Tuesday, March 12, 2013

THE DEAD C MEN - Demo - Tape - 1995

Photo by Angie Elliott.

    Way back when I first started doing this blog, I had a few things in mind. I wanted to document a lot of the early Region Rock scene along with overlooked southeastern US punk bands. I also had other motives in mind that I didn't talk about, but fell into the same mode of thinking. I wanted to track down a couple of tapes by really forgotten southern punk bands that still managed to rattle around my brain after all these years. One of those bands was the ANGEL BB'S from Mississippi and the other was THE DEAD C MEN from Florida. I'm still working on the former but the latter came into my hands (or inbox, more accurately) without any effort at all. Friend of the blog, Adam seemed to psychically intuit that this tape needed to be part of the history and sent the digital tracks over to me. He didn't know that I've been ravenously searching for any mention of this band anywhere for the past 10+ years. 10+ years of fruitlessly searching through endless articles about the DEAD C with absolutely nothing to show for it. All that time, this tape has been sitting in Adam's stuff. 
   Back in 1995, I went to a lot of punk shows with my good friend, Angie (we're still good friends, even though we haven't seen each other in way-too-long. Hi Angie!) in Birmingham, AL. Even though I played in a crappy band, I didn't really feel like I was a part of anything bigger or that I was making any kind of mark in the world by plodding away on my $30 bass. A lot of the bands that came to town were really great but so far out of the realm of what I was playing with my friends (meaning, those bands could structure a rad song) that it felt unattainable. While watching AUS ROTTEN, OI POLLOI, BIKINI KILL, TEENGENERATE, OBLIVIANS and BUZZOVEN, it felt hopeless to continue playing music as a teenager in the 90's. 
     One day, THE DEAD C MEN played a sparsely attended show to almost no one at the local record store, American Beat and (probably unbeknownst to them) opened up a new world to me. It's a well worn story in the annals of punk-dom, but no less important every time it happens to anyone. The people in the band were just like me: awkward, acne ridden punk teenagers who had to look at their guitars when they played. Their songs fell apart and they struggled to keep it all together. Still, their songs were catchy and at the end of their set, they gave tapes away for free. I'm not sure if I just never got one or my tape broke immediately, but I've been looking for it ever since. This band provided the inspiration for me that I could travel around and play music without being well known. They showed me that you can just do things cheaply and give stuff away for free. Somehow, the guitar hook to their first song has been rattling around in my head for all these years and it's so nice to finally have a copy of it. 
    Many listeners will find a sound that's hopelessly mired in the 90's and that's fine. It was the 90's. The first song is a legitimately great song with an unforgettable guitar hook (for me, literally). The other four songs don't have the same energy or inspiration as the first one, but they're still pretty good....except maybe the 2nd song. The 4th song is basically the same hook as the one on the first song....I guess when something works, you just roll with it. Thanks to Adam and Angie for digging up artifacts (Angie is used to digging up artifacts in the ground in Turkey, so I'm sure digging through a box in her house is much easier). Thanks to the DEAD C MEN for existing for a brief time and bringing your band to the record store. It meant a lot to me.

Now, who's got that ANGEL BB'S tape?

P.S. If you're in the Bay Area tonight, I am Dj-ing between bands at a punk show at the Knockout in SF. The bands are Rat's Rest (from KC, MO), True Mutants, Great Apes and Bad Liar. 


Anonymous said...

speaking of true mutants, do you have anything from them you could upload? i heard their song on MRR a couple of days ago and loved it. or better yet, convince them to tour out here in the midwest! thanks.

Harvester said...

I think they've only released this 7", which came out very recently.