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Posts Tagged ‘Micronotz’

Micronotz: Live At The KU Ballroom in Lawrence, KS 05-05-85

January 15th, 2009 4 comments

Here’s a nice long Micronotz set I recorded in 1985 at the SUA and KJHK sponsored end-of-school “Day on Green Hill” event, then only in its second or third year. Aside from the ‘notz, this gig also notably featured headliners the Minutemen, who were on the last day of their 1985 spring tour. While my recording of the Minutmen’s set has sadly been lost over the years, their performance of “Jesus and Tequilla” was caught on video at the time and has since been posted to YouTube (along with a cool D. Boon interview) by my pal Mike Blur:

Originally scheduled to be held on the “green hill” of Campanile, the weather proved to be too unstable for an outdoor gig and the bands were moved into the KU Ballroom (hence Jay’s quip at the end of the set that “it’s not too green but hell, you’re still on a hill”). Befitting this type of general event the turnout was both bigger and more diverse than the usual crowd, and these newcomers found the Micronotz delivering a solid set of tunes off of the then soon-to-be-released “Beast That Devoured Itself” LP (featuring cover art by Randy “Biscuit” Turner, for all you Big Boys fanatics), along with a few covers and a track or two off of what would eventually be their final album “40 Fingers”.

Speaking of those cover songs, one of my favorites around this time was the Abuse tune “No Money”, which was originally released on the very first Fresh Sounds flexi-disc back in 1981. I actually think that the Micronotz had started performing this about a year or so earlier with Steve on vocals (during the “Dean era”), and it always struck me as a very cool nod to an earlier KS punk scene I was sorry to have directly missed out on. As an aside, members of Abuse went on to play in a variety of other good KS (& beyond) bands like Psychic Archie and the Leatherwoods, all of whom had a distinctively more pop thing happening and all of whom were quite good.


Micronotz: Live At The KU Ballroom in Lawrence, KS 05-05-85 (192 kbps)
01 Tied To The Tracks (2:32)
02 Invisible (2:32)
03 The American Ruse (MC5) (2:36)
04 Oh Baby (3:35)
05 No Money (Abuse) (2:01)
06 Decide Tomorrow (4:17)
07 Psychodeli (2:17)
08 Cleo (2:20)
09 Way Too Long (2:35)
10 Polyester Slave (3:30)
11 Proud To Be A Farmer (3:06)
12 Brain Arrangement (2:45)
13 Run My Life (1:42)
14 Gimme Some Skin (Iggy Pop) (2:11)
15 War (1:40)
16 Whatcha Trying To Do (2:28)
17 Your Mind Is Empty (2:38)
18 Born To Kick Ass (1:29)
19 Push It Out (2:33)


And hey, just to continue my tradition of posting little extras with every Micronotz recording, here’s the complete 1985 pressbook sent out to hype the “Beast” LP. Aside from the photo and bio you’ll note that much of the material dates back from before Jay joined the group, but it’s still a pretty good roundup of the type of press the band was regularly getting.

1985 Micronotz press kit1985 Micronotz press kit1985 Micronotz press kit
1985 Micronotz press kit1985 Micronotz press kit

Micronotz: Live At Voodoo Manor in Lawrence, KS 10-27-84 / “Underground Music Festival” Booklet

January 4th, 2009 11 comments

Probably the lowest-fi audio I’ll be posting, this is also the earliest recording I have of the Micronotz second incarnation and a document that sounds exactly like what it is; a noisy Midwestern house party. Held at “Voodoo Manor” (the Micronotz practice space and partial residence) over the 1984 Halloween weekend, this was a really fun night. I sure wish I could tell you the names of every other band that played but, while I kind of think Ritual Romance started the show, the only group I remember for sure were the amazing Gardrails and sadly my recording of their preformance has slipped away over the years, perhaps lost forever. (Hey! Anybody have any Gardrails video? C’mon!)

Coming 6 months after Dean’s last performance (at the Underground Music Festival, see below for more) and subsequent Art School exit, this was only the second time I’d seen the revived group with Jay on vocals. While almost every one of these songs was very new to me at the time, it’s safe to say that they quickly became seared into my brain thanks to a combo of the band’s regular gigging presence (click here for a dazzling list of Micronotz performances) and my homemade recordings of as many of their shows that I had blank tapes for. Honestly I only wish I’d started taping them a year earlier too.

So yeah, the sound quality here is pretty rough (at turns muffled, distorted and full of audience chatter) but a house party has always been my favorite way to experience live music. In fact one of the highlights of this recording is probably during “Invisible” (the chorus of which my girlfriend Stacy always sang as “My baby thinks that I’m an imbecile”); just listen to the build of those audience generated “woah-oh-oh-oh” backups. Hey! That’s pure house party!

