Voices from Bay Area Retrograde Vol.1

May 23, 2011

BART Flyer

Dark Entries Records is proud to present a record release party for BAY AREA RETROGRADE (BART) VOLUME 1

Thursday, May 26, 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
Gray Area Foundation for the Arts
998 Market St. (Warfield Building), San Francisco

Soundtrack made by Dark Entries especially for this event! Come hear more unreleased gems from these Bay Area Underground 80s bands!

BART Vol 1 Party Release Party 5.26.11 by darkentriesrecs

Meet band members from:
NECROPOLIS OF LOVE
LOS MICROWAVES
VOICE FARM
NOMINAL STATE
DANNY BOY AND THE SERIOUS PARTY GODS
QUIET ROOM
DISTANT THUNDER
WASP WOMEN

Join us for drinks and pick up a copies of Bay Area Retrograde Vol 1 and other Dark Entries Records vinyl!!

Facebook Invite HERE: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=103797683044691

Meanwhile, press keeps pouring for Bay Area Retrograde (BART) Vol. 1, order your copy now in the SHOP or from one of our Distributors.

Most recently was a thoughtful review by local heroes of ours the SF Bay Guardian:

Recently, Dark Entries conducted interviews with each of the bands on Bay Area Retrograde and as you can see there is more than one answer to the same question from different members of the same band!

 

LOS MICROWAVES - David Javelosa

DE: Where did the name "Los Microwaves" come from?
The technology in San Jose where I am from; along with other Low Riders!

DE: How did you form the band?
The band started as a recording project at Mills College; almost as a performance piece but I wanted to document it as a recording. After meeting Meg, an actress at the time, I thought we could actually play it in clubs. After we found a drummer we started playing everything from art openings to outdoor spaces.

DE:. Can you tell us a little bit about the San Francisco scene during the late 70's/early 80s?
It was very active and everybody was in a band. It was a time of sarcastic optimism. Everything seemed like a fantasy; playing in clubs; recording music; going on tour; and eventually moving to New York.

DE: Can you describe your most memorable/favorite live gig?
One of my faves was headlining in Austin TX and the opening act had a modern dance company. The place was packed and we partied until the sun came up. In San Fran, I always enjoyed shows at the Savoy Tivoli.

DE: Do you remember the set up and equipment for recording your earlier songs?
Mostly done on 8 track. I remember switching instruments and vocals from track to track to get it all on the tape. Mostly our band gear Roland RS09, Dr.Rythm, SH100, also had a Wurlitzer electric piano, a Univox electronic keyboard, bass drums (with custom flanger pick ups) percussive gongs from the Phillipines, and lots of early digital delay and tape effects.

DE:  Did the evolution of the synthesizer in the early 1980s have an effect on your sound?
Totally, constantly, as it does today!

DE: How do you feel about the renewed interest in your music?
Good music will interest people no matter how old it gets 😉 But I'm just happy people still appreciate it!

DISTANT THUNDER - Mark Wenning

DE: Where did the name of Nominal State come from?
Distant Thunder is from a phrase about war "distant thunder from farther guns" as most of the lyrics/songs are words of warning/caution. My music/lyrics were words of protest.

DE: How did you begin this solo project?
One day in the late 70s, while exploring WWII bunkers at Fort Funston, I starting singing in its echoing chambers.  I did more of that.... and more, developing what has been referred to as "extended vocal techniques" and spent more and more time improvising.  Eventually hooked up with other improv vocalists doing the same sort of thing. Then in 1980 I found KUSF on the dial and began listening about thirty hours a week, winning free tickets to an average of two live music shows a week.  Saw so many bands, and not many of them very good, that I got the idea that I could do that.  Attempted to find a decent band to be a front for and began writing my own stuff using my Gibson SG & a Mattel toy drum machine to keep time.  Eventually, I bought my first computer (Apple IIe) to use as a sequencer for bass and synth parts (by then I had a better drum machine).

