GRISTLE was an instrumental funk/surf/punk/metal/rock band that existed in 1994 and released two demos. This stuff really should have been released on SST Records as it fits that whole style of genre blending rock stuff that they released so much of, but instead - nobody outside of Iowa ever go the chance to hear it. It's a little outside of the garbage I usually release through Mortville, but as I was in the band and I feel this music is still important today, you're getting your chance to hear it now. 35 tracks in 78 minutes. Below is an excerpt of my liner notes from the CDR reissue....
"During out first rehearsal we were able to write two songs, "Singapore" and "Pigs in Space". Right away I liked it. It was different than anything else I had played before, anything I listened to. These two songs set the tone for future songs, a mixture of rock, funk, metal, odd time signatures, atypical song structures and, for the most part, all instrumental. We cranked out songs as fast as we could from that point on, eager to play them for our friends. We never turned down playing a house show, sometimes on no notice at all for no more than 5-6 people. We played everywhere, all the time it seemed. I loved it.
"Shit Piece Ha" was partly recorded at Jake's house, and partly at mine. We assembled a cassette to sell at our shows to try and get enough money to book time at a studio and record our songs properly. Then, and 14 years later, it's my favorite of our two releases. The sound was a little rough in parts and I know there are at least a few mistakes on my bass playing, but of the two demos we recorded, this one sounded the closest to what we sounded like live. We didn't keep track of how many copies were sold. We didn't care. This tape was a stepping stone to our studio demo, that's why it was released. Regardless, people really seemed to like it.
Later that year we entered Mind's Ear Studio in Bloomfield, IA to record "Brown Eye". It was to be recorded in two days, unlimited hours each day, but I think we spilled over into a third day for overdubs and mixing. First day went great! We took our time soundchecking, did as many takes as it took to get the songs right and everything worked. Chris and I both worked overnights stocking shelves at Hy-Vee and had to record the second day on no sleep. Overall things went okay, but I was never quite happy with the takes we did that day. Time was running out, "good enough" takes were accepted and we pushed through just to get it done. The whole recording was a little too produced in my opinion, but what's done was done. This would be my last time in a recording studio.
I think it was my idea to release it as a cassette. In 1994 people still bought cassettes. Cars were still being made with cassette players in them. I had no idea that over the course of 3-5 years cassettes would become a disposable format and everyone would be replacing their music collections on compact disc. Jake pushed for a CD release, but after going over on studio time, there just wasn't enough money for it. Fine with me, I liked cassettes, still do. I want to say we made 500 copies, but maybe it was only 300. Whatever the minimum order was, that's what we made.
Two of the studio songs that didn't make it on to the "Brown Eye" album were released later on the "This is a Tiny Town" compilation tape, a collection of Ottumwa artists assembled by our friend Mike and released through his Mighty Feeble Lo-Fi imprint (and the namesake of this blog). A wider variety of music styles couldn't be imagined, still a great listen today."