I use to have a big stack of these flyers in the trunk of my car and I took one out before I sold the car a few years ago. For the life of me I can’t remember where this show was, who it was with, what city it was in, who made the flyer or what year it took place. I am guessing it is between the years of 98 and 2001 while i was living in Denton, but I googled the location and there was no such address in Denton. The doll in question pictured on the flyer was called “The Passenger”. Smokey would sit him in the passenger seat and strap the seat belt on him and drive from Austin to Denton to visit. Later, The Passenger got chewed up by a dog. Luckily, flea markets and Asian grocery stores across the country sell identical dolls. If you know anything about this show please let me know.
League Of Gentlemen USA was a quasi-concept band formed by James Lawrence, Preston Dukes, Dirk Michener and Zack Kelly during the Fall of 1997. The concept herein was initially to make recordings using only keyboards, which was semi-mind-blowing at this period of time in Denton since the only other band who made a similar attempt was Mission Giant, then later Telethon and R.C Poof. We were taking a que from fellow label mates Prima Donnas but instead of being lyrically based we chose to be totally instrumental. We were all adept musicians and the decision to be an instrumental keyboard band came about rather organically. After a few sessions we decided to throw in some samples from movies and a few conventional instruments to break things up a bit.
The name was chosen from a list of films out of one of those old massive books that listed film names. It was some kind of British spy movie from the 50′s and it sounded new-wavish enough for us.
We finished our cassette in the spring of 1998 and soon after we were told there existed another band called “League of Gentlemen” formed in 1980 by Robert Fripp. Most people said that we were better and if a band takes another band’s name and they are a better band then it is ok. It was still kind of embarrassing that none of us, all Robert Fripp fans, knew about his short-lived band from the 80′s.
I was still nervous about it and decided to stick “USA” on the end so as to have that differentiation. I don’t think the “USA” actually got attached until Business Deal updated their order forms years after we stopped playing. That same year we also found out there was a British comedy group who went by “The League of Gentlemen” which further made us want to remove ourselves from the name.
We only did a few shows that year. Mostly house parties and record store shows in Denton. It was very difficult for us to work out the sound set-up at shows. We needed a lot of amps and the volume got out of control quickly because there were never any monitors. The most notable thing from a LOGUSA show that I can remember was when Bobcat accidentally caught his shirt on fire from a candle. It wasn’t a spectacle but it stands out to me.
Now We Arise
LOGUSA’s sound varied as wildly as keyboard music could get but we generally gravitated toward moodier, cinematic soundscapes. The sample in “Now We Arise” is Vincent Price laughing at the end of “Thriller”. The samples added some cohesion to the mostly improvised keyboard “jams”. I don’t think we ever actually rehearsed any songs.
Our second cassette, titled “Welcome to Texas Instruments” was more of a random collection of leftovers and a session that Preston and I recorded by ourselves one night. We made an attempt at emulating the songs of video games. Little did we know hundreds of other bands worldwide were also experimenting with this same idea. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. The name “League Of Gentlemen” was left off the cover of “Welcome To Texas Instruments” because it was such a haphazard affair.
The Oregon Trail
One of the best songs on “Welcome to Texas Instruments” is a heavier number I titled “Road Blaster”, an instrumental song that Preston did by himself which I recorded on my hand-held GE Cassette recorder. I heard him playing this song in the other room and ran in just in time to record most of it. He was playing the guitar and keyboard and drum machine at the same time.
The X was the name of the only good record store in Denton from about the end of ’96 till 2000 or so. It was run by Trinidad Leal who moved to Denton, I believe from Lubbock. I’m not 100% sure it was Lubbock but either way it was some Texas college town. While in Denton, Trinidad played in the space-rock-prog band Light Bright Highway who hosted after hours acid parties at The Argo. Trinidad currently sings and drums in the stoner-metal band Dixie Witch.
The X was the place that solidified the scene in Denton. Every band consigned at The X and most everyone seemed to sell stuff. Trinidad was a huge proponent of the scene at that time. He knew about all the local bands and was always excited to tell you something-or-other when you came in the store and always very supportive of whatever the local bands were doing.
The X hosted shows regularly throughout it’s existence. Solo nights weren’t any fixed night but rather just whenever someone asked Trinidad if they could put one together. Solo nights probably happened every week for the last couple of years at their Fry Street location. Record release shows were also frequent. During 97-2000 The X had it’s own indoor stage for the Fry Street Fair which was always an “unplugged” affair. Cavedweller played three of those years. Cavedweller also did a lot of Solo Nights there. There weren’t actually many “Solo Artists” in town at that time. Every year it seemed to increase exponentially. Ultimately “Solo Artist” came to mean any person or group of people who did not play loudly.
This top flyer was a rare show I did with Wanz Dover from Mazinga Phaser and later Falkon Project. This was also one of Lo-Fi Chorus’ first shows. I recently saw a guy in Brooklyn wearing a Lo-Fi Chorus t-shirt and asked him if he was from Denton and of course he was. If I am not mistaken, John Freeman designed this flyer.
I made this flyer for a Transona 5 7″ release show they asked me to play. They were by far my favorite band “in town” even though they claimed to be from Dallas. Dallas didn’t have nearly as good of a scene as Denton and bands like Transona 5 were usually regarded as a “Denton-Style” band, ie “Spacerock”.
This was another flyer I made. After a While I started making attempts to imitate John Freeman’s band-fonts, only by-hand and hastily drawn. This was an early show for my brother’s project, Fishboy. I don’t actually recall anything about this show. I’m sure it went well. I also bet there were problems with the PA system.
I recently recorded a cover of Gene Defcon’s “Liz” on Garageband. I’ve been mostly using Garageband since I got it last November and have found that one of the only ways to get a non-garageband sounding recording is to add a lot of reverb and fuzz to everything. Many contemporary bands are doing this and you will notice it right away if you pay attention to underground music(blog-rock). So many bands are doing this, in fact, that it becomes easy to tell who is using Garageband by the kind of fuzz and reverb they use in recordings. I find it to be alright. It will probably go down in history as a golden era for home-computer recordings. The new lo-fi golden era.
I was listening to Gene Defcon’s “Come Party With Me 2000″ and while I was listening to “Liz”, a song I had heard many many times, I noticed how crazy the drums were. I tried to imagine what they would sound like if they were just the drums were just played straight and with real drums, not a drum machine. I picked up on how the phrase “I don’t mind” had been used in a similar way as The Jesus And Mary Chain frequently uses the phrase (think “Snakedriver”). I ultimately imagined it as a JAMC-esque reverb drenched wash of fuzz and melody. Although this is not the typical style in which i record songs, I thought this was a rather successful attempt to emulate a sound that is so popular with young bands now days.
This is the cover of the 7″ for “Liz” on Lookout! Records released in May of 2000