Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Band History 101

Anyone who knows me knows that music is a very big part of my life.

Recently, I left the band I was playing for, Otisburg. After doing this it got me to thinking: How many bands have I been in? So, essentially this post is really a lot of useless information about the history of the bands I have been in.

This is the year that my friend Von and I formed our first band. Basically, we started it after we got out of high school, just something for fun to have something to do because we were bored. The band’s name was originally Hate Machine. However, because there was another local punk band called Hate Party, we decided to change it. We ended up picking the name AbF, which originally did stand for something, the name of a fictional dance club that we read about in a book about a punk rocker vampire. As the years went by, the name came to stand for many different things.
Anyway, most of this year was spent with me singing and playing guitar and Von singing and playing drums. We didn’t really do much this year except write some songs.

This is the year we actually started doing things. Von stopped playing drums and we hired a drummer by the name of Josh. We never hired a bass player. We played our first show in the living room of some friend’s of ours. Josh actually didn’t last long. Basically, he was around for that show and that’s it.
After this show, I actually ended up putting AbF on hold for a while because I joined another local punk band called Goon Squad as a second guitarist. Good Squad was basically the aforementioned Hate Party with a different singer (and of course, me as a 2nd guitarist).
That band actually didn’t last very long, long enough for about 2-3 shows. So, when that ended, AbF found a bass player by the name of Brian and a drummer by the name of Chad. It was during this incarnation of AbF that I switched to bass guitar. At practice, I kept breaking guitar strings because I was playing too hard and really didn’t have much control. So Brian, the current bass player, suggested he and I switch because bass strings were thicker and harder to break. Easy fix. We only ended up doing one ‘real’ show with this lineup, but we did have a bunch of open practices in the garage we were practicing in. This lineup ended when Brian left the band for still unknown reasons.
Also in 1991, I joined another band with a friend of mine named Sonny. It was more metal in nature than the other band’s I’d played in. It was called The Punished. I played bass and sang, while he played guitar. We had a sort of revolving drummer position and didn’t do any shows, just once again, mostly open practices. This band did not last long at all, maybe 2-3 months.

In this year, AbF went through 2 totally different lineups.
First, we replaced Brian, who quit toward the end of 1991 with an old school friend of ours, Dennis. We practiced a few times with the Von/Steve/Dennis/Chad lineup until Chad decided to leave and form a band with Brian. Because we had a major show coming up, we needed a drummer desperately. Dennis found us a temporary replacement named Skosh, an old roommate of his. We did that one major show with him and actually had considered keeping him around until both he and Dennis started getting flaky and not showing up to practice. So, we never invited Skosh in as a permanent replacement and on top of that, we fired Dennis.
The second lineup during this year came when we hired Frank, a guy who I actually don’t remember how I met but he was really into a band called Bad Religion, who Von and I were also into, so we got along pretty good. Also, during this year, we had yet another revolving door drummer position and ended having, I think 3 drummers while Frank was with us.

1993 was a really strange year for AbF. I ended up switching back to guitar for reasons I still don’t remember. We played a bunch of shows during the first part of this year but we had a bunch of different members. The core of the group, Von as singer and me as guitarist was the same, but the bass player and drummer position was ever rotating.
I really don’t know how we stayed together at all this year. On top of that, in September of that year, I entered the air force, so at the time that band was all but over.

This year started with absolutely no AbF lineup at all. In fact, I had joined a band as a singer only called Crackbaby. This band started while a friend of mine name Jay and I were up really late at night one night and discussed thoughts on started a band and he said he played drums and had 2 friends that played guitar and bass but they needed a singer to complete the project they had started. So in comes Steve as that singer. Besides me as singer and Jay as drummer, there was Bob playing guitar and Mike playing bass. We did some really good shows and did some very interesting recordings with this band (most of which I do not have copies of).
This band broke up because Bob went back to school and was spending a lot of time with that. So, thus began a new AbF lineup. Jay joined as the drummer and we ended up hiring a friend of mine named Charles to play bass. I would like to add here that when Charles joined, he became another core member of the group because he stayed with us until the ultimate demise of AbF. Anyway, we did a few shows with lineup and it became the longest lasting lineup of AbF up until this time.

In this year, we continued on with the previous lineup of Von/Steve/Charles/Jay. Toward the end of 1995, I found out that I was being transferred to Alaska so it looked like the end of AbF again. We decided to record another album and were about to do this when Jay decided to quit the band. I still don’t know why he quit but it was definitely a sorrowful loss to us. However, we found a temporary replacement to record with us in Dan, already the drummer for another local band. So, we recorded the album, released it and than I was off to Alaska. AbF was on yet another extended hiatus.


