Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Circle Confusion & the Meat Dept.

So there has been a HUGE renewed interest in my old band, Circle Confusion, as I am sure you have heard, who rose and crashed in the late 80s. Sorry, but you probably were not there. Tough luck. You certainly do not know what you missed-we were simply way ahead of our time (like an early Nirvana with a drum machine-all “Sturm und Drang ” for sure with catchy, catchy melodies to boot!) and called it quits (like the original Stooges from our homebase of Ann Arbor too) before we became like the Stones (the Stones, I love the Stones, I watch them whenever I can-Fred and Barney), Aerosmith, Springsteen, Metallica, Sonic Youth and so many, many others-too many to list after just one masterpiece of an album-more info viewable here-click on the "Lively Art" link twice:



recently due to fortuitous luck, I was able to track down our missing bassist and reconnect with him. He stated that he would do a Wiki page and a Myspace page on the band in order to enlighten a whole new generation who had the grave misfortune to miss out on us the first time out (yeah, right). BUT, in order to do this he stated he needed me, as the main chronicler of our varied mischievous acts and outrages and debacles, to write down a rough draft of our history which I did a few months back and e-mailed it to him, Jim, and Paul, the guitarist, to review for inaccuracies and general outright lies. Since I am still waiting, here is that draft for you to dissect and be amazed by! Also in the meantime, since the Myspace page is not up and streaming music (ahem, Jimbo) or anything like that, I was able to transfer the album to digital format a few years back (since we were lovely vinyl only in a prestigious limited release of 2000 copies!) and therefore I have stored it in WMA format for your listening pleasure. In you want to hear a sample track for FREE, sent me a message and I will e-mail it directly to you as long as you can receive files of up to 10 mbs, which is the standard now anyway. Then you can “rock out” in total bliss!

So here's the draft:

“Circle Confusion formed in August of 1985 in Ann Arbor Michigan. The initial members were Richard Williams (vocals, drum machine programming), Paul Staskowski (guitar) and Parvin Panahi (bass). Within two months, they had recorded and released a three song demo cassette (Fly/Arctic Days/Interfear) that was recorded with engineer/co-producer Phil Seiden, owner of Tool & Die studios. Their first gig was at the Halfway Inn at East Quad at the University of Michigan with Slaughterhouse and Spahn Ranch.

With heavily processed and distorted guitar effects and a preference for thick tribal drum motifs created by the drum machine dubbed “Juggernaut”, the band's initial sound fit in the realm of darker/heavier acts like Joy Division, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Swans and Big Black.

The widely distributed demo garnered both local and national interest and by the summer of 1986 the band earned an opening slot in Chicago opening for Big Black. Around this time, more demos were recorded (Our Attitude and (In the Name of) Survival) and they were submitted to various independent labels of interest to the band.

Near the end of the summer of 1986, the band was approached by C'est La Mort Records of Baker Louisiana near Baton Rouge about appearing on a soon to be released compilation named “Dr. Death's Volume 1” featuring the likes of Boston's Throwing Muses (4AD records artist) and England's Breathless. (In the Name of) Survival was chosen by the label director and appeared as track 2 on side 2 when it was released toward the end of 1986. It was around this time that Parvin Panahi chose to leave the band and was replaced on bass by Jim Burg. Shortly thereafter, the band was chosen to open for Throwing Muses at the renowned St. Andrews Hall in Detroit during their US tour.

Early 1987 saw the band performing live more as well as recording more tracks with Phil Seiden. With the band's list of original songs expanding into the range of 15-20 regular tracks, it was decided to move forward with the production of an album's worth of material that could then be promoted to interested labels for future release. On and off for much of the late spring/early summer, the band retreated to Phil Seiden's Tool & Die studios to lay down tracks. Near the end of the sessions, the band was contacted by the label director of C'est La Mort records and told that Patrick Mathe, president of New Rose Records in Paris France, was very interested in putting out an album by the band and that he would be contacting the band shortly. As recording was wrapping up, a deal was struck and plans began for final mixing/mastering of the tapes with artwork development to be done by the label.

On January 15th of 1988, a test pressing was completed. One month later, the album was released in Europe and as an import to the US with the title “Meat Dept.”, as Arty 4 release, under the division label of New Rose called “Lively Art”.

The tracks were as follows:

Turkish Royalty
Arctic Days
(In the Name of) Survival
Death to Stars
You Bait
The Executioner's Song
She Sells My Life
Our Attitude
False Bastards

The next few months saw the band promoting the album in the States and garnered positive reviews, both locally and nationally and charting highly on various college radio station charts. Around this time, the band finally found a drummer that met their criteria for live performances and Aaron Jones was added to the line-up, rehearsals ensued and Juggernaut was retired.

Thus newly re-established, the band embarked on numerous local gigs in the Detroit area that culminated in once again opening for Throwing Muses in May, traveling to Morgantown, WV, Pittsburgh PA and Toronto, Ontario for a mini tour in early June with the band triumphantly opening for the Pixies on their Surfer Rosa tour at Rick's American Cafe in Ann Arbor.

The band continued to search for a licensing deal for the release of the album in the US, but nothing workable came to fruition. Additionally, at this time, Paul and Jim were in the final stages of determining their plans for graduate school which meant relocation and, for all practical purposes, the end of the run for the band. Richard and Aaron (on bass), shortly thereafter, formed a band dubbed Black Jesus with a Detroit area guitarist and drummer."

1 comment:

Hayden said...

Can you please email me circle confusion? haydenvan(at)gmail(dot)com