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Raging Bellybuttons – Basement Hymns (1987-1990)

October 13th, 2019 Comments off

Album #: 72

Recording Dates: 1987-1990

Release Date: 2009

Catalog: SMR30

ScratchNotes:

Raging Bellybuttons were three long-haired guys who became friends at Libertyville High School. Each of us eager to push ourselves musically we plugged into a huge PA in Ken’s basement and recorded what raged out. The warmth of the wood paneling contrasted with the sarcastic bent of the lyrics, and we wrote songs almost as quickly as we played them.

While the guitar, bass, and drum duties were clearly identified the task of vocals was a bit of a wild card. Joe and I both stepped up and did the best we could. It’s certainly enthusiastic. Songs veered from punk to metal to funky to reggae to 12-bar-blues – we didn’t master any of these genres but visited as many as we could.

This collection features remastered versions of practice tapes, audio and images from VHS tapes and the odd experiment as well. All the Raging Bellybuttons standards are present – You’ve got Fight of the Bellybutton, Rubber Lover, Biker Gang…even New Bass Strings!

After rocking until 6pm three days a week for a few years the Bellybuttons ceased to rage. But this collection never does.

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__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Five Track Sampler

Disc 01 – Track 04 – Theme of the Bellybutton – Flight of the Bellybutton (Raging Bellybuttons) – What respectable young band does NOT write their own theme song? An intro of sorts really for the blunt proclamations of Flight of the Bellybutton. You. Can’t. Hide.  [Scratch on Guitar & Backing Vocals]

Disc 01 – Track 06 – Speak of the Bellybutton 1 (Raging Bellybuttons) – Here I let you inside the minds of a young band in development. It’s not always pretty. Since we were serious about recording everything that went into a post-school day rehearsal, we can now listen in.  [Scratch on Talking]

Disc 01 – Track 08 – Soundgarden Song (Raging Bellybuttons) – No, not a cover of a Soundgarden song. A song that reminded us of Soundgarden. This extended freakout jam often lasted 10 minutes, and I showed no mercy to my effects pedals as I force out every shriek, scrape, and swoosh hidden there. There were no set lyrics, so I improvised vocals each time we launched into this. This version of the song brings together some of my favorite performances in one warped eleven minute package.  [Scratch on Vocals & Guitar]

Disc 02 – Track 02 – Societal Rift (Raging Bellybuttons) – Finally we hear the funky side of Raging Bellybuttons! Yes, it is possible to turn a distortion pedal “off”. We bring the boogie in our own special way but still get in one of my crazy ass guitar solos as well as a ripping bass solo.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Disc 02 – Track 18 – Chronic Halitosis (Raging Bellybuttons) – About as straight metal as the Bellybuttons got. It’s still a powerful riff, even if 32 years later we still don’t have those lyrics.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Joerock

August 29th, 2010 Comments off

Album #: 23

Recording Dates: 1987-1997

Release Date: 2000

Catalog: SMR15

ScratchNotes:

My pal Joe G. was the first musician I ever wrote music with. This is a compilation I put together featuring all four configurations in which he and I played as well as most of the solo material Joe recorded over a ten year period.

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Two Track Sampler

Track 10 – Blah (Joe G and MX Skroch)Joe lets the ladies know that he’s serious in his devotion…ridiculously so…  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 13 – Headwound (Joe G and MX Skroch)Music performed and lyrics by Joe, questionable singing by MX Skroch.  [Scratch on Vocals]

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

Scratchrock Volume III

August 16th, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 03

Recording Dates: 1989

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR03

ScratchNotes:

In-between intermittent spurts of the Raging Bellybuttons, Brian P. and I hooked up for a project featuring electronic drums and guitar.  Plans were made to segue James Taylor’s “Sunny Skies” into Slayer’s “Raining Blood”, but it never happened.  We considered calling ourselves Hugs and Kisses.

Meanwhile, the Bellybuttons took a major commercial step in tapping Matt J. (the No-Name Band’s breakdancer) as frontman.  Sadly, this grouping lasted less than 10 rehearsals, and the Bellybuttons disbanded in mid-1990.

