Memory Lane

Watched The Unheard Music (documentary on the band X) and Mayor of the Sunset Strip (documentary on DJ Rodney Bingenheimer) and started to feel a tad nostalgic for the LA of the ’90s. Then we hit the anniversary of the LA riots and the nostalgia disintegrated. Still it got me thinking of the days in the clubs with Fools and Fodder and sent me digging through the archives for the tracks-in-progress from the unfinished remastering of the Feckless album. But let’s back up for those of you who have no idea what any of this means…

As the 1980s ground to an end (along with my college career) songwriter/singer Judy Contreras and her songwriting partner guitarist Mike Krupa decided to put a band together. Mike drafted drummer Paul Mitchell (from their then-defunct punk band Zero Initiative) and me (on guitar, bass, mandolin, banjo) whom he had collaborated with on some theatrical scoring projects and Fools and Fodder was born. Taking inspiration from the pre-alternative artists of the day both from Los Angeles (Concrete Blonde, Peter Case, Lone Justice) and from farther away (Elvis Costello, Squeeze, Split Enz, etc) we crafted a sound that was equal parts pop, rock, celtic and cowpunk.

Judy named the band, inspired by a quote from Berthold Brecht’s Threepenny Opera (“First comes fodder, then comes morality”) and wrote all the lyrics and Mike wrote the bulk of the music and I contributed the occasional hook. We stormed out of the San Gabriel Valley and onto the stages of the legendary Hollywood/LA clubs. I remember sitting in the dressing room the first time we played the Whiskey a Go-Go soaking up the rock history. Or playing a 50 minute set doubletime to fit in to our suddenly reduced 30 minute time slot to a bewildered crowd at the Palamino. Or playing our first show at the Roxy the night before my wedding (which was a pretty good replacement for a bachelor party).

We were once booked to play a club somewhere in Ontario (?) and were told we had the whole night. Upon arriving there were 2 other bands that apparently were told the same thing and the management was saying we could each do a 40 minute set. After a quick band huddle we walked out, walked to the park across the street and did an acoustic show for all the regular fans (as well as some new ones), none of whom set foot inside the club that night.

The Contreras/Krupa writing team cranked out some great songs and we eventually headed into the studio to record what would be out first (and only) album, Feckless. I still feel today that if the band had stuck together and persevered it could have taken off and become something really great. Unfortunately the combination of dissagreement on songwriting credit, solo-artist-itis and a complete lack of maturity sent me from zero to fuck you in record time. I quit, thinking they would persevere as a trio but not really caring. They didn’t. Oh for a time machine.

Back in the present I am digitising my archives including the album, demos and bootlegs. I’ll probably post one or two things here eventually.