Without reservations, we declare ourselves to be Mark Arm fanbois. Okay, so while the Limp Richerds or Mr. Epp & the Calculations weren’t too hot, Green River, Mudhoney, and the Monkeywrench were some of the coolest bands to ever come out of the Pacific Northwest. While it took us a while to warm up to him filling in for the late Rob Tyner, we enjoyed the MC5 reunion/tribute show, and we also think it’d be cool to throw some Thrown Up songs on a mix-tape in between Drunks with Guns and the Strangulated Beatoffs. For the longest time, though, Bloodloss kind of disappointed us. The rock pedigree was there, and on paper, any band that included Lubricated Goat, Monkeywrench, and Mudhoney members should be brilliant, but for some reason, they didn’t live up their promise. Our first run in with the band was the 1993 Belltown records single, “Broke,” and while it featured one of our favorite guitarists, Sir Richard Bishop of the Sun City Girls, on bass guitar, it only lasted a few spins on the turntable before we shelved it for nearly 15 years. We heard some other Bloodloss songs here and there, but nothing made us forget about the members’ other projects.
This all changed about two years ago. Some friends and I were discussing Bloodloss at our favorite Ballard tavern when one of us (who shall remain anonymous out of fear of Mark Arm’s reprisal) piped up with this claim: “Mark Arm ruined Bloodloss.” Since I wasn’t very familiar with early, Australia-based Bloodloss, and since later, Seattle-based Bloodloss didn’t do much for me, I was curious to see if this was indeed true. Some phone calls were made, and a month later, a copy of Bloodloss’ second LP, The Truth is Marching In, arrived straight from England to our Seattle Headquarters for further Lamestain investigation.
Even without listening to it, I could tell that I was going to enjoy this record. It had an Albert Ayler song for an album title and a song named after Archie Shepp, and it was released on one of the greatest Australian punk record labels, Aberrant (home to Feedtime, Venom P. Stinger, King Snake Roost, etc). Plus, it was limited to 500 copies, which means I could name-drop it at record geek sausage parties and impress one or two dudes. Luckily, my expectations about the record’s greatness were met. The band sounded like a drunken mix between the Birthday Party, Flipper, the Fall, and Captain Beefheart, and we were forced to reconsider our friend’s claim that Mark ruined Bloodloss.
In order to be fair to Mark, though, we needed to pick up those later Bloodloss records and give them a fair listen. After some digging through the used bins, we found the “Face Down in Mud” single on IFA records and the Live My Way LP on In the Red. We also wanted to make sure that Bloodloss’ genius second album wasn’t a fluke, so we tried to find some other early stuff, but didn’t have much luck. Their self-titled 1986 cassette and the 1988 Human Skin Suit LP (both on Greasy Pop Records) are impossible to find, but we did track down a cheap copy of the 1989 King Snake Roost/Bloodloss split single on Crack records. While that single is great and all, the Bloodloss song, “Nutbush City Limits” is an Ike and Tina Turner cover, so it doesn’t give us much new insight on their earlier sound. For this reason and to keep everything simple, we will just assume that everything the band did while in Australia was absolutely magnificent.
After thorough examination, Lamestain concluded that Mark Arm did not ruin Bloodloss. Even though we certainly prefer the rawness of The Truth is Marching In to the slightly more produced Live My Way, we cannot claim that the band was ever ruined. The “Broke” single still isn’t great, but Live My Way has some cool songs on it. But since we are lazy bastards and digitizing vinyl is such a pain in the ass, we aren’t going include any mp3s from that record and will instead give you the harder to find Belltown and IFA singles.
With the evidence in hand, I have tried presenting the argument that Mark Arm did not completely ruin Bloodloss to She Who Could Not Be Named, but she refuses to listen to me and insists that I am being “geeky” and that it is “borderline creepy” to obsess over a 2-year-old bar conversation. To that I say, “Nuh uh!”
Bloodloss - The Truth Is Marching In here.
"Hair of the Future"
"Face Down in Mud"
"Love Theme from Bloodloss"
The singles can also be obtained via a zip file here.
-- MC Tom