Tuesday, May 8, 2012

jason's tapeworm story 1978

In 1977, Brian Beattie, Tom Flynn, and I were the Rhythm Aces in Quick Lick Rick and the Rhythm Aces, a jazz standard band. In the fall quick lick Ricky Schnieder took off for college, leaving us to play jazz on our own. We were also the rhythm section for the Rippowam High Jazz Ensemble. While Brian and I actually liked jazz, Tom liked Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith and pretty much only played with us because we were friends. We were also into fusion and bands like Weather Report, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return to Forever, but we really didn't really have the chops to play that kind of music. We played Chameleon by Herbie Hancock endlessly, as well as School Days by Stanley Clarke, and our own little jam called D-Funk which was an improvisational funk jam played in the key of D (I am not sure if any reference to P-Funk was intended). We eventually started "making fun" of Black Sabbath and playing songs like War Pigs and such, as well as jamming out to the Munster's theme and Apostrophe by Frank Zappa. Jan Staubus, who we had met originally because she dated Quick Lick Rick was now working at Discount Records and datiing Scott Fletcher who wore ties to school and ran in the halls. He was basically Rippowam's only punk. Someone, I think it was Brian's bassplayer friend Wayne Zito, wrote a song called The Spider of the City that was really more metal than punk. Tom and Brian had copies of the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks and the Ramones' Rocket to Russia. We saw some cheesy cover band called Reality and the bassplayer had a Tapeworm decal on his bass. Tapeworm was born! We played the Spider of the City and a number of Ramones songs. T-Shirts were made, Jan's said Groupie on the back. Tom wrote Break My Face and I Wanna Die and we were on our way. By the time we played the Rippowam talent show we were really rocking. Wayne joined us on a $10 guitar which he broke during a blistering Break My Face. We also played the Ramones' Cretin Hop and Rockaway Beach. It was caught on video and a few years later at Hampshire College I edited it into a music video. We lost out to some guys singing Don't Know Much About History but we really ripped it up. We knew a guy named Ray Cipri (Sunshine) who had put out his own single. Somehow we decided to put out our own single. We recorded it in Ray's basement. We then added our nicknames: Brian "Macho Lead Vocal" Beady, Tom "Fuzzbox" Flynn, Wayne "Spider" Zito, and Jason "Jason" Weinberg. For $350 we had 200 copies made. It was all a tremendous amount of fun, especially since we were absolutely the only people at school who liked punk.

I left for college in the fall of 1978. Scott Fletcher took over on vocals and they became Safety Patrol, with a guy named Doug Karger on drums. They were really very good and even played CBGBs. At Hampshire College I played drums in a band called Alpo, which was essentially a supergroup of personalities with very little musical skill, featuring Eric Miller, Ken Feinstein, Claudia Keoze, G. Murray Thomas, Tom Hays and I. We had one song called Women Suck Because They Don't and we lasted one rehearsel. We evolved into MX and the Cruise Missiles which featured Tom, Murray and I. While Tom could really play the guiter Murray just banged on the keyboards as he moaned and groaned the lyrics. We had songs such as Bad Acid Rock (which was a classic written by Murray) and Used To Go To Hampshire which Murray completely improvised. The rest of the Tapeworm crew wound up migrating to the Bay Area in California where Jan lived with her family in El Cerrito. They all lived in a house in Emeryville together. I even lived there with them for a couple of months. Scott had an arty band called Sinequan (named after an anti-depressant he had been on) with Kathy and Jamie. Tom and Brian started playing as a duo called Fang. After touring the country, they went their separate ways with Brian heading back to Texas to form Glass Eye with Kathy and Scott Marcus (the second drummer from Safety Patrol) and Tom staying in Berkeley. Glass Eye were around for years and put out many excellent records. Tom turned Fang into a seminal Berkeley hardcore band (they had songs covered by such notables as Metallica, Nirvana, and Green Day) and Tom's record label Boner Records (named after Bonar Street, the street he lived on) was very successful and influential. All the early Melvins records were on Boner and Tom even played bass with them for a while. When I last saw Tom in 1993 he had an excellent band called Star Pimp which had Jamie from Sinequan on drums.

Somehow, because of the sheer energy we captured on vinyl and the incredible obscurity of it all the Tapeworm single has become one of the most sought after collectible records in the world. I don't know about Brian or Tom, but I was a major nerd in High School.

1 comment:

  1. Really awesome read. I just stumbled upon "Break My Face" while just browsing around the internet. Only later did I find out you guys were only in high school! Good to know you all went on to different musical projects. I would suggest a Tapeworm reunion, but I think only a few would actually know what Tapeworm was in the first place haha