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Scratchrock Volume XI

December 27th, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 15

Recording Dates: 1996-1997

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR11

ScratchNotes:

I was getting straight A’s at my joke of a school, but my musical productivity was lacking.  A band formed with Joe G., his comrade Kirk K., and a singing lawyer named Tony.  We were off to a fairly good start, when some thieving bastard broke down our rehearsal space door and stole important musical gear.  The lack of instruments and practice space caused the band to go their separate ways.

I continued recording solo material, but the overall quality not what it once had been.  In April of 1997, I cut off all my hair.

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Five Track Sampler

Track 01  – The Woman in My House (MX Skroch) – I lived in a small bedroom down in the crooked basement of the crooked house of the Hidden. We had smeared grey and black paint all over the ceiling, and it got cold at night. This track is about that period of my life.  [Scratch on Vocals and All Instruments]

Track 08  – Hanging (MX Skroch) – Sometimes pinin’ for the one you love can take a turn for the tragic.  [Scratch on Vocals and All Instruments]

Track 09  – Looking For War (MX Skroch) – Ashtrays, Mountain Dew cans and a wood table provide peculiar percussion on this instrumental experiment in gloom.  [Scratch on All Instruments]

Track 10  – So Happy (MX Skroch) – Some folks can never find love. Some folks find it in a few too many places.  [Scratch on Vocals and All Instruments]

Track 21  – Trying to Live Forever (MX Skroch) – Technology as conformity? Life as routine?  Freedom as an act of self-preservation? No, I’m not really sure what this one is about either. But I sure dig all the crazy keyboard sounds…  [Scratch on Vocals and All Instruments]

Scratchrock Volume X

November 7th, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 12

Recording Dates: 1995 – 1996

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR10

ScratchNotes:

I signed up at ITT Tech, but had eight months to kill.  Working by night, I slaved away at unconventional pop music while the sun glistened.  An experiment with the future Ms. Skroch was recorded.  “The Monstrosity” was born.

Former Hidden art-boy ‘Saint’ Al formed Redneck Exorcist, and I joined them occasionally to rock out in their metalbilly style and odd psychedelic delay freakouts.  I joined them live at Lounge Ax for a few tunes.  Soon I started school, and the schedule crippled my recording efforts.

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Five Track Sampler

Track 04 – Waiting For a Reason (MX Skroch) – Remember driving around when you were a teenager stalking that girl that just wouldn’t go for you? Those were sad days indeed.  [Scratch on Vocals and All Instruments]

Track 06 – Runaway Fever (MX Skroch & Redneck Exorcist) – I join with Redneck Exorcist to form a dual-guitar powerhouse that ultimately sounds like the audio rendition of a drunken brawl.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 08 – Grievance (MX Skroch & Ms. Skroch) – The words of Rush Limbaugh. The instrumentation of MX Skroch. The mellifluous voice of Ms. Skroch.  [Scratch on All Instruments]

Track 10 – Virgin (MX Skroch) – This song really creeps me out, which is odd since I wrote it. Despite the seemingly menacing tenor of the lyrics this track journeys into some interesting musical directions.  [Scratch on Vocals and All Instruments]

Track 12 – When I’m Drunk (MX Skroch) – The pleasures and pains of alcoholism don’t jibe well with maintaining friendships that are based on trust. I’m just sayin’.  [Scratch on Vocals and All Instruments]

Scratchrock Volume IX

September 27th, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 11

Recording Dates: 1994 – 1995

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR09

ScratchNotes:

Climbing aboard a shit-brown truck dubbed the “Urban Assault Vehicle Turdcutter”, the Hidden began a two week U.S. tour.  Colorado, Texas, New Mexico…the band played six shows in fourteen days for around $300 in payment.  A video tour documentary was created in tribute: “Soundmen, State Parks, and Open Sores”.  Unfortunately, the road trip intensified personal conflicts within the band.

Coupled with a quarter-century life crisis, I quit the band to go back to school.  Brian M. departed as well, and the Hidden disappeared.  I resumed delivering pizza, moved in with my parents, and began concentrating on solo work.  With a new workstation at my disposal, I focused on electronic music and pop songs.


