Monday, October 31, 2011

Deadguy - Fixation on a Coworker

Deadguy - Fixation on a Coworker
Download -
Release -  1995

Story by Pat Shannon, guitarist for All Else Failed.

Luke and I started All Else Failed when Hate To Say It, our high school band, broke up a year or so into our college lives.  Hate To Say It was our baby. Although we were mocked pretty heavily for any number of reasons, looking back, it wasn't so bad.  We were this sort of 120 Minutes-take on hardcore, mainly because we really had no idea what we were doing or even trying to do.  There was a sort of genuine innocence about it though, as if we didn't understand that it wouldn't really come off so well if a bunch of 16 year olds tried to mix Ministry, Nine Inch Nails and Primus with Minor Threat, Helmet and Biohazard.  Anyway, when it came time to start All Else Failed, we wanted to continue incorporating our diverse tastes, but we knew we needed to establish some sort of identity, almost like a definitive sound from which we could grow and experiment.

It was around 1994. Luke had been telling me about this band Deadguy he had seen and how they were pretty much what he thought a band should sound like.  The last time he said that, he played me Groundwork, which was cool but a bit spastic for my tastes.  At this point, we had teamed up with Steve and Sesso to start All Else Failed.  They were full on into Skinny Puppy, The Legendary Pink Dots, Joy Division and stuff like that, so we were all sort of gravitating toward a darker sound.  Most of the first wave of emo was awesome, but didn't really speak to us as far as being the kind of stuff we would do.  We didn't really relate to most of the tough-guy stuff that was happening at the time, although we could never resist a well-placed breakdown.  We wrote the first batch of All Else Failed songs and they were so-so even by our standards at the time, which were very, very low.  It seemed like the same thing was going to happen to All Else Failed that happened to Hate To Say It: a band trying to be too many things, and in doing so, not really doing anything well.

I guess we really just needed a record to put it in to perspective for us.  Luke called me one day and told me I had to stop by his basement apartment in Lansdowne to check out Deadguy's Fixation on a Coworker.  When I got there, he was furious that his puppy had puked on the jacket (a crime considering the amazing layout).  Nonetheless, Luke just said, "I've never heard anything like this before," and put on "Doom Patrol."  That was it. We listened to the record over and over.  I listened to "Makeshift Atomsmasher" like 100 times.  That was what we needed.  It was as if that single record made everything else that was out at the time make more sense to us, like Bloodlet, Turmoil and Integrity.  We had heard all of that stuff before, but now Fixation... came out and defined it, so to speak.  We now knew where we were going.

A year or so later, we started getting a little bit of notice and got to play Princeton, NJ with Deadguy.  Unfortunately, it was not long after that their original lineup split. Screaming With The Deadguy Quintet, I maintain, is up there just under Fixation..., but that record wasn't out yet, or if it was, we hadn't heard it (remember life before the Internet?).  The new lineup was awesome but it just wasn't really the band we heard on Fixation....  It probably should have just been a different band, but I could probably say the same thing about All Else Failed six times over by this point, so I get it.

For a while, we covered "Apparatus" and we all traded instruments, which was tons of fun.  We did it at a show in Virginia once, and during load out, I overheard this exchange:

Dude #1: "Did you hear the Deadguy cover?"
Dude #2: "I thought they were all Deadguy covers."

I thought that was funny, but was secretly totally stoked that we were at least tight enough to be considered an adequate ripoff.  I think I might be selling myself short by saying "ripoff", but who cares.

Years and years later, after All Else Failed had broken up for good (sike), we ended up in contact with Tim Singer and presented him the idea of a collaboration.  We got the original All Else Failed lineup together, learned all of Fixation... and were going to perform it with Tim on vocals as "Crazy Eddie" at the second installment of This Is Hardcore.  We practiced once and it was the greatest night of music I have ever played. We crushed and Tim hadn't lost a step.  It felt more like watching Deadguy than did watching the second lineup of Deadguy back in the day.  Unfortunately, Tim ended up with cold feet about the project and ultimately backed out, but I cherish the memory of the one night that we were Deadguy.

No comments:

Post a Comment