Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Empty with the Derelicts

February 8th 2008 marked a sad day for us Lamestain grunts as the northwest’s premier punk label, Empty Records, shut its door after 20 some years. Empty USA, as it became known as after a bizarre lawsuit over the eMpTy name and logo, released great records by legendary bands, such as the Fartz, Gas Huffer, and the Supersuckers, as well as more current and certainly worthwhile acts like Pure Country Gold and King Louie and the Loose Diamonds. To read more about their history, go here and read Blake Wright and Dan Halligan’s musings.

To celebrate Empty’s long run, we thought it would be cool to post the first ever Empty USA 7” release, the Accused/Morphius split. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a copy of it before deadline, which is really too bad, because if memory serves me right, Morphius were a cool local thrash band that sung a lot about drinking beer. So instead we will bring you another early Empty Seattle band, the Derelicts.

Dan once again beat us to the punch and posted about the Derelicts a few months ago, so instead of rehashing something that was better said on 10 Things, we’ll just blab about the posted songs. And while not all of the below songs were originally released on Empty Records, they were all compiled on the now out-of-print Empty CD Going Out of Style in mid- 90s.

“I Wanna Get Out” is from their Time to Get Fucked Up 7”, which was released on Empty Records in 1990. Recorded by Jack Endino at Reciprocal Studios, it featured a cool record cover drawing by Gas Huffer’s Joe Newton; the Derelicts were singer Duane Bodenheimer, guitarist Neil Rogers, bassist Ian Dunsmore, and drummer Rick Bilotti.

Of all the great Seattle comps, one of the lesser known records was 1991’s Bobbing for Pavement on Rat House Records. Showcasing the punk rock scene centered on the East Denny house, the record also features songs by Gas Huffer, the Gits, D.C. Beggars, Bay of Pigs, Big Brown House (featuring Ben London, later of Alcohol Funnycar and Sanford Arms), Hammerbox, and My Name. The Derelicts’ song “Dirty City Rotten Life” is one of the better songs on the comp, and once again, was recorded by Jack Endino. Broken Rekids reissued Bobbing for Pavement on CD in 1994.

One thing certain about the band is that they had great choice in cover songs. We already posted their version of Fleetwood Mac-by-way-of the Rezillos “Somebody’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight” during our Regal Select Appreciation Month a while back, and now we are going to give you their versions of the Frantix’ Flipper-esque classic “My Dad’s A Fucking Alcoholic” and the Cosmic Psychos’ “Lost Cause.”

“My Dad’s a Fucking Alcoholic” comes from their 1989 Love Machine LP, which was released by early Empty co-founder Vocker Stewart’s label, Penultimate records (PEN010). Recorded by Jack Endino at Reciprocal and guided by “2 cases of beer and a fifth of cheap whiskey,” the Derelicts do a great version of the Frantix song a few years before everybody else learned about the original version from its appearance on Killed by Death Volume 6. Members of the Frantix later went on to the Fluid, and you can hear the original version on the just-released Local Anesthetic compilation. Joe Kilbourne also played bass for this cover song.

“Lost Cause” was originally released on the 1991 Estrus Half-Rack 3x7 box (ES715-717), which also included songs by the Fastbacks, Mummies, Mudhoney, Phantom Surfers, Untamed Youth, Prisonshake, Gorilla, Seaweed, and the Mono Men. It might seem strange now that bands like the Derelicts or Seaweed (who covers Beat Happening) would be on a garage punk compilation, but at the time, nobody thought of it. Estrus pressed 2000 of these and even included a drink coaster in the box. The original version comes from Cosmic Psychos’ 1989 Sub Pop release, Go the Hack. We are also going to post it because we love that crazy gang of drunken Aussies. L7 also used to do a version of “Lost Cause,” but we favor the Derelicts’ version.

Goodbye, Empty!

"I Wanna Get Out"
"Dirty City Rotten Life"
"My Dad's a Fucking Alcoholic"
"Lost Cause"

Cosmic Psychos "Lost Cause"

-- MC Tom


Yannick said...

we want more of this shit,...

( not empty saying goodbye but stuff from good northwest bands)

AtothemfT said...

I'm chagrined to say that I never actually saw the Derelicts live, though I have a lot of their records. I think they were mostly on the decline (not playing live much) by the time I got to Seattle. I did see Neil's post-Derelicts band Zipgun a lot.

Their Sub Pop single was one of my favorites and I was glad to see it (and their Sub Pop EP) included on the Going Out of Style CD (which I had just recently dusted off and added to my iPod).

Too bad about eMpTy. They never really got the local acclaim and respect they deserved; they put out many of my favorite records from this era and Blake was/is a helluva nice guy.


Doug said...

I count the Derlicts first 7" (Bullett for Fifi b/w Sharon Needles) as one of the best records to ever come out of the NW. Hell, you can put that record up against any other punk 7" from any era and it'll do more than just hold it's own.

chnkltgy said...

I'm quite bummed to hear that eMpTy is closed. Such a great source of awesome music from the opposite corner of the country.

Anonymous said...

I did promo last year for empty.
I have collected much over the last 15 years listening to empty and came up with a collection of 1987-2007 "runnin on eMpTy"

its a sad day indeed for NW.
some of my fav bands ever...


John Book said...

Wow, have I been out of the loop. Empty Records no more? Say it isn't so. One of the best labels of the Pacific Northwest, period. I think the last record I bought from Blake was an album by The Gloryholes.

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