You must forgive me, I'm working on a book proposal right now and it's a hellzone of introspection while I ponder what a regular person would want to hear me say about myself. I thought for this week we could look at some fan art and think of times gone by, and buoy the spirits a little. This one is from 2002, it's a CD-R from the hardcore band Models Inc., of a song they recorded on my behalf.
Models Inc. was a band from Worcester MA circa 2002, featuring Matt "Dad" Smith, Mat C, Sourpuss Mark, and Jeff S. A lot of my friends knew Dad Smith already from trading zines through the mail, I guess I met him just from being around. Jeff and Dad Smith lived together in Worcester at this college dump apartment on the third floor of a triple decker on Dewey St, where I used to hang out. Cool Breeze lived in a closet on the back porch for a while, and for a brief period ML lived there (inside) in a makeshift room he made by pulling the couch away from the wall and hanging up a poster below the couchline. Little Andrew, MZ, Melissa Number One, and many others also paid their dues there. "Dad Smith" got the name because he was the most longstanding roommate and also really held the house together with strong dad energy. Eventually they were able to rent out the second floor as well, and Andy Gandiva moved in. The entire time I was going there the first floor was a pretty intense weird family-- the only person I can remember from down there was this terrifying 9 year old girl who called Dad Smith "Pickle Head" and "Skinny Miller", and also maybe bit him in the arm? I might be making up the biting part.
The band was originally called Jack Burton but when I booked them to play a show in my bedroom, Mike T heckled them hard about looking like models (I think because they were wearing tight jeans with no rips), and they decided to roll with it. That show was with Anton Bordman, The Body, and Deny Everything, and that was the night I first saw the Body and me and Chip stayed up really late talking about Tiny Tim.
They didn't last very long as a band but I know that they had a couple shows at least. I remember seeing them in Joe Shumsky's basement and this one straight-edge skinhead there giving everyone a hard time about how their keys weren't in order-- he made everyone show him their keys and if the pointy bits weren't all facing the same way and the keys weren't organized by size he gave you the business. I was ready because at the time I only had one key (bike key, no car, house couldn't be locked) but he still took me to task for having "toys" on the keychain (a bottle opener). This sounds complainy but I loved it. I think this was the same skinhead that helped Dan Wars out later when he accidentally (?) swallowed one of those pills that expands to a little sponge in the shape of a dinosaur. Hopefully you guys know what I'm talking about out there, maybe this is like a 90s kids only thing. The guy was a brilliant chemist and he made an artificial stomach acid in the lab and watched it interact with a sponge for an hour, then called Dan and said don't worry. Sure enough he was fine.
My main memory of Models Inc. is them playing in the basement at the Wayward Boys house on Myrtle Ave in Fitchburg MA, with Terribles, Atrocious Kids, Bad Personalities, and King Tuff. Mat C played a guitar solo with a switchblade knife as a slide, and Dad Smith sang and creepy-crawled around ducking low-hanging pipes, all sharp knees and elbows like a spider. During the show the lads who lived there dumped a laundry hamper full of golfballs on him, which they had collected for this specific purpose on a mission the night before. Afterwards he said it was like "getting punched by thousands of little babies". House resident DW confirms that this was the first King Tuff show, in support of his debut CDR, "the Dangerous Romantic".
For some reason I got wrangled in to help Models Inc. record, I think the main thing I brought to the table was that I wasn't in the band-- I was believably subjective. But probably the reason they asked me was because I had released a CD before so I think they thought I knew how to record a band, which I didn't really, but it was fine. I set up the four track as best I could and recorded live in the room, then mixed down and overdubbed vocals on the computer and mixed them to the band's satisfaction. My payment was that I got to do whatever I wanted with the tracks later. So I took out the vocals, EQed everything "my way" (gross) and added lots of musique concrète elements, to produce a sort of dub hardcore record (CD-R) under the name "Noodles Inc.". That project I had a hard time manufacturing because the new sounds were sometimes jaggy at the frequency of a skipping CD, causing the CD burner to freeze up and report an error. I went through many many tests before figuring this out, a very rare and unusual error.
Anyway, some time after the Models Inc demo came out I got this CD-R from Matt. This must've been part of our deal but I don't really remember, so I'll choose to remember it as simply a thoughtful gift. He wrote a song for the website!
download link: [mp3 2.8mb]
I remember thinking at the time "Fujichia must die??? what's that all about?". But now I understand-- I mean any longstanding thing has to go through periods of death and rebirth, expansion and contraction. Duh. Huge thank you to the band.
Oh, and for the record I also made fan art of Matt Smith! The first time my artwork was ever shown in a gallery was at a space in Boston's Chinatown with 4 other artists, and my contribution was a set of paintings based on "Things Matt Smith Likes". I think I made like 20 of them. I might've forgotten about this one but I went over Melissa Number One's house the other day and she had one of the paintings in her foyer:
All the paintings were also coat racks because I thought that having a utility would get people to buy them. That worked out great and I sold out at the opening! It was part of my plan to pay back a friend who lost the security deposit at his apartment because I put small fireworks in the food at a party and the hummus stained the ceiling.
links / misc
- Matt went on to be in more and bigger bands, including Social Circkle and Green Beret. Here's a tape from 2014 [youtube] and a video of a live set [youtube]. Damn it's great to see your buddy set the room off.
- Jeff became a high school teacher, which is so nice. Mat C was my roommate for years but the last I heard he was an ultramarathon runner. Sourpuss Mark was a tour manager for a few bands, that's a great role for him because he's good with details and fun to hang out with, great combo of calming presence and acerbic wit. Not sure what he's up to now. You can spot him in the background of this Vivian Girls video, which also marks the screen debut of the magnificent Curtin Brothers-- [youtube].
- King Tuff has a new record out on Sub Pop and it's really really good-- he's finally gone full Donovan! This is a little counterintuitive but to go full Don you need to let the drums go a little harder than seems appropriate. Really great record KT!!!! [link]
- I still have Wolfman posters / Mothers News back issues for sale, help me out here I need the shelf space-- [link]
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