the (aptly named) Mess

Facebook people, as usual, you have to come to the http://way.net/waymusic page for the links to work.

I had an entry in the wiki for way music for the mess, but it locks every

the mess
Robin Henson’s pic of the Mess in 1982

one out, which is useless.  Just heard from Robin Henson, who took great photos of us, and Adam Dowis, who played drums in the initial incarnation of  of the band and was also a partner in crime from the outset with his brother Nick.   Here is a fuzzy recording from the vault with Adam on drums: Kevin’s Sleazy Funk, featuring a somewhat buzzed Anarchy Liquors Kevin hitting on someone in his inimitable style.  Also notable ‘cuz we would pass out percussion junk from a big bin for everyone to beat on for this.  More tunes linked below.

Here is the Mess entry from the non-working wiki:

The aptly named Mess of Daytona Beach were Palmer Wood on vocals and rhythm guitar, the sorely missed Corey Levin on drums, Greg Drais on bass, and Rich Rath (me) on lead guitar. Palmer and I wrote nearly all but the covers, and we worked together really well.

mess in the studio

We made it into the studio only once before we combusted, laying down four tracks in three hours.  Here are the four songs from that session. The first is us trying, somewhat successfully, to play a ska thing with no horns or keyboards. It is called “We Deliver.” The next one is a fast and loud guess at what 1999 would look like from 1984 if folks like Reagan stayed in power — hmmm, not too far off — Its called suburban dogs, after the last verse, which I wrote along with some other stuff after a long night of partying.  When I woke up, someone, I think Bobby, had read it and told me, all hungover, this sucks, this sucks, but this one is ok, with the ok one turning into the song and the other stuff going out with the trash.   I think that was the party where we got a well-known Gainesville straight-edge guy who was pretty full of himself, very wasted, and took pictures of him buzzed out of his mind in a wig calling on the disconnected telephone.  That became our flyer next time we played Gainesville.  Not nice.  The third one we came up with during a sound check in Jacksonville Beach about a week before the recording session. Corey came up with the beat and I started playing the guitar line, and Palmer heard it and came up with the lyrics: the result was new beat. The last one, she’s mine,  Palmer’s Psychedelic Furs-ish sounding thing with a weird intro and break.

The Mess played as the house band at a place called the Concrete Jungle on A1A right across the street from the ocean for about six months in 1983-84. The owner called it CJs, named after his daughter or wife or something, but hey, who was he to tell us what our bar was called. He went out of business about a month after we stopped playing there.

For a short while, CJs was the place to be for alternative music. Our friend Jonathan spun tunes, and we would play, once or twice bringing in special guests as well, I think there was a zine, other towns knew about CJ’s and came to visit. People danced, fought, heckled, drank, made out, made up, broke up, played pool, and danced some more.

Here is a live thing from a quiet night at CJs, an instrumental of a bunch of TV themes and stuff.   This had one of my favorite wall of squall moments in it, where for about fifteen seconds of Peter Gunn we ran everything on eleven and a half before returning to your regularly scheduled programming.  Here is a sloppy but fun version of Palmer’s GI Joe.  Here is a dubby thing that we got when a drunk Jamaican guy came in one night and asked if we played reggae.  He then sang something about “lie cold dead in the market” and Palmer changed it into this bastardized version of what I think is an actual Jamaican folk or reggae song, or maybe it was Louis Jordan’s “Stone Cold Dead in the Market,” who knows…anybody?.  We had fun with the echoplex on this one

We left because we were packing the place up every weekend and some weeknights, but he’d only pay us $100 a week (for all of us, not each) for playing six nights…oh yeah, and all the Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap we cared to drink …urgggh.

We then went “on tour” of central Florida, playing memorable gigs in Jacksonville Beach, Tampa, and Gainesville, before spontaneously combusting while trying to find a Spring Break gig in Daytona.

There are many stories, but I’ll save them for another time. If you have any you want to share (no slander plz!), then leave stuff in the comments on this page.  Post any good stories you remember.

looping

[2/18…fixed link to mp3]

For my friends who might not know, looping is the one of two ways to play with yourself live and not get arrested for it  (the other way is to lucubrate).  The term comes from the old way of doing it, which was to take a piece of reel-to-reel tape and make an endless loop out of it by taping its end to its beginning and then running it between two decks set however far apart the loop would stretch.  I’m forgetting exactly how it worked, but you could basically record on one of the decks and it would playback a few seconds later on the next one while you were still recording on the first one.  Depending on the deck, it could be set up for sound on sound, so that the recording got denser as you proceeded, or it would regenerate every time it went around if not.

