And Sew One (Etc’s Original Demo Album – 1994-97)

Well, I’m finally working on some new material, but it won’t be ready for at least a few more days. But it got me to thinking that I haven’t really put any ‘new’ music up here for a very long time. Since this IS a music blog, that is sort of the main requirement.

So I was going through my digitized music file collection and noticed that I hadn’t finished converting Etcetera’s original demo album to mp3 yet, and decided I’d do that and clear out the bulky old wave files. And that of course got me to thinking about posting them here.

They’re pretty scratchy and not at all what I would class professional performances or recordings by any stretch of the imagination. they’re just rough drafts of a number of pieces I was intent on getting polished up. Some of them made it to a more polished level of demo stage; others still need a lot of work. I may take one or two in hand in the next while. There are a lot of flaws in these recordings, but there are also some nice, magical moments hidden in them. Etcetera were never the finest musicians, but when they gelled, they could generate some really interesting musical moments

Top of Riff Jam Rock
This was an impromptu jam that I somehow instigated while showing Gary some moving chords and a respectable amount of distortion. I never made a name for myself as a guitarist, but in the words of John Lennon, I could occasionally ‘really make the fucker howl’.

Here We Go Again (vox + acoustic)
While we were hammering away at getting the instrumentation nailed down for this tune, we every once in a while would get the urge to try and sort out the harmony vocals. This version was not based on the final arrangement but on the version of the tune we had lived with for about a year, and wanted to hear if our vocal arrangement worked. So we did it ‘a cappella’. Later, I dubbed in some acoustic guitar and a little added vocal. It’s an awkward mix, but it has some charm. This was a favourite of friends of the band for quite a while.
Here We Go Again

Show Me Something (trials)
This was a number that Gary had already helped me demo for our side project, but Gary was curious to hear whether the band could figure it out. Derrick was never comfortable with the 3/4 swing beat, and I’m not sure Dave ever came to grips with the bassline, although I suspect he did. This was a mishmash recording that wound up with some reversed spillage from the other side of the cassette, and for some time, I just thought it was amusing to listen to, even though it’s really nothing close to how the song was meant to sound.
Show Me Something

Come Hither Eyes (pt 1)
Gary had started noodling with a riff that he was composing for his girlfriend at the time, and the guys liked it so much, they insisted on jamming on it with him.

Come Hither Eyes (pt 2)
This goes on record as being the first time we ever tried an overdub on a track. While we had been jamming on Gary’s ‘Getting Laid’ riff *big grin*, I started hearing a low and dirty lead line in a Stonesy sort of vein. So I played back the tune on a cheesy little ghetto blaster of mine while working out the note melody. Dave thought I was writing a bassline, but I told him it wasn’t really for him to play.

Thick and Thin (acoustic demo)
Gary had started jamming a crunchy latin-inspired riff at home that he had then left on my answer machine. I was eager to get in and get to work on it, so one afternoon at practice, he started hammering on it and the change ups, and then grabbed hold of some lyrics that Derrick had given him to work with. Gary and I quickly sorted out the vocal melodies and we recorded the demo right before their eyes. Compared to Etc, Thesis was fast. The guys were suitably impressed.
Thick & Thin

Conditions (YSMS demo jam)
Gary and I were pushing our guitar and keys through one amp, which created this tweezy sort of compression, which inspired us to jam out a tune with the guys. I ended up taking this home, dissecting it and strapping some reworked lyrics of Derrick’s onto it, but this is the original jam, which I’d already named Conditions.
You Send Me Spinning

Pt 1: The Wakening

A simple bit of note fluff I created at the end of a monumental jam, and then switched around with the first part, as it sounded more like a quirky intro to me than a coda.

Pt 2: The Hunting
This was actually played before the part I eventually put last in the lineup, but it had a certain mood and power all it’s own, and goes down as one of my favourite musical moments with the band. It’s chaotic and muddy, and a lot of time was spent trying to convert it into a song, which later became Breathe [1][2][3]. I’d still like to go back and figure out how to rearrange and recreate this as a full prog piece.

Pt 3: Monte’s Arrival
I started the band practice off by programming Derrick and Dave (Gary couldn’t make it) with a cocktail of Genesis, Yes, DreamTheater and especially King Crimson. Then we started up and created this beast of a triptych. This is one of the heaviest moments in the band’s history, and though it’s extremely unpolished, it has a lot of great little moments I’d love to arrange and recreate someday.

After the whole thing was done, we dreamed up a story of a Japanese Giant Rubber Monster making his way onto the shore of some unsuspecting city and tearing it up. We dubbed him Monte, and declared this his Birthday Suit(e).

An early recording of the band rehearsing this hoary classic, complete with me counting the band in at the start and at the segue to the coda. It’s far from there, but it’s a pretty good tune, even in this early stage.

Waiting For Sentence (take 6)
Dave started working on his famous untitled bass composition, and the band tried lamely to get in there and work with him. It didn’t really happen, but at least you can hear what Dave was trying o do here.

Waiting For Sentence (take 7)
And finally, on another day, the band actually got in there and did a little more with the riff. It still didn’t come off all that well, but it sounded pretty cool, and served as an early template for what I figured the band would eventually do with Dave’s piece.

I may take a stab at arranging this into something cool for Dave sometime this year.

And there you have it. Another DRM-free demo album brought to you by Etcetera/Thesis music. Please feel free to do anything except sell the music yourselves. Creative Commons License applies. If you want to do something with anything you hear here, please drop me a note. I have plans for some of this stuff too, you know.

Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed it.

Don't be shy. Tell me what you really think, now.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: