Saturday, September 28, 2013

HARBINGER - "Eartraining For Corporates" - Tape - 1999

   Today, I'm gonna take the backseat again and let someone else drive this broken down jalopy. John No contacted me about putting up the long lost HARBINGER demo and of course I said yes. Here he is to tell you all about it. I'll chime in again at the end. 
   HARBINGER is an East Bay punk band that formed in 1998. Robert Eggplant had a bunch of great songs that he was playing solo with an electric guitar, and his comrades Aaron Cometbus and John No (the guy writing this) conspired with him over late night donuts in Oakland to make a band out of it. Eggplant had played guitar in BLATZ and THE HOPE BOMBS, Aaron had played drums with pretty much every band in existence at some point, and I hadn't played bass "for real" before at all (and didn't again until STREET EATERS).
    We recorded this tape live a few weeks later at 924 Gilman with infamous roadie/sound guy Clayton McBride. There were no overdubs, not even the vocals. When people heard it, they kept asking Eggplant who the lady singing backups was (that would be me). We went on our one U.S. tour pretty soon after releasing the tape (i.e. home dubbing 100 copies), during which I met about half of my current friends and played with what were to soon become many of my favorite bands. We played in Chattanooga with JACK PALANCE BAND and we accidentally split some poor kid's scalp open by throwing a giant talking Mother Goose doll in the audience. We played in Gainesville with RADON at a house party and I was so drunk I could barely play, so some dude kept yelling "y'all would be great if you had a bass player!" I didn't drink before shows after that.
    HARBINGER played at ABCNORIO in New York and Eggplant threw watercolor paint all over the white gallery walls so we had to stay after the show and clean it up. We played our tightest set in Pensacola, Florida, at the original Sluggo's for an audience consisting of Rymodee and Teddy Ted, who played for the three of us in a 2/3rds version of THIS BIKE IS A PIPEBOMB (Terry was stuck downstairs tending bar). Right after that I walked down to the fabled Pensacola "beach" and it was super grey, broken shell-strewn and depressing; I liked it but didn't see what all the tourist fuss was about. Turns out what I thought was Pensacola beach was Pensacola Bay. I went to a pay phone and made a phone call to my friend Von and we decided to form FLESHIES.
    After HARBINGER made it home, we almost made Ben Ditch (from BEFORE THE FALL/FUTURE ADULTS) our singer, got into a couple of stupid arguments, played a couple more shows and "broke up". Then after a minute we decided we weren't broken up and would just play together when we were all in town. We wrote a few more songs, recorded a 12" with Kevin Army in 2001, and put it out on RIISK Records in 2004. I think there are a couple of them left, but you will have to call Eggplant at 510 BAD-SMUT and leave a message. We still play together sometimes, though these days we are more inclined to get donuts and walk around together all night when we are in the same place. The end.
 Thanks to the Region Rock and More for digitizing the tape and originally posting it in 2009.

   Okay, it's Greg again....Fun tidbits: I once heard that HARBINGER showed up early to a show at Gilman and claimed that they only play house shows, so they built a shack inside of Gilman to play in. I only saw HARBINGER once (don't know where I was when that Chattanooga show happened) at a Halloween show at 54th St in Oakland just a couple of years ago. There were a lot of mishaps. Aaron was sitting in a wooden chair while playing drums and the whole thing just fell apart mid-song. I think Eggplant broke a few strings and didn't have any extras. The PA barely worked. Usual house show mishaps. These things happen. It was fun.

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