9 Oct 2010

Jeri Cain Rossi (Your Funeral / Black Cat Bone / Dolly Dillon)

Originally posted March 16, 2008
Following the recent post about Frantix and Denver underground music scene, here it is this one dedicated to Jeri Cain Rossi, vocalist of the legendary band Your Funeral. It may sounds a little bit ridiculous to you, but I remember falling in love with this band the first time I saw its 7" sleeve, even before being able to listen to its music. I didn't notice that Jeri formed Black Cat Bone until I got Homework #10 – with their impressive song “Judas Tree” – and I realized that Jeri was, in fact, their singer.
   Since early 80s Jeri has been playing music, writing novels and doing films. She lives now in San Francisco. These two songs are from years 1985-86, when she was playing with Black Cat Bone and was living in Boston. It seems that BCB were quite popular on college radios back then, and I really can understand why: they were simply amazing.

Your Funeral: Karen, Cleo, and Jeri, 1982. Duane Davis
“I met Karen from hanging out at art gallery openings, gigs. She had spent time in London and was very cool & stylish and had big aspirations. We became friends to start a band, a British influenced Cure‑ish kinda band which became Your Funeral. I knew guitar from playing folk bars in college and she picked up bass. We met Cleo who was more into the Ramones. She was in an all girl band called The Guys.
   At the time my musical style was more rootsy and pop, case in point: I Want To Be You. Besides the Cure I was also influenced by Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, and especially The Gun Club (though you can’t tell by our music). The Gun Club had toured to Denver and Boulder in ’81 and that was the first time a performance changed my life. The other time was when my band opened for The Birthday Party in ’83. I wasn’t the same after either those shows.
   My lyrics were way depressing, dark. By the age of twenty four I had lost a boyfriend in an apartment fire and my father to depression. I took their deaths incredibly hard. Thus the name: Your Funeral. A little‑girl‑lost take on the impermanence of nature. Karen was way into it as well, but our dark, unsmiling broodiness drove Cleo crazy.” Jeri Cain Rossi

Your Funeral 7", Local Anesthetic, 1982
“After the initial all girl trio disbanded I reformed with Phil Teague and Michael Sidlow and that was the best formation of Your Funeral. We were loud and noisy and crazy great. I played bass. Phil played a noisy noisy rootsy style on his Fender Jaguar and Michael played drums. I threw out most of my songs except for a few and we added other songs that Phil wrote. By this time I was throwing out the gothy British thing and going for the Americana roots thing. We had volatile personalities and unfortunately we didn’t last long. The day we got the Birthday Party gig, was the day they both quit. I asked some friends to fill in and opened for the Birthday Party and it was great, but I always regret I didn’t beg Phil and Michael to let bygones be bygones and do the gig because it was truly one of the best bands I was ever in. I don’t even have a practice tape of us.” Jeri Cain Rossi

Black Cat Bone (Neal Sugarman and Jeri Rossi) @ Johnny D's, Boston, November 15, 1985. Tracy White
“The Boston scene in the 80s was incredibly inspiring with the Lyres and the Flies and later the Titantics. So many great bands. I moved out their with Michael from Your Funeral. We had patched things up and had done a punk folk duet called No Time For Flowers. Michael didn’t like Boston and moved back to Denver but I stayed and started Black Cat Bone. We had a bit of success and started getting great opening slots around town for bands such as Foetus and Sonic Youth. I had a few side bands also: Death House Pussy, Trashed Out Lez Boys, Hogtied… I can’t remember them all. After that I gave up music for a while, started writing fiction, went into the MFA program for filmmaking. When I got my MFA I moved to NYC for two years and worked in the film industry. No music.
    It wasn’t until I moved to New Orleans that my music was resurrected and I was in the greatest band of my life thus so far: Dolly Dillon. We were stripped down Americana and it was divine. The Dolly Dillon recordings are pretty much my favorite. I had finally come into my own as a songwriter and a singer and guitar player. And we went NOWHERE! After Dolly Dillon I solo’d a lot. Focused on my fiction writing, had two books published, had two plays produced.
    After Katrina I moved to San Francisco. The weather is nice. But I left my heart in New Orleans.
    By far Boston had the most bang for the buck as far as great music. But there’s something about New Orleans that lures me back again and again.” Jeri Cain Rossi