DE: Can you tell us a little bit about the San Francisco scene during the late 70's/early 80s?
On any given weeknight there were about 10 dance clubs playing alternative 80s (not pop 80s) music and 10 clubs with live bands.  On weekends the numbers were about 15 dance and 15 live clubs

DE: Can you describe your most memorable/favorite live gig?
I didn't play live -  didn't have the time to prepare/rehearse for a one man show.  I knew (from seeing one man synth bands live) that watching that one performer could be pretty boring.  I thought about showing films or videos projected behind me which were synced to my sequencer with a timecode track recorded on the film or video - edits timed to beat or chord changes... similar to 60s music videos occasionally shown on the Smothers Brothers variety show.  I shot some footage to get material, but never had the time to put it all together - the film/video technology in those days was not really set up to do such a thing easily.

DE: Do you remember the set up and equipment for recording your earlier songs?
Gibson SG with Ibannez flanger & a Mattel toy drum machine

DE:  Did the evolution of the synthesizer in the early 1980s have an effect on your sound?
I used a DX -7 (had one of the first 100 made) and Emax but mostly for real instrument sounds - drum kits, log drum, violin, sax, bass, accordion.  Better and better sequencing software enabled faster composing and faster recording.

DE: How do you feel about the renewed interest in your music?
Cool.  I think the early 80s alternative music scene was one of the most prolific, original (though from many roots), non-formulaic music eras - similar to some 60s stuff.  The music had heart/soul to it.

NECROPOLIS OF LOVE - David Velasquez

DE: How did you join Necropolis of Love?
My participation began somewhere around 198DE: I'd just left the punk band I'd been playing in (with Jake Smith of Crucifix and Mike Bordin of Faith No More) and I was looking for something different than the usual kind of punk/ska thing I'd been doing. My friend Mike Iles told me about an electronic art band that was looking for a singer.
Considering that I was also into bands like Suicide, Soft Cell and Deutsche Amerikanisch Freundschaft I liked the idea of a challenge by trying out for it. So, he introduces me to Peter Vinella, who looked a bit skeptical at this young skinhead standing before him. I'd brought along a cassette of some studio work that I'd previously done. And the whole time we were listening to it Peter kept looking at the cassette player and then at me as if unable to place the voice on it with the person sitting in his dining room. But I guess the audition proper didn't really begin until he gave me a cassette of a song called 'Necropolis' which he asked me to listen to and come back with some lyrics; -and try singing to during the next rehearsal. I recall it was a very beautiful haunting melody, ...and I probably went overboard with the lyrics but Peter and Tim seemed to like it as we recorded it not long thereafter.

DE: Can you tell us a little bit about the San Francisco scene during the late 70's/early 80s?
It was pretty diverse back then. But there was a general feeling of being part of something. Like, if you'd have spotted another punk or new waver on the street you'd give each other a sort of conspiratorial nod. Most of the shows seemed to have alot of atmosphere and theatricality to them...a pervasive air of subversive futurism. Then you went to shows like those at The Mabuhay Gardens you'd pay a small entrance fee and you'd be guaranteed a very diverse lineup of bands. New wave, ska, reggae, Oi! and art punk. It was still a very playful and creative scene. At some point the different crowds started finding their own venues and then it became more subculturally segregated.
But there was quite great underground scene. Warehouses, rented halls, abandoned buildings In our early days when we played clubs like 'The Sound of Music' which was in the Tenderloin where we'd made the acquaintance of interesting bands like 'My Sin' or DD Downer & The Science Project. Those kind of dives...er, ...venues, were the only places where bands like that and our own would have a chance to develop. I was mainly working in cafés during the daytime. Saving all my money for going out. Or hitting the record shops along Telegraph Avenue; which would exert some kind of irresistible gravitational pull every time I attempted to pass by them. I'd go in and immediately rifle through the import bins. I'd usually leave, empty pocketed with a few records under my arms. But there was so much interesting new stuff out there that you'd only hear through university radio stations like KALX or KUSF and a couple of independent stations.

