Sunday, February 17, 2013

ADD/C / GIANT BAGS OF WEED - Split 7" - 2002

   This little slab of vinyl came out on Half Day Records 11 years ago and featured two bands very near and dear to my heart. I will start off with GIANT BAGS OF WEED.
   GBOW was already a fully functioning band with a revolving cast of members. The anchor to this band was Billy Joe on guitar/vocals and Matte on drums. The lineup on this release also featured Chris Delaware on bass and myself on 2nd guitar/vocals. I had previously played bass in the band, but when I left Bloomington for a bit, they dutifully replaced me with Chris. When I returned and still wanted to be in the band, they stuck me on 2nd guitar, which was great. I always enjoyed this band as a spectator, but when I was in the band, I wasn't sure if people actually liked us. I spent most of my tenure in the band jumping around drunk. Chris wore the shortest of shorts and probably spent more time in the water than out of it. Matte had secret dredlocks stuffed into a hat and seemed to survive on a diet of Skittles and soda. Billy Joe constantly trekked between Chattanooga and Bloomington to work on this band. Notable things that happened during this time period: Matte and I took our equipment to a show one time by bike because no one in the band drove or even had a license. We played the last show at a Straight Edge house because I begged to be on it. The sXe dudes said we could play on the condition that we weren't drunk and didn't bring alcohol into their house. We agreed but still drank beer out of soda cups and were visibly drunk. Later that night, they kicked one of my queer friends out of the house in a very homophobic way. It sucked. Now, those guys all hang out in bars trying to cover up their huge sXe tattoos and that queer friend is a successful dancer and inspirational force to gay (and straight and otherwise) people all over the world, so whatever. On this record, we played songs and Joe Stone recorded them on a 4 track. You can actually hear the recording deteriorating as each song progresses and the 4 track actually broke on the last song. We couldn't do any more takes because it became inoperable. Maybe you'll like this. I honestly haven't listened to these GBOW songs in 10 years.
   On the other hand, these ADD/C songs have been haunting my eardrums since they were recorded. At the time, I thought that this was the band's apex...they would never get better than this, but then they put out their second LP. (Get ready, I'm about to over-analyze the shit outta this). In the first song, "Bubbling Cauldron of Spirits", Daniel sings about how people spend so much time focusing on inane topics of conversation without really ever saying what they really feel, which has only really accelerated in the intervening years of our technological "development". Was he intuiting that we would keep moving in this direction towards a future that gives anyone a platform to share the most mundane of topics? Probably not, but I like to think so. Also, in our new age of communication, I still love the line "Everyday I see a cell phone, everyday I wanna knock over a tower.", because 11 years later, I still feel that way.
  On the next song, "What's Up Brother?", I thought, "Did ADD/C really write a song about Billy Joe and put it out on a split 7" with Billy's band?!" Well, yes. It's a fucking sweet song though. My favorite thing about this song is that sometimes when they played it live, Billy would just walk around yelling "Fuck these guys! Quit dancing to a song about me!" The line "I wish I was sure of something, I wish I was sure of everything." is brilliant. I feel like I could write a book (a short one) just based on this song.
   "State of the Union", on the other hand, is a full length book just waiting to be written (with a very limited audience). It's starts off with a personal attack on one's self for wasting too much time on the excesses of life. It goes on to explain the anxiety and stress that comes with the onset of mild forms of agoraphobia, due to the existence of cops and the era of George Bush's presidency. Perhaps this is too heavy-handed for a simple punk song, but when confronted with the fact that Chattanooga was ranked #1 for police brutality rates for cities with populations under 200,000, it makes sense. Some of us (okay, me and ADD/C's bass player, Grady) went to Black Panther meetings led by Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin (please follow that link and read it) and participated in marches against the police. With our white skin, it gave us a privilege not experienced by almost everyone else at the meetings, but it still didn't stop groups of cops from throwing us on the ground and going through our belongings just for walking down the street at night. . At the end of the song, the band turns the attack outward to reflect a scene's preoccupation with alcohol consumption and self-destruction. It's always been hard to tell if the conclusion was an attack or a celebration, especially when confronted with it's context (Chattanooga, TN). As anyone who has ever written a song knows, once the song gets out of your hands, it is open to interpretation and the punks of Chattanooga took it as a mantra. Self-critical or celebratory? Maybe that's not the important part. Maybe (probably), I am over-analyzing. 
  On that note, let's let "Cemeteries" stand on it's own. It's also a great song.


I don't usually upload vinyl, so hopefully it sounds okay. 
If you want ADD/C's first demo tape, it is available once again here.

Fun Facts:
1. The final line "Meet me at the laundromat" in "State of the Union" does not mean that ADD/C is going to wash their clothes. There's a 24 hour laundromat on Cherokee Blvd in Chattanooga where you could sometimes find punks hanging out (many times, that was me). Hidden in the drop ceiling, you could find a coffee maker, a hot plate and (for a short time) a record player with built in speakers. That means, if you needed a warm place to go and drink coffee at 4am, you could go there. Once, we had a dance party there. The laundromat is still there and it's still 24 hours. Someone should check to see if the coffee maker is still in the drop ceiling in the back. 

 2. Here's the significance of everything on the cover: The smokestack on the far left is in Bloomington and Matte claims that he once climbed to the top of it and went to sleep. The house on the left is where Matte lived and GBOW practiced. It's also the last place that I ever set up a show for AGAINST ME. I didn't realize that they had gotten mega popular but I soon figured it out when a couple hundred people showed up for the basement show. The sign is from the Chattanooga farmer's market. Someone in GBOW altered it and it stayed that way for a month. To the right of the sign is a houseboat that I lived on for a year in Chattanooga. To the right of that is the old Chattanooga knitting factory that Matte, Billy and I tried to squat. We woke up there with our lungs coated in asbestos and there were some dudes working on the place that we had to hide from. It's now the antique mall next to the Whole Foods. The Indiana sign is out front of the Indiana Theater in downtown Bloomington. The handsome cover star is Scott Youth, who now plays drums in TREPANNING.

  3. "Raise Ass" is not the name of the record. It is a call to action.

  4. Bill  now plays in FUTURE VIRGINS. Matte plays drums in LANDLORD. Chris Delaware actually moved (back) to Delaware and plays in ELDER THINGS. I run this blog and play drums in NEON PISS. ADD/C is still a band in some form. Daniel lives in Chicago and is expecting a child this year (believe it). Cole also plays in FUTURE VIRGINS. Grady lives about 55 steps from Cole and is one of the calmest and smartest people I know. 

  5. I can't imagine that you'd want to ever know anything more about this record.

6 comments:

smoke ass said...

Greg,

I actually want to know the meaning/story behind the term "raise ass". I've heard it was once someones answering machine message? Care to shine some light on it?

Harvester said...

I don't really know. Maybe someone from ADD/C will chime in on this one...or Matte since he made the cover.

smoke ass said...

"shit on the rox"...is that about the local public access TV show, "on the rox", from bloomington?

Harvester said...

Nope. Literal shit. Literal rocks. I think Matte changed it to "Rox" and that could have been his intention.

SIGFRIED AND ROID-RAGE said...

Thank you for uploading this 7"!

I had a nervous breakdown on the first day of the year and I really needed to scream "State of the Union" at the top of my lungs but no one in Tel-Aviv has this record.

So, next time it happens I can scream that song and pretend that I'm in Tom Foote's basement drinking Southpaw light with a bunch oogles named and their dogs named Franzia... like I did when I was 17!

-David

Harvester said...

You're very welcome! I'm glad this is getting played in Tel-Aviv!