It’s hard to say if the time you spent being young in the early nineties was great, or if that was just being young. Or could it be that there was a unique group of characters and opportunities during that time in that place. When I moved to East Lansing, there were live shows at houses or small clubs almost every week. Some were pretty mediocre, but fun. Some were honestly great. Kill Devil Hill was honestly great. Tom Potter playing guitar and singing. Michael Babcock on bass, and John Olsen playing drums. All three of them are really great, interesting people. They had the garage punk, swamp rock vibe locked down. And it seemed kind of unlikely that I could see them every few weeks in someone’s basement. I ask John at Flat Black and Circular when I go to East Lansing if kids are organizing house shows like they used to, he always says no. I wonder how true that is. I want to believe that kids are still self-organizing their own scene, and making something new. Covid certainly will put a downer on 300 sweaty kids packing into someone’s manky, dimly lit basement to watch other sweaty kids breath on them. But I hope they look forward to that opportunity in the future.
I would see Michael at work at El Azteco. He said the band had enough material to record an album. So I hooked him up with Todd Carter to record in Kalamazoo at Western’s recording studio. They put together a very good album. I have it on my list to edit together some MP3’s of a cassette Todd made me. I’m hoping this post will get a bit of a read and other people might want to hear it. This album had a huge impact on me. I like to think this time made me really believe that the only difference between being able to do something creative and doing it is sheer will. John and Tommy both went on to play in other bands, some of them pretty great. Bantam Rooster in particular was really popular for a while. John’s noise rock outfit Wolf Eyes has a huge devoted following.
I feel fortunate to have lived through a time where I got to experience this sort of small town music scene in the midwest.