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Five Track Sampler

Track 04 – Swell (The Hidden) – I know what you’re thinking – what would the Hidden sound like with a horn section? Find out here as the Hidden re-record this track for the “Brave New Failure” sessions with horns arranged by T.S. Henry Webb and performed by the Fazio Blasto Trio.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 7 – I Love You and You Love Me and We’re In Love (MX Skroch) – Come celebrate codependency in a disintegrating culture with this heavy rocker featuring some rather aggressive guitar playing.  [Scratch on Vocals and All Instruments]

Track 14 – Vikings (part one) (MX Skroch) – Vikings (part one) gives the listener the opportunity to create a horror film in their own mind – with this foreboding track an appropriate soundtrack.  [Scratch on All Instruments]

Track 16 – Settle For Me (MX Skroch) – Some people are looking for more than they deserve. Acoustic guitars and lead bass back up this tale of mid-90’s nightclub dwellers. [Scratch on Vocals and All Instruments]

Track 18 – The Specialist (The Hidden) – This track is a nice summary of the direction the Hidden was headed in the latter days of the band. Dissonant chords, spooky verses, stop/start breaks, manic vocals and paranoia. [Scratch on Guitar]

Scratchrock Volume VIII

September 16th, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 10

Recording Dates: 1993 – 1994

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR08

ScratchNotes:

Sales of “Stop. I’m bleeding.” proved that the Hidden was truly an underground band.  The band and their art guru, “Saint” Allen Oaks, moved into a house on Chicago’s Northside that leaned excessively.  They set up shop in their cracked foundation style basement – neither mixed crowd reaction, nor poor album sales could deter them.

In-between bouts of drunken perversity, the Hidden prepared 17 new tracks to be recorded with Chuck Uchida under the guise of the “Brave New Failure” sessions.

Personally, I purchased a more professional 4-track and stepped up my experimental projects considerably.  After a successful weekend tour of the Midwest, the Hidden and staff began setting up a half-month trek across the United States.

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Five Track Sampler

Track 02 – Covered With Blood and Twitching (The Hidden) – Starting out as a solo experiment on my 4-track, the Hidden beefed up and spaced out this ode to disillusionment for the “Brave New Failure” sessions. Recorded by Chuck Uchida.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 06 – Bizarre Keyboard Rock (MX Skroch) – A few tracks on Scratchrock Vol. VIII have me playing around with tape speed and Bizarre Keyboard rock is the most frenetic of the bunch. Prepare for takeoff… [Scratch on All Instruments]

Track 08 – I Wish I Had a Home (but I’ll Settle For a Quarter) (MX Skroch) – During this period I lived in the dirty city and like everyone else had the pleasure of being accosted by aggressive homeless persons on occasion. They were on my mind, so I named an instrumental after them. [Scratch on All Instruments and Samples]

Track 12 – The Blanket (The Hidden) – Free-range sax blurts and bleeps all over the Hidden’s angular rock stylings. A rare live performance featuring T.S. Henry Webb (formerly of The Flock) on tenor sax. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 23 – Crusade (Instrumental) (MX Skroch) – Prior to the release of this track in its somber, full-blown lyrical version; I recorded this much more whimsical take. Jangling guitars and mellotron inspired keyboards put this version squarely in the ‘Pop’ category.  [Scratch on All Instruments]

Scratchrock Volume VII

September 5th, 2009 Comments off

Album #: 08

Recording Dates: 1992 – 1993

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR07

ScratchNotes:

In a brazen attempt to rocket to the top of the charts, the Hidden replaces Paul M. with the more marketable Brian M.  The new lineup releases the “Bone of Contention” EP in late ’92.  They make the first of many appearances at the legendary Czar Bar on January 15th, 1993.  Following a D.I.Y. aesthetic, the Hidden creates Troglodyte Music, Ltd. for promotion and to set up gigs.

Fueled by Lambrusco and playing out constantly (occasionally with the free jazz sax of T.S. Henry Webb), the Hidden worked to conquer the rock world from their freezing rented storefront.  Thanks to financing from Lee P., the Hidden signed to Iguana Trifle Recordings in early ’93, bestowing upon the world a CD entitled “Stop. I’m Bleeding.”  Radio and press exposure ensued.   In my spare time, I continued experimenting with effects and new recording techniques.

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Five Track Sampler

Track 05 – Rat Patrol (The Hidden) – The Hidden play up their punk roots on this Naked Raygun classic. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 10 – 40 Gallons (The Hidden) – Metal… Funk… Noise… – This is the ultimate epic jam by the Hidden’s original lineup. Yea, that’s a six minute guitar solo – what you gonna do about it?  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 17 – Dogma (MX Skroch) – A sensitive instrumental. At least that’s what I hear… [Scratch on All Instruments]

Track 24 – Safe and Clean (The Hidden) – The Hidden played this track live quite often, but it never made it onto the agenda at the recording studio. I’ve grown fond of this song over the years, and I’m pleased that this decent sounding live recording exists. [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 26 – Nitrus Dichloride (MX Skroch) – It’s like a Lambrusco headache played by an army of guitars. [Scratch on All Instruments]

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 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]