MX Skroch – From the Vault: The Three-peat Tapes

Album #: 22

Recording Dates: 06/20/1993

Release Date: 2000

Catalog: SMR14


We watched the big game and were excited to be a part of history – the Chicago Bulls Three-peat! But our excitement was quite muted compared to that of the city. Sixty-four minutes of chaos and partying in the streets of Chicago were recorded on my Walkman as I joined the neighborhood celebration. The abridged version here is the immediate aftermath of victory.



One Track Sampler

Track 01 – The Three-peat Tapes [edit] (MX Skroch) [Scratch on the Corner ]

Sheep Fiends – November 14, 1999

Album #: 21

Recording Dates: 11/14/1999

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SF


The lineup from 10/17/99 returns for an encore – tackling Mancini and Pink Floyd when not laying down the mellow jazz licks.



Two Track Sampler

Track 02 – Let’s Get Into it Love [edit] (Sheep Fiends)Light some candles, pour a glass of wine, and listen to the sounds of romance as only the Sheep Fiends could envision.  [Scratch on Sampling Keyboard]

Track 08 – Interstellar Overdrive (Sheep Fiends)If I recall correctly, I was unfamiliar with this Pink Floyd track at the time and had no idea we were playing a cover song. Not that that fully explains my vocal performance…  [Scratch on Vocals]

Sheep Fiends – October 17, 1999

Album #: 20

Recording Dates: 10/17/1999

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SF


This CD from late 1999 takes a more free form approach than former discs and reveals full ten minute jams as they happened. A mixed result in my opinion, but a odd outing by a unique lineup is always welcome.



One Track Sampler

Track 05 – Virtual Hat (Sheep Fiends)Dual guitars and dual keyboards battle for the groove in this uptempo exploration of sonic excess.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Sheep Fiends – Era 060799-081599

Album #: 19

Recording Dates: 1999

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SF


Over the past several years Sheep Fiend jams have become a special event that happens a few times a year. But back in 1999 the band was very active as illustrated by the four jams from a single nine week period that are featured on this disc . Veering away from psychedelia and into full on space rock this release features many concise and often compelling numbers.


Four Track Sampler

Track 01 – Cosmos (Sheep Fiends) – Load up the tanks with Wah Wah pedal and let’s be on our way.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 02 – The Chase Scene (Sheep Fiends) – Pounding drums and prominent piano dominate a track worthy of the soundtrack to some low grade action flick.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 08 – Injection Inspection (Sheep Fiends) – Samples from this track were used for a little Internet video game back in 2000, and all I see while listening is a little ball spiraling towards the center of the screen. But maybe you hear a funk jam from the alien abduction after party.  [Scratch on Bass]

Track 15 – I Was Afraid Then (aka Fear Is Real) (Sheep Fiends) – A brooding stomper featuring the always enticing improvised lyrics and vocals of Brian M.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Sheep Fiends – 051899

Album #: 18

Recording Dates: 05/18/1999

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SF


While it is now common for the Sheep Fiends to put together and distribute a CD representing the sounds of a single jam; this recording of May 18, 1999 is the earliest example of such a CD. The Sheep Fiends had released a number of cassettes before I added my slant to the band, but it was Dave L., Brian C., and myself that lent a $600 SCSI CD-burner back and forth and dragged the Sheep Fiends into the digital age.



Three Track Sampler

Track 02 – Columbine (Sheep Fiends) – This entire CD consists of swirling trippy instrumentals like the three presented here. The recording quality continues to be fairly low as a Walkman was the recording mechanism of choice (necessity?) for this event.  [Scratch on Sampling Keyboard]

Track 06  – Metropolis (Sheep Fiends)[Scratch on Bass]

Track 14  – Overture (Sheep Fiends)[Scratch on Sampling Keyboard]

Scratchrock Volume XII

Album #: 17

Recording Dates: 1998-1999

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR13


I graduated from school, got married, landed a decent job and moved back to the dirty city. Our landlord spent every night for two months in our apartment installing a furnace. I ran into Brian C. at former Hidden voiceman Brian M.’s wedding. Soon thereafter I joined the two of them in the fluctuating entity known as the Sheep Fiends. With a revolving lineup of musicians, the band emphasis was on improvisation, and the spontaneity kick-started my lagging musical spirit. Meanwhile, I had met Suneel near the end of my tenure at ITT, and had begun recording industrial music with him.

My primary expression shifted from guitars to sample manipulation with the addition of a powerful home computer. Much of 1999 was spent using that computer to create the first twelve volumes of Scratchrock.




