Friday, January 08, 2010

Sophisticated Boom-Boom

Since the Walkmen seem to have lost the plot (along with a bag of hooks) and the Rockateens have... Well, I don't know where they've gone (oh yeah, Tenement Halls!), but where is one to turn in the quest for fuzzed out, sepia-toned melodies hammered through a Fender Twin Reverb amp set to 60's go-go rhythms played on a skeleton drum-kit? Drunken crooning at the Stardust Ballroom? Spin Magazine tells us this about Stuart McLamb of the Love Language:

In 2006, McLamb was kicked out of his former band, garage rockers the Capulets, after he broke into their practice space in a drunken stupor to teach a girl to play drums and ended up trashing some gear. After a painful breakup with his girlfriend, his downward spiral culminated in a drinking binge of epic proportions. "When I came to, I was in a friend's apartment in handcuffs with my ankles bound, not knowing how I got there," says McLamb, 28. "That was a pretty ugly night, but it was also a turning point."

I can sympathize with Mr. McLamb, as I, alas, was once kicked out of a band. It was the early 90's, I was in high school, parted my hair in the middle, and favoured a burgundy Top Dog t-shirt that set me apart as decidedly more streetwise than the rest of my peers, who loved No Fear shirts. I sold the dirtbike my father bought me for my 10th birthday (a Honda CR-80), and bought a guitar (a Hurricane Stella) and a bass guitar (I can't remember what brand, something ghastly and it weighed a god-damn ton).

I started a band with Jon Cranny (our vocalist), Jon Mueller (the guitarist, who would later go by his middle name Milton - named after the author of Paradise Lost, and later, a dimunitive of that name, Milt), and Stan Geisbrecht (drummer, and star percussionist in the high school band). Taking inspiration from (of all things) my tennis racquet, our band name was 96 Square Inches of Feedback. (Bizarrely enough - a latter band I was in, Three Inches of Blood, also favoured the imperial system for nomenclature).

I played one show with the band, in the courtyard of our high school. I can't remember much, but I think we covered , and there was a topical joke song that mentioned O.J. Simpson. It was pretty ghastly pop punk, but without the skills and polish required to pull off pop punk. My technique was ghastly - I strummed the bass with my entire hand upwards, and I was bad enough that they sent me to practice with another band (Headcase).

The next show for the unfortunately named 96 Square Inches of Feedback was in a friend Karl Derksen's garage. Kraft dinner was served. I don't know how it went, because nobody told me about it, and I heard about it two months later. I learned my lesson from that first instance, and quit every band I was in before they had a chance to kick me out. Alas, with women, I have not been so forward-thinking.

And so here's to Stuart McLamb of Love Language, and to rock bottom!

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