No Laughing Matter – Underground: Brains for the Stupid

No Laughing Matter
Underground: Brains for the Stupid
1987 Worthless Records (WR-050)
Mesa, Arizona, USA

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

Side 1:

  1. CF4
  2. Wildest Dreams
  3. America (The Great Harlot)
  4. Psychotic Wallpaper
  5. Alone With You
  6. All God’s Children

Side 2:

  1. CF6
  2. Chosen
  3. Torn
  4. Don’t Patronise Me
  5. Requiem

I have always wondered if the “Underground” in this release goes with the band name (like how Lifesavors became Lifesavers Underground) or the demo title (as in this is an “underground” release). I would guess it goes with the demo title. This is a part live/part studio recordings of songs, some of which are also on other tapes. “CF4,” “CF6,” “Torn,” and “Requiem” seem to only appear on this demo. The Worthless Records page noted that some of these songs were recorded in studio – I would guess “CF4” and all of side 2 based on the lack of audience noise on the recordings. The cover is actually a full page printed on both sides and folded into a j-card that is too large to add here.

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.

Scott Roman – Carved in Grey Matter

Scott Roman
Carved in Grey Matter
1989 Worthless Records (WR-090)
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Scott Roman – All vocals, instruments
Ted Worthless – Instruments on some songs

  1. One Man’s Floor
  2. Greenhouse
  3. I Can See It Coming
  4. She’ll Be Sorry
  5. The Defiled Sanctuary
  6. Lament
  7. The Pool of Tears
  8. Tomorrow
  9. On Another’s Sorrow
  10. Away From Babylon

This is Scott Roman’s first solo demo, which was released not too long after No Laughing Matter released Monstor. Scott’s band-mate Ted Worthless joins him on many songs here as well. The sound is still dark alternative like NLM, but more atmospheric, ambient, and spacey. Just like Roman’s 1990 demo Growing Pains, this tape is also available for download. Tripy dark stuff, but I like it.

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 – 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.

Scott Roman – Growing Pains

Scott Roman
Growing Pains
1990 Worthless Records (WR-130)
Arizona, USA

Scott Roman – All vocals, instruments
Ted Worthless – Guitars and bass on some songs

  1. When Death Comes to Dinner (He Eats Your Heart First)
  2. The Sound of Arrogance
  3. When Loneliness and Love Become One
  4. Hellheart
  5. Exorcism
  6. The Grand Design
  7. You See It All
  8. Hollow Be Thy Name
  9. Shadows of Sin
  10. Change

This is the second solo demo by Scott Roman of No Laughing Matter fame. This demo is more of ambient and dark than No Laughing Matter. The first half of the songs are actually instrumental music, until the song “Exorcism.” After that, the music takes on a dark gothic vibe, with a few alternative influences. Also, the tape also seems to pick up aggressiveness as it goes along, with the last song “Change” being a faster alternative rock song. This was available for free download online for some time.

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?