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Scratchrock Volume VI

August 26th, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 06

Recording Dates: 1991 – 1992

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR06

ScratchNotes:

I bought crappy used 4-track and immediately began exploring sonic oddity.  The dissolution of Brain Plug had left me with a heap of creative energy, but no outlet.  I played with samples and acoustic guitars, and while the results are less than professional, the sense of freedom provided great fulfillment.

I longed to play with other musicians again, and after the two-hour existence of Buffalo Penis Wing, I tried to find a band.  I saw an ad from a band that claimed to be influenced by Black Sabbath, Naked Raygun, and Big Black among others.  It was IMF.  I joined the band and two weeks later played an 18-song set in front of several thousand people at the Riviera Theater.  The band soon broke up for a short time, but reconvened as The Hidden.

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Five Track Sampler

Track 03 – Hateful (MX Skroch) – Metal. I loved it (still do…) and here is my interpretation circa 1991. [Scratch on All Instruments]

Track 08 – Riding (MX Skroch) – Probably one of the most psychedelic songs I’ve ever put to tape. Taking a quick 180 degree turn from the tension of Hateful, Riding is all quiet guitars and melancholic songcraft. [Scratch on Vocals and All Instruments]

Track 14 – Renegade of Funk (IMF) – Expanding towards chaotic noise and away from straightforward punk, Renegade of Funk was one of our favorites to play live. This version was recorded by Steve Albini in his basement studio. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 18 – I’m Your Bug (The Hidden) – Crunchy flanged out punk recorded by Chuck Uchida in April 1992. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 24 – Validation (remix) (MX Skroch) – Another solo experiment that explores the possibilities of distortion and multitrack recording. [Scratch on All Instruments]

Scratchrock Volume V

August 23rd, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 05

Recording Dates: 1990

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR05

ScratchNotes:

The name Brain Plug came into play on July 4th, 1990.  The band was at a huge party with fireworks exploding.  We were talking to a drunk girl who told us, “I always thought Brain Plug would be a great name for a band.”  Minutes later, we paid our tribute.

Like some old cliched tale about the crossroads, Brain Plug’s amazing musical cohesion and personal joy had its price.  Two actually.  First there was the insane choice of Justice L. as vocalist.  Despite bringing competent graffiti-style art to the mix, a compelling front man he was not.  The final blow to Brain Plug was the loss of our rehearsal space.  Before the end, Brain Plug had managed to play just two gigs, at Wrigleyside & Club Dreamerz.

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Five Track Sampler

Track 03 – Fast Song (MX Skroch) – As soon as I acquired a drum machine I went right for simulated double bass drums. This was one of my first experiments. [Scratch on All Instruments]

Track 07 – Theme of the Bellybutton / Societal Rift (Brain Plug) – A blasting dose of energy that highlights many of Brain Plug’s strengths – propulsive rhythms, funky guitar scratching, ripping bass and guitar solos, and (erm) often overly long arrangements. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track  13 – Meathead (Brain Plug) – Slow buildups lead to a barrage of mad drumming. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 14 – The Nile Song (Brain Plug) – Set your delay pedal to 11 and listen to Brain Plug take on this Pink Floyd classic. Vocals by late era frontman Justice. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 16 – Biker Gang [remix] (Brain Plug) – A re-imagining of the Bellybutton classic featured back on Scratchrock Vol. III. Thrashing tempos make way for Wah-wah drenched funk riffs. [Scratch on Guitar]

Scratchrock Volume IV

August 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 04

Recording Dates: 1990

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR04

ScratchNotes:

During the first Brain Plug rehearsal, the band was already tight.  The musical rapport between Joe G., Brian L. and myself had always existed. It was now being realized. In a few hours nearly all of the most progressive Raging Bellybuttons material was mastered, and raw ideas were turning into brand new songs.  A few practices in, Brain Plug would bring in former Raging Bellybuttons crooner Matt J., but a misunderstanding quickly ruined the relationship.  Whether playing in a cushy suburban basement or an impersonal storage garage, Brain Plug would go for two hours straight and still want more.  We had over 30 songs arranged in eight or nine months.  It was a spirited cycle in my evolution as a musician, and it was a lot of fun.

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Five Track Sampler

Track 02  – What’s Your Real Name? (Brain Plug) – A jazzy little instrumental for your dinner party. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 09 – Baby Doll (Brain Plug) – Brain Plug ups the speed on this old Raging Bellybuttons yarn. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 11 – Iron Man (Brain Plug) – Our rendition of the Black Sabbath classic. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 16 – I Against I (Brain Plug) – Mix a healthy obsession with the Bad Brains and chronic Mountain Dew addiction and listen to the result. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 19 – Metal Song [8 minute edit] (Brain Plug) – It seems like every band I’ve ever been involved with ends up with at least one giant epic jam that allows the band to stretch out sylistically – for Brain Plug Metal Song is that track. [Scratch on Guitar]

The Raging Bellybuttons in Action

August 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Before we leave this era behind, here are some images I captured from the few video recordings that exist of the Raging Bellybuttons.

Joe

Joe

Scratch

Scratch

Ken

Ken

Scratch and Joe

Scratch and Joe

Matt, Scratch, and Joe

Matt, Scratch, and Joe