Celebrating a musical blip in time from some 40 years ago with a brand new archival vinyl LP release from Fredericton, New Brunswick's The Angered Wrecks! "Bennies, Booze And R&R 1981" see's light of day officially from source on the mighty UK imprint Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube Records in the USA, January 22nd, 2022! https://cardinalfuzz.bigcartel.com/product/angered-wrecks-beenies-booze-and-r-r-1981-heavy-black-vinyl-with-insert-carinal-fuzz .
Mark Carmody and I went to the same high school (FHS) in the 1970's. A year ahead of me, we were not really friends, but acquaintances at that point and aware of one another through mutual's. During time in school we did once however, play music together in a large ensemble jam of buddies one evening and I'll say this was likely 1976 or '77 ?
After this one off evening in '76 we all had our own various bands on the go at this point. It wasn't until just after high school that we would hook up again. I was in a band called The Curbs with longtime band mate Geoff Graser alongside Dan Fleming and Rick Thompson. We rehearsed pretty regularly and developed a large repertoire of material and played shows, it was a lot of fun!
Carmody came out to see us play a couple of times and eventually joined the Curbs as second guitarist. Mark's live appearances at the legendary "1st Annual Sid Vicious/Nancy Spungen Memorial Ball Punk Out" on the campus of UNB, as well as a show in the cafeteria at St. Thomas University are well remembered!
After the UNB gig with The Vogons opening, The Curbs came to a resounding end with The Angered Wrecks starting up a few months later with myself, Carmody, Curbs drummer Rick and Vogons bassist Danny Silk. This period is documented on the doubled sided insert that comes with the Angered Wreck LP!
The only known picture of The Curbs that I have! Live at Fredericton High School late 1979 or early 1980...sadly only Geoff's shoulder is in the picture. No recordings of this band exist...also sad...
The Angered Wrecks 1981
Just after high school in 1978, I played in what was likely Fredericton, New Brunswick’s 1st new wave/punk band called The Curbs. We were playing all raved up covers of shit by Robert Palmer, Judas Priest, Max Webster, The Ramones, The Cars etc. We played a handful of gigs over a two year period as I recall and had a lot of fun. The Curbs consisted of myself on vocals, childhood friend, Geoff Graser on guitar, Dan Fleming on bass and Rick Thompson on drums. Sadly we never recorded anything. In late 1980 we played a gig called “The Sid Vicious Memorial Concert” At Memorial Hall on the campus of The University of New Brunswick. A band called The Vogons opened for us that evening. I would a year or so later become for a short period of time the Vogons vocalist, but that’s another story. This gig at MEM Hall would prove to be the last Curbs gig ever. We ended the night with a 20 + minute rendition of the Talking Heads “Psycho Killer” and were joined on stage by Vogon’s leader Danny Silk and recently added, 2nd guitarist in the Curbs; Mark Carmody. At a point the stage became a wresting ring with guitars being used playfully as “weapons” and I think Silk even bled after being crowned with an axe as the concert came to a tumultuous end. Carmody, Silk and I decided to form The Angered Wrecks a week later and drafted Curbs drummer Rick Thompson.
We began rehearsing at an old “salt box” style house on Westmorland Street (later dubbed “The Bug Shack”) in the fall of 1980 across from the old St. Anne’s Anglican Church (where pr-teen me served as an Alter boy, sung in the only male choir in New Brunswick at the time and went to sea scouts). We partied pretty hard there over the winter and rehearsed in the front room ground floor with zero heat in the winter. I recall vividly dressed for the outdoors while blasting away, in a cloud of constant icy breath. Somebody coming to hear us rehearse, a sort of audition to for a potential gig thought we were insane playing in sub zero temperatures! The only source of heat in the entire house was from a pottery kiln at the very back ground floor which was engaged to heat the 2nd level space where we all hung out when not playing. A large circle was cut in the floor so that the rising heat would get up top faster…kind of surreal, but pretty guerilla style for our small punk rock scene at the time, so it was cool by the same token.
