Revelators reunion! Celebrating 20 years of “We Told You Not To Cross Us”

 

2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the release of We Told You Not to Cross Us, the Revelators first LP on Crypt Records. It was my first ever record by my first band, and is probably the only reason you are aware of my existence enough to be reading this blog today. I owe my whole “music career” (ha ha), such as it is, to Crypt Records madman Tim Warren for putting out this record. As Allmusic said, “Hear it and be amazed.”

To celebrate, the Revelators are playing our first ever reunion shows. First in Austin in September, as part of the Austin Jukebox series (which in the past has hosted legends like Rocket From the Tombs, James Chance and the Contortions, Cherubs, Knife in the Water, and Pere Ubu, among others – prestigious company) and then in October at an amazing rock n’ roll festival in Spain called Funtastic Dracula Carnival.

To promote our return to the stage, and to celebrate the fact that anybody still gives a shit after two decades, we created a “20th Anniversary Edition” digital release of the album for the Revelators Bandcamp page. If you’ve never heard it, or own the LP but would like a digital version, it includes all the songs from the We Told You session, the two songs from our very first 45 on Crypt, and two cuts with Walter Daniels from our single on Sympathy for the Record Industry. (After the Revelators, I went on to collaborate with Walter frequently over the years, leading to our most recent release, the Meet Your Death LP on 12XU Records.) The “20th Anniversary Edition” has 22 songs in all, everything the original Schooley/Jeremiah/Mark lineup of the Revelators ever recorded!

How did this all come about? Last fall, I got an email from the folks who put on Funtastic Dracula Carnival, and they asked if the Revelators would ever consider playing a reunion show. I said, “Well, you are the first people to ever ask.” Next thing you know, after twenty years we have shows on two continents.

The good folks at the festival are pressing up a limited edition 45 with two unreleased songs from the We Told You Not To Cross Us session – Pot Smokin’ Pussy b/w Baby Doll. Tim shelved the songs because there wasn’t enough room on the LP for everything we recorded, and they’ve never made it onto vinyl until now. You can order the single by emailing info@funtasticdraculacarnival.net The 45 will be available at the festival in Spain, but if you don’t already have tickets, you’re out of luck. It sold out in under two minutes – a new record!

The original sleeve.

Grammy Award Winning™ graphic designer Rob Jones re-imagined the original cover of the Crypt album, giving us new artwork for the 45 and the digital “20th anniversary” re-release of the LP. I was never happy with how the original LP artwork came out, though at least I could assume that people bought the record for the music and not for the image.

You can now download the 20th Anniversary Edition of We Told You Not To Cross Us here. Only five bucks – cheap! I know you can stream it on youtube or steal it from online somewhere, but whatever. Five bucks.

In retrospect, it is hard to believe the Revelators even existed, or that we managed to unleash this record on the world. We had no local following, no fans, and came from nowhere. Columbia, Missouri, where Jeremiah, Mark, and I met, had nothing going on.  Untamed Youth had been from Columbia, but were already broken up, and Untamed Youth guitarist Deke Dickerson had left town before we arrived.  Thanks to Norton Records, more people knew about Untamed Youth elsewhere than remembered them in their own hometown.

Columbia was tolerable only because it seemed like the big city compared to the towns Jeremiah and I came from. Revelators singer Jeremiah Kidwell hailed from Shelbina, MO – population 1,704. My hometown was even tinier – Niangua, MO, population 405. Drummer Mark Walters was from the cosmopolitan state of Virginia, making him worldly and sophisticated by comparison. Jeremiah and I didn’t even know that we had just missed the Big Star reunion in Columbia in 1993, because we had never heard of Big Star at the time (Mark was there). The nearest record store where I grew up was 50 miles away. When Jeremiah sang about the bank taking the farm in “These Calloused Hands”, it wasn’t shtick.

Jeremiah and I had come to Columbia to enroll in the school of agriculture at the University of Missouri. Temporarily escaping our small towns and lives of toil, we were expecting to resume our lives of toil again immediately after graduation. We became friends because we were the only people in town who came from out on the rural route but also bought Billy Childish albums.

The first Crypt 45, also included on the 20th Anniversary Edition of We Told You

One of the few things Columbia had going for it was a good record store. Whitney Shroyer owned Whizz! Records and stocked all the latest Crypt, Sympathy, and Norton releases. I bought my first Link Wray record at Whitney’s store. We learned a lot from Whitney. (We would close the We Told You album with an inside-joke laden tribute to Whizz!)