Echoplex first managed to fit the whole contraption in a single box, but the tape heads were only a few seconds apart at most.  The cool thing was to be able to move the tape heads while playing, giving a great flying saucer/swooping effect (heard about four minutes into this song by the Mess) and generally good for dubbing out.

echoplex
echoplex

It got stolen or I got drunk and sold it or something, and the Mess self-destructed fairly quickly, so the old echoplex is one more of a series of musical things I wish I never sold or lost.  I was more or less broke through the rest of the 80s and 90s, so I missed the new digital loopers which for a thousand bucks or so would get you maybe thirty five seconds of loop.  I started messing with vst plugins and software loopers in the late nineties.  I could never afford a mac or protools, instead slowly worked my way into the wild world of windoze plugins (can you say “crash?”).  Discovering Plogue bidule changed everything for me, and that is what I use for live playing and spontaneous recording today.

Software loopers come in many flavors and have reduced the price point from thousands of bucks to zero, as long as you have a computer and a sound card.  I still have files from an old program called ambi-loop which was not half bad, but now my main loopers are mobius, when I can keep it running, an ancient, idiosyncratic plug called ellotronix which has some cool features (here hear), and a thing called Loopy llama, which is stable and never seems to fail.  Mobius is the most advanced, being a dead knockoff of the thousand dollar digital echoplex except that the loops are however long your computer can stand it and you can stack up eight of them instead of just one like the hardware version.  I also really like arc-dev’s free drum looper ellipsis (here/hear in action).  It is versatile and easy to control externally.  I like setting that up against another “accent” percussion loop in bidule’s looper, which lets you only play portions of a loop and leave the rest silent (hear here).  That last one also uses a one-bar looper called repeatler with a neat feature of letting you slice chunks out of the loop as well as put them in.  The mix is not finished, so it is a bit long.  Here is a shorter one using repeatler if you are either in a hurry (just listen to this) or have too much time on your hands (listen to both).

If you like any of the music, I have tons more posted at Way Music, about half of which uses loops in one way or another.

A mess of tv and sixties stuff

One more tune from the mess . . . actually let’s see, more like eight…see if you can name them all. This has one of my favorite “wall of squall” moments in it, where for about fifteen seconds we ran everything on eleven and a half before returning to your regularly scheduled programming.

As always, If you were around when the mess was playing, drop me a line either from the way.net contact page, or to rath [at] way [dot] net or leave a comment. If you do the latter, I have no other way of responding than commenting back, so you might want to subscribe to the rss feed (over in the right column).

More mess from 1983…

Wow, posting a mess song turned up Melody and Greg, neither of whom I’ve heard from in 25 yrs (more my fault than theirs!), so let’s see what happens if I post a few more. Here are the other three songs from our only studio session. The first one is a fast and loud guess at what 1999 would look like from 1984 if folks like Reagan stayed in power…hmmm, not too far off….Its called suburban dogs after the last verse, which I wrote along with some other stuff after a long night of partying …when I woke up, someone, I think Bobby, had read it and told me, all hungover, “this sucks, this sucks, but this one is ok” with the ok one turning into the song and the other stuff going out with the trash. The next one we came up with during a sound check in Jacksonville Beach about a week before the recording session. Corey came up with the beat and I started playing the guitar line, and Palmer heard it and came up with the lyrics: the result was new beat. The last one, she’s mine, was Palmer’s ode to Melody, who was not exactly ownable! It is a Psychedelic Furs-ish sounding thing with a weird intro and break.

Again, if this post turns up more people from back then, join waymusic and then you can write what what you remember from the Daytona scene in the wiki as soon as you log in. I’ll keep putting up more music in the meanwhile. If you leave a comment here, don’t forget to also leave me an email addie by sending a note to me from the contact page so I can write back if you want. And if you are just coming here for the first time, don’t forget to check out the rest of way.music, including rreplay, my current project with bassist Eric Parker – as always, the music is listenable and downloadable for free.

The Mess

I have a little musical down time while Eric scuba dives in Maui, so I thought I’d at last go to the vault and clean up some tracks from my favorite band I was in, the aptly named Mess of Daytona Beach. The Mess were Palmer Wood on vocals and guitar, the sorely missed Corey Levin on drums, Greg Drais on bass, and Rich Rath (me) on guitar. Palmer and I wrote all but the covers, and we worked together really well. We played as the house band at a place called the Concrete Jungle on A1A right across the street from the ocean for about six months in 1983-84. The owner called it CJs, named after his daughter or wife or something, but hey, who was he to tell us what our bar was called. He went out of business a month after we stopped playing there. We left because we were packing the place up every weekend and some weeknights, but he’d only pay us $100 a week (for all of us, not each) for playing six nights…oh yeah, and all the Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap we cared to drink …urgggh. We then went “on tour” of central Florida, playing memorable gigs in Jacksonville Beach, Tampa, and Gainesville, before spontaneously combusting while trying to find a Spring Break gig in Daytona. But for a short while, CJs was the place to be for alternative music. Our friend Jonathon spun tunes, and we would play, once or twice bringing in special guests as well. People danced, fought, heckled, drank, made out, made up, broke up, played pool, and danced some more.

There are many stories, but I’ll save them for another time. Here is a studio recording of us trying, somewhat successfully, to play a ska thing with no horns or keyboards. It is called “We Deliver.” I am going to paste this into the way wicked wiki to start things off there, and maybe Palmer or someone will come by and tell some stories…