Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rats and Children - Demo tape

Rats and Children or Dovetail or whatever name we happened to be arguing about during our brief existence was a sloppy political punk band that I played in with a some high school friends during the Winter of 2000. I remember I was sitting at home one weekend, probably watching t.v. or something when I heard a knock on the door. Four of the buddies that I ate lunch with every day were standing there. "You wanna play drums in a band?" one of them asked me. "Sure," I said. And with that they unloaded a bass, a guitar and a couple of practice amps and we set up next to the drums and p.a. in my basement.

Musically, we were all coming at it from totally different places - the singers wanted to be The Blood Brothers and one of them also seemed dead set on being the next Jello Biafra, the bass player had been obsessed with Rancid & was really into the Subhumans, the guitarist was into Melt Banana, Judy Garland & the opera Carmina Burana and I was on an 80's new wave, San Diego screamo and The Doors kick. We'd all met each other at various points leading up to forming the band over a mutual love of punk rock, rebellion and feeling like social outcasts, the typical high schoolers-forming-a-band cliché.

When the group got started, we were all hanging out, reading zines & Zinn and sharing tapes. I remember us listening to stuff like Crass, Conflict, Flux of Pink Indians, Zounds, EC8OR, maybe even some Prince... we had vague intentions of being a 'peace punk' band but, aside from some of the patches we'd sewn to our clothes and the overtly political lyrics, I don't think it ever really ended up being that. Basically, it was a weird mix that kind of worked for little while.

The first five tracks on this tape were recorded on a strategically placed boombox during one of our early practices - Dec. 3rd, 2000 according to my notes on the tape. The highlights include our cover of "Breakin' the Law" sandwiched in between a Spice Girls medley and, arguably, our best original song "Pickled Babies." The sixth and final track, "Socialists For Nader," is from a different tape and it serves as a very rough idea for a new song that never fully came to be - before devolving into an impromptu partial cover of Atari Teenage Riot's "Revolution Action." I think it was probably recorded at our final practice around the beginning of '01.

The reasons the band fell apart were numerous and also pretty typical but in the end we just weren't getting along. I've heard it said that the best way to ruin a friendship is to live with someone but, in my experience, another surefire way to test that bond is to play together in a band - especially one in which there's no clear musical direction and several clashing egos. Though we tried, we never played any shows and only a handful of people ever saw us rehearse or even heard this tape. I don't know if there will be much interest in this slice of goofy, amateurish, noisy punk rock but for me it's something I'm still glad to have been a part of.
-Oliver aka Arthur Rambo

Rats and Children demo

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