We knew Mark because he worked at Whizz! Whitney said he was a drummer, so we asked a skeptical Mark if he wanted to join our band. We needed a decision right away, because after we had decided to start a band, we finagled our non-existent band into opening for the Oblivians even though we technically weren’t actually a band yet, didn’t have any other members, and had never played a show.  I was going to play guitar, and Jeremiah was going to be the singer, and beyond that we hadn’t worked out the details. You’d think that opening for the Oblivians would have been a sought-after gig, but that’s just how lame things were in Columbia at the time.  Two guys who had never performed publicly could snag the opening slot for the Oblivians when they didn’t even have a band together.

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Flyer from the first Revelators show.

After deciding to start a band, and securing the opening slot for the Oblivians, Jeremiah and I only had about two weeks to recruit the other band members. We had originally planned to look for a bass player, too, but the clock was ticking. By the time we played with Mark it was only a week before the show. We had no luck finding other potential Revelators, but we told ourselves that the Oblivians didn’t have a bass player either, nor did the Flat Duo Jets or the Fendermen. Trio had already done the guitar/drum/singer lineup, so precedent was set. This was before squares thought that the White Stripes invented it. Fuck it! No bass player. Whitney let us practice in the Whizz! Records basement and we practiced hard – harder than all. We pretty much emerged fully-formed at that first show.

Later, when we went into the studio for We Told You Not To Cross Us, we recorded one song, dubbed it onto a cassette, and took the cassette out to the parking lot. We played it on our shitty car stereos, and decided that the mix sounded good in the car. Then we went back inside and recorded the entire album in a couple of hours. No overdubs, few second takes, no post-production mixing, 100% live. That record is the reason anybody remembers the Revelators in 2017. For the first album, just like our first show, we didn’t overthink it.

Jeremiah and I listened to country music, blues, and soul, and had jumped ahead to punk rock. We skipped over most things post-punk, post-rock, or art-rock. The songs were simple and to the point. It was the 90s, and everybody else wanted to sound like the popular bands of the era: Nirvana, Soul Asylum, Pavement, Melvins, Neutral Milk Hotel, Son Volt, Wilco – all that garbage. Even the supposedly “underground” bands sounded square to us. Nobody wanted to hear I’m Stranded-era Saints playing the Sun Records catalog. We were too roots rock for the punks, and too punk for the roots rockers.

As an odd breed, the rural punks, we were alienated from everybody.  Our mix of influences didn’t win us any fans at the time, but the record still sounds fresh today while most 90s bands sound like 90s bands. Indie rock types buying Slanted and Enchanted from Whizz! didn’t get what we were doing, but it wasn’t like anybody from the college of agriculture came to our shows, either.  Though we were playing quintessentially American music, we found that more people appreciated us when we toured in Europe than when we played in our own country. That’s probably why the first people to ask us to play again were from Spain, not Missouri.

I was bummed when Mark and Jeremiah quit the band (my second band wasn’t named The Hard Feelings for nuthin’). I never expected to ever make a living as a musician, but despite the complete lack of success I always believed that we were a great band. I figured that at least we’d go back to Europe one more time. Never thought it would happen, but when we recently practiced for the first time in two decades, we still sounded just like we did on We Told You Not To Cross Us, so – let’s get revelated.

Posted in Forgotten History, General Orneriness and Contrarianism, Lengthy discourses, Life, Long-winded screeds, Lost classics, Music, My opinions are important and should be displayed on the internet | Leave a comment

Out now – Meet Your Death debut LP on 12XU Records!

My newest record is out, from my new band MEET YOUR DEATH.

Fronted by  national treasure Walter Daniels, with founding member of The Strange Boys and OBN IIIs Matt Hammer on drums, Hapal Assi of the Wiccans and Video on bass, and me on guitar, this is my first record with a full band since 2003.

You can order the album directly from 12XU by itself, in a package with new albums by our 12XU labelmates Musk and Manhunt, or together with Dead Mall Blues, the acoustic Walter/Schooley LP released by 12XU in 2015. The record is also available in finer retailers nationwide as of today.

