Monday, January 9, 2012

Let's Have A Closer Look At The Cassette Sleeve Of My High School Band

I will be blogging a little from time to time about my high school band "The Unexplained". My brother Paul digitized our one and only release for me, (Thanks Paul!) and it's pretty fun to remember back to this band. You can learn a lot about the band by reading the cassette sleeve, designed primarily by me (NOT the crappy logo) and edited by Jim, if memory serves me correctly.

Some other random notes before the actual breakdown of the sleeve notes: This cassette was recorded on a four track recorder in my parent's basement. I don't remember if they were home or not. If they were, I bet they got a pretty good laugh out of the recording process, especially when Dan put his vocals to the instrumental tracks. I have never been pleased with the bass mix on this - it should've been much louder. But then again, I probably would've complained unless the bass track had the John Entwhistle style chest cavity-rattling volume levels. The actual printing of the sleeve was one of my vocational school projects. The dogs on the cover: Sammy (the hard-to-see black dog), my sister Anne's family's dog; and Quincy, our beloved Golden Retriever. "Rough" was both a pun referring to the dogs and the quality of the mix. And so, without further adieu. . .
Click to enlarge
One Side/Other Side: Not sure where this bit of wit came from, but I'm guessing it was inspired by reading smart ass Camper Van Beethoven record credits. They'd have stuff like "David Lowry - black guitar" on their records.

One Side: I don't think I know what any of these songs are about. I could never understand what Dan was shouting. Jim pointed out in a recent email how sucky the song title "I Stand Alone" is, especially considering ". . . that Dan decided to sing about watching t.v. on that song. We simply ignored the drummer every time he opened his mouth (save, apparently, for when we decided on the name of the song) it should be." Jim sang on "Just Different". It is an effort worthy of a Lou Reed record. "Mary Olson" was a song I made up. It doesn't actually have anything to do with "Little House On The Prairie". I didn't have title for it, so we just named it at the time of the recording. What's remarkable about this is how the song is almost identical to the Green Day song "Warning". My song predates that song by ten years. Bastards stole my song man!

Other side: Covers galore here, including a totally thrashin' version of "Bee Sting" by The Belgian Waffles! "Surfboard From Hell" was from my first band ever, the Cavity Creeps. This was also a song I made up on bass. "There Will Come A Day" is actually called "DA Intro" by the Dandelion Abortion. "??????????" is a cover of U2's "Desire". We didn't give it a name because we didn't want the RIAA to come after us. Yeah I know - that's pretty damn funny. But I guess the RIAA does have a proven record of going after moms and teens. "Death Meat" is about a biker momma. It was initially a silly poem I wrote. I didn't like it; Dan did and changed it around to become "Death Meat". 

The "thank yous": Here they are, as best I can remember them.

  • Tom Burris - guy who recorded us, worked at A1 Records, one of our alternative music resources, all around swell guy.
  • Mark Hubbard and Flounder - ran "The Flipside" all ages club in Chesterfield, IN. While we were always grateful for a show there, we marvelled at how stingy and unoriginal these guys were. 
  • Bren Olds - must've stood on the lower level, flicking a light switch on and off. We opened for his band once, I accidentally kicked the crap out of his vintage Fender Jazz Bass. Later went on to play with Poi Dog Pondering; currently playing bass for a band that sings about Illinois state history.
  • Cavity Creeps - gave them a shout out because two of our good friends (Matt and Rob Snyder) as well as my brother Joe were my band mates. Good guys all.
  • Bill and the Belgian Waffles! - My brother Bill's band. Maybe we thought shout outs would ensure brisk cassette sales.
  • V.B.F. - Joseph Dixon's (drummer) other band. "VBF" stands for "Vaginal Blood Fart". These dudes were hilarious - they were obsessed with Gwar and Fangoria magazine. Joseph hated that they weren't more serious.
  • Our families - very uncool, but we actually liked our families.
  • Fr. Dennis Goth - associate pastor at St. Mary's Church at that time. Real nice guy. I don't think he's in the priesthood anymore.
  • M. Boles - High school classmate of Jim's.
  • M. Solid - close friend of the band who wasn't inclined to learn how to play an instrument or to be a scenester.
  • Betty Meehan - beloved junior high history teacher (for Jim, Dan, Kevin, and me) and curmudgeonly rebel.
  • Liz Broyles - girl I met in vacation in MI who lived in North Carolina. I think I had a crush on her, and she made killer mix tapes.
  • Greg Sasser, Curt Corzine - I have no idea why these jokers are on here. Sasser was a local metalhead; Corzine went to vocational school with Joseph Dixon and I.
  • Joe Zink - brother. Surf drummer. Icon.
  • Seth Kelly, Uncle Lynne, Joe Toast - not sure why these guys are on here. Kevin contributed these folks.
  • Michele Kriner - Kevin's little sister who was hip beyond her years.
  • Andrea - Kevin's serious girlfriend. 
  • Charlie Brown - ugh. No idea.
  • Nexxus Hair Products - hilarious thank you.
  • The Snyders - friends o' the band; Cavity Creeps musicians.

Equipment endorsements: I am aware how extraordinarily pretensious - and pointless - it was to have this on our sleeve. Yet there it is. There is still some humor here. I'm pretty sure the "or anything else his friends will let him borrow" was added by Jim. Dan equipment was hilarious, and the Matt Dixon equipment was a diss on his penchant for doing that dive-bomby noise with his locking tremolo bar.

Credits: Finally, the who plays what section. Nothing to say here except that I think we got the idea to type "Dan Smith - throat" from a Bad Brains record. 

Hopefully, people who were involved with or remember this band will add more/correct what I have written in the comments section.


  1. pretty sure mom and dad weren't home when we recorded it. they probably planned it that way.

  2. also, many (perhaps most) of the acknowledgements were provided by the drummer...hence the random assortment of douchenozzles than were inexplicably included on the list.