DE: Can you describe your most memorable/favorite live gig?
It may have been a New Year's Day party we were playing ...the night before we'd played at a club in San Francisco and then drove all night to play at a daytime party at a Theoretical Club party in LA. I think the theme for the party was something to do with the Twilight Zone... because everywhere I looked in the club there were life sized cut outs of Rod Serling staring back at me. We'd played many times for the Theoretical Club and many of those at these parties had become good friends of ours. Maybe it was just the times it was in, that made this stick in my mind. At one point we're in the middle of playing 'The Tunnel'.  I'm singing, what to me are very emotional and idiosyncratic lyrics about reincarnation...and yet I look up, and I see everyone in the crowd swaying to it,....and singing along. That image still moves me. It was a special moment in time. And it makes me miss a lot of those people who we knew from there. A few of whom we lost to the first waves of  HIV related casualties. But the Theoretical Club parties were always the most unique of any of the shows that we did.

DE:  Did the evolution of the synthesizer in the early 1980s have an effect on your sound?
If there was a new synthesizer on the market, Peter would be one of the first running through its paces. I used to be amazed at how every time Peter went into a music shop he'd manage to talk them into letting him take home new synths for free... to try out.

DE: How do you feel about the renewed interest in your music?
Quite gratified about it really. That people after so many years later could connect to what we were doing back then. I've always been very proud of the music that we were doing. Maybe there's a song or two where I'd grimace and wish I'd written something alittle differently. Nonetheless, I loved  singing those songs ...and miss performing them with the other guys. I'm just glad though that the songs are still being heard.

NECROPOLIS OF LOVE - Peter Vinella

DE: Where did the name "Necropolis of Love" come from?
It was the name of a poem that a friend of mine wrote. I liked the juxtaposition of love and death which seemed to fit the mood of the times.

DE: How did you form the band?
I had moved back to SF in 1982 after a year teaching at NYU in NY. I had joined Public Image Limited while I was in NY (bass and synth) and recorded tracks on the aborted Commercial Zone LP while Johnny Lydon was in Italy. I was scheduled to tour with PiL in Asia and decided to hook with Tim Helsa while I was waiting to join the tour. We had a played together prior to my time in NY. We met Dave a couple of weeks later. Upon Lydon's return to PiL, he fired me because he didn't want a Yank in the band (and yes, he really was Rotten). As a consolation prize, we got to open for PiL at the Fillmore however which was a great start for the band.

DE: Can you tell us a little bit about the San Francisco scene during the late 70's/early 80s?
These were distinct periods for me.
During the late 70's, I was in graduate school (Math) at Berkeley and working for the NSA and NASA. However, I remember spending nearly every night out at some club or another. I remember Temple Beautiful as being the best, but there was a host of others as well. There were lots of great local bands, mostly punk, art bands, and new wave: Dead Kennedys, the Avengers, the Mutants, Tuxedo Moon, Eye Protection, No Sisters, and the Beauty Killers to name a few. It was great fun, but I really didn't play in bands at the time. Most people had just learned to play their instrument, but I had played guitar and keyboards for over 15 years at that point and my style just didn't fit in.
In 1981 and 82, I lived in NY (Alphabet City) and gigged quite a lot, both in the studio and live. I really got into the post-punk depression movement and had a chance to most of the great English/European bands with only 20 to 50 people in the audience: Echo and the Bunny, New Order, the Cure, Psychedelic Furs, the Simple Minds, the Specials, Kraftwerk, and OMD, plus a host of others. NY attracted lots of other types of music as well and there tons of great local bands as well. In NY, my proficiency on the guitar and keyboards wasn't a handicap and my ability to fix synths was a big plus. While I played in post-punk bands, I also played in hardcore and funk bands as well. I had a chance to play with a number of well known names including: Joe Jackson, PiL, Chris Butler (the Waitresses), the Beasty Boys, Glenn Branca, Dana Vlcek (Konk), and John Lurie (Lounge Lizards). I was even in an ensemble with Madonna that played Tuesday nights at Danceteria.
When I came to SF in summer 1982, punk was dead and there wasn't much of live music scene. Discos were the big thing (along with music videos). I remember hanging out nearly every night at Earls (especially after hours) as well as the Oasis. When NoL started up, we played quite a few earlier shows with Sharp Young Men (a.k.a. Faith No Man, a.k.a. Faith No More) and My Sin. We really loved playing at the Sound of Music. What a dive, but what every show was great. We played a Christmas show there one year and they raffled off a 19" color TV. The guy who won got mugged taking home the TV right outside the front door.

