's touring with his new band?

       Transferring that Leap Frog stuff started a domino effect.  I shook out my worldly possesions and found what I thought was the Boba Fett Youth demo.  After playing it I got an even bigger surprise.  This might have been the BFY demo at one point but I taped over it with a live appearance of Bob Fett youth on the "Community" Radio station 91.5 KUNV.  At the time of this show I didn't have a blank tape so I taped over their demo!  Funny how often demo tapes got taped over during the halcyon days of the cassette recorder.  Even more reason to digitize em ASAP!

      Boba Fett Youth was Boyde Wenger on Bass, Nathan Robards on Guitar, Andrew Kiraly on vocals, and Rockin Chris Crud on drums.  Later on Mr. Crud joined the army or something along those lines and he was replaced with Milo.  I can't remember Milo's last name.  This show aired live in 1994.  

       I haven't heard their songs in years so this was a cool surprise.  Boba Fett Youth was a pivotal band for the Las Vegas "scene" at the time.  They were punk as fuck but were not shy about trying new things musically.  The whole persona of the band while a little contrived was damn clever in it's execution.  They assumed Star Wars geek status years before the explosion reignited by those appalling prequels. But it was mostly marketing genius in terms of the name and not so much in the substance of what they were doing.  Which is cool because if they would have been obsessed with droids and Jabba for every song it would have got old real fast.  Instead they were punk poster children that used the righteousness of Star Wars as a backdrop.  

       Looking back it's funny to think how Star Wars had a weird punk connection at that time.  Maybe because it was such a focal point for so many people in "our" generation.  In all honesty I still get all teary eyed thinking about Hoth or Cloud City.  Wrapping themselves in Boba Fett's mythology without actually going overboard was sheer genius.  Even as their music seems to fade into obscurity there will always been thousands if not millions of people who will be curious to hear this band for years to come simply because of the name.  The name fit perfectly with the band's goofy charm, not to mention the punk "don't give a fuck" factor of taking a copyrighted name as your own.  It was also an original sound and personality that broke from the norms in "hardcore" music at that time.  They had straight up punk content, they even covered a Germs song, but they were also intelligent and obviously clever. 

       I forgot how many good songs they had.  I got their 7" and it's cool but I'm glad I recorded this.  Live recordings are always a better representation.  Although the sound quality isn't exactly superior this draws a good picture of what they were like in a live setting and it gives you a few clues as to their personality through brief interviews that are peppered throughout the show.  

       I'm not sure who the host was but I'm sure I knew him.  I was going to UNLV at the time.  I was caller number three at one point in the broadcast and he mentions my name even though I got the question wrong.  
       I saw them play at least a half dozen times probably more.  They were like the glue for the scene back then.  Andrew had been promoting show at the Henderson Elks Lodge, or was it the Moose Lodge?  Grimple was supposed to play there but got busted for drugs or some shit.  Anyway, Boyde largely took the reigns for promoting shows when he got his label Bucky Records off the ground.  It was inspirational to see how far Bucky records got and it really changed how bands viewed their music after he released as many records as he did.  

       This recording starts off a little weird as the engineer isolates each player for the first few songs.  I found out later they consiously did that to spotlight each personality in the band.  While I used to think Andrew's vocals were annoying, I gotta admit he was the perfect fit for this band.  He plays up the dork angle by being equal parts Milo from the Descendants and the dude from the Crucifucks with a little bit of Jello Biafra thrown in.  I especially like the snotty Rip Offs cover and remember that being my favorite song from their live set although the Germs cover was great too.  That's not to downplay their originals because Make-Up Mike is a good song as is Culture Factory.    Lyrically they had something to say which was a rarity back then and still is kinda rare.  

     Musically this early incarnation of Boba Fett Youth had more of a traditional punk sound in some ways.  But you can understand the vocals because Andrew was "singing" instead of barking or being a tough guy.  If the singer's actually got something to say and he's passionate about it he tends to enunciate.  That's part of the suck factor of growling cookie monster vocalists.  They don't have shit to say so they try to make sure you can't understand a word for fear of deciphering their bullshit.  

      I thought his vocals were a bit much back then but in retrospect I have to say he was a really good vocalist.  Anyone who doesn't hide behind convention has to be considered an innovator, even though admittedly the template for high pitched whiney punk singers wasn't an entirely a new thing.  When I think about it I have to admit his vocals were the secret weapon in this band that made them stand out.  He never ventures too far into pop punk territory although he's definitely hitting the notes with a sarcastic sneer playing on his lips.          
       I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this recording while transferring it. They were one of the most important bands of the mid 90's in Vegas, if not the most important band.  They helped to breathe new life into a scene that appeared to be on the wane.  

