Sunday, February 22, 2009

Barking Spiders (1987-1989)

After Face Value broke up Jim and I still wanted to be in a band. The problem was finding other musicians who were into hardcore. We tried to get Hoff back but he was still playing with The Intellectuals so he wasn't interested. We jammed at Jim Conaboy's house one day but for whatever reason it didn't work out. So what do you do when you can't find musicians?... You make them. It didn't take much to convince Kevin Purcell – who'd left The Intellectuals – to learn the bass and John Hoffman the drums.

We already had two songs from Face Value so we started practicing on those. It was pretty shaky at first. Eric Hoffman was just an amazing drummer so John couldn't replicate the crazy tom rolls on "Watch Out!" – which was expected...but he still couldn't two years later.

We went through a series of names for the band (ie: The Cause, The Absolute, Panic, Tension). We settled on Barking Spiders (slang for "passing gas"), and for some reason we had also taken on stage names (Jim Bones, Johnny Stitches, Kevo, and The Lovely Frank).

Here's a funny video from the early days...playing a cover of Dag Nasty's "One To Two". Keep an eye on John throughout the song. This is why you don't see more drummers smoking while they drum...

And here's a recording...also from the early days...but by now we've gotten a little better. We were just figuring out our song "Separate Ways" so it's an instrumental, before Jim wrote lyrics...

[DOWNLOAD] Barking Spiders - Early Recordings Sometime In '87
01- Spin
02- Watch Out!
03- Peace Thru Chaos
04- All Talk, No Action
05- Find Some Time
06- The Barking Spider
07- Separate Ways (instr.)
08- One To Two
09- Street Fighting Man
10- Street Fighting Man (fast version)

During the two years Barking Spiders were a band, besides playing a few school related shows, we only played three legit shows – all at Diamond Lil's/Dry Rock Cafe. It's too bad we never went into a studio for a proper recording...towards the end we were actually pretty good.

Here's another basement tape...with more original songs..."One World" is my favorite...

[DOWNLOAD] Barking Spiders - Live In The Lovely Basement (1989)
01- The Barking Spider
02- Spin
03- Peace Thru Chaos
04- All Talk, No Action
05- One World
06- Find Some Time
07- You Can't Say
08- Watch Out!
09- Power Struggle
10- Separate Ways
11- Presidents & Kings
12- Watkinized (Lost Weekend)

The last song on Live In The Lovely Basement was the last song Barking Spiders ever wrote. It was inspired after a weekend of debauchery upstate in Watkins Glen, NY. My dad let me borrow his hunting/gunclub house he shares with his high school friends. Little did he know I'd bring 12 of my high school friends with three cars full-o-beer. "Watkinized (Lost Weekend)" was our most straight ahead rock song we composed. Feeling nostalgic one day I made a little video using photos and Kevin's illustrations from the trip...

And here's a wrap up of everything I talked a few more tidbits from friends and members of Barking video form...

Jim Burns - vocals
Frank Fusco - guitar
Kevin Purcell - bass
John Hoffman - drums

1 comment:

Joe said...

Kev getting shocked and turning into a skeleton still makes me laugh.

Since you corrected Jim C. on the BS gigs, let me correct something else he said in the movie even though it doesn't matter at all.

RB playing with the Bosstones was not a "Pay to Play" show. We were selling tickets so we could get paid but even if we sold none, we were still on the bill. there's just no way, I would ever pay to play a gig. I'm way too cheap.