Saturday, February 18, 2012

NASTY INTENTIONS - "Straight Outta Tompkins" - Tape - 2005?

   NASTY INTENTIONS were a punk band from Brooklyn that embodied the talents of some of the best NYC-dwelling sweethearts that I know. I like this tape a lot, but didn't really know anything about the band, plus I never saw them play a show. I'm a little clueless when it comes to NASTY INTENTIONS, so I asked the band for some information about their second tape, "Straight Outta Tompkins". The only real input that their charismatic singer, Joe Porter gave me was "Most importantly, you may think it's wrong, but it is our way." I could just end it there, give you the download link and call it a day, but their bass player, Colin Atrophy chimed in with his two cents as well. "Two cents" may be a little misleading. The man is quite verbose when it comes to the written word, so let's call it $2.25, which is the average going rate for a plain slice of pizza in NYC. Here is the story of NASTY INTENTIONS as told by Colin:

  "Nasty Intentions started out as a hat band. I was really nervous because Gloryhole, the band I was in at the time, was the first band I had been in that I played an instrument in and I was scared to be around these people I didn't know so well playing music together and having to pick up a guitar in front of them. Our first practice was upstairs at the Bent Haus. We wrote four songs, none of which are on Straight Outta Tompkins. They are on our first tape, which maybe doesn't have a name and maybe was called "Nasty As We Wanna Be".  We tried to write four songs in four different punk styles. I think I played guitar on two, John played guitar on one, bass on two, drums on one, Tooth played drums on two, guitar on one, bass on one, Joe sang every time. We also recorded some hot jams under the name Naz-T Intenshunz, with pseudonyms. I think Sweet Tooth was Velvet Patterson, John was Western Beef and I was Genuine Suede. Joe was at work that day or something.

After the hat band show, Tooth left town for a while, and when he came back and moved into Tompkins, we were all drinking beers together and decided to have a band again. This time we stuck to certain instruments: Joe still sang, Tooth played drums, John played guitar, and I played bass. When we were getting back into being a band, we decided to learn the songs off the old tape over again. We sat in the practice room in the basement of Tompkins (a dire place) and listened to the tape over and over again but couldn't find any of the notes to any of the songs. We'd get something partially, but then it would end up off key somewhere or we'd find a note that just didn't fit. Eventually we realized that when we recorded that first tape, at our second or third practice EVER, no one brought a tuner and we'd tuned by ear to a perfect e flat. So me and John retuned our guitars and voila, everything fit. 

There was about five seconds where Famous Local Indie Rock Stud Kevin Morby was playing second guitar, back in the day when he was just Kevin Morby and not FLIRS Kevin Morby. He is on the cover of the tape. The other person on the cover of the tape (playing Easy-E no less) is none other than Dan Klein aka Danskin aka Likkle Dan aka Brukk Face, of Beer Garden fame, and currently singing sweet reggae love jams in THE FRIGHTENERS. One time we got to play our cover of Alcohol at a show in Philly with JOE JACK TALCUM. I got so drunk I don't remember if he liked it or not, but I guess that's appropriate considering the song.

I was always really surprised by how much everyone liked Nasty Intentions, because I never thought I would be in a band that people liked, and I never could see how good it was from inside of it. I think, musically speaking, I was always the weak link, and I feel really lucky that I got to play with such talented people for a little while. Sweet Tooth is obviously a brilliant song writer, and John McLean can make a guitar weep or sing better than anyone I've ever met, but I knew that going into it. Joe Porter was the one that caught me off guard.

I guess everyone knows it by now, that he's great at everything he does, but I hadn't figured it out yet back then. Like the song Dumb Dream. I'd love to take credit for that cool ass bass part I play, I'm sure I have taken credit for it a few times, but the truth is, Joe came to practice one day with a dictaphone and played us a cassette tape of him singing that bassline. John figured it out and showed it to me. And that's to say nothing of his lyrics. I was re-listening to this tape the other day and there is a part on the song Augima where he is singing to his daydream crush about a letter he's imagining writing and he says, "and if this message should make it's way onto your door, please write back to me one three one Tompkins Ave, Brooklyn, NY!!" and it's so triumphant and hopeful it almost made me cry when I heard it again. 

This band, when things worked, was the best band I've ever been in and probably the best band I'll ever be in, in terms of feeling magical and transcendent. I know there's a lot I'm leaving out and a lot that's impossible to write about. The time when I was in this band was one of the best and worst of my entire life, I think it may have been that way for all of us. And I think maybe that vulnerability and honesty comes through on the tape. Who knows? 

   Okay, it's me again....At the 11th-hour-I'm-about-to-push-the-button-to-publish-this-any-second-now, Joe Porter sent me their last 4 songs that were intended for a 7" that never materialized (not the original 4 song demo as it says in the download), which I am now hearing for the first time and are included in this download. They sound awesome, my favorite of the moment being "People Like You". 
   These days, their guitarist, John lives in Athens,GA and crafts his maniac, beautifully shambolic guitar playing in the band DEAD DOG. N.I. drummer, Sweettooth lives in Oakland and runs a cinematheque out of the warehouse where he lives. He shows everything from experimental film to documentaries to  cult classics to everything inbetween everything else. Check it out here. Joe Porter is currently ruling what is left of the house show scene in Brooklyn, singing in the band MARVIN BERRY & THE NEW SOUND. Our friend and bassist, Colin is notorious for eating a slice of pizza at every pizza joint in Manhattan and chronicling his misadventures over at Slice Harvester. Also, I once got him to admit that there is a good pizza place in SF.


If the writing on this entry looks insanely crazy and weird on your screen...sorry about that. I don't know what happened.