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Friday, June 26, 2009

The New Caesars

Yet more old music from my musical closet & more free downloads for whoever cares.

Cleveland, 1996-97
Doug Morgan (Neptune's Car, Pressler-Morgan, Human Switchboard, etc.) formed this band and was the writer, arranger, singer and general mastermind behind it.

"Lou" and "Flame" feature Morgan on guitar & vocals; Jeff Benik (California Speedbag) on drums, Doug Gillard (Guided By Voices, Cobra Verde, Death of Samantha) on lead guitar and Mike Derrick on bass. This was a studio-only lineup that never played a live show.

At the end of 1996 Doug put together the lineup that is featured on the remaining tracks. This lineup was: Doug Morgan - guitar, vocals; Jeff Benik - drums; Brent Collins - bass, guitar; and myself (Tom Miller) on guitar. This was the "real" band; the one that was going to record, play gigs and (according to Doug) get famous...and the rest would be history. Turns out the rest WAS history, and a very short one at that.

We played 4 shows total, before the whole thing blew apart. It didn't help that Jeff quit after the recordings, and that every gig we played featured a different drummer. On New Years Eve, 1997-98, we even had our bass player Brent play bass and drums simultaneously. Brent could do amazing things like that. Some say we never sounded better live then that night, but it didn't matter much since we broke up immediately afterward. Too bad because I really liked Doug's songs; I thought they might even have had some commercial potential, in a Tom Verlaine/Rolling Stones/Wilco-ish sort of way. So much for that idea. Oh well, here are the songs now, in all their never-before-released-to-the-public glory.

All songs are copyright 1996 & 1997 by Doug Morgan. Used by permission.

No Real Thing
My New Moon
Lip Shine
Musical Fatuwa
What Would You Have Me Do?

Neptune's Car recordings (plus a lot of other great music) can be found at Ted Barron's "Boogie Woogie Flu" blog.

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's Brunch time!!!

Today's post goes back to the mid-1990's and features BRUNCH. No one has ever heard of this group before, not even in our hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. That's because Brunch never played a gig, never released any recordings and never even took a band photo.

Brunch was Jessica Skerry, vocals; Benjamin Daniels, bass; Toby, drums, and myself on guitar. We were all Cleveland State University students back in 1994. Ben and I were also members of Swank Motel, a locally popular swing band. Since Swank only played cover songs, Brunch was going to be an outlet for our original songs.

We rehearsed several times per week for almost a year, but somehow we never thought we were quite "ready" to play out, so we never booked a live show. Listening back to the tapes we made, I'm not quite sure what it is we were trying to perfect. It all sounds OK to me - at the very least, good enough for some drunks at a bar.

Two major events brought the band to a close, before we ever got off the ground. First, Toby graduated and then immediately left for Europe to further his musical studies. At the same time, Swank Motel had a crisis and needed a new singer; Jessica was the obvious choice.

Before that happened though, we took a 4-track recorder over to Jessica's basement in Shaker Heights and taped the 4 songs posted below. "Chico," "Chase Me With A Dead Fish" and "Jaded" is music that I wrote with Jessica writing the words and inventing the singing parts. "Hugo The Dharma Cat" was Ben and Jessica's creation. Note the intro borrowed from "Black Orpheus."

"Hugo" and "Dead Fish" were both later re-recorded by Swank Motel in a real recording studio. I'll be getting to those recordings in a future post.

That's the basic facts. Today Jessica sings in the Cleveland band Lounge Kitty. Last I heard, Benjamin was living in China, teaching and still playing music. Toby - I have no idea what he is up to. I'm so out of touch, I can't even remember his last name!!!

So...come and get your Brunch, finally. It might be old and moldy but that's too bad for you. Hey, if you don't like it, then go to McDonald's!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tom Miller - New solo recordings

I no longer play in bands; instead I have been concentrating on solo recordings, just to have some fun and occupy my spare time, since I'm not into fishing or golf. Found below are some songs I recently recorded at home on my little 4-track machine. I wrote them and played the instruments and sang.

"I Just Want To Make You Happy'" "You've Done It Now," "Let's Go To L.A.," and "Upset" are my version of rock music. Pretty basic but that's what I like to hear, usually. The other 2 songs are instrumentals. One is long and pseudo-funky, as the title implies. The other, "Catwalk" is short and kind of folky. The title is not about cats; I named it after a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington State called "The Catwalk." Not that it really matters.

All songs copyright 2009 by T.A. Miller. I will be posting more new songs as I finish them.