Jeri Cain Rossi, 1995. Jim Merrill

Black Cat Bone – I Need A Jerk Like You

Black Cat Bone – If Loving You Is Wrong

Dolly Dillon – Soldier Of Love (New Orleans, 1995)

Excerpts taken from an interview with Jeri in Summer 2010. My deepest gratitude, Jeri!

Update April 3, 2012
Perfect Sound Forever has published the whole interview, so now you can read it on screen – in case you want to do it in printed format, you also can order Making Waves #1.

3 Oct 2010

How minimal can you get? #27

Phonophobia – s/t 7"
“Phonophobia was a studio-band. Phonophobia never performed live. Phonophobia was located in Bremen, Germany.”

 The only pressphoto of Phonophobia.

“Phonophobia had three members: Bine Linden, she is not into music anymore. A.S. (who wants to remain unnamed), he became a christian some years ago, I think he is making music in church sometimes. He was our recording-man (cause he owned the studio in which we worked). Harald Falkenhagen, I am a visual artist, check out my website if you are interested in my work.”

“First recordings are dated late 1979, last recordings were made in 1983. In 1980 we released the only record, a single with three tracks, 1200 copies were made.” Harald Falkenhagen

Phonophobia – Der Hit
More info here.

2 Oct 2010

No trend, no scene, no movement: No Trend, the early years

Originally posted September 17, 2007
“No Trend fancied itself a sort of DC harDCore scene gadfly, razzing the scene from just outside the Beltway, pointing out its hypocrisy and conformity. In fact it was a fantastically creative and energetic scene, but it did bear some criticism, and No Trend felt it should provide that.” Michael Salkind

Michael Salkind, No Trend's first drummer, 1981. Lloyd Wolf

“No Trend's earliest conception, I think, was a briefly lived band called the Aborted. Jeff Mentges was the singer and Bob (I don't know his last name) the bass player, with 12-year-old guitar genius Brad Pumphrey the only person in the group who could play. It was my first gig drumming, and was well before I was able to play (perhaps that ability didn't come to me until at least after the contents of this CD, but if that's your opinion, keep it to yourself). We practiced in Bob's parents's basement in Maryland, perfecting such politically cutting material as 'Drive Fast, be an Ass' and 'Who's a Dick? Merv (Griffin).' We played one gig, at a party, with Government Issue, sometime during the summer of 1981. Our other two scheduled gigs were both canceled, and then I left for a year of college, at which point the Aborted probably ended.” Michael Salkind

Bob Strauser @ Lansburgh's, 1983. Jim Saah

“After college, which for me was about as much of a success as the Aborted, or less, I returned to DC and joined up with the burgeoning United Mutation, part of the Northern Virginia Hardcore Scene. I got kicked out in late 1982 for being unable to keep a tempo, something which United Mutation actually expected form a drummer, and was soon called by Jeff, who was now fronting a band called No Trend. They had a gig coming up, and had lost their drummer, and so I agreed to give it a go. It took the long lonely trip to Olney, Maryland, several times, tried out for the band, and then rehearsed several times. In the group was Jeff, still singing, and Bob (from the Aborted) still playing bass, and some guy named Frank who could torture a guitar like nobody's business. I think it was Frank who wrote all or most of No Trend's songs, and he's the guy who drew the cover of this CD (also the art work from No Trend's first EP, using the name Jim Jones; but Frank was quiet about his contributions.” Michael Salkind