DE: Can you describe your most memorable/favorite live gig?
We played hundreds of shows and there were a lot of great gigs. Probably the three best were at the Kabuki where we supported the Sisters of Mercy, Bill Graham Presents were we supported Til Tuesday (the crowd left after we played and Aimee Mann was really pissed), and at the I-Beam were we headlined with Until December. The 1985 Gay Pride day was another great show (also with Until December).

DE: Do you remember the set up and equipment for recording your earlier songs?
We had TR-808 and Juno 60s the first week they came out and these were used on the 7". We also had one of the first Simmons drum kits in the Bay Area. I was the only guitarist at the time (other than perhaps The Edge) that had a rack of 14 digital delays, digital reverbs, harmonizers, and compressors that I ran in stereo. Also, we did not use any amps on stage, but went direct through the PA system. Because of this, we brought our own PA which consisted of a AMEK 48x8 automated mixing console, a Peavey 24X12 monitor mixer, Santana's old JBL/Meyers speaker system and a ton of out boardgear (we had a separate digital reverb on each drum). Bill was one of the first drummers to use headphones on stage for monitors. (Yeah, we had about $100K worth of stuff)

DE:  Did the evolution of the synthesizer in the early 1980s have an effect on your sound?
It really did. On the first record, we used an ARP Omni, a Roland Juno 60, two Roland TR-808 drums, the latter of which had just come out. Pretty soon we had Simmons drums, Emu drum machines and samplers, and a host of other synths. One of the big changes was the advent of digital synths starting with the Yamaha DXDE: To keep up with all the new toys, I wrote reviews for a number of journals including Keyboard and Electronic Musician. We also started buying some of the early synths from the late 70's like ARP Odysseys and Oberheims. One thing that always puzzled me was the fact that most people wanted synths to sound like an acoustic instrument. I really liked (and still do) a really synthetic sounds. Play a real trumpet if that is the sound you want.

DE: How do you feel about the renewed interest in your music?
Honored, but a bit weird at the same time. NoL was very much about the times -- Reagan ruled the US and Thatcher ruled England. We were bombing every small country we could (I guess we still do that). Almost everyone I knew was angry about the state of the world and basically wanted to drop out since it seemed useless to try to change it. People played music not to be stars, but as a way to connect with other people who saw the world from a similar existential point of view. In fact, we wrote a manifesto about life and music even before we completed our first song. Our music was our statement that world needed to change. The weirdness comes from the fact that I am not 30 years old or as angry (yes, you do mellow with age). Listening to it is like recalling a memory, a bit smokey and intangible. Also, it is time for the youth of today to angry, make the own statement, and change the world.
NECROPOLIS OF LOVE - Tim Hesla

DE: Where did the name "Necropolis of Love" come from?
The name came from a cemetery in Maine or Vermont - an English guy by way of Canada named Michael remembered seeing it as he was driving through. We all agreed that it certainly fit the mood, so it stuck.

DE: How did you form the band?
Peter and I had done a project called Stunted Growth before NoL - he moved to NYC where I was to meet up to do some gigs, but circumstances prevented me from joining him. He eventually returned to Oakland and we started putting some tunes together - actually, Peter had songs worked out and I would add bass lines. Dave came along after a weeks; his attitude and lyrics found a perfect fit. Our first gig was about a month later, opening for PiL. We didn't get the first two songs of the show recording, so they became the Talk/Alyssa single.