Though a record that sounds like this is anathema to all that the average contemporary music writer in 2016 stands for, a few brave souls have stepped up to praise the Meet Your Death LP:

“If you want this Meet Your Death record to be the second coming of Jack O’ Fire, the unstoppable combo that frontman Walter Daniels coalesced with Tim Kerr and a handful of stalwarts in the ‘90s, then it shall be. Certainly this new ensemble follows the same approach – all covers, which Kerr took into his follow-up project, the Lord High Fixers – and the essence of the project is almost entirely intact, Meet Your Death veers away from punk to meta-punk, a very saucy but extremely compelling rolling blackout of corrosive slide guitar (thanks be to John Schooley), an in-the-pocket rhythm section of drummer Matt Hammer and bassist Harpal Assi, and Daniels tearing down the pulpit up front with his distinctively charismatic voice and harmonica talents.” – Still Single

“Daniels hollers righteous vocal fury, while huffing the harmonica into submission. Hell, he destroys it. It’s really good to see Daniels take the lead again, he’s been missed. Schooley kicks his legend up a notch, as well, burning tires into molten globs of gassed out napalm, deep dirty and delta seared, Goddam, brothers and sisters! Shout hallelujah!” – Outhouse Moon

“A rock-solid lineup, and it’s no surprise that they sound like a total force when they come together” – Brooklyn Vegan

“Superb…and undoubtedly one of the BEST REASONS TO WRITE A FUCKIN’ RECORD REVIEW IN 2016.” – Fuckin’ Record Reviews

“The best rock and roll album of the year?” – Living to Listen

You can even stream the entire LP via Impose Magazine.

Despite warnings that “much of the media/biz will instantly be turned off by any references to bands they don’t know or the general tone of ‘this stuff is great, fuck you for not agreeing'”, having spent my formative years reading promo copy from Tim Warren at Crypt and Larry Hardy at In the Red, I don’t know any other way to do it. It is fitting that the cover art (by Rob Jones) came out like a garish stab to the eyeballs.

We couldn’t even get the local pennysaver to cover our record release show, so I’m pretty sure ain’t nobody inviting Meet Your Death to play any Tiny Desk Concerts. It will be word of mouth among those who actually like rock n’ roll that will mean the difference between selling a few copies, or unsold boxes becoming doorstops in Cosloy manor. Anything you can do to spread the word is appreciated.

With the obligatory sales pitch out of the way, you might ask why I’m in a band again after over a decade of recording and performing as a solo act. Well, I gots my reasons. More than you wanna know below!

Continue reading

Posted in 12XU, General Orneriness and Contrarianism, Lengthy discourses, Long-winded screeds, Meet Your Death, Music, My opinions are important and should be displayed on the internet, Pitchfork ridicule | 2 Comments

2016! Still alive.

This comment just got left on one of my older posts:

“I don’t know how the hell I came upon this blog and I don’t think you update or check this anymore so commenting might be pointless but you have excellent taste and I like your style, guess I’ll go check out what your music sounds like now too.”

Well, thanks Katie.

And yeah, looks like I haven’t posted anything since September of last year. It’s not that I haven’t been doing anything, though. 2015 was a busy year. In addition to being involved with the Satanic Panic book project mentioned on that last post back in September (the printing is sold out!), I’ve been doing other stuff besides not updating the blog. I opened for the Sonics and the Gories, and I went to Japan!

I’ve been busy with my new combo with Walter Daniels, Meet Your Death. We’re going to have a new album coming out on 12XU in 2016! Watch this space for details.

I’ve been having my regular DJ gig at the Aristocrat:

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And I’m still playing shows. I’m opening for Fred and Toody of Dead Moon next month!

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I also started a new job, so I’m going to be saving up vacation days for awhile before I can go on tour again.

Having put out TWO NEW RECORDS (The Man Who Rode The Mule Around The World on Voodoo Rhythm, and Dead Mall Blues with Walter on 12XU – copies still available) it seems that “starvation, disrespect, and endless reminders of one’s anonymity” (to quote Eugene Chadbourne) are all I can expect.  I know, boo hoo for me, but in the face of overwhelming indifference, I’m still going to keep putting out records and losing money on tour, I guess because I’m a glutton for punishment. Here’s to 2016 and further suffering for “art”!

