Vague – Rough Mix Demo

Rough Mix Demo
1990 (no label)

  1. Close My Eyes [rough mix]
  2. 2 Lonely People [very rough mix]
  3. Will You Stay [acoustic snatch mix]

My guess is that this is a collection of songs for the same New Talent Showcase at Cornerstone that other bands were making tapes for as well. Vague is known for being the band that evolved into The Wayside. “Close My Eyes” and “2 Lonely People” are basically just rougher mixes of the same songs that later appeared on A Glimpse of Deep Symbolism. The song “Will You Stay” is a slightly different version of the song that appeared on Collage. I don’t know if it was planned for A Glimpse of Deep Symbolism and then dropped or what. Vague was a bit more Alternative rock than The Wayside, but still very good at it.


Jet Jaguar – Jet Jaguar

Jet Jaguar
Jet Jaguar
1994 (no label)
Mesa, Arizona, USA

Keith Cordell – Guitar, bass
Ted Worthless – Bass, guitar
Theresa Hodge – Drums
Nathan Marlowe – Samples

  1. Impala
  2. 51 Pegasi
  3. Spy vs. Spy
  4. Needle in a Haystack
  5. Speed the Light
  6. Mariner

This is another find from when I found the website for the Right Reverend Theodore Munk, also known as Ted Worthless of No Laughing Matter fame. He had some mp3s of old bands up there, but this band I had actually heard of before. The information above is from a tape that I traded a few years ago. The online version has a different song order, renames “Needle in a Haystack” to “Angels 20,” and adds the song “Menudo Patrol.” This is some cool instrumental surf rock. This band seems to be one of the bands that filled the gap between when No Laughing Matter broke up and reformed later.

Innocence in a Sense – Trigger

Innocence in a Sense
1993 (no label)
Florida, USA

Brad Boughton – Vocals
Eric Swanson – Guitars
Dave Scharr – Bass guitar
Mike Walker – Drums

Side 1:

  1. The End of Reliance
  2. Obscurity
  3. The Yellow Brick Road

Side 2:

  1. Persistence
  2. Scream
  3. Trigger

Okay, so I decided to check out this tape based on the band title and picture. They just scream 90s alt, don’t they? First track starts off a bit mellow, but it does pick up the pace. It sounds like it could have been on one of the Light From the Underground comps. I didn’t like it at first, but it’s kind of growing on me. The second song is more aggressive and I like it better from the get go. The rest of the tape follows suit – alternating between faster songs that I like right away and slower songs that are growers. A couple of songs don’t ever grow, but that happens with demos.

Skin Deep – Demo

Skin Deep
1987 Independent
Tempe, Arizona, USA

Mitzi Melville – Vocals
Theodore Munk (Ted Worthless) – Guitar
Marc Oxborrow – Bass
Dave Baker – Drums

  1. Buffalo
  2. No Clear Skies
  3. Jah (and Our Theory Of The Universe)
  4. Pretty
  5. Cajun Spiced Potatoes
  6. Butterfly
  7. Instrumental
  8. Which Needle Is Mine, Mon?

So while cruising the interwebs looking for info for the CUE, I stumbled across the website for the Right Reverend Theodore Munk, also known as Ted Worthless of No Laughing Matter fame. He had some mp3s of old bands up there, so I thought would add them to the website. The first up is Skin Deep, a band that existed around 1987 (about the same as No Laughing Matter). The sound here is kind of garagy, trippy form of alternative rock not too far off from NLM. Dave Baker was also the drummer on the first NLM demo as well. The recording quality these songs really isn’t that bad considering this was on a 4-track cassette deck. Interesting from a historical perspective as well.