For the first few months of me being in Alaska, I didn’t really hang out with many people because I was just trying to get my bearings. Sometime in the first part of 1996, I befriended a guy named Cameron who was into basically the same styles of music I was and had played guitar for a few bands in Oregon where he was from as well as one while he was attending Boise State University in Idaho. He knew a guy who played drums and we started a band that we originally called The Astro-Zombies, which we named after a song by a favorite band of ours, The Misifts. After a couple months, we found out there was already a band by that name so we changed the name of the band to Ice Station Zebra.
As far as the lineup goes, we started out with Cameron playing guitar, a guy named Chris playing drums and me playing bass and singing. Somewhere over the course of time, we ended up hiring a bass player and I ended up taking over singing duties only. We had 2 bass players over the course of the Ice Station Zebra career, Dave and than toward the end of this band’s life, another guy names Chris. Chris the drummer was not around long at all. In fact, we had I think 3 different drummers as well as at one point in time we ended up using a drum machine.
The only reason this band broke up at all was because my stint in the air force was over and I left Alaska.


When I got back to Oklahoma after leaving Alaska, Von, Charles and I started up AbF yet again. I played guitar. Charles was actually in another band and asked the drummer for that band to migrate over to us. He agreed, this was Jason.
After practicing for a couple months, Von started to really get flaky and missed quite a number of practices. One day, I walked into the rehearsal space and was informed that Von was fired. Interesting, considering that he and I were the only original and founding members of the band. However, I knew it had to be done and agreed to his firing. At this point, I took over singing duties. The first show we did with this lineup, I actually ended up getting Jay (the old drummer for Crackbaby/AbF) to fill in playing guitar for me because at this point I could not play the songs and sing at the same time. We did that one show which turned out pretty good and than I practiced quite extensively playing and singing at the same time.


This lineup stayed the same as me, Charles and Jason up until the time I was being sent off to Mississippi to go to school for the air national guard unit I had joined.
Before I left, we had gone into a studio and recorded some stuff that turned out really good but did not end up getting released. In fact, those recording had been destroyed due to reasons I’d really rather not get into here.
I returned to Oklahoma toward the end of 1999 and the 3 of us got back together.
We mostly just practiced and worked on new songs for the entire time we stayed together didn’t do but maybe 2-3 shows during this whole time period.
The end of the band came when I gave my life to Christ and decided that I could no longer continue with this band. So, around the beginning of 2001, I dis-banded the group.


This really should be a missing year because I in fact did not have a band for this entire year. Most of 2002 and 2003 I did not have a band because I felt as a Christian, my only musical outlet would be to either play or sing in a church or find a Christian band. The later of which was not an option at the time because from what I had heard up to that time, most Christian bands were of sub-par quality and I did not want to be a part of it.
However, around the beginning of 2003, I met some people through a friend at work that introduced me to a plethora of bands worth listening to, which got me interested in playing in a band again.
In the summer of 2003, I actually ended up trying out to replace the bass player for a local band called Gears of Redemption, however that didn’t work out and I’m actually glad it didn’t because I feel I probably would not have been happy with that band, in addition to the fact that the band itself broke up a couple months later.
For the rest of 2003, I basically just sat around writing stuff, hoping to maybe record some stuff by myself but never got around to it.


For the first part of this year I did not play in a band because I had moved my family up to Seattle and my wife was pregnant and I really just couldn’t find the time to even look for one once I was in Seattle.
Sometime in late June/early July, I responded to an ad to be the singer for a pop/punk band. That band was really just getting started so I was kind of getting in from the ground up. The name Otisburg was decided on. We spent quite a few months practicing and getting songs together, as well as looking for a drummer. The band lineup was finally as follows: Brant: vocals and guitar; Scott: guitar and background vocals; myself: bass and vocals; Matt: drums.
We played a show in early December of 2004 and subsequently started recording our first demo. After that was done we should have started playing more shows but ended up instead going into a professional studio to work on another demo.


After finishing up the second demo in the studio, I actually ended up leaving the band due to personal reasons. To make that long story short, I needed more time to further pursue higher education.
My plans as far as music goes now are to continue writing music and in the little free time I will have, start recording for a solo project.

And that, my friends, is a pretty good comprehensive history of my musical career.

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