In early spring of ’81, Mark, Danny and I moved into an old Victorian style house on Charlotte Street in the downtown area. I was freshly unemployed and drawing U.I. after Sam the Record Man closed doors, Danny worked on the north side of town as a bread baker and Carmody repaired and refurbished guitars at Tony’s Music Box. We set up a permanent rehearsal space on the main floor taking up the dining room and living room area with a full P.A. system. A long party began. We rehearsed a few nights every week and the house became a hangout for friends and acquaintances, many of whom would just show up often unannounced. Canadian jazz vocalists Holly Cole was a regular fixture in our digs. We often had strippers hanging out and partying as they resided across the street when on tour and would come over after their gigs finished at the strip club up on Prospect Street. The choice house “poison” became Purple Jesus; a righteous concoction of Alcool (94%) and Allen’s grape juice! We always had beer, weed and often speed, which on occasion we’d get from trucker’s up the TransCanada highway a truck stops. Stereos were always blasting from the upstairs bedrooms, The Doors, Pistols, Zappa, Sir Lord Baltimore, DK’s, Damnation Of Adam Blessing and everything else under the sun…and it was like a nonstop party coupled visits by local law enforcement. We existed on hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza and takeout burgers and fries from the legendary BBQ Barn just on the east side of Magic Forest a few blocks away. Gigs would happen mainly at 2 different locations, which we dubbed as punk parties: Horsnell’s Foundry on King St. and at The Bug Shack. These shows were loads of fun. All of our recordings were done live off the floor with one cardioid mic taped to the ceiling to capture the entire room sound and straight into a cheap Alpine cassette deck. We did a bunch of sessions to tape and sadly lost an entire 90 minutes worth of material that we recorded shortly before we broke up. That last session had crazy re-workings of Pink Floyd songs, Stones, AC DC, etc. I have anguished over the loss of that one master since discovering it missing in 1983. I last saw it in my drawer at Magic Forest Music Store I think!
The last show we ever played was in the fall of ’81 at the Bug Shack after the household was served an eviction noticed with the house to be entirely demolished. We got a gig together the weekend before demolition, packed the bottom floor and played a blazing set. At the very end, walls were kicked apart, old cans of paint strewn about, general wanton destruction to furniture, doors, windows etc…insane. The bug shack had come to an end and shortly thereafter, The Angered Wrecks. Our own rented house split up and I moved back in with my folks for the winter. I began singing with the Vogons which was Danny’s band with Dave Maskill and Chris Saad. Carmody went off on his own and in reality, I think, plotting the earliest incarnation of what would become the long running collective known as The Exploding Meet. This too is another chapter…
Me at the Mem hall gig. The TV's (3 of them) in the background were playing "Evil Dead" will we performed. We must have been making some sort of statement. I moved to Ottawa later this year ('85) but maintained my involvement in the MEET by travelling back east many, many times for shows and had the Exploding Meet here in Ottawa to perform at least on 4 occasions! There are many recordings released of the Meet and so much more that remains unreleased but "ready"
Angered Wrecks https://cful.bandcamp.com/track/you-drive-me-nervous
After 1985 lots of stuff happened with the Exploding Meet and Mark Carmody. Many performances took place as well as recordings. Decade Of Dreams (a pop side of the exploding meet recorded 2 vinyl LPs for the DTK label in New Brunswick and Carmody recorded an amazing soundtrack for a movie entitled "Tuesday Wednesday". This also appeared on the DTK label. Here's a bit on the Exploding Meet....
The exploding meet was formed in Fredericton, New Brunswick in the autumn of 1983 as a songwriting workshop and experimental recording project. Throughout subsequent years the loose collective vastly improved production techniques and expanded early lyrical and compositional ideas.
