Monday, May 28, 2007

The Treepeople Make it Okay for Young Punks to Practice Guitar Scales

A few years ago some friends and I went to see a garage band called King Khan and the BBQ Show at one of our favorite hangouts, the Funhouse in Seattle, and in between songs, one of the members made some tired joke about Mother Love Bone and another crack about C/Z records. If I wasn’t already in a deep conversation with a friend about how the Bassholes and Flat Duo Jets did the stripped down, garage-rock duo thing way better 15 years ago, I would have yelled out something about how C/Z put out the first Melvins EP and that’s way cooler than playing garage-rock in 2007. Sure C/Z might have put out some duds, but really, what long-running label hasn’t? Every label from Stax to Touch & Go to In the Red has put out some clunkers. Anyhow, besides the aforementioned Melvins’ record, C/Z also put out several great records by Seattle-by-way-of-Boise punkers, the Treepeople. Treepeople were also one of the few local bands that bridged the gaps between the straight edge kids, the grunge scenesters, the Olympia indie rocks, and the garage rock crowd. You could find them abusing fuzz boxes and laying down dual guitar solos with everyone from Aspirin Feast to Gorilla to Subvert to Resolution to Hammerbox to Gas Huffer to Tad to Moral Crux, etc…

Formed after Boise-based hardcore band State of Confusion broke up, Treepeople moved to Seattle around 1988–a good few years before the influx of crappy wannabe rock star bands. The band originally comprised Scott Schmaljohn (guitar/vocals), Doug Martsch (guitar/vocals), Pat Brown (bass), and Wayne Rhino Flower (drums); they first released the No Mouth Pipetting cassette in 1988 and made their vinyl debut in 1989 with the Jack Endino-produced “Important Things” 7” on Silence Records (SEP 002). Silence also released the Time Whore EP (SVP 03) in 1990 and added the song “Cartoon Brew” to the 1990 Silence Sampler 1 EP (SVP 05), which also included songs by Dirt Fishermen and Caustic Resin. They then released the “Makin’ the D” b/w “PG” 7” in 1990 on Battery Records and the “Mistake” b/w “Ballard Bitter” 7” on Sonic Bubblegum Record (GUM002) in 1991. Also in 1991, Arizona-based Toxic Shock Records released the Treepeople/House of Large Sides split single and their debut LP, Guilt, Regret, and Embarrassment (since reissued by K Records – minus the bonus tracks).

C/Z then decided to nut up and release the Steve Fisk and Stuart Hallerman-produced Something Vicious for Tomorrow EP (CZ040) in 1991. Featuring new drummer, Tony Dallas Reed, the record also included the Time Whore EP, and according to the 1991-1992 C/Z catalog, it sounded like “Sonic crust from J. Mascis’ wet dreams. These guys were friends with Tad before he developed an eating disorder.” Former Christ on A Crutch drummer Erik Akre then joined the band, and they released the great “Outside In” b/w “Hide and Find Out” 45 (CZ050) in 1992. T. Dallas Reed rejoined the band on bass for the Just Kidding LP (CZ054) in 1993. Produced by John Goodmanson, the record features re-recorded versions of “Cartoon Brew,” “Ballard Bitter,” “Neil’s Down,” and a slowed down version of “Outside In.” The band contributed “Drawing Lessons” to the Teriyaki Asthma Vol. 8 (CZ049), which also featured songs by MX-80, Ween, and Dose;, and “Boiled Bird” to the Four on the Floor EP (CZ055) along with Dirt Fishermen, Gnome, and Alcohol Funnycar.

The Treepeople also recorded “More than a Feeling” for the completely unnecessary Boston tribute double 7”, Bostonot, on Face the Music Records, which also featured covers by Karp, Paste, Fitz of Depression, Witchy Poo, Cog, Roger Nusic, Ketchup & Mayonnaise. They also did a split double 7” with like-minded band, Archers of Loaf, where they did “Meet at the End” and Archers’ cover “Web in Front” while Archers of Loaf did ‘Quinnbeast” and covered “Funnelhead.” Doug and T. Dallas split the band, and John Polle and Eric Carnell replaced them for their final record, Actual Re-Enactment in 1994. The band lasted a while longer before Scott and John formed Stuntman for a couple records and moved back to Idaho. Scott now plays in a band called The Treatment.

Doug, of course, formed Built to Spill and gave birth to Modest Mouse and a million other bands that learned it was okay for guitarists to noodle every so often, T. Dallas joined former All singer Scott Reynolds' band, Goodbye Harry, for a couple records, Eric played in Kill Sybil and then joined his sister’s band, Goodness, while Wayne Rhino Flower started Violent Green.

King Khan and other garage rockers who can’t appreciate anything unless Tim Warren of Crypt Records gives it thumbs up might not dig this band or C/Z Records, but here are some songs and you can judge them yourself.

Important Things
In My Head
Handcuffs
Outside In

Get them all in a .zip file here.

Buy C/Z stuff here.

-- MC Tom

13 comments:

Yannick said...

This is heavy shit

JP_Blogger said...

cool blog man =D...

http://www.seattlearea.blogspot.com

is my blog man ;D...only grunge ^^

goodbye!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'd like to thank you for such an awesome blog. I live in TN, where good music taste is just a myth(it is said to have once existed here, but that was on an ancient Babylonian stone tablet).

Anyways, this town is populated by hipsters. And when I say hipsters I mean *hipsters*, when Nine Inch Nails released With Teeth a few years back everyone, and I mean everyone, went out and bought a NIN tshirt. When the Police reunited for the Grammys, all of a sudden The Police became the only thing anyone had to talk about, which made me beg the question: "When were the Police EVER good?"

Well, anyways, thanks for the blog, without this place I would've gone plum mad, I can't imagine how I can manage the day to day cycle of existence here without Girl Trouble and Blood Circus.

Moving on, when you get done with the Regal Select series, can you do a Halo Of Flies post?

Will said...

Excellent piece here. Great blog.

Jason said...

Thank you so much for posting these Treepeople songs. I've been looking for them for years. If you have any more Treepople 7"s to post I'd be eternally indebted to you.

Keep up the awesome blog.

Beerbug said...

Great site! Always a fun read.
Scott's also in a band that's called THE HAND.
http://www.myspace.com/rockthehand

Anonymous said...

i have the treepeople singles and the king kahn & bbq singles. does that mend the rift?

joe said...

can you re-up the zip file? i've been looking around for some of those songs. thanks!!

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bongo the wonder pony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bongo the wonder pony said...

greatly appreciate it if you'd re-up the treepeople zip file!!! i lost these during a move and have been jonesing for them. can't believe i got this close!!
X = : )

Ray said...

I cant get the Important Things 7" files!!!! Anyone know why?

Ray said...

Can Anyone email me the songs? If so swengolly@gmail.com It would be greatly appreciated.