Monday, March 26, 2012

four old friends

This post first appeared on MOG, March 18, 2007.

As I mentioned in my second post, for months I have been digitizing my old cassette tapes, which number in the hundreds. The population is uneven and mostly marked by various periods of poverty: from albums I taped in college before selling the disks for cigarette money to rare and out of print vinyl I taped over the years. Some of these, of course, will not be digitized because, hearing them now, I think they suck. Others are cause for disbelief: how could I have gone for so long without hearing this? Last night's digitizing falls into the latter category:

Jesse Bernstein, "The Sad Bag" (1) an out of print 1990 Trigger Recordings cassette-only release, recorded live at COCA (Seattle), with a cover designed by Madame Talbot. (Does anyone know what the fifth track is titled?) I originally copied this from Ben Blankenship (2) back in the very early 90s; I was just finishing high school. Ah, the stories I could tell about seeing Bernstein read. His "opening" for Jello Biafra at the OK Hotel back in, uh, 90? 91? sticks out in my mind: it was very crowded and hot, and Bernstein repeatedly dowsed the crowd with water from a plastic gallon jug.

Steel Pole Bath Tub, unidentified cd5 (3). I have no idea when this came out (and haven't been able to ID it; offers of help gratefully accepted), and the sound quality is awful. But, hey, I was able to preserve two of my favorite SPBT songs. In college, tens of times, I saw SPBT at the apparently now defunct Satyricon (Portland). They frequently appeared on the bill with Heavy Johnson Trio (whose bassist was a cook at the then recently opened Delta Cafe in SE and whose diminutive guitarrist usually appeared wearing a huge viking helmet, complete with horns), as well as the fucking amazing Gern Blanston, long since broken up -- a huge loss for PDX music. This SPBT is a very special recording for me, as I copied it from a dear friend who passed away a few years ago and who was my constant companion and driver for all those nights at the Satyricon: Julia Harrison, peace be upon her (4).

Both Bernstein and SPBT have significant online afterlives: here and here, respectively.

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