Once described as "Surrealist-Ethno-Underworld-Fusion", the Exploding Meet led by composer Mark Carmody, were equipped with standard rock instrumentation but with modified tuning and a broad palate of percussion voices which opened up a somewhat unique and mesmerizing sonic range. Rhythms and harmonic structures reflect the group’s interest in the exotic soaring dance modes of Psychedelic Rock, Jazz and Ju Ju Music. The power and freedom of Coltrane and Coleman mix with the meditative pulses of afro-centric music, Middle Eastern modes and the always present, expansive, influential body of accurately referenced material. Environmental sights and sounds from the weathered cities and diverse rural landscapes of Eastern Canada offer the greatest contribution. This atmosphere furnishes a dreamscape from which the whole identity of the music evolves.
On July 13th, 1985, the exploding meet performed "Inaugural Address" @ Memorial Hall on the U.N.B. campus and thus embarked on a long journey that always focused on developing live performance potential. The intention always being to discover ways of expressing thoughts and feelings in a musical language tapped at its source. Performances over the next few years included "the Pineapple Analogy", "Slugfest ' 86", "Scream", Wolverine", "Lola Palooza ' 88", "Bard Mongrel", "Gatineau Rebellion", "Circus Of Disharmony" and many others. The collective performed many shows and released a number of albums in various formats over the course of several decades which garnered global praise from the underground and great support from Canadian community based radio. The exploding Meet performed primarily in Fredericton although a number of shows took place in Ontario and Quebec. The collective performed a number of times in their home base at "First Night", "Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival" and also at the first ever "Maritime Independent Music Festival".
The exploding meet also had a “pop” side as well, which manifested itself within the division known as Decade of Dreams. Under this banner several vinyl LP’s and CDs were also released and were generally well received once again by the aforementioned recipients of recorded material. Mark Carmody also saw the release of what is truly a magical vinyl only LP which provided the soundtrack to NFB film called “Tuesday Wednesday” released under his own name.
Those involved in the exploding meet collective collided through the mutually felt isolation of their existence with a desire to expand the mind. On retrospect, this appears to have been coupled with a born internal need to self discover through the channeling of music and art. Pretty much everyone to this day practices their craft in many forms and we all have extremely fond memories of our times together as “the meet”, touching the universe as one single entity whenever we played. Enjoy this experience and always remember to look for the flare!
Exploding Meet Live in Wakefield, Quebec 1992 : https://soundcloud.com/john-westhaver/exploding-meet-live-at-shed-sessions-august-1992?si=e6546be2b0da44e1b195c127961370f9&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing
X-Para-Meet (1991 revisited) Live In Wakefield, Quebec (Mark Carmody, John Westhaver, Pat Gouthreau) : https://soundcloud.com/john-westhaver/x-para-meet-exploding-meet-eastern-meditative-dervish-3?si=1a28d0fbe4e94137b30e618d174367d2&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing
Decade Of Dreams : 1987 https://soundcloud.com/john-westhaver/decade-of-dreams-religion-in-american-life-guilt-parade
Resin Scraper was a band based here in Ottawa from 1992-2000. We had a great run with loads of releases and tons of shows over that period of time. A little known fact about the Scraper was that Mark Carmody was guitarist in the group for 3 weeks in 1995. Ron Lance our second guitarist left the group prior to a cluster of upcoming shows in June of that year so I called Mark, paid for a train ticket and he arrived with his Ovation to assume the role of guitarist! He was at this point playing primarily de-tuned style so we basically improv'd Resin Scraper material in looser and far different fashion for the fulfilment of the live obligations ! We thought it was great, fans maybe not so much? I do have rehearsal tape recordings of this configuration but need to get them digitized. When that happens I will post the music here ! Here's a coupla pictures though from a show at The Downstairs Club on Rideau St., Ottawa.
the Maestro prepares to let loose !
The Curbs, Angered Wrecks, Exploding Meet, Decade Of Dreams and Resin Scraper...that's a lot of rock with a lot of GREAT people involved whether musically or just being there! I value and fondly remember these times. Have yet to get Mr. Carmody involved with The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol, but one just never knows...friendships and music are a wonderful thing! 👽