Monday, March 10, 2008

Reko Muse

I went to school in Olympia, WA at the Evergreen State College. The other day I saw a new report about a riot on campus after a Hip Hop show. It got me thinking about the time I spent at Evergreen and the shows we produced. I started my first band with a friend that I still play music with today back then. When I was a sophomore we created a class where we organized, staffed, produced and recorded a series of live shows at different venues on campus. One of those shows was a live performance by my band, impacttestdummy.

When I met my friend neither of us played any instruments. He had an electric guitar and was taking a recording class. We shared an interest in obscure noisy music. He had a project due and invited me to help. He had also built an amplifier out of parts from my car stereo and some other electronics he had laying around his dorm room. I remember his roommates had a car engine in pieces in the dorm living room, it helped to fuel our industrial music. At the studio I banged out some chord like mess over a drum machine beat and bass loop he had. In the basement of the library building we found some strapping tape, I balled it up and beat it with re bar. I also tortured the guitar and amp until some birdlike feedback came out, this became our first piece together, " Chainsaws and Tweetybirds".

The next year we enlisted another friend and became a trio. We spent most of our time banging on found pieces of metal and oil drums. I worked at a car dealership over the summer and had a collection of car parts that I threw into the mix. We practiced at a art gallery/club called the Reko Muse. It had been some kind of a garage before and had two big garage doors in the front. Directly across the street was the fire department. One night we were practicing, now I don't know if you have experienced the sound of metal hitting metal, but believe me when I say it was loud. Now add two more people banging away and it gets real loud, this wasn't some kind of hippy drum circle, this was the primal sound of the coming of the apocalypse. We would go for long stretches of time without stopping, beat after beat, poly-rhythms and simple beats melting into each other, sometimes not stopping until our hands bled. We weren't preparing for shows just working out our frustrations with life in general, (though we did play some shows).

One night in particular we were in the midst of a trance, banging away when I began to hear something that was slightly off. I looked up thinking maybe the reverb in the room was playing tricks with my ears. No it wasn't that, so I stopped. The the other two stopped and the noise got louder. It was someone banging on the garage door , loud and hard. We opened the door and saw two Olympia policemen, one holding his nightstick in front of the garage door. It was past 10pm and the firemen wanted to go to sleep, practice was over.

1 comment:

Swick said...

I loved this story! Gave me more history on impacttestdummy and helped me visualize what those early years were like for you. Well Done!