 

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Satanic Panic book release at Fantastic Fest – Wednesday, Sept. 30th!

satanic panic book launchThe new book that I contributed to, SATANIC PANIC: POP CULTURAL PARANOIA IN THE 1980s is out! To celebrate, I will be on a panel at Fantastic Fest with editor Kier-La Janisse and some of the other authors on Wednesday, September 30th at 8:30 p.m. We’ll be discussing the book, showing some clips of some of the more notorious news segments from the era, and then there will be a rare 35mm screening of the 1981 cult fave horror film Evilspeak!

More info here:

http://www.spectacularoptical.ca/event-list/?event_id_1=65

And here:

http://fantasticfest.com/films/satanic-panic-book-launch-screening-of-evilspeak-in-35mm/

If you don’t have a Fantastic Fest badge, you can still get into the screening if space is available. Check here to see if there are any tickets:

http://fantasticfest.com/attend/tickets

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John Schooley Japan Tour 2015!!!

john-schooleyI’m going to Japan! I may have ridden this mule all over the world, but I’ve never been to anywhere in Asia before, so this is something I’ve always wanted to do. Only three shows!

Friday, August 21 – Tokyo at Club Heavy Sick

Saturday, August 22 – Kobe at The Bee’s Knees Lowbrow Rock and Roll Art Bar

Sunday, August 23 – Yonago at トリスキール Triskele Cafe

If you have friends in Japan, tell them to come on out, and share the Facebook page for my tour so people can know this is happening. It may never happen again!

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New book! Satanic Panic: Pop-cultural Paranoia in the 1980s

SP-cover-WEBHey, some of my writing is gonna be in an actual book! I wrote the afterword for this upcoming anthology on the 1980s Satanic Panic, put out by Canadian publisher Spectacular Optical! This is a crowd-funded endeavor, and there is an Indiegogo page where you can pre-order the book. Pre-ordering gets you some cool extras that you won’t see if you wait and buy it on Amazon.

The book features chapters focused on different aspects of the era, from movies to music to Jack Chick publications.  It is absolutely fascinating, and laid out beautifully with lots of photos and artwork. If you are a fan of horror movies, true crime stories, religious weirdness, rock n’ roll music, etc. you will love it.

Awhile back I wrote a little post on this blog about the Satanic Panic, which lead co-editor Kier-la Janisse (also film programmer, founder of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, and author of the super-cool book House of Psychotic Women) to contact me about contributing. I came to this project just as an average schmoe with a blog who happens to have an unhealthy fascination for the era, but the other authors have much more impressive résumés.  Their contributions are fascinating and compelling, and I’m honored to be included.

Here is some more info from the Spectacular Optical web page:

Spectacular Optical Announces Upcoming Second Book:
SATANIC PANIC: POP-CULTURAL PARANOIA IN THE 1980s
www.spectacularoptical.ca

spanicIn the 1980s, it seemed impossible to escape Satan’s supposed influence. Everywhere you turned, there were warnings about a widespread evil conspiracy to indoctrinate the vulnerable through the media they consumed. This percolating cultural hysteria, now known as the “Satanic Panic,” not only sought to convince us of devils lurking behind the dials of our TVs and radios and the hellfire that awaited on book and video store shelves, it also created its own fascinating cultural legacy of Satan-battling VHS tapes, audio cassettes and literature. The second book by Canadian micro-publisher Spectacular Optical,Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s, offers an unprecedented and in-depth exploration of how a controversial culture war played out during the decade, from the publication of the memoir Michelle Remembers in 1980 to the end of the McMartin “Satanic Ritual Abuse” Trial in 1990. This new anthology, expected to be released in summer 2015, follows on the success of KID POWER!, Spectacular Optical’s inaugural book about cool, tough and sassy kids in cult film and television.

Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s features 20 new essays and interviews addressing the ways the widespread fear of a Satanic conspiracy was both illuminated and propagated through almost every pop culture pathway in the 1980s, from heavy metal music to Dungeons & Dragons role playing games, Christian comics, direct-to-VHS scare films, pulp paperbacks, Saturday morning cartoons, TV talk shows and even home computers. The book also features case studies on McMartin, Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth and Long Island “acid king” killer Ricky Kasso. From con artists to pranksters and moralists to martyrs, the book aims to capture the untold story of the how the Satanic Panic was fought on the pop culture frontlines and the serious consequences it had for many involved.