Jeff Mentges @ Lansburgh's, 1983. Jim Saah

“No Trend was lucky (?) enough to have been picked up and brought under the wing of Steven Blush, an American University student who, as one half of what was to become Dog Bite Productions, produced many punk shows in the DC area. He became our manager, and we became an opening act mainstay for such bands as the Dead Kennedys and TSOL. We weren't very well liked by the more mainstream DC punk rockers, but developed a weird, fringe, suburban Maryland following, and even some support from the local rock critics (I was one of them, so that connection didn't hurt either). Still despite our rather rapid rise, the association with Steven Blush was one akin to selling ones soul to Beelzebub.” Michael Salkind

Steven Blush, DC, 1981. Steven Blush

“They hated everyone and everything; their grinding Flipper/PiL onslaught constituted a complete fuck-you to DC scene conformity. When I met 'em, they were shoving flyers that read 'No Trend, No Scene, No Movement' up all the Georgetown Coke machines frequented by Straight Edge types.” Steven Blush

“Mass Sterilization Caused By Venereal Disease by No Trend: that's the way anybody with any brains'd approach it if they still wanted to make really loud hard music in 1983. You had to do a Big Black or a Hose or a No Trend. You had to turn the music inside out, to the point where Hardcore kids were gonna hate it, so hopefully you'd find smarter people who still liked the dictates of aggressive music but weren't Hardcore.” Jack Rabid

“In March of 1983, we decided it was time to lay down some tracks, and we spent a fruitful day in Don Zientara's Inner Ear Studio, Arlington, Virginia, where all the hardcore bands recorded at the time. We recorded nine songs, three of which were destined to become No Trend's first record, simply entitled:

Skin-shedding “snake people”
the Man who gave birth
Humans with horns
Famed giants and dwarfs
The woman with 52 lb breast
Hideous cannibal rites
A 169 year old man
Siamese twins who married
The “leopard” family & much more!

Right after that we began planning our first trans-continental tour, a little summer jaunt planned to promote the EP which, by the way, actually saw the light of day right after we returned; not a lot of good that did us. The tour took place in June of 1983. We rented a station wagon and drove, within the span of three weeks, some 8500 miles, the four band members, our manager, and all of the equipment in this one car.” Michael Salkind

 No Trend @ 1349 Ogden, Denver, June 15th, 1983

“Right after we got home, the EP finally saw the light of day, the song “Teen Love” becoming a minor indie hit, garnering some positive reviews as well as radio airplay in several cities including Boston and San Francisco. My departure from the band was an imminent and mutual decision, though I did manage to play one last gig, in July at a place called Oscar's Eye in DC. I received 25 copies of the EP as my divorce settlement, and went on to play in a variety of bands in and around the DC area. None of them ever attained the status of No Trend, nor did I ever lose as much money and dignity.” Michael Salkind

No Trend @ Oscar's Eye, July 25th, 1983

“No Trend – the anti-DC DC band, to a fault. Their sound had more in common with Flipper than anything from the East Coast. They probably picked that just to annoy people. I first met Jeff and Frank when they came up to me at Yesterday & Today – 'Do you hate John Stabb?' 'Well, no, not really.' 'Do you hate Ian MacKaye?' Just real grim, negative stuff. I said, 'Stay in touch and send a tape.' The tape had more humor to it, but a much more fatalistic view than most bands. Frank told me everybody in the world should stop having kids as a solution to overpopulation. I've heard Frank killed himslef. He saw the big piture too clearly but wasn't able to get pleasure out of fighting it.” Jello Biafra

No Trend – Hanging Out In Georgetown

No Trend – Purple Paisleys Make Me Happy

No Trend – Teen Love
No Trend circa 1983 in a Los Angeles studio. Featuring members: Jeff Mentges, Frank Price and Jack Anderson. Manager Steven Blush subs for AWOL drummer, Greg Miller. Shot by Al Flipside for Flipside Videos.

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Excerpts taken from No Trend: The Early Months CD. Get it here.
More info here and here.