Cassette Culture #4 – The Band with An International Reputation

In 1988 SCW put out their fourth and final cassette-only release, The Band with an International Reputation. Side A of the cassette was titled Crush Grind and Swallow, and contained tracks recorded and overdubbed on multi-track and then mixed down. Side B was titled Disco Dancing With the Best and was recorded direct to cassette, live off the floor at SCW’s Queen St. West studio/rehearsal/living space.

The Band with an International Reputation – cassette insert

The first track is classic SCW, mixing live instrumentation with samples, tape loops, effects etc.

A Pretty Uncomfortable Area

For this cassette release, each band member was invited to write and record their own tracks – here’s one of Roba’s prime cuts.

America Wake Up

This last track is the live band with overdubs and was recorded and engineered by our friend GBH at his studio. It was also sampled and regurgitated on SCW’s next release, God Family Country.

Speaking of Heavy Metal

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New Year’s 1987

On Dec 31 1987 SCW presented their first annual New Year’s show at a gallery space on Queen St. West in Toronto. With DJs, MCs, limbo dancing and more! Why? Because!

This show provided SCW with an opportunity to showcase their new five-piece lineup and new disco-punk-funk sound.

Here’s a video of the event.

And here’s a photo gallery…

1987 – Come Taste the Band!

In the fall of 1987 Sucking Chest Wound expanded into a five piece live disco-jazz-funk-punk band with the addition of guitar hero Scott ‘Skill’ Casey. We weren’t doing this ironically – we really loved to listen to vintage funk and disco, and to spin it at our parties! Here’s a photo gallery of the band members playing live at our 1987 New Year’s Eve show. In the background is one of PnrH’s big paintings – the same one you can see in the previous post’s studio panorama video…

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Funky Good Time

In 1987 dWM and Jeff-o rented a warehouse space off Queen St. West in Toronto. This space provided a proper rehersal studio and production facility for SCW, and also served as a space for other art and music side projects.

SCW added a new member for playing live shows: guitarist Scott “Skill” Casey, specialist in all styles. SCW at this point moved away from the free improvisational style for playing live that they’d adopted since moving to Toronto, and towards a groovy disco-funk thang. In the studio, SCW continued on in the same style as the first two cassette tape releases and the more recent side projects of PnrH and dWM.

Around this time SCW also purchased an Ensoniq EPS sampler. Although it didn’t have much of an impact on SCW’s live disco-funk music, sampling was essential to SCW’s studio recordings, and would define their style throughout the 90’s.

Here’s a brief panorama of the SCW warehouse space originally recorded on 8mm film

Saturday In The Park

In July of 1987 SCW was invited to play a show in a park back in Waterloo, Ontario where SCW started out from. The city fathers wouldn’t allow SCW to perform as Sucking Chest Wound so the band temporarily changed their name back to Sweet Children of the West, which had been used previously.

The lineup for the show consisted of legendary Waterloo SCW tribute band Some Cliches Wither, followed by SCW, and finishing with Abstress – the organizers of the show.

This performance marked SCW’s final gig as a free improvisation ensemble. After this show SCW saw the light and was reborn – at least for live shows – as a disco-funk band.

On the way to the show the band stopped by the local St. Vincent de Paul charity shop to buy their stage outfits. Check it out…

Here’s a gallery of photos from the show taken by Cathie Whittaker

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SCW’s cover version of a fabulous Arthur Jones composition called Sad Eyes

Rock’n’roll Talent Nite

In January of 1987 the full line-up of SCW finally played another live show – the first since moving to Toronto. The show was at a sleazy nightclub called Ildiko’s above a Hungarian restaurant on Bloor St. in Toronto. SCW played there at the invitation of some friends whose band was also playing. The audience was less than 10 people and they all hated SCW. Unbeknownst to SCW, their friend and collaborators KY and William T. Francis had purchased several pounds of raw chicken feet before the show, and proceeded to throw them at the band during our performance. The club owner was not happy about this.

For this show SCW performed strictly improvised music, using drums, bass, guitar, sax, and other noisemakers.The show was recorded on audio tape but the tape has since been lost.

Here’s a gallery of photos from the show taken by KY

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Side Projects #3 – A Performance

In November 1986 PhrH and dWM put on a live performance, once again operating under the name Security Operations Consultants. The performance took place at Artculture Resource Centre, a Toronto arts performance space located on Queen St. West. The full title of the show was:

A PERFORMANCE (As In Apostacy) or… I’d Rather Be Killing Communists

Phrh and dWM each produced their own halves of the show separately. PnrH’s  was titled “Wrecked Baby Killers”and dealt with the military-industrial complex. dWM’s was titled “Dial ‘M’ For Monkey” and dealt with the psychiatric-industrial complex. Prosthetics and make-up were by William T. Francis. Glitter-ball headpiece was by KY.

Here’s a gallery of promotional material for the show

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The show included the other members of SCW as well as many of the people who had participated in pervious SCW shows.

Here’s the booklet that was handed out to the audience

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Here’s some backstage images from “Dial ‘M’ for Monkey”

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Although the performances were recorded to video and digital audio, all the tapes have long been lost.

Only a few still images from the performance were preserved, captured from video monitors during the show

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Side Projects #2 – Why Pay More?

In April 1986 PnrH and dWM wrapped up their weekly Building Balanced Children radio show on the Toronto community radio station CKLN-FM. dWM promptly started a new weekly radio show; the groundbreaking culture-jamming Why Pay More? The premise of Why Pay More? was to create a meta-radio show by sampling bits of all the previous weeks’ shows broadcast on CKLN, and then slicing, dicing, processing and regurgitating the content into a weekly 30 minutes of radiophonic mayhem. The show lasted until September of 1986. Check out the Best of Why Pay More? compilation:

Best of Why Pay More? Side A

Best of Why Pay More? Side B

Side Projects #1 – Building Balanced Children

In January 1986 PnrH and dWM began a weekly radio show on CKLN-FM, a Toronto community station. The show was called Building Balanced Children and the premise of the show was to perform a live improvised mixdown using 100% sampled material. They used turntables, tape loops, digital delays and the first affordable digital sampler – the Ensoniq Mirage.

They performed the  Building Balanced Children show under the name Security Operations Consultants, which they would also use for a live performance in the fall of 1986.

The  Building Balanced Children show lasted until April 1986, and during its run  produced some of the most extreme music being broadcast on the Toronto air waves at the time. Hear for yourself – here’s both sides of the BBC compilation tape release:

 Best of BBC Side A

Best of BBC Side B

The orginal artwork for the Best of BBC cassette tape by PnrH