This week we have several “Songs of the Weak!!!” for you – all from deep in the archives.
“Reggae Goes To College“- the Valium Brothers (Chandler Travis & Rikki Batres)- recorded at My. Cod, 1979 or so. When Steve Shook and I were doing gigs as Travis, Shook, & the Club Wow and later as Travis Shook, the whole time -many years – all we were doing was looking for the right drummer so we could have the band we really wanted, and we didn’t find the right person until, lo and behold, Rikki Bates started popping up at some NRBQ shows, and it became obvious he was the only person nuts enough for the job. At the time, we were pretty entrenched as George Carlin’s opening act, which was fun and paid well enough that when we weren’t doing that, we had ample time to spend a year or so fooling around w Rikki finally putting together our dream rock band, via lots of home recording at our buddy Rob Hart’s house in Orleans, MA (which we called Mt. Cod.) As with everything with us at the time, this was a fairly leisurely process, and Rikki and I and sometimes Rob and even guitar whiz kid Eric Rosenfeld made lots of side trips, as the Valium Brothers (Vic n Vince, thus Vince Valium), the Mass Agricultural Band, the Rob Hart Band, the Fruit Bats, etc. before eventually morphing (after the Susan Anton People and the Atomic Quartet) into first the Travis Shook Band, and then finally the Incredible Casuals. “Reggae Goes To College” was just Rikki and myself (as was “I’ve Got a Tune Inside My Head“, which we put out a few weeks ago), a totally forgotten outtake from those early days of forming what eventually became the Casuals.
Side note: thinking up band names is always an interesting process; I know my colleague David Greenberger has volumes of excellent band names, many of which you can find in his artwork. And our old boss George Carlin had some, too -my favorites were always Waitress Sweat and the Mormon Tabernacle Trio. But when we were playing with Eric Rosenfeld (who was and probably still is an absolute genius guitar player who majored in the Beach Boys), at one point we decided to each nominate three band names, and we’d try to agree on one from the list, and Eric’s three names were absolutely my faves: the Musical Walls, (the one we chose at the time) the Susan Anton People, and Fuckstick Shithorse. Who knows how the course of history might have changed if only we’d chosen the latter? Oh, boy, now I’m getting nostalgic…
“speedy Rob riff” – The Rob Hart Band; “E riff” and “It’s Never Drowning Whenever“- the Mass. Agricultural Band; “The Poor Farmer and His Cattle“- me. All shards of vague ideas recorded in the same pre-Casuals era at Mt. Cod, as discussed above; the Mass. Agricultural Band also includes Rikki Bates and Eric Rosenfeld. Lots more from this bunch on the Casuals’ Inedible Casserole series, available on the merch page (scroll down to the 16th row(!!) for the Casseroles; you can find more information about what’s on the various Casseroles on the Incredible Casuals songlist, but it’ll take some perseverance!)