DE: Can you tell us a little bit about the San Francisco scene during the late 70's/early 80s?
The scene as I remember it includes dive bars like the Sound of Music in the Tenderloin and roaming dance parties in abandoned East Bay warehouses. Probably alot like today's scene. I guess everybody had their own reasons for forming bands - for some it was anger at something, for others an outlet for political comment. For me, it was the musical collaboration and a change to play for an audience.

DE: Can you describe your most memorable/favorite live gig?
Besides opening gigs for PiL and New Order in SF, the most memorable gigs for me were playing the Theoritical parties in L.A. One of them particularly - opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers during the month or so when they were an un-signed band.

DE: Do you remember the set up and equipment for recording your earlier songs?
The bass cabinet had two 15" JBLs, Peter used a Fender Twin-sized amp and the usual foot pedal effects, a full sized keyboard and a Roland 808 drum machine. All of the equipment and the three band members fit in my '74 Honda Civic hatchback - cozily. The recording was 8-track to 1/2" tape, done mostly live, at Matt's garage studio. The whole thing was probably no larger than 14 sq. ft, control room and studio included.  Matt recorded Faith No More's "We Care Alot" there
around the same time.

DE:  Did the evolution of the synthesizer in the early 1980s have an effect on your sound?
It added some nice texture. That said, some of my favorite bands of the day used alotta synth - Tuxedo Moon, Devo,
Wall of Voodoo - so my bass playing probably emulated that influence - come to think of it, my bass line for the first version of "Dance" was directly influenced by Simple Minds' "Theme for Great Cities."

DE: How do you feel about the renewed interest in your music?
About the renewed interest in the band, well, I am gratified for the appreciation of the band. I don't know much of what the band was like after I left, but it always makes me smile a little to see the Talk 7" on playlists from places like Pagan Love Songs in Germany and DNA Lounge '80s parties. Looking at the playists, the songs are keeping some good company.

 

BATANG FRISCO - Bill DiMichelle

DE: Where did the name of your band come from?
I worked with a lot of Filipinos, and i fell in love with their culture, so to pay tribute to my friends i called the band Batang Frisco, Tagalogue for San Francisco kids. The irony was that there was only me in the band.

DE: How did you form the band?
I met Eric Jensen's wife while we were working, and we set it up.

DE: Can you tell us a little bit about the San Francisco scene during the late 70's/early 80s?
Clubs were crazy but at the same time very reserved, full of fear.  By 1983 we all wondered what was killing our friends.

DE: Can you describe your most memorable/favorite live gig?
We rarely got paid for performing, but one particularly exciting gig was at a coffee shop where we got paid in french roast.

DE: Do you remember the set up and equipment for recording your earlier songs?
We had some high tech stuff, like Eric's 8-track and rhythm and sound effects boxes, and some ultra low tech stuff, like little bent up bells and finger cymbals i bought for $1 in Chinatown. We used two synthesizers, a Roland D-20, which has a drumtrack, and a messed up little Casio that made sounds unlike any synth on earth, even really expensive models.  We also used a Kalamazoo six string guitar with special tuning.

DE:  Did the evolution of the synthesizer in the early 1980s have an effect on your sound?
In a roundabout way it did.  I always loved acoustic pianos, but you just can't carry one across the country (I'm from Pittsburgh PA living in San Francisco now)

DE: How do you feel about the renewed interest in your music?
Well, I really hate to say this but I gotta- I told you so!


DANNY BOY AND THE SERIOUS PARTY GODS by Lester Williams

DE: Where did the name "Danny Boy and the Serious Party Gods" come from?
We weren't a band.  Just a couple of DJs, a comedian and musician/programmer having some fun.  I originally wanted to call the "band" Titty and the Clamps, but we settled on Danny Boy and the Serious Party Gods as it was a name Barry Beam wanted to use on a project.