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Four Track Sampler

Track 01 – Song #1 Extended (MX Skroch & Brian P.) – It just wouldn’t be right to exit the 80’s without hearing from an electronic drum set. Brian supplies the slamming beats down in my basement. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 03 – Preaching Peace Princess (The Raging Bellybuttons) – Despite the mis-crediting on the artwork, short-time crooner Matt J. relays this tale of idealism and sorrow. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 10 – Biker Gang (The Raging Bellybuttons) – The only thing we have to fear…is Biker Gangs themselves! [Scratch on Vocals and Guitar]

Track 11 – Jam with Brian #1 (MX Skroch & Brian P.) – Leaving you with a mellow groove. [Scratch on Guitar]

 

Scratchrock Volume II

August 16th, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 02

Recording Dates: 1988 – 1989

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR02

ScratchNotes:

The Raging Bellybuttons find their voice (well, Scratch and Joe do while Kenny wears a T-shirt on his head).  Bad fashion and lousy but enthusiastic renditions of songs by the Doors, Blondie, and Slayer.  “Soundgarden Song” wasn’t a cover, just an eleven minute two chord tribute.  “Raging Rap” and “Everything is Kinda Bizarre” also wallowed in improvisational vocal extravagance.

I shaved half my head, graduated from high school with honors and moved up to community college.  On the final night of the dreadful decade known as the 80’s, the Raging Bellybuttons played their only live performance, reading from lyric sheets while performing at Kenfest.

Scratchrock Vol. II cover

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Five Track Sampler

Track 04 – Rubber Lover (The Raging Bellybuttons) – Just teenagers, the Bellybuttons show impressive insight into the nature of true love. [Scratch on Vocals and Guitar]

Track 09 – “Save my Life!” (The Raging Bellybuttons) – The king of pop. [Scratch on Startled Reaction]

Track 13 – Cancer (MX Skroch & Joe G.) – Another outtake by Joe and I that thrives on riffing prowess. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 15 – Funky Dunky (The Raging Bellybuttons) – Dancing shoes are mandatory. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 20 – Everything is Kinda Bizarre (The Raging Bellybuttons) – Taking notice of the 1980’s culture that surrounded us all. And somehow the 80’s seem even more bizarre in retrospect… [Scratch on Vocals and Guitar]

Scratchrock Volume I

August 16th, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 01

Recording Dates: 1986 – 1987

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR01

ScratchNotes:

Libertyville High School has spawned a number of splendid guitar players. While Tom Morello and Adam Jones were off perfecting their tones, the No-Name Band was rocking the field house with one rehearsal (in a church) under their belt. Feedback and breakdancing. Battle of the Bands was canceled the next year.

The Raging Bellybuttons got together on August 27, 1987 and proceeded to write their first six songs in a basement characterized by wood paneling and overhead fluorescent lighting.

In addition to music, other activities for these years included such adventures as running away to Los Angeles, being caught by the police, and being locked in a foster home for two days. I was later arrested as a transient in Milwaukee after drinking a bit too much at a Slayer concert.

These were the years of figuring out all three chords, living in the basement, and prowling the streets in a ’79 Monte Carlo when not selling pizza.

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Five Track Sampler

Track 01 – Guitarboard #1 (MX Skroch & Brian P.) – Exploring the teenage wasteland in Brian’s parents’ condo with an acoustic guitar, a Casio, and a delay pedal. [Scratch on Casio and Delay Pedal]

Track 03 – Fat Albert (The No-Name Band) – About as polished as this band could get! [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 09 – That Blues Thing (MX Skroch & Joe G.) – Occasionally 2/3 of the Raging Bellybuttons would get together to jam – and sometimes a little jam is what you got. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 22 – Pots and Pans (MX Skroch & Joe G.) – A fully developed track that should have been a Bellybutton standard – but wasn’t. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 42 – Weh-oh Jah Mama (The Raging Bellybuttons) – The smell of the mosh pit unfolds into the glorious Jamaican sun. [Scratch on Vocals and Guitar]