This isn’t a Cavedweller song. I’m not even sure if I am on this recording. I’m pretty sure I recorded this song though. Operating the cassette recorder or something. “Parachute Pants Lance” is more-or-less an acapella improvisation helmed by Smokey Farris and Eric Weige featuring Preston Dukes, James Oswald, possibly Travis Catsull and James Lawrence. It’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on here. It was recorded in Denton at our former group house on Crescent St. in the fall of 1998. This is one of my favorite songs ever.
Recently I “Re-found” an audio cassette recorded by the makers of the infamous “Chicago Sketch Comedy” home video from the same year of 1987. This tape features awesome prank phone calls, shouts out to “the gang”, “trippy” casio sk-1 keyboard playing, bizarre audio sketch comedy and a little Twisted Sister. Available all for free at bandcamp now!
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.
“Honey I Can Tell” is an outtake from the “Gone to Seed” cassette release from 2010. This one was written sometime in 2005 while I was traveling around. The “hook” is more-or-less lifted from the Mungo Jerry song “In the Summertime”, where Mungo Jerry sings “…you got women, you got women on your mind”. I made the mood a bit more foreboding than Mungo Jerry, who is the opposite of foreboding, by droning out the bluesy aspects and making the drums stark and minimal, also adding dissonance at certain intervals. After the song was recorded I realized it was conveying an uneasy sense of sexuality. Possibly deviant. This was only somewhat intentional.
Honey I Can Tell
“I’ve Been Thinking” is an outtake from 2003 during the recording sessions for “…Bow of Bees”. All of the vocals for this song were recorded first and the bass was added last. I employed this backward method to give certain songs a more wonky quality that is nearly impossible to accomplish if the vocals are recorded last. This song is directly “inspired” by The Beach Boys song “Do It Again”. One might even venture to say this is a loose parody of that song. I like songs where the lyrics deal with subjects the singer claims to be “thinking about” besides the nebulous “you”.
When we played this song live it turned into more of a “My Sharona” type groove that you can place from the bass line. Many times people thought we were playing “My Sharona” and didn’t realize that we weren’t till midway through the song.
I’ve Been Thinking
“The Sad Caller” from the 1997 cassette-only release “Advanced” on Business Deal Tapes. This song is a direct result of the influence from the band Low whom I began listening to in 1996. To be even more specific, I believe this song is essentially a knock-off of the Low song “Over the Ocean”. A gentle repetitive lullaby tainted with despair; most of Low’s songs.
The Sad Caller
“Badger” originally only available on a 3 song cassingle I passed out at the 1997 Fry Street Fair in Denton, TX. Later that year I stuck it on the “Special Education” full length cassette after receiving many request to play it live. More cryptic lyrics dealing with submission and death. Also I use to read the comic book “Badger” and I remember that had something to do with this song.
I recorded this one at my little apartment on 33st in 2007 with Pat Healy from Pataphysics on hand-held cassette recorder. We had spent the day at an experimental video art show sponsored by the beverage called Sparks. We drank much Sparks and this song was the result.