Five Track Sampler

Track 02  – The Skipper (Sheep Fiends) – Keyboards and guitars pulsate on this low-grade recording from an early Sheep Fiends jam.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 06  – Everything is Kinda Bizarre (MX Skroch) – Clocking in at over six minutes, this tour-de-force of home studio trickery came out well despite my less than compelling vocals. This song illustrates why it’s not too difficult to look outside oneself and see the array of confusion that presents itself. The outro bit is the ending of a very early prototype of the song.  [Scratch on Vocals and All Instruments]

Track 13  – Ralph’s Reed (MX Skroch) – Speed manipulation and overdriven drums pound away on this foray into sonic religious terror.  [Scratch on All Instruments]

Track 16  – Victory Riot (Sheep Fiends) – Just another otherworldly mindfuck typical of 1999-era Sheep Fiends jams.  [Scratch on Sampling Keyboard]

Track 20  – Catfish With Advil (MX Skroch) – The flipside of Ralph’s Reed, this track slows the tempo to a crawl…letting every eerie note sink in.  [Scratch on All Instruments]

Suneel Bloody Suneel

Album #: 16

Recording Dates: 1998 – 1999

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR12


I met Suneel at ITT Tech, and before long we began collaborating on music. Suneel’s industrial-tinged electronic music was a new genre to play with and I got busy slicing and dicing samples to layer on top of drum machine and sequenced beats. Most of the basic songs on this disc originated from Suneel – I pitched in on production, did most of the sampling, helped program drum beats, played some guitar, called in on the Space Phone, and in one case provided lyrics and vocals. I’m still good friends with Suneel, but our musical relationship primarily existed in this late-1990s time frame.





Three Track Sampler

Track 01  – Mosquitoes (MX Skroch & Suneel Viktor) – This is the heaviest track that Suneel and I put together, and it is one of my favorites. I hadn’t had a good reason to play some screaming guitar in quite some time, but this electro-rocker provided the opportunity.  [Scratch on Drum Programming, Guitar and Sample Manipulation / Suneel on Drum Programming, Keyboards and Vocals]

Track 02  – Doom (MX Skroch & Suneel Viktor) – This is one of Suneel’s epic tracks – and he plays all the music here. Doom is the first track where I played around with looping samples and saturating them with effects to add to the drama.  [Scratch on Sample Manipulation / Suneel on Drum Sequencing, Keyboards and Vocals]

Track 05  – Panic (MX Skroch & Suneel Viktor) – An unfinished track that does not yet feature vocals, musically I would describe this as claustrophobia with a good beat.  [Produced by Scratch / Suneel on Drum Sequencing, Keyboards and Guitar]

Scratchrock Volume XI

Album #: 15

Recording Dates: 1996-1997

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR11


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.




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]

POW! Live at the Morseland – 03/23/1999

Album #: 14

Recording Date: 03/23/1999

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SF


The communal hippie vibe of the Sheep Fiends had them plugged into a few different scenes – one of which led to this last minute gig at the Morseland. An eight member ensemble performed on a cold Winter night in Chicago, and played a mix of pre-rehearsed cover songs and originals, and a long improvisational piece.

















Three Track Sampler

Track 01 – Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke) (Sheep Fiends) – The Fiends open the show with reckless ambition – tackling this Hawkwind classic without much practice, but with soul and an arsenal of delay pedals.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 03 – Car (Sheep Fiends) – This is a track the Sheep Fiends were doing long before my affiliation with the band, but I’m happy to go along for the ride.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Track 06 – Loungalicious (Rehearsal) (Sheep Fiends) – A little pre-show party music – as only the Sheep Fiends would conceive it.  [Scratch on Guitar]

ERA – 111598 – 040699

Album #: 13

Recording Dates: 1998-1999

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SF


In 1998 former Hidden frontman Brian M. got married, and at his wedding I met up with Sheep Fiend guru Brian C. – who I had met in the early 90’s when the Brians shared an apartment. He told me about the whirling wave of confusion and glory that is the Sheep Fiends and I proceeded to start showing up at jams – and I’ve continued showing up for eleven years and counting.

This was the first Sheep Fiends CD I put together and includes a rather overblown montage of my first jam on November 15th, 1998. A very rough recording done on a Walkman and some really quickly thrown together cover is what you get here. Here’s what the Fiends sounded like before mixing boards and preamps became the norm.


One Track Sampler

Track 10 – Sea of Nothin’ (Sheep Fiends) – Brian M. freestyles some spiteful misery while I plunk out some funky guitar.  [Scratch on Guitar]

Scratchrock Volume X

Album #: 12

Recording Dates: 1995 – 1996

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR10


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.




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

Album #: 11

Recording Dates: 1994 – 1995

Release Date: 1999

Catalog: SMR09


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.



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]