Quadrofiends, Fayetteville, Arkansas 1996

Dale Crum writes: The Quadrofiends formed during summer of 1996 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We named ourselves that because we had four members, all of us consumed with the Who’s double album, Quadrophenia. We had Zack Wait on lead vocals, Travis DeWitt on Lead Guitar, Dale Crum on Bass and Billy Hobbs on Drums the lineup eventually included a fifth member, Brian Lowe of local Kung-Fu Grip fame on Rhythm Guitar. DeWitt, Lowe and I were best friends in High School and we hung out everyday. They were actually my first true friends when I first moved to Arkansas. DeWitt singlehandedly pulled me out of the Rap scene (Run DMC and Too Short in those days) and threw me kicking and screaming in to the wonderful world of Death Metal, then Grunge and finally Punk.

Musically, the Quadrofiends had been a ska/punk band with a heavier influence in melodic punk stemming from previous band ventures including the exceptionally melodic Cathode Ray featuring DeWitt on Lead Guitar and Crum on Bass joined by Jason Anderson of Squad Five-O fame, a contemporary Christian band from Savannah, Georgia. We dressed in spikes, multiple zippers, leather jackets complete with homemade, white paint-pen graphics and thousands of painfully installed aluminum studs.

Zack's lyrics reflected his own personal experiences, songs such as “Crossbones” examining the complications and injustices of the 1996 Olympic Games. Held in Atlanta, Georgia. The city issued a "clean up" making homelessness criminal which eventually lead to the arrest of some 9,000 people, the displacement of approximately 30,000 low income families an the demolition of 2,000 public housing facilities. The Olympic gentrification was a major point of Zack's lyrics for this particular song. (opening line: "Summer 96, metro unloads/Days old vomit and urine stench assaulting my nose and now I'm barely awake, smashing down concrete, get up from the floor and I spit out some teeth.")

We had eight songs and played about thirty gigs. Our shows were pretty crazy. This wasn't a stand around kind of band, everyone but the drummer would be running around the stage, jumping around, though it did take us a few shows to get to this stage. It was surprisingly difficult to keep the beat while jumping around. The pros make it look so easy. All of the Quadrofiends enjoyed being on stage in our own way. DeWitt would get all the ladies running up after the show and I would always get the secret wink from the girl with the boyfriend in the back.

Not only did we love to play shows but we traveled together extensively to see our favorite bands as well. We went to so many Dropkick Murphy shows we became friends with them. Mike McColgan had asked us for a demo tape which he passed along to Radical Records. They loved everything about the music except for Hobbs' drumming. We were told that if we could find a new drummer we were a shoe-in. At this point DeWitt had us convinced this needed to happen and the fact that Hobbs was still a semi-beginner wasn't helping, especially since DeWitt and Crum had been in previous bands playing with Jason Anderson of Squad Five-O and Aaron Humphries of the now famous, Austin, Texas based Paper Chase. We eventually removed Hobbs in hopes of gaining a new drummer, but were unable to do so and thus the Quadrofiends staggered their way into the annals of those who tried to rock.

Crum went on to start his own advertising business Doc4
( www.doc4design.com ) eventually selling his bass and amp equipment, Hobbs returned to school in order to achieve a degree in Graphic Design, DeWitt moved to Austin, Texas and began working for a popular bookstore and was never heard from again while Wait continues to perform with local bands and works at several restaurants in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Get yourself effed off by listening to the Olympic games anthem Crossroads here.

Pogie Brown, Berkeley, CA 2002

Andrew Pogany sent in these beauties... his first band, Pogie Brown (he, Pogie, on drums, his best friend Brown on guitar) were a duo on a mission,dedicated to single-handedly reviving LA's Hobo tradition. "We were horrible" he remembers, "but brazenly horrible." Their lyrics were the stuff of legend with songs such as "Jesus was a nice boy" and "The Val Kilmer Song" garnering sufficient local following for them to play the Whisky A Go-Go, supporting My Sexual Dad. Firing on all cylinders, Pogie Brown were unstoppable. But Pogany admits their success was based on a simple equation: Lyric thuggery + musical imprecision = Pogi Brown (cover your ears.)

Judge for yourself by listening to their classic anthem, " Jesus was a Nice Boy." The band's days were numbered. In classic rock 'n' roll fashion, Brown's manipulative girlfriend broke up the duo. The band are pictured below at a bowling alley photo booth in happier days. "Our look was no look at all. We wore all ugly hand me downs. But in line with the DIY / folk-anti-folk movement that burgeoned after us, we started sewing our own hats and shirts and stuff. That hat in the picture is one of those. It reads “God Ain't Cute”. And neither were we!