Rise – …From the Ruins

…From the Ruins
1991 Awakened Records
Blacksburg, Virginia, USA

Allison Ballew – Vocals
John Sexton – Guitar, vocals
Steve Coates – Bass
Henry Anglin – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Director’s Chair
  2. The Bridge

Side 2:

  1. In Limbo
  2. Possibility

I really didn’t know anything about this band, but I converted it mainly based on the fact that Kevin 131 of Sorrow of Seven / Aleixa fame helped produce it, and there is a dedication to Mark Heard in the liner notes. Interesting mixture. So is this more folk / Americana like Heard, or industrial / metal of Aleixa? Does the presences of former So7 / Aleixa vocalist Laurel Snapper on backing vocals sway this more to industrial? Nope. This is alternative rock with female vocals. But Allison Ballew has more of the powerhouse vocals you typically see in metal than the forcefully fragile vocals you usually see in 90s female-fronted alt rock. The band utilizes this difference well, creating some moody yet driving alt rock that has just enough U2 influence to connect with 80s fans, but enough indie rock drive to propel it into the 90s. Don’t know if this band went anywhere, but it would be a shame of they didn’t. This demo is a bit different, but I really liked it. The last song “Possibility” is possibly my favorite track – very catchy but different and out there at the same time.

9 Red Roses – Scream

9 Red Roses
1989 (no label)
Fremont, California, USA

Justin Stevens – Vocals, guitar
Douglas Yates – Keyboards, guitar, vocals
Scott Rohde – Bass, lead bass, vocals
Jeremy Hawley – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Where Do the Children Play?
  2. Scream
  3. No Man’s Land
  4. Blood Drive
  5. I Give My All

Side 2:

  1. Hope
  2. Inside the Mind
  3. Fashion Compassion
  4. Arms of Strength
  5. Hallelujah
  6. Inside the Mind (reprise)

So what is this? A full-length demo by 9 Red Roses that I have never heard of… that pre-dates some of the others I have? What? Wow. There are always surprises when digging into the tape underground. The line-up for this version of the band is different than the S/T demo from the next year. So it seems that this was a band started by Justin Stevens (who went on to form Dime Store Prophets), and then everyone else left, and some former members of The Lonely Now joined later on in the life of this band. The songs “No Man’s Land,” “Blood Drive,” “Hope,” and “Inside the Mind” are all on the un-dated Hope demo – so I wonder if that demo is actually earlier than this one? I had thought Hope was possibly a 1991 release, but that could be wrong. Only the song “Hope” made it on to the 1990 S/T demo ep. Anyways, this is still some excellent U2-influenced 80s alternative rock. I’m glad Stevens eventually got signed with the Dime Store Prophets, but it was a shame this band never got the chance to get these songs out there. Also of note: Sean Doty of Veil of Ashes fame played harmonica on the song “Hallelujah,” and Doty and Nelson DiMarco of The Hounds of Heaven produce this demo.

No Laughing Matter – Live Bootleg Skate Concert

No Laughing Matter
Live Bootleg Skate Concert
1987 Worthless Records (WR-026)
Mesa, Arizona, USA

Scott Roman – Vox, synth
Ted Worthless – Guitar
Joe Domikaitis – Bass
Nate Stiffer – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Thermodynamics
  2. Wildest Dreams
  3. Alone With You
  4. We Can’t
  5. The Great Harlot
  6. The Call

Side 2:

  1. Chosen
  2. Closer Than a Heartbeat
  3. Speed-Killer
  4. Psychotic Wallpaper
  5. All God’s Children

So this is an underground recording of a live concert by No Laughing Matter. Most of the songs on here appear on other demo tapes except for “Closer Than a Heartbeat” and “Speed-Killer.” There seem to be two versions of this: one that is clearer (but still a bit muffled) but recorded on a hand-written DIY tape, and another that is harder to hear, but on a tape that has labels that were typed up and made to look professional. The second one cuts off the end of the last song on side one as well. So I went with the first one, of course. I also had a hard time figuring out how to break this down, because there is sometimes a lot of talking between the songs. It seems that the free download of this semo online just went with keeping both sides as one track. I tried to see if I could break the banter between tracks to group with songs before and after, but that didn’t work too well. So I just made all the between-song banter into their own tracks (not listed above, of course).