Seventh Seal – Ruff Draff

Seventh Seal
Ruff Draff
1986 (no label)
Palmdale, California, USA

David Cassells – Lead Vocals
J.R. Montgomery – Lead guitar, rhythm guitar, BGVs
Melvin Booker – Lead guitar, rhythm guitar
Shawn Montgomery – Bass, BGVs
Sylvester Hearns – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Back on Track
  2. Never Loved
  3. I.A.

Side 2:

  1. Interview

The debut single from Seventh Seal proves that their second demo Ruff Draff Too was no fluke. Apparently they had signed to Blonde Vinyl Records to record a full length album, but weren’t able to once the label folded. Too bad – their two demos showcase a very hot band that could shred and write catchy songs. This tape also captures an interview with the band on side two that tells you more about where the band came from (they saw themselves as a Pro-American band more than a Christian band, but also were not shy in saying they are Christians when asked).

Say-So – Say-So

1986 (no label)
Nashville, Tennessee, USA

  1. Fire Song
  2. Celebration Waiting
  3. Strengthening My Grip
  4. Say-So

There seem to be several Say-So demos out there before the band got signed in 1997 to Organic Records. This one was posted online a while back and I missed it (that is where I got his – the Willfully Obscure blog posts a lot of really cool obscure music). This tape is a bit more progressive new wave than their later albums, which tended to be more alternative rock / pop rock. I am assuming husband and wife duo Kim and Jim Thomas were involved with this, but I don’t know who else might have been. They always put out a quality album, so I wonder why it took nearly 10 years to get signed? There are some great songs on this one that should have gotten them signed in 1986. As far as I know, the next demo by Say-So was You Lift Me Up in 1988. But that could be wrong – who knows what else is lurking out there?

Thin Red Line – Simplicity

Thin Red Line
1986 Ode Records
Auckland, New Zealand

Dave White
Fiona Masters
Steven Thomas

Side 1:

  1. Whakarongo
  2. Simplicity
  3. Love Song

Side 2:

  1. Poet & Peasant
  2. Clock
  3. Nicky

This is Thin Red Line’s 4th demo, following the Thin Red Line Ep and followed by Lie of the Land. The sound here is along the same lines as their past demos, with an experimental alternative rock sound that addresses many pressing social issues of the time (which are, unfortunately, probably still needing to be addressed today). To my ears, this demo sounds a bit more experimental and focused on male vocals than the last demo – but like that one, Dave and Fiona trade off lead vocals from song to song. Also of note is that this EP and the self-titled one before it were also released on vinyl – which is the source of the images above. This particular rip came from a compilation tape of three Thin Red Line demos.

Point Blank – Live Demo

Point Blank
Live Demo
1986? (no label)
San Diego, California, USA

  1. Raining in Paradise
  2. What is a Human Being?
  3. Scared Stiff
  4. Don’t be a Pious Punk
  5. You Decide
  6. Don’t Fight
  7. (preaching)
  8. Gotta Create
  9. He’s Calling You
  10. Don’t Try Suicide
  11. M.B.
  12. Baby in a Bottle
  13. I See You Devil
  14. Amen

While this is labeled as a demo, I’m not sure if it got much distribution outside of small circles. My guess is that it was recorded right after they recorded their ’86 demo, as the song “Don’t Try Suicide” is referred to as a new song and it is not on their ’86 demo. The rest of the songs are all on the demo, with only “What’s So Fun About Getting Drunk” and “God’s Not Dead” not on this tape (there are some gaps in the recording, so they could have been played that night and not recorded). The recording levels are a bit rough on this one, even for bootleg standards. Also note that this is a different live demo than the 1985 Live at the Vineyard demo.

Missing Information: who played on this?

The Churchills – Lines of Innocence

The Churchills
Lines of Innocence
1986 (no label)
Christchurch, New Zealand

Chris – Voice
Darren – Guitars
Simon – Bass
Fraser – Drums, Percussion

Side 1:

  1. I Saw a Man
  2. Tear Me in Two

Side 2:

  1. Micah
  2. Seeing is Believing

This was a random pick that someone wanted to hear out of a stack of tapes to be converted. Neither one of us had heard of this band, and there is nothing about them online that I can find. Turns out it is an interesting mid-80s alternative rock band. I would make rough comparisons to 9 Red Roses, The Lonely Now, Blue Trapeze, and other bands with heavy influences from The Church, U2, The Alarm, etc. Since the band didn’t give last names, and their name is too generic and also taken by other bands, I know nothing about what happened after this demo. I would assume it is their first demo due to the CASS 001 number they gave the release. Guess they were expecting to release over a hundred releases?

Point Blank – ‘86

Point Blank
1986 (no label)
San Diego, California, USA

Mitch Wilson
Bill Power

  1. (Don’t You Be a) Pious Punk
  2. He’s Calling You
  3. What’s So Fun About Getting Drunk
  4. God’s Not Dead
  5. Raining in Paradice
  6. What is a Human Being
  7. Scared Stiff
  8. Got to Create
  9. No More Blood
  10. Don’t Fight
  11. You Decide
  12. Baby in a Bottle
  13. I See You Devil
  14. Amen

For those that didn’t know, this is one of the first bands that Bill Power of Blenderhead fame was in. Apparently the band was first called “Pontius Pilate & The Pious Punks,” but decided to change their name to Point Blank right before releasing this demo. If I remember correctly, they didn’t release anything under the earlier name. At one time, this was available for purchase on BandCamp, but I can’t find if it is any more or not. Anyways, this is mid-80s punk rock – a bit alternative here and there, a bit skate rock here and there, but still punk rock. This was also pre-pop punk, so all of the tough edges that pop punk smoothed out are on full display here. A nice bit of early Christian punk history here. Also of note is that there are several different color versions of the cover – they probably printed it up on a pack of various colored pieces of paper.

Stephen Wiley – Rappin’ for Jesus

Stephen Wiley
Rappin’ for Jesus
1986 Brentwood Contemporary (C-5053)
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, USA

Stephen Wiley – Rap vocals
Mike Barnes – Keyboards, drum programming on “Rappin’ for Jesus”
Gary Lunn – Bass, drum programming on “Let’s Praise (Psalm 150)“
Tim Akers – Additional synthesizer overdubs
Damiyon Everly – Human beat box on “Rappin’ for Jesus”

Produced by Stephen Wiley and Mike Barnes

Side 1:

  1. Rappin’ for Jesus
  2. Let’s Praise (Psalm 150)

Side 2:

  1. Rappin’ for Jesus (accompaniment track)
  2. Let’s Praise (Psalm 150) (accompaniment track)

This is one of the earliest Christian rap releases out there – Wiley had one more before this (a single called Bible Break), and there were a few others like MC Sweet that came before this. Also note that there is a 7-inch single from 1987 for the song “Rappin’ for Jesus” that contains the regular version of the song, a radio version, and two audio commercials for the song as well. The sound here is still early rap (or electro rap as some call it). Also, for those that think the whole “accompaniment track” thing is weird… it was a thing back then. Maybe still today – I have no idea. But the intent was that people could take these tracks to youth groups, schools, street corners, etc and perform their own versions of them. Other acts did this as well (like the Rap’Sures). Wiley followed up this single with the full length Rap It Up in 1988.