One of the cool things about having a blog site is just the total randomness. I posted a blog a couple weeks ago about post-hardcore now defunct band Stompbox in my new Times Of Yore posts.
Apparently one of the former band members happened to come across my post and shot me an email asking if I wanted some elaboration on what really happened. The band member was Patrick, the former bassist of Stompbox.
Well of course I did. So I interviewed him…
I sent him back an email asking what really happened to the band and what he and the rest of the band members were up to these days. Here are his responses collectively as I’ve mixed up the few emails we exchanged and categorized them with Patrick’s approval of course.
The reason Stompbox called it quits, what happened to the lead singer Erich, and what direction did the band members took:
The reason Erich left the band is that we asked him to. There are/were rumors flying around that drugs had a lot to do with our breakup, but that’s all blown way out of proportion. Sure, Erich was doing drugs, (as were most of the rest of us) but it didn’t bother any of us much. Erich was (and still is) kind of a dick. By “kind of a dick” I mean a real a–hole. In addition to that, he was… …uh, let’s just say he was an inconsistent singer. When he was on, he was great, but a lot of times he was off. Way off. There’s some live recordings that Jeff has that are just brutal. Also, we had some very fundamental differences in what we wanted to do musically.
Erich was in favor (and in hindsight, he was probably right) of “giving the people what they want”. All the kids that came to our shows really wanted the “big riff” so they could get sick in the pit and hurt each other, and (except for the part about hurting each other…we were very “Fugazi” about that and stopped a lot of shows when fights broke out etc…) he (Erich) was perfectly happy with that.
The rest of us wanted to be “artists” and “express ourselves musically”. Again, hindsight (or maybe cynicism) tells me that we were probably foolish.
So, we gave him the boot and changed the name of the band to Slower. We wrote a bunch of new tunes and did a couple more tours. We added a second bass player (Mikey Welch, who later was in Weezer for an album) and I took over vocals. I wish I had some good recordings of that band, but there just isn’t much around. I’ve got some abysmal recordings from a show we did in Seattle, but it was straight off the board, so pretty much all you can hear is the drums and vocals. It’s brutally bad. There’s a tape from a live radio show that I have, but it’s in pretty crappy condition, much of it is all garbled up. Zephan’s ex-girlfriend supposedly has a ton of live Slower video, but they didn’t exactly break up on very good terms. I guess when your boyfriend breaks up with you by telling you he married somebody else, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Go figure. Zephan is a phenomenal drummer, but he’s a bit on the self centered side!
We did one tour billed as Stompbox still, and used that to introduce the “new sound” to people who were into Stompbox. Some people liked it more, some liked in less. (On one of those tours we played with Jesus Lizard at Peabody’s in Cleveland…David Yow drank me under the table and then went out and played their show. I guess he’s got what’s called an “iron constitution”…Ha! I was so tanked I had to pass out in our van after about two Jesus Lizard songs. Good times!)
After those two tours, we just sort of imploded.
Zephan and Mikey Welch [went on to] play with Juliana Hatfield on her attempt at rocking out called “Juliana’s Pony”. Jeff is [currently] the musical director for the Blue Man Group in NYC now.
Jeff and Zeph were also in a band called Milligram for a while. The CD called This is Class War is absolutely amazing if you can find it. [Milligram] had Jonah the singer from Only Living Witness and Darryl from Slapshot/Roadsaw playing guitar. That cd is so good it STILL makes me jealous! You can download the whole Milligram album This is Class War for free, which is a pretty sweet deal! That website has that whole album, plus the EP they did AND a bunch of punk rock covers.
I was in another band for a while called Placer. Noisy arty stuff. We did one CD called Summer on Dopamine Records, a teeny indie label out of Boston. You can find the Placer album on iTunes. Even if you don’t want to buy it, you can hear little samples of the songs. I played steel guitar in that band. Oddly enough, when I quit that band, Jeff (guitarist of Stompbox) too over my spot on steel.
If you want to hear what Slower sounded like, Jeff’s got a homemade video up on YouTube. The sound is from a radio show we did, and you get to hear me totally flub the second line of the song. Slower was in many ways the opposite of Stompbox. Stompbox was music that made us laugh with words that were brooding and self indulgent, while Slower was words that made us laugh with music that was self indulgent! Jeff also did a pretty cool video for “Jake Song” with the original demo track we did. It [can be found] on YouTube too.
These days Erich’s living in Los Angeles. I don’t really know what he’s doing for sure, I think he runs sound in clubs.
I had pretty much dropped out of the music biz after Slower dissolved. I decided that maybe it would be fun to find out what it was like to have money to live on. As it turns out, it’s pretty cool!
I live in Toledo now, and am a stay at home dad. In fact, until about a year ago, we were living in Lakewood, not too far from were you are, I guess. I used to go to My Minds Eye a lot. Cool record store. Bent Crayon too. I wasn’t a huge fan of Cleveland in general, but I REALLY liked Lakewood. In fact I kind of miss it, which I didn’t think I would when we moved.
The real story about the departure from the record label:
The deal with Columbia was that our A&R person left and went to Maverick. That left us at Columbia with nobody who really cared much about us, so we were sort of in limbo. Finally, we asked them (Columbia) if they’d let us (Stompbox) go with no strings attached, and they said “Sure!” Mary (the A&R person from Columbia who went to Maverick) wanted us to come over to Maverick with her, but this was all happening at the same time as we were getting ready to kick Erich out of the band. After we booted him, she kind of took it personally and said “Oh, well f— you too” and signed the Deftones. (as it turns out, that was a good move…in fact, I still have to say that they were a pretty cool band. I don’t know if they are STILL a cool band, cause that sort of thing can change over time…)
Thoughts about the unofficial Stompbox MySpace Page:
That MySpace thing is pretty funny. I don’t know who started it, but it’s pretty crazy that so many people even remember us. On the list of Stompbox’s friends, we (the individual former members of the band) are the top four friends. It makes me feel important. (har har)
So there you have it. That was a greatly appreciated dose of information from the source itself. Patrick, props to you for offering to tell your side of the story.