Friday, October 31, 2008

Appliances-SFB: For Kids' Sake

As any regular readers of this blog are undoubtedly aware, I once played in a group called Appliances-SFB. For me, playing with A-SFB was an experience unlike any I've had before or since. Once drummer Meredith Young joined the group, we played with the same personnel for, I think, 16 years or so. When a group plays together for that long, it develops a level of familiarity which can resemble musical telepathy. Every show we played was an experiment in chaos. Sometimes we were able to control the chaos, sometimes the chaos controlled us, and in those cases we would follow it and see where it led. The end result was sometimes brilliant, sometimes not, but it was always an adventure and an awful lot of fun. Well, whatever, it's all ancient history now.

I recently acquired a copy, on DVD, of a video made in, I think, 1991 for the show Alternative Playground on Madison's public access station, WYOU. I thought it would be easy to edit it into individual songs and post it on the intertubes. Hah! I assumed it would be easy to find people who knew how to perform such feats of digital wizardry. Hah! I had no idea how difficult it would be to figure out how to transfer from DVD to any other video format. At first, I didn't even know it was necessary. In the absence of actual instruction, advice or information, through trial and error I have finally, I hope, succeeded in getting one song edited and encoded in a format where the audio and video will actually play in sync once uploaded. (From the previous sentence, you might surmise that other attempts were made which were less than successful. If so, you are correct.)

It's not the best performance, and I'm not entirely sure what the videographers were attempting to achieve, but here it is in all its imperfect glory. I hope to post other songs from this session as I get around to editing and encoding them for the intertubes. For the time being, this is, as far as I know, an Enriched Geranium exclusive. I hope you enjoy Appliances-SFB playing For Kids' Sake.

[Note: Appliances-SFB was a LOUD rock band. As such, it simply isn't possible to achieve anything remotely resembling the live experience unless you play this loud. Very loud. Ear-splittingly, chest-thumpingly, wall-rattlingly loud. I know, we're all older than we used to be (funny how that works) so don't hurt yourselves. Since this recording was mixed for television back in the days before home entertainment centers with surround sound and stuff were very common, if you listen to it through a good sound system, the bass will be louder than it was intended to be relative to the other instruments. Using the vocals as a reference point, I think the bass is too loud, the drums just about right and the guitar and keyboards too quiet, but, unfortunately, that can't be helped.]

Appliances-SFB are/were:
Tom Laskin: vocals
William Siebecker: guitar
Meredith Young: drums
Bill Feeny: keyboards
Ed Feeny: bass

Unfortunately, I don't know the names of all the people responsible for the making of this video. To the best of my recollection, Frank Miale was one of the producers/mixers/somethingers. There were others. My apologies to all those who are uncredited. If I find out more names, I will add them.


Suzy said...

Wow -- ASFB was together longer than the Beatles! And you were, like "the Grand Old Men of Punk™."

But what I really want to say is awwww -- you were all so dang cute back then (and still are, I might add, but in a different way now.)

Pagan Sphinx said...

That must fun. To make controlled noise, yell and screech and shout...don't they call that rock & roll? ;-)

In 1991 I was at my cutest too. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I really like this, Ed. Reminds me of some of the best post-punk music from the late 70s/early 80s. Particularly like your heavy bass playing.

Ed said...

Thanks, Suzy, Pagan and Bear. Interesting observation, Singing Bear - the group formed in 1978 or '79, played through the '80s and into the 90's.

gomonkeygo said...


This isn't the O'Cayz show that was on public access, right? I've got that on VHS and I've a friend here who can transfer it professionally, if I butter him up...and down...and kinda sideways around the middle a few times.

I lost a measurable chunk of my hearing at Appliances' shows, sir. Thank you, thank you very much! :)

Ed said...

No, this one was shot in the studio of WYOU. If there is an O'Cayz show out there, I'd love to get my mitts on it. Let me know if and how that would be possible.

gomonkeygo said...

I just watched it again. Wow. I really miss Bill's guitar. I'd be one blissed out guy if I could carry that sound in my head all day long, every day.

I'll dig out my tape. It was shot at O'Cayz and starts out with great sound, mediocre picture, then the sound decays. If I remember right, KT was on the board, but got sick halfway through the show and left it alone for a while. The sound goes a bit muddy at that point. I was at the show but I've never seen myself in the crowd.

I've got a friend with a video service here. If it's playable, he can transfer it to DVD. I'll let ya know.

Ed said...

I'm with you on Bill's guitar. He's one of those rare guitarists who has a completely unique sound, and he could make his guitar sing.

Nazz Nomad said...

the bass player is dreamy!

Mike Thang! said...

SFB were the greatest band Madison had to offer up in the many times did I see them? 100s!!

Doug Normington said...

The Appliances were a band of crazy sound scientists.

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