This page is a work in progress as I dig through the vaults of my past recordings and handful of press clippings.
Most of my older songs were recorded on 4 track cassette so I am trying to clean them up and master them. Unfortunately this led to the discovery that my 4 track is dead. So, more music & images coming later…
Virginia Creeper (1995-7)
When I moved to Bellingham in 1995, I placed an ad looking for band mates. I think I mentioned Barbara Manning, Sebadoh, Beat Happening, and probably Pavement or Guided By Voices in my ad. One person responded that they didn’t know any of those bands but they did like the Cure. Promising compared to all the other respondents who didn’t know who these bands were but wanted to be in my band anyways. Hmmm. Finally, the last message I got was from someone who did know and like these bands, and it turned out he lived just a couple blocks away. He brought in his brother from Seattle to play drums and Virginia Creeper was born. We existed for a little over a year, adding a fourth member later on, and then going our separate ways early in 1997.
In that short time we released a 7″ single and a full length cassette. Two of us also started our record label, Elsinor. We played maybe a dozen shows including the 3B tavern, Western Washington University, the Allied Arts centre, Gibson’s in downtown Seattle, and a few other venues.
We even got some reviews for our 7″. We were pretty excited that Alternative Press magazine gave us a few lines in the Singles column. The review itself could be taken as lukewarm, but the comparison was to the Olympia scene so to us it was akin to a rave review.
Maybe we were the only indie-ish band in Bellingham at the time (seems doubtful), but we somehow managed to open for Modest Mouse three times. The last time was also our last show–one we put on at the Allied Arts that also included This Busy Monster (including the Barsuk records guys who helped put on the show) and Pinwheel (Ben Gibbard’s band before DCFC).
Not much to say about this. It became a regular part of our live set.
The only song where we did male/female vocals. I’d like to re-record this one day.
My mom had a lap steel, and this is me putting it to some amateurish use. This was one of the few Virginia Creeper songs that was recorded in a studio.
Recorded on the first day we practiced together as a full band. By the time we were playing this live, it was so much tighter and energetic. It sounds timid here. And of course my bandmate (and engineer for this track) insisted on turning up my vocals, and I insisted they were way too loud. He was right.
F.M. Cornog (aka East River Pipe) didn’t think Turnpike was a very exciting name. I exchanged a few letters with him in the early 90’s, wanting to know how his recordings sounded so much better than mine despite having essentially the same equipment. He asked to hear my music and my roommate convinced me to send him a tape. He wrote back some very kind and encouraging things. In part, this response from someone whose music I liked was the confidence boost I needed to start a band when I moved to Bellingham a couple years later.
I released one cassette as Turnpike around 1994. This was the first time I was brave enough to send out some copies to a few zines. I did get some reviews and for the most part they were favorable. When I moved to Asheville, NC in early 1995 to go to audio recording school I sent out some more copies to the local magazines there, and got a couple more reviews.
The Wood Nymphs (1989-1993ish)
There are a lot of awful band names in the world, so why should I be any different? My friend and I recorded three cassettes under this name. I think we had a distribution of about three. We essentially made copies for ourselves and one or two friends. One of those friends lost her cassette on a train in England somewhere. Wonder what ever became of that and how hard the person who found it laughed when they listened to it?
We joked that we were like the Indigo Girls–I was the rock n’ roll one and she was the folksy one. All joking aside though, there are some not half bad songs in this time period despite being our very earliest attempts at songwriting.