DE: How did you form the band?
I came up with the idea one weekend, wrote the lyrics [which Danny Williams tweaked a bit], told John about it and he thought we should do it.  He was working with Barry at the time and Barry programmed the music, we dumped it onto 16 track tape and finished it at Independent Sound.  It was really meant to be a joke.  The whole thing came together and was completed in about a week.

DE: Can you tell us a little bit about the San Francisco scene during the late 70's/early 80s?
It was new wave bands and discos.  Also, a thriving punk scene.  As a DJ, I tried [sometimes successfully and sometimes not] trying to bend the rules and make the scenes come together somehow.

DE: Can you describe your most memorable/favorite live gig?
As a DJ, it was a night at the Music Hall Disco where I premiered Dan Hartman's "Relight My Fire" and Sylvester performed live.

DE: Do you remember the set up and equipment for recording your earlier songs?
Linn Drums to compose the skeleton, Barry Beam doing his thing from the Linn Drum pattern, dumping onto multi-track tape and doing vocals and additional tracks.

DE:  Did the evolution of the synthesizer in the early 1980s have an effect on your sound?
Everything I ever did had mostly electronic components to it.  And as a DJ, the electro-revolution [kicked started at least for me by Girogio Moroder] became kind of the San Francisco high energy sound.

DE: How do you feel about the renewed interest in your music?
Of all the things I've produced and remixed, this silly song seems to keep bouncing back to haunt me.  It's both a blessing and a curse.

DANNY BOY AND THE SERIOUS PARTY GODS by Barry Beam

DE: Can you tell us a little bit about the San Francisco scene during the late 70's/early 80s?
The SF Punk/New Wave scene had a special flavor.  Or one thing, it was uncool to be from Marin.  I was from Marin. Each club in those days had packed houses: The Savoy, The Back Door, Le Disque, but the place that I first heard of and which was the center of the scene, was the MAB.  Dirk Dirksen liked the Barry Beam show because it was a very weird thing.  While everyone else played in standard punk 3 or 4 piece configurations, I had a show with a loose story of alien abduction/pop punk songs.  The Bands I loved back then were "The Mutants", "Eye Protection", "The Punts", "Los Microwaves", The Units, and "No Sisters".  I can characterize the scene as a mixture of leather, colored satin, spiked hair in room of purple smoke pulsing by way of the worst possible speakers turned purposely louder than god intended or ever will intend.   Damage was a good magazine that chronicled most of this.

DE: Can you describe your most memorable/favorite live gig?
Who can remember that time.  I can't.   I do remember one gig I did for John Hedges at the Sleeping Lady.  He was checking me out to see if I could be "his Patrick Cowley" and produce dance records.  This was before we became partners.  During my first song, I jumped off the stage. It would have been great move but, unfortunately, I jumped on my tape recorders "sends to the PA'..........End of show.

DE: Do you remember the set up and equipment for recording your earlier songs?
My first recording setup was a 4 Track TEAC.  And the cheapest of Roland drum machines.  You know the kind in wooden box kike they made for organ players. After the above show I did for John, I got a Prophet 5 and Linn Drum DE: Those, and my 4 track along with my PRO ONE, became my recording setup for most of my early recordings.  We would take the 4 trk tapes to either an 8 trk or a 16 track studio, bounce up and add our vocals etc.

DE:  Did the evolution of the synthesizer in the early 1980s have an effect on your sound?
I should say so!  John Hedges suggested that if I got a Prophet 5, we could do some dance records.  I borrowed 2500 bucks from my brother and we made our first record, "Shoe me yours and I'll show you mine" for IMPLUSE Records. I had one of the first Prophet 5's.  I loved that box.  It was not quite as old as Patrick's, (which had a heating problem and therefore would go out of tune after a while), but it had the signature sound of the times.  From there, I got my Pro one and then an 8 bit sampler, the Ensoniq Mirage.  My sequencer was a "Studio one" on my Commodore 64!!!  One of the first MIDI sequencers ever.