To set the stage, here are a few representative snaps of the guys playing and hanging around the house that the show was recorded at, all courtesy of (or “swiped from”, if you prefer) the photo pages on Mike Blur’s awesome Micronotz website.
Micronotz at Voodoo ManorMicronotz at Voodoo Manor

Micronotz at Voodoo ManorMicronotz at Voodoo Manor


Micronotz: Live At Voodoo Manor in Lawrence, KS 10-27-84 (192 kbps)
01 Oh Baby (3:27)
02 Born To Kick Ass (1:25)
03 The American Ruse (MC5) (2:26)
04 Invisible (2:39)
05 Whatcha Trying To Do (4:19)
06 Your Mind Is Empty (4:26)
07 Brain Arrangement (2:58)
08 Polyester Slave (3:58)
09 Run My Life (2:29)
10 Gimme Some Skin (Iggy Pop) (2:26)
11 Way Too Long (Incomplete) (0:10)


And hey, for a little “value added bonus”, I’m also posting scans (just click the thumbs to enlarge) of the complete “Underground Music Festival” guide booklet, which gives a nice snapshot (circa April 1984) of the following bands:

Lions and Dogs (Michael Connie Welsh, Jade Gurrs, Todd Newman)
Orange Doe-Nuts (Larry Kenski, Mark Biemuller, Kurt Witt, Donny Byrom, Mike Sims)
Sinclairs (Jean-Paul, Bill Burns, David Olds, Pat Hopewell, Brian)
Mental Crisis (Coby Ellison, Matt Bramlette, Chris Hartman, Brian Green)
The Yardapes (Chris Fowler, Frank Womack, Lisa Vader, Ron Achelpohl, Bruce Eddy)
The Blinkies (Brian English, Doug Snodgrass, Mike Janas, Larry Snodgrass — Say! Does anyone have a copy of the Blinkies demo tape?)
Non Plus (Laird McKay, Vance Hiner, “Boom Boom”, Mark Roseberry)
Gardrails (Tomy Splash/ Tommy Nepsted, Hutch Trash/ Kurt Mangold, Frank Off/ Frank Morris, Bobby Fizz/ Rob Fitzgerald)
Pillbox (Chuck Mead, Vince Ramirez, John Nevin)
Slabs (Joey Dog, Lantz, Jeff, Dave Scar)
Pedaljets (Darrell Laham, Mike Allmayer, Max Worth — Say! Does anybody have a copy of the Other Geese demo tape? Got it! Thanks FJ!)
Micronotz (Dean Lubensky, David Dale, John Harper, Steve Eddy)

Underground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide Booklet
Underground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide BookletUnderground Music Festival Guide Booklet

Front Cover | Lions and Dogs | Orange Doe-Nuts | Sinclairs | Mental Crisis | The Yardapes |
The Blinkies | Non Plus | Gardrails | Pillbox | Slabs | Pedaljets | Micronotz | Back Cover

A little more background: The Underground Music Festival was a two night event held at the Lawrence Opera House, and was ostensibly broken up into vaguely “Pop” and “Punk” evenings. It mostly pulled from Lawrence and Kansas City for talent, and as I recall a couple of the bands didn’t actually get to play (Mental Crisis for sure). I also seem to remember that both nights were to be recorded, but since they weren’t recorded by me, I’m afraid that the booklet is the best I can offer. Enjoy!

Micronotz: Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO 08-26-85

December 19th, 2008 2 comments

Having barely missed the true heyday of the Embarrassment (the only other real contenders), I can easily say that The Micronotz were by far my favorite local band growing up. At the age of 14 I already knew I was damn lucky to have them around, and listening back on their albums today it’s even more apparent to me. Throughout their relatively short career (5 and a half years) they always delivered a solid and unique garage/Detroit-influenced form of American proto (and post) punk, with increasingly crafty pop-styled song structures showing up a bit more towards the end (translation: reviewers started mentioning Hüsker Dü more and Iggy Pop less). As most people familiar with the Micronotz know, there were two versions of the band; the short breakdown is that after original singer Dean Lubensky left Lawrence in 1984, “Crazy Legs” Jay Hauptli stepped in on vocals / second guitar to complete the new lineup. I’ve always thought that both formations were completely excellent in different ways and I’m sitting on around seven or so recordings from the “Jay Years” that I’ll be happy to share here.

Chronologically this show is actually the last of theirs that I recorded, but I’m starting off with it both because it was a great gig (in multiple respects as they were opening up for the recently reformed Descendents), and because of a conversation I found on the tape when I got home. Turns out that right after the Micronotz finished up their song “40 Fingers”, some fellow from the crowd picked up the recorder I’d left sitting on the mixing board. Assuming that it belonged to the band (and as a side note, old vocalist Dean was actually in attendance here in the crowd), this gentleman helpfully proceeded to solicit reactions about the show from his female companions:

Larry: So what did you think of tonight’s performance, Blair?

Blair: What?

Larry: What did you think of tonight?

Blair: Oh, wonderful! Musically tight. You know, with Dean they had a better show, but now with Jay they’ve got a better, better sound.

Larry: Now that’s Dean, Dean “The Machine”, is that who you’re talking about?

Blair: Right, right, right, right. He had the bod that attracted the girls, but these guys, they’ve got the music ability.

Larry: Thank you. Thank you for your comments.

Blair: You’re welcome Larry.

So there you have it; both a succinct breakdown of the different eras of the band and the final word on the subject. The arguing ends now.

Micronotz live at the Foolkiller, 1985 (Photo by Phillip Heying)
Click to enlarge
Micronotz live at the Foolkiller, 1985 (Photo by Phillip Heying)


Micronotz: Live At The Foolkiller in KC, MO 08-26-85 (192 kbps)
01 Stray Cat Blues (Rolling Stones) (1:40)
02 Born To Kick Ass (1:03)
03 Whatcha Trying To Do (2:24)
04 Proud To Be A Farmer (2:42)
05 Psychodeli (2:18)
06 Black And White (2:04)
07 Your Mind Is Empty (2:24)
08 Exit 301 (3:09)
09 Push It Out (2:12)
10 40 Fingers (1:51)
11 Audience Reactions (1:41)


And to round things out, here’s an interview with the guys on tour in early ’85, uploaded to YouTube by SuperFan Mike Blur: