Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gear Jammer

Continuing from the personal collection of Henry Owings:

"In the history of seven inch punk from the 90's, Tom Hazelmyer is far from obscure. I mean, ferchrissakes, he put out (and performed on) some of the most critically important releases on his own label Amphetamine Reptile. The Thrown Ups, Cows, Hammerhead.... And that's just three examples! You want another three? Tar, Helmet, and Surgery. Want another five? Melvins, Janitor Joe, U-Men, God Bullies and, let's not forget his own band, Halo of Flies. I think there's a few labels that were as prolific and quality-control focused as AmRep (Dangerhouse comes to mind), but few that would rival them through the 90's. So what about Gear Jammer? It was yet another avenue for Tom's ceaseless creative energy in the early 90's. I think Tom does a great job of explaining these two singles in this brief interview I did with him this past week after he recovered from being in a coma. No, I'm not joking. A coma. And as with everything in Tom's prolific life, he laughed that coma off like he did almost everything in his musical career.

Henry: When did Gear Jammer come to fruition? Who was in the band? What was the impetus for doing those songs?

Haze: At first it was just me assisted by Steve Bjorklund on production and drum machine. We recorded the stuff on what equipment he had in his apartment. The impetus was likely as it was during one the half dozen Halo of Flies meltdowns and I wanted to make some tunes despite not having a real band at the time.

Henry: When you say Halo of Flies meltdowns, are we talking just tense discussions in the studio or fistfighting or what?

Haze: Near fistfights maybe, but we're all midwestern guys so there were never discussions, we would just break up a bunch. Mostly it was Anglim quitting, whom I think was going through a rough patch during that period of his life, and I'm not the guy you wanna be around for that (ha-ha). We could never replace him either, we tried but found it was like trying to replace Keith Moon...rather pointless.

Henry: It seems like, at least at the time, that Gear Jammer's first single was considered quite a collector's item. In retrospect, was it all a joke to you?

Haze: Not really a joke, then again I've never taken myself that seriously. At the time it came out was the same time we were trying to get past the hyper limited label thing, and when the first pressing blew out in a couple minutes, we followed it up with an additional 500.

Henry: How long did it take to write and record everything?

Haze: The first single was written while recording it. The second single was recorded over two sessions in the AmRep studio.

Henry: So wait, the first single was done completely in real time? No forethought? No nothing?

Haze: No I had some rough ideas/hooks before we hit record. But it was fleshed out and arranged as we recorded

Henry: Were the two singles recorded at the same time?

Haze: They were were recorded a couple years apart. The second single was an actual band that had released the tunes and played 'em live for the recording.

Henry: Who did you nab to play with you for the second single? And when you say you actually practiced the songs prior to recording, are we talking weeks? Days? Hours?

Haze: I only remember rehearsing the tunes a couple times. I did bass, Bill Hobson on guitar (Killdozer) and Frank Thorpe on Drums (Like Hell) I think I did a few guitar overdubs.

Henry: Are there any other Haze "one off" bands that were recorded but never released?

Haze: There's some unreleased Gear Jammer songs and some Pogo The Clown tracks as well.

Henry: And Gear Jammer never played live, correct?

Haze: That is correct.

Henry: It seemed like there was a definite Pussy Galore influence in the songs. Was that intentional?

Haze: Not intentionally, but I certainly loved Pussy Galore and wouldn't stop it from creeping into the sound.

Henry: Pressing information. The first single had two pressings, right? And the second single was released in what? '93? How many copies?

Haze: Fuck, dude, I dunno!

Henry: Do you think the unreleased Pogo the Clown and Gear Jammer tracks will ever see the light of day?

Haze: Likely not, by the time I find 'em the tapes will likely be kaput. I realize it's irresponsible to ignore the 7 people hanging by a thread for that moment, but I really haven't been that motivated."

Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure, Gear Jammer.

Two Tons Of Chrome b/w (I Saw You) Video (Amphetamine Reptile)
1. Two Tons Of Chrome
2. (I Saw You) Video

Horsepower 2000 (Amphetamine Reptile)
1. Lock & Load
2. He Drinks
3. If It Wasn't Me
4. Horsepower 2000

1 comment:

James B. said...

So Tom doesn't think the unreleased Gear Jammer songs will ever see the light of day?

If I remember right there were a couple of other songs on various compilations. There was at least one other track for sure, the descriptively titled Mr. Peanut Eats The Corn Out Of My Shit off of the Screwed soundtrack.