20 Bands that I Discovered through Promoting Shows
Some of you may know that I promoted shows and was a talent buyer off and on from 1996 to 2006. One of the main advantages of promoting especially in the early days was the amount of swag that you got in the mail. This was both a blessing and a curse. At it's height, I was averaging 3 to 5 CDs a day and out of those maybe there would be 3 or 4 a week worth a second listening. The rarest of the flood of CDs were CDs from bands that I had never heard of and made me a life time fan after just one listening. This weeks Spotify Playlist Blog is some of those bands. Sorry if there are a few repeats from last week.
- At the Drive-In - Proxima Centauri I first heard of ATDI during a phone conversation with their Manager and Booking Agent Blaze James of Flipside Fanzine and Records. He tried his best to play up the band as the best thing he had heard in years but didn't know how to explain what they sounded like. I told him to send me a CD and I'd see what I could do about getting them on a date with Borris the Sprinkler. A week later the CD showed up and I gave it a few listening at the shop. The struck me right off the bat as something new and important but I worried that the current scene wasn't ready for them. This was 1997 and a majority of the kids seemed mostly interested in SKA and new school punk which is two styles they didn't fit into. I was still on the fence when I went down one night to hang out with Paul at Safari. It was one of the few nights they let him bar tend and we kept drinking and playing cards after closing. In fact we were there till dawn. At some point, I mentioned ATDI and wanted him to hear it and tell me what he thought. We must of listened to Acrobatic Tenement about 20 times that night. By the third song and told me not only should I book this band but I need to book this band. Nothing could have prepared me for seeing them live and it was something that had to be experienced first hand. I was right about one thing though, the kids didn't know what to make of them and it would take a couple of years and them opening for Fugazi for them to break through.
- Killradio - Amerika I got a call from this band called Lover Destroy Me. The kid was alright and at this point they were just starting out. I had heard of Killradio but never really heard them. He claimed that he had gotten Killradio to agree to play a number of shows with them and was booking the tour. Well, he sent me a CDR of his band and Killradio. LMD was OK and sellable but KR won me over. In the end Killradio back out and I can't remember of I even did the show.
- The Vacancies - Hey Man! One of my all time favorite bands is and always will be the Adolescents and when given the chance to help bring them to Des Moines, I jumped at the chance. It would end up being the last big show that I would do at Hairy Mary's in August of 2006. When Stormy Shepred my favorite booking agent and general all around sweet heart from Leave Home, read off the tour line up it just got better with the support of the Street Dogs and a band called the Vacancies on Joan Jett's label. She e-mailed me their myspace page and I was blown away.
- The Teenage Frames - Who's got the Action? I'm not sure who it was that called me but we talked on the phone for a while. The whole idea of a Mod band was a bit strange in the late 90s. There really wasn't a huge scene and in hindsight they would have been huge now with the scooter scene. At any rate they sent me More Songs, Less Music and even though the recording quality was lacking, I fell in love with their simple pop straight a head sound. It was a breath of fresh air to just hear a fun rock and roll record. I book them into the club and began a relationship that would be on going for the next few years. Live they were something that a lot of bands had forgotten about, they were entertaining and fun. They were one of the bands that I would count as friends and some of the nicest people I had the pleasure of promoting. Oh and the only band that sent me a Christmas gift every year.
- The Peechees - Do the Math - I have to thank the lovely people at Spank Fanzine Doug and Michelle for this one. They booked and asked me to co-promote the show and I was floored by the CD and then more so by the show they put on with the Drags.
- The Beautys - Put It In the Whole I remember that I was booking the Nobodys and they sent me a split with the Beautys. After listening to it, I really wished that it was the Beautys where playing instead of the Nobodys. From Ft Wayne and sorely missed.
- The Dropkick Murphys - Skinhead on the MTBA It was 1997 and it had been an action packed year but Shawn sold the bar right after I had booked the US Bombs in for the third time. The Bombs booking agent Mike Kelly called me and I had it booked before Shawn had told anyone that he was closing and selling Safari. So I ended up moving the show to Sioux City. At any rate when he pitched me Dropkick Murphys all he said was they are this Stiff Little Fingers band. He didn't seem very big on them and I got the vibe that he felt like he was stuck with them. That was their first CD and I played that thing non-stop for about 6 months.
