Category Archives: 90’s

Stompbox Bassist Tells His Story

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.

Stompbox Flyer - Vintage!!!
Stompbox Flyer - Vintage!!!

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)

Videos:

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.

The 90’s Are About Me

As of late my Sirius radio has been stuck on the rock/alternative station Lithium 24.  Once in a while I love to just listen to the stuff I rocked out to while a teenager.

Today I checked out the friendly AddictedToVinyl.com and there it was… the perfect mix tape.  Apparently I am not the only one who has been thinking about the past.  Head on over to his site for a link to download for a sweet 90’s mix.  It will not disappoint.

After checking out the mix I starting thinking of things that remind me of the 90’s.  Mainly things that helped shape me into what I was becoming…a music lover.  Not only did I think of music but also concerts I went to and places I hung out.  I also thought about the movies as a youth I saw and then watched over and over again memorizing the lines and the way the people acted.

This movie was something that contributed:


Singles – Theatrical Trailer

It took me a couple of years to actually follow the story line and see it was a love story but when I first saw it my jaw dropped at the musicians who played roles in the movie or performed songs.  I was young when it came out.  All I remember is that I wanted to move to Seattle, buy thermo long johns and a pair of combat boots.  I wanted to be like the guys in Singles.

The thought of being a grunged out coffee making Seattle-ite soon changed those as I was introduced to other music and found my click…mainly punk rock.  I was growing up you know…change happened a lot.  I altered my look more than once in high school and went from a grungy long haired (bright red) to shaving my head senior year wearing NoFX shirts.  I might have gone punk rock, but I still listened to the rock/alt.

I still like the 90’s rock and always will…  I also like Matt Dillon movies….well mainly There’s Something About Mary…(hey, that was 90’s too!!!)

Beastie Boys and special guests to play Youngstown, OH 10-29-2008

Beaste Boys ugre you to vote this year.
Beaste Boys ugre you to vote this year.

Thanks to my pal Matt (who I seem to thank a lot) I learned that the Beastie Boys are coming to Youngstown, OH on 10/29/2008 with special guests Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, and Norah Jones.

The Beastie Boys are counting on you to rock the vote this year.
The Beastie Boys are counting on you to rock the vote this year.

This is the first time the Beasties have even come close touring in Cleveland since 1998.  I saw them last year and even got to interview them at the Virgin Mobile Tour.  I have to saw they are still awesome.  My interview was not much of an interview as much as us just shooting the you know what…  I really need to post that on here one day.  Their live show was incredible.  It was my third time seeing them live.

So now I am trying to figure out if I should go…  I have so much going on late October.  Decisions decisions…  Pre-sale starts tomorrow at 10am.  Password is VOTE.  Go to their website for more info.

Times Of Yore: Stompbox – Stress

So this is my first of a series of posts about bands from the past or as I like to call it “Times Of Yore”.  Recently I have been digging deep into my collection and found some real great acts from the past and have decided that people need to know about them or at least need to be reminded of their existence.  I already have a few in mind and will continue to look.  Most of the bands I have discovered were from the 90’s when I was buying everything I could get my hands on.

So let’s kick thinks off shall we?

Stompbox - Stress
Stompbox - Stress

In the day and age when Soundgarden was more grunge metal than adult contemporary and Helmet was still united there was a band that I found at Disc Den called Stompbox.  The CD was called Stress and it might have been the best blind purchase I ever made in 1994.

Already being a huge fan of Helmet, this band was right up my alley.  They had a port-hardcore grunge sound that may have been replicated by many bands at the time, but they sounded so good with their hard striking chords and heavy riffs.  The lead singer’s voice, sounding like Page Hamilton (Helmet) mixed with Neil Fallon (Clutch),was even tolerable throughout the entire CD.  It’s too bad that the band did not continue after their first release.

Not much can be found on the internet about why they disbanded.  Formed in 1991 the band hailed from Boston.  From what I have gathered they were picked up Sony/Columbia and then dropped after the release.  They just didn’t catch on like other bands did and it is a shame.

The lead singer of the band went on to pursue other projects and the remaining members stayed together and changed their band name to Slower (which I am still looking for).  I am still trying to confirm this, but there is a possibility that some of the members even helped out The Blue Man Group and even Juliana Hatfield.  I can not find any proof though…

There is no band website, no Wiki even. There are some reviews out there from fans and everything is thumbs up.  I just wish I could find out a little more about what the members have been up to these days.

I do remember this band having a lot of promotional material for a debut release.  There were posters and fliers all over the place after I bought the CD.  I was also handed a couple of sampler cassettes to give out to my friends as well as a square 2 song record…and I still am kicking myself for doing whatever I did with it.  I wonder if the over-the-top-promotion resulted in this band’s dismay.  I know that kind of happened to Sponge and they were out around the same time as Stompbox….hmmmm….

It’s sad nothing else ever came from Stompbox.  You look at bands like STP and Soundgarden who got their start around the same time and look at how they have progressed.  I can only wonder what would have happened to Stompbox if they would have continued.

This was one band I never got to see live during their heyday.  Luckily YouTube exists.

The CD is long out of print but you can find it for $5.00 or less at a used music shop if you look hard enough.  I myself saw quite a few come in to The Exchange when I happily worked here (sarcasm at it’s finest).  It is worth dishing out the cash if you are looking to hear a straight forward rock album.

Here’s a couple of videos I found of the band.  Boy do these bring back memories.