Brown went on to found Not Not Fun Records, now a staple in the LA noise underground, and the band Robador, who recently opened for Sonic Youth. Pogany went on to join the lesser known Here Kingdom Comes, pictured below, in his kitchen, known more for their fine eye at the flea market than for their instrumental mastery. But Pogany remembers his days in the band with an unbounded enthusiasm. "The camaraderie of a band surpasses friendship. You all come together from random directions and are suddenly forced to point in the same direction. There is something so pure about it. And that's what I miss"

Only One, Central Jersey, 1995

Jordan Dollak writes: We formed during Freshman year at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (Central NJ). We had three guitarists, and a drummer, and a lead singer who still had his braces. We attempted to come up with names in a variety of ways using scrabble letters to help conjure some good words. For a short time, we strongly considered using Sour Rhyme. A friend of mine said that it sounded like we should be wearing black tights with lime-green turtlenecks. The name Only One came from something our gym teacher would say. He was really crabby, and when anyone did something he didn't like, he would deduct a point from their grade reinforcing the punishment by raising a finger from each hand to represent the "-1," after which he would announce by rote the legendary phrase, "Don't worry... it's only one."

Our first step was to perform some covers. Champagne Supernova begat Wonderwall, which begat Don't Look Back In Anger. At this point, we drew the line with the Oasis covers and began to write our own material. Jordan our guitarist took the helm.

But during Sophomore year, there was tension in the band. Jon had gotten a girlfriend and was missing practices. By two votes to one, we decided to vote him out. I was the only one who voted against, but it was decided that I would be the one to call him and break the news of his ouster, based on the fact that I was the only one who didn't have any classes with him that year. I don't remember much about it other than it was brief and curt. He still resents me. He does not resent the others.

The photo at top was taken after Jon's ouster. Left to Right. Tom, now living in Vermont, Jordan, now a University Database manager, Eric, now golf department manager at a Sports Authority in NJ. The pillow is Tom's Mom's. Enjoy one of Only One's cuts and relive the magic of "Now You'd Say."

The Tribulations, Ithaca, NY, 1980s

Josh Neuman writes: I first heard Bob Marley when I was 12 and it became plaintively clear to me that I was a black man trapped in a white man’s body. I am in the middle sporting a hat. Very Reggae. Our guitar player became semi-famous with Veruca Salt. Our drummer was our greatest musician though. He set his heart on becoming Madonna’s drummer, had an audition and a call back but did not get the job. He committed suicide right after and the band never recovered.

The Adidas track suits were an image upgrade and were my idea. There were 9 of us in the band and our sense of style was appalling. So I tracked down the head of entertainment marketing when I was 18 and got the woman who was working there to give us an A level endorsement. We had about 8 track suits each and enough sneakers to fill a 2 bedroom apartment. I was even given the Run DMC Tracksuit in Marcus Garvey back-to-Africa colors. Probably worth a mint today, but I sent to my younger cousin who threw it out. To listen to some of the Tribultations at their finest. Click Here

Soft Option play Live Aid 1985

Bob Geldof may have put on the big show, but in 1985, it was gigs like these at a Liverpool All Boys school which really turned a famine into a feast. 50p to get in. Three bands plus two last minute write-ins added in biro including a solo performance by Joll Benn who went on to greater things as the anti-piracy Tsar in the UK. Headlining, it is the one and only Soft Option, a legendary band, and favorite of this site, showing that they were not just in it for the money.

Church of Hannah Barbera, Santa Monica, CA 1983-5

Morgan Neville sent in this beauty. A Californian threesome giddily jumping for joy in a graveyard to promote this band's big anthem, “Some of My Best Friends are Dead.” If we are not mistaken, the gent on the right showing big air is wearing a Union Jack jacket.

Til Two, Berkeley, CA 1987

We could not think of a name to save ourselves. For a while, I was liking The Courtney's Ready, which was a reference to a tabloid column about Courtney Cox and her "readiness" to play sluttier roles after Family Ties. But I think it was brought up meekly and quickly self-shotdown. There was a bar called Til Two in Berkeley back then, right next to the original Flints Ribs and right across the street from the Starry Plow club. On Tuesday nights, it was pick-up night...anyone could play. We decided that Til Two sounded like a good enough name for the band (we drank there all the time) and we could hit the joint on that Tuesday as the house band (a joke, in the ironic college way).

When we played, I wore the most psychedelic shirt in my possession. Paisley = supercool. I was trying to follow in the historical precedent set by Hendrix on the Are You Experienced cover. No one else seemed to care about what they were wearing at all. We got to the bar and waited for the right time to pounce on the stage and claim the instruments that were being played by the other master musicians who had shown up (biding our time by doing shots, eating the ribs we had brought in from Flints, and trying to convince our lead singer that he would be able to keep both down.) Finally our moment came. We hit the stage and started playing, in a very blurry deer-in-the-headlights fashion. To this day, I could not tell you what song we ended up playing... although my money would be down with Bo Diddley's I'm a Man. Our singer was so nervous that he remained behind myself and the guitarist the whole time (in the picture, you can see his shoes). I kept it steady, feeling the shots that had been taken earlier...and had a blast inside the rock and roll moment....one of the only two stage moments of my teens. And then it was over.

The shock of actually playing live was too much for our band could bear. It is with great sadness that i report, Til Two never played again. The facts were faced: we were Literature majors, reading between the lines of James Joyce and Beowolf...not reinterpreting Robert Johnson or Pere Ubu. The bands that played at Til Two...even on the pick-up nights...had more right to be there, in our opinion, than we ever would--no matter how much we practiced or how much we talked about our practically fictitious band. While I loved music I was in no way an artist, and since being a failed musician, I did what anyone else would do: I entered the BUSINESS side of the Music Business.