No Laughing Matter – Volume 1/2

No Laughing Matter
Volume 1/2
1987 Worthless Records
Mesa, Arizona, USA

Scott Roman – Vocals, keyboards
Ted Worthless – Guitar
Rod Glaze – Bass
Nate Stiffler – Drums

  1. Thermodynamics
  2. Wildest Dreams
  3. Alone With You
  4. Don’t Patronize Me
  5. The Call
  6. We Can’t
  7. Don’t Feed Me That Line (CF3)

This demo is (I think) the second demo by No Laughing Matter (after It Bites K-Mart Shoppers). Most of these songs would be re-recorded on Volume One – Discernment (and also a couple on Underground: Brains for the Stupid). “Don’t Feed Me That Line (Ceiling Fan 3)” doesn’t seem to appear on any other recordings. The song “The Call” is also on the Live Bootleg Skate Concert tape, but not any studio recordings. Musically, No Laughing Matter never disappoints with their dark, brooding brand of heavy alternative rock. The sound quality also isn’t that bad considering these are 4-track recordings from various family rooms. It’s still DIY demo, but at least you can hear what they are doing with each song. As with the other No Laughing Matter demos, you can also find this one for download online.

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).

No Laughing Matter – It Bites K-Mart Shoppers

No Laughing Matter
It Bites K-Mart Shoppers
1986 (no label)
Mesa, Arizona, USA

Stripe (Ted Worthless) – Songwriting, vocals, guitar, drill, bass, keys & more
Echo (Dave Baker) – Drums, vocals on “Living Lies”, misc.
Rick Hall – Keyboards
Mike Hustead – Vocals on “Eastern Theatre,” some bass

Side 1:

  1. King in a Stetson
  2. Romans 5
  3. Don’t Patronize Me
  4. Don’t Put Me in a Box
  5. Two Preachers
  6. Eastern Theatre
  7. Blue
  8. My Dead Lunch
  9. Living Lies

Side 2:

  1. With This Card and $1, You Can Get Away With 11 Murders
  2. Lonely Dog
  3. Eastern Theatre
  4. I Cor. 12:6-11
  5. Life is Like a Handful of Dirt
  6. Religion Sucks
  7. Disclaimer
  8. Colourwheel
  9. Ceiling Fan

Wow – didn’t expect to see this. The debut album by No Laughing Matter is pretty hard to find – it was for sale online for a little while, but I blinked and missed it. But here it appears in a stack of tapes to digitize. If it ever becomes available for sale again, and you like dark, weird experimental alternative – get it! This first tape finds an interesting mix of Ted Worthless’ experimental side and the band’s alt/goth rock leanings. Seems that in the future, Ted kept his trippy side to solo recordings and saved the dark rock for NLM. The only thing that Scott Roman is credited for on this album is songwriting for “Don’t Put Me in a Box.” Several songs on here are instrumental, and many songs have an improvised feel (probably because the liner notes say they were).

No Laughing Matter – Monstor

No Laughing Matter
Monstor
1989 Worthless Records (WR-120)
Mesa, Arizona, USA

Scott Roman – Vox
Ted Worthless – Guitar
Rod Glaze – Bass
Nathan Stiffler – Drums

Side 1:

  1. CF10
  2. Bad Blood
  3. Monstor
  4. If the Truth be Known
  5. Lifeline
  6. You See It All

Side 2:

  1. Helltown
  2. I Can See It Coming
  3. Frail & Thin
  4. I Need Your Touch
  5. Tuesday’s Child Awakened

Yes, this album was later released on CD. This is the original tape version, with a different cover. As far as I can tell, they didn’t really make any changes between the tape and the CD. But I still like to transfer tapes like this just in case they did tweak some things. Plus, tapes from this time period sound fuller than the CDs did – you can hear this one on BandCamp and notice that the mix is a bit thin in early digital form. That was really a product of the time. This album still holds up well as a classic dark underground alternative rock album. I would love to see this one remastered on vinyl, but that is probably not realistic.

No Laughing Matter – Volume One – Discernment

No Laughing Matter
Volume One – Discernment
1987 Worthless Records (WR-060)
Mesa, Arizona, USA

Scott Roman – Vocals, keyboards
Ted Worthless – Guitar
Rod Glaze – Bass
Nate Stiffer – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Wildest Dreams
  2. Thermodynamics
  3. Alone With You
  4. America (The Great Harlot)
  5. We Can’t
  6. Psychotic Wallpaper (Read Between the Lines)

Side 2:

  1. Two Preachers
  2. Discernment
  3. Itching Ears
  4. CF5 (Miracles)
  5. Don’t Patronise Me
  6. Chosen

No Laughing Matter gained some level of notoriety in the Christian music underground before finally signing with R.E.X. Music to re-release their Monstor demo tape. Apparently, that was too dark for the label that already had some pretty dark releases, so they parted ways. The sound on this tape is really dark, heavy gothic alternative. A lot of this kind of music was kicking around in the underground music scenes of the day, but very few Christian bands were into this. This and many of their early releases can be found on the Worthless Records blog for download – Except for their debut It Bites K-Mart Shoppers. That one was up for a bit, but I blinked and missed it. Anyone out there have a copy of it they would be willing to share?