DE: How do you feel about the renewed interest in your music?
I am happy that there are people who want to hear my music from the 80's.  I guess you could say I look calm but inside, my Commodore 64 is excited.

QUIET ROOM - Philip Peters

DE: Where did the name "Quiet Room" come from?
I got the name from a sing my friend stole from school or some kind of lock down cell. It just said Quiet Room on it and looked really sterile. I liked the name because we had just come from the whole punk thing and most people where still thinking like that. The idea of calling your band quiet seemed different.

DE: How did you form the band?
I was in a Palo Alto punk band in 78/79 called The Roommates. They kicked me out unexpectedly so I had nothing to do. I joined Half Church for a few months and did two gigs and a demo with them but I was getting lots of ideas for my own music. So I hocked up with Dave and we started playing gigs. Just me on guitar and vocals, him on bass and a Dr Rhythm. The other guys came one at a time. The band was constantly evolving. Infract that may be what killed us in the end. Is some one liked us at one show they probably did't the next time they saw us.

DE: Can you tell us a little bit about the San Francisco scene during the late 70's/early 80s?
It was still dominated by the old guard, beards, long hair, Bill Gram was still around. But there was also lots of punk and the newer synth or Gang of Four type bands. SF had its own brand of it. More artsy and strange.

DE: Can you describe your most memorable/favorite live gig?
Playing with Duran Duran. I had no idea they would get so big. One or two people stopped me on the street weeks latter remembering me from the show. But they somehow thought I was the singer in Duran Duran.

DE: Do you remember the set up and equipment for recording your earlier songs?
Every way home made. I found a little cassette player I rigged up so I could press play with my foot. I had my moms meditation tapes, really hippy 70s stuff, that I would play on and off during our songs. Also the Dr. Rhythm and I had an Ebow for my guitar. Casio keyboard and a really early Korg synth. I would use any thing I could find or barrow.  One thing I should say also, we never used anything the way it was meant to be used. I would plug the Casio into guitar pedals, fuzz, chorus , flanger. Same with the Dr. Rhythm.

DE: Did the evolution of the synthesizer in the early 1980s have an effect on your sound?
Yeah in a big way. Every synth we got changed our sound. And I loved sequencers. If I had my way we would have been all keyboards but the other guys always wanted to keep the real bass and drums.

DE: How do you feel about the renewed interest in your music?
I love it! I did't expect it but I'm glad. And I think it sounds good after all this time.

NOMIMAL STATE - Robert English

DE: Where did the name "Nominal State" come from?
Blind travel in a dictionary over at Lee's house, mid 1980.  Those were the first two words that were picked, and we liked them.

DE: How did you form the band?
First, Lee and myself did some recordings together, then Jim and Tyler were brought in for a larger recording project a couple of months later.

DE: Can you tell us a little bit about the San Francisco scene during the late 70's/early 80s?
More fun than the mind can comfortably conceive, to paraphrase Douglas Adams.  People were dressed to look dangerous but they really were very nice.  The only trouble we ever had was with the police (what a surprise).

DE: Can you describe your most memorable/favorite live gig?
The Hotel Utah in early '8DE:  Went in thinking it might be a disaster, but the small crowd really liked us.

DE: Do you remember the set up and equipment for recording your earlier songs?
A Teac 4-track reel-to-reel machine and a Peavey mixing board, with lots of cheap mics.

DE:  Did the evolution of the synthesizer in the early  1980s have an effect on your sound?
It was a symbiotic relationship, between the new sounds we heard on records coming from Europe and the increasing complexity of our own songs.  Our material and the polyphonic synths evolved along similar lines at the same time.

DE: How do you feel about the renewed interest in your music?
It's wonderful.  We had no thoughts about what impact we might have 25 years later, we were just enjoying what we were doing.

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