"Johnny", the first music I ever wrote for a band, has been misunderstood as a put down by Rabies upon 'some other Tyranna band member'.
Tyranna formed, wrote, played it's first 3 gigs and recorded all in the space of about 10 days. The original band included John Tucker and John Ziegler. Rabies christened me Johnny Bubblegum, and drummer Dave Porter took the handle Johnny F-Art. Before we played the song, Rabies introduced us all as Johnny. The song was a playful shot at cookie-cutter punk, which was quickly becoming the norm.
Mike Andrechuk and I were about to give up, having spent six months trying to find a singer and a drummer, when my pal Doug Begoray offered to front the cash for us to record a single. We handled, or mangled, the vocals ourselves, and called in my Tyranna drummer, Cleave Anderson to hit the skins.
The Wayouts were my response to the violence I'd witnessed in the Punk scene. We aimed to play high energy music that was fun. 'Red Rover' was my salute to those great old Bubblegum singles of the late 60's.
The record was a concept thing. Once the band gave up the concept and broke up once or twice, we did some way cool shows at The Beverly Tavern and OCA. Oh, for a video of THOSE days.
A co-worker, hearing we were both going to the same concert, (well, I was going for Sonic Youth, they were going for Redd Kross), invited me to meet her and her friends at her house close to the venue.
They were all several years younger than me, and dressed in a style rather like punk, but like punk goes camping. They were trying to start a band, but their bass player wasn't. I said to the woman beside me, one of the guitarists "I could sit in until you find someone, if you want."
"What have you done?" she said, witheringly.
"I was in Tyranna, then I had a band called the Wayouts."
Nora Daisy, my co-workers' roomate, bedecked in vintage flower power tights, who had yet to really look my way, spun around...
"You were in the WAYOUTS? You wanna record? You wanna tour?"
We played our first shows within weeks and recorded the demo in a room at the old Sudbury Street warehouse soon after. Nora asked if we could cover "Red Rover." When the tape came out, Nora insisted that the Wayouts cover be sequenced on the 'originals' side of the cassette.
Tony Hamilton did the artwork for the tape, and later, our T-shirt design.
"Heaven & Earth" was Joe Durning's nod to Ken Kesey and The Pranksters. But I had first come to know Neal Cassady in the novels of Jack Kerouac.
I asked Joe if I could write a 'Cassady Rap' to ping-pong off his lead vocal, and in it balance the way we remembered The Acid Test.
Also, one of my best bass tracks.
I wrote "My Buddy Ian" for my brother, but he didn't feel the love in it. When I made my Will The Circle CD, I wrote 'Orchid', and he 'likes it a lot.'
Venus Drug had wasted four recording hours dealing with a drunken drummer. Frustrated, enraged actually we broke for lunch, but I suggested we try one take of this song. Joe's lead tells it all so well. Again, first take.