      I tried to edit out the "commercials" during the broadcast and therefore missed a few snippets of the show.  Unfortunately my cassette deck started eating the tape in the middle of the process!  Some portions of the show are now gone forever but there's a good 45 minutes digitized here.  I broke it up into as many chunks as I could trying to keep some tracks as all music and some as all interview.  Since I feel it will keep it's character better by keeping them together I decided to included bits of the interviews in every track. 

      Hard to believe this was over 15 years ago.  It brought back great memories.  Hopefully it will do the same for you.  Couldn't remember the names to some songs.  Maybe Rockin' Chris Crud can fill in the blanks?

Boba Fett Youth live on 91.5 KUNV 11/24/94
2.  Empire Strikes Back Theme/Make-Up Mike (this is the track where each member gets miked alone)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bucky Records 7" Compliation

        I totally forgot about this record until I recently digitized the Leap Frog Society catalog.   The song LFS recorded for this record is their only song released on vinyl that I had not accounted for so it made sense to go ahead and digitize the whole record.  Especially when you consider what a lost gem we have here.  This is a stellar record that didn't get the attention it deserved.

        It's a complicated story and I know very little about it from the periphery but here's me trying to piece it together.  Boyde Wenger had released several records at this point with his label Bucky Records.  Bucky had a surprisingly respectable track record of good releases especially considering it mainly featured bands from Las Vegas.  The roster included records from the Heroines, Catapult, Leap Frog Society and Boyde's own band Boba Fett Youth.  At this point Boyde seemed to know what he was doing but during the mastering process of this particular record he made a fatal error.  In an attempt to save a little cash Boyde skipped the ordering of a test press and went ahead and pressed 500 records trusting the mix would be okay.  While he saved a hundred dollars he was left with a press of 500 records which all played at the wrong speed!  The pitch was fucked.  

        I'm pretty sure this was the last record released by Bucky records.  All small labels like this seem to be constantly on the verge of economic collapse.  Maybe this error was enough to do in Bucky Records?  I have to assume that's how it played out because Boyde never went back to correct the pressing.  After the first 500 were sold that was it and it was never repressed with the pitch corrected.  It's a shame because this was a great record in theory.  Unfortunately since it's at the wrong speed I don't think I ever listened to it more than once or twice.  I'm sure other people feel the same way.  So it kind of sank into obscurity more than any other record to come from Vegas from this time period.  Which is saying a lot.

        Thankfully I have a record player with pitch adjustment.  Which just hooked you up.  I hate to think I'm "remastering" these recordings for the new digital age but I suppose that's what I'm doing.  I'm not gonna say I'm a great audio engineer but I put some time into getting it right when I ripped this fucker to ensure that each song sounds as close to the original as I can make it sound with my equipment.  I bring this up because the process of digitizing this record was particularly difficult because of the pitch issues.  

        Side one featuring Leap Frog, Heroines, and Boba Fett Youth and it appears to be the same wrong speed for each song on that side.  Side two was much harder to figure out.  Tomorrows Gone seemed too fast to me, but my pitch would not adjust any lower!  The Catapult song seemed to need less pitch adjustment.  I've tried to get it as close as I can for each song.  If you can do a better job go for it smokey.  I'm all ears.  And beers.  

        Jeez, it's all coming back to me.  This wasn't the last record Bucky records released.  I think that honor goes to "The Blue Whale" compilation, which was another great record.  This record never got a repress because Boyde had already invested money to get the "Blue Whale" going so there was no money available to fix the mastering mistakes that happened with this record.   

        Life sucks because this 7" was the best record Bucky had put out at that point and it's a good cross section of bands from Vegas who played live at the time.  Is this the only vinyl compilation featuring Vegas bands exclusively?  I'm thinking it is.  The "Blue Whale" compilation wasn't just Vegas bands as I remember it also featured the Independents from South Carolina and Sharon Tate from Cali.  A recent investigation of my record stacks shows that I don't own the Blue Whale record!  If you got it how about digitizing it huh?  When I see "Blue Whale" in used record stores it's usually fetching a price of $15 to $20.  That's a record that stands the test of time.  Sadly if you find the 7" posted here I wouldn't suggest paying more than a buck for it unless you got pitch control.  It's a technical snafu that makes for a flawed document.  I only go for low maintenance functional art.  I'm sure you do too.
       And that's the real fucking burn.  This record is great and it never got it's due because of a simple mistake!  Well at least now we can give it a listen on our computers and enjoy it now for what it is.  