Satanic Panic’s roster of contributing authors and media critics includes Gavin Baddeley (Lucifer Rising: Sin, Devil Worship and Rock n’ Roll), Liisa Ladouceur (Encyclopedia Gothica), David Flint (Sheer Filth), Alexandra Heller-Nicholas (Rape Revenge Films: A Critical Study), Adrian Mack (The Georgia Straight), Forrest Jackson (Cosmic Suicide: The Tragedy and Transcendence of Heaven’s Gate), Alison Nastasi (Flavorwire), Leslie Hatton (Popshifter), David Canfield (Twitch), David Bertrand (Fangoria; Spectacular Optical), Alison Lang (Rue Morgue), Kevin L. Ferguson (Queens College/CUNY), Wm Conley (Deathwound), Kurt Halfyard (Twitch), Samm Deighan (Satanic Pandemonium), Stacey Rusnak (The Postnational Fantasy: Essays on Postcolonialism, Cosmopolitics and Science Fiction), Ralph Elawani (C’est complet au royaume des morts), Gil Nault (Liturgie apocryphe) and Joshua Graham, alongside co-editors Kier-La Janisse (House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films) and Paul Corupe (Canuxploitation). The book will also feature comic art by Rick Trembles (Motion Picture Purgatory) and original illustrations by Toronto artist Mike McDonnell.

The book’s launch in summer 2015 will be accompanied by screenings and panel events in multiple cities. Stay tuned for more developments on that front, as well as a full table of contents list to be announced later this spring. Please see attached for cover art, which will be printed with metallic silver ink on black matte.

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Schooley and Mariconda – Let’s Get Frankie!

1904091_10152275892099486_918541362_nOver the past year I’ve played a handful of shows with Mike Mariconda. If you know anything about rock n’ roll and didn’t just fall offa the turnip truck and into a pile of cut-sleeve denim vests, you probably know Mike as the guitar player for the Raunch Hands, or as producer on a huge list of rock n’ roll records (including the Devil Dogs, Spaceshits, New Bomb Turks, Revelators, and a million bands), or from playing with the Devil Dogs, Cosmic Psychos, and others.

Last year Mike and I teamed up to play as a duo for a show. Mike played baritone guitar, and I played my usual one man band setup like I do. It was originally going to be just a one-off thing, but we ended up doing it a few times, much to the confusion and disdain of Austin audiences.

11129908_10153230977764486_9049052619747825585_nThe original idea was to do all Hound Dog Taylor songs, which would lend themselves to a two-guitar/simple drum setup pretty well. Originally this “project” was gonna be “John Schooley and the Houserockers,” ala Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers, but then it became “John Schooley and his Housewrecker,” and finally just “Schooley and Mariconda.”

Our aesthetic ended up becoming “a combination of Hound Dog Taylor and Suicide,” which we thought sounded genius, but you can probably imagine how that went over with the world at large. We did all Hound Dog Taylor songs for the first show, but ended up adding songs by other artists, until in addition to Hound Dog Taylor we were covering Dale Hawkins, Polka Dot Slim, Alan Vega solo material, Snooks Eaglin, WHATEVER WE FELT LIKE.

11200818_10205470718141666_6104531597632616164_nNow Mariconda is leaving this godforsaken country and moving back to Spain, so if you missed this handful of gigs, you missed your chance. Luckily, Ángel Delgado-Reyes videotaped a few songs for his blog so you can still catch a glimpse of the Schooley-Mariconda duo in all its “glory.” Mike claimed at the last show that it was his retirement from playing guitar onstage, and we got pretty lit, our playing was sloppy as fuck, and made lots of smartass comments at the audience, so it was a fitting ending to his stellar career.

11160634_10205421878640709_4819433378903593611_oProbably our best number was our set closer at every show, a version of Hound Dog Taylor’s Let’s Get Funky where I sang the lyrics to Frankie Teardrop by Suicide – Let’s Get Frankie! Genius! Nobody got any footage of that one, though. Aaron Blount of Knife In the Water was the only person in the audience who ever picked up on what we were doing on that song, anyway.

Besides, as Jim Dickinson famously observed:

The best songs don’t get recorded, the best recordings don’t get released, the best releases don’t get played.

So, here’s the only recorded works of Schooley and Mariconda, compiled for you, faithful blog reader. Enjoy.

44 Blues

What’d I Say

Look Out Mabel

A Thing You Gotta Face

She’s Gone

Posted in COMEDY GOLD, General Orneriness and Contrarianism, Life, Lost classics, Music, One Man Band | 2 Comments