- The B-Movie Rats - Dirty Dog I have to thank the Humpers for passing my name and contact info around the Punk and Roll scene for this one and a few others. I remember very little about our first contact other than them mentioning the Humpers and the Devil Dogs. They sent me a tape, yeah that's right a tape and I played that thing for just about anyone who would listen. The last time I saw them they seemed to have moved into more of a Kiss direction which I didn't dig that much but still one of the best Rock N Roll bands of the late 90s.
- (REO) Speeddealer - I Hate You Better I'm not sure if I had seen them before I booked them or not. They were the Zeke of Texas and in someways were better than Zeke. After a lawsuit they shortened their name to Speeddealer and kind of went all stoner rock.
- The Briefs - Rotten Love I wasn't even promoting shows at the time when Hit after Hit arrived in my mail box. It was one of those things were their booking agent or manager knew me and figured I'd dig them. It just so happened that they were playing Mary's later that month and I was there with bells on. Often they have been dismissed as a Toy Dolls or Advert rip off but I have to say the first thing that came to my mind was the Dickies.
- Murder City Devils - Dance Hall Music I remember getting their self titled CD with just a hand written note with a date and nothing else. By the second song, I was in love with this band and biting my nails waiting for whoever was booking this band to call me back. I'm fact I spent the next few weeks asking ever agent that called if they knew who booked this band while playing it to death at Safari. At last the agent got a hold of me and I booked a date that fell throw. Soon after that Safari became Hairy Mary's and I had to fight tooth and nail to keep the show. After their first show all the doubters were won over. The thing about this band that I always found funny was they were a bunch of Hardcore kids that started a Punk and Roll band and had no idea there was already a scene revolving around bands like the Humpers.
- The Neckbones - Crack Whore Blues I can't remember which member it was that was the roadie for the Humpers but the only reason I even asked for a CD was because of the Humpers connection. The CD won me over and live they were beyond words.
- The Bleed - The Goon I can't remember if I booked them first or if the Have Nots played a show with them before that but the band left a lasting impression on me. Stripped down simple rock and roll with a singer that called back to a era that has long since gone. They were from Milwaukee had a drummer that played a very simple set and stood up during the whole set. Their ballads, yes I said ballads were like being haunted.
- The Tossers - Drinking in the Day The Tossers were added to the first Murphy's Law show I did after coming back to promoting in 2006. They were one of those bands that I had been hearing about for years and for some reason or another never bothered to check out. Long before Flogging Molly they were America's first Irish Punk band straight out of the Southside of Chicago.
- Cretin 66 - Hellbound and Hailing Ass I first heard of Cretin when I booked the Quincy Punx. They asked me to add them and the Sex Offenders to the bill. One of the fuzziest, loudest, rockest and ugliest bands that I had the pleasure of booking.
- Tenderloin - Shotgun WIlly Yet another band that I heard about but never got around to picking up. Fronted by the mighty Ernie Locke and started when Rev Horten Heats guitar tech Kirk St. James convinced Taz to leave the Rev and start a better band. They were by far one of the best live acts to come out of the Midwest and sadly broke up just as they started seeing some success.
- The Architects - The Badge Not sure why I ended up with their CD and I don't think we ever had the chance to work together. After a while it all becomes a blur. I did book their former band the Gadgits when they were all just little kids. The Architects were by far a much more mature and well better. Driving rock from the heart and should have been huge.
- Bang Sugar Bang - The Machine Gun Song One of those cold calls from an unknown band that had me under their collective spell after the first song and didn't disappoint live to say the least.
- Welt - Stand One of the first bands I ever promoted and by far one of the most under rated New School punk bands from the 90s. Solid songs and writing and well always put a smile on my face no matter how bad a day I'm having.
- The Loadmouths - Saki to Me I remember them calling me and saying they were the female version of the Humpers and I was sold right there and the CD and the show sealed the deal.
A band that should be on this list but aren't on Spotify is Valentine Six and a few 30 others I can't remember right now.