          So the music...

        Good mash up of styles that helped feed into each other and reinforce each others strengths.  I'm convinced that all of these bands played with each other at some point.  At the Rainbow Caves, at Losse road ditch, or perhaps Pabco.  

        The Leap Frog Society song here is probably my least favorite song of theirs.  But it's not that bad.  At least you can understand the words a bit more than on their last record.  They were still somewhat dwelling on the crust sound but the arrangement of the music makes this song stand out.  It's clever and bursting with personality so maybe I'm being too hard on em'?  The lyrics for this song were written by a crusty guy by the name of John from Chicago.  He was in a band named P.E.N. (Peace Equality Nihilism) and he had the logo from the band Filth branded onto his back so yeah he was pretty much punk.
       At one point in his travels he came through town with a tattooed punk rock lady who owned a really nice car.  They drove this fancy car to a show Leap Frog Society played at the Rainbow caves and they decided to park in the middle of the desert and hitch hike the rest of the way to the show.  He did vocals on a Filth cover song which Leap Frog played that night. After the show we dropped them off at their car which had been completely vandalized.  I'm assuming by people who just came from the show?  Yeah I know punk can really suck sometimes.  I'm trying to remember how many vehicles I've seen destroyed at desert shows.  Several.  

         The Heroines song here is a favorite.  Simple pop pep that's about as sexy as they ever got lyrically.  I never really grew too attached to Kelly's vocals as she seemed to be all snottiness and little in the way of finesse.  But the song on this record's got some balls.  Yeah I'd fuck her.  You'll have to listen to the song in order to laugh at that last sentence.    

        The Boba Fett Youth song here seems like quite a departure for them.  Do I detect a Catapult influence?  Maybe.  The bassline is super hypnotic.  Andrew Kiraly never struck me as a good singer but he nails this song. He almost sounds like an 80's metal singer like Rush or Dream Theatre or something like that.  I know that sounds like a dis but I think it really works in this case.  This song is fairly progressive and exotic.  Dare I say mature?  One of the last songs they recorded.

        I'm not too familiar with Tomorrows Gone but I did see them play quite a few shows back yonder.  The song here is fucking tight.  While it's not really my bag baby I might call this song the winner of the whole record.  Cool galloping drums providing a solid backbeat that hooks you right at the first listen.  Hopefully I "remastered" this at the right speed.  It's pretty fast.  Cool track!
        The Catapult song here took forever to digitize.  I could never determine the true speed.  Anyway here's as close an approximation as I can hear with my ears.  Again not my fave Catapult song but it's catchy enough and I recall this being a staple of their live set.  Talk about phoneing in the vocals.  Where's the enthusiasm?  Thankfully it picks up half way through the song making it worth your time to listen.     

         I've scanned my copy of the record here.  More great artwork provided by Greg Higgins.  Thanks to Boyde for making a great compilation.  I wish this record could have been salvaged and re-pressed with the pitch corrected but at least we can enjoy it here now.  

Bucky Records Presents: "My parents went to Las Vegas and all they brought me was this fucking 5 song 7" compilation"

Side 1

Side 2


Saturday, March 6, 2010

learning curve

       Yeah Mediafire is a pain in the ass.  Yes it shouldn't be.  Yes I'm working on it.  I've fixed all the video links so you can download them all without even leaving the blog.

      I'm trying to do a similar thing with the music posted here but for some reason folder downloads are harder to figure out.  I may just post each song individually if I can't figure it out soon.  That way there's no confusion.  

      I'm sure there will still be confusion.  

     At the risk of making this blog seem like a diary for everyone to see I have to share that the last few weeks have left me despondent, overly depressed, anxious, and delirious with emotion.  I've been afraid to leave my house for fear of running into people who are hateful or more depressed than myself.   I saw three people last week who were openly crying in the middle of the street.  

     It gets to me.  And I wonder how much patience I have left.  How much time I have left.  

     I've given up hope so many times over but I always get back on track so I knew I would turn around.  I been here before.  I keep coming back.  I don't let my emotions get the better of me even in my darkest despair because life is constant change.  I used to hate change but now it's all I can do to change everyday.  Shit, my life is pretty fantastic.  And yet sometimes it's the simplicity of wondering what I will be doing for the next few hours that throws me off, let alone what I will be doing next year.  It makes me think I'm crazy but only for a second.  If I'm crazy what does that make everyone else?  

      I started taking a class today, not that the class has turned me around but it's giving me more than I thought it would.  It makes a difference to wake up early and actually enjoy the day.  I have trouble sleeping because I think about what future I have left and I'm daunted by my choices.  So I hide.  I can't hide anymore.  The key is to stay busy.     

      What a beautiful day.  I'm going outside.  In the mean time here's something that is so great it might make you cry. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Leap Frog Society Records

        Leap Frog Society was a band close to my heart because these guys are close friends.  

       They were in the 4th, 5th, or 8th wave of Las Vegas bands that claimed the lineage of LVHC, or at the very least they couldn't be labeled as anything else.  LFS started around 94 and I think broke up in 96. 

        I watched them progress from shitty noise jams to shitty punk jams.  Funny band.  And strangely enough not such a stupid band name.  Actually it's really stupid unless you get the inside joke.  Leap Frog Society was a reference to an old friend by the name of Jason Comstock.  He wanted to leap frog over society and then get out of the way when society tried to leap frog over him.

Maybe it is a stupid band name?

       These two records were pretty inspirational to me back then.  Once again I have to add that if it were not for the efforts of Boyde Wenger I don't think either of these records would have been released.  Boyde put out the LFS split with Catapult on Bucky Records which lit a fire under Leap Frog's ass and got them to self release a 2nd record on Meat Slap Records.

       Boyde later booked a tour for Leap Frog Society going up the West Coast and looping back to Vegas via Colorado.  I was lucky enough to roadie for those guys on that tour and I'll be forever grateful for the experience.  

       This is not a full discography of Leap Frog Society.  They did a short song for the Wood Panel Pacer With Mags Compilation LP for Very Small Records which is a great album filled with 99 songs, none over 30 seconds long.  If you haven't heard it yet you probably should.  LFS also did a song for a Bucky records compilation which I couldn't find in my stacks.  Luckily my brother Mark gave me a copy yesterday.  

      I promise to digitize that record soon!  

       Musically these LFS records are a mixed bag.  The first 7" has much better production.  The second 7" was recorded on a 12 channel cassette recorder so it's considerably more lo-fi which isn't a bad thing really.  Both of them have moments of brilliance.  Junkie Cop is a great track from the first record.  It makes me want to hear some of their songs that didn't make it to vinyl like "Bunk Dose" or their "Slayer cover" but I don't think they ever even recorded those songs. 


       I think I dig the 1st record more.  It's more relaxed, dopey, and somewhat experimental.   They became better musicians and songwriters by the time they put out the second record but it comes off a little formulaic in the crusty/bad metal genre.  You can tell they were listening to a bunch of Filth and other crusty shit by the time they started recording the 2nd record.  Still I'd say Human Atrocity and Defective Genes are both great tracks off that record.  The other day I was listening to Terrorizer and I swear it sounded a little like the chorus in  Human Atrocity.        

       Leap Frog fit in well with the scene that was developing around that time of similarly minded bands who tended to drop the tuff guy posturing which had been a staple of this kind of music since the 80's.  Even though the second record does have a little more ballsy attitude it still comes across as a party record.  Albeit one swinging a chain. LFS became active alongside other cool bands like Boba Fett Youth, Catapult, Heroines, Tommorow's Gone.  God it seemed like there were more but I'm drawing a blank.  Lickety Split?  

       Lyrically you're not dealing with a bunch of geniuses here.  The first record is dumber than dirt.  Somehow I like it better.  It was unabashed in it's simplistic stupidity.  It was a just a bunch of guys trying to hold it together long enough to come up with some  songs and it comes off pretty unique.  They got real wordy on the second one which plays into the crusty feel of the deal.  Not like you can understand a word anyway but I made a good scan of the lyric sheet so if you're really curious you can try and follow along.  

500 records pressed.  All 500 covers were printed on recycled beer boxes.  That's 6,000 beers.  

       I digitized these by letting the record play out.  So hey- welcome Leap Frog Society into the digital age.  Here's to hoping that Greg can find and digitize that Slayer